The Dallas Guide
This month, goop hits Dallas’s Highland Park Village for the second time. We’ve spent time getting reacquainted with our favorite spots (the Rosewood Mansion, Forty Five Ten, you know who you are) as well as hunting down the best of the new openings (Bullion and Sachet, you guys are just the best). In true goop form, we’ve sipped our share of mezcal, shopped the boutiques, and eaten perhaps more BBQ than we should have. But we did it all to bring you the best of what this city has to offer.
Avila’s4714 Maple Ave., Oak Lawn | 214.520.2700
We may have found the home of the chimichanga. With a menu that features a mix of old family recipes and local flavors, Avila’s is a must for authentic Tex-Mex. Tacos, tamales, and quesadillas will satisfy any hankerings for Mexican, but if you want to get into the local realness, then go for the chili relleno, chicken mole, and guisado de puerco (pork stewed in a rich pepper sauce) served with rice and beans. Just give in to the queso and order extra chips. This is one hole in the wall you won’t want to miss.
Bolsa614 W. Davis St., Bishop Arts District, Dallas | 214.367.9367
Surrounded by independent stores and galleries, this all-day eatery in the Bishop Arts district is kind of the perfect neighborhood spot. Housed in a restored historic building, it has a slightly industrial, patinaed vibe that runs through both the more casual café and the wine bar. Go in the day for great coffee, a generous Cobb salad, and the best turkey burger in town. At night, it's great for dinner dates at the cozy restaurant/wine bar, which serves up hearty dishes—pork chops, merguez—complemented by a great wine list that delves deep into the Californian wine scene.
Bubba’s Cooks Country6617 Hillcrest Ave., Highland Park | 214.373.6527
This is just like Grandma used to make—if your grandmother was from West Texas and happened to be famous for her fried chicken. Still in the same converted Texaco Station where it opened in 1981, Bubba’s (the big daddy of the Babe’s Chicken boutique chain) has a retro diner vibe that sets the perfect stage for a Southern comfort food feast with all the trimmings: green beans, mashed potatoes, and black-eyed peas. There's also a drive-through.
Bullion400 S. Record St., Downtown | 972.698.4250
Everything about Bullion is dazzling, from the gold-scaled building (designed by Swedish architect Martin Brudnizki) to the French menu by Michelin-starred chef Bruno Davaillon. Get drinks in the lounge (may we suggest ordering the French 75?), then continue to the gilt-intensive dining room for classic and contemporary French dishes. The canard à l’orange, roasted duck with orange marmalade, is especially good. The restaurant has a hydroponic farm in the building next door—pretty spectacular if you can sneak in a tour.
Café Momentum1510 Pacific Ave., Downtown | 214.303.1234
The entire team at this beautiful New American dinner spot is made up of teenagers released from juvenile delinquent facilities. Their yearlong internships at the Café give them both life and job training. The seasonal, local menu from head chef Chad Houser is fresh and original, and the vibe is in every way uplifting: One wall is devoted to a collaborative art piece titled the “I’m Thankful Plate Project,” where past interns have written about gratitude on plates from the restaurant.
CBD Provisions1530 Main St., Downtown | 214.261.4500
This gem at the Joule does far more than serve the hotel's own guests with a tight, well-edited menu of exactly what we all want at every meal: In the morning, it’s the frittata; at lunch, it’s a healthy quinoa bowl; and at dinner, it’s pretty much anything that can be served with a side of their award-winning fries. Beyond feeding the hotel’s guests—and from very early in the morning until very late—it stands as one the best casual dining destinations in Dallas.
Grange Hall4445 Travis St., Knox / Henderson | 214.443.0609
Grange Hall, with its gothic, cabinet-of-curiosities vibe, is the yin to Dallas’s glitzier yang. There’s a pretty gorgeous range of home goods—Ted Muehling candlesticks, Astier de Villate ceramics, Cire Trudon candles—along with really stunning jewelry. They just opened an on-site café, too, that serves artfully arranged food and an encyclopedia's worth of teas. This is inarguably one of Dallas’s very best stores.
