The Best Restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth Right Now
Dallas may not have relaxing beaches, outdoor ice-skating, or manatee farms, but we've got it where it counts: world-class restaurants. From the upscale to the affordable, the arcane to the everyday, Dallas has an embarrassment of bistros, taquerias, steak houses, gastropubs, dumpling dens, vegan patisseries, tearooms, automats, and chuckwagons to sate every conceivable appetite.
One of the many upsides to this wealth of eateries is an inherent natural selection process that weeds out the weakest. Wondering if that new restaurant down the street is any good? Well, if it’s been open longer than three months, it’s probably amazing -- but if managing to keep the doors open for a full fiscal quarter isn’t enough of an endorsement for you, have no fear. Below, you'll find our ongoing rundown of the most important new openings in town, followed by the all-time best restaurants you need to know about.
Est. January 2020 | Oak Cliff
Casual Mexican spot specializing in Veracruz-style coastal cuisine
When news broke last summer that Mesa was closing, fans of the beloved (and Beyoncé-endorsed) restaurant almost felt like they’d experienced a death in the family. A silver lining emerged, however, when owner Raul Reyes and chef Olga Sosa announced plans to return to the same location with a more casual and affordable concept. The menu still focuses heavily on seafood, but now in approachable, everyday options such as quesadillas and fajitas. Presentation still reigns supreme as well, with every dish leaving the kitchen ready for its Instagram closeup. And, of course, to put out the fire one might experience with a plate full of spicy chiles, a cavalcade of margarita options are ready, willing and able to do the trick.
Est. December 2019 | Arts District
Sleek indoor/outdoor space for seasonal American dishes
At first glance, chef Eric Dreyer’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus at this chic eatery inside the HALL Arts Hotel seem familiar and straightforward, but that assumption gets crushed as soon as the plates hit the table. Ubiquitous options you’ve probably had elsewhere are transformed by Dreyer’s nuanced additions: beet salad gets a makeover with avocado mousse and smoked almonds, sea scallops mingle with heirloom carrots and Jerusalem artichokes, and handmade pappardelle pasta ditches the bolognese in favor of a lighter blend of mint, asparagus, and serrano peppers. Other standouts include classic Crab Louie nestled in tiny butter lettuce cups and a short list of Prime steaks thrill with their simple yet perfect preparation. Diners can choose indoor seating or head to Ellie’s Terrace to soak up the energy of the Dallas Arts District, all while enjoying craft cocktails (try the smoked Old Fashioned) or a bottle of wine hailing from the Hall family’s own Napa Valley and Sonoma County vineyards.
Est. December 2019 | Park Cities
Counter-service restaurant and bar serving Asian bowls & sandwiches
Best known for creating Chino Chinatown, chef Uno Immanivong returns to Dallas with an expanded vision for Red Stix Street Food, a concept she workshopped briefly at Legacy Hall in Plano. The new iteration features many more options, including Laotian favorites that channel her heritage in wildly tasty ways. Nearly everything on the menu can be had for less than $10, including craft cocktails, so feel free to order up an assortment. The vast list of crave-worthy appetizers (crispy rice-wrapped shrimp, chicken egg rolls, and togarashi waffle fries) makes for an easy DIY happy hour with friends, or poke your chopsticks into a bowl of rice or noodles customized to your liking with a variety of sauces, veggie toppings (or fried chicken skin if you’re not worried about cholesterol) and a selection of on-a-stick proteins ranging from beef tenderloin and BBQ pork to chicken curry satay and crispy fried tofu. If you prefer to let the chef do the work for you, however, there are composed dishes including traditional pad thai and fried rice topped with a sunny-side-up egg. And if you’re ready to feel the burn, check out the appropriately named Damn Damn Hot Noods that will set your mouth on fire in the best possible way.
Est. December 2019 | Design District
The sexiest new spot for chef-driven fare and classic cocktails
From the visionary chef Matt McCallister and the opulent lifestyle of Richard Branson, this fashionable destination restaurant inside the sparkly new Virgin Hotels Dallas offers a feast for every sense—even a few you might not realize had gone dormant. Grab a seat at the counter overlooking the exhibition kitchen for a dramatic show that never ends, or ask to be tucked away in one of the many seductive nooks throughout the space. Classic cocktails on the menu pay tribute to those created at hotels throughout history as well as newly christened options from the lively bar located just inside the restaurant doors. French techniques influence much of the seasonally inspired menu that relies heavily on the bounty from local farms, whether it’s a hearty root vegetable gratin or a starter composed entirely of Texas radishes. The wood fire grill and rotisserie are the playgrounds for a majority of meaty proteins, but the daily bycatch shouldn’t be overlooked by seafood lovers. As with everything McCallister touches, the dishes offer layers of flavor as meticulously thought out as every finishing detail.
