clock menu more-arrow no yes
The steak & glazed carrot at Bob's is the food of legends.
The steak & glazed carrot at Bob's is the food of legends.
Bob's Steak & Chop House/Facebook

19 Iconic Dallas Dishes to Try Before You Die

Essential eating for every Dallas resident and curious travelers

View as Map
The steak & glazed carrot at Bob's is the food of legends.
| Bob's Steak & Chop House/Facebook

Burgers, barbecue, margaritas — there are plenty of dishes that are associated with Dallas' culinary identity. But with the constant arrival of up-and-coming restaurants and the forward progress toward new cuisines, new dishes, and new chefs, it's easy to forget about some of the city's best old standbys.

Whether in search of the perfect bowl of Texas red or a taste of that famous Pecan Lodge brisket, these 19 dishes are Dallas icons, required eating for every resident inside the city proper, in the 'burbs, and tourists alike. From chicken-fried steak and pies to Dallas’s most iconic margarita, this list would also serve as a handy go-to next time an out-of-town guest is in need of dinner recommendations.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Babe's Chicken Dinner House

Copy Link
104 N Oak St
Roanoke, TX 76262
(817) 491-2900
Visit Website

Awesome fried chicken and old-school sides like corn, mashed potatoes, and iceberg salad are served up family-style at this DFW staple. (Just beware the Hokey-Pokey.)

2. Tolbert's

Copy Link
423 S Main St
Grapevine, TX 76051
(817) 421-4888
Visit Website

Tolbert's is now located in Grapevine rather than downtown Dallas as the original chili parlor was, but it's worth the trek to sample the classic "bowl of red" at least once. After all, chili is the official state dish of Texas.

3. Keller's Drive-In

Copy Link
10554 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75220
(214) 357-3572

Keller's is one of the few remaining drive-ins in town, and it’s been serving up delicious, thin-pattied burgers on poppy seed-encrusted buns since 1965. Get a side of tots and a milkshake to go with it (or a beer, which can definitely be consumed in the car).

4. Mariano's Hacienda Dallas

Copy Link
6300 Skillman St J
Dallas, TX 75231
(214) 691-3888
Visit Website

The inventor of the original frozen margarita, Mariano Martinez’s Dallas restaurant is an institution. Find his classic recipe frozen or on the rocks — either way, you can’t go wrong. The fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos make for a solid accompaniment.

5. Knife Dallas

Copy Link
5300 E Mockingbird Ln
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 443-9339
Visit Website

The dry-aged steaks aside, the real iconic dish at Knife is the Ozersky. Created in tribute to chef John Tesar's pal and late culinary writer Josh Ozersky, this burger is one of the finest in a city that is positively saturated with patties.

Knife Dallas/Facebook

6. Mia's Tex-Mex

Copy Link
4322 Lemmon Ave
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 526-1020
Visit Website

Enchiladas might be considered the classic Tex-Mex dish, but Dallas has a deep and unyielding love for brisket tacos. Mia's claims to have invented them, and whether or not that's true, the combination of warm flour tortilla, tender meat, sweet onions and poblano peppers and that delicious gravy is essential Dallas eating.

7. Bob's Steak & Chop House

Copy Link
4300 Lemmon Ave
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 528-9446
Visit Website

Many a business deal has been forged over gigantic steaks at the original Bob's on Lemmon. Whether in search of the perfect filet mignon or a massive bone-in ribeye, they all come flanked by the signature glazed carrot.

8. Matt's Rancho Martinez

Copy Link
1904 Skillman St
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 823-5517
Visit Website

Bob Armstrong dip may have been invented in Austin, but Dallasites have adopted it as their own. This off-menu creation at Matt's gilds the lily with taco meat, guac, and sour cream. Chips and queso is not the official food of Dallas, but maybe it should be?

9. Louie's

Copy Link
1839 N. Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 826-0505

Dark and divey Louie's has been serving Chicago-style thin-crust bar pizzas to a loyal crowd since 1987, which is why there's always a pack of regulars parked outside. (The Caesar salad is also a must.)

10. Jimmy's Food Store

Copy Link
4901 Bryan St.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 823-6180
Visit Website

This gem of an Italian market in East Dallas is a required stop for, well, everyone. The deli counter at the back serves killer sandwiches (which are huge for the price). They're all great and everyone seems to have their own favorite, but it's hard to go wrong with the Italian Stallion, which is loaded with every Italian cold cut known to man.

11. S & D Oyster Company

Copy Link
2701 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 880-0111
Visit Website

Since 1974, the pro waitstaff clad in their bow ties and red aprons have been mixing up cocktail sauce tableside. Put a little (or big) dab on a freshly shucked oyster, put that on a cracker, and devour.

12. Fearing's Restaurant

Copy Link
2121 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 922-4848
Visit Website

Created by chef Dean Fearing back in the 80’s, the tomato-based tortilla soup with avocado and crispy tortilla strips has followed the chef from his post at the Mansion Restaurant to his chic, Texas-inspired haven at the Ritz Carlton.

