Food & Drink

8 of Dallas' most classic, old-school restaurants

Published On 08/27/2014 Published On 08/27/2014
Most Iconic Restaurants DAL
David Maez
Norma’s Cafe
El Fenix Mexican Restaurant
David Maez
David Maez
The Old Warsaw
Royal China
Tupinamba Mexican Restaurant
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1. Jimmy's Food Store 4901 Bryan St, Dallas, TX 75206 (East Dallas)

This Dallas mainstay is the go-to local spot for all-things-Italian. Founded in 1996, the specialty food store has been a family-owned crowd favorite for over 50 years. Daily, the staff hand-rolls meatballs and bakes Italian sweets (with old, family recipes, of course) in the back of the shop, while in front, they help patrons select gourmet groceries and bottles from their carefully curated Italian wine selection. Locals can order hefty, fresh sandwiches at the counter, sample house-made olives, and shop for everything from imported balsamic vinegars, to handmade pastas. The imported cheese and meat selections are expansive, the antipasti bar is stuffed, and in true Italian fashion, dollar espresso shots are available all day. And while the folks at Jimmy's offer wine tastings on Saturdays, the wine room tucked behind the store is open to guests all week.

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2. Norma's Cafe 1123 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208 (Oak Cliff)

Norma's has been slinging old-school country fare and diner staples across Oak Cliff since 1956. Right down to its red leather booths, it hasn't changed all that much, but it really hasn't needed to -- the sweet embrace of authentic Texan comfort food need not be altered, including the crunch of chicken fried steak (before you've soaked it with the entire bowl of gravy you've been given on the side) and the ever-famous Mile-High Cream Pies.

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3. El Fenix 1601 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75202 (Downtown)

Although there are more than 20 different El Fenix (Los Fenixes?) locations, each offers the same quality Tex-Mex fare that you'd expect from a place that's been perfecting the style since before the Depression.

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4. Campisi's Egyptian Lounge 5610 E Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75206 (Northeast Dallas)

Campisi's has been holding down the Dallas Italian scene since 1946, with thin crust pizza cut into rectangular slices. As the story goes, when the Campisi family first bought the Egyptian Lounge to turn it into what would eventually become the godfather of Dallas pizza, it cost too much to change the signage, so the landmark Italian place has confused out-of-towners since the '40s. The interior looks like a banquet hall, with white tablecloths and uniform metal chairs.

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5. Highland Park Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain 3229 Knox St, Dallas, TX 75205 (Knox Henderson)

This nostalgic institution has been running since 1911 (!) and serving delicious shakes, malts, and other classic treats -- plus a few surprises like Frito pie and goose liver!

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6. The Old Warsaw 2610 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75201 (Uptown)

The Old Warsaw has been entertaining Dallas' elegant for over fifty years with equally extravagant dishes. Prime beef wellington and a merlot from Chile, is as tasty, and fancy, as it gets.

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7. Royal China 6025 Royal Ln, Dallas, TX 75230

Royal China, located on Royal Lane, is stocked with royally delicious dumplings, noodles, and all manner of Chinese treats.

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8. Tupinamba 12270 Inwood Rd, Dallas, TX 75244 (North Dallas)

Tupinamba's menu of authentic Tex-Mex cuisine includes a wide variety of signature dishes, as well as a full bar with a number of specialty cocktails. On-location catering is available for parties of 35 of greater, but if you're a smaller group you can still drop by the restaurant and enjoy the food like everyone else!