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Uncle Uber's is the lunch workhorse of Deep Ellum.
Uncle Uber's is the lunch workhorse of Deep Ellum.

Restaurant Underdogs: Dallas' Best Hidden Gems

Under the radar, overly delicious

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Uncle Uber's is the lunch workhorse of Deep Ellum.

Dallas is a city that is all about shiny new things, and that's especially true when it comes to restaurants. After an eatery's been open for a year or two, it's easy to forget about it as the parade of newly-opened restaurants marches on. As such, it's pretty difficult for a restaurant to stick around for decades while flying under the radar.

The city's favorite haunts are well-known, but there are plenty of spots that just don't get the credit they're due. They're the Restaurant Underdogs, the eateries that aren't necessarily the trendiest, but serve up solid, consistent fare every single damn day.

You won't find these spots on the Eater Heatmap, and there's no publicity team helping any of 'em build hype. Whether you're looking for a quick lunch, a solid cocktail, or adventurous South Asian fare, these 12 restaurants are the city's shiniest hidden gems.

Is your favorite spot missing from this map? Make your case in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bryan Street Tavern

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4315 Bryan St
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 821-4447
Visit Website
Bryan Street Tavern offers a stunning view of the Dallas skyline from its back patio. But despite its location just east of downtown, this bar and pizza joint somehow offers a break from the city. This neighborhood haunt is a catchall – a good place to watch sports or maybe just a TV show, catch some live music, or play pool. And their pizza isn’t just top shelf bar food, it’s great takeout. The Dalton—yes, it’s named after Patrick Swayze’s character in Road House— features a zesty blend of spicy buffalo chicken, bleu cheese, and celery.

2. City Tavern

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1402 Main St
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 745-1402
Visit Website
City Tavern is a decidedly laid back spot to drink and eat downtown. This is a place where out-of-towners tend to wander from hotels and live music upstairs draws interesting locals. Every year, City Tavern hosts a chili competition, and you’ll find this year’s winner on the menu. Pair with creamy mac & cheese for an updated take on chili mac.
City Tavern/Facebook

3. Daddy Jack's

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1916 Greenville Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 826-4910
Visit Website
Daddy Jack’s is a charming little New England lobster and chowder house on lower Greenville. In addition to chowder and lobster bisque, this is definitely a place to get fancy, drink wine and eat a whole lobster. With limited space, reservations are definitely recommended and watch for daily specials like pan seared redfish in saffron cream, seafood paella, or ahi tuna steak grilled in brown butter. Daddy Jack’s also has great “dinner for two” take out specials like shrimp scampi and grilled salmon in Dijon caper cream.
Daddy Jack's/Facebook

4. El Come Taco

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2513 N Fitzhugh Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
(469) 233-4623
El Come Taco is the little hole in the wall that could. Initially, there was a tiny menu of a few street tacos you would expect like pastor, fajita, and tripe along with “the other tacos” like veggie, breakfast or fish. But they have added so many names on that chalkboard that you could easily stand around for ten minutes trying to make up your mind. Be sure to try a few different tacos, none disappoint.

5. Elaine's Kitchen

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2717 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Dallas, TX 75215
(214) 565-1008
First of all, bring cash and expect a line. No matter how far north you live, Elaine’s is worth the trip. This is a place where you get both quality and quantity. This is also the best place to get Jamaican food in Dallas. If you have never had Jamaican food, you should fix that right away. Elaine’s is a good place for newcomers who are probably going to get the jerk chicken which is by no means a bad choice. The tangy marinade that delicately balances several ingredients including molasses, garlic, and peppers. But for the initiated, Elaine’s is a place to get cow foot or goat head soup.
Elaine's/Facebook

6. Havana Cafe

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1152 Buckner Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 660-9611
Dallas is blessed to have many great destinations for Cuban food, but Havana Cafe is more than just a quick spot to grab a Cuban sandwich. Located in a Lake Highland shopping center, this is a great place to get a caffeine fix from Cuban specialties like Colada Havana, Cafe Matilde or El Guajiro. But in addition to a great Cuban sandwich, Havana Cafe excels in traditional Cuban dishes like ropa vieja, flank steak in criollo sauce, lechon asado (pork leg marinated in Cuban mojo and cooked in sofrito).
Havana Cafe/Facebook

7. Off The Bone BBQ, Inc.

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5144 Mansfield Hwy
Forest Hill, TX 76119
(817) 563-7000
Visit Website
With lots of development heading its way from just down the street, you should enjoy Off the Bone while it is still relatively easy to do so. There are probably long lines in this place’s future, and for good reason. You want the baby back ribs, no question. Yes, you can pull this pecan-smoked tender meat right off the bone. The smoked chicken is another wise choice; it is slow-cooked until what appears to be the exact moment when the bird achieves optimum flavor. For a side, choose bleu cheese-spiked slaw or deep fried corn on the cob, dusted with chili powder and served with a wedge of lime.
Off The Bone BBQ/Facebook

