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In a cast iron skillet, a lobster is halved and presented with chimichuri sauce.
The buttered, poached lobster at Knife Dallas.
Knife

The 38 Essential Dallas Restaurants

Simply the best restaurants in the Metroplex, from Chinese to pizza to steak.

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The buttered, poached lobster at Knife Dallas.
| Knife

The Dallas-Fort Worth is a sprawling Metroplex of 9,286 square miles. And in that land mass, there are a lot of great restaurants. This list aims to guide visitors and locals alike to great new locations, up-and-coming eateries, and established restaurants at the top of the food game, all at various price points and featuring the numerous cuisines that shine in DFW.

Eater Dallas’s list of the 38 Essential Restaurants in fair North Texas is updated quarterly. This summer’s update sees a nearly complete overhaul, ushering in a fresh list of places to go and delights to taste. This month sees the additions of Meridian in the Village, which Eater Dallas named the best restaurant of 2021, the return of Knife Dallas following chef John Tesar’s Orlando establishment winning a Michelin star, and brunch with the French as Knox Bistro retools, among others.

Call ahead to ensure each restaurant is open and for updates on current offerings, as these things change constantly. Wear a mask when required, tip well, and try to order directly from the restaurants if you’re ordering delivery.

Check out the Eater Dallas Heatmap for the newest restaurant openings any given month.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

CT Provisions Cocktail Parlor & Kitchen

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On the square in downtown McKinney, a new American cuisine restaurant serving fresh oysters, saffron Cornish game hens with mushroom risotto, and a tomato Benedict that incorporates pork belly and fried green tomatoes awaits. There’s also the eponymous cocktail parlor, which serves a mix of classics and originals.

Yao Fuzi Cuisine

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This Plano restaurant offers traditional Chinese that is mouthwateringly good. The chef’s specialty Fuzi Crispy Beef and the pan-fried duck with mandarin sauce are excellent plates. The rock shrimp with pork pot stickers are outstanding, and jellyfish are on the appetizer menu for the adventurous.

Ari Korean BBQ

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The fun of Korean barbecue is all in cooking it yourself. But the craft of it is in the meat the restaurant uses. Ari Korean BBQ has locations in Carrollton and Plano, both worth traveling to eat at, and has some of the best cuts around. Try the bulgogi, marinated short rib, and thin-sliced prime brisket. And in Carrollton, there’s a new upstairs lounge with cocktails and DJs.

Kirin Court

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Dim sum in this Richardson Chinese restaurant is served on pushcarts, from which the diner can select from 45 dishes. Go with what looks and smells the most delicious on any given day. That might be old favorites such as fried pork spring rolls and soup dumplings, or it might be a more adventurous choice — shrimp paste stuffed eggplant and pork and preserved egg congee makes that list. Bring enough friends to fill a big banquet table or share your table with strangers, but don’t feel like you need to stop with dim sum. Chinese mains, from Mongolian beef to Kung Pao chicken, are also available.

Roots Southern Table

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Chef Tiffany Derry was the only James Beard Award finalist in DFW for 2022. That’s reason enough to see what she’s up to at Roots Southern Table in Farmer’s Branch. Be tempted by the cast iron cornbread and beet salad, staples in any Southern kitchen. Then, dive into some inventive main courses, like jerk lamb chops and the Texas redfish prepared with harissa. Crafty Texans know they should finish it off with a piece of German chocolate cake. 

Intrinsic Smokehouse Brewery + BBQ Catering

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Set on the square in downtown Garland, this is some of the great barbecue in DFW that too many folks are missing out on. The pitmaster nails brisket and smoked turkey as well as anyone in the Metroplex and at a lower price point than most. The mac and cheese is just right and the fried okra is pitch perfect. Plus, with a brewery on site, you can get a custom lager to match your meal.

