You’ll be about one meal in when you realize the food scene in Dallas is just as vibrant as the city itself. Its culinary offerings stretch far beyond the drool-worthy barbecue Texas is famous for (of course, there are some great options for that too). In each pocket of the city are food finds worthy of any guidebook — from golden-fried seafood piled high in a simple takeout container to fire-grilled wagyu steak plated like a work of modern art. Let your taste buds guide your journey, and you’ll leave more than satisfied.
No matter which area of the city you find yourself in, here’s how to properly taste some of the best of Dallas.
Known for its energetic, youthful vibe, these trendy areas north of Downtown are densely packed with destinations for shopping and nightlife — along with many of the city’s hottest restaurants.
Head to Malai Kitchen for modern interpretations of Thai-Vietnamese cuisine, house-brewed beer, and carefully crafted cocktails. The Dallas brunch scene is top-notch, and this inviting restaurant stands out with unique, flavorful options like Thai Eggs Benedict. You’ll be thinking about those made-from-scratch coconut biscuits topped with shrimp, poached eggs, and chili hollandaise long after you’ve returned home.
S&D Oyster Company
Open since 1976, S&D Oyster Company is a beloved local institution serving up a taste of New Orleans with classic Gulf Coast options like seafood gumbo and broiled snapper with homemade hush puppies. Of course, there’s no better way to start your meal than with a platter of their large raw oysters on the half shell.
If hearing the words “wine on tap” makes you swoon, Sixty Vines needs to be your dinner stop after you’re done visiting the nearby Dallas Museum of Art or Nasher Sculpture Center. At this stylish restaurant, you can enjoy a glass (or two, or three…) from their superb wine selection alongside New American cuisine like crispy zucchini chips and fig and prosciutto pizza.
Downtown, The Arts District, Klyde Warren Park
With its museums, parks, and performance venues, there’s always something interesting to see, do, and eat in the heart of Dallas.
Found inside luxury hotel The Joule, CBD Provisions celebrates local produce and meat as refined Southern cuisine. Their crispy pig’s head carnitas is the star of the menu (just make sure you reserve it 24 hours in advance), and their specialty cocktails like the Bourbon & Beer Old Fashioned are an excellent tonic after a long day spent wandering around the West End Historic District.
A posh spot to eat before a show at the Winspear Opera House or Meyerson Symphony Center, Tei-An is famous for its soba noodles, which you can order hot or cold. If you’re really in the mood for a lavish dining experience, opt for the omakase (chef’s extended sushi dinner) and let Chef Teiichi Sakurai and his team take you on a memorable multi-course experience.
For over 37 years, Dakota’s Steakhouse has been serving up some of Dallas’ best steak cuts and cocktails from its romantic subterranean courtyard. Yep, that’s right — the restaurant is underground. Guests take an elevator 18 feet down, only to step out into a New Orleans-inspired space with a five-tiered water wall, lava-rock fire pit, and other mood-setting decor. The menu boasts luxurious options like a signature seafood platter with oysters, lobster, and scallop ceviche, and aged cowboy bone-in ribeye.
South Dallas, Bishop Arts, The Cedars
In this part of the city, there’s a more artsy, independent spirit in the air, and that creativity extends to the local dining options.
Eno’s Pizza Tavern
With its welcoming, neighborhood-favorite feel, Eno’s Pizza Tavern is the spot to satisfy your pizza cravings. They make theirs with a thin, cracker-like crust, which gives it a satisfying crunch, and use farm-to-table ingredients. There’s nothing better than The Pig Smiley — which has pepperoni, sausage, country ham, and honey — paired with a pint of craft beer. Well, maybe adding an order of the truffle cheese bread, too.
Lockhart Smokehouse brings the iconic smoky deliciousness of the Barbecue Capital of Texas (which is, yes, Lockhart) to the big city. Have your fill of classics like brisket and jalapeño sausage, served right on the butcher paper as it should be. Don’t overlook the sides, either — those brisket deviled eggs are calling your name.
It’s all style inside Paradiso, a fashionable restaurant with a gorgeous interior of pastel colors and bespoke furniture along with a lush garden courtyard. The European-inspired menu features items like fried artichokes, wood-fired pizza, and steak frites. Don’t forget to save space for dessert — we recommend the caramel cheesecake and pineapple Madeleines.
Four Corners Brewing
Dallas is lucky to have a ton of quality craft breweries, and one of the favorites is Four Corners Brewing Co. Located in an early-1900s carriage house, it has everything you need for a successful Saturday: a spacious patio area, plenty of specialty beers on tap, and a food menu with exactly the kinds of things you’d want while drinking (fried enchilada balls and churro donuts, anyone?).
East Dallas, White Rock Lake
Slow down and smell the flowers in this greener stretch of Dallas — it also goes by the name of the Lake and Garden District.
HG Sply Co.
Walking the lively Greenville Avenue will introduce you to plenty of bars and restaurants, including HG Sply Co. With an emphasis on minimally processed paleo food, it’s a dream for those with special diets as all dishes can be made gluten- and dairy-free. Even someone who eats everything won’t feel like they’re missing out when devouring flavorful creations like the yellow curry bowl with quinoa “meatballs” and the spicy vegan queso.
Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House
Post-hangout at White Rock Lake, head over to Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House for some hearty fare. Order something filling like the classic Bourdain Burger (featuring two double smashed patties) and waffle fries to keep your stomach full as you taste from their wide selection of beers. If the weather is nice and there’s a spot free, keep the fun in the sun going with a seat on the generous dog-friendly patio.
Smoky Rose serves up high-quality barbecue and summertime-friendly drinks (think frozen cocktails) in a buzzing backyard setting. Smoked meats are their focus and you’ll see a variety of mouthwatering options on the menu, from a Texas-style Philly cheesesteak to chicken-fried prime brisket. Sync your visit with their live music calendar for an entertaining evening.
West Dallas, Trinity Groves
Just south of the Trinity River, this district has made a dramatic transformation into a foodie destination, thanks in part to a 15-acre restaurant incubator project.
Carmen’s Mexican Cafe
Carmen’s has an easygoing, family restaurant atmosphere, and its Tex-Mex food will make you feel right at home. Available on the weekends, their menudo is the kind of thing that’ll soothe your soul. Keep in mind they close at 2 or 2:30pm, but they do open at 6am so you can start your day off right with some huevos rancheros.
Beto & Son
Part of the Trinity Groves complex and run by a father-and-son duo, Beto & Son is a Mexican restaurant with winning dishes like sizzling fajita skillets, 12-hour barbacoa tacos, and guacamole made tableside. If you’re drinking, don’t leave without trying their award-winning liquid nitrogen margarita — and snapping a pic for the ‘gram.
Whiskers Fish and Burgers
Who needs plates when you have flavors as good as Whiskers Fish and Burgers? While you’ll find some other items on the menu, the thing to order at this joint is perfectly fried catfish served hot in a styrofoam container with fries, bread, pickles, and tartar sauce. No frills, just good food.
Spend an idyllic day or evening at ArtPark, a colorful beer garden with ample outdoor space decorated by local graffiti artists. Order a frozen drink and food like spaghetti-o fritters or a crispy chicken sandwich at the upcycled shipping container, and unwind with one of the lawn games. Check out their social media to see if there’s a DJ or special performance that evening and head out!
Dallas is a city full of celebration, hospitality, and diversity, and there’s no better way to experience the energy than through its delicious slate of food and drink.