Our editors scoured the greater Dallas area for family-friendly dining destinations.
Here are some of our favorites.
Casual Family Dining
Finding a family-friendly restaurant that’s affordable, accessible and delicious can be challenging – but we know where to look! The next time your teens ask, “What’s for dinner?” (you know, in that voice) pay a visit to one of these tried-and-true eateries:
A chic Italian joint to grab a quick bite or linger—your call. Pizzas are fresh and fast, and hearty traditional sandwiches like Chicken Parm or The Gina Parm (with assorted Italian cold cuts and fresh mozzarella) are served on yummy semolina rolls from Empire Bakery. Wine, beer, cocktails, espresso and gelato also available.
4901 W. Park Blvd., Ste 521 | Plano, TX 75093
(972) 596-8942 spezzoitalian.com
Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar (Dallas)
Really, everything we’ve tried at Sissy’s is good. Really, really good. And the owner, Lisa Garza Selcer, couldn’t be more hospitable. But for family dining, the way to go at Sissy’s is with a bucket of her famous fried chicken. You’ll get ten pieces for just $25 and it comes with your choice of coleslaw or whipped potatoes and gravy. Throw in some of her famous squash puppies with Texas honey butter and jalapeño jelly and voilà! Dinner is served.
2929 N Henderson Ave. | Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 827-9900 sissyssouthernkitchen.com
Chicken Scratch (Dallas)
If you’re looking for slow fast food and a cool Austin vibe, Chicken Scratch (CS) is the place to be. The Fork and Knife Chicken Finger Biscuit Sandwich is like Chick-fil-A on steroids only in this version, the chicken is hormone-free, never frozen and local, and the biscuit is made from scratch. Not feeling “fried?” No problem. CS offers big salad bowls and pecan wood rotisserie plates, too.
2303 Pittman St. | Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 749-1112 cs-tf.com
There was a time when you could only get Grimaldi’s famous coal-fired brick oven pizza in New York. But that was then. While the menu is somewhat basic (pizzas, calzones, salads), it’s also consistent. But what we like about the Allen location is that it overlooks the little park at Watters Creek where live music is often played during warmer months.
836 Market St. | Allen, TX 75013
(214) 383-9703 grimaldispizzeria.com
Deli News (Dallas)
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta have a sandwich – a really big, juicy one on pillowy bread, piled high with deli meats, cheese and condiments. And Deli News, a true New York-style deli, restaurant and bakery has served the best for the past twenty-two years. They’ve got everything the ex-New Yorker is looking for: whitefish, chopped liver, pastrami and more. Dine in or take out (they also cater).
17062 Preston Rd. (at Campbell Rd.) | Dallas, TX 75248
(972) 733-3354 delinewsdallas.com
Tukta Thai (Richardson)
Delicious food, a veggie-friendly menu (don’t worry, there’s meat too), brisk service and a putting green? Yes, a putting green (apparently, the owner’s daughter is quite the golfer so, there you have it). Quirkiness aside, Tukta Thai’s Pad Thai is one of Richardson’s best and the Curry Fried Rice and Pad Woon Sen are equally good. And, it’s BYOB.
9625 Plano Rd., Ste 500 | Dallas, TX 75238
(214) 342-0121 tuktathairestaurant.com
Hopdoddy (Dallas, Park Cities, Addison)
Hopdoddy believes “happy burgers” start with “happy cows” – humanely raised and without any added chemicals or hormones. In fact, just about everything at Hopdoddy is “happy:” local and organic vegetables, handcut fries, made from scratch buns (including gluten-free options) and craft beers.
Preston Center | 6030 Luther Ln., Ste 100 | (214) 363-2337 3227 McKinney Ave., Ste 102 | (214) 871-2337
5100 Belt Line Rd., Ste 502 | (972) 387-2337
Coffee House Café (Dallas)
This little jewel box offers delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner at reasonable prices in a delightful setting. It’s the perfect place for date night or just about anything else. Their coffee is European style, handcrafted, mostly organic and all that. If you feel like a date night at home, they even offer a drive-through. It’s all good. But really, you had us at drive-through.
6150 Frankford Rd. | Dallas, TX 75252
(469) 248-0554 coffeehousecafe.com
What better anti-turkey meal than one including the best queso and chips in town? This Austin-based eatery offers what most would call “gourmet” tacos in a fun, casual, non-gourmet setting. Their taco of the month is always delicious and might include ingredients like pumpkin seed crusted chicken tenders or escabeche carrots. They also offer hearty breakfast tacos, perfect for out of town guests.
Locations throughout the DFW area
Date Night or Fancier Family Dining
When it’s time to make a break for it, or take the family somewhere more special, here are some places that are both sophisticated and offer a special ambience.
Smoke (Plano, Dallas)
What’s not to love about Smoke? At the Plano locale, the food is delicious, the service is spot-on, the décor is warm and cozy, and the beautiful, covered patios are romantic and also a great place for people watching. The Dallas location is smaller and charming with a retro feel (it’s adjacent to the Belmont Hotel), offering many of the same menu items as the Plano outpost and all of the same, excellent Texas-sized hospitality.