Edoko Omakase

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There’s a lot of sushi in Dallas but hidden in Irving are exciting and creative plates and high-quality sushi that earn consistent raves. The small plates are unusual and delicious, with tuna pizza and toro tartare caviar as standout options. Mix and match the dishes you want or ask for the chef’s choice sashimi mix.

Resident Taqueria

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In Lake Highlands, chef Andrew Savoie serves up freshly made tacos, from the tortillas to the produce and meats, that span new classics including braised beef, pork shoulder, and chorizo and inventive takes on plant based options — it is known for the caramelized cauliflower taco. Don’t sleep on the seasonal specials, because they’re frequently the new best thing on the menu.

RM 12:20 Bistro

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There are some lovely French cuisine options in Dallas, but this Lake Highlands neighborhood bistro is one of the frequently overlooked gems of the city’s food scene. Executive chef Erin Willis gets everything right on the limited seasonal menu, giving diners an experience that feels distinctive, intimate, and rustic. And summer is the ideal time to go and order the mussels with butter, garlic, shallots, herbs, and lemon.

Rex's Seafood and Market

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When the craving for fresh seafood hits, this Preston Hollow market is the place to be. The oyster platter veers towards Northeast options, heavy on the flavorful Massachusetts Bay and Long Island varieties. They go down great with an ice cold martini. In addition to entrees of red snapper, Chilean sea bass, and a host of in-season catch of the day options, Rex’s does some inventive dishes worth a try. The tuna nachos and shrimp pesto flatbread are especially notable.

Jia Modern Chinese

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In the Park Cities, find Chinese food with Szechwan influence at Jia, plus sushi and a touch of Thai. It’s cloth napkin fancy, but owner Jia Huang wants guests to hang around awhile, so the hospitality is front and center. The menu is small and curated without being Americanized. Try out the Chinese Garden Feast, a vegetarian meal made with yams, black mushrooms, snow peas, celery, and lotus root or the crispy beef. The chicken lettuce wraps are also worth raving about.

Meridian

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The best new restaurant of 2021 remains one of the top dining destinations in the city. Chef Junior Borges has only gotten better since this modern Brazilian destination opened. Take your time with a meal there; start with a cocktail at the bar and do some people watching. It’s worth the wait to land a reservation on the outdoor deck when the weather is just right. The service is beyond compare, so don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations — but one must-have here is grilled “beach cheese” on a stick appetizer, and the Rohan Duck Breast is so enticing. 

El Vecino Tex Mex

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As far as Tex Mex goes, sometimes it’s the everyday places that scratch the itch to eat it best. El Vecino is a neighborhood joint in Lake Highlands. There’s nothing too fancy on the menu but the nachos are baked and loaded with cheese, the Tex Mex plate options are varied enough to not be the same old thing as every other spot, and the Wednesday special enchilada dinner is one of the best deals in the city.

Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House

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While the Bourdain burger, a simple double patty smash burger, and the Frito pie might be predictable orders at this neighborhood burger joint, they’re part of the always reliable, always delicious menu that keeps folks coming back. The other secret ingredient at Goodfriend in East Dallas is the vibe: it feels good to be here.

Shug's Bagels

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There simply aren’t a lot of quality bagel shops in DFW. Shug’s is the best, hands down. It’s worth the wait in a line that goes out of the front door most days to get a dozen mixed or an egg, bacon, and cheese on a plain bagel. Try the egg bagel as well. Getting the crust and crunch on those just right isn’t easy, but Shug’s nails it.

Knife Dallas

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Knife was the toast of the town when it opened in 2014. But as new steakhouses came to town, interest waned a bit. That’s not down to any changes in the food quality but rather the cyclical nature of restaurant promotions. Chef John Tesar has remained devoted to his dry-aging program for steaks and still serves up a fantastic range of plates. Knife is now expanding its seafood program and doing beef that’s a cut above the rest. It’s a great time to revisit one of Dallas’s best steakhouses.

