One of the city's most popular Tex-Mex restaurants, Primo's, is being resurrected, with a slight name change and new owners in the same space it held for nearly three decades before it closed in 2013. Opening in October, the new spot will showcase dishes from the border of Texas to Southern Mexico, with items ranging from fried jalapeños stuffed with house-smoked chicken and Aasadero cheese to enchiladas and chili dusted beef tenderloin. Also be on the lookout for freshly flown in seafood such as langoustines, scallops from Georges Bank and Bar Harbor mussels. As far as boozy options go, expect to find Primo's legendary margaritas alongside contemporary cocktails like the Anillo de Fuego with serrano-infused Blanco Tequila, pineapple, lime juice and Canela bitters. As an added bonus, the restaurant will offer late-night eats on weekends.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: If the new Primo's is anything like the old Primo's, it will be one of the most action-packed restaurants on McKinney when it reopens.
Ilene's expert tip: Primo's will have valet parking or you can also leave your car in the nearby West Village parking garage, it's only a five-minute walk from there.
If craft cocktails and shareable plates with a side of bocce ball sound like a winning combination to you, then this new 20,000-square-foot restaurant and bar is your spot. Opening August 30 at Addison's Village on the Parkway, Sidecar Social offers all the above and more. To eat, there's something for everyone, ranging from smoked burnt end nachos to wood-oven flatbreads, burgers, grilled salmon and steak. Standout cocktails include an Elderflower Paloma and a Strawberry Basil Bees Knees. On the entertainment side, expect to find classic games like shuffleboard, darts, foosball, cornhole and ping pong. The best thing? They're all free to play. Oh, and there's also live band karaoke on Wednesdays, live musical acts Thursday through Saturday, three 18-foot TVs for game-watching and a massive tree-shaded patio.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: Sidecar Social is for those who want to take their dining experience to a more active level.
Ilene's expert tip: Daily drink specials include $5 craft cocktails on Tuesdays and $5 martinis on Wednesdays as well as half-price wine and happy hour drinks from open until 6 p.m. on weekdays.
Opened this past July in Dallas' Historic West End is this Thai-centric, fast-casual bistro from Tony Street, who also is the managing partner at neighboring Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, and his wife, Jab Srikaij. The menu, which showcases everything from corn patties to satays, dumplings, noodles, rice dishes and assorted curries, represents the kind of Thai comfort food Srikaij grew up with and cooked while she was the chef at the former Toy's Cafe in Oak Lawn. In case you were wondering about the bistro part, they also offer handmade-to-order crepes, shakes, bubble waffles, pastries, Boba tea plus a lineup of espresso and lattes.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: Family Thais is the best place to get a takeaway Thai fix in downtown Dallas.
Ilene's expert tip: Half price wine is on offer from 5-9 p.m. every Wednesday.
In early August, the former Knox-Henderson stalwart Abacus was transformed into Jasper's Uptown, a more casual endeavor by the same restaurant group which also operates Jasper's restaurants in Richardson and The Woodlands, Texas. The kitchen, led by previous Abacus exec chef Chad Bowden, dishes out everything from Texas venison chili to slow-smoked baby back ribs and hardwood grilled pork tenderloin alongside cast-iron sides like crispy ranch Brussel sprouts and aged gouda mac-n-cheese. Fans of Abacus will be happy to know that Jasper's has included the restaurant's signature lobster shooters on the new menu.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: Jasper's is a great place for upscale grilled specialties and craft cocktails.
Ilene's expert tip: Jasper's offers happy hour daily from 4-7 p.m. in the bar and on the patio. Specials include $7 local craft beer and $9 wine and cocktails plus a selection of $8 bar snacks.
Opened August 21, this sleek, modern ramen joint on lower Greenville Avenue comes by way of Masao Kuribara, a fourth-generation chef and restaurateur whose family boasts a 134-year history in the restaurant business in Tokyo. The specialty here is dashi-based ramen rather than the more commonly found pork-bone-based tonkatsu. Expect to see a succinct menu featuring shiitake-vegan ramen and miso-dashi-chicken ramen as well as the restaurant's eponymous ramen, which comes garnished with Cchashu pork, bamboo shoots and a marinated soft-cooked egg. Aside from ramen, there are a few starters on offer, including fried soy-glazed shishito peppers topped with dried bonito flakes and fried Hiroshima oysters. Drink wise, find a curated list of sake, wine, Japanese whiskey and Japanese beer. There are also three other Hinodeya locations in San Francisco.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: Hinodeya Ramen & Bar has a huge following in California, where folks are known to wait an hour or longer just to get in.
Ilene's expert tip: Look for the entrance to be on Bell Street. The restaurant only takes walk-ins only, reservations are not accepted. There is a free parking lot as well as a complimentary valet behind the restaurant.
