Food & Drink

An editor's guide to eating around town

Published On 04/18/2013 Published On 04/18/2013

Dallas: the land of chain restaurants and steaks, right? Well, yes, kind of, but local editor Aaron Miller also wants to guide you through everything from crazy-good pho to delicious smoked meats.

Favorite Restaurant: Sure, it's since sprouted into a chain (they have one in Melbourne?), but the original Bob's Steak and Chop House on Lemmon is easily the best, and for this 3rd-gen Dallasite, it's pretty hard to top a perfectly cooked strip w/ mashed potatoes and Bob's signature glazed carrot.

Best Late-Night Eats: Post-midnight eating's all about striking a balance between booze-absorbing comfort food and buzz-maintaining booziness. That's a game DaLat's got figured out, with great Khanwiches (banh mi) and pho you can wash down with the Dragon Shot, possibly the only Vietnamese-influenced tequila shooter in Dallas.

Best Cheap Eats: With two-buck breakfast tacos and by-the-dozen tamales, the "Doctors of Tamal" at La Popular've been a Lakewood staple since the Muppets first took Manhattan (1984).

Best Sandwich: Like most Dallas Jews, I grew up going to the original, casket store-adjacent Cindi's. However, the nod here's gotta go to Jersey Joe's up in Far North Dallas. Go for the #22 (roast beef) with Joe's housemade horseradish, and get a tub of his mom's potato salad.

Best Dish: The Budin Azteca at Meso Maya's a unique Mexican dish that's at the same time mole-ey, steak-ey, very filling, and, most importantly for Dallas, goes great with margaritas.

Best Chicken Fried Steak: Head to the Bishop Arts District, where Tillman's Roadhouse pairs good, properly fried beef with poblano cream gravy, a host of Texas booze, and an excellent selection of local beers.

Best BBQ: Literally about a minute's walk from Tillman's, Lockhart Smokehouse draws on decades of tradition in the wrapped-in-butcher-paper-style meat game. Go for the shoulder clod for something that truly stands out.

Best Tex-Mex: Seats can be hard to come by during Enchilada Wednesdays at the original El Fenix downtown, but it's worth it to grab one of Dallas's staple dishes at a place that's been serving the stuff since 1918.

Best Mexican: Get over to Oak Cliff for some of Mesa's Veracruzan coastal cuisine, e.g. a brandy- and Chardonnay-cooked, jalapeno-laden combo of mussels, clams, octopus, and shrimp.

Best Food Truck: Dallas has many outstanding trucks, from Nammi, to Ruthie's, to Gandolfo's, but Ssahm's kimchi fries are so highly addictive that when co-owner Andy Park once told me he sprinkled crack on them, I wasn't sure he was kidding.

Best Burger: There's certainly no burger shortage in Big D (Off-Site Kitchen, Liberty Burger, Goodfriend...), but LA Burger really differentiates itself with it's eponymous offering, which incorporates generations of familial marinades into the kimchi and teriyaki sauce that's paired with cheese and a fried egg.

Most Gut-Busting Dish: If you can finish the 7000-calorie, seven pound burger in under an hour, Kenny's El Jefe Grande Burger is free. Many have tried, far fewer have succeeded.

Best Fine Dining: Tucked inside the Ritz-Carlton, Fearing's is named after it's chef, who happens to be the father of Southwestern cuisine, and puts forth amazingness like cactus pear-glazed antelope with rabbit-, green chile- and queso-fresco-stuffed enchiladas.

Most Romantic: The Old Warsaw's been at it for so long that back in the '60s, my parents went there and tried to guess who was married, and who was cheating on his or her spouse. But I've gotta give the nod here to SER on top of the Anatole -- it's got one of the best views of the Dallas skyline, good steaks, live jazz, and, most importantly for romance, nice hotel rooms just a few steps away.

Best for Work: If you're looking to impress your boss and/or have your company credit card on hand, head to Reunion Tower. There, Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck offers good dim sum and and probably the best view of Dallas you can find.

