clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A basket of seafood in a silver boil basket with mussels, prawns, scallops, and more, served with toast.

Filed under:

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas

What to eat and drink when you’re in Big D

The seafood boil at Crown Block, made with Maine lobster, jumbo prawns, mussels, scallops, Alaskan kingcCrab, and tomato broth.
| Kathy Tran
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.

Since its portrayal in the eponymous and infamous 1980s soap opera, Dallas has undergone an incredible amount of change. The home of Neiman Marcus, the legendary State Fair of Texas, and America’s Team, the Big D also boasts a thriving, diverse culinary scene that can sometimes fly under the national radar. Dallas has always been a city of niches — if you want to fit in, you have to find yours. There might be whole parts of town that aren’t the right vibe for you, though some spots have the history and pull to rise above the fray. This guide will help you get to the heart of Dallas’ unique culinary identity.

Where to Start on Eater Dallas's Best Maps

Eater Dallas puts together comprehensive guides to the city’s best food and drink — whether you’re looking for fried chicken, cocktails, burgers, or brunch. If you’re starving but overwhelmed by all of these options, here are some top picks that are a good bet every single time.

A steak sits in a silver dish
Crown Block offers spectacular views and a menu that matches.
Kathy Tran

Hottest Restaurant

Dallas loves the most challenging places to get into. Crown Block is that spot right now. With some 10,000 reservations on the books before it even opened, folks have been clamoring to get in, both to take in the stunning views out of Downtown Dallas and to try the food from chef Kim Canteenwalla. The steak and seafood program is right up the alley of Dallasites, as is the grandeur of the place.

Essential Restaurant

El Carlos Elegante in the Design District is the go-to spot for Dallasites in the know about the food scene. Duro Hospitality presents its take on “Latin-ish” cuisine, taking inspiration from Mexico City street food, Indigenous Mexican fare, and further south from Argentina, Brazil, and beyond. Go with friends and order freely — the food is served on small-plates and meant to be shared. Dip into the excellent selection of mezcals and wines as well.


In 2021, Texas Monthly named Goldee’s Bar-B-Q in Fort Worth the best spot to eat in the state. The mention was life-changing for the owners of this spot, taking it from an off-the-rugged-trail stop to a place with lines daily that sells out before afternoon. Who could argue, with its delectable brisket, burnt ends, and free drinks while you wait in line? For another off-the-beaten-path favorite, stop at Intrinsic Smokehouse & Brewery in Garland and ask for help creating a custom pairing of their juicy meats with in-house brews.

Hands use plastic forks and knives to scoop of potato salad and brisket from a platter at Goldee’s.
A plate at Goldee’s, found south of Fort Worth.
Kathy Tran


Dallas is a city of power brunchers, so don’t expect to show up at any old place on the weekend and get seated. Knox Bistro offers a superb French bistro experience of classic brunch dishes with a bakery full of pastries that should not be missed. Sadelle’s in Highland Park has quickly become a brunch and breakfast favorite, with a deli counter where guests can stop for coffee, bagels, and every kind of schmear. If that’s all a little too fancy, hit Starship Bagel in Downtown Dallas for fine bagels and iced lattes — there will be a line and there’s very little cover from the sun, so pack sunscreen, sunglasses, and maybe a little hat.


When it’s time to come back down to Earth, Dallas does (and loves) burgers like no other city. Have a friendly neighborhood experience with an amazing smash burger at Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House in East Dallas. And one of our top restaurants, Meridian, serves Junior Borges’s take on modern Brazilian cuisine, added a must-try burger to its bar menu. The X-Tudo burger is loaded with shallot jam, Gruyere cheese, and a maitake mushroom aioli on a house-made sourdough roll and newly added to the menu full time.


Over in Inwood, find some of the city’s finest Mexican food. The Guadalajaran-inspired menu at Jose, headed by executive chef Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman, serves Jalisco-style dishes, from a coconut ceviche that finds half a coconut stuffed with seasonal fish and fruits to tacos de tacha made with the chef’s heirloom masa. It’s heavy on Gulf seafood, tortillas handmade using masa, and clever cocktails that utilize a deep library of tequila and mezcal.

An off white plate is embossed with gold letters that say “Stillwell’s” in cursive. On it is a steak with grill marks and wrapped herbs. A diner cuts into it with a knife.
A plate of steak from the Harwood beef program at Stillwell’s in the Hotel Swexan.
Samantha Marie Photography


Stillwell’s inside the Hotel Swexan in Uptown is one of the city’s newly opened chophouses, and it’s utilizing the Hardwood Hospitality exclusive beef program to showcase everything it can do. That includes all the expected cuts: prime ribs, strips, and dry-aged steaks, plus an unmissable beef dumpling that’s so rich it tastes like it’s stuffed with chocolate. Of course, it also offers seafood options, including a yellowfin tuna plate that pairs the dish with hot Fresno chiles, lobster “corn dogs,” and a satisfying, classic crab cake.

Dallas Food Neighborhoods to Know

Dallas-Fort Worth is seriously massive, sprawling across more than 350-square miles of North Texas. As such, it’s easy to find a decent meal pretty much anywhere in the metroplex, but certain neighborhoods have developed unique culinary identities. Wherever you are, let this breakdown of the city’s most notable dining districts be your guide.

Bishop Arts

It’s hard to go wrong when selecting a spot to eat in Bishop Arts. There are the see-and-be-seen scenes in the Paradiso, which got a decor refresh this season, and Casablanca, where diners can enjoy Mediterranian-inspired plates and dishes and cocktails inspired from all over the Silk Road trade route, respectively. Coco’s Fire & Ice, an oft-overlooked favorite, serves up stunning coastal Mexican food in a tiny backroom. And Emporium Pies continues to hold down the neighborhood’s need for a sweet fix with some of the city’s best and most adventurous pies.

