Dallas Does Lunch: 10 Tasty Spots For A Midday Munch

Life is too short to waste your lunch time eating tasteless fast food or boring sandwiches. And fortunately you don't have to, Dallas is home to some of the best lunch grub you could ask for. Need something fast and cheap? Perhaps a place where you can sit outside? Or is it a fine dining experience you're after? Fortunately in a city where dining out is a favorite past time, you've got plenty of delicious options.

In the mood for casual French fare? Then try Mercat Bistro, a bustling Parisian-style cafe in the up and coming Harwood District near Uptown. For exceptional Mexican fare, head over to Meso Maya, a rustically chic cantina housed in an old tortilla factory near downtown's Klyde Warren Park. If you want to actually eat in Klyde Warren Park, you can't find a better spot to dine alfresco than at Savor Gastropub, where the views are as spectacular as the food.

Have some extra time to spend or want to make it a memorable occasion? Then try to snag a table at Flora Street Cafe the Dallas Arts District. It's the newest culinary venture by famed chef and restaurateur Stephan Pyles.

And lunch in Big D can't get more classic than at the Zodiac, located on the 6th floor of the iconic flagship Neiman Marcus store downtown. The restaurant has been serving fine cuisine alongside complimentary consommé and popovers for over sixty years.

While you're on the lunching bandwagon, be sure check out the rest of 10Best's restaurant hit list.



Highland Park Soda Fountain
Photo courtesy of Highland Park Soda Fountain


This neighborhood institution has been serving griddled sandwiches and malted milks to generations of locals since 1912. It's even a favorite lunchtime spot for former first lady Laura Bush. The place was originally named the Highland Park Pharmacy, but the shop discontinued its drugstore operations in 2012 and changed its name to Highland Park Soda Fountain. Otherwise, nothing much has changed. Patrons still perch at the counter on swivel stools and soda jerks still crank out everything from classic sandwiches to phosphates, shakes, floats and ice cream sundaes. Oh, and did we mention their pimento grilled cheese is heavenly? Ditto for the chocolate malts.

ENO's Pizza Tavern
Photo courtesy of ENO's Pizza Tavern Facebook


Crisp, ultra-thin pizzas, killer toppings and a massive selection of craft brews, it's hard not to fall head over heels in love Eno's. Housed in a cozy historic building in the trendy Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff, Eno's is one of the best lunch spots for pizza lovers, where for $9.95 you can score a two-topping 8-inch pizza along with a Caesar salad or soup and a soda. But if you want to go a little fancier, move on to one of the specialty pies. Our favorite? The Pig Smiley, it's a sweet and spicy combo of ham, spicy sausage, pepperoni and local honey. Outside of the pizzas, Eno's cranks out salads, pastas and a short list of epic sandwiches options. Also, don't skip dessert: their Sundae Sack (a fully loaded ice cream sundae served in a chocolate sack) is amazing.

The Theodore
Photo courtesy of The Theodore


Credited with turning NorthPark Center into a dining destination, behold The Theodore-- (after Theodore Roosevelt)-- a handsome looker of a bar and eatery offering a slice of quintessential Americana-- both in terms of the food and the whimsical decor. The menu showcases reinvented American classics: think upscale burgers, club sandwiches, roasted pheasant salads, broiled lobster and beef Wellington. There's also an enticing selection of sharable plates which range from oysters and pizzas to sourdough toasts with toppings like white bean puree and ricotta cheese or horseradish-spiked egg salad. As well, expect to find fresh breads and dazzling desserts, like a mini baked Alaska-- coming from the restaurant's open-air bakery. As for the setting, the space boasts a series of rooms kitted out with hand-painted murals, vintage furniture and quirky knickknacks. Be sure to check out the specialty cocktails (they're named after national parks). The frozen Everglades (Ca�a Brava Rum, green chartreuse, celery, lime and ginger pop rocks) really hits the spot after a long day of shopping.

Meso Maya Downtown
Photo courtesy of Meso Maya


From top-shelf margaritas to a cracking selection of Mexican fare— everything at this sprawling downtown cantina is blow-your-mind delicious. Sure, they've got terrific enchiladas and tacos here, but the interior Mexican specialties (think Cochinita Pibil, a yucatan-style pork dish braised in citrus and achiote; and Budin Azteca, a Mexican take on lasagna)—are also worth your attention. And, oh, speaking of tacos, there's a taco-to-go window (La Ventana) adjacent to the restaurant that serves burritos, quesadillas, salads and tacos— loaded with everything from chunks of braised pork to beef tongue. Did we mention that they crank out awesome margaritas too?