Best Lunch Mughlai's an Indian spot from an NJ transplant, and it offers a robust lunch buffet. Protip: use the naan, not your silverware.

Best Brunch Boulevardier's got your well-executed classics (Croque Madame, Eggs Meurette...), but what separates it from the rest of the pack are more adventurous offerings like their breakfast banh mis stuffed with bacon, egg, jalapeno, daikon, and more.

Best Wings: Wingstop. It's everywhere, and that's a good thing, because you're already gonna miss enough of the game when you go pick 'em up. Get 'em hot, get 'em tossed in extra sauce, and don't forget the beer on your way back.

Best Donuts: Hypnotic's donuts are the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful donuts I've ever… uh… whatever, get the Tabasco- and jalapeno-laden Mexico.

Best Drive-Thru: Drive-thrus aren't supposed to be healthy, so any drive thru where you can get NY strips and ribeyes is a place that understands Dallas. Becks Prime is that place.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. LA Burger 1017 E Trinity Mills Rd, Carrollton, TX 75006 (Carrollton)

Ben and Jon Lee expanded their Korean-American-Mexican fusion venture, setting up a 2nd shop right off Bush in Carrollton. They're serving up fries and hamburger buns designed with an anti-sogginess defense mechanism fit to endure the dousing of the family's marinades and sauces atop cheeses, kimchi, fried eggs, avocado, and everything else that comes with the Surgeon General's Warning.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. DaLat 2537 N Fitzhugh Ave, Dallas, TX 75204

DaLat is a Vietnamese-American fusion restaurant that specializes in comfort food and stays open late so you can get your Pho fix until 2am. At this simple, chic diner-esque joint, you will find traditional dishes like beef and cabbage Pho and slow-cooked pork Ramen. But they also offer strangely satisfying options like Dorito-viche (ceviche on nacho cheese Doritos), meatball shooters (yes, drinkable shots of meat), Vietnamese Burger (pork burger Bahn Mi style) and Pho pizza. They also offer a list of Vietnamese inspired cocktails like the Vietnamese Iced Coffee (similar to a White Russian) to give you that liquid courage for Karaoke nights every Tuesday and Thursday.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Bob's Steak & Chop House 4300 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75219 (Oak Lawn)

Located in the Omni Dallas Hotel, and connected to the Dallas Convention Center, Bob’s steakhouse has a well-worn setting and rich history. All the cuts are aged and magnificent, and each dish comes with the restaurant’s signature gigantic glazed carrot. The wine list is notably extensive, and all the cocktails pair perfectly with any menu item.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. La Popular Tamale House 5004 Columbia Ave, Dallas, TX 75214 (East Dallas)

Focusing on tradition and family-style Mexican fare, La Popular Tamale House has been dishing out some of Dallas' favorite tamales since 1984.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Cindi's New York Deli 306 S Houston St, Dallas, TX 75202 (Downtown)

Whether you're a New York transplant living in Dallas or just a visitor looking for a tasty, New York City-style sammy, any one of Cindi's five locations around the city can fill that void in your heart and your stomach.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Jersey Joe's Deli 15340 Dallas Pkwy, Addison, TX 75001 (Far North Dallas)

The name sounds like a place Tony Soprano might visit on his way to the Bada Bing!, but in reality, Jersey Joe's (and Joe himself) is friendly, safe, and inviting and they serve up some up the best sandwiches in Dallas.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Meso Maya 11909 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX 75230 (North Dallas)

This North Dallas Mexican establishment three unique rooms, a 20ft bar and high-end meals that don't break the bank, including the Queso Poblano, which has melted Chihuahua cheese, creamy queso blanco, roasted poblanos, fresh corn, and nopalitos.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Tillman's Roadhouse Dallas 324 W 7th St, Dallas, TX 75208 (Bishop Arts Dist)