8. Our Place Indian Cuisine

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8150 N MacArthur Blvd
Irving, TX 75063
(214) 574-7117
Visit Website
Our Place covers a lot of ground, with an extensive menu that caters to vegetarians, diehard omnivores, and South Indian specialties. Beyond dal makhani (lentils) and aloo mutter (potatoes and green beans), vegetarians also have options like mushroom masala and mirchi ka salan (jalapenos cooked in onions and tamarind. Meat eaters would be wise to check out the Tandoori side of the menu for chicken, lamb, and shrimp options. For those looking specifically for South Indian fare, Our Place also has options like steamed rice dumplings served with lentil soup and enormous stuffed crepes.
Our Place/Facebook

9. SODA Bar

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1325 South Lamar Street
Dallas, TX 75215
(214) 778-6777
Visit Website
Located on the rooftop of the NYLO Hotel, the Soda Bar has a pretty simple menu with some nice touches. The food is fine, the cocktails are solid, but the real reason to visit the Soda Bar is the view. This is an absolutely breathtaking view of the city, one of the best, and they have an infinity pool and a fire pit. You should definitely show up for a bite to eat or a drink at least once, especially if you are remotely interested in your selfie portfolio.
Nylo Hotel

10. Sushi Sake

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2150 N Collins Blvd
Richardson, TX 75080
(972) 470-0722
Visit Website
There are cities with several great sushi restaurants that have surprisingly reasonable lunch specials, but Dallas just isn’t one of them. The spots we have are rarely cheap or especially good, but Sushi Sake is worth the drive out to Richardson. Every detail is immaculate; the fish is fresh enough to wake you up like a cup of coffee and served at precisely room temperature.
Sushi Sake

11. The Free Man

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2626 Commerce St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 377-9893
Visit Website
What seems like a dark bar full of loud jazz and blues plucked straight out of New Orleans and placed in Deep Ellum is actually a solid comfort food destination. The gumbo is thick with chicken, sausage, shrimp, best doused with your choice of hot sauce. The Hot Chick is a very smart move and enough for two meals. Two spicy chicken fried breasts sit on a bed of rice, smothered with gravy. Cornbread and red beans and rice or fries will ensure that you're fully stuffed.
The Free Man/Facebook

12. Uncle Uber's

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2713 Commerce St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 653-8237
Visit Website
Uncle Uber’s is a weekly stop for many who live within a mile or two of its spot in Deep Ellum. It is beyond question that these are some of the best fries in North Texas, perfectly greasy and soft. The mysterious orange “Secret Sauce” and the perfect seasoning also go a long way. As far as sammiches, there are no weak links here. But if you really want to throw caution to the wind, try the Shaved Ribeye Steak. Served on hot baguette with garlic mayo, it has blue cheese crumbles, red onions, romaine, and tomato.

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1. Bryan Street Tavern

4315 Bryan St, Dallas, TX 75204
Bryan Street Tavern offers a stunning view of the Dallas skyline from its back patio. But despite its location just east of downtown, this bar and pizza joint somehow offers a break from the city. This neighborhood haunt is a catchall – a good place to watch sports or maybe just a TV show, catch some live music, or play pool. And their pizza isn’t just top shelf bar food, it’s great takeout. The Dalton—yes, it’s named after Patrick Swayze’s character in Road House— features a zesty blend of spicy buffalo chicken, bleu cheese, and celery.
4315 Bryan St
Dallas, TX 75204

2. City Tavern

1402 Main St, Dallas, TX 75202
City Tavern/Facebook
City Tavern is a decidedly laid back spot to drink and eat downtown. This is a place where out-of-towners tend to wander from hotels and live music upstairs draws interesting locals. Every year, City Tavern hosts a chili competition, and you’ll find this year’s winner on the menu. Pair with creamy mac & cheese for an updated take on chili mac.
1402 Main St
Dallas, TX 75202

3. Daddy Jack's

1916 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
Daddy Jack's/Facebook
Daddy Jack’s is a charming little New England lobster and chowder house on lower Greenville. In addition to chowder and lobster bisque, this is definitely a place to get fancy, drink wine and eat a whole lobster. With limited space, reservations are definitely recommended and watch for daily specials like pan seared redfish in saffron cream, seafood paella, or ahi tuna steak grilled in brown butter. Daddy Jack’s also has great “dinner for two” take out specials like shrimp scampi and grilled salmon in Dijon caper cream.
1916 Greenville Ave
Dallas, TX 75206

4. El Come Taco

2513 N Fitzhugh Ave, Dallas, TX 75204
El Come Taco is the little hole in the wall that could. Initially, there was a tiny menu of a few street tacos you would expect like pastor, fajita, and tripe along with “the other tacos” like veggie, breakfast or fish. But they have added so many names on that chalkboard that you could easily stand around for ten minutes trying to make up your mind. Be sure to try a few different tacos, none disappoint.
2513 N Fitzhugh Ave
Dallas, TX 75204

