It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
Chinese: Royal China
A step above your delivery-only go-to, Royal China is more than just a pretty place -- there’s serious regional Chinese fare being whipped up here. In addition to dishes like five-spice duck, steamed buns, and gon bao pork, a popular feature is the dumpling bar, where pork, chicken, shrimp, and veggie soup dumplings are created by hand by the so-named “Dumpling Ladies.” There’s even a gluten-free version steamed in leaves.
Don’t let its location in a strip mall food court deter you from discovering incredible Filipino food favorites. From fried chicken to lumpia to adobo, the classics are represented at this family-owned spot. And at $7.99 for two entrees and a scoop of rice, a taste of the Philippines won’t break your bank.
Far North Dallas
This suburban retreat covers all the bases of any French food craving: coq au vin, steak frites, crusted rack of lamb, even duck a l’orange. A fine wine list and desserts round out the menu, served in lush digs reminiscent of a cozy brasserie.
German: Bavarian Grill
You know you’ve found an authentic German experience when you almost need Google Translate to read a menu. So it is at this beloved Plano spot that turns out Bavarian-style salads, soups, seafood, and, of course, sausages and schnitzel in a number of varieties.
Greek: Stratos Greek Taverna
This blue neon-lit, two-story behemoth is part restaurant, part performance hall, and all party. Alongside the spanakopita, lamb chops oreganatto and pastitsio, you can experience a lively belly dancing show on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. They’re part lesson, too, so put down that saganaki and get to moving.
Guatemalan: Guatelinda Cafe
Locals swear by the handmade Central American food at this super-low-key storefront, so if you’re looking for pupusas, tostadas, and enchiladas way off the beaten Tex-Mex path, this home-cooking haven should beckon you.
Indian: India Palace
Sleek, modern décor meets scratch-made Indian cuisine at this North Dallas destination. Feast on the lunch or dinner buffet, or order entrees like tandoori classics, kebabs, tikkas, and six types of naan, and pair them all with Indian beer or sips of Indian rum or whiskey.
This is the toughest table in town for a reason: Lucia plates the finest Italian cuisine in town. Tables book month by month and are usually full by the middle of the first or second day of that month. The cause for fanaticism includes exec. chef-owner David Uygur’s house charcuterie program and a rotating assortment of meats and homemade pastas. Can’t snag a rezzie? Don’t forget that the bar seating is first-come, first-served.
Teiichi Sakurai’s homage to his native country soared to the top of the local Japanese-cuisine heap when it opened, thanks to seafood, rare regional delicacies, and super high-grade steaks shipped in from all over the world. Not to be forgotten is the top-notch drinks program, with standouts like sake, shochu, and Yamazaki whiskies.
Savvy lunch lovers know a visit to this hub of Middle Eastern cooking gets them incredible bang for their buck. For $12.95, you enjoy a buffet spread packed with favorites you know and love -- falafel, shwarma, tabbouleh -- and entrees you will come to love, like za’atar pies, the incredible roasted chicken and magmour, similar to moussaka. Afrah also serves dinner in a la carte form and stays open at least till midnight -- a fine alternative to post-bar junk food.
Korean: Seoul Garden
Far North Dallas
This Koreatown eatery is great for gastronomic exploration, even if you’re a newbie to Korean cuisine. The restaurant can accommodate large parties -- including at hibachi-like Korean BBQ tables -- so you can get the best taste of the staggering variety here by dining with a group of friends and ordering a ton of bibimbop, noodles, and hot pots to share.
Mexican: Mesa Restaurant
When celebs from Beyoncé and Jay Z to Conan O’Brien make it a point to stop by one particular restaurant when visiting, you have to take notice. The stars align at this family-owned, Veracruzean purveyor for the stellar mole, but the seafood dishes are a highlight, too. Signature drinks like the boozed-up horchata draw in tipplers.
Spanish: Casa Rubia
Chef Omar Flores has earned rave reviews for drawing on Spanish food traditions in crafting the popular menu here. Happy hour montaditos, tapas galore, paella, and Mediterranean coast-inspired mains served in stylish, low-lit digs evoke a Spanish café dining experience, with a sherry menu, sangrias, and cocktails thrown in for good measure.
Tex-Mex: Pepe’s & Mito’s Mexican Cafe
Most Tex-Mex joint have every staple of the genre represented on their menu, but few do so many of them as well as this joint on the corner of Elm St. Lunchtime is an especially busy time here, as workaday warriors load up on enchiladas, tacos, tostadas, and chimichangas. House specialties like guiso, ribeye a la Tampiqueña, and catfish Veracruz soar, too.
Thai: Kin Kin Urban Thai
Fort Worth and Oak Lawn
Chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin and his mother dreamed up this mini-chain’s menu of authentic Thai food with modern notes. Think traditional eats like pad Thai and curries, but also Thai beef jerky, fried Brussels sprouts, and the Kin Kin burger, all boasting the flavors of the region.
