It's official: Dallas is one of America's top foodie cities.
But what most visitors don't realize is that the city's culinary options stretch far beyond steak, barbecue and Tex-Mex. Now, thanks to an ever-growing roster of innovative chefs, Dallas' food scene is booming with award-winning restaurants of all kinds.
So, if it's a great meal you're after, then you'll want to make sure to put these restaurants on your Dallas dining bucket list.
Uchi's machi cure with smoked yellowtail, yucca crisp, marcona almond, Asian pear and garlic brittle — Photo courtesy of Erica Wilkins / Uchi
Dallas gastronauts were jostling for a reservation even before this nationally acclaimed sushi haven opened its doors in June. But it's not just sushi that keeps Uchi perpetually abuzz.
This Austin-based offshoot, owned by James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole, turns out some of the most imaginative Japanese fare in town – with items ranging from seared foie gras nigiri and flounder sashimi with candied quinoa to a Dallas-only special of 72-hour braised Wagyu beef short ribs.
Desserts – like the fried milk, with fried pastry cream; chocolate milk mousse; milk sherbet; and toasted milk crumbles – are equally creative.
Insider Tip: The restaurant keeps around 40% of its tables open for walk-ins.
Lucia's semolina gnocchi with mushrooms — Photo courtesy of Evans Caglage / Lucia
Area foodies can't get enough of David and Jennifer Uygur's tiny 36-seat trattoria. So much so that landing a reservation usually requires months of planning and a bit of luck.
Along with oodles of rustic charm, Lucia serves some of the most inventive Italian cuisine in the city. Diners can expect to find an ever-changing menu of everything from handmade spaghetti with sea urchin butter to rye tagliatelle with braised lamb and Wagyu beef with truffles.
As for dessert, the milk chocolate panna cotta with malt gelato is nothing short of genius.
Insider Tip: Lucia saves four counter seats overlooking the kitchen for walk-ins and posts last minute cancellations on its social media.
FT33's windy meadows chicken with coconut, basil, tomato and green papaya — Photo courtesy of Kevin Marple / FT33
James Beard Award semifinalist Matt McCallister redefined Dallas' culinary landscape when he opened FT33 back in 2012. Since then, the restaurant has evolved into one of Dallas' top culinary gems, with an ever-growing list of accolades to prove it.
The menu, which is known to change by the minute, shines with imaginative and eye-popping creations ranging from lamb tartare with sumac, pears and preserved lemon to ricotta gnocchi with wild onion, walnuts and aerated raclette cheese.
The best way to indulge your taste buds is to reserve the nine-course tasting menu in advance.
Insider Tip: The restaurant offers an unadvertised five-course tasting menu with smaller versions of selected a la carte items.
Gemma's black cod with purple coin potatoes, clams, fava beans and baby malabar spinach — Photo courtesy of Gemma Restaurant
Alison Yoder and Stephen Rogers’ Napa-inspired restaurant, Gemma, has been one of the most sought-after reservations in town ever since it opened in 2013. And for good reason. Everything from the service to the food is nothing short of spectacular.
The seasonal menu features modern American dishes that range from squid ink pasta with lobster, caviar and crème fraîche to wood-grilled Duroc pork chops with poached rhubarb.
Just like the food, the cocktails are also seasonal and equally sensational. Be sure to try the "Passionate Peruvian" with strawberry and Thai basil-infused Pisco Porton.
Insider Tip: The easiest way to land a table is to come after 9:30 p.m. and enjoy the restaurant's late-night menu.
Tei-An's flounder sashimi — Photo courtesy of Tei-An
5. Tei-An Soba House and Sushi
Scoring a reservation at Tei-An has been a challenge ever since it opened in 2008 – which is not surprising when you consider that its James Beard nominated chef and owner, Teiichi Sakurai, has been on the forefront of Dallas' Japanese food scene for over two decades!
The restaurant not only offers an incredible selection of Japanese fare like chrysanthemum flower tempura and crab-sea urchin risotto, but it also specializes in handcrafted soba noodles that come served with an assortment of dipping sauces.
When nothing less than the best will do, order the omakase (a chef’s choice tasting); it's one of the best dining experiences in the city.