Est. December 2019 | Downtown
Colorful hangout for old-school Tex-Mex classics
Does Dallas really need another Tex-Mex place? The answer is yes -- always, forever, a thousand times yes. Located in the heart of downtown Dallas near the Joule Hotel and everybody’s favorite oversized eyeball sculpture, the vibrantly designed Queso Beso features 1950s-style diner tables and chairs underneath a rainbow glow of hundreds of twinkle lights. As the name suggests, queso can be scarfed down in its truest Tex-Mex form (or spiked with chorizo, guacamole, and crema) as well as in the more classic fundido style of mainland Mexico with melty Oaxacan and Chihuahua cheeses. Entrees celebrate the greatest hits of the genre with crowd-pleasers ranging from quesadillas and tacos to fajitas and combo plates. Don’t overlook the trio of house specialties (chicken mole, chile rellenos, and diablo shrimp) for a little bit more complexity -- much like the nuanced characteristics of the well-appointed list of tequilas and mezcals.
Est. December 2019 | Plano
Upscale-yet-laid-back spot for authentic Indian favorites
Indian restaurants in North Texas usually fall into one of two categories: family-run buffets in strip malls, or Americanized versions that cater to folks seeking safety in their “exotic” culinary endeavors. This international chain manages to bring traditional dishes and flavors while delivering the kind of polished dining experience that’s typically lacking in all those other mom-and-pop operations. Sure, you’ll find safe choices like tikka masala, but also intricately spiced creations such as meen moilee (fish cooked in ground coconut-based curry with chilies and ginger) or nalli rogan josh, a popular dish featuring a hefty lamb shank cooked in chili and yogurt until it forms a luscious gravy. Better still, many of the dishes feature suggested wine pairings, which can be a real challenge without a little expert guidance.
Est. January 2020 | Fort Worth
Chef Tim Love’s ode to Spanish tapas
A Springhill Suites by Marriott is arguably the last place you’d ever expect to find a restaurant from a celebrity chef, but here we are with this delicious anomaly. Tim Love has several Cowtown concepts, from burgers to barbecue, but he’s experimenting with Spanish-meets-Texas flavors at this latest venture. Dozens of small plates populate a menu that’s all about sharing and sampling a wide variety of options with friends; highlights include iberico ham tacos, grilled oysters with garlic parmesan and guanciale, brisket croquetas, and a Spanish flatbread with deer salami, roasted fennel, manchego and jalapeño pesto. Views of the Stockyards below and the Downtown skyline beyond bring an urban-meets-country vibe that can only be found in Fort Worth, a perfect pairing to the world-colliding flavors in every dish.
Est. December 2019 | Lowest Greenville
Southwest-influenced patio bar & restaurant revs up Nick Badovinus fans
This long-awaited concept from Nick Badovinus of Town Hearth fame (among several others) transports guests to a little slice of Santa Fe or any number of chic desert locales. Like Town Hearth, which features a 1960s MG in the dining room, Desert Racer has its share of motorized modes of transport ranging from Ducati motorcycles to a white convertible Volkswagen Beetle parked atop a gorgeous Southwestern-patterned area rug near the bar. The massive patio’s home to a groovy full-size van you can actually get inside, as well as various water features and lawn games. Comfort food options abound on the menu, including brisket-and-queso-laden tater tots, five different burgers, and an array of meaty tacos, enchiladas, and nachos. You’ll find sangria, beer, and liquor in plentiful supply, as well, so it won’t be one bit surprising to find more than a few people napping in that van as the night goes on.
Est. January 2020 | Fort Worth
A contemporary steakhouse with classic Art Deco styling
The Sinclair Hotel debuted last fall and revitalized a block near Sundance Square with a healthy dose of historic Art Deco opulence. This contemporary steakhouse takes full advantage of the design aesthetic throughout the property and makes it feel thoroughly modern even as it flashes back in time. It’s fine dining at its finest, but keeping in tune with the overall Fort Worth vibe, it’s not the stuffy kind of fine dining you might expect elsewhere. Steaks, of course, will be the biggest draw and premium cuts of beef read like a Moo’s-Who of exquisite selections. They even dry-age some of the steaks in-house with a special process incorporating Himalayan sea salt. You’ll also find an impressive raw bar with all the usual shellfish suspects, creative twists on steakhouse sides, and an excellent cocktail program from Jason Kosmas. If this is what it means to be wicked, sign us up.
