This post is a long time coming. Why? Because quite frankly it’s been really difficult to sum up our big, beautiful city into one post. There are so many amazing restaurants in Dallas and it really just depends on what mood you are in, who you are with and the vibes you are looking for when deciding where to go.
The best way for me to sum up Dallas for you is based on neighborhood/location. So here we go, let’s explore Dallas and it’s many amazing areas that are fun to go dine and hangout. Whether you live in Dallas and just need a new idea of where to go, or if you are coming to visit, here are some of my favorites and just some Dallas staples.
Before I get started, if you are looking for *only* health-conscious restaurants in Dallas, read this blog post.
Knox-Henderson is one of the city’s most vibrant districts, packed with delicious restaurants and upscale bars. The shopping scene centers on high-end home furnishings and The Katy Trail, a former railroad that’s now a popular jogging and cycling route, runs along the area’s west edge.
Origin Kitchen – For health-conscious food that actually tastes great and is filling, Origin is the place to go! Such amazing food and drinks here! Be sure to check out the special Defined Dish menu items!
Javier’s – A Dallas classic, Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano is the place to be seen. The food is good, but it’s really known best for its atmosphere. Be sure to grab a drink at the Cigar Lounge after dinner!
Le Bilboquet – A French-style restaurant, the beautiful Le Bilboquet is a great spot for brunch or dinner. Be sure and get their Cajun Chicken — it’s the best!
Jimmy’s Food Store – While really located in the Knox-Henderson area, it’s close and it’s a MUST. Jimmy’s is the most adorable, old school, authentic Italian market you’ll ever walk in. They have all sorts of goodies but grab a beer [a Birra Moretti preferably] and a sub sandwich from the back counter (best ever). I also love to stock up on their famous meatballs (can also order at the back counter) to keep in my freezer. They are insanely delicious and so is their frozen lasagna!
Louie’s – Want to visit a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint with great vibes and great pizza? This is a fun spot for both!
Lower Greenville/Lakewood Area:
Lower Greenville is known for Greenville Avenue, a lively dining and nightlife strip packed with trendy bistros, tequila bars and convivial patios hung with festive lights. A neon-lit marquee beckons indie and alt-country fans to the Granada Theater, a buzzy live music venue in a 1940s Art Deco building.
Lakewood is a laid-back area of town that sprawls along the west shore of White Rock Lake, which is surrounded by hiking and biking trails, boathouses, wildflower areas and picnic spots. On the east shore, the Dallas Arboretum has themed botanical gardens, sculpture exhibitions and frequent concerts — a great place to spend a beautiful day!
HG Sply Co. – If are you a health-conscious eater looking for something festive AND delicious for dinner, HG is the place to go. They’ve got a great menu, great location and the most amazing rooftop with an incredible view of the city skyline. I love sipping on their Double Under [beet margarita] while enjoying the sunset then walking downstairs to enjoy dinner.
Wabi House – Ramen and more, this place is one of my favorites for ramen night out!
Mot Hai Ba – This cute little house is packed with delicious food. I love this modern Vietnamese spot so very much! In fact, it’s one of my favorite spots in Dallas! Be sure to get the Shrimp and Pork Imperial Rolls to start! Other than that, everything on the menu is great and you can’t go wrong with your order.
Kozy Kitchen – Kozy Kitchen is such a gem, and definitely on the top of my list of *very* favorites in Dallas. We especially love to dine here for breakfast on the weekend for delicious food and also a menu with plenty of paleo items to choose from, then going over to the Arboretum with the kids to walk around and play! I always order the off-the-menu breakfast hash, “the bowl of doom.” Just ask, they’ll know what you mean! 🙂
Downtown Dallas is a bustling business district known for Reunion Tower, a ball-shaped observation deck with sweeping views. We love spending Sunday mornings visiting the Farmer’s Market then exploring new restaurants. Uptown [just north of Downtown] is known for its eclectic bar and restaurant scene, including lively sports bars, posh global bistros and hip cocktail lounges.
