A stalwart of Dallas' Chinese food scene since 1974, this family-run restaurant is perennially popular for its authentic dumplings, perfectly prepared dim sum and fantastic regional Chinese dishes. While you can expect to find iconic Americanized favorites such as moo-goo-gai- pan and dry-stirred beef--the rest of the menu offers more modern Chinese specialties. Items like hand-pulled noodle dishes and Shanghai-style xiang zao pork belly are stellar, but the big draw here is the dumpling bar. Try to snag a seat up close to watch the dumpling ladies whip up handmade pillowy parcels that come filled with everything from shrimp, jicama and ginger to pork, Napa cabbage and chives. It's a good idea to make a reservation before coming, otherwise expect a wait at both lunch and dinnertime.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: Royal China is one of Dallas' oldest and best Chinese restaurants.
Ilene's expert tip: Royal China offers free delivery within a 3-mile radius.
This family owned mini-chain of restaurants has built a reputation off its weekend brunches, where one-hour waits are commonplace for folks itching to get their fill of items like chicken & waffles, breakfast tacos and Benedicts galore. But, the offerings go far beyond breakfast and brunch. Bread Winners also does a spot-on job with lunch and dinner. Whether it's lump crab cake salads and Cuban sandwiches or Akaushi beef burgers, fire-oven flatbreads and roasted free-range chicken, there's something here to satisfy just about any taste or budget. And, of course, Bread Winners is equally famous for its sweets, which cover the gamut from cakes, pies and cake balls to brownies, pastries and cookies. For the best seats in the house, head to the breezy patio, where adults can sip and savor while the kids keep themselves occupied playing giant Jenga.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: Bread Winners is an ideal place to wine and dine with your family in tow.
Ilene's expert tip: Bread Winners offers a slew of food and booze specials, from free desserts with dinner on Sundays to 1/2-price starters and specialty cocktails, Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Check under menus on the website for more details and deals.
This stylish Preston Hollow stalwart has been knocking out some of the city's best Indian cuisine since 1985. The lengthy menu spotlights many North Indian specialties as well as other regional favorites. Expect to find an assortment of tandooris, tikkas and biryanis, alongside more exotic options like Masala Goa, a Goan style salmon cooked in a tomato and coconut herb sauce and Lamb Phall, an Anglo-Indian curry that really packs the heat. Equally delicious is the plethora of bread offerings, which range from traditional parathas and rotis to not so traditional naan, stuffed with everything from cheese to cherries to habanero chilies. Wash it all down with Kingfisher beer or choose from a selection of wine and Indian style cocktails. Keep an eye out for vegetarian menus, children's meals and lunchtime buffets, too.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: India Palace has been Dallas' go-to spot for Indian cuisine for over 30 years.
Ilene's expert tip: Head over to Happy Hour in India Palace's bar for half-price appetizers, beer, cocktails and select wines by the glass-- Monday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This deservedly popular brasserie excels at decadent desserts and Latin-inspired comfort food. In fact, the folks behind La Duni, Taco and Dunia Borga, have created a mini-empire off their take on Pan-Latin specialties, operating several locations throughout the metroplex, with further plans to expand worldwide. The menu, which draws on the robust cuisines of Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba and Mexico, features hits that range from Argentinean empanadas and tequila-guava baby back ribs to a host of unique sandwiches, one of which includes a BLTA (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado) popover. Desserts, as well, play an important role. If you've got a serious sweet tooth, you may want to skip the meal and just come for dessert and coffee. The cuatro leches cake, smothered in caramelized Swiss meringue--is legendary. The smooth-as-silk Latin-style hot chocolate is mighty tasty too.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: La Duni offers exceptional food, cocktails and insanely delicious desserts. It's weekend brunch is a must.
Ilene's expert tip: La Duni offers terrific craft cocktails for only $5.50 during Happy Hour--offered daily from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close.
This sleek family-owned mini-chain (with five DFW locations) slings out, what many consider, some of the top burgers in town. Almost everything is locally sourced, the buns are baked-in-house and the menu sports around a dozen clever combinations (though DIY creations are also encouraged). And it's not only the succulent beef patties (fashioned from a blend of grass-fed tenderloin, brisket and chuck) that take a staring role, diners can also sink their teeth into patties made of bison, lamb, turkey, veggie and even ahi tuna. Fans rave about the Napa burger, a salty-peppery combination of gorgonzola, arugula and green olives. But it's hard to dismiss the Jacki O, a Greek-inspired combo with lamb, feta cheese, spinach, oven-roasted tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. Sides are no side attraction here: you could make a feast out of the massive onion rings alone. To drink, there's wine, beer and cocktails, as well as boozy shakes laced with everything from Baileys Irish Cream to citrus infused vodka.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: Liberty Burger offers primo patties in a fun atmosphere that's fitting for adults and kids alike.
