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10 Tasty Destinations For Your Dallas Dining Bucket List



Looking for delicious ways to explore Dallas? You’re in luck– locals consider eating out as much a national pastime as watching football. And as such, the city is home to a flourishing dining scene with enough terrific culinary options to satisfy any craving and budget. The only problem you'll have is trying to narrow down which ones to choose. 

In the mood for handmade pasta, salumi platters and finely crafted regional specialties? Then look no further than Lucia in Bishop Arts. Reservations are practically impossible, but once you get in, you'll understand why. Ditto for Nonna, a cozy neighborhood eatery off Oak Lawn that excels at neo-Italian fare like gourmet pizzas, pastas and wood-fired meats.

Of course, when it comes to the best, it's impossible not to mention the city's most acclaimed, upscale dining destinations. First up is Flora Street Cafe, the latest creation of chef Stephan Pyles. Located in the Dallas Arts District, the restaurant serves sumptuous elevated Texas-inspired dishes that look like they belong on the wall of a museum. Over in Uptown is where another of Dallas' star chefs, Dean Fearing, can be found. His namesake restaurant in the Ritz Carlton is famous for its modern take on southwestern cuisine.

And although Dallas is not widely considered the barbecue capital of Texas, Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum certainly has done its share to put the city firmly on the BBQ map. Come for the ribs and house-made sausages, but stay for the brisket, it can hold its own against any in the state.

There's also everything from modern Japanese to locally sourced seasonal fare and sophisticated steaks. In short, if you’re looking for a great meal, you’ve come to the right place.


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Pecan Lodge
Photo courtesy of Pecan Lodge


Dallas is filled with barbecue joints, but none can compare with the smoky goodness coming out of this rustic barbecue haven. Pecan Lodge's 'cue is so good that Texas Monthly named it one of the top BBQ joints in the state, and Food Network's Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Here, people line up daily just to get their fix of house-made sausages, mesquite smoked brisket and mouthwatering ribs. They also churn out fab fried chicken and sublime sides. And if you haven't tried the hot mess, a sweet potato stuffed with shredded brisket,chipotle cream cheese, butter and green onions– then you've really been missing out. There's also Aunt Polly's banana pudding--get that too.


Nonna
Photo courtesy of Instagram user 361_k2thaj


With a serious reputation for homemade pasta, wood-fired specialties and wicked desserts, it's no surprise that locals consider this handsome pocket-sized trattoria to be one of the top restaurants in town. Just be prepared, getting a table in the intimate dining room is unlikely without a booking, but if you're lucky there may be a spare seat in the bar. Chef/owner Julian Barsotti whips up a seasonally inspired roster of modern Italian fare, which includes the likes of everything from tagliatelle with white truffles to Neapolitan style pizzas and a drool-worthy duck breast with fennel crema. However, it's Barsotti's lobster ravioli, featuring paper thin pasta pockets stuffed with Maine lobster, that clearly steals the show. A well thought out Italian wine list, and desserts--think persimmon cheese cake with caramel or praline nougatine semifreddo-- seal the deal.


SER Steak + Spirits
Photo courtesy of SER Steak + Spirits


With its location on the twenty-seventh floor of the Hilton Anatole hotel, the views from SER (pronounced sear) are, as you might expect, stunning. And if the views alone don't wow you, then the black angus tomahawk encrusted with smoked blue cheese surely will. Carnivores can also find everything from elk loins, bison and aged prime rib-eyes to pork rib and rack of lamb. And the kitchen hits the mark when it comes to apps: Think house-made charcuterie, deconstructed Caesar salads and deviled eggs with Akaushi beef tartar and smoked trout roe. Don't overlook the striped bass with red rice grits either. Wines are well-chosen and the handcrafted cocktails are worth exploring as well. Ditto for the desserts— there's a creme brulee panna cotta, with burnt sugar crystals, pistachio dust and pistachio ice cream, calling your name.


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Wayward Sons
Photo courtesy of Wayward Sons Facebook

This rustically-modern eatery, with a menu majoring in inventive farm-to-table fare– has been making waves with locals ever since it landed on Greenville Avenue at the end of 2015. Which isn't really surprising since the kitchen is headed up by one of the city's top chefs (and part owner), Graham Dodds, the same guy who put Henderson Avenue's Hibiscus restaurant on the foodie map. While the menu changes often, depending on the chef's local finds (some of which he harvests from his urban garden on the patio), expect to see everything from smoked lamb brisket with sweet onion purée and hominy flapjacks topped with braised pork to showstopping vegetarian dishes like a charcuterie board featuring lentil sausage and foie gras made with sunchoke puree. It's just as well that portions are large enough to share as you'll undoubtedly have a difficult time choosing just a few. Whatever you do, be sure to kick start your meal with one of the signature Wayward Son cocktails– made with gin, chartreuse and jalapeno.