Knox Bistro

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Wondering where to brunch? Keep Knox Bistro in mind, and get a sticky pecan bun for the table. French fare, from the Croque Madame to the French omelet with Boursin to the perennial favorite of hanger steak with eggs and pommes frites, will delight. This is also a nice lunch and dinner spot, but brunch is where the bistro mood fires on all cylinders. 

Sister Restaurant

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A little Italian, a little Mediterranean, a lot of great design and delicious food — that’s Sister in a nutshell. Pop into this Greenville Ave. location one evening and try the branzino, the roasted eggplant parmesan, and the olive oil cake. Then linger over one of the signature cocktails, either in the big, comfy booths or sitting on the patio out front. That’s the whole point of a restaurant with a neighborhood vibe: eating great food and checking out the neighborhood.

Trying everything on the Spanish gin and tonic menu is reason enough to visit Sachet on Oak Lawn. But this Mediterranean restaurant from co-owners Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers is so much more than a great wine and cocktail menu. It’s easy to make a meal of small plates, from shawarma spice ribs to mushrooms cooked in a wood-fired oven with bean puree. But the entrees, especially the grilled Aleppo quail and cauliflower steak, are symphonic. 

Carte Blanche

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Carte Blanche opened and immediately took the Dallas dining scene by storm. It offers a tasting menu put together daily based on availability of ingredients, so whichever option you choose, you’re putting your taste buds in the capable hands of the staff. It’s a journey worth taking. But, if that’s not for you, the bakery items, all of which need to be ordered 48 hours in advance, are also phenomenal and great for a special weekend treat.

Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen

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Soups with rich broth and delicious noodles. Shaking tofu rice. Rice paper rolls. Vietnamese coffee. Sangria with a kick of Hennessey. These are a few delights waiting in Nong Vietnamese Kitchen on Lowest Greenville. Owner Carol Nguyen named the place for her mother and intends to introduce Dallasites to the best of Vietnam. 

Rye’s latest outpost brings Dallas into the bespoke small plates game. Order the pork belly lollipops and the Icelandic hot dog, the latter of which does a bang-up job of recreating the flavors of a street food dish with elevated ingredients. The vegan chile relleno is also masterfully executed.

Liberty Burger

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For a fast casual burger, it’s hard to beat this family-owned local chain. There’s something for every type of burger one could desire: a classic? Sure thing, it’s called the Liberty Burger. Fancy ingredients stacked up high? Go for the Napa. Delicious enough to border on gluttonous? That’s the Wild West, with its cheese, bacon, and barbecue sauce. Tired of beef? The ahi tuna burger and the Jackie O, a lamb and feta burger, will do you. Plus, those delicious skinny fries and shakes, boozy or not, are a great way to cool down.

Thunderbird Pies

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Over the glut of thin crust pizza sweeping the city? It’s time to indulge in the Detroit pizza craze. The thick, moist crust with crispy burnt cheese edges on this Lakewood spot’s pizzas is another side of enjoying a pizza. Brought to you by the folks behind Cane Rosso, it shares some menu options — so get the Honey Bastard with hot soppressata, bacon marmalade, and habanero honey on a very fluffy crust. There are also options with pineapple for those who swing that way and straight veg for the non-meat eaters. 

At Loro, Austin’s Aaron Franklin, of Franklin Barbecue, and James Beard Award-winner Tyson Cole merge smokehouse meat and Japanese food in a comfortable, easy atmosphere. No reservations necessary to get a plate of smoked prime bavette, the sleeper hit meat on the menu, and savory tomato and cucumber salad. Treat yourself to a bag of the candied kettle corn with burnt ends as well — it’s Dallas to a T.

Cry Wolf

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There is a feeling of escapism to being on Cry Wolf, especially for those of a certain age. The rotary phone in the sitting area by the front door, the ‘80s music, and the barstools are so reminiscent of a decade gone by. And at the handful of tables available in this Old East Dallas gem, Chef Ross Demers serves up the unexpected. His playfulness with food comes through in the ever-changing seasonal menu. 

