This post was originally published in February 2018, and was updated in Jan 2020 and June 2021 after more visits to Dallas.
When you think of foodie travel destinations in the United States, Dallas Texas doesn’t typically appear on the list. Dallas doesn’t really have a foodie reputation, often seen as a lesser culinary juggernaut than its southern neighbor of Austin. You’ll typically see Dallas’s culinary scene described as “up-and-coming” without many restaurants of note. I think this assessment might be incorrect.
I found that Dallas’s restaurant scene isn’t up ‘and coming—it is up! There will be more and more delicious options opening up as the city continues to try to attract newcomers from California and big companies move to town. During my last three visits to Dallas, there were lots of great restaurant options to choose from. I think the Dallas food scene is wholly underrated! With a little bit of effort to find the gems, there are plenty of delightful restaurants, bars and cafes to explore in Dallas, Texas.
Lunch & Fast Casual
Sloane’s Corner – 2001 Ross Avenue
If you’re exploring the arts district in downtown Dallas, a wonderful lunch restaurant in the area is Sloane’s Corner. Serving upscale New American cuisine prepared to perfection, you’ll find a menu full of healthy (and not so healthy) favorites like cesar salad, fried chicken sandwich and crab cakes. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, their drink list is on point. The light-filled interior is clad in a beautiful wood paneling and decorated to perfection. This feels like a classy spot to grab a bite in between museum visits.
Dallas Farmer’s Market – 920 S Harwood St
In a controversial renovation, the Dallas Farmer’s market and surrounding neighborhood recently underwent a massive multi-million facelift. It now resembles a modern, sprawling market like the Public Market in Seattle or Milwaukee with several buildings including a food hall, a covered Shed, and an outdoor community space. Despite complaints I had read online about the renovation, I really enjoyed my visit to DFM. We went on Saturday to find the Shed full of local food, meat and cheese vendors, and I ate some DELICIOUS food inside the year-round market space. With live music and nitro cold brew options abound, it seems as though this part of town is in the throws of gentrification and it is actively redefining what the Dallas Farmer’s market is.
Off the Bone – 1734 S Lamar St
Every Texan will have a different suggestion of their favorite BBQ place so if you’re a meat lover, I would recommend trying a few different barbecue restaurants during your visit to Dallas. My father-in-law loves Off the Bone, an under-the-radar contender for best in Dallas. This hole in the wall joint south of downtown serves up pecan-smoked cuts like brisket or ribs that do exactly as the namesake says. Their sides are also on-point — I still dream about that mac n’ cheese “con queso”.
Lockhart Smokehouse – 400 W Davis
No trip to Texas would be complete without some BBQ. It is essential eating in the Lone Star State! One of my favorite spots for barbecue in Dallas is Lockhart Smokehouse, with locations in Plano, Arlington and Bishop Arts District. This BBQ joint offers all the favorites you’d expect, from ribs to sides. Brisket is a standard order in Texas, and at Lockhart you can get the dry or wet brisket depending on your mood. My mouth just started watering thinking about the incredible jalapeño pork sausages and rich & creamy mac and cheese. Don’t miss out on the baked beans either!
Katy Trail Ice House – 3127 Routh St
Another popular BBQ joint, Katy Trail Ice House makes their BBQ fresh each day and sells until it runs out. You have to get here pretty early to sample their sliced brisket! Both of their locations have massive beer gardens where you can see the smoking process in action. Definitely get an order (or 2 or 3 orders) of the brisket nachos — they are delightfully good.
Javier’s – 4912 Cole Ave
Oh.my.god. Go to Javier’s. Please, I beg you. This gourmet Mexican cantina is SO DELICIOUS and after 2 years of living in Germany with almost no access to good Mexican cuisine, this place really hit the spot. The traditionally decorated dining rooms sprawl out as the staff weaves their way around the packed tables. A reservation is usually required. The menu features traditional dishes like chicken mole, mayan-style pork or fresh seafood ceviche, but you’ll also find some creative (and wonderful) creations like the Chihuahua cheese stuffed filet mignon or garlic braised Red Snapper. Their extensive tequila and mezcal list will keep you happily hydrated and leaving with a nice Margarita buzz.
Taqueria El Si Hay – 601 W Davis
For authentic street tacos in Dallas, look no further than the no-frills walk up window at Taqueria El Si Hay. You will almost always find a line at this cash-only spot because the tacos are just that good. It has a loyal local following! The menu is simple, with the classic Mexican options you’d expect like Al Pastor, Fajita and Lengua. The tacos are all to-go and come topped with cilantro, onion and lime. I can almost guarantee you won’t be walking far before chowing down on these delightfully delicious tacos.
