An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (2024)

Table of Contents

- Where to Start on Eater Dallas's Best Maps
- Dallas Food Neighborhoods to Know
- Dallas Glossary of Terms
- How to Spend a Day Eating in DFW
- Follow the News
- Get in Touch

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.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (1)

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, co*cktails, 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.

Hottest Restaurant

The quiet blockbuster opening of the season has been at Goodwins on Greenville Ave. The crew transformed the space into a neighborhood restaurant with a stellar menu of solid American classics. So, what has made it such a standout place to eat? The top-notch service and the quality of the food. Plus, it’s booked out every night, so the vibe is always poppin’ off.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (2) Samantha Keith

Essential Restaurant

Georgie got a new chef last year, after quietly dissolving it’s relationship with celebrity chef Curtis Stone, and it’s become one of Big D’s hottest reservations yet again. RJ Yoakum is more than capably leading the kitchen, following a stint at the French Laundry, and pushing expectations for cuisine in Dallas to new heights. He changes the menu far too frequently to recommend any dishes, so instead we’ll recommend ordering the chef’s tasting menu so you get a little bit of everything that’s thrilling the chef at the moment.

Barbecue

First things first: in Texas, barbecue is a lunchtime thing. While there are places that make enough to serve it for dinner, that’s not the move. Now on to the show: Yes, you could drive to Fort Worth, and then a little bit south, to stand in line and try Goldee’s. If you’ve got the time, go for it. Another option is supporting the Black-owned Off the Bone Barbecue in the Cedars. It is well known for its brisket and the queso mac and cheese.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (3) Paul Torres

Mexican

One of the most notable Mexican restaurants in the city, Jose, is celebrating its seventh anniversary. Its James Beard recognized chef, Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman, continues to push the boundaries of innovating Mexican flavors and contemporary cuisine in her bright, light-filled restaurant. The ever-changing Tacos de Tacha, a dish named after her where she lets her creativity fly, is a must-order.

Brunch

One of our city’s frequent James Beard-recognized chefs, Misti Norris, is doing a cool brunch service at Petra and the Beast — but it’s not your grandmother’s brunch. Norris’s nose-to-tail approach to food, interest in fermentation, and dedication to using locally grown produce from small farmers guarantees that the plates you get will be outside the culinary box.

Burgers

Dallasites remain obsessed with Burger Schmurger inside High Fives. Dave Culwell makes a mean smashburger. It’s got a double patty, grilled onions, pickles, and a secret sauce that gives it that push over the top into excellence. Culwell has taken to offering a limited-time special burgers as well to keep the menu fresh.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (4) Dakota’s Steakhouse

Steak

One of the city’s classic steakhouses, Dakota’s, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2024. This intimate underground restaurant in Downtown offers a fantastic view inside a water sculpture and excellent steaks. True ballers can order the Rogge Dunn Wagyu Tomahawk, a 36 oz. Australian wagyu tomahawk served with roasted bone marrow and a pound and a half of Maine lobster for $500. For mere mortals, the restaurant offers an excellent lunch special where one can procure an order of steak frites for $30.

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.

Deep Ellum

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?

Greenville Avenue

Another hot reservation is Via Triozzi, our Eater Award 2023 winner for Best New Restaurant in Dallas. This homey Italian joint serves some of the best plates in town, with a notable bistecca alla Fiorentina and a lasagna al forno with so many layers it will make you dizzy.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (5) Kathy Tran

Knox-Henderson

This little collection of streets has become the home base of several of Dallas’s best restaurants. Pop into Green Point Seafood and Oyster Bar for co*cktails and bites. Or stop by L.A. export Pizzana next door for one of the most romantic date-night pizza stops in town. Knox Bistro is a favorite among French food enthusiasts. The aforementioned Georgie can also be found right here.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (6)

Downtown

The Joule’s Midnight Rambler will delight co*cktail 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.

Bishop Arts

It’s the time of the season to fight for reservations at Lucia again. Following chef David Uygur’s latest nomination by the James Beard Awards for Best Chef: Texas, it becomes one of the most challenging and most sought-after tables in town to land. That is due, in addition to the well-deserved accolades this Italian restaurant gets, to the fact that it is tiny. The menu, which incorporates ingredients and ideas from around the Mediterranean, is creative and changes nearly nightly.

Dallas Glossary of Terms

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (7) Dr. Pepper

Bowl of red: Chili was perfected here, specifically at Tolbert’s in Grapevine. We make it with no beans and a lot of peppers.