Dive Coastal Cuisine304 Rankin St., Highland Park | 214.891.1700
You’ll find clean eats with a sunny disposition here. Chef Franchesca Nor keeps her fresh seafood-and-veggie-forward fare simple but never, ever boring at this bright and cheery lunch and dinner destination in Highland Park. The super casual, mid-century modern space is a great spot to go with friends and share a few salads, ceviches, and tartares. Or dig into a hearty wrap or sandwich all to yourself. Bonuses: It’s very kid-friendly and practically gluten-free.
FT331617 Hi Line Dr., Arts District | 214.741.2629
Matt McCallister is probably Dallas’s most talked-about chef, and with good reason: The food served at FT33 comes in the guise of modernist cuisine—it’s no surprise he’s cut his teeth at both Alinea and Daniel—but is still rooted in local, seasonal ingredients that he crafts into homey, relatable food. In other words, don’t be fooled by the super polished plating, the sleek Nordic-style restaurant interiors, and the seriousness of the seven-course tasting menu: It’s all delicious.
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck300 Reunion Blvd. E., Downtown | 214.741.5560
Spot the landmark 560-foot building with the glowing ball illuminating the Dallas skyline and you’ll have found Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. The celebrity chef’s pan-Asian restaurant and lounge on the tippy-top floor of Reunion Tower marks his first fine-dining destination in the city. Come sundown, tuck into crispy lobster and shrimp spring rolls as you take in the 360-degree view.
Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ1950 Market Center Blvd., Design District | 214.741.4141
Amazing smoked ribs, jalapeño hot links, queso topped with brisket, tons of local beer on tap, plus the Gentleman’s Handshake (a Lone Star with a shot of whiskey) are absolutely reasons to come here. But the huge backyard is the real draw. Among the picnic tables and twinkling lights, a fifty-foot-tall, fully functioning Ferris wheel runs every evening. It’s the perfect place to go on a warm evening, especially if you have kids.
Gemma2323 N. Henderson Ave., Knox / Henderson | 214.370.9428
Owners (and lovebirds!) Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers brought their passion for friendly fine food and wine with them when they left their posts running Press—one of Napa Valley’s must-go dining destinations—to return to Rogers’s hometown. They poured it all into Gemma and opened the restaurant earlier this year. Always expertly executed but never too fussy, the menu covers a lot of ground, from crudos to duck confit with fried rice, so come late when reservations loosen up and the $2 oysters make an appearance.
Kalachandji’s5430 Gurley Ave., Old East Dallas | 214.821.1048
Plopped down in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood, Kalachandji's Hare Krishna Temple feels a little random. But the pay-as-you-wish Ayurvedic vegetarian and vegan buffet restaurant alone is worth the trip: Get the cardamom-turmeric rice, vegetable curries, daal, and sweet tamarind tea. It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon here, so go for it. There are also great yoga classes, a calming meditation room, and Tai Chi in the garden.
Kozy Kitchen4433 McKinney Ave., | 214.219.5044
Pancakes the size of your face, with that airy, fluffy texture—the kind that readily soaks up generous pours of maple syrup and pats of butter—can be hard to pull off. Kozy Kitchen, however, gets it just right, with the added disclaimer that these perfect pancakes are gluten-free. In fact, the entire menu is gluten-free—quite a feat given the menu is loaded with classically glutinous bread, French toast, and hearty pastas for dinner. Kozy Kitchen is that reliable, health-centric, sustainably minded spot you wind up eating at over and over. The coffee is excellent (try their bulletproof version with coconut oil), the juices are freshly squeezed (we're partial to the grapefruit), and the atmosphere is casual enough to bring even the rowdiest group of kiddos.
Le Bilboquet4514 Travis St., Highland Park | 469.730.2937
This classic French bistro is wonderfully familiar (probably because it’s exactly like the original in New York). You’ll find the same classics, like chicken paillard, steak frites, and saffron-infused mussels—it’s both reassuring and delicious, though the crowd is what makes it fun.