Sixty Vines – For delicious tap wine and farm-to-table cuisine, head to Sixty Vines. Be sure to get a big pizza + their Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts! Yum! Fantastic for both brunch and dinner.
Mercat Bistro – I love taking my girls to Mercat Bistro for French chocolate croissants while mommy enjoys a big cup of coffee + quiche! It’s also an adorable spot for a girl’s weekend to kick off the day with a bougie brunch.
Tei-An – For a nice date night, Tei-An is fantastic for Japanese cuisine! A beautiful restaurant with an incredible menu, this is great for special occasions or a treat-yourself dinner. Their sashimi is the freshest in town and I LOVE their Duck Meatballs and the Curry Broth with Soba Noodles. Yum!
Cafe Momentum – As a nonprofit, Cafe Momentum employs juvenile offenders and pays them fair, living wages to help teach them life skills, leadership and, of course, how to work in a restaurant. But here’s the thing: Cafe Momentum is a genuinely good restaurant with a delicious Southern-style menu that rotates throughout the year.
Americano – Located in the beautiful Joule Hotel, this cute Italian spot is great for brunch or dinner.
Mirador – Located above Forty Five Ten (a serious upscale shopping experience) Mirador is a great lunch after shopping (in my case, usually just window shopping, haha) and a delicious dinner with your mom or girlfriends!
Salsa Limon– I love this fast-casual taco joint located in Downtown Dallas. When you go, you have to order the El Capitan con Asada. YUM.
Uchi – If you want an upscale, premium sushi experience, Uchi is a must. We love going here for special occasions and loading up on some seriously gourmet sushi and top-notch sashimi/nigiri. The best time to enjoy Uchi, though, is during their happy hour (from 5-6:30 pm every day). A few of our favorite things to order include the Dayboat Scallop Nigiri, the Machi Cure, Maguro and Goat Cheese, Gyutoro and Brussels Sprouts.
Mia’s Tex-Mex – This is one of our favorite spots in Dallas for just good ole classic Tex-Mex. While Clayton and I always get an order of the 50/50 fajita nachos + an order of the brisket tacos to split, you also have to try their famous Brisket Tacos!
Nonna – One of the top Italian restaurants in Dallas. Not only do I love the food here, but I love the friendly and loving staff, too!
Te Deseo – This is a new and absolutely stunning restaurant serving upscale Latin American cuisine. Whoever you go with, be sure to treat this dinner as a family-style experience. The Charred Octopus was some of the best we’ve ever had, but you also need to be sure to try the Yellowtail Tiradito, Arroz Chaufa and definitely get the Picada Argentina Parrillada. So good!
The Rustic– Such a fun spot for live music and great food!
The Design District is an industrial-chic area of town known for its fine art dealerships, sleek furniture showrooms and shops selling high-end textiles. A diverse food and drink scene ranges from diners serving Southern comfort fare to happening gastropubs and buzzy, chef-driven restaurants.
The Charles – This is one of my favorite date night spots, in fact: this is arguably my favorite restaurant in Dallas. I love its quirky vibe, great wine menu, delicious food and 5-star service + friendly staff. My faves on the menu include their Pork Blade Chop, Cacio e Pepe Fritters, Beef Tartare and the Veal Ragu Cappeloni. Yum!
Sassetta – Such a pretty Italian restaurant, perfect for date night or a night out with girlfriends!
Maple & Motor – My favorite joint for just a good old-fashioned, greasy hamburger. SO GOOD!
Ascension Coffee – Need a good cup of coffee and a place to sit back and get some work done on your computer? This is a lovely spot plus they have a great little menu for breakfast or lunch.
Oishii – While it’s not necessarily in the Design District, it’s super close and our go-to for sushi. Their rolls are *incredible* and be sure to go on Wednesday night for their half-priced wine night. It’s nothing fancy on the inside, but the food is incredible. Be sure to try their Tribeca Roll, Golden Roll, Watermelon and Tuna Salad and Caesar Roll.
