Have a hankering for tacos? Then you can't go wrong with this cult taco joint whose following even includes several of Dallas' most renown chefs. Here, you can dig into around twenty different taco options, ranging from spicy chicken tikka and ahi poke tuna to Nashville hot tofu. While tacos may be the main draw, don't overlook side dishes like the crispy tots loaded up with two kinds of cheese, bacon and fried eggs. Wash it all down with a "kick-ass margarita," or craft beer. Craving a late night snack? No problem, Velvet Taco stays open until 2 a.m on weekdays and until 4 a.m. on weekends.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Velvet Taco churns out some of the most inventive tacos in Dallas.
Ilene's expert tip: On Mondays, from 10 a.m.-- Velvet Taco runs a 1/2 price deal on its backdoor chicken dinners. For $10, you get a whole roasted chicken, a side of corn elotes, corn pico de gallo and 6 corn or flour tortillas.
If you're looking for a lively atmosphere, great food and friendly service, then look no further than this Mediterranean-inspired bistro which has been churning out some of the city's best Greek specialties since 1994. The menu includes mainstays like souvlaki, spanokopita, moussaka, gyros and saganaki as well as a rack of lamb, Greek paella and grilled fish. But the best time to hit this spot is during weekend brunch (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) when you can snag an unlimited Greek buffet of breakfast and lunch options plus a complimentary mimosa or champagne for around $25. Now that's what we call a sweet deal. Speaking of sweet, don't leave without trying the baklava ice cream cake.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Ziziki's is the best place to go when you're with friends who like to share.
Ilene's expert tip: Score $5 appetizers plus well-drinks, select wine and beer during Happy Hour, 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Ziziki's also has locations in North Dallas, Plano and Frisco.
The folks behind this popular brasserie have created a mini-empire off their take on Pan-Latin specialties, operating several locations throughout the metroplex. The menu features everything from Argentinean empanadas and unique sandwiches served on Peruvian pan de yema to street tacos and tequila-guava baby back ribs. And the Latin vibe doesn't stop with food, there's also an equally superb lineup of libations (think mojito martinis, South American wines and hand-crushed limonadas). If you've got a serious sweet tooth, you may want to skip the meal and just come for dessert, the cuatro leches cake, smothered in caramelized Swiss meringue--is legendary. Also legendary is the weekend brunch. Just make sure to call ahead and add your name to the wait list to avoid the line.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: La Duni is the best place to go for unusual Latin-inspired offerings and phenomenal pastries.
Ilene's expert tip: Happy Hour is offered every day from 4 to 6:30 p.m. and then again from 9 p.m. to close.
With all the de rigueur trappings of a proper bistro--Café Toulouse would sit just as comfortably on the Left Bank of Paris (or perhaps in the center of Toulouse) as it does in Dallas. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the menu features all the classics, from escargots to Croque madames to frog legs, duck confit and bouillabaisse. All of which can be complemented by the extensive selection of wines. Soufflé is a must, just be sure to order it in advance. Try to snag a seat on the terrace-- it's the best spot to catch all the action along the Katy Trail.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Toulouse Cafe boasts one of the best people-watching patios on Knox Street.
Ilene's expert tip: Toulouse offers $5 wine by the glass as well as select menu items for under $10 during Happy Hour, 3-6 p.m., Monday -Friday.
This rustic Italian gem is massively popular, and for good reason: the prices are reasonable and there's something on the menu for just about everyone, even gluten-adverse diners (yes, they do gluten-free pizza and pasta). The restaurant is part of a burgeoning empire by long-time Dallas restaurateur Alberto Lombardi, who also has Toulouse Cafe next door. Risotto (offered up in six different variations) is a specialty as are the wood-fired pizzas. But the menu also covers everything from antipasti to housemade pasta, beef tenderloin and pan-seared fish. Whatever you do, be sure to start with focaccia and end with the homemade cannelloni or tiramisu.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Taverna is the best place in the neighborhood for Italian food, plus they offer a terrific gluten-free menu too.
Ilene's expert tip: Taverna's Happy Hour features drink specials and discounted appetizers and pizzas, from 4-7 p.m., Sunday through Friday.
