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, 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.
Dallas loves the most challenging places to get into. Right now, that’s Via Triozzi on Lower Greenville. And with good reason — the pastas are house-made fresh daily in the pasta window that faces the street. The menu is full of classic dishes inspired by the owner’s Sicilian family and her visits to Tuscany. Then there’s the wine list, made up primarily of natural selections from small, family-owned vineyards from Italy.
Mister Charles in the former home to Highland Park Soda Fountain has become a go-to spot quickly in a city full of steak lovers. Diners can enjoy a fine cut steak or an entire dover sole from a menu with numerous high-priced options. Or go a more wallet-friendly route by sharing plates from the pasta and appetizers portion of the menu. Of note on the dessert menu is the Baked Alaska Banana Pudding, a flambe merger of two greats.
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.
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. If that’s 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 return to Earth, Dallas does (and loves) burgers like no other city. The current frontrunner for favorite status is Burger Schmurger, a pop-up inside High Fives serving a highly addictive smash burger. Liberty Burger is a beloved, locally owned go-to, with numerous iterations of the basic burger including options that replace the beef with lamb, chicken, ahi tuna, and ground turkey. Don’t miss the boozy (or non-boozy if you’re being an adult) shakes.
Get a frozen margarita where they allegedly originated, Mariano’s Hacienda. And you might as well order a plate of enchiladas or fajitas while you’re there — this Tex-Mex joint slaps. For proper Mexican, visit Don Artemio in Fort Worth and don’t miss out on ordering a plate of cactus that’s shredded and cooked in bacon fat.
Crown Block has taken up residence this year at the top of Reunion Tower, and for diners who want to literally see Dallas, that’s the spot. It’s a steakhouse, prime Dallas food, with a menu focused on ingredients locally sourced from nearby farms and ranches — so you’re eating North Texas with many dishes there. It also features an excellent seafood bar for sushi lovers and an over-the-top dessert bar.
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.
It’s hard to go wrong when selecting a spot to eat in Bishop Arts. The neighborhood’s newest addition, LadyLove Lounge and Sound, is a cool bar where the DJs spin vinyl records, the cocktails are strong, and the food program was designed by the team from nearby Taco Y Vino.
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.
The Joule’s Midnight Rambler will delight cocktail enthusiasts, while the Adolphus’s Rodeo Bar is the spot for a Texas-themed night out. And if you want a good pizza, hit up Partenope for a Neopolitan-style pie.
Enjoy dinner downstairs at HG Sply Co. and then head up to the rooftop to watch the sunset and take in one of the city’s best views of Downtown. Or stop into Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen for an order of bun cha Hanoi or shaking tofu you won’t soon forget.
How to Spend a Day Eating in DFW
Start at Shug’s Bagels by SMU. Pick the best-sounding options and a latte that suits to kick the day off right.
Head to Fond in Downtown Dallas for a light lunch. The sandwiches are all serve on house-made bread and the Tower Club in particular is great to tuck into. And treat yourself to a glass of natural wine from its menu, if it’s that kind of day.
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.
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 house-made pepper jelly.
Head over to Tina’s Continental for a martini to prolong the evening after dinner. This tiny bar in the historic Continental Gin building in Deep Ellum takes martinis seriously — and is designed to look like the interior of a Lincoln Continental.
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.
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