Cafe: If you’re looking for diner culture, you’re in the wrong state. In Dallas, as is the case all over Texas, they’re cafes. A good cafe should serve breakfast all day and have a mean chicken fried steak on the menu.

Drive-in: Far superior to a drive-thru as a location to eat your burgers (and hot dogs) — sorry Whataburger fans. Keller’s Drive-In and Dairy-ette are among a handful of old-school establishments keeping the drive-in tradition alive in Dallas.

Dr. Pepper: When ordering a soda in Dallas, one asks for a co*ke. You’ll then be asked if you’d prefer co*ke or Dr. Pepper. If you’re not asked, leave.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (8)

Fletcher’s corny dogs: The only corn dogs that matter. Fletcher’s not only invented the corny dog, but perfected it. Anyone attending the State Fair is required by law to consume at least one. And you eat it with yellow mustard, not ketchup.

Frito Pie: It remains in dispute if Texas, or Dallas, is where Frito Pie was invented, but what is not in dispute is that eating it out of a Frito bag at a football game is what we consider living your best life. Hot chili on top of Fritos and sprinkled with shredded cheese, plus a few jalapenos, is a taste of heaven.

Frozen margaritas:Did you know that a Dallas restaurant owner invited the frozen margarita machine, and was inspired by 7-Eleven’s Slurpee machine? We’ve since perfected the art of making the best frozen margaritas around.

How to Spend a Day Eating in DFW

Start at Full City Rooster for a cup of perfectly roasted coffee and a pastry or breakfast taco. There’s a room in the back and an outdoor patio, where you can linger among the mismatched furniture and eclectic wall art for as long as you like. Maybe even long enough for a second cup.

For lunch, head to Cenzo’s Pizza & Deli for a slice of its New York-style pie with a salad. For sandwich lovers, the Italian deli and fancy fried bologna sandwich with house-made pistachio butter are both incredible. The expansive porch looks out over the surrounding neighborhood of Oak Cliff, while the interiors are loaded with homages to the made-up Cenzo and the history of this building, which is a renovated laundry stop and car repair shop.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (9)

Head to Fond for a Downtown aperitivo hour. Starting at 4 p.m., it serves deals on natural wine, local craft beers, and batch co*cktails, along with small plates like fried olives with roasted garlic aioli, The Carrot, a dipping board with whipped feta, or the chips and dips plate that pairs Ruffles with caviar and French onion dip.

For dinner, pop into Rex’s Seafood and Market on Northwest Highway in the Park Cities for the best selection of oysters and martinis in the city, tuna nachos, a plate of Texas redfish, and a key lime pie that will leave you set on light summer fare in a casual atmosphere.

If you’ve still got some going out in you, finish the night at the Black Swan Saloon. Owners Gabe Sanchez and Ryan Payne reopened the cult favorite bar with limited space, but it’s not a see-and-be-seen scene. It’s a place for folks who know booze and want really good co*cktails, natural wines, and local beers. This is the spot if you care a little too much about what you drink.

Follow the News

Eater Dallas is updated multiple times every weekday with breaking news stories including restaurant openings and closings, features, guides, and more. Here are a few ways to stay in the loop:

Bookmark the Eater Dallas homepage. New stories will always show up near the top and flow down toward the bottom of the page as they get older, while important recent stories will stay pinned right at the top. Also, check out our big sister, Eater.com, for national and international food news.

Subscribe to our newsletter, which goes out twice a week and includes links to the day’s top stories.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates on new stories and more throughout the day.

An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (10)

Get in Touch

Have questions not answered here? Want to send in a tip or a complaint or just say hello? Here are some ways to get in touch with the Eater Dallas staff:

  • Email us at dallas@eater.com.
  • Send us your questions about where to dine and drink in Big D.
  • Interact with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
An Eater’s Guide to Dallas (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Prof. Nancy Dach

Last Updated:

Views: 5748

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (77 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Prof. Nancy Dach

Birthday: 1993-08-23

Address: 569 Waelchi Ports, South Blainebury, LA 11589

Phone: +9958996486049

Job: Sales Manager

Hobby: Web surfing, Scuba diving, Mountaineering, Writing, Sailing, Dance, Blacksmithing

Introduction: My name is Prof. Nancy Dach, I am a lively, joyous, courageous, lovely, tender, charming, open person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.