Town Hearth – Looking for a delicious steak dinner? Town Hearth is a great spot. Take note that it is a scene-y spot and you won’t appreciate the bill at the end of the dinner, but a great spot for a celebratory steak dinner if that’s what you are looking for.
Mike’s Chicken– OH EM GEE. When you’re looking to go over the top on all things comfort food, this is the place to go. The best fried chicken + fixin’s in town. Everything you order is fried fresh, so be prepared to wait 10-20 minutes on your food no matter what you order — but it’s worth the wait. I get the spicy chicken tenders with french fries and green beans, plus a side of gravy. I can’t recommend this little joint enough. SO GOOD.
Highland Park Village – If you are wanting a Dallas-meets-Beverly Hills experience, this is the place to go. Whether you are dropping tons of money or not shopping, it’s fun to just stroll the streets of the beautiful shopping center, window shop and grab a bite to eat.
- Mi Cocina – Mi Cocina is one of the very “Dallas things” to do. It’s a Tex-Mex staple. Be sure to try the brisket quesadillas, a bowl of queso and a Mambo Taxi margarita (but beware, they are strong!). There are a ton of Mi Cocina’s in the DFW metroplex, but the HP village location is *the* one to go to.
- Honor Bar – A Hillstone restaurant located in the center of HP Village, Honor Bar is a beautiful little spot for lunch or dinner where everything on the menu is delicious. While I love the food, make sure you’re following their ridiculous rules and keep in mind that they aren’t kid-friendly at all. [eye roll]
- Lounge 31 – A chic spot to grab trendy cocktails and sushi with friends! You can totally do dinner here, but I prefer this for a happy hour snack or late-night cocktail spot, personally! Be sure to get the Spicy Tuna on the Crispy Rice Cake. Yum!
- Royal Blue Grocery – This little corner market is the cutest and has the best coffee in town! Stop by for coffee and grab some seriously amazing specialty food products!
Preston Center – Preston Center is a commercial center located around the intersection of Preston Road and Northwest Highway. The area has been a premier retail center in Dallas since its development in the 1950s. While I personally don’t shop at too many places over here, I do eat there a lot! Stop by here for lots of good eats and shopping!
- Montlake Cut – For absolutely delicious seafood and more, you have to stop at Montlake Cut — one of Clayton and my favorite spots in all of Dallas. Be sure to get the King Crab Fried Rice to start and a side of the Crispy Beef Tacos with whatever you order! Regardless of what you end up ordering, everything on the menu is great.
- Hillstone and R&D Kitchen – Two more Hillstone restaurants where the menu is always solid and food is delicious! While I prefer R&D over Hillstone across the street, Hillstone’s food is just as fabulous but they are a bit more pretentious than any of the other Hillstone-owned restaurants and it’s a little too much in my opinion. Again, the food is always great at these restaurants, just make sure you’re following their ridiculous rules and keep in mind that they aren’t kid-friendly at all. [eye roll]
Snider Plaza – Another fun area for shopping and eating!
- Bubba’s – A delicious, casual Southern spot. Stop by here for some seriously delicious biscuits and gravy, or some good ole fried chicken.
- Kuby’s – A great Sausage House and European market, Kuby’s is great to stop by for breakfast or lunch – or just grab some good products for hosting + entertaining. I love their pimento cheese dip and sausages!
Northpark Mall – Northpark is one of the most beautiful and fantastic malls of all time. If you like to shop, be sure to go here! Beautiful shops, fun areas for the kids to play and we always enjoy lunch at La Duni in the courtyard!
Preston Hollow/Lovers Lane:
Preston Hollow is the area of town that we live in. It’s got some great family-friendly eats, the best grocery stores and great parks for kids to play!
Jose on Lovers – If you follow my Instagram, you know this is our weekend go-to. The margaritas and food are fantastic, the service is incredible, the waitstaff is so kind and the food is great! Their Pozole Verde is my favorite! Other faves on the menu include their Street Style Elotes, Park Cities Enchiladas, Carnitas de Olla.
