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The Best and Most Annoying Food Trends in Dallas for 2023

Some great stuff happened this year. Some crap stuff happened too. And then there was an omakase explosion.

A man’s hand places a piece of sushi onto a black serving plate.
Let us serve you omakase-style.
Courtney E. Smith is the editor of Eater Dallas. She's a journalist of 20 years who was born and raised in Texas, with bylines in Pitchfork, Wired, Esquire, Yahoo!, Salon, Refinery29, and more. When she's not writing about food, she co-hosts the podcast Songs My Ex Ruined.

There was a lot that our panel of experts loved in Dallas in 2023. There was also a lot of stuff that annoyed them. They didn’t hold back when we asked them to share the best and worst of the food industry in town over the last year.

Michelle Carpenter of Restaurant Beatrice:

“Best ‘trend’ is the media’s focus on ethnic and immigrant cuisines. DFW has been diverse for a long long time. It’s only recently that local food media decided to venture to the suburbs to discover how much variety North Texas offers. Worse trend: When customers make multiple reservations for the same night and then cancel on the night of. This is inconsiderate to the restaurant and other guests. It prevents other guests from enjoying the restaurant’s services. For the restaurant, this often results in lowered sales and it inconveniences the scheduling for the service staff. It’s okay to change your mind but please do it with more notice.”

Amy McCarthy of Eater:

“I’m always thrilled to see more natural wine on menus!”

Didi Paterno, Eater Dallas contributor:

“I love the explosion of Yemeni owned and led restaurants and coffee shops. It took a decade to get to this point! In the past, we had to drive down to Houston for Yemeni food, but now it’s a shorter drive within the Metroplex. I love the expansion of regional Middle Eastern food beyond the established Levant (Lebanese) fare.”

Andy Pham of Le Rêve Gelato & Patisserie:

“Seeing the Dallas food scene diversify has been extremely exciting. As of recently it seems like more Asian cuisine has been made familiar with more and more Dallasites, whereas a few years ago, it did not seem like the case.”

DeQuilla Henderson, Eater Dallas contributor and Da Food Baddie:

“Honestly, it’s fusion flavors! Some are super delicious and others fail. Fusion is a great way to combine flavors but sticking to traditional flavors may be out the door soon. Cris and Jon’s has been over popularized and now have a chicken mole ramen burrito which has no business being fused! Mole is it’s own madness, why add it with ramen?”

Jennie Kelley of Fond:

“I think the espresso martini trend was a little infuriating. It was suddenly everywhere and even though I love a good espresso martini, I started tasting ones that were simply too sweet and lacked balance. I put myself through college working at Terilli’s over the years and they have the best one, period. I say, don’t mess with something that’s not broken!”

Benji Homsey of Duro Hospitality:

“There has been a lot of excitement in the restaurant industry in 2023. It seems that a lot of new restaurants that have opened in 2023 had a greater focus on design. From the large restaurant groups to the smaller, design seems more top of mind than in years past.”

Nataly Keomoungkhoun of D magazine:

Japanese omakase was the most exciting trend for me. There’s been a huge influx of new Japanese concepts in Dallas, and I love it!”

Jill Bates of Sugar & Sage Bakery:

“More mocktails. I really like the trend of the mocktail drink. We served pomegranate lemonade at Chef for Farmers and it was a hit. I also love the new coffee drinks with spices like turmeric for a kick and in good health.”

Brian Reinhart of D magazine:

“The most expensive trend is probably the proliferation of high-end sushi. From Shoyo in 2021 and Tatsu in 2022, the market boomed to include, now, Sushi Bar, Sushi by Scratch, Kinzo, and Yujo for omakase-style tasting meals, plus more newcomers: Pearl, Maji, Kaiyo, Yellowtail, Naminohana, and Heian. I want to do a new sushi review article, but with so many restaurants, how long would that article be? The expenses would be wild, too.

“The opposite of that trend — but also a good thing overall —was the increased focus on casual neighborhood spots where people can hang out without dressing up, and still get really nice food. That was a category where Dallas needed an upgrade, and we got it.”

Terance Jenkins of Restaurant Beatrice:

“Exciting: Farm-to-table and people buying local and supporting local business. Infuriating: When restaurants are not really farm-to-table and just use that phrase. It’s dishonest to the guests. They don’t understand the purpose and meaning of this movement.”

Leigh Hutchinson of Via Triozzi:

“Most infuriating was the wave of bigwigs that rolled into town. Let’s keep the Dallas food scene local and familial.”

Rachel Pinn, Eater contributor:

“There’s still a ton of confusion and grumpiness around tipping. The exorbitant automatic tip calculations at the counter have gotten out of hand. I’m all about fair pay and believe those in service positions within the hospitality industry deserve our respect, but at some point, I’d rather it go on my tab pre-tip and be paid for by the business.”

Elias Pope of UNCO Hospitality Group:

“Infuriating: Big out-of-town build budgets that came with even bigger menu price point [that are] fun to experience once or twice but will soon cease to exist. These spots steal the love from our local talent who invest their time in the plate rather than the pic of the plate posted on Insta.”