At least twice a week, my co-workers and I say to one another, “Let’s do lunch! What are you in the mood for today?” We make a concerted effort to try new places often so that we can add to our list of go-to Dallas restaurants, and I’ll unashamedly tell you that we get around. Because Dallas has some amazing food. And life is too short to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every day, am I right?
So here are my favorite Dallas spots for whatever it is you may be craving.
Breakfast for Lunch
This has to be Yolk, the new-ish place in One Arts Plaza with a menu so full it reads like a novel. Everything is delicious, and they’ve got a good combination of classics and inventive twists on old favorites. (Can we just talk about red velvet French toast and Nutella crepes??) Definitely kid-friendly.
Chips and Queso
Look, I know you’re all already mouthing “Torchy’s,” and I agree their chips and queso are yum. But the white spinach queso at Mr. Mesero wins. Hands down. (We can fight about it all day, and you won’t convince me otherwise.) And they’ve also got a really airy, light patio that makes me feel like I’m in Cancun or something. (Just be prepared – no kids’ menu here.)
Obviously, we can’t discuss Dallas queso without also mentioning Bob Armstrong dip (queso with beef, guacamole, and sour cream added in), which can be found at Matt’s Rancho Martinez. (Although, technically, Austin gets credit for this one.)
Uncle Julio’s queso is also high up on my list because it’s delightfully cheesy and oniony.
I could keep going here, and I feel your judgment, but QUESO IS MY LOVE LANGUAGE.
There are two types of Dallas taco eaters, in my opinion. Those who like Velvet Taco and those who don’t. I love it because it’s different. (Where else can you order an Israeli Cous Cous taco?) If you’re not a fan of Velvet Taco, you’ll probably love Taco Joint or Rusty Taco. Institute Taco Tuesdays and try a new taco place each week!
I feel like the original El Fenix on McKinney and Mi Cocina get to fight this one out. Honorable mentions: Uncle Julio’s, Blue Goose, and Chuy’s. (Not that Chuy’s is traditional by any stretch of the imagination, but I felt like it belonged on this list, and I didn’t know where else to put it.)
Another admission: I’ve only tried one Indian restaurant in Dallas. But it’s because Roti Grill is predictably delicious, and I’ve never wanted to venture out because I fell in love at first bite. If you’re hesitant to try it, don’t be. Go and order the two-step chicken masala and a side of naan. It’ll change your life, I swear.
My Thai restaurant of choice is The Mint in Highland Park because the pad Thai is the best I’ve ever had. But Bangkok City runs a close second and is a more traditional (read: less trendy but awesome).
My go-to place for out-of-towners and/or friends who want to try “a fun place in Dallas” is Stampede 66. It’s honestly one of my favorite restaurants in town. The food is impeccable (Stephan Pyles always is), and it’s upscale without feeling uppity. I’ve been for both lunch and dinner, and believe me when I say that everything is good. Everything. If you’re splurging, try the Modern Star Canyon Margarita. They mix and freeze it tableside with liquid nitrogen, and it’s the most delicious drink I’ve ever tasted in my life. And you’ll feel so totally Dallas while you’re drinking it.
I’ve also got Mama’s Daughter’s Diner on my must-try list. If you’re looking for simple and upscale, my pick is Hattie’s in Bishop Arts, which calls itself an “American bistro with a Southern Low-Country influence.” The Four-Cheddar Mac and Cheese is really something.
I work a few blocks from Klyde Warren Park, so we walk over to the food trucks when Dallas doesn’t feel like a sauna or a glacier. My favorite is the Nammi Truck, which serves a mean bahn mi. (Think a Vietnamese BBQ’d pork sandwich on crispy French bread with crunchy veggies and spicy sauce on top. It’s to die for.) The Truck Yard on lower Greenville has some great options, too!
When I’ve had too much of the above, I start craving green things. We usually end up at Breadwinner’s because the selection is extensive, but they execute everything really well (Pear and Gorgonzola salad is on point!) I also love that they have great sandwiches, etc. (even breakfast!) if whoever you’re eating with isn’t into lettuce. I also like Crisp, and they always have interesting seasonal selections, as well.
I’m in the middle of my fourth Whole30, and HG Sply Co. is my saving grace. It’s paleo-centric and AMAZING with options that will make your non-Paleo friends happy. I order The Burgerstack: sweet potato hash, lettuce, tomato, grass-fed burger patty with avocado and a fried egg on top. Add bacon if you’re feeling crazy. The whole thing will make you forget about gluten for the rest of your life. They also have a great rooftop bar, but I’m not sure if it’s open for lunch.
Pluckers. Duh. (Dr. Pepper and Baker’s Gold boneless wings are my jam.)
Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. is great. The bacon pineapple lollis are insanity, and the grilled cheese selection is really fun.
I’m not even going to try to top Cassidy’s Dallas BBQ Bucket List. Pick any of the places on her list, and you’ll be happy.
Everyone’s got strong opinions about sushi in Dallas, but if I’m picking, we’re going to Sushi Axiom. The Fresh Jalapeno Roll is my favorite, and they’ve got a strong tuna tower, which I like to think of as sushi salad.
Trinity Groves is one of my favorite spots for a group of people who have no idea what they want. There are several restaurants to choose from, all excellent. (I’m partial to Luck and Resto Gastro Bistro.) But let’s be honest. I really go to Trinity Groves so I can grab dessert at Cake Bar and Kate Weiser Chocolate. You’re welcome.
Steak for Dinner
I just couldn’t write a food post without including Nick and Sam’s. It’s my favorite steakhouse in town, and the steak really is excellent. But the true gem is the creamed corn, in my opinion. Might as well be dessert.
I think that about does it, but I feel sure I’m missing some amazing spots. Shout them out in the comments so I can add them to my “Must Try” list!