INVASION

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A chicken sandwich named after Cardi B, a “notorious” burger, and a banana pudding called the In My Peelings? Yeah, Invasion’s got jokes and love for hip hop. Stop into this Old East Dallas spot where chef Airric Heidelberg is cooking up something berry special - and by that, we mean the Berry Good Burger, which finds halal beef filled with homemade strawberry jam and goat cheese and topped with roasted strawberries and basil. 

Joe T. Garcia's

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How long has it been since you revisited this Fort Worth Tex Mex staple? Not many establishments have held on since 1935, so it’s worth a revisit if it has been a while for you. For those who don’t know the drill, go into it knowing there will be a waiting line to get in — reservations aren’t an option. For dinner, the options are beef or chicken fajitas, the family-style dinner of cheese nachos, cheese enchiladas, rice, beans, two beef tacos, and guacamole. The menu is a little more extensive for lunch and brunch when you can get excellent Chile Rellenos and tortilla soup, among other options. And the courtyard full of fountains is a dreamy place to eat.

AllGood Cafe

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Visit a piece of Deep Ellum history and see some live music while you’re at it. Dallasites of a certain age know that not only is this a great spot to get a chicken fried steak smothered in gravy, but it’s home to a wonderful community that’s seen the neighborhood, and the local music scene, through 20 years of history.

Revolver Taco Lounge

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Revolver has expanded its offerings, with a new outpost in Exchange Hall in Downtown and a gastro taco lounge coming soon, next door to the Deep Ellum taqueria. But the wonderful tacos here haven’t changed a bit. Stop in for fresh-made wagyu steak, duck breast, and whatever tacos the Rojas family is cooking up on any given day. 

Twisted Root Burger Co.

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There’s a reason that the Deep Ellum burger spot from chefs Jason Boso and Quincy Hart has expanded so bountifully: the burgers are excellent. Whether it’s the OG location or way up over Carrollton or Coppell, never forget the taste of the Millionaire burger with its wagyu beef patty, aged cheddar, truffle aioli on the bun, garlic mushrooms, bacon, dark beer sauce and crispy tobacco onions.

Beto & Son

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Trinity Groves has struggled to find its identity after moving on as an incubator for new restaurants. Beto & Son is one of the lasting success stories of the location — so much so that Julian Rodarte (the and son of the place) has taken over as CEO of the Trinity Restaurant Group. And it’s one of the best Mexican food places in Dallas. Order a queso fundido chorizo skillet for the table, and try the 12-hour barbacoa tacos and an order of the green chile pork enchiladas. 

Tributary Café

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Find a sumptuous plate of Creole cooking at this Fort Worth restaurant in the River East district. The house’s specialty is seafood, served in traditional dishes, including crawfish etouffee and a basket of Cajun fried fish, shrimp, oysters, or crawfish tails. Yes, a side of grits or peas with pancetta will pair nicely with that order.

Off the Bone Barbeque

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The smell of barbecue, which wafts all up and down the block, will get you. The pecan smoked baby back ribs keep many people coming into Off the Bone down in Cedars. But the blue cheese and bacon cole slaw and the honey spiced baked beans are awfully special, as are the wings.

To believe in the raves that Lucia consistently gets is to eat there. The cozy atmosphere, the personable staff, and most significantly the inventive twists on Italian food, which are not too far from the original but just different enough to make it an experience, are worth putting your name on the reservations wait list to experience. 

Written by the Seasons

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Bishop Arts has quickly become a favorite neighborhood for Dallasites to explore, and Written by the Seasons is one of the best people-watching restaurants in the area. This spring and summer, take advantage of its menu of sharable bite-sized dishes, an impeccable wine list, and as many cocktails as you can handle while watching the crowds amble by in the indoor/outdoor dining area that’s set back from Davis Street.

