Mudhen Meat and Greens
900 S. Harwood St., Downtown
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.
4514 Travis St., Knox/Henderson
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.
Origin Kitchen and Bar
4438 McKinney Ave., Knox/Henderson
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.
4433 McKinney Ave., Knox/Henderson
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.
5430 Gurley Ave., Old East Dallas
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.
The Center Court
1617 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.
1611 McKinney Ave., Oak Lawn
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.
4270 Oak Lawn Ave., Highland Park
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.
400 S. Record St., Downtown
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.
Dallas Farmers Market Food Hall
920 S. Harwood St., Downtown
In 2016, the Dallas Farmers Market underwent a major renovation, and one of the unused buildings was transformed into the Shed—an amazing indoor local food hall. We love nourishing bone broth from Stocks and Bondy, Mexican furniture at the Dallas Antique Company, truffle-infused cheese from Scardello, and, of course, the fresh local produce.