Est. 2019 | Downtown
Over-the-top Italian from Down Under
Does your favorite pizza joint have its own dedicated “dough room?” It does if it’s 400 Gradi, an Australian import that’s killing it on the Italian front with its first U.S. location. Though the pizzas (cooked at 400 degrees Celsius) are the most high-profile menu items, the fresh pastas (also made in that special room) will transport your taste buds right to Italy. Portions are designed for normal humans, so adjust your expectations away from the massive mounds of noodles you might find at other restaurants, but focus on the technique and first-class ingredients and the prices will be more than justified. Wine pairings skew Australian for the most part, and there are some vintages rarely seen in these parts, so they’re worth exploring. Make sure to save room for dessert, too, especially the famous hazelnut mousse or the Nutella pizza topped with housemade gelato. Speaking of which, the gelatos have gotten so popular that they’ve inspired a spin-off dessert shop right next door called -- what else? -- Zero Gradi.
Est. 2019 | Uptown
The swankiest, swinging-est supper club in town
Put on your nicest pair of pants and prepare your palate for the most elusive of rarified air. Though it’s only been open a short while, Clover Club has established itself as a preeminent purveyor of posh eats, craft cocktails, and smooth sounds. Whether you find yourself atop its sky-soaked rooftop patio or seated snugly it its low-lit dining area, the club gently bathes you in an inescapable atmosphere of elegance. Sophisticated drinks prime cultured conversation as oungy jazz and big band acts provide the live soundtrack for a refreshingly erudite evening with best friends (or your super-special someone).
Of course, without great dishes, Clover Club would be nothing more than a sophisticated speakeasy. Chef Anthony Van Camp puts the supper in the club with expertly executed steak and seafood plates (food-based fortes include braised short ribs and lobster potstickers), transforming an exquisite evening out into an almost cinematic dining experience.
Est. 2019 | Uptown
Upscale chain offering more than just crazy-good brunch
Depending on how you look at it, The Henry’s whereabouts in the primo-contempo mixed use space that is The Union is either a very happy accident or a meticulous custom fit. Situated comfortably in the office-retail-residential hub that proudly ties together Victory Park and Uptown, The Henry’s third national location (following spots in Phoenix and West Hollywood) offers something wonderful for everyone at every conventional mealtime.
Indeed, if you happen to be unencumbered by budget, you can conceivably enjoy each and every meal at The Henry -- or you can simply review the dusk-to-dawn menu, choose a chow time, grab a date, and follow through. We recommend brunch because we’re suckers for the bread pudding French toast (smoked Norwegian salmon when we’re feeling fancy; also, brunch is pretty much the only time when drinking from a tableside Bloody Mary & Mimosa cart is not frowned upon in polite society.
Est. 2019 | Uptown
Mexican favorites and a few surprises from the Dominican Republic
The queso verde alone is worth a trip to chef Miriam Jimenez’s friendly food fiesta across the street from Klyde Warren Park, where you’ll often find the chef roaming the restaurant and greeting diners with her 1,000-watt smile and vivacious personality. Of course, there’s more to the menu than that delicious spinach-studded chile con queso. It’s all done with finesse while still capturing a home-cooked quality that’s soulful and inviting, whether you’re cutting into enchiladas, tacos, or a combination of the two sharing the same plate with some beans and rice. The same care and attention to traditional details has also been applied to egg dishes, now available during Saturday and Sunday brunch with a flight of mimosas for good measure.
Est. 2019 | Central Dallas
The panache of Dallas dining, with the flavors of a Brooklyn deli
You need only be in Dallas for approximately six minutes before you notice parts of town where one neighborhood ends, a second neighborhood begins, and a third neighborhood somehow appears out of nowhere. Beverley’s on Fitzhugh Avenue finds itself in such a peculiar location; north of the Uptown vibe that permeates beyond Cityplace and the West Village, east of where Turtle Creek bends into Highland Park, and somehow both west and south of Knox/Henderson. This is a fuzzy non-area where better-known neighborhoods intersect and co-exist, and while it may be difficult to place in a few words, this border locale is exactly where Beverley’s belongs.
The menu -- with highlights that include oysters on the half shell, matzo ball soup, charred Spanish octopus, chicken schnitzel, and whole branzino -- is a cross-culture love letter to New York City kosher cuisine, Mediterranean seaside cafes, and the cool chic of North Texas restaurant culture. Moreover, residents of the bordering neighborhood cluster have helped Beverley’s achieve local bistro gold status, flocking to and feasting at Beverley’s in droves, converting a once ill-defined swath of strip mall into the heart of a new-old ‘hood.
Est. 2018 | Oak Cliff
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.
Est. 2018 | Downtown Dallas
Finger foods served in a mid-century 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.
Est. 2018 | Victory Park
Pan-Asian options in an elegant environment
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.
Est. 2018 | Richardson
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.
Est. 2018 | Fort Worth
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.
Est. 2017 | Plano
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.
Est. 2016 | Uptown
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.
Est. 2016 | Oak Lawn
Consummate comfort food connoisseurs unlock a treasure trove of chicken dishes
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?).