Recipe Oak Cliff

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Dallas has some excellent vegan restaurants, and this to-go deli with a juice bar down in Oak Cliff feels like one of the overlooked up-and-comers in that space. Try its Zoodles, zucchini noodles with mushrooms, sun-dried tomato, shallots, basil, and sweet peppers or the vegan tacos made with barbecue jackfruit and chipotle walnut taco meat.

Goldee's Barbecue

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Goldee’s became the must-try barbecue spot in the Metroplex after some prominent mentions in the press. And it delivers. Head on out and get in line one morning for brisket (you can buy a whole one and cut the line), ribs, sausage, and turkey with all the traditional sides. Nothing fancy, just great smoking.

CT Provisions Cocktail Parlor & Kitchen

On the square in downtown McKinney, a new American cuisine restaurant serving fresh oysters, saffron Cornish game hens with mushroom risotto, and a tomato Benedict that incorporates pork belly and fried green tomatoes awaits. There’s also the eponymous cocktail parlor, which serves a mix of classics and originals.

Yao Fuzi Cuisine

This Plano restaurant offers traditional Chinese that is mouthwateringly good. The chef’s specialty Fuzi Crispy Beef and the pan-fried duck with mandarin sauce are excellent plates. The rock shrimp with pork pot stickers are outstanding, and jellyfish are on the appetizer menu for the adventurous.

Ari Korean BBQ

The fun of Korean barbecue is all in cooking it yourself. But the craft of it is in the meat the restaurant uses. Ari Korean BBQ has locations in Carrollton and Plano, both worth traveling to eat at, and has some of the best cuts around. Try the bulgogi, marinated short rib, and thin-sliced prime brisket. And in Carrollton, there’s a new upstairs lounge with cocktails and DJs.

Kirin Court

Dim sum in this Richardson Chinese restaurant is served on pushcarts, from which the diner can select from 45 dishes. Go with what looks and smells the most delicious on any given day. That might be old favorites such as fried pork spring rolls and soup dumplings, or it might be a more adventurous choice — shrimp paste stuffed eggplant and pork and preserved egg congee makes that list. Bring enough friends to fill a big banquet table or share your table with strangers, but don’t feel like you need to stop with dim sum. Chinese mains, from Mongolian beef to Kung Pao chicken, are also available.

Roots Southern Table

Chef Tiffany Derry was the only James Beard Award finalist in DFW for 2022. That’s reason enough to see what she’s up to at Roots Southern Table in Farmer’s Branch. Be tempted by the cast iron cornbread and beet salad, staples in any Southern kitchen. Then, dive into some inventive main courses, like jerk lamb chops and the Texas redfish prepared with harissa. Crafty Texans know they should finish it off with a piece of German chocolate cake. 

Intrinsic Smokehouse Brewery + BBQ Catering

Set on the square in downtown Garland, this is some of the great barbecue in DFW that too many folks are missing out on. The pitmaster nails brisket and smoked turkey as well as anyone in the Metroplex and at a lower price point than most. The mac and cheese is just right and the fried okra is pitch perfect. Plus, with a brewery on site, you can get a custom lager to match your meal.

Edoko Omakase

There’s a lot of sushi in Dallas but hidden in Irving are exciting and creative plates and high-quality sushi that earn consistent raves. The small plates are unusual and delicious, with tuna pizza and toro tartare caviar as standout options. Mix and match the dishes you want or ask for the chef’s choice sashimi mix.

Resident Taqueria

In Lake Highlands, chef Andrew Savoie serves up freshly made tacos, from the tortillas to the produce and meats, that span new classics including braised beef, pork shoulder, and chorizo and inventive takes on plant based options — it is known for the caramelized cauliflower taco. Don’t sleep on the seasonal specials, because they’re frequently the new best thing on the menu.

