Taste Test: How to Cool Down a Spicy Mouth
Vegan tacos and smoothies for the soul
Food in Deep Ellum isn’t just pizza and donuts and hot dogs anymore. Which is good news for those who are looking for healthier fare. Oliver Pecker, longtime owner of Deep Ellum staple Elm Street Tattoo and star of reality show Ink Masters, has brought vegan nibbles and ultra healthy smoothies to the neighborhood. Juices, coffees and smoothies are great to go. But the flavorful and filling vegan tacos at Tiki Loco are what has everyone in town talking.
Where cured meat is king
Getting a reservation at Oak Cliff’s Lucia has been nearly impossible since it opened. To accommodate the foodie demand and to show off their fluency in cured meats of all kinds, Lucia launched Macellaio this year. The more casual bar and cafe atmosphere at Macellaio allows for diners to sample the vast array of charcuterie focused offerings without having to make a deal with the devil for one meal at Lucia.
Pan-Asian options in a fancy setting
When Chef Kent Rathbun left Abacus, many of his Dallas fans wondered what was next for him. Their question has finally been answered. Imoto, his new upscale Victory Park concept, will be serving up Rathbun’s trademark twists on Asian classics, such as his famous curry-based scallop shooters and Korean-style fried chicken. Located in Victory Park at the foot of American Airlines Center and steps from downtown Dallas, the marriage of this location and Rathbun’s culinary reputation proves to be a compelling match.
Fish and chips on a first-come, first-served basis
British chef Nick Barclay and his wife have brought a completely authentic slice of seaside fish and chip shops in England to the North Dallas area with Fish & Fizz. The star of the show is the incredibly fresh and generously sized portions of cod used with traditional hand-cut chips (fries), as well as must-haves like minted mushy peas and lots of malt vinegar to drown all of it in. The decor, featuring brightly colored recreations of English seaside shacks, gives the restaurant a lighthearted and fun ambience. Note that they do not take reservations.
Popular Plano wine bistro in the Crescent
For wine enthusiasts who don’t have the time or money to book a trip to Napa Valley, perhaps a visit to the newly opened Dallas location of Plano’s Sixty Vines will scratch the itch. Located in the Crescent, the new spot will feature 40 wines on tap as well as the pizzas, burgers and salads that the original location is known for. And what would a restaurant with dozens of wines on tap be without a cheese board? The charcuterie boards feature locally sourced meats and cheeses as well as artisanal and seasonal additions which rotate out and can pair beautifully with the wine of your choice.
Elegant Mediterranean from an international culinary star
Chef José Andrés may be one of the most famous and respected stars of the culinary world right now, and deservedly so. So, when he opened Zaytinya at The Star in Frisco, Dallas foodies lost their minds in the best possible way. His modern take on Middle Eastern and Mediterranean classics has surpassed the already high expectations of fans of fine dining. From hummus to flatbreads to spit-roasted lamb, Zaytinya gives Dallas diners an elegant dining experience and maybe a little bit of bragging rights as well.
Finger foods served in a midcentury modern setting
The renovated and reborn Statler Hotel is the hottest destination in the city for food, drinks, and fun. And the recently opened Scout provides plenty of all three. In a setting that looks like Wes Anderson’s idea of a 1970s rec center, Scout features shareable plates such as wings, sliders, potato skins, and ribs. Did we mention that Scout also features bowling, foosball, table tennis and pool tables? Put on your best sweatbands and head to the Statler for some of the classiest food you’ve ever eaten while bowling.
A foodie heaven with dozens of stalls to choose from
Thanks to Legacy Food Hall, you may never have to have the “I don’t know, what do you feel like?” dinner conversation ever again. A truly epic culinary destination, Legacy Hall contains over 22 chef and artisan driven food stalls as well as a half dozen bars with everything from craft beer to kitschy cocktails. The hall also hosts live music regularly which makes it the perfect destination for a romantic date night with an undecided or picky eater.
Upscale Southern delights
Before you get your straw ready to sip on what sounds like a cocktail, know that this dish is actually the Southern-flavored gastro-tavern’s spin on Nashville hot chicken. Don’t be shy, though, and double up the heat with some shakes of the Fresno chile sauce on the table. And round out that plate: Rapscallion excels at openers like rib-eye carpaccio and decadent sides like fried sorghum and "Gammy’s baked mac."