Mesero – This is a family go-to as well. It’s easy to get in, the kids love it, the margaritas are amazing — and you can order any of their tacos on lettuce cups!
Royal China – If you need a Chinese food fix, this is a great spot in town. They are known for their dumplings and you can even watch the man swing dough around to make the dumplings as you enjoy your meal! We always get the soup dumplings to start and I love the Sichuan Green Beans with chicken!
Rafa’s Cafe Mexicano – A good old-fashioned Dallas staple for classic Tex-Mex. This place isn’t anything fancy, but if you’re wanting a Tex-Mex fix it’s the perfect spot!
Neighborhood Services – This is another Dallas staple. Owner Nick Badovinus’ flashy interpretations of old-school American tavern fare, like steak frites and meatloaf, are just delicious. Great for a fancy night out, you’ve gotta get the Voodoo Meatballs and a martini. I am not even a martini drinker but at Neighborhood Services, count me in for their “Pops Martini,” which comes with a pickled vegetable salad on the side for snacking while you sip. It’s just so good.
My Family’s Pizza – This is our go-to order + pick up pizza when we don’t feel like cooking! It’s delicious!
Bishop Arts District:
The Bishop Arts District is a more hip, artsy district in the South Dallas area that is definitely worth the trip when visiting. We love enjoying weekend days exploring the unique restaurants and independent clothing shops after a casual, yet trendy, lunch with the family.
Lucia – A total special occasion, date-night delight! Clayton and I were born a week apart from each other so each year, we celebrate our birthday at Lucia. Fair warning, it’s a tiny little spot—which just adds to the intimate dining experience. Getting reservations is a bit of a mission but totally worth the wait! The menu is ever-changing depending on the season but always delicious, and a good bottle of Brunello never hurts. 😉
Hattie’s – I absolutely love Hattie’s for a unique and elevated Southern-style brunch! This little Bishop Arts gem is just adorable and oh-so-delicious!
Eno’s Pizza Tavern – A great spot to grab pizza with your friends or family before or after exploring Bishop Arts!
Taqueria El Si Hay – A fantastic taco stand in the Bishop Arts’ area with authentic, good old-fashioned street tacos. Their salsas are delicious. Their tacos are delicious. This place just makes me happy! It’s cash only, so be sure to bring cash with you!
The lively Deep Ellum entertainment district is known for its vibrant street murals, quirky art galleries and long-time concert venues for indie and blues. We love grabbing dinner in Deep Ellum and going to catch live music at a nearby bar or concert venue.
Nori Handroll – This is such a fantastic spot to dine with a date or just a friend (not great for groups). The experience is very unique to Dallas and I love the shotgun-style room with just 24 seats lined up across the sushi bar. You may find yourself waiting for a seat, but turnover is quick and the lobby izakaya serves up sake and snacks. If your wait seems unbearable, the host will take your phone number and you can pop next door to HIDE for cocktails while you wait for seats. Once you do sit though, you’ll enjoy the most fabulous hand rolls and enjoy watching them be made by your chef.
Cane Rosso – My personal favorite pizza joint in town! The Ella is my go-to pizza, but their special “Honey Bastard” pizza is a must-try!
Pecan Lodge– *The* place to go for BBQ in Dallas! You’ll likely have to wait in line, but it’s worth the wait for some good BBQ.
Niwa Japanese BBQ– Niwa provides an authentic yakiniku experience, featuring premium in-table smoke-free grills. Preparing meat, fish and veggies and more at your own table is an exciting experience, perfect for dinner with family or a fun night out with friends!
Petra and The Beast – Petra and The Beast’s Chef Misti Norris is a James Beard Award “Best New Restaurant” semi-finalist. So yeah, I don’t think I need to elaborate on how fabulous this spot really is.
Okay, phew! There are some of my favorites. I’m anxious I am missing some very important spots in town which is why I would LOVE for you to share your favorites that I missed in the comments below!!