5. Elaine's Kitchen

2717 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Dallas, TX 75215
Elaine's/Facebook
First of all, bring cash and expect a line. No matter how far north you live, Elaine’s is worth the trip. This is a place where you get both quality and quantity. This is also the best place to get Jamaican food in Dallas. If you have never had Jamaican food, you should fix that right away. Elaine’s is a good place for newcomers who are probably going to get the jerk chicken which is by no means a bad choice. The tangy marinade that delicately balances several ingredients including molasses, garlic, and peppers. But for the initiated, Elaine’s is a place to get cow foot or goat head soup.
2717 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Dallas, TX 75215

6. Havana Cafe

1152 Buckner Blvd., Dallas, TX 75218
Havana Cafe/Facebook
Dallas is blessed to have many great destinations for Cuban food, but Havana Cafe is more than just a quick spot to grab a Cuban sandwich. Located in a Lake Highland shopping center, this is a great place to get a caffeine fix from Cuban specialties like Colada Havana, Cafe Matilde or El Guajiro. But in addition to a great Cuban sandwich, Havana Cafe excels in traditional Cuban dishes like ropa vieja, flank steak in criollo sauce, lechon asado (pork leg marinated in Cuban mojo and cooked in sofrito).
1152 Buckner Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75218

7. Off The Bone BBQ, Inc.

5144 Mansfield Hwy, Forest Hill, TX 76119
Off The Bone BBQ/Facebook
With lots of development heading its way from just down the street, you should enjoy Off the Bone while it is still relatively easy to do so. There are probably long lines in this place’s future, and for good reason. You want the baby back ribs, no question. Yes, you can pull this pecan-smoked tender meat right off the bone. The smoked chicken is another wise choice; it is slow-cooked until what appears to be the exact moment when the bird achieves optimum flavor. For a side, choose bleu cheese-spiked slaw or deep fried corn on the cob, dusted with chili powder and served with a wedge of lime.
5144 Mansfield Hwy
Forest Hill, TX 76119

8. Our Place Indian Cuisine

8150 N MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75063
Our Place/Facebook
Our Place covers a lot of ground, with an extensive menu that caters to vegetarians, diehard omnivores, and South Indian specialties. Beyond dal makhani (lentils) and aloo mutter (potatoes and green beans), vegetarians also have options like mushroom masala and mirchi ka salan (jalapenos cooked in onions and tamarind. Meat eaters would be wise to check out the Tandoori side of the menu for chicken, lamb, and shrimp options. For those looking specifically for South Indian fare, Our Place also has options like steamed rice dumplings served with lentil soup and enormous stuffed crepes.
8150 N MacArthur Blvd
Irving, TX 75063

9. SODA Bar

1325 South Lamar Street, Dallas, TX 75215
Nylo Hotel
Located on the rooftop of the NYLO Hotel, the Soda Bar has a pretty simple menu with some nice touches. The food is fine, the cocktails are solid, but the real reason to visit the Soda Bar is the view. This is an absolutely breathtaking view of the city, one of the best, and they have an infinity pool and a fire pit. You should definitely show up for a bite to eat or a drink at least once, especially if you are remotely interested in your selfie portfolio.
1325 South Lamar Street
Dallas, TX 75215

10. Sushi Sake

2150 N Collins Blvd, Richardson, TX 75080
Sushi Sake
There are cities with several great sushi restaurants that have surprisingly reasonable lunch specials, but Dallas just isn’t one of them. The spots we have are rarely cheap or especially good, but Sushi Sake is worth the drive out to Richardson. Every detail is immaculate; the fish is fresh enough to wake you up like a cup of coffee and served at precisely room temperature.
2150 N Collins Blvd
Richardson, TX 75080

11. The Free Man

2626 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75226
The Free Man/Facebook
What seems like a dark bar full of loud jazz and blues plucked straight out of New Orleans and placed in Deep Ellum is actually a solid comfort food destination. The gumbo is thick with chicken, sausage, shrimp, best doused with your choice of hot sauce. The Hot Chick is a very smart move and enough for two meals. Two spicy chicken fried breasts sit on a bed of rice, smothered with gravy. Cornbread and red beans and rice or fries will ensure that you're fully stuffed.
2626 Commerce St
Dallas, TX 75226

12. Uncle Uber's

2713 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75226
Uncle Uber’s is a weekly stop for many who live within a mile or two of its spot in Deep Ellum. It is beyond question that these are some of the best fries in North Texas, perfectly greasy and soft. The mysterious orange “Secret Sauce” and the perfect seasoning also go a long way. As far as sammiches, there are no weak links here. But if you really want to throw caution to the wind, try the Shaved Ribeye Steak. Served on hot baguette with garlic mayo, it has blue cheese crumbles, red onions, romaine, and tomato.
2713 Commerce St
Dallas, TX 75226

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