1. Royal China6025 Royal Ln, Dallas
2. Palayok240 Legacy Dr, Central Legacy Plaza, Plano, TX 75023, Plano
3. Cadot Restaurant18111 Preston Rd Ste 120, Dallas
4. Bavarian Grill221 W Parker Rd, Plano
5. Stratos Global Greek Taverna2907 W Northwest Hwy, Dallas
6. Guatelinda Cafe1701 Elm St, Dallas
7. India Palace12817 Preston Rd #105, Dallas
8. Lucia408 W 8th St, Dallas
9. Tei-An Rooftop Lounge1722 Routh St, Dallas
10. Afrah Mediterranean Restaurant & Pastries314 E Main St, Richardson
11. Mesa118 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas
12. Mesa118 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas
13. Casa Rubia at Trinity Groves3011 Gulden Ln, Dallas
14. Pepe's & Mito's Mexican Cafe2911 Elm St, Dallas
15. Kin Kin Urban Thai2801 W 7th St, Fort Worth
Royal China, located on Royal Lane, is stocked with royally delicious dumplings, noodles, and all manner of Chinese treats.
Although this spot is situated in a strip, it serves up some of the best Filipino food in Dallas. Large portions of cheap, authentic dishes, such as lumpia to adobo, can be found here.
Elegant cuisine is served in refined digs at this suburban restaurant, which boasts a traditional French menu. Favorites include the Grand Marnier soufflé, duck confit, and crusted rack of lamb.
Bavarian Grill is an authentic German schnitzel temple in Dallas that puts on an entire month-long festival dedicated to the beloved foodstuff, and's got a huge beer selection to BOOT. HA! German humor.
It’s a party every time you walk into Stratos Taverna; napkins are flying, belly-dancers are jingling, and most importantly, the drinks are being served as fast as they can be poured. The double-decker patio fills up in the warmer months, and (super-bonus!) the entire food menu is 1/2 off on Monday and Tuesday nights.
This hole-in-the-wall South American cafe specializes in authentic Guatemalan food, such as tamales, pupusas, and enchiladas.
Vegetarian, gluten-free, and other Indian favorites come together under one roof at this white-tablecloth restaurant. In addition to dinner, Indian Palace also offers a lunch buffet.
It's hard to snag a table at this neighborhood Italian restaurant in the Bishop Arts District, but if you can, it's totally worth it. Chef David Uygur describes the eclectic menu of this cozy spot as “doing what an Italian would do with the list of ingredients that he can get in Dallas.” That means locally sourced game, handmade pasta, and bold, flavorful ragus. Favorites include the ramp and ricotta tortellini, mustard green gnudi, and Texas wagyu coulotte.
Whether you're dinging on the rooftop patio or in one of the mod or rustic dining rooms, Tei-An is a sight for sore eyes. The menu boasts gourmet-level Japanese fare like daily fish selections in big sashimi spreads, brisket braised in miso, and chewy tonkotsu ramen bowls. Reservation for the roof top are must -- seated just below Uptown, this spot's prime location offers one of the best skyline views of the city.
At Afrah, the list of specialties on offer goes on and on to includes falafel, kafta and kebabs. Can’t decide what to order? Pop in at lunch, when the buffet offers menu highlights for you to try as little or as much as you like. The dining area itself is bare bones but charming.
With wood clock paneling, painted white brick walls, and mahogany-wash cement floors, Mesa's take on the Latin dining experience is far more rustic than most. And the food itself far more modern: presentation is minimal but that doesn't mean its small selection of enchiladas, carne asada, and fresh seafood are any less flavorful. Nor are the cocktails, which draw Latin influences (it's either mezcal or tequila here) and use flavors like lime, mint, peppers, and cinnamon.
Fortunately for you, there's more than just one table at Mesa. They dish out authentic Veracruzan food like shrimp ceviche, braised oxtail and holy Mole Mama Cata, their signature dish.
More than just a hotbed of Spanish tapas, this Trinity Groves spot has a raging Pintxo Social Hour. From 5-7pm Monday through Friday, a handful of featured cocktails go into deep discount mode. And, so that these drinks don’t have only each other to mingle with in your stomach (this IS a social hour, after all), Casa Rubia provides free eats, too.
Deep Ellum's most vibrant cantina-style restaurants is, not surprisingly, doling out some of the best Mexican fare around. But this is not Tex-Mex -- what's on your plate here is what they call "Mex-Tex," meaning this stuff's a lot more authentic then your usual taco haunt. The house specialties include steaming-hot fajita plates, ribeye steaks drizzled in homemade salsa, and breaded, fried catfish. But if you want to take the more... more-traveled, there is still a classic Tex-Mex combo menu.
Kin Kin Urban Thai has the staples covered -- pad Thai, pad kee mow, tom kha, curries... you know the drill; but Kin Kin also changes things up a bit. You won't want to miss non-traditional offerings like the Thai Scottish egg (an early favorite), which features egg wrapped in a shrimp and chicken mixture flavored with curry and kaffir lime, in lieu of the traditional sausage. You'll also be pleased to see an abundance of pork belly up and down the menu, along with handcrafted cocktails, local and Asian beer, and a similar geographically diverse spread of whiskeys. Also don't miss out on the green tea cheesecake for dessert.