Lucia408 W. Eighth St., Bishop Arts District | 214.948.4998
Plan ahead if you think you’ll want to snag one (or two) of the thirty-six seats at this Italian restaurant in the heart of Bishop Arts. But size isn’t the only thing that makes this one of the very toughest tables to snag in town: Chef David Uygur has had a hard-core following since his Lola days. Foodies flock to Lucia to get a bite of his house-cured salumi, creamy risottos, and Texas Wagyu short ribs. Discuss the deliciousness over milk chocolate and buttermilk panna cotta.
Lockhart Smokehouse400 W. Davis St., Bishop Arts District | 214.944.5521
Get in while the getting is good at this Central Texas–style smokehouse: When the day’s brisket, pork chops, chicken, and sausages run out, that’s that. If you’re not sure what to order, don’t be shy—ask for a sample. Meat is sliced to order and handed over wrapped in butcher paper, and the pickles, onions, bread, and crackers flow freely. Round out your Big Tex–worthy meal with blue cheese slaw, baked beans, and extra extra creamy mac ’n’ cheese.
Maple & Motor4810 Maple Ave., Oak Lawn | 214.522.4400
For anyone who thought that fried baloney sandwiches were pure fiction, this roadside pit stop—where they are served either with mayo, lettuce, and tomato or “cowboy-style” with chili, cheese, and chopped onion—will be a revelation. For everyone else, there are flat-top brisket sandwiches, grilled cheese, BLTs, and quite possibly the best burger in town (but in a town like this, we know these are fighting words).
Meso Maya1611 McKinney Ave., Oak Lawn | 214.484.6555
Appropriately set inside a former tortilla factory, this restaurant mixes Oaxacan- and Mayan-style dishes from chef Nico Sanchez. The Budin Azteca, something of a tortilla lasagna, and Cochinita Pibil (braised pork) are absolutely transporting, and the serrano-berry margarita is incredible (hell, try the avocado one, too). The lush patio is perfect for an afternoon cocktail, and there’s a cute, casual small taqueria, La Ventana, where you can get street tacos and drinks.
Mudhen Meat and Greens900 S. Harwood St., Downtown | 214.698.7000
When we think of Dallas's food DNA, it's melt-in-your-mouth, deeply charred BBQ and the panoply of fixings that typically come to mind. Recently, however, the city has developed an appetite for lighter, healthier options. Mudhen is located in the heart of the farmers' market, giving chef Suki Otsuki easy access to the freshest produce—this is farm-to-table in the truest sense. The space itself is a sort of stylish canteen, and the endless build-a-bowl options, kombucha, and house-made bone broth mean every seat is filled. Stop by for lunch after a morning at the market and be sure to order the Mudhen interpretation of a spring roll: fresh, colorful veggies wrapped in crisp collard greens.
Nonna4115 Lomo Alto Dr., Oak Lawn | 214.521.1800
Luckily it’s not on Mars, but even if it were, fans of chef Julian Barsotti’s trattoria would tell you it’s worth the trip. Tucked away in a nondescript Highland Park strip mall (which locals will describe as “across from Whole Foods”), the upscale Italian joint is one of the city’s most beloved destinations for salumi, perfectly crisp thin-crust pizzas, and classic bolognese, with a terrific wine list to round out the meal.
Oak1628 Oak Lawn Ave., Oak Lawn | 214.712.9700
While we hear that Oak has had its fair share of upheaval with three different chefs in the span of three years, it seems to have finally hit its pace with chef Brian Zenner and his elegant, ever-evolving menu—we’re fans of the Jidori Chicken and his perfectly spiced, slightly Indian-influenced veggie mains. Beyond the food, what makes this Design District spot so popular among the locals is its comfy-meets-classy vibe: With its friendly but on-point service and elegant but cozy decor—big leather couches for seats—it’s perfect for every occasion, from romantic dates to business lunches.
