clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The 38 Essential Dallas Restaurants, April 2013

View as Map

It's that time once again: The Eater 38 has returned with a quarterly update. For the uninitiated, this is a map intended to help answer that age-old question, "Can you recommend a restaurant ...?"

The first 38 of Spring 2013 heralds the additions of Jimmy's Food Store, Tacos La Banqueta, and Lanny's Alta Cocina; meanwhile, Taqueria El Si Hay, All Good Cafe, and Saint Emilion have fallen off the list. As always, we've covered the spectrum: From barbecue and burgers to Japanese and Tex-Mex, casual lunch spots to date night destinations, from as far north as Richardson to way out in Cowtown.

Ready to thrown down the gauntlet because we omitted your favorite place? We're always up for lively discussion, so hit us up via the tipline or let us know in the comments. Perhaps we'll take your advice and include it on the next Eater 38 update. Remember: Restaurants must have been open for six months to qualify.


Map History

January:
Added: Hattie's, Meddlesome Moth, Royal China, Woodshed Smokehouse
Removed: First Chinese BBQ, Oddfellows, Maxim's, Rise No. 1

Read More

Avila's

Copy Link
Tiny, family-owned Avila's is the best place to take any out-of-towner who wonders what all the fuss is about when it comes to Tex-Mex. (We recommend the chile relleno. And the brisket tacos. And, well, everything else.)

Bangkok City

Copy Link
This small, unassuming East Dallas staple serves up some of the finest Thai in town, from tom kha gai and pad Thai to many curry varieties and perfect sticky rice. Consider yourself lucky if you live within their delivery radius.
Farm-to-table pioneer Bolsa burst onto the scene in 2008, and the Oak Cliff dining scene hasn't been the same since. A relaxed dining room, a constantly evolving menu by chef Jeff Harris, and a great covered patio keep folks from the neighborhood (and beyond) coming back night after night.

Cafe Modern

Copy Link
As if the art of the Modern and the architecture of Tadao Ando didn't satisfy enough, Cafe Modern offers an equally exquisite seasonal menu that chef Dena Peterson builds from local ingredients. Don't visit the Modern without eating there too.

Cane Rosso

Copy Link
The finest of Dallas' Verace Pizza Napoletana joints, Deep Ellum's Cane Rosso also boasts one of the city's best dog-friendly patios. Besides amazing pizzas like the Delia with housemade bacon marmalade, there's also excellent sandwiches and pasta dishes.

Chicken Scratch

Copy Link
The massive yard with picnic tables, a stage and hopscotch makes this a neighborhood destination for young folks and families alike. The food is homey but high-quality with inventive twists like spiced oregano honey to drizzle over crisp fried chicken and homemade popsicles.

Company Cafe

Copy Link
This Lower Greenville restaurant is a go-to destination for the gluten-free and health-conscious sects when they want to indulge in chicken-fried steak or grass-fed beef burgers.

Fearing's

Copy Link
Dean Fearing's eponymous bastion of fancified Southern cuisine is (very politely, very gently) slap-yo-mama good. Dishes like filet mignon with chicken-fried lobster tail and Dr. Pepper-braised short ribs are the epitome of Texan food.

Garden Cafe

Copy Link
The Woottons don't call their place the Garden Cafe for nothing: They've been growing the ingredients for their home-style cooking right out in the backyard for years and years, making Garden Cafe a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Good 2 Go Taco

Copy Link
From humble beginnings as a gas station taco stand, Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare grew Good2Go into a freestanding store that serves inventive, high-quality tacos filled with everything from vegetable curry to meatloaf.

Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House

Copy Link
This list of burgers demands to be conquered, line by line. The beer pairings are perfection and the hipster- and neighbor-laden patio is a welcoming place come happy hour or dinnertime.

The Grape Restaurant

Copy Link
Brian Luscher doesn't let the fact that he makes one of Texas' finest burgers allow him to phone it in with the rest of his classy and classic menu, featuring housemade charcuterie and a constantly changing chalkboard menu. It doesn't hurt that chef de cuisine Danyele McPherson just appeared on Top Chef, either.

Hattie's

Copy Link
A Bishop Arts mainstay long before the neighborhood was the hippest dining destination in town, Hattie's has been serving Southern classics like fried chicken and shrimp 'n grits in an upscale white-tablecloth setting for 20 years.

Jimmy's Food Store

Copy Link
Besides being an amazing Italian market and deli, Jimmy's is home to some of the best damn sandwiches this city has to offer. Order up an Italian Stallion or a Cuban and an espresso shot (or a glass of red wine) and kick back at one of the tiny tables.

Kalachandji's Restaurant & Palace

Copy Link
Located inside a Hare Krishna palace, Kalachandji's is from-the-soul vegetarian Indian food cooked fresh daily, buffet-style. Eat in a sanctuary-like dining room or their lush outdoor garden.

Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana

Copy Link
Lanny P. Lancarte has been serving up his unique Mexican with a Mediterranean flair at this high-end Fort Worth spot since 2005. The grandson of Joe T. Garcia, the food here couldn't be more different from the typical Tex-Mex at that other Fort Worth institution.
Tracy Miller's hidden gem of a Deep Ellum restaurant has long been a favorite for its simple yet delicious dishes and sexy retro-modern decor.

Lockhart Smokehouse

Copy Link
Lockhart Smokehouse does nothing halfway with their finely tuned, Texas-style smoked meats which require no help from such niceties as forks, making it one of the best spots in town to grab a cold beer and watch a Rangers game.
A table at Lucia is one of the toughest reservations in Dallas, not because they're saving space for snobby VIPs, but because David Uygur's homespun Italian restaurant only serves sixteen tables each night.

