Dallas may not appear on many foodie's "must visit" lists, but the metroplex has its fair share of great restaurants. From white tablecloth steakhouses to hole-in-the-wall BBQ joints, there's plenty to choose from...as long as you like meat. All kidding aside, Dallas actually has a very diverse food scene bolstered by an increasing number of innovative local restaurants, coffee roasters and breweries. As with most big cities, we could dedicate an entire blog just to this topic. For now, check out a handful of places I've recently hit-up.
The Dallas food scene goes well beyond steak, Tex-Mex and BBQ. Of course, if that's what you are looking for, there is no shortage of amazing options to choose from. For those seeking something a bit different, here are a few ideas:
- Off-site Kitchen: This no-frills eatery in the Design District serves up one of the best fried chicken sandwiches out there. Grab one to go with a side of fries, a XXL Dr. Pepper (the only size available in Texas) and a serving of pecan pie.
- Tei-An: Located in One Arts Plaza, Tei-An is a delightfully authentic yet inventive Japanese restaurant. You can choose from surprisingly fresh sashimi and traditional soba noodles or hit up daily specials like Japanese curry and slow-cooked pork belly
- Trinity Groves: Just past Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, this recently opened mixed use destination in West Dallas houses a dozen or so concept restaurants. Developed by Phil Romano (think Fuddruckers and Macaroni Grill), Trinity Groves serves as a restaurant incubator where up-and-coming chefs/restauranteurs get funding and open up shop in exchange for a percentage of the business. For diners, this means a bevy of food options, from Texas comfort food to modern Moroccan cuisine.
Not surprisingly, the city is overrun with Starbucks on every corner. Drive-through coffee, anyone? Thankfully, a slew of new, independent coffee shops have opened up in the past few years and helped to break the trend of venti iced skinny non-fat soy frappuccinnos. A few favorites include Ascension in the Design District, Weekend inside the downtown Joule Hotel, Oddfellows (which also serves up a delicious brunch) in Bishop Arts and the brand new Houndstooth off Henderson Ave.
However, the best place to go for some amazing coffee and an authentic Dallas experience is Davis Street Espresso in Oak Cliff. We stopped by this past weekend during its 1 year anniversary. From the warm reclaimed wood interiors to the eclectic back yard, this place has a relaxed, neighborhood feel to it. The shop essentially serves as the front end for Oak Cliff Coffee Roasters, so you also get a great glimpse of all the machinery and roasting gear next door.
I had no idea how many craft breweries there were in Dallas until late last year when I got the chance to check a few out. Like a good coffee shop, microbreweries are a perfect way to experience a city and its local culture. Master brewers are not only passionate about their beer but also their community.
The aptly named Community Beer Company hosts an open house and brewery tour every Saturday. It's oddly located in the back parking lot of a shopping strip in the Design District. However, the lot is filled with local vendors, food trucks and live music - all of which make for a fun, buzzy environment.
Like Community Beer Company, Peticolas also hosts open houses on select Saturdays in their Design District brewery. For $10, you can roam the various rooms and try out 3 complimentary beers on tap.
A few other reputable breweries I haven't tried out yet are Four Corners, Lakewood Brewing Company and Deep Ellum Brewing Company. Check out Eater's comprehensive guide to local craft breweries.
Growing up in the suburbs, I acquired an appreciation for the finer things in life, namely fast food. Every street corner included a church, a gas station and a McDonald's. However, now when I go home, I forego the Mickey D's and run straight to Raising Cane's.
Like another (in)famous chicken-only fast food joint, Raising Cane's has a pretty simple menu. You basically choose if you want chicken strips with or without a bun. The strips are fried to perfection: crispy on the outside and deliciously juicy on the inside. When you couple them with a Texas toast, coleslaw, Cane's secret sauce and sweet tea, you basically have yourself the perfect meal.
I love my fast food, but no trip back to Dallas is complete without some nostalgic home cooking and a trip to "Chinatown". When I say "Chinatown", I'm really just referring to a glorified suburban strip mall with some ostentatious parking lot statues, a massive grocery store and some bubble tea shops. Every Sunday, the entire Chinese community descends upon Maxim's for dim sum. You can't go there without awkwardly running into middle school acquaintances.