Origin Kitchen and Bar4438 McKinney Ave., Suite 150, Knox / Henderson | 214.484.3970
Distilling down to the essence of American cuisine these days is tough, especially with the new crop of chefs redefining it into a type of New American fare. Origin, however goes back to basics, serving the traditional, hearty American food that fueled our childhood dinners. Tender, fall-off-the-bone short ribs on a bed of creamy, goat cheese grits, burgers made with the finest American bison, buttery Brussels sprout salads. Come hungry—and we mean hungry—and start with predinner drinks at the white subway-tiled bar. Appetite whetted, scoot into one of the cozy booths for what can only be described as an all-American feast, accompanied by a robust wine list.
Pecan Lodge2702 Main St., Deep Ellum | 214.748.8900
The wait can be a long one, especially because Pecan Lodge sticks to a schedule that’s dictated by meat quantities. In other words, if they run out of meat in their on-site smoke pit that day, you won’t be enjoying Dallas’s best BBQ. We were, however, lucky enough to get our hands on their world-renowned brisket, and it was perfectly smoked, absolutely decadent, huge, and totally delicious. The ribs are equally insane.
Proof + Pantry1722 Routh St., Arts District | 214-880-9940
We like the way this New American gastropub thinks. And cooks. And mixes a drink. The menu is made for sharing and organized by bulk (big plates that feed a few folks), land, sea, soil, and sweets, making it easy to navigate between baked burrata and the ham tasting plate (though no easier to choose). The cocktails are categorized by proof: no (seasonal sodas), low (sherry and shrubs), and high (lots of gin, in the very best way). It’s all the better for knowing what kind of night you’re getting yourself into.
Rise No.15360 W. Lovers Ln., Bluffview | 214.366.9900
There’s something pretty charming about this Francophile restaurant located in Inwood Village. As its name suggests, the specialty here is the soufflé, which they’ve totally mastered in all its forms, both savory and sweet. Each comes prettily plated on traditional French dishware, making it the kind of fanciful place you might take your daughter for a special treat. If you’re just along for the ride and not a huge fan of the dish, there are plenty of healthier, equally French-inflected options to choose from.
Sachet4270 Oak Lawn Ave., Highland Park | 214.613.6425
Husband and wife Stephen Rogers and Alison Yoder opened Dallas favorite Gemma more than four years ago, and it’s still hard to get a reservation. Their newest project, Sachet, takes the same fresh approach to Mediterranean food in a much more casual, laid-back setting. The menu's small plates (all on pretty white pottery) are meant to be shared: We love the tabbouleh, roasted eggplant dip, and pickled turnips with Syrian lentil purée. The floor-to-ceiling wine cellar is impressive and filled with little-known varietals, not to mention amazing ouzo. If you’re not able to get a table, the high-top bar is fantastic for people (and plate) watching.
Shinsei7713 Inwood Rd., Bluffview | 214.352.0005
While the menu at Shinsei might be a little offputting with its pan-Asian ambition—it offers not only Japanese sushi but also some Korean BBQ dishes along with plenty of Chinese-American options—the truth is the food is well, great. It’s no surprise, though, as the owners are Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun, the wives of two of Dallas’s most established chefs. We tend to opt for the sushi and tempura dishes and find ourselves enjoying the Dallas-style innovations, including using jalapeño as an ingredient in the rolls. The gorgeous interiors—mid-century Swedish gone to Japan—are a plus.
Spiral Diner1101 N. Beckley Ave., Oak Cliff | 214.948.4747
Incredibly delicious vegan nachos, burgers, cheesesteaks, and fresh ginger shots are the reason the Spiral Diner has been wildly popular for fifteen years and counting. Plant-based comfort foods, whether we’re talking about BBQ sandwiches or ice cream sundaes or fresh juices, are what we (and local superstar Erykah Badu) love most. It’s also super cozy, especially if you can snag one of the booths.
When caterer Nathan Burke arrived at goop pop with a pizza oven attached to his truck, insanity ensued. People just couldn’t get enough of the pizzas that came out of that contraption. That night’s runaway hit was the combination of applewood-smoked bacon, garlic, and truffle oil, just to give you an idea of the kinds of ingredients Burke mixes to perfection.
