Best Restaurants in Dallas

The 10 best restaurants in the Dallas area to try right now

Looking for delicious ways to explore the Dallas area? Well, you’ll be glad to know that despite the pandemic hurdles, the local food scene is flourishing with a diverse selection of culinary options to satisfy any craving and budget. So many, in fact, that it may be difficult to narrow down which ones to choose. On the list are old favorites like legendary Pecan Lodge barbecue and the buzzy Italian eatery, Lucia. The city has also welcomed some terrific newcomers, including Meridian, chef Junior Borges’ sleek spot in the Village development that showcases Brazilian cuisine with a decidedly contemporary spin.

And when it comes to the best list, we’d be remiss not to mention Fearing’s, one of Dallas' most acclaimed upscale dining destinations in the Ritz Carlton hotel.

From Italian, Mexican and New American to innovative Japanese and Vietnamese–in short, if you’re looking for a great meal you’ve come to the right place.


Pecan Lodge
Photo courtesy of Pecan Lodge

Featured on such shows as Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Man Fire Food, this Deep Ellum hot spot is as famous for its long lines as it is for its epic barbecue. But as they say, good things come to those who wait, and those good things include house-made sausages, mesquite smoked brisket, mouthwatering ribs and more. Try it all by ordering "The Trough," where you and four of your carnivore friends can dig into a feast of beef rib, pork ribs, brisket, pulled pork and sausage links. Don't get us started on the peach cobbler.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Multiple publications have ranked Pecan Lodge as one of the best barbecue joints in the state.

Ilene's expert tip: You can skip the lines by either dining at the bar or by ordering 5-lbs or more of meat at the express counter.

Read more about Pecan Lodge →

Meso Maya Downtown
Photo courtesy of Meso Maya

Set up in a landmark building on the edge of the Dallas Arts District, this sprawling cantina offers modern spins on interior Mexican cuisine. Specialties include dishes such as cochinita pibil (a Yucatan-style pork dish); Oaxacan mole, and Budin Azteca, a multilayered tortilla casserole that's similar to lasagna. It's also a good place to score standout enchiladas and tacos that come filled with everything from grilled Mahi-mahi to adobo marinated brisket. In a hurry? Then hit the taco-to-go window at La Ventana, situated adjacent to the restaurant's courtyard. The margaritas here are a must.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Meso Maya is a terrific family-friendly, group-friendly or even date night option when you want to hang out in downtown Dallas.

Ilene's expert tip: Bar snacks and drink specials are on offer during Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m. Valet is complementary to all Meso Maya guests.

Read more about Meso Maya Downtown →

Kenny's Wood Fired Grill
Photo courtesy of Kenny's Wood Fired Grill

Channeling a 1940's Chicago style chophouse, chef Kenny Bowers' eponymous restaurant proves that you don't have to break the bank for a supremely luscious piece of meat. Cooked over a hickory wood-burning grill, options include rib-eyes covered in garlicky mushrooms, NY strips topped with truffle butter, and filet mignons with Roquefort-bacon walnut butter. Also find burgers, steak sandwiches, ribs and a nice selection of seafood. The best part? Everything on the menu rings in at less than $40. Don't miss the martinis, they make them from a signature frozen tap system.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Kenny's is the best place to get high-quality steak and seafood without paying a high price for it.

Ilene's expert tip: Make sure to mention if you are celebrating a special occasion, there may be a surprise in store for you.

Read more about Kenny's Wood Fired Grill →

Uchi Dallas
Photo courtesy of Erica Wilkins

James Beard award-winning chef Tyson Cole's Austin-based sushi paradise has been a hot-ticket reservation since the restaurant opened near Uptown in 2015. And for good reason: The menu features an exquisite lineup of nigiri and sashimi as well as innovative takes on Japanese dishes. Fresh, high-quality ingredients shine with crowd-pleasers like thinly sliced flounder with candied quinoa, and oak-grilled escolar dressed in ponzu and citrus marmalade. The drinks list impresses as much as the food. Don't even think about skipping the fried milk for dessert. Pro tip: The restaurant keeps around 40% of its tables available to walk-ins, plus you can find many of the same menu items upstairs at Uchiba.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Uchi is where to go when you want to dine out at someplace trendy and indulge in inventive Japanese small plates.

Ilene's expert tip: For discounted bites and drinks, check out Uchi's happy hour, daily from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

Read more about Uchi Dallas →

Cafe Momentum
Photo courtesy of Ilene Jacobs

From its start, Cafe Momentum has had all the makings of a great restaurant: a relaxed ambiance, reasonable pricing, and creatively prepared food. But above all, this place doubles as a nonprofit that provides culinary training to at-risk youth. Featuring a seasonal New American menu, dishes run the gamut from house-made charcuterie platters to smoked fried chicken with all the fixings and coffee-rubbed, locally sourced NY strip. Drink-wise, there's a terrific selection of wine starting at $25 a bottle as well as craft beer. Also, because the staff is paid a living wage, any tip you wish to leave will be considered a donation to the restaurant's mission.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Cafe Momentum is a terrific, reasonably priced option for date night as well as a family get-together.

