Dallas Visitors Guide: Food and Restaurants
We've planned out a few days' worth of gourmet heaven. You can thank us later.
The view of downtown Dallas from the Belmont Hotel is a sight to see.
Welcome to Dallas, home to a range of dining experiences, from sitting on the trunk of your car and eating barbecue, to gorging on a two-fisted burger from Wingfield’s in South Dallas, to taking a seat at the sexy ceviche bar at Stephan Pyles downtown.
At the heart of our culinary soul you’ll find wondrous plates and platters of fine Tex-Mex, but Dallas also has a fine stable of rock-star chefs who can dazzle your palate with global creations. Also, “locavore” is not a term our restaurants take lightly. Dallas is filled with small, hip neighborhood spots where you can sample regional artisanal products. Whether you’ve got one day or one month in Dallas, you won’t go home hungry or unsatisfied.
Where to Stay
If you’d like to get an inside view on what the funky life is in Dallas, book a room at the oh-so-hip Belmont Hotel (901 Fort Worth Avenue. 214-393-4141). Almost every room has a view of the Dallas skyline, and the hotel is close to the Bishop Arts District, one of the hippest and most happening areas in town.
Day One: Goin' Local
Early morning: Roll out of bed and walk across the parking lot to Smoke, where you can linger over a cup of coffee and a newspaper and try one of the most ambitious locavore menus in town. We love the hot chicken tamales served with eggs and the blueberry and house-made ricotta cheese pancakes. The bacon is not to be missed; it’s cured on-site.
Mid-morning: Walk off your morning calorie intake by window-shopping in the trendy Bishop Arts District, home to more than 50 local restaurants, boutiques, and specialty shops. If you’re a true foodie, you’ll love The Soda Gallery, a unique shop that sells a variety of regional and international glass-bottled sodas, such as nostalgic favorites Nesbitt’s, Bubble Up, Squirt, and NuGrape, all still produced with the original ingredients. Don’t forget to try a bottle of the original Dr Pepper from Dublin, Texas.
Late morning: If you’re in town over a weekend, visit the Dallas Farmers Market in the southeast corner of Downtown Dallas. This spot is a mecca for Dallas foodies and chefs, who frequent the sheds for local produce, honey, meat, flowers, and local handicrafts. Don’t hesitate to taste some of Dallas’ finest street food, such as elote (roasted corn) served with mayonnaise and grated Parmesan cheese. You’ll find some unique independent food stalls in Shed 2. We recommend Pecan Lodge Catering for barbecue and Natsumi Kitchen for soy-based gelato.
Afternoon: Just a few miles north of the Farmers Market, you’ll find a vibrant area of Dallas known as Oak Lawn. In the heart of Oak Lawn is Parigi, a small neighborhood bistro dedicated to serving the finest local ingredients. The menu lists all of the local farmers and vendors supported by co-owners Janice Provost and Chad Hauser.
Late Afternoon: Why not spend the rest of the day shopping for foodie gifts? In Deep Ellum you will find Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Company. Pick up one of Lambert’s creative cookbooks and a copy of her mail-order brochure. Her handmade cheeses (caciotta with Texas basil) have the unique taste of Texas; you’ll probably notice “Paula’s cheese” listed on local menus. Just around the corner you’ll find Calais Winery, where French winemaker Benjamin Calais crafts small batches of high-quality wines using Texas grapes and traditional French techniques. If you haven’t browsed the aisles at Central Market, be prepared to spend at least two hours roaming this foodie temple. To sample the specialties of the region, look for the GO TEXAN signs.
Evening: What’s the best restaurant for savoring Dallas’ finest freshest ingredients from small, owner-operated suppliers? It’s a toss-up between Lucia and Local. Sustainable, responsibly raised food lies at the heart of both restaurants. Each has a reputation much bigger than their tiny dining rooms.
Late Night: For a great night scene, head to Bolsa, just down the road from the Belmont Hotel. Chances are the place will be rocking with an eclectic crowd of locals hanging out on the patio or at the bar, where the shake-a, shake-a, shake-a sound of the bartenders mixing drinks is almost louder than the music. Or you could always have a nightcap at your hotel, in the BarBelmont, another local favorite.