For over twenty-five years, this endlessly buzzing tapas joint has been the destination of choice for area Hispanophiles. However, the downside of its unceasing popularity means that it's always packed, but the payoff is worth the wait. The menu boasts everything from classic tapas dishes like patatas bravas and tortilla Española to specialties such as Andalusian meatballs and grilled ribeyes topped with blue cheese. Highlights include paella (24-hours advanced notice), an extensive Spanish sherry list, and a saffron pudding with orange blossom-almond crumble. Expect to find live jazz and flamenco guitar on offer Monday through Thursday nights.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Cafe Madrid is the best and most reasonably priced Spanish restaurant in Dallas.
Ilene's expert tip: Cafe Madrid offers live music nightly and awesome Happy Hours, Monday-Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring $5 sangria, house wine, cava cocktails and beer-- as well as a selection of mini tapas for $2-$3.50 each.
An instant hit since opening in 2017, this casually chic brasserie comes from the owners of the neighboring French restaurant, Le Bilboquet. The all-day menu covers everything from avocado toasts with caviar to Hamachi croque madames, grilled whole red snapper and lamb chops. Speaking of caviar, they have a special menu for that too. And the wine list, with around twenty selections available by the glass, isn't too shabby either. Oh, and there's even a cocktail, appropriately named "Millionaire's Club, made with Balcones bourbon, gold flakes and saffron. Did we mention they crank out a ridiculously good burger as well?
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Up On Knox the best choice in the neighborhood for fresh seafood.
Ilene's expert tip: Specials on bar bites and $6 cocktails are on offer during Happy Hour, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday
This Henderson Avenue Japanese joint, tucked in behind a Zen garden, has a reputation larger than its compact-sized digs. Which makes scoring a table difficult without a booking. But if you're lucky there may be a spare stool at the bar where you can watch the robata masters grilling up everything from the whole branzino to Washu steak and Iwashi sardines. Along with charcoal and hot rock cooking, Tei Tei serves up a slew of raw options, most of which is shipped in daily from Japan. Be sure to give the saké list a proper look too, there are around 20 well-curated options to choose from.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Tei Tei Robata Bar has been a local favorite since 1998.
Ilene's expert tip: Tei Tei features live DJs on Friday and Saturday nights from 8-11 p.m.
Since opening in late 2013, Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers' charming Napa-inspired restaurant has continued to be one the most sought-after reservations in town--and for good reason. The restaurant is comfortably chic, and the food is nothing short of spectacular. The seasonal menu showcases everything from oysters on the half-shell and Spanish-style clams to a variety of wood-grilled meats, fresh fish and house-made pasta. Just as enticing are the late-night options which are offered from 10:30 to 1 a.m. when the restaurant is open. Don't overlook the drinks list, the cocktails are worthy of a visit on their own. Heads up: There are usually seats available at the bar for walk-ins.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Gemma is one of Dallas' hottest meal tickets and offers a great late night dining menu.
Ilene's expert tip: Gemma offers $7 cocktails and wine-by-the-glass along with $2 oysters on the half shell during reverse Happy Hour, from 10:30 p.m.-midnight Sundays & Tuesdays-Thursdays; and from 10:30 p.m.-1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Arguably the buzziest restaurant in the area is this New York-inspired neighborhood bistro by Dallas F&B veteran Greg Katz, which has been playing to a packed house since opening in March 2019. The menu runs the gambit from charred Spanish octopus and ceviche tostadas to chicken schnitzel, lamb chops and grilled steaks. Don't sleep on Jewish-inspired dishes like matzo ball soup and potato latkes. The dry-aged double cheeseburger is also a standout. Cocktails are excellent, and there's a thoughtful wine list that includes around seventeen selections by the glass. Though they keep much of the dining room available for walk-in guests, it's still advised to book ahead, unless you don't mind waiting two hours for a table.
Recommended for Knox-Henderson's Best Restaurants because: Beverley's is where to go when you fancy a casual, but vibrant atmosphere paired with an approachable menu of upscale bistro fare.
Ilene's expert tip: Sunday is the best time to get a seat without a reservation. Weekend brunch service begins the first of June.