Best Elegant Brunch
1. Martin’s Wine Bistro (Lower Greenville, $$)
This place is one of Dallas’ best kept secrets – which means it’s never too busy. It’s a super intimate location with great French food and a live piano player. Brunch is a prix fixe menu with awesome value. This is also a great choice for a romantic dinner.
Best Ice Cream
2. The Sweet House (Rowlett, $)
You can find an abundance of homemade ice cream, sorbets and treats made from premium ingredients in amazing, seasonal flavors. They even have boozy flavors if that’s your cup of tea. Various restaurants around town serve their treats in-house, so you might not even have to make the drive out!
Best Romantic Getaway
3. The Rosewood Mansion (Uptown, $$$$)
The Mansion is a Dallas institution, and it has rightfully earned that place in our hearts with its impeccable service, classically beautiful décor, and amazing American cuisine. To get the full romantic getaway experience here, I recommend getting a room and ordering room service, but lunch or dinner are also great options.
Best Adventurous Dinner
4. Uchi (Uptown, $$$$)
A fairly new addition to Dallas, Uchi is an upscale Japanese fusion restaurant with great service. The tasting menu is definitely the way to go because your server will tailor it to your tastes, taking you on a culinary trip that’s different every time you visit. The foie gras nigiri is a must try bite.
Best Indian/Pakistani cuisine
There’s a tie! This is a city with a huge desi population, so there are great restaurants of this genre all over the metroplex. However, these two are consistently the best.
5. Al Markaz (Carrolton, $$)
Located inside a grocery store, this restaurant serves food on paper plates with plastic utensils, but don’t be fooled! The dishes here have some of the best, most complex flavors around. A bonus, the meat served is halal.
6. Jimmy’s Burgers (Plano, $)
The burgers here are great, but the chef really shines when it comes to Desi food – He catered my wedding and people are still talking about the buffet. This is a great choice for adventurous eaters traveling with those who might be less adventurous. Also halal!
7. Maru Ramen (Richardson, $$)
When the weather is cold or dreary, it is the perfect time to visit Maru. The noodles are perfectly cooked, have a great chew, and arrive soaking in a hearty broth topped with the perfect amount of extras.
8. Al- Baghdady Bakery (Richardson, $)
I stop here whenever I am headed somewhere as a guest, and not wanting to show up empty handed – the baklava and lady fingers are always baked fresh, they make a great gift, and I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like them yet.
Best Tea Time
9. The Adolphus Hotel (Downtown, $$$)
Tea time here is served while you lounge on couches arranged in cozy clusters, includes all the classic courses like scones with clotted cream and finger sandwiches, and makes you feel like royalty.
Best Thai Fusion
10. Noodlewave (Richardson, $$)
The recipes at this restaurant are developed by Rosie, who takes a trip to Thailand every year to add fresh flavor combinations to the menu. The dishes are bursting with complexity, and you can’t go wrong with anything you order. Dessert here is definitely worth it. Another halal option!
11. Bistro B (Richardson, $$)
Even though the menu is almost a novel and can be overwhelming, you can pretty much point a finger and expect the dish to be delicious and authentic. However, the pho is where this restaurant really shines, with customizable broth, meats, and toppings.
12. Tantuni (Richardson, $$)
Newly opened, this Turkish restaurant is the passion project of a chef who spent his career cooking in Turkey before coming to Dallas to create Turkish food in other restaurants. Whether you build a hearty meal out of generously sized mezze plates, or order a traditional Turkish entrée, you’ll leave satisfied. Don’t sleep on the flan dessert. Another halal choice.
In the city of Dallas, tacos rule. We even have a city-wide event dedicated specifically to tacos. Here’s a selection of restaurants that focus on tacos and do them well – but for authentic Mexican tacos, nothing beats buying them from a gas station.
13. Tacolicious (Irving, $)
This is stop close to the airport if you’re flying, and only open for breakfast and lunch. The tacos here are traditional – you choose your filling, then your tacos come served with grilled onions, cilantro, and a blistered chile pepper. They never disappoint.
14. Velvet Taco (Knox Henderson, $)
This place is open until 4 am, and known for their adventurous taco fillings. With offerings like chicken tikka tacos, fish and chips tacos, angus brisket tacos, and falafel tacos, there’s something for every palate.
15. Tacos Mariachi (Trinity Groves, $)
South of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, this taco spot has both traditional tacos and funky fillings, all made with premium ingredients. The menu is full of exciting things to try, from dessert, to daily specials, to drinks, and if you’re looking for a taco made with Chihuahua cheese, this is your spot.
Best for Ladies who Lunch
16. Mirador (Downtown, $$)
This restaurant is located on the top floor of the upscale boutique, Forty Five Ten. Its floor to ceiling windows are complimented by beautiful modern décor, luxe food, and excellent atmosphere. Come here to while away an afternoon at a leisurely pace.
Best Dim Sum
17. Kirin Court (Richardson, $$)
Come here for a traditional dim sum experience – on weekends, the cart even comes out. Taste everything, but the dumplings are definitely highlights. For dessert, get the steamed creamy buns, and grab extra to go.
