4714 Maple Ave., Oak Lawn
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.
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 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 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 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.
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.
1510 Pacific Ave., Downtown
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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’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.
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