Maple & Motor

Copy Link
Jack Perkins' burger joint serves a diverse and hungry crowd in their Medical District digs, where workers of all-colored collars come for juicy burgers, well-seasoned fries, and cold beer.

Meddlesome Moth

Copy Link
Meddlesome Moth pioneered the gastropub movement in Dallas, and it remains head and shoulders above the rest, with food that's better than ever under seasoned chef David McMillan and a breathtaking beer selection.
Refined coastal Mexican cuisine, including amazing seafood dishes, served in a warm, rustic-chic setting.

Nonna Tata

Copy Link
The Northern Italian food that comes out of this kitchen tastes like its cooked by someone's grandmother, because it is. The tiny space doesn't take reservations, but it is BYOB.
Oak has been the talk of the city since it opened, and for good reason: Jason Maddy's plates are works of art, served in a comfortably luxe setting without a hint of pretension.

Off-Site Kitchen

Copy Link
People in the know go to Off-Site Kitchen for dirt-cheap, delicious lunches. The burgers have been the subject of much praise since it opened, and the 48-hour cracked pepper brisket sandwich is the stuff dreams are made of. (Plus, they have Kool-Aid and candy bars in the fridge.)

Pecan Lodge

Copy Link
Inside the Dallas Farmers Market is arguably Dallas' finest barbecue joint. Don't miss the juicy pulled pork, crusty, smoky brisket and that fabulous mac and cheese.

Pepe's & Mito's Mexican Cafe

Copy Link
This long-standing Deep Ellum Tex-Mex institution continues to pack in crowds nightly for home-style dishes like albondigas, combo plates and enchiladas.

Pho Bang Restaurant

Copy Link
If you're looking for great pho, look no further than Pho Bang, where the broth is steaming hot and rich with deep flavors, the herbs are fresh and crisp, and the meat is tender.

Royal China

Copy Link
A Dallas mainstay for over 20 years, Royal China continues to wow loyal diners with xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and hand-pulled noodles.

Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

Copy Link
Dinner at Sissy's is kind of like dining at your great-aunt's house -- if your aunt had impeccable taste and an extensive collection of antique dishware. Fantastic fried chicken, biscuits, and Southern classics like deviled eggs don't disappoint.
The historic Belmont Hotel's Smoke restaurant is the barbecue baby of Tim Byres, who traveled the U.S. learning from meat masters, bringing his knowledge back to Dallas at one of the city's best-received and best-executed restaurants.

Spiral Diner & Bakery

Copy Link
Fresh salads, hangover-curing migas and pancakes, juicy burgers, and fantastic milkshakes and baked goods; oh, and did we mention it's 100 percent vegan?

Tacos La Banqueta

Copy Link
La Banqueta sets the standard for tacos in our fair city. First-timers get a free suadero taco for free, and after that you'll surely be hooked on the succulent meats and spicy salsa verde. (Try the choriqueso, too.)
A minimalist shrine to fresh, impeccable Japanese food, Tei-An is perfect for a fancy dinner or a casual lunch of ramen.

Teppo Yakitori & Sushi Bar

Copy Link
A Lower Greenville mainstay, Teppo offers incredibly fresh sushi and rotating offerings of tasty bivalves like razor clams and oysters in a sleek but cozy atmosphere. Don't miss the yakitori, grilled skewers of chicken or more exotic choices like beef hearts (or the fancy Japanese toilet).

Urbano Cafe

Copy Link
The epitome of a neighborhood restaurant, Urbano offers inspired and fresh nightly chalkboard specials with locally sourced ingredients in a tiny, cozy setting. The BYOB policy makes it an affordable weeknight choice.

Wingfield's

Copy Link
Don't try to go back to work after a Wingfield's burger. Just don't--they're absolutely massive and greasy in the best possible way. Word to the wise: call in your order first, because there's not much standing room available.

Woodshed Smokehouse

Copy Link
Tim Love's shrine to smoked foods on the banks of the Trinity River is a must-visit for out-of-towners; don't miss the camp bread with "pit master fat" or the brisket-stuffed piquillo peppers.

Loading comments...

Avila's

Tiny, family-owned Avila's is the best place to take any out-of-towner who wonders what all the fuss is about when it comes to Tex-Mex. (We recommend the chile relleno. And the brisket tacos. And, well, everything else.)

Bangkok City

This small, unassuming East Dallas staple serves up some of the finest Thai in town, from tom kha gai and pad Thai to many curry varieties and perfect sticky rice. Consider yourself lucky if you live within their delivery radius.

Bolsa

Farm-to-table pioneer Bolsa burst onto the scene in 2008, and the Oak Cliff dining scene hasn't been the same since. A relaxed dining room, a constantly evolving menu by chef Jeff Harris, and a great covered patio keep folks from the neighborhood (and beyond) coming back night after night.

Cafe Modern

As if the art of the Modern and the architecture of Tadao Ando didn't satisfy enough, Cafe Modern offers an equally exquisite seasonal menu that chef Dena Peterson builds from local ingredients. Don't visit the Modern without eating there too.

Cane Rosso

The finest of Dallas' Verace Pizza Napoletana joints, Deep Ellum's Cane Rosso also boasts one of the city's best dog-friendly patios. Besides amazing pizzas like the Delia with housemade bacon marmalade, there's also excellent sandwiches and pasta dishes.

Chicken Scratch

The massive yard with picnic tables, a stage and hopscotch makes this a neighborhood destination for young folks and families alike. The food is homey but high-quality with inventive twists like spiced oregano honey to drizzle over crisp fried chicken and homemade popsicles.

Company Cafe

This Lower Greenville restaurant is a go-to destination for the gluten-free and health-conscious sects when they want to indulge in chicken-fried steak or grass-fed beef burgers.