18. First Emperor Chinese (Richardson, $$)
Tucked away on a side street, this tiny hidden gem is packed to the brim with goodness. Though it may look like a hole in the wall, every dish is packed with flavor, and perfectly prepared. The duck is definitely a highlight. Even though there is only a single server, she constantly whirls around the restaurant, and service never lapses.
Best Late Night Snack
19. The Green Room (Deep Ellum, $)
Tex-Mex is a Dallas staple, and the short rib nachos at the Green Room are the perfect example of Tex Mex. Melt-in-your-mouth beef tops a towering stack of nachos loaded with corn, pico de gallo, sour cream, and queso. Grab that, or anything else on the menu, and take it up to the rooftop to enjoy the view. Infallible service and locally sourced ingredients make this place even better.
20. Densetsu (Plano, $$)
Walk into this sushi bar and instantly feel welcomed. If you’re looking for fresh, authentic sushi at a reasonable price point, this is the place to be. The service is great and the rolls are Texas sized – one can be a meal on its own.
21. Afrah (Richardson, $$)
For home-style Lebanese food in an atmosphere that transports you to a different world, grab a seat on the patio at Afrah. Be prepared to stay a while – eating here is a leisurely affair; part of the charm is service that’s slow in the best way possible. A halal option.
Texas loves beef, and Dallas is no exception. There are great burgers galore in the metroplex, and it was terribly hard to narrow it down. Find some consistently great choices at these restaurants.
22. Keller’s Drive in (Dallas, $)
If you’re into retro experiences, this is about as retro as it gets. The service here has been the same for over 50 years – park in a covered spot, and a waitress will find you in your car. Bring cash, and expect your deliciously juicy patties to arrive on poppy seed buns. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see a retro car club meet.
23. Olive Burger (Richardson, $)
If you’ve worked up an appetite, Olive Burger is where you’ll want to get your fix. Half pound patties on huge buns with simple but ingenious toppings are the norm here in this diner style restaurant run by brothers. If you’re stuck on what to order, I recommend the namesake – a burger topped with an amazing umami olive and cheese mixture. This restaurant serves halal meat.
24. Angry Dog (Deep Ellum, $$)
For burgers served with a pub atmosphere and perfectly cooked thick patties, come here. Order a burger from the menu or customize one with your own toppings – but beware, this option adds up quickly.
25. Baboush (Uptown, $$)
Stop here for amazingly complex and fall-apart-tender traditional tagine dishes in an intimate dining room that encourages you to settle in and stay a while. Finish your meal with sugary sweet traditional mint tea or a scoop of house-made gelato.
Best Gourmet Grocery
26. Eatzi’s (Uptown, $$)
This is a homegrown grocery chain with various locations around the metroplex. This is a great spot to pick up a variety of hot and cold prepared foods or gourmet groceries and sweet treats.
27. Pecan Lodge (Deep Ellum, $$)
If you want barbecue that almost nobody complains about (something very tough to find in the South – everyone has an opinion), and have a ton of time to kill, get in line at Pecan Lodge for some of the best barbecue in Dallas.
28. Rise No. 1 (Preston Hollow, $$)
Tucked away in a shopping complex is a dining room filled with all manner of interesting items and eclectic décor where they serve the best souffles in probably all of Texas. Start with the mushroom soup and don’t skip the dessert.
Best Saturday Night Swank
29. Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa (Uptown, $$)
From the beginning of the cobblestone driveway, ZaZa oozes trendy elegance. This is a place to see and be seen on a Saturday night, and the food is great too, so wear something hot that gives you some room to eat.
30. Romas Café (Plano, $)
For an incredibly authentic Italian experience, try anything at this self-serve counter style restaurant. The pasta dishes are simple yet complex, and the pizza is excellent too. Do not try to visit on a Sunday, they will be closed.
Another tie! Although there aren’t many Persian restaurants around, both of these places serve incredible food and I couldn’t leave one or the other off the list.
31. Shahrzad Mediterranean Market and Grill (Richardson, $$)
If you’re looking for fresh fire grilled kebabs and crispy rice cooked in butter, this is the place to get it. The adjoining grocery store serves amazing fresh cream desserts as well.
32. Kasrah (Richardson, $$)
Don’t let the fact that this restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall fool you – as soon as you enter, the fountain in the entryway and beautiful stonework around the dining room will instantly transport you. The beautiful interior is a reflection of the care put into the food. The lunch buffet here is one of the best around, and dinner here is amazing too. This restaurant is halal.
33. Jaram’s Donuts (Far North Dallas, $)
For your traditional donuts or for more gourmet versions of the treats, Jaram’s is the best. Their donuts are always fresh, and they offer plenty of accompaniments for your breakfast pastry. However, the highlight of their shop is absolutely the crème brulee donut.
With so many different types of pizza available in Dallas, it seemed a shame to pit them against each other. Here’s two of the best of two different types.
34. Kenny’s East Coast Pizza (Plano, $$)
For New York style pizza, Kenny’s can’t be beat. The service is excellent, and the pizzas are excellent. They have the perfect char underneath the crust and they maintain an excellent cheese to sauce ratio.
35. Cane Rosso (Various, $$)
For perfect Italian pizzas, Cane Rosso is a Dallas favorite. The crust is thin and crisp but still chewy, and their toppings range from traditional to inventive. Everything is excellent here, but don’t ask for ranch with your crust unless you want a good talking to.