Ilene's expert tip: Complimentary valet parking is available in the parking garage adjacent to the restaurant.

Read more about Cafe Momentum →

Mot Hai Ba
Photo courtesy of Ilene Jacobs

Meaning 1-2-3 in Vietnamese, chef Peja Krsticthat's tiny Lakewood eatery has garnered rave reviews by local and national critics alike as a destination for first-rate cooking. The specialty is modern French Vietnamese cuisine, which translates to imaginative, colorful dishes such as steamed buns filled with braised brisket and topped with shallot marmalade; kimchi-foie gras dumplings; and a banana leaf wrapped grouper tossed with jasmine rice teaming with herbs, jicama, peanuts, and sweet lap cheong sausage. To drink? The Southern Buddhist, with hibiscus infused gin, citrus and lemoncello. Desserts like buttermilk beignets with chocolate ganache and coconut créme are also not to be missed.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Mot Hai Ba is the only place in the metroplex that features an inventive take on Vietnamese cuisine.

Ilene's expert tip: Score 20% off all wines, by the bottle or glass on Wednesdays. Note that this isn't a place for large groups. Also, it's best to reserve before coming.

Read more about Mot Hai Ba →

Photo courtesy of Fearing's

More than a decade in, celebrity chef Dean Fearing's eponymous restaurant in the swanky Uptown Ritz Carlton remains a consistent favorite with its sophisticated (yet unpretentious) vibe and locally sourced, modern Southwestern cuisine. The menu shuffles often but expect to find Fearing's legendary tortilla soup alongside everything from lobster tacos to wild game, fish, and wagyu steaks. Pro tip: 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. Save space for the banana pudding or anything chocolate.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: When you're in the mood for a bit of Texan-style glamour, Fearing's ticks all the boxes.

Ilene's expert tip: If you can't score a table in one of the main dining areas, you can enjoy a meal in the Rattlesnake Bar without a reservation.

Read more about Fearing's →

Photo courtesy of Tei-An

This sleek, moodily lit Dallas Arts District haunt has long been lauded as one of the city's best Japanese restaurants. Helmed by renowned chef Teiichi Sakurai, the extensive menu features an array of sushi and sashimi (flown in fresh from Kyushu, Japan) along with a variety of both raw and cooked dishes. Sakurai's specialty is hand-crafted soba noodles, which can be ordered cold or warm and come with an assortment of rich broths and sauces. The omakase (tasting menu), while not easy on the wallet, is the best way to experience all Tei-An has to offer. Don't skip dessert, the soba ice cream with black honey is worth saving space for. Did we mention the rooftop terrace?

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: When you want to venture beyond the usual sushi selections, Tei-An promises an tasteful experience on every plate.

Ilene's expert tip: Tei-An offers 3 omakase experiences, ranging from a pre-theatre 4-course for $80 (available the first hour of opening time) to a base omakase for $120 and a premium omakase for $250. All omakase dinners must be reserved at least three days ahead. Note that there is a self-parking garage as well as a valet available.

Read more about Tei-An →

Lucia Dallas
Photo courtesy of Evans Caglage

Arguably one of the best Italian eateries in the city has now reopened in the space that formerly housed sibling restaurant, Macellaio's. Which means, diners will not only find Lucia's rotating menu of house-cured meats, handmade pastas, wild game, and seafood, but also enjoy it all in larger digs complete with an al-fresco patio. The menu changes seasonally, but options may include dishes like risotto with beef cheek ragu, gremolata and bone marrow or a cold smoked Berkshire pork chop served on a bed of lentils with cotechino sausage and braised pork filled cabbage rolls. Must-tries include housemade charcuterie and foie-gras-stuffed prunes. Desserts are also worth pursuing.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Lucia is the place to go when you crave authentic Italian, but can't spare the time or dime to go to Italy.

Ilene's expert tip: There is a small parking lot behind the restaurant as well as a parking lot at the corner N. Bishop and 9th. Reservations open every day at 9 a.m., and all reservations must be made through the website. Also note that you can place your name on a wait list to be notified in the case of cancellations.

Read more about Lucia Dallas →

The Village Meridian
Photo courtesy of Meridian

Chef Junior Borges' sleek Brazilian restaurant has been a runaway hit since opening in the Village entertainment district last May. And it's easy to see why. Unlike typical rodizio-style steakhouses, Borges pays tribute to his cultural heritage by presenting a modernized version of his home country's diverse cuisine. Expect to find everything from Asian-inspired fluke tartare served with bonito cream and finger lime vinaigrette to piri piri chicken, wagyu picanha, and a superb wood-fired whole octopus with green garlic-chili vinaigrette. The best way to tackle the menu is to come with friends who like to share. Whatever you order, don't pass up the daily bread course.

Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Meridian is where to go when you want innovative Brazilian food and cocktails.

Ilene's expert tip: Score Happy Hour specials on select snacks, cocktails, wines by the glass and bottled beers from 4:30 to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Note that there is complimentary valet parking, just be sure to pick up a validation ticket when you dine. There is also self-parking available in the garage for $3.

Read more about The Village Meridian →


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