RM 12:20 Bistro

There are some lovely French cuisine options in Dallas, but this Lake Highlands neighborhood bistro is one of the frequently overlooked gems of the city’s food scene. Executive chef Erin Willis gets everything right on the limited seasonal menu, giving diners an experience that feels distinctive, intimate, and rustic. And summer is the ideal time to go and order the mussels with butter, garlic, shallots, herbs, and lemon.

Rex's Seafood and Market

When the craving for fresh seafood hits, this Preston Hollow market is the place to be. The oyster platter veers towards Northeast options, heavy on the flavorful Massachusetts Bay and Long Island varieties. They go down great with an ice cold martini. In addition to entrees of red snapper, Chilean sea bass, and a host of in-season catch of the day options, Rex’s does some inventive dishes worth a try. The tuna nachos and shrimp pesto flatbread are especially notable.

Jia Modern Chinese

In the Park Cities, find Chinese food with Szechwan influence at Jia, plus sushi and a touch of Thai. It’s cloth napkin fancy, but owner Jia Huang wants guests to hang around awhile, so the hospitality is front and center. The menu is small and curated without being Americanized. Try out the Chinese Garden Feast, a vegetarian meal made with yams, black mushrooms, snow peas, celery, and lotus root or the crispy beef. The chicken lettuce wraps are also worth raving about.

Meridian

The best new restaurant of 2021 remains one of the top dining destinations in the city. Chef Junior Borges has only gotten better since this modern Brazilian destination opened. Take your time with a meal there; start with a cocktail at the bar and do some people watching. It’s worth the wait to land a reservation on the outdoor deck when the weather is just right. The service is beyond compare, so don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations — but one must-have here is grilled “beach cheese” on a stick appetizer, and the Rohan Duck Breast is so enticing. 

El Vecino Tex Mex

As far as Tex Mex goes, sometimes it’s the everyday places that scratch the itch to eat it best. El Vecino is a neighborhood joint in Lake Highlands. There’s nothing too fancy on the menu but the nachos are baked and loaded with cheese, the Tex Mex plate options are varied enough to not be the same old thing as every other spot, and the Wednesday special enchilada dinner is one of the best deals in the city.

Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House

While the Bourdain burger, a simple double patty smash burger, and the Frito pie might be predictable orders at this neighborhood burger joint, they’re part of the always reliable, always delicious menu that keeps folks coming back. The other secret ingredient at Goodfriend in East Dallas is the vibe: it feels good to be here.

Shug's Bagels

There simply aren’t a lot of quality bagel shops in DFW. Shug’s is the best, hands down. It’s worth the wait in a line that goes out of the front door most days to get a dozen mixed or an egg, bacon, and cheese on a plain bagel. Try the egg bagel as well. Getting the crust and crunch on those just right isn’t easy, but Shug’s nails it.

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Knife Dallas

Knife was the toast of the town when it opened in 2014. But as new steakhouses came to town, interest waned a bit. That’s not down to any changes in the food quality but rather the cyclical nature of restaurant promotions. Chef John Tesar has remained devoted to his dry-aging program for steaks and still serves up a fantastic range of plates. Knife is now expanding its seafood program and doing beef that’s a cut above the rest. It’s a great time to revisit one of Dallas’s best steakhouses.

Knox Bistro

Wondering where to brunch? Keep Knox Bistro in mind, and get a sticky pecan bun for the table. French fare, from the Croque Madame to the French omelet with Boursin to the perennial favorite of hanger steak with eggs and pommes frites, will delight. This is also a nice lunch and dinner spot, but brunch is where the bistro mood fires on all cylinders. 

Sister Restaurant

A little Italian, a little Mediterranean, a lot of great design and delicious food — that’s Sister in a nutshell. Pop into this Greenville Ave. location one evening and try the branzino, the roasted eggplant parmesan, and the olive oil cake. Then linger over one of the signature cocktails, either in the big, comfy booths or sitting on the patio out front. That’s the whole point of a restaurant with a neighborhood vibe: eating great food and checking out the neighborhood.