A pair of carne asada tacos are serve on a metal tray with a sheet of white paper on top, and accented with a wedge of lime and a small tray of sauce. A glass of orange agua fresca sits to the right.
Order up at Revolver Taco Lounge in Deep Ellum.
Kathy Tran

Deep Ellum

There are now many new places to eat and drink in this cool neighborhood that it’s hard to keep up. You can Terry Black’s Barbecue for a taste of Austin way outside of Austin. There’s also arguably the city’s best fried chicken at Brick & Bones. And what’s a night out in Deep Ellum without stopping into Revolver Taco Lounge?


There are multiple vibes to catch in Uptown, from over-the-top parties to some of the city’s toniest eateries to shockingly good fast-casual spots. Uchi is a much-loved stop for modern Japanese food, from sushi to steak. Fearing’s in the Ritz-Carlton is where one of Dallas’s premiere chefs, Dean Fearing, serves the Southwest cuisine for which he’s so well known and admired.


Thanks to hoteliers opening fine dining restaurants, Downtown Dallas is a hot spot to eat. It’s almost impossible to curate them, but Kessaku on the top floor of the Thompson Hotel offers sushi and prime views of the city. The Joule’s Midnight Rambler will delight cocktail enthusiasts, while the Adolphus’s Rodeo Bar is the spot for a Texas-themed night out.

Greenville Avenue

Hit up Sister for a cozy Mediterranean meal at a neighborhood restaurant noted by the New York Times as one of the best in the country on its 2022 list. And check out Quarter Acre, an intimate spot for New Zealand-influenced dishes full of whimsy.

Design District

What was once an industrial wasteland hosts some of the city’s best dining destinations. Carbone Dallas and its sister restaurant Vino also opened here the last year, driving mass traffic to the area as locals battled it out for reservations. And for a steak at a spot that nails Dallas, head to chef Nick Badovinus’s Town Hearth. The decor is over-the-top, with prints of rock stars, iconic Texans gracing the walls and crystal chandeliers crowding the ceilings while motorcycles create ambiance. The tiny dining room is great for hanging out with friends and eating a classic steakhouse meal.

How to Spend a Day Eating in DFW

Start Downtown at the Starship Bagel stand outside the Joule Hotel. Pick the best-sounding one and a latte to suit you to kick the day off right. For those who need to keep caffeinating, stop into any of the locations of Ascension Coffee — not only are they some of the most comfortable coffee spots to spend some time in around the city, but the golden milk latte with turmeric, vanilla, and hemp milk is one of the most exciting latte inventions in Big D.

Lunch at the Rosewood Mansion Restaurant on Turtle Creek is the move to experience some Dallas culinary history. Those in the know can order a bowl of Dean Fearing’s tortilla soup off-menu — current chef Brendan Frankel has vowed to ensure it’s always available. Everything on offer is an elevated take on classic favorites for Texans, from the chicken schnitzel with ghost peppers relish to the Texas fungus mushrooms seared in duck fat to the Texas sheet cake with salt and pepper pecans.

Take a little break in the afternoon with a snack and by-the-glass pour of wines at sustainability-minded Sixty Vines, which kegs all its wines. The taproom vibe is good for meetings or getting a little work done in a gorgeous space. And the wine bar has developed partnerships with some top-notch vineyards.

A pair of mens hands grab items from a plate of baked oysters. The white plate they’re on sits on a red-stained patio table.
Oysters Beatrice made with creamed greens, absinthe, bacon, and parmesan.
Kathy Tran

Make dinner reservations at Restaurant Beatrice, one of Dallas’s James Beard Award nominees for 2023 — this best new restaurant was also Eater Dallas’s pick for restaurant of the year in 2022. The Cajun and Creole dishes are crafted from local chef, owner, and Louisianan Michelle Carpenter and former Commander’s Palace chef Terance Jenkins. Try the baked oysters and catch of the day from the restaurant’s Gulf seafood program or go for it’s signature dish: Mammaw’s fried chicken with housemade pepper jelly.

Stop and linger over a cocktail at Clifton Club after dinner. Put your hands in the capable bar staff and order the Something Frozen, a rotating frozen cocktail, or the passionfruit vodka fizz, which combines passionfruit, pineapple, and Topo Chico with Tito’s — a classic Texas collection.

Keep it going late into the evening with a night of cocktails and a show at the Rose Room inside Station 4 in Oak Lawn, Dallas’s most venerable drag venue, where the drinks are strong and the performances are stronger.

Follow the News

Eater Dallas is updated multiple times every weekday with breaking news stories including restaurant openings and closings, features, guides, and more. Here are a few ways to stay in the loop:

Bookmark the Eater Dallas homepage. New stories will always show up near the top and flow down toward the bottom of the page as they get older, while important recent stories will stay pinned right at the top. Also, check out our big sister,, for national and international food news.

Subscribe to our newsletter, which goes out twice a week and includes links to the day’s top stories.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on new stories and more throughout the day.

Get in Touch

Have questions not answered here? Want to send in a tip or a complaint or just say hello? Here are some ways to get in touch with the Eater Dallas staff:

Service Check

El Carlos Elegante Asks Diners to Reconsider What They Think They Know About Mexican Food

State Fair Mania

These Dallas Restaurants Are Offering State Fair-Inspired Dishes

A Scrappy Yemeni Restaurant Brings a Taste of Home to Texas