4714 Maple Ave., Oak Lawn
We may have found the home of the chimichanga. 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.
614 W. Davis St., Bishop Arts District, Dallas
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 cafe and the wine bar. We go in the day for great coffee, a generous Cobb salad, and the best turkey burger in town; and at night 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 Country
6617 Hillcrest Ave., Highland Park
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 art deco converted Texaco Station where it opened in 1981, Bubba’s (the big daddy of the Babe’s Chicken boutique chain) retro diner vibe 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.
1530 Main St., Downtown
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.
Dive Coastal Cuisine
304 Rankin St., Highland Park
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. Pull up a chair to the communal table inside the super casual, mid-century modern space 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.
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck
300 Reunion Blvd. E., Downtown
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.
1617 Hi Line Dr., Arts District
Matt McCallister is probably Dallas’ 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.
2323 N. Henderson Ave., Knox / Henderson
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’ 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.
4445 Travis St., Knox / Henderson
Grange Hall, with its gothic, cabinet-of-curiosities vibe, is the ying to Dallas’ 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’ very best stores.
HG SPLY CO.
1008 Greenville Ave., Knox / Henderson
HG SPLY CO. offers all the benefits of a healthy menu without any white-washed "healthy" restaurant aesthetic, making it the perfect place to take your boyfriend when he wants a beer and you're craving a green juice. Their paleo-inspired menu is light and clean yet substantial—favorites include the tex mex quinoa bowl, pulled pork nachos, and texas steak bowl. The fire pits, twinkle lights, and red picnic tables, plus the well-chosen beer list, make their rooftop a pretty perfect place to spend a long, drawn-out evening.
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