Not your ordinary taqueria
From beginners just starting to dive into the city’s street taco scene, to old hands who know their cabeza from their cecina, this Fitzhugh Avenue hot spot draws all levels of taco lovers. And with fillings ranging from brisket to crispy grasshopper, it's bound to have something for you to swoon over.
The best place to go whole hog
Executive chef Nicholas Walker continues pushing this modern American restaurant’s menu forward. Case in point, fascinating additions like chargrilled broccoli sprouts, “grits” made of rice and house-made merguez sausage over creamy corn. But if you simply can’t bring yourself to venture past the super-popular pig’s head carnitas or grass-fed beef cheeseburger, we can’t blame you.
Unpretentious gourmet burgers
With its move from tiny Design District digs to a lofty, kitschy space on the edge of Trinity Groves, this burger joint has more room to fit in its rabid devotees. Your chances of sitting down while eating any of OSK’s sandwiches, American cheese-topped burgers, tacos, and fries may actually be better, too.
Comfort food in charming neighborhood bistro
Located a few minutes from the bustling Bishop Arts District, Grassroots Kitchen is nestled inside a charming storefront in the Elmwood neighborhood of Oak Cliff. The handwritten paper menu is ever evolving and might feature anything from smoked brisket to banh mi sandwiches to fresh hummus and salads. And perhaps even more exciting is the fact that all of this freshly made food is incredibly affordable. Skip the long valet lines and construction nightmares of Bishop Arts and eat where in-the-know Oak Cliff residents eat instead.
European comfort food mainstay
This charming European bistro has been around since 1972 but feels like it’s always in the current swing of things, with menus that change to reflect what’s fresh, as well as hardcore classics that keep regulars coming back. In addition to the tartines, the famed mushroom soup is as addictive as you’ve heard -- ditto for the uber-popular brunch here.
A New Orleans bar with best po-boys in town
Long a favorite of Deep Ellum, Twilite Lounge opened their Fort Worth outpost in early 2018. But there’s one advantage that the Fort Worth location has over its Dallas sibling: a kitchen. But not just any kitchen. A kitchen which cranks out the most amazing and generously garnished po-boy sandwiches in the city. Complete with plenty of what Twilite calls “debris”. The kitchen is open late and offers not only po-boys but boudin balls and extra dirty red beans and rice, a tribute to its New Orleans roots.
Many ways to get the bird
The folks behind beloved, locally grown home cooking chain Black Eyed Pea have mined their homestyle roots again with this fried chicken concept set in the old BEP on Cedar Springs. In addition to brined fried bird, you can dive into roast chicken, chicken tenders and a peri peri chicken that’s been marinated in hot pepper sauce. There’s a shortlist of beer, cocktails and decadent side dishes, all served in the shadow of the restaurant’s cheeky wall of cocks (that is, a wall of framed painting of chickens. What were you thinking?).
Hypnotizing spinning meats
Birthed from the popularity of local pop-up parties, this OC storefront’s main attraction is the Mexican-style spit-roasted pork that’s sliced, griddled, then folded into tacos and quesadillas. There’s also bistek on hand, as well as veggies and paneer for vegetarian palates, but the rotisserie signature is the can’t-miss menu feature by far.
Where to enjoy family-style Mexican fine dining
It's no wonder big-name stars of stage and screen (Beyoncé, Conan O'Brien, and many more) pop into this cozy, family-owned Mexican restaurant -- the Veracruzan specialties are legit. Taste the Reyes family love poured into every mole dish and each plate of ropa vieja... and definitely pair those with beer or one of Mesa's irresistible cocktails.
Seafood fresh off the boat
Neighborhood Services wizard Nick Badovinus strikes again with another inspired, upscale destination for the Park Cities. With Montlake Cut, Badovinus aims to evoke the feel and flavors of his former Pacific Northwest digs. Think seafood and more seafood, including seasonal raw bar selections, in a nautical-themed space. That said, the Tillamook cheeseburger has gotten all kinds of buzz, as has Montlake Cut's extensive wine list.