Sachet

Trying everything on the Spanish gin and tonic menu is reason enough to visit Sachet on Oak Lawn. But this Mediterranean restaurant from co-owners Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers is so much more than a great wine and cocktail menu. It’s easy to make a meal of small plates, from shawarma spice ribs to mushrooms cooked in a wood-fired oven with bean puree. But the entrees, especially the grilled Aleppo quail and cauliflower steak, are symphonic. 

Carte Blanche

Carte Blanche opened and immediately took the Dallas dining scene by storm. It offers a tasting menu put together daily based on availability of ingredients, so whichever option you choose, you’re putting your taste buds in the capable hands of the staff. It’s a journey worth taking. But, if that’s not for you, the bakery items, all of which need to be ordered 48 hours in advance, are also phenomenal and great for a special weekend treat.

Ngon Vietnamese Kitchen

Soups with rich broth and delicious noodles. Shaking tofu rice. Rice paper rolls. Vietnamese coffee. Sangria with a kick of Hennessey. These are a few delights waiting in Nong Vietnamese Kitchen on Lowest Greenville. Owner Carol Nguyen named the place for her mother and intends to introduce Dallasites to the best of Vietnam. 

Rye

Rye’s latest outpost brings Dallas into the bespoke small plates game. Order the pork belly lollipops and the Icelandic hot dog, the latter of which does a bang-up job of recreating the flavors of a street food dish with elevated ingredients. The vegan chile relleno is also masterfully executed.

Liberty Burger

For a fast casual burger, it’s hard to beat this family-owned local chain. There’s something for every type of burger one could desire: a classic? Sure thing, it’s called the Liberty Burger. Fancy ingredients stacked up high? Go for the Napa. Delicious enough to border on gluttonous? That’s the Wild West, with its cheese, bacon, and barbecue sauce. Tired of beef? The ahi tuna burger and the Jackie O, a lamb and feta burger, will do you. Plus, those delicious skinny fries and shakes, boozy or not, are a great way to cool down.

Thunderbird Pies

Over the glut of thin crust pizza sweeping the city? It’s time to indulge in the Detroit pizza craze. The thick, moist crust with crispy burnt cheese edges on this Lakewood spot’s pizzas is another side of enjoying a pizza. Brought to you by the folks behind Cane Rosso, it shares some menu options — so get the Honey Bastard with hot soppressata, bacon marmalade, and habanero honey on a very fluffy crust. There are also options with pineapple for those who swing that way and straight veg for the non-meat eaters. 

Loro

At Loro, Austin’s Aaron Franklin, of Franklin Barbecue, and James Beard Award-winner Tyson Cole merge smokehouse meat and Japanese food in a comfortable, easy atmosphere. No reservations necessary to get a plate of smoked prime bavette, the sleeper hit meat on the menu, and savory tomato and cucumber salad. Treat yourself to a bag of the candied kettle corn with burnt ends as well — it’s Dallas to a T.

Cry Wolf

There is a feeling of escapism to being on Cry Wolf, especially for those of a certain age. The rotary phone in the sitting area by the front door, the ‘80s music, and the barstools are so reminiscent of a decade gone by. And at the handful of tables available in this Old East Dallas gem, Chef Ross Demers serves up the unexpected. His playfulness with food comes through in the ever-changing seasonal menu. 

INVASION

A chicken sandwich named after Cardi B, a “notorious” burger, and a banana pudding called the In My Peelings? Yeah, Invasion’s got jokes and love for hip hop. Stop into this Old East Dallas spot where chef Airric Heidelberg is cooking up something berry special - and by that, we mean the Berry Good Burger, which finds halal beef filled with homemade strawberry jam and goat cheese and topped with roasted strawberries and basil. 