13. Tei-An

Copy Link
1722 Routh St Suite110
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 220-2828
Visit Website

Chef Teiichi Sakurai’s sushi and soba destination in the Dallas Arts District has earned both national accolades and a dedicated crowd of locals. The sushi is ridiculously fresh, but don’t forget to order chef Teach’s incredible green tea soba.

14. Pecan Lodge

Copy Link
2702 Main St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 748-8900
Visit Website

Dallas has plenty of time-honored barbecue places, but none of them do gloriously smoky, succulent brisket like Pecan Lodge. Still capable of creating lengthy lines, the smoked meats at Pecan Lodge are an essential Dallas experience.

15. CBD Provisions

Copy Link
1530 Main St
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 261-4500
Visit Website

Arguably one of the most visually striking dishes in Dallas, the pig head carnitas at this Downtown restaurant are equally delicious. Fork-tender pulled pork is tucked into freshly-made tortillas, then served with roasted tomatillo salsa. (Note: call ahead 48 hours in advance to ensure that a pig's head will be available.)

CBD Pig’s Head

16. Norma's Cafe

Copy Link
1123 W Davis St
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 946-4711
Visit Website

Classic diner-style pie with fluffy "mile-high" meringue keeps folks coming back to Oak Cliff's 59-year-old Norma's. Get a slice of chocolate, lemon, or chocolate peanut butter paired with a cup of coffee for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

17. Trompo

Copy Link
407 W 10th St #140
Dallas, TX 75208
(972) 809-7950
Visit Website

Named and known for the gloriously paprika-spiked pork on a spit, Trompo has earned recognition from Dallasites and national publications alike. Enjoy a few of the classic trompo tacos, and don’t be surprised when a second round (perhaps a quesadilla, or a vegetarian taco with poblano?) feels totally essential.

Taco by Trompo
Photo credit @bata.eats on Instagram

18. Royal China Restaurant

Copy Link
6025 Royal Ln #201
Dallas, TX 75230
(214) 361-1771
Visit Website

There’s something mesmerizing and satisfying about watching the noodles that will likely make their way to each table being crafted, rolled, stretched, and pulled gracefully by hand in the middle of Royal China in North Dallas. Order them stir fried with vegetables or served cold in a spicy, sweet and sour Sichuan peppercorn sauce.

Hand pulled La Mian noodles at Royal China
Photo via royalchinadallas.com

19. Hypnotic Donuts & Biscuits

Copy Link
9007 Garland Rd
Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 668-6999
Visit Website

Though the name says “donuts,” the must-order item at Hypnotic Donuts is actually a chicken biscuit, easily large enough for two meals, and topped with spicy honey, jalapeños, cream cheese, bacon, pickles or gravy, depending on the specific tastes of the orderer.

A kolache from Hypnotic Donuts
Via Hypnotic Donuts’ Facebook page

1. Babe's Chicken Dinner House

104 N Oak St, Roanoke, TX 76262

Awesome fried chicken and old-school sides like corn, mashed potatoes, and iceberg salad are served up family-style at this DFW staple. (Just beware the Hokey-Pokey.)

104 N Oak St
Roanoke, TX 76262

2. Tolbert's

423 S Main St, Grapevine, TX 76051

Tolbert's is now located in Grapevine rather than downtown Dallas as the original chili parlor was, but it's worth the trek to sample the classic "bowl of red" at least once. After all, chili is the official state dish of Texas.

423 S Main St
Grapevine, TX 76051

3. Keller's Drive-In

10554 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75220

Keller's is one of the few remaining drive-ins in town, and it’s been serving up delicious, thin-pattied burgers on poppy seed-encrusted buns since 1965. Get a side of tots and a milkshake to go with it (or a beer, which can definitely be consumed in the car).

10554 Harry Hines Blvd
Dallas, TX 75220

4. Mariano's Hacienda Dallas

6300 Skillman St J, Dallas, TX 75231

The inventor of the original frozen margarita, Mariano Martinez’s Dallas restaurant is an institution. Find his classic recipe frozen or on the rocks — either way, you can’t go wrong. The fajitas, enchiladas, and tacos make for a solid accompaniment.

6300 Skillman St J
Dallas, TX 75231

5. Knife Dallas

5300 E Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75206
Knife Dallas/Facebook

The dry-aged steaks aside, the real iconic dish at Knife is the Ozersky. Created in tribute to chef John Tesar's pal and late culinary writer Josh Ozersky, this burger is one of the finest in a city that is positively saturated with patties.

5300 E Mockingbird Ln
Dallas, TX 75206

6. Mia's Tex-Mex

4322 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Enchiladas might be considered the classic Tex-Mex dish, but Dallas has a deep and unyielding love for brisket tacos. Mia's claims to have invented them, and whether or not that's true, the combination of warm flour tortilla, tender meat, sweet onions and poblano peppers and that delicious gravy is essential Dallas eating.