Est. 2016 | Oak Cliff
An unassuming space for unbelievable tacos
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.
Est. 2015 | West Dallas
Unpretentious gourmet burgers in a wide open space
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.
Est. 2015 | University Park
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.
Est. 2014 | Lower Greenville
Upscale Southern delights at Lowest Greenville prices
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."
Est. 2013 | East Dallas
Traditional street fair with a simple touch of flair
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.
Est. 2013 | Downtown
Cocktails and comfort food that achieve opulence without arrogance
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.
Est. 2010 | Uptown
Classic steakhouse with a focus on first-rate seafood
You can hardly walk a city block in Uptown or Downtown without encountering a steakhouse, but Ocean Prime still manages to stand above almost all others. Visit after visit, steaks and seafood are prepared to absolute repeatable perfection, but the sushi should never be overlooked -- seriously. Unlike traditional sushi bars with dozens if not hundreds of options, the well-curated list of rolls here is short but sublime (not to mention discounted during happy hour). Plus, a pre-theater menu makes it easy to get in and out quickly before dashing across Woodall Rodgers to the Arts District for a performance. This might be the only time it’s socially acceptable to eat dinner at 4pm if you’re under 70.
Est. 1995 | Bishop Arts District
Hearty Tex-Mex favorites in a no-frills diner setting
Long before valets sprouted up like weeds in this ultra-hip North Oak Cliff dining district, El Jordan Café was serving up affordable-and-delicious Tex-Mex that made it a neighborhood favorite for creatives and newcomers alike. You'll find no fusion dishes or tweezer-aided presentation here -- just legit Mexican staples like menudo, tacos al carbon, barbacoa tortas and all huevos rancheros that your breakfast-loving soul craves. For those not in the mood for Tex-Mex, the menu also includes Americanized diner favorites like patty melts and grilled cheese sandwiches. A trip to El Jordan Café means comfort food and a chance to mix and mingle with the diverse residents who make Oak Cliff a Dallas destination.
Est. 1995 | Oak Lawn
Indian comfort food in a peaceful and endearingly quirky atmosphere
Located on the edge of Uptown in the historic Oak Lawn neighborhood, Cosmic Café has provided vegetarian and health-conscious fare to those seeking enlightenment (and a full belly) for more than 20 years. Nestled into an old house and painted in vibrant red and yellow hues that are tough to miss, Cosmic Café features Indian favorites such as samosas, dahl, and paneer, as well as veggie takes on tacos and bowls. In addition to the delicious food on the menu, Cosmic also serves as a meeting place for the community in which yoga and meditation classes are offered. It's often a meeting place for filmmakers, foodies, and artists as well -- just ask Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson about their time spent writing early screenplays here.
Est. 1993 | Oak Lawn
Dallas icon for quality cuts of beef
Travel around the country, and one of the first things foodies will want to talk to you about when they learn that you're from Dallas is the original Bob’s Steak and Chop House on Lemmon Avenue. While the restaurant has franchised out locations in cities like San Francisco, Austin and New York City, most diners swear that the best steak they've ever had comes from the original Bob’s location in Oak Lawn. The simple, one-page menu showcases a selection of high-end cuts of beef, so there’s not much here for the non-steak lover. That said, if you love quality steak and have slightly deep pockets, you're unlikely to find a better option in the country. Bob’s even found a way to make a giant glazed carrot irresistible.
Est. 1982 | East Dallas
Clay-pot Vietnamese dishes in a BYOB space
Long before pho became mainstream, Mai’s set up shop in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it brick building along a somewhat industrial stretch of Bryan Street. Curry clay pot dishes mingled with noodle soups and Vietnamese pancakes, and the restaurant’s relaxed atmosphere and BYOB policy made Mai’s the go-to choice for those living in Lakewood and East Dallas who cherish good company and great food over flashy décor and exclusivity. As the area surrounding Bryan Street surges with new residents and high-end development, though, the secret of Mai’s local popularity has been revealed. Grab a bottle or two of your favorite wine and invite a half dozen of your favorite people for the penultimate East Dallas dining experience.
Est. 1956 | Oak Cliff
Classic neighborhood diner with devoted fans
Norma’s began serving hearty diner fare way back in 1956, in what was then considered the far-flung suburb of Oak Cliff. Focusing on Southern staples such as biscuits and gravy, fried catfish, and chicken fried steak, Norma’s weathered many a storm over the past six decades, thanks in large part to the cult-like devotion of diners and brunch aficionados who travel many miles to stuff their faces with home-cooked goodness. With five locations in the city, it’s still Norma’s original location on Davis Street in Oak Cliff that features lines around the building every single weekend.
Sign up here for our daily Dallas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun DFW has to offer.