You won't question if your're in the west while saddling up inside Tillman's. The staff is dressed in western attire and there's plenty of taxidermy on the walls. BUT, if you need another reminder, order the chicken fried steak and ride off into the sunset (after you finish, of course).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Lockhart Smokehouse 400 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208 (Oak Cliff)

This classic Texas smokehouse serves up juicy cuts of meat the old-school way. Walk up to the counter, make your pick, and watch your protein pulled straight off the smoker, wrapped in butcher paper, and placed into your anxious mitts. The brisket is done Central-Texas style and has a delicious peppery, spicy bark.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. 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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Mesa 118 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208 (Oak Cliff)

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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Fearing's 2121 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75201 (Uptown)

The Ritz-Carlton location of this Victory Park restaurant should tell you more than you need to know about its high-caliber luxury, but its founder and executive chef Dean Fearing is even more telling of what you'll eat here. Fearing, known as the Father of Southwestern Cuisine who wrote best-selling 'The Texas Food Bible,' curates a menu full of modern Southwestern fare like spicy tortilla soups, bbq oysters, and mesquite grilled antelope.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. 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.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Ser Steak + Spirits 2201 N Stemmons Fwy, Dallas, TX 75207 (Stemmons Corridor)

At 27 stories high, the views at this lively hotel steakhouse is among the best in all of Dallas. The restaurant is complete with a 14-seat chef's table, sleek high-back leather chairs, iPad wine menus, a glass-encased wine room, and a wood-lined bar backed by stone. In addition to meaty cuts on the menu like a 45-day aged prime rib and a Wagyu spinalis, SER’s sides are sizzling -- do not miss the hand-tendered tater tots with house-made ketchup.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck 300 Reunion Blvd E, Dallas, TX 75207 (Downtown)

If the location at the top of Reunion Tower, the most notable feature of the Dallas skyline, doesn't hint to you that this place means business, then the attached name Wolfgang Puck should. Before the food even arrives, you'll be stunned by 360-degree views (the floor rotates!) and polished, contemporary furniture full of tourists, celebratory family outings, and couples splurging for date night. It sets what seems like an unmeetable standard for the food, but the menu of Japanese fare like sushi, fresh grilled fish, and Szechuan beef is more than up to the task.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. Mughlai Indian Cusine 5301 Alpha Rd, Apt 14, Dallas, TX 75240 (Far North Dallas)

Not only will the tastes at Mughlai arouse your senses with its authentic Indian flavors, but so will the contemporary/traditional interior (and you thought that'd be a contradiction).

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
17. Hypnotic Donuts 235 W Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201 (East Dallas)

The guys who brought you creations like the Evil Elvis, Canadian Healthcare, and chicken biscuits so good that you feel like you better understand the meaning of love have taken their talents to the city of Denton to create some of the most incredible and ridiculous concoctions ever made in the history of donuts.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
18. Becks Prime 5931 Forest Ln, Dallas, TX 75230 (North Dallas)

Becks Prime, a premiere steakhouse and burger restaurant, grind their beef on-site ensuring a freshly grilled, tasty made-to-order burger every time. Perfecting the formula since '85, it doesn't get much better than this.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
19. Boulevardier 408 N Bishop Ave, Ste 108, Dallas, TX 75208 (Bishop Arts Dist)

This French-inspired Bistro uses its wood-fired grill to reinvent some classic dishes from across the pond. In addition to the grub, there's an expansive wine selection that includes more than 120 American and French varietals, as well as a large array of liquors including Whiskeys, Armagnacs and Cognacs.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
20. Kenny's Burger Joint 1377 Legacy Dr, Frisco, TX 75034 (Frisco)

Frisco's KBJ serves fries cooked "the old-fashioned way" (no vegetable oil), or shoveled into creations like Loaded Cheese (a mound of cheddar, plus jalapeno, bacon, chives, ranch), poutine (cheese/gravy), or Tex-Mex (pepper jack, guac, sour cream, pico). For dessert, try fry-shaped funnel cake topped with powdered sugar, chocolate, strawberry sauce, and whipped cream.



Learn More