Joe T. Garcia's

How long has it been since you revisited this Fort Worth Tex Mex staple? Not many establishments have held on since 1935, so it’s worth a revisit if it has been a while for you. For those who don’t know the drill, go into it knowing there will be a waiting line to get in — reservations aren’t an option. For dinner, the options are beef or chicken fajitas, the family-style dinner of cheese nachos, cheese enchiladas, rice, beans, two beef tacos, and guacamole. The menu is a little more extensive for lunch and brunch when you can get excellent Chile Rellenos and tortilla soup, among other options. And the courtyard full of fountains is a dreamy place to eat.

AllGood Cafe

Visit a piece of Deep Ellum history and see some live music while you’re at it. Dallasites of a certain age know that not only is this a great spot to get a chicken fried steak smothered in gravy, but it’s home to a wonderful community that’s seen the neighborhood, and the local music scene, through 20 years of history.

Revolver Taco Lounge

Revolver has expanded its offerings, with a new outpost in Exchange Hall in Downtown and a gastro taco lounge coming soon, next door to the Deep Ellum taqueria. But the wonderful tacos here haven’t changed a bit. Stop in for fresh-made wagyu steak, duck breast, and whatever tacos the Rojas family is cooking up on any given day. 

Twisted Root Burger Co.

There’s a reason that the Deep Ellum burger spot from chefs Jason Boso and Quincy Hart has expanded so bountifully: the burgers are excellent. Whether it’s the OG location or way up over Carrollton or Coppell, never forget the taste of the Millionaire burger with its wagyu beef patty, aged cheddar, truffle aioli on the bun, garlic mushrooms, bacon, dark beer sauce and crispy tobacco onions.

Beto & Son

Trinity Groves has struggled to find its identity after moving on as an incubator for new restaurants. Beto & Son is one of the lasting success stories of the location — so much so that Julian Rodarte (the and son of the place) has taken over as CEO of the Trinity Restaurant Group. And it’s one of the best Mexican food places in Dallas. Order a queso fundido chorizo skillet for the table, and try the 12-hour barbacoa tacos and an order of the green chile pork enchiladas. 

Tributary Café

Find a sumptuous plate of Creole cooking at this Fort Worth restaurant in the River East district. The house’s specialty is seafood, served in traditional dishes, including crawfish etouffee and a basket of Cajun fried fish, shrimp, oysters, or crawfish tails. Yes, a side of grits or peas with pancetta will pair nicely with that order.

Off the Bone Barbeque

The smell of barbecue, which wafts all up and down the block, will get you. The pecan smoked baby back ribs keep many people coming into Off the Bone down in Cedars. But the blue cheese and bacon cole slaw and the honey spiced baked beans are awfully special, as are the wings.

Lucia

To believe in the raves that Lucia consistently gets is to eat there. The cozy atmosphere, the personable staff, and most significantly the inventive twists on Italian food, which are not too far from the original but just different enough to make it an experience, are worth putting your name on the reservations wait list to experience. 

Written by the Seasons

Bishop Arts has quickly become a favorite neighborhood for Dallasites to explore, and Written by the Seasons is one of the best people-watching restaurants in the area. This spring and summer, take advantage of its menu of sharable bite-sized dishes, an impeccable wine list, and as many cocktails as you can handle while watching the crowds amble by in the indoor/outdoor dining area that’s set back from Davis Street.

Recipe Oak Cliff

Dallas has some excellent vegan restaurants, and this to-go deli with a juice bar down in Oak Cliff feels like one of the overlooked up-and-comers in that space. Try its Zoodles, zucchini noodles with mushrooms, sun-dried tomato, shallots, basil, and sweet peppers or the vegan tacos made with barbecue jackfruit and chipotle walnut taco meat.

Goldee's Barbecue

Goldee’s became the must-try barbecue spot in the Metroplex after some prominent mentions in the press. And it delivers. Head on out and get in line one morning for brisket (you can buy a whole one and cut the line), ribs, sausage, and turkey with all the traditional sides. Nothing fancy, just great smoking.

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