4322 Lemmon Ave
Dallas, TX 75219

7. Bob's Steak & Chop House

4300 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Many a business deal has been forged over gigantic steaks at the original Bob's on Lemmon. Whether in search of the perfect filet mignon or a massive bone-in ribeye, they all come flanked by the signature glazed carrot.

4300 Lemmon Ave
Dallas, TX 75219

8. Matt's Rancho Martinez

1904 Skillman St, Dallas, TX 75206

Bob Armstrong dip may have been invented in Austin, but Dallasites have adopted it as their own. This off-menu creation at Matt's gilds the lily with taco meat, guac, and sour cream. Chips and queso is not the official food of Dallas, but maybe it should be?

1904 Skillman St
Dallas, TX 75206

9. Louie's

1839 N. Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

Dark and divey Louie's has been serving Chicago-style thin-crust bar pizzas to a loyal crowd since 1987, which is why there's always a pack of regulars parked outside. (The Caesar salad is also a must.)

1839 N. Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206

10. Jimmy's Food Store

4901 Bryan St., Dallas, TX 75206

This gem of an Italian market in East Dallas is a required stop for, well, everyone. The deli counter at the back serves killer sandwiches (which are huge for the price). They're all great and everyone seems to have their own favorite, but it's hard to go wrong with the Italian Stallion, which is loaded with every Italian cold cut known to man.

4901 Bryan St.
Dallas, TX 75206

11. S & D Oyster Company

2701 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204

Since 1974, the pro waitstaff clad in their bow ties and red aprons have been mixing up cocktail sauce tableside. Put a little (or big) dab on a freshly shucked oyster, put that on a cracker, and devour.

2701 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75204

12. Fearing's Restaurant

2121 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75201

Created by chef Dean Fearing back in the 80’s, the tomato-based tortilla soup with avocado and crispy tortilla strips has followed the chef from his post at the Mansion Restaurant to his chic, Texas-inspired haven at the Ritz Carlton.

2121 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75201

13. Tei-An

1722 Routh St Suite110, Dallas, TX 75201

Chef Teiichi Sakurai’s sushi and soba destination in the Dallas Arts District has earned both national accolades and a dedicated crowd of locals. The sushi is ridiculously fresh, but don’t forget to order chef Teach’s incredible green tea soba.

1722 Routh St Suite110
Dallas, TX 75201

14. Pecan Lodge

2702 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226

Dallas has plenty of time-honored barbecue places, but none of them do gloriously smoky, succulent brisket like Pecan Lodge. Still capable of creating lengthy lines, the smoked meats at Pecan Lodge are an essential Dallas experience.

2702 Main St
Dallas, TX 75226

15. CBD Provisions

1530 Main St, Dallas, TX 75201
CBD Pig’s Head

Arguably one of the most visually striking dishes in Dallas, the pig head carnitas at this Downtown restaurant are equally delicious. Fork-tender pulled pork is tucked into freshly-made tortillas, then served with roasted tomatillo salsa. (Note: call ahead 48 hours in advance to ensure that a pig's head will be available.)

1530 Main St
Dallas, TX 75201

Related Maps

16. Norma's Cafe

1123 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208

Classic diner-style pie with fluffy "mile-high" meringue keeps folks coming back to Oak Cliff's 59-year-old Norma's. Get a slice of chocolate, lemon, or chocolate peanut butter paired with a cup of coffee for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.

1123 W Davis St
Dallas, TX 75208

17. Trompo

407 W 10th St #140, Dallas, TX 75208
Taco by Trompo
Photo credit @bata.eats on Instagram

Named and known for the gloriously paprika-spiked pork on a spit, Trompo has earned recognition from Dallasites and national publications alike. Enjoy a few of the classic trompo tacos, and don’t be surprised when a second round (perhaps a quesadilla, or a vegetarian taco with poblano?) feels totally essential.

407 W 10th St #140
Dallas, TX 75208

18. Royal China Restaurant

6025 Royal Ln #201, Dallas, TX 75230
Hand pulled La Mian noodles at Royal China
Photo via royalchinadallas.com

There’s something mesmerizing and satisfying about watching the noodles that will likely make their way to each table being crafted, rolled, stretched, and pulled gracefully by hand in the middle of Royal China in North Dallas. Order them stir fried with vegetables or served cold in a spicy, sweet and sour Sichuan peppercorn sauce.

6025 Royal Ln #201
Dallas, TX 75230

19. Hypnotic Donuts & Biscuits

9007 Garland Rd, Dallas, TX 75218
A kolache from Hypnotic Donuts
Via Hypnotic Donuts’ Facebook page

Though the name says “donuts,” the must-order item at Hypnotic Donuts is actually a chicken biscuit, easily large enough for two meals, and topped with spicy honey, jalapeños, cream cheese, bacon, pickles or gravy, depending on the specific tastes of the orderer.

9007 Garland Rd
Dallas, TX 75218

Related Maps