Uncle Uber's Sammich Shop
Photo courtesy of Uncle Uber's Sammich Shop


The sandwich artists at this funky mom and pop shop crank out some of the finest things between sliced bread, or in this case-- grilled sourdough, baguettes and buns. The rotating menu of sandwiches includes everything from sinfully delicious Cubans and shaved rib-eyes to a veggie bahn mi (BunMi) and melt-in-your-mouth slow-roasted pork. If you want to pig out, ask for the piggly wiggly-- a burger topped with cheddar, bacon, slow-roasted pork, pickles, onions and secret sauce. Equally epic are Uber's hand-cut fries with house-made habanero ranch. There's also a stellar selection of craft and regional brews to wash it all down with. Better still, Uncle Ubers hosts an array of nightly events, ranging from live music to trivia nights.

Pecan Lodge
Photo courtesy of Pecan Lodge


Dallas may be filled with barbecue joints, but not many come close to delivering the smoky goodness that this legendary barbecue haven does. In fact, the 'cue at Pecan Lodge is so good that Texas Monthly named it one of the top BBQ joints in the state, which, considering the fierce competition, is saying something. Naturally, with all the fame this place has garnered, you'll probably encounter a line to get in, but it's worth the wait for the restaurant's signature Hot Mess (a sea salt-crusted sweet potato loaded with shredded brisket, chipotle cream cheese, butter and green onions) alone. That goes ditto for the Pitmaster (brisket, pulled pork, sausage, slaw and jalapenos loaded into a fluffy bun) which is the best thing you'll ever eat between two buns. And if you still have the need to feed, there's Aunt Polly's banana pudding.

Mercat Bistro
Photo courtesy of Mercat Bistro


If you want somewhere more French than this Uptown eatery, you'll need to hop a flight over to Paris. And though it bills itself as a European contemporary bistro–everything about Mercat– from the menu items scrawled across the mirrors over the bar to the snug marble tabletops and charming retro decor is decidedly and gloriously Gallic. And ditto for most of the offerings, which run the gamut from charcuterie, steak tartare and salad Lyonnaise to grilled branzino and cote de boeuf. That's not to mention the sinfully delicious croques and burgers that can be had during lunch. Or the house-made pastries and lobster eggs Benedict they crank out for breakfast and brunch. And of course, you can't miss the desserts either. There's a shooter tray, with tiramisu, chocolate mousse, lemon curd custard and white chocolate panna cotta– that's calling your name.

Savor Gastropub
Photo courtesy of Savor Gastropub


With its sweeping views of Klyde Warren Park and the Dallas Arts District, this glass-encased jewel box is a spectacular dining destination, if only for the setting alone. But there's more to Savor than what meets the eyes. Seasonally inspired dishes, ranging from lobster and Comté cheese fritters to braised short ribs with smoked pecan gremolata— are surefire stunners, too. And for alfresco lunching, you couldn't pick a more ideal spot than the awesome outdoor seating area, complete with misters and fire pits. With a daytime menu ranging from casual fare (think sloppy Joe grilled cheese, open-faced croques and Nicoise salads) to pasta, seafood and chicken fried steak, you're covered from a full meal to a quick bite. Fancy a burger? Check out Savor's companion kiosk, Relish—where you can score hot dogs and burgers infused with a variety of signature relishes. Did we mention the truffle parmesan fries? Definitely order the truffle fries.

The Zodiac
Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus


When the Zodiac opened in 1953, it served as a glamorous lunch retreat for white gloved ladies during their downtown shopping excursions. Today the restaurant, located on the 6th floor of the flagship Neiman Marcus store, still echoes a bygone era, but with a few modern tweaks. The decor is decidedly contemporary with chartreuse walls, polished marble floors and frosted-glass partitions. And the menu now offers everything from seared ahi tuna salads and lump crab cake burgers to filet mignon with truffled fries. There are a few holdouts from the golden days. Diners are still treated to a complimentary demitasse of chicken broth, popovers still come to the table with strawberry butter, and the legendary mandarin orange souffl� with chicken salad is still on the menu.

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 lunch menu offers up everything from pork barbacoa tacos and lobster-candied bacon clubs 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.


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