All too often eating healthy translates into a meal of tasteless salads, but thankfully that isn't the case at Flower Child, a buzzy eatery specializing in delicious organic, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan dishes. The menu covers salads and mix-n-match veggies bowls (think salmon over organic greens with Indian spiced cauliflower and red chili glazed sweet potatoes) as well as whole wheat and flax & chia seed wraps filled with everything from spicy tofu to grass-fed steak. Portion sizes are good, and prices are reasonable, with most entrees ringing in under $20. Plus, they offer craft beer, wine, kombucha on tap and house-made lemonade in seasonal flavors like rose petal. There's a menu for kids, too.
Recommended for Lunch because: Flower Child is where to go for a delicious and healthy meal, regardless of what type of diet regimen you're following.
Ilene's expert tip: Sign up for the EBites membership on the website and score $10 off of $20 for new members as well as special discounts and free birthday treats. Flower Child has locations in Inwood Village, Preston Royal and in Addison.
Jesus Carmona's acclaimed taquerias (with locations in Oak Cliff and on lower Greenville Avenue) are a must for some of the best Tijuana-style street tacos in town. Find all the usual suspects: Pollo al pastor, barbacoa, carne asada, lengua (beef tongue) plus a slew of eclectic options ranging from tacos stuffed with smoked salmon to the fan-favorite--pulpo tacos with grilled marinated octopus, asadero cheese, avocados, and cilantro pesto salsa. Pair it all up with agua frescas, Mexican Cerveza or one of their exotic frozen margaritas. The borracho fries, topped with carne asada, guacamole and roasted poblano chile con queso are also a worthy accompaniment.
Recommended for Lunch because: Tacos Mariachi is one of the best places in Dallas for street tacos.
Ilene's expert tip: The Greenville Avenue location offers free parking available behind the restaurant and customers can also park in neighboring Char Bar's lot. Tacos Mariachi features a daily special taco, check Facebook for all the details.
Seriously delicious wood-fired pies with top-notch artisan toppings have earned this Neapolitan-certified pizza joint a cult following that even includes Guy Fieri of Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. The long list of pizzas includes everything from a classic Margherita to inventive picks like the Honey Bastard, with mozzarella, hot soppressata, bacon marmalade and habanero honey. And while pizzas may be the main attraction, don't sleep on Cane Rosso's house-made pasta or Italian sandwiches. During the week, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can score a 10'' pizza-salad combo and select sandwiches with salad or rosemary Parmesan tots for $13-$15.
Recommended for Lunch because: Cane Rosso is a perfect spot to dine at with kids.
Ilene's expert tip: Get $2 off appetizers and house cocktails, $5 house wines, $3 Miller Lite drafts, $7-$9 select pizzas Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. at the Deep Ellum location. Cane Rosso has five locations throughout the DFW Metroplex, each offers slightly different menus and specials.
Located within stumbling distance to the Perot Museum, this sprawling cantina is the place to go for a modern take on Central and Southern Mexico cuisine. That translates to dishes such as cochinita pibil (a Yucatan-style pork dish); Oaxacan mole, and Budin Azteca, a multilayered tortilla casserole that's much like lasagna. It's also a good place to score some pretty standout enchiladas and tacos. Better still, Meso Maya offers a lunch special that includes a salad or soup, plus an enchilada or taco with rice and beans for only $12. In a hurry? Then hit the taco-to-go window at La Ventana, situated adjacent to the restaurant's courtyard. And as with all Mexican restaurants, margaritas are a priority.
Recommended for Lunch because: Meso Maya is an excellent option for dining near downtown Dallas' museums.
Ilene's expert tip: Bar snacks and drink specials are on offer during Happy Hour, Monday through Friday from 3-6 p.m. Meso Maya has other locations in Preston Forest Village, Lakewood, Addison, Plano and Fort Worth.
This funky Deep Ellum sandwich shop cranks out some of the finest things between sliced bread, which is probably why it's always packed around lunchtime. The rotating menu features more than twelve spectacular options, ranging from Cubans and veggie banh mis to a shaved ribeye steak topped with blue cheese. Speaking of steak, their shaved ribeye salad, with roasted red bell peppers, grilled mushrooms and blue cheese is also worth pursuing. And don't even get us started on the burgers, which can be had with fries for only $6 after 4 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Recommended for Lunch because: Uncle Uber's has received numerous accolades for a best sandwich shop in Dallas.
