Opened in the fall on the lower level of the Drey Hotel in the Village complex, this bustling cantina turns out modern takes on regional Mexican and Tex-Mex fare. The menu specializes in tacos and enchiladas made with tortillas fashioned from heirloom corn that has been ground in-house. However, there's also everything from queso fundido to blue crab tostadas, grilled steak mole and fish Veracruz. Of course you can't go wrong with the margaritas here. We recommend the La Jolla with Cazadores Reposado, St. Germain, lychee and lime.Pro Tip: There's a hidden speakeasy in back, just ask the server for the code to get in.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: La Mina is a great late-night option for mezcal cocktails and Mexican bites.
Ilene's expert tip: There is a paid parking garage on either side of the property or valet parking located in front of the hotel. Weekend brunch is also on offer.
A new chef-driven, casual eatery is making its way into the West Village the first week of March, and with it comes a slew of American-Italian dishes. The restaurant is the brainchild of executive chef Kylil Henson and general manager John Dal Canton, who wanted to create a place where the community can gather for all occasions. The 4,000 square foot space features a Southern Italy-inspired decor as well as a spacious dog-friendly patio. As for the menu, expect to find dishes like agnolotti, 24k risotto, and Roman spiced lamb shank for dinner, and Ferro Roche waffles for weekend brunch. Italian wines, Italian aperitifs and espresso also figure prominently.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Fiatto is the place to go when you're looking for a casual, family-friendly dining option.
Ilene's expert tip: There is parking available at several lots located inside the West Village. Also note that Fiatto will serve weekend brunch.
In a what's old is new again moment, legendary Italian hot spot Sfuzzi, which closed in Uptown at the end of 2013, is being relaunched in late February on Henderson Avenue. Offering upscale dinner and brunch options in a stylish and lively atmosphere, the menu will feature a range of dishes which will include some of the original Sfuzzi classics, (think pizzas, pastas and frozen Bellinis). The 4,000 square foot spot boasts a U-shaped bar, a split interior of lounge seating on one side and traditional dining on the other, and a massive Woodstone wood burning oven as the centerpiece. For those who enjoy dining alfresco, there will be a massive 2,000 square foot patio.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Sfuzzi is the ultimate place to see and be seen.
Ilene's expert tip: Valet parking is offered on Henderson Avenue. The restaurant will be open for cocktails, dinner, late-night and brunch, Monday-Friday, 4pm-2am and Saturday-Sunday 2pm-2am.
Celebrating a comeback is the Adolphus Hotel's Rodeo Bar, a western-themed bar and eatery that closed in 2018 during a major renovation of the hotel. Designed to evoke a classic Texas-vibe, the tavern is decked out with vintage and refurbished furnishings, neon lights, vintage rodeo posters, and other memorabilia preserved from the original Rodeo Bar. On the menu are a variety of smash burgers along with items like buttermilk chicken wings, foot long hotdogs, corn dogs and barbecue sandwiches. All of which can be washed down with Texas inspired cocktails and draught beer. Bonus perk: There's live music on tap every weekend.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Rodeo Bar provides a lively setting with good, reasonably priced bar food for those wanting to spend a casual night out.
Ilene's expert tip: Score $5 burgers, chili cheese fries, draft beer, select cocktails and more during Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. There is free valet parking at the hotel as long as you get your parking ticket validated at the bar.
Offering creative takes on traditional steakhouse classics, Wits is the latest restaurant from Apheleia Restaurant Group's founder Richard Ellman. Here, Ellman channels his South African roots both in the gold-hued decor and with a menu filled with everything from lobster dumplings and biltong (South African jerky) to South African braai, peri peri prawns and prime cut steaks. A well-thought out sushi menu featuring sashimi, nigiri and inspired rolls is also in the mix. Drink-wise, find South African wines and beer along with South African-inspired cocktails. Don't sleep on the South African fudge.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Wits is a perfect place for a special occasion splurge.
Ilene's expert tip: Valet parking is available. Wits also offers a semi-private dining table and a private dining room as well as outdoor seating with a firepit.