Taqueria La Ventana – 1611 McKinney Ave
In the land of Tex-Mex, it can be surprisingly challenging to find good, true Mexican food. Taqueria La Ventana solves that problem with their street style tacos which could be straight off a corner vendor stall in Mexico City. At a couple bucks a piece, the price is just right. I would recommend opting for multiple flavors like lengua, barbacoa, or carnitas. The meat is juicy and flavorful, but the tortilla is the real star of the show. Like any good Mexican spot, there are several sauce options which you can use to top of your tacos to your taste.
Dinner & Drinks
Paradiso – 308 N Bishop Ave
The Bishop Arts neighborhood is one of the best spots to visit while exploring Dallas. The charming shops and assortment of delicious restaurants will keep you happy and busy for hours! One restaurant worth a stop is Paradiso, whose incredible patio is the perfect spot to grab a drink or enjoy some light bites amid all the shopping and wandering. The restaurant itself is large, but the patio is where it really shines especially during Covid times. Filled with old-growth trees, stylish cabana seating and enough fans to keep everyone cool, you’ll slowly let the heat of the afternoon sun melt away while sipping delicious drinks crafted by skilled mixologists. This place has an Instagram-my vibe and stylish clientele, but the tasty menu backs it all up.
Meddlesome Moth – 1621 Oak Lawn Ave
Tucked in a quiet corner of the design district, Meddlesome Moth offers diners a robust beer list with over 200 options and a diverse range of delicious New American small plates. The Moth Balls (cheesy ricotta gnocchi), and the Pig & Fig are both must-try dishes. I was really impressed with their Thai curry mussels and don’t miss their rotating bread pudding dessert option. With a killer music selection, you are sure to cozy up in one of their leather booths for hours.
Sixty Vines – 500 Crescent Ct
The coastal-California-meets-European-cafe design at Sixty Vines won me over immediately. I couldn’t stop snapping pictures of this stunning northside restaurant. Housed in a massive space, Sixty Vines has over 50 wines on tap and delicious food options throughout the day. I tried their brunch where the breakfast sandwich with avocado, brie, bacon and a fried egg on sourdough made for the best start to a day that I could ask for. For wine lovers, there is no where better for dinner because the staff can make great pairing suggestions.
Emporium Pies – 314 N Bishop Ave
Fine pies for fine folks is the motto of this adorable bakery. With locations in Deep Ellum and the Bishop Arts district, you MUST have a piece of pie at Emporium before you leave Dallas. They offer staple pies, like their Drunken Nut (bourbon pecan) or Lord of Pies (Apple Streusel), all year round as well as rotating seasonal options. All the pies have the option for a-la-mode, and I would recommend it — they use a local creamery to source their rich vanilla ice cream. I opted for the Merry Berry (cranberry pecan) while Sam chose the Papa Don’t Peach (peach cobbler with a twist) and let me tell you. These pieces were something so, SO special.
I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest
but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later.
All the best
Thank you for your kind comment Tera! It’s great to hear that you enjoyed my blog and you’re welcome back anytime!
I moved to Dallas just over a year ago and have been exploring the food scene – a lot!! Sixty Vines has been on my list for a while and now you’ve made it even more tempting. Glad you enjoyed your visit.
That’s awesome that you’ve been enjoying the Dallas food scene. Do you have any favorites? I think I’ll be traveling back there again later this year, and always love local recommendations. Yeah, Sixty Vines is definitely worth a visit. Their brunch was delicious, and with all those wines on tap, it quickly turns into a boozy brunch!
Gemma is really good, just had brunch at Overeasy this morning which was delicious, Cattleack Barbecue is great (but only open Thursdays and Fridays and the first Saturday of each month), Wabi House for ramen, TJ’s Seafood market, Sassetta, The Rustic is fun and has a great family-style shared brunch for a bargain price, Milk n Cream for ice cream sandwiches, Kirin Court for dim sum, Pie Tap for pizza, Sachet is beautiful and has delicious food… that should help for your next trip!! 🙂
Oh my goodness, what a delicious Dallas bucketlist you’ve just given me. Yay! I can’t wait to check out some of those spots on our next trip 🙂
Amanda Carnagie (@AmandaaaCar)
You published this post two days after I returned home from Dallas! Now I’m starving for some good Texan food. When I visited, I didn’t check out any of the places you mentioned. I go to Dallas usually once per year, so I’ll need to bookmark it for the next time I visit.
Surprisingly, the only type of food I ate during my trip to Dallas (besides breakfast), was Asian cuisine. I’ve always been incredibly impressed with the diverse food scene, with restaurants typically servicing authentic food. It felt wrong, breaking away from the typical TexMex, BBQ scene, but those Asian restaurants sure serve up some authentic deliciousness!
Oh bummer! Well yes, you should definitely add them to the roster for your next trip. That is super interesting that you mostly ate Asian food while you were in Dallas. What were some of your favorite spots? My in-laws live in Dallas so I also get down there like once a year, so I would love your recommendations!