Ilene's expert tip: Parking is metered on the street and free until 6 p.m. Avoid the lunch rush by calling in your order before you come.
The first stateside location of this popular Guatemalan restaurant chain, which landed near downtown Dallas in late 2018, serves as an all-day bakery, coffee shop, and restaurant. Its offerings include scores of freshly made bread and pastries (think guava-cream cheese croissants, empanadas and pan de Muerto) as well as a vast, reasonably priced menu featuring everything from Mexican chilaquiles and pupusas topped with sunny-side eggs to sandwiches, soups, salads, pasta, pizzas and burgers. The cafe also churns out Guatemalan chocolate and coffee drinks along with smoothies, horchata, beer, wine and sangria. Note that breakfast items are served until noon during the week and until 4 p.m. on weekends.
Recommended for Lunch because: San Martin is an ideal place for those with varying tastes, there's something for every type of palate.
Ilene's expert tip: There's plenty of free parking available in the back of the restaurant. Score discounted bread and pastries in the bakery after 5 p.m.
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 if you come for lunch, chances are the lines will be less lengthy, and the offerings will be more plentiful since they tend to sell out of the most popular items earlier in the day. Expect to tempt your taste buds with house-made sausages, mesquite smoked brisket and mouthwatering ribs. Other must-haves include brisket and chipotle cream cheese stuffed sweet potato dubbed the Hot Mess and banana pudding.
Recommended for Lunch because: Lunch is one of the best times to eat at Pecan Lodge as it usually closes after it sells out.
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.
This perennially popular Cantonese restaurant in Richardson not only provides one of the best pushcart dim sum experiences in the metroplex, but it also offers it every day of the week. The extensive selection features around forty options, ranging from soup dumplings to taro cakes, congee, barbecue pork buns and chicken feet. In addition to dim sum, diners can also order specialty items such as roast duck and hotpots from the menu. The restaurant also has a lunch special that includes a main course (think mu shu pork, kung pao chicken, Mongolian beef) with soup, egg roll and rice for $8.95.
Recommended for Lunch because: Kirin Court is one of the only Dallas area restaurants offering dim sum service all day, every day.
Ilene's expert tip: Saturday and Sunday around noon are peak times, so go early (before it opens at 10:30 a.m.) or on a weekday. Be sure to also check out the offerings on the long buffet table at the front of the restaurant.
For those wanting to add a bit of dazzle to their mid-day mealtime, this glam French brasserie, run by Michelin Star-awarded chef Bruno Davaillon, should hit the spot. Located above the ground floor of the former Belo Building in downtown Dallas, Bullion ups its lunch game with a two-course, $29 prix fixe menu that includes choices such as onion soup gratiné and rabbit orecchiette or fresh fish. A la carte options all fall under $25 and run the gambit from smoked salmon salad and Croque monsieur to brie omelets, steak frites and roasted chicken. The burgers aren't too shabby, either. Desserts are definitely worth the splurge.
Recommended for Lunch because: Bullion is a terrific place for an upscale lunch at surprisingly reasonable prices.
Ilene's expert tip: During lunch, Bullion offers complimentary valet parking for up to 4 hours. Score drink and food specials during L'apéro (aka happy hour) from 4-6:30 pm, Monday-Friday.
This Oak Lawn dining spot by the folks behind the popular Henderson Avenue restaurant, Gemma, boasts a terrific Mediterranean-inspired menu drawing from the cuisines of Southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. For lunch, you can expect to find an assortment of inventive mezze options (think roasted turnips with Syrian red lentil purée and yellow beet hummus) along with everything from sandwiches, salads and house-made pasta to entrees like Moroccan lamb chops and grilled trout. Whatever you do, be sure to get an order of wood oven-baked pita bread. And don't sleep on the Tunisian donuts with lavender honey and chocolate sauce. Sachet also offers a family-style lunch menu ($35) for parties of 15 or more.
Recommended for Lunch because: Sachet is a great place to go with friends who like to share.
Ilene's expert tip: Sachet also offers a sunset menu from 3-5 p.m. as well as a family-style lunch menu ($35) for parties of 15 or more and a family-style dinner menu ($45) for parties of four or more. There is also "Pre-Theatre" menu for $35 per person (4 courses) available from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.