Debuted this past November in the historic Awalt building in the West End, this upscale pub comes by way of veteran restaurateur Jay Khan, who named the pub after his father-in-law, a US Navy veteran with a love for whiskey and sarcasm. The 3,900 square-foot space features oversized chairs, crystal chandeliers, and a wraparound marble bar as well as a spacious outdoor patio that stretches around the corner of the building. As for the menu, expect a mashup of American and Irish food with unique takes on dishes such as Shepard's pie and Irish stew. Diners can also tuck into everything from salads to burgers, sandwiches and steaks. Meanwhile, the bar slings Irish-inspired specialty cocktails and over 51 different selections of whisky.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Chet's is a great place for a get together with friends who like whisky and comfort food in upscale surrounds.
Ilene's expert tip: Score $4 beer, $5 wine, and $6 wells during Happy Hour: weekdays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Opened in Koreatown this past November, this upscale Asian steakhouse specializes in elevated twists of familiar Asian/American dishes. That translates into items ranging from steak tartare with caviar to marinated galbi short rib and Chateaubriand. The concept was created by Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim, who enlisted Michelin Guide acknowledged Korean chef Minji Kim and her husband, Ben Lee, to develop a contemporary menu of Asian-inspired cuisine served in a sophisticated environment. Diners will find each table equipped with a grill in the center for which they can cook their own meals or have trained servers do all the work. An impressive wine list, Japanese whiskies, and cocktails utilizing Asian ingredients round out the bar list.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Nuri Grill is an excellent spot for groups as well as for romantic occasions.
Ilene's expert tip: Nuri Grill hosts live DJs on every Friday and Saturday night from 8-11 p.m.
The city's legendary subterranean dining gem that closed during the pandemic in 2020 has been brought back to life, thanks to new owner Meredith McEneny. Grilled USDA Prime dry-aged steaks, New York strips, A5 Japanese wagyu, and a porterhouse for two headline the show along with new entrées such as lobster & king crab rigatoni and traditional beef wellington. Best seats in the house? The patio which boosts a 5-tiered granite water wall and lava rock fire pit. Fun fact: The restaurant was built underground in order to skirt a clause in the deed by the previous property owner, First Dallas Baptist Church, which prohibited any future owner from selling alcohol on (but not below) former church grounds.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Dakota's has long been considered one of the city's most romantic dining spots.
Ilene's expert tip: The restaurant offers Happy Hour weekdays, from 4-6 p.m. Note that there is complimentary valet parking.
The folks behind Design District hot spot, The Charles, have opened a sibling dining spot (hence, the name Sister) showcasing Italian-Mediterranean inspired cuisine in a playful, relaxed setting intended to evoke a neighborhood trattoria vibe. Here, you'll find a menu filled with house made pastas and wood-fired specialties, with dishes ranging from grilled za'atar focaccia and clams vongole to chicken marsala with black truffle, and prime ribeye. Also look for a succinct list of mostly Italian wines and cocktails like the "Le Munoz," made with Montolobos mezcal and passion fruit. The banana budino is a must for dessert.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Sister is a terrific dining option for a date night.
Ilene's expert tip: Try to snag a table on the patio. Reserve in advance, spots fill up fast.
Proving that good things come in small packages, this cozy 24-seat eatery is generating a lot of buzz, thanks to the friendly vibe and outstanding cuisine. Set up in a charming house in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, the restaurant is the dream venture of Venezuelan-born Modesto Rodriguez and his wife Kathryn, who wanted an opportunity to showcase a menu reflecting Modesto's Venezuelan roots and upbringing in West Texas. Dishes rotate, but expect to find items such as mojo marinated fried pork short ribs, charred octopus with salsa verde de tomatillo, and chimichurri topped carne asada with escabeche salad. Save space for the Venezuelan flan. Tables fill up quickly, so it's best to reserve in advance.
Recommended for New and Popular Restaurants because: Modest Rogers is perfect for intimate dinners with close friends who like to share.
Ilene's expert tip: For the present time, the restaurant is BYOB. Street parking is available.