Insider Tip: Tei-An saves some of the tables on the rooftop terrace for walk-ins.
Hibiscus' Windy Hill Farm goat brisket with Wadell's greens and jalapeño cornbread — Photo courtesy of Hibiscus
When it comes to charm, Hibiscus offers it up in spades. (Think stucco walls, vaulted ceilings and fireplaces.) But that's just part of what makes this farm-to-table restaurant so alluring.
The other part is the food, which is nothing short of spectacular.
The menu, devised by Executive Chef Graham Dodds, showcases a rotating lineup of dishes that ranges from house-made charcuterie to grilled goat brisket to a watermelon salad with octopus confit and oven-dried blueberries.
Desserts are also a particular delight. Be sure to order the heirloom carrot cake if it's on the menu.
Insider Tip: The best seats in the house are near one of the restaurant's two fireplaces.
Fearing's Wagyu beef fillet and chicken fried Maine lobster duo — Photo courtesy of Fearing's
Dallas has long had a love affair with celebrity chef Dean Fearing, whose modern take on Southwestern cuisine has earned him numerous accolades over the years. And his eponymous restaurant Fearing's in The Ritz-Carlton doesn't disappoint.
Fearing and his chef de cuisine Eric Dreyer turn out an impressive repertoire of dishes that range from barbecue shrimp tacos to chicken-fried lobster and sorghum-glazed antelope sirloin.
Be sure to order a bowl of Fearing's signature tortilla soup. But leave room for dessert: the dark chocolate stack layered with cherry whipped cream is wickedly good.
Insider Tip: You can enjoy a meal in the Rattlesnake Bar without a reservation.
Stephan Pyles' bone-in cowboy ribeye with red chile onion rings and pinto-crimini mushroom ragout — Photo courtesy of Stephan Pyles
8. Stephan Pyles
James Beard Award-winning chef Stephan Pyles made his name three decades ago when he transformed Dallas' dining scene with his revolutionary style of Southwestern cooking.
And his award-winning namesake restaurant is a shining example as to why he's still considered one of the city's top toques.
The menu showcases what Pyles refers to as "new millenium Southwestern cuisine," with dishes drawing influences from Texas, South America and Spain, as well as the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Examples include everything from coconut tuna ceviche with candied lime to Moroccan-style rack of lamb and cowboy ribeyes topped with red chile onion rings.
To drink? The restaurant's signature chili passion margarita is a must.
Insider Tip: The restaurant offers drink specials, plus half-price ceviche, flatbreads and bar snacks between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily.
CBD Provisions' signature Berkshire pig's head carnitas with roasted tomatillo salsa — Photo courtesy of Mei-Chun Jau / CBD Provisions
9. CBD Provisions
CBD Provisions – a modern Texas-style brasserie – has been wowing diners and restaurant critics alike since it opened in The Joule Hotel in late 2013.
Executive Chef Richard Blankenship turns out an inventive farm-to-table menu of mostly sharable items like crispy goat belly with sambal and a Szechuan-style rooster leg with hot chili oil and green garlic.
Don't miss the restaurant's signature dish: a roasted pig's head that's served up on a platter with house-made tomatillo salsa and corn tortillas.
Insider Tip: After dinner, head downstairs to the Midnight Rambler for a "Savory Hunter" – a cocktail with lemongrass and kaffir lime-infused gin.
Twenty-Seven's caramelized Nantucket bay scallops with polenta, black trumpets, pickled seabeans, smoked trout roe and turmeric oil — Photo courtesy of Thomas Mosley / Twenty-Seven
Crowds have been lining up to get into Twenty-Seven, an intimate 27-seat gastronomic den that was recently opened by underground dining king David Anthony Temple.
The vibe is laid-back, the service is top-notch and the daily changing six-course tastings and a la carte menu offer items ranging from a chicken dish ("Marijuana Chicken") with green curry and hemp seeds to saffron risotto with crab and pickled ramp.
Every Saturday night at 11:30, the place transforms into a speakeasy-style lounge with Prohibition-style cocktails and live music.
Insider Tip: The restaurant offers half-price cocktails and wine on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.