Marketing exec-slash-pop-up pitmaster pro-Brandon Hurtado is trading his barbecue trailer for permanent digs at Arlington's up-and-coming Urban Union district come the first of November. Which is not only good news to the legions of fans who've been lining up for Hurtado's unique style of Texican or Tex-Mex barbecue every weekend for the past five months, but also for 'cue aficionados in general. The meats, cooked over a mix of post-oak and pecan in an offset smoker, include everything from brisket, prime beef ribs and house-made sausages to mango habanero beef belly burnt ends, smoked tri-tip and Texas quail. It's not only meats that are a draw here. Equally compelling are Hurtado's artisanal sides like charred Mexican street corn topped with lime crema and cotija and hatch chile mac and cheese. Pair that with Mexican beer and wine, a dog-friendly patio plus a stage for live music performances and you've got a spot destined to be one of the best BBQ places in the metroplex.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: Hurtado Barbecue is one of the only places in the metroplex doing Tex-Mex-style craft barbecue.
Ilene's expert tip: Until the restaurant opens, you can find Hurtado's food truck operating on the east side of the new restaurant every weekend from 11 a.m. until sold out.
After a two- and half-year stint in his homeland of Israel, Chef Avner Samuel has returned to launch the fourth iteration of his highly acclaimed restaurant, Nosh Bistro, which opened in North Dallas on August 13. On offer is a widespread menu that traverses the world and includes dishes like tableside prepared tortilla soup; sweet potato gnocchi with broccolini, walnuts and sage goatmilk butter; and za'atar crusted ahi tuna. The globally inspired cuisine is equally matched by a worldly wine list that features around 150 types of wine (including 30 options by the glass), spanning America, South America, Europe, Spain, France and Israel. The chic, midcentury designed space also includes a 12-seat chef's tasting table, where diners can look into an open kitchen as well as a lovely patio serving an all-day menu of small bites.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: Nosh is where to find some of the city's most creative Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.
Ilene's expert tip: Nosh offers cooking classes for adults and children on alternating Saturdays. They also offer complimentary valet parking.
Inspired by the glamour of the southern coast of Europe, this stunning Mediterranean-chic restaurant landed in the Bishop Arts District on August 23. Paradiso is part of a trifecta of establishments (the Botanist cocktail bar and Good Companions coffee house) by Exxir Hospitality, all of which line an equally beautiful alfresco space. House-made pasta, wood-fired pizzas and mains such as grilled branzino are all featured here, but what makes this place even more unique is that diners can choose apps like oysters on the half shell and fried baby artichoke hearts from a roving bar cart while they wait for their food. The drinks list includes natural wines, beer and Italian-influenced cocktails like the Ciao Bella with strawberry-infused Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and prosecco. Desserts are worth saving space for.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: Paradiso is where to go for reasonably priced Italian food in a gorgeous setting.
Ilene's expert tip: Customers can sit in the courtyard and order drinks from sibling bar, the Botanist. Happy Hour is also in the plans. There's a valet as well as free parking in a nearby garage.
After eight years in the planning, Dallas chef Justin Holt and the folks behind acclaimed restaurants, Lucia and Macellaio, have finally opened Salaryman, a hip, a 1000-square-foot izakaya in Bishop Arts. Best known for his wildly popular ramen pop-ups, Holt's menu features two ramen dishes plus a nice selection of yakiniku and yakitori, which range from grilled sweetbreads and Japanese sausages to almost every part of the chicken. All the meats and vegetables are grilled over a special Japanese charcoal called Binchotan, and everything from the fermented plums used in cocktails to the miso, soy sauce, togarashi and ketchup is made in-house. Oh, and in case you're wondering about the inspiration behind the name, it's a line from Anthony Bourdain's field notes in Parts Unknown: "Pity the salaryman, Tokyo's willing cog in an enormous machine requiring long hours, low pay, total dedication."
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: Salaryman is the perfect place for small groups of friends who like to share.
Ilene's expert tip: No reservations are taken, but diners can wait in the bar at Macellaio next door until their table is ready. There's valet parking as well as several free parking lots around the corner.
Perhaps the most anticipated restaurant opening of the year is this gorgeous American brasserie in Oak Cliff by prominent Dallas chef Graham Dodds and restauranteurs, A.J. Gilbert and Martha Madison. Housed in a century-old Victorian home that once belonged to former Dallas Mayor George Sergeant, the 120-seat restaurant boasts multiple dining enclaves, a large fireplace plus an extended patio complete with a garden where some of the restaurant's produce will be grown. Much of the menu is derived from Dodds' personal experiences, including the fish and chips he ate while growing up in the UK. Expect to also find dishes like cacio e pepe made with root vegetable pasta, wiener schnitzel, steak frites, and whole duck carnitas served with handmade tortillas and salsa. Keep an eye out for traditional Sunday roasts with prime rib and Yorkshire pudding. The restaurant is slated to open at the end of September.
Recommended for Best Restaurants for Fall because: The Mayor's House is the only Dallas restaurant located in a historic Victorian mansion.
Ilene's expert tip: There are a kid's menu and free parking behind the restaurant. The restaurant is also located on the Dallas Streetcar line.