Tanoshii Ramen2724 Commerce St., Deep Ellum | 214.651.6800
A quick intro to Japanese: "Tanoshii" means fun; "oishii" means delicious. You’ll want to throw them both around at this buzzy eatery slinging noodle bowls and a mix of Asian street food. A few other key words to know: tonkotsu (breaded and fried pork cutlet), ramen (the noodles you know and love), yakitori (chicken skewers from the grill). Braised pork belly steamed buns sound tasty in every language.
The Center Court1617 Hi Line Dr., The Design District
Whether you choose a burger from Wheelhouse, house-made carbonara with a fried egg from Sassetta, or a smoked salmon bagel and espresso at GoGo, bring it out to the (dog-friendly) patio at this Design District spot. The three separate restaurants surround the patio, which overlooks contemporary artist Daniel Arsham’s Moving Figure, a stunning, gigantic art installation that can be seen from the street.
Truck Yard5624 Sears St., Knox / Henderson | 469.500.0139
Park it in the yard and snack it up with some of the city’s best food trucks without having to chase them down. Window hop from BBQ and burgers to pad thai and po' boys, order beers while you wait, and then pull up a lawn chair to one of the picnic tables under the breezy trees and let the face stuffing begin. There’s really no better way to spend an afternoon.
True Food Kitchen8383 Preston Center Plaza, Preston Hollow | 214.377.3333
Seeing as there is only so much fried chicken a person can eat (which is, thankfully, a lot), Dr. Andrew Weil’s bastion of healthy, balanced eating is a welcome change from Dallas’s dining scene. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant serves vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free fare with a focus on ingredients that are local, sustainable, and organic. Carnivores who still can’t get enough can satiate their cravings with a grass-fed bison burger and wash it down with a Double Brown Stout from local brewery Deep Ellum.
The Grape2808 Greenville Ave., Lower Greenville | 214.828.1981
If it’s your first time at this Greenville Avenue institution, we suggest you order the burger. They make only ten a day, and they sell out. Pair it with a glass of dry champagne. Yes, really. We also love the mushroom soup, and we really love Sunday brunch (you’ll need a reservation). At night, the Grape turns into a romantic date spot with a fantastic wine list.
The French Room1321 Commerce St., Downtown | 844.433.9055
When the French Room opened in 1912, it was one of the fanciest restaurants in Dallas. More than a hundred years and a serious restoration later, it still is. The dining room is very Versailles, with pastel glass chandeliers and gilded crown molding. Chef Michael Ehlert’s menus are all prix fixe—three or seven courses. The latter is deliciously experimental, full of surprises and thoughtful wine pairings.
The Rustic3656 Howell St., Dallas | 214.730.0596
State pride is strong at this Uptown restaurant and bar—note the life-size metal longhorn outside the front door and the huge Lone Star flag made of Shiner beer cans that hangs over the bar. The pretty outdoor space, named Pat’s Backyard for part-owner and country singer Pat Green, has live music on the weekend, and there’s tons of room for kids and dogs to run around.
Tei-An1722 Routh St., Arts District | 214.220.2828
This sleek, minimalist destination inside One Arts Plaza is best known for its noodle dishes: hand-cut buckwheat soba served cold with dipping sauces, tonkatsu ramen served in a thick and hearty broth, and bowls of piping-hot udon loaded with Japanese mountain vegetables of the season. Explore the daily specials or leave the meal in the hands of chef Teiichi Sakurai, who will take you on an all-out trip through the best seasonal flavors Japanese cuisine has to offer from the land and the sea. In short, the omakase is worth the splurge.
Ziziki’s4514 Travis St., Suite 122, Knox / Henderson | 214.521.2233
A seat on the sunny patio at Ziziki's with a tableful of salty, tangy, fresh traditional Greek food is a pretty ideal way to spend a summer afternoon. The spanakopita—flaky filo pastry stuffed with seasoned spinach and feta—is a fail-safe crowd-pleaser. The keftedes (lamb meatballs in a sharp tomato sauce) are ideal to share, as are the souvlaki skewers. No meal here is complete without a bowl of Ziziki's heavenly baklava-flavored ice cream to round it off. All the buttery, sweet, nutty tastes of baklava in creamy, cold form.