Tei-An Soba House and Sushi
Photo courtesy of Ilene Jacobs


Getting a table at this Dallas Arts District hot spot has been a challenge ever since it opened in 2008. Understandably so, as Tei-An is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Dallas. And its chef/owner, Teiichi Sakurai, has been a James Beard nominee several years in a row. The restaurant's elegant and serene setting bodes well for Sakurai's array of imaginative dishes. Along with a selection of exceptional sushi and sashimi, the menu features a host of specialties, including a delicious white seaweed salad, crab and uni risotto and shungiku(edible chrysanthemums)tempura. Be sure to try one of the soba dishes, it's the restaurant's specialty. The soba with duck broth, duck meatballs and poached egg is divine. End on a sweet note with soba ice cream and black honey.


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Fearing's
Photo courtesy of Fearing's


Dallas has long had a love affair with celeb chef Dean Fearing-- whose modern take on Southwestern cuisine has earned him numerous accolades over the years, including a James Beard Award for best chef of the Southwest. Here at his namesake restaurant in the swanky Ritz Carlton, Fearing and his chef de cuisine Eric Dreyer turn out hits like wood grilled pork tenderloin glazed with sorghum, mesquite grilled salmon with peach barbecue glaze, and of course, Fearing's signature tortilla soup. The dining experience is all the more enhanced by the restaurant's seven distinctive indoor and outdoor settings-- including a formal room with chandeliers and soaring eighteen-foot ceilings; an intimate wine cellar; and a romantic glass pavilion. If you plan it right, you can snag a seat in Dean's Kitchen where you can have a ringside view of the action and perhaps a chat with the exuberant Fearing himself.


Uchi Dallas
Photo courtesy of Erica Wilkins


The hype surrounding James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole's Austin-based sushi paradise hasn't diminished in the least since it landed in Dallas the summer of 2015. And as such, getting a reservation here can be a challenge. Fortunately, the restaurant does try to keep around 40% of its tables available to walk-ins. But make no mistake, the place definitely lives up to its stellar reputation and it's not just the sushi that's creating a stir among area foodies. At the helm, chef Nilton "Junior" Borges, Jr. is turning out some of the most bedazzling Japanese fare in town-- think Akami Crudo with pickled ramps, pumpkin seeds and iberico lardo; nigiri with seared foie gras and Hirame Usuzukuri, a sashimi of flounder with candied quinoa. It's not just the raw delicacies that are tempting diner's taste buds. Dishes like farm duck with matsutake mushrooms and persimmon, 72-hour braised Wagyu beef short ribs and oak-grilled escolar with candied citrus are equally inspiring. Be sure to save room for the fried milk dessert, folks say it's nothing short of a revelation.


FT33
Photo courtesy of Kevin Marple


Named by Bon Appétit as one of the Top 50 New Restaurants of 2013-- FT33 (restaurant lingo for "fire table" number 33) was already creating a buzz before it opened late in 2012. The restaurant is the brainchild of James Beard Award semi-finalist Matt McCallister, whose ingredient driven ethos and cutting-edge cuisine has redefined Dallas' culinary landscape. The sleek industrial decor with its exhibition kitchen serves as a showcase for McCallister's eye-popping plates. And though the menu may change by the hour, depending on what's been foraged or sourced that day, you can expect to find dishes that range from salads of wheat berries, nettles, radishes and wild watercress to main courses of ricotta gnocchi with wild onion, walnuts and aerated raclette cheese. Desserts, like a salted chocolate sable with iced milk and mint chocolate cream—are equally sublime.


Lucia Dallas
Photo courtesy of Evans Caglage


If you ask any discerning foodie which is the hottest restaurant in town, they'll point you to David and Jennifer Uygur's rustically charming 36-seat Bishop Arts trattoria. But be warned, the place is so popular that you have to either book two months in advance or try your luck at scoring one of the counter seats saved for walk-ins. The focus is on Italian home cooking, with a rotating menu full of regional must-haves, ranging from house-cured meats and fresh crudo to handmade pastas, wild game and seafood. Expect to find selections like spaghetti with sea urchin butter and Wagyu beef with celery root and truffles. Be sure to order a few of the foie-gras-stuffed prunes to start. And for dessert-- the milk chocolate panna cotta with sanguinaccio and malt gelato-- is nothing short of genius.


Flora Street Cafe
Photo courtesy of Flora Street Cafe

Trying to get a table at this sleek Dallas Arts District restaurant (especially at dinnertime) can be tricky. Which is no surprise, as this is the new flagship restaurant from James Beard Award winning chef Stephan Pyles. And though it may be one of the most beautiful restaurants in the area (think: walls of glass with dazzling views of the Meyerson Symphony Center) you'll probably be too distracted by the Instagram-worthy dishes to notice. But the pretty presentation is only part of the story: Good flavor combinations and cutting-edge cooking techniques are also in play here. Showcasing elevated Texas cuisine, the menu offers up everything from pork barbacoa tacos and lobster tamales to coffee-and-brown sugar marinated Wagyu rib-eye steaks. The wine list is of a caliber to match the food as are the inventive cocktails. Don't skip dessert, not-to-be-missed is the chocolate sponge cake with hazelnut cream.


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Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene

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