Ilene's expert tip: Liberty Burger offers $1 off custard shakes and frozen lemonade, plus 1/2 price fries, Monday through Friday from 3 p.m.to 5 p.m.
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 (Caña Brava Rum, green chartreuse, celery, lime and ginger pop rocks) really hits the spot after a long day of shopping.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: Along with terrific food and cocktails, The Theodore offers a nicely chilled-out vibe.
Ilene's expert tip: The Theodore offers happy hour, Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and also from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., plus it's the only restaurant at NorthPark that offers free valet parking.
Perfect for power lunches, leisurely dinners or a romantic dinner for two, if you're looking for a restaurant that offers all things to all people-- whatever the occasion and whatever the taste, chances are Neighborhood Services fits the bill. It's a cozy and classy place, sporting dark-woods, leather booths, a long bar, an attentive staff, and truly, deeply wonderful food. And as a result of this catch-all appeal, the restaurant is incredibly popular. The best part about eating here is that there's no such thing as ordering badly. The menu, a please-all selection of well executed elevated American dishes, includes items like caramelized scallops with chorizo, London broil steak and frites, veal shoulder schnitzel and some of the best burgers in town. Start with one of the apps, say grilled avocados or the signature Butcher's Meatballs that come slathered in a coma inducing voodoo peppercorn sauce. End with the butterscotch pot de creme, it's a creamy, luxurious taste bomb.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: Neighborhood Services consistently ranks as one of Dallas' best restaurants.
Ilene's expert tip: You can reserve in advance through Open Table.
Despite its suburban strip-mall setting this unassuming neighborhood bistro has built up a devoted fan base with its excellent food and easy-going vibe. Expect to find seasonal specials along with dishes ranging from Kobe beef carpaccio and seared Hudson Valley foie gras to porcini pappardella pasta, rack of lamb and beef tenderloin. The wine list boasts a selection from around the world, including around thirty options that are available by the glass. Plus, you can also opt to bring in your own, just be ready to pay a $25 corkage fee. Also be prepared to get friendly with your neighbors– the place is tiny and the tables are tightly packed– but that's all part of the charm.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: Well constructed dishes and a jovial atmosphere has earned Suze a devoted fan following.
Ilene's expert tip: This place is especially busy on weekends, so be sure to reserve before you come--or avoid the crowds by coming during the week.
Don't let the nondescript shopping strip location fool you. The Mercury is a chic dining haunt showcasing terrific modern American fare by Chris Ward, an award-winning chef who has cooked for the likes of former President Bush and ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Though the setting may be swish--the menu delivers dishes that are sophisticated and accessible at the same time, and above all delicious. Lobster tacos and forty-eight hour sous vide short ribs lineup alongside such delicacies as wild mushroom risotto with white truffle oil and seared duck breast with duck confit. And at lunch, diners can get stuck into around seventeen gourmet burger variations. The sleek space also houses a separate sushi lounge that is helmed by a former Nobu alum. Here you'll find a repertoire of impeccable maki, sashimi, sake and spirits. Not to be missed is Mercury's Sunday brunch, where everything from fried chicken skins with honey hot sauce to pancakes and eggs Benedict draw in a regular crowd.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: The Mercury's upscale American cuisine and elegant setting make the restaurant a popular destination for date nights and special occasions.
Ilene's expert tip: The Mercury hosts wonderful wine dinners and cooking lessons every other month.
Longtime Dallas chef and restaurateur Scott Gottlich operates this jewel box of a bistro, hidden away on the mezzanine of the Westin Galleria hotel. But the place isn't only a draw for hotel guests--it's a dining and drinking haven for locals and mall shoppers alike. The menu is chock full of seasonally inspired options ranging from crispy Asian-style quail wings, house made charcuterie and grilled pizzas to salmon BLT sandwiches, beef tenderloin and shrimp & grits. As for libations, the list is long and strong. Along with crafted cocktails, premium beers and a well-rounded wine selection, the bar boasts one of the city's most comprehensive scotch programs with a list of over 200 specialty picks. And since it's a hotel restaurant, it offers breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, as well as a terrific brunch on weekends. Not to mention, the place stays open until midnight. Plus, you can take advantage of free valet parking when you dine here, just make sure to get your ticket stamped.
Recommended for North Dallas' Best Restaurants because: The Second Floor is not only the best restaurant in the Galleria, but it's also one of Dallas' top spots for Scotch and innovative cuisine.
Ilene's expert tip: The Second Floor offers happy hour with select crafted cocktails and indulgent appetizers for $5 or less, Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.