2408 Preston Rd. | (972) 599-2222
901 Fort Worth Ave. | (214) 393-4141
Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill (Addison)
Everyone loves Kenny’s restaurants, including the Burger Joint, Italian Kitchen and Smoke House. What makes the Wood Fired Grill location perfect for date night, though, is its classy supper club décor and simply put, the food. Steaks, chops, burgers and fish are all perfectly prepared. Every meal starts with Kenny’s famous popovers and in our humble opinion, should include their half-pound jumbo lump crab cake. Try a Grey Goose martini – their vodka is kept on tap at 28 degrees. Smooooth.
5000 Belt Line Rd., Ste 775 | Dallas, TX 75254
(972) 392-9663 kennyswoodfiredgrill.com
Crú Food and Wine Bar (Plano, Allen, Dallas)
All three of the Crú locations offer tasty little bites to share (tapas style), stone fired pizza, big plates (steaks, chicken and fish) and a very nice selection of cheese. Bartenders are knowledgeable about the extensive wine selection. We enjoy ordering a flight of three two-ounce wines related by grape varietal, geographic region or style. Flights are a nice way to try something new without breaking the date night bank. Plus, they encourage lingering. cruawinebar.com
Shops at Legacy
7201 Bishop Rd., Ste E2 | (972) 312-9463
842 Market St. | (972) 908-2532
A Knox-Henderson “institution”, Javier’s is still the go-to place for a guaranteed good time with its bustling crowd of beautiful people and a swanky (just ignore the smoke) cigar bar. No Tex-Mex here. This is authentic Mexico City dining. Don’t miss the Filete Cantinflas – tenderloin beef filet stuffed with Chihuahua cheese and topped with mild chile mulatto sauce or the Barra de Navidad – giant shrimp in a delightful diablo sauce. Olé!
4912 Cole Ave. | Dallas, TX 75205
(214) 521-4211 javiers.net
The Theodore (NorthPark Center)
The latest crown jewel from award-winning Chef Tim Byres and Turn the Tables Hospitality (Smoke, Bolsa, The Foundry, Chicken Scratch and more) is The Theodore. Inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s adventurous spirit, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy cocktails and appetizers before a movie, or linger for a sumptuous dinner. The menu contains the sort of rustic/sophisticated and shareable twists we’ve come to expect (and love) from Chef Byres. In good weather, enjoy the patio.
NorthPark Center (near Nordstrom)
8687 North Central Expressway | Dallas 75225
Amberjax (Dallas/Trinity Grove)
This light and spacious Louisiana-style eatery has plenty to offer. Not only is it smack-dab in the middle of one of Dallas’ hottest dining destinations for date night and more, the freshly prepared seafood is tough to beat. Whether you’ve got a hankering for Down Home Shrimp and Grits, Lobster Mac & Cheese or maybe something lighter like Seared Yellowfin Tuna with Wasabi, Ponzu and Ginger, Amberjax will not disappoint.
3011 Gulden Ln., Ste 107 | Dallas, TX 75212
(469) 513-9088 amberjax.net
Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar (Dallas)
Although the inside space is gorgeous, it’s the patio overlooking the Arts District that’s the real draw at Saint Ann—the perfect spot for a cocktail or weekend brunch. The food is fairly straightforward: salads, sandwiches, steaks and fish. We like ordering a few appetizers (the bacon wrapped Medjool dates and spinach artichoke dip are nice) and kicking back while taking in the hipster crowd.
2501 N. Harwood St. | Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 782-9807 saintanndallas.com
Café Malaga (McKinney)
Another great pick for tapas and maybe a lovely glass of rosé. Just off the beautiful downtown historic square, Café Malaga’s secluded back patio is a bit of a hidden gem but well worth a visit. Tapas standouts include the Lamb Lollipop Chops and gooey Fondue with five different types of cheese.
107 S Church St. | McKinney, TX 75069
(972) 542-9996 cafemalaga.com
Terilli’s (East Dallas)
The food at Terilli’s is standard Italian fare but pretty solid. They’re famous for two things: Italchos (an Italian nacho topped with marinara, cheese and an assortment of other toppings of your choice – killer!) and a rooftop patio with one of the prettiest views of Dallas you can imagine. Plus, most nights they play live music.
2815 Greenville Ave. | Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 827-3993 terillis.com
The Rustic (Uptown)
The gigantic patio is always packed! Enjoy down-home food made from scratch daily. The menu features seafood from the Gulf, steak sourced from local ranchers, and dairy and produce grown by local farmers. The bartenders stay busy, pouring the most prolific collection of local beverages in town, including 40 beers on tap.
3656 Howell St. | Dallas, TX 75204
Fifth Street Patio Café (Frisco)
This is a terrific place for patio dining—and they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We adore the Bananas Foster French Toast, the Kentucky Hot Brown and the Frisco Cheese-steak (notice—we like decadent food!). Waits can be long, especially on weekends, but the food and the vibrant scene are definitely worth it.
8621 5th St. | Frisco, TX 75034
(972) 377-3483 5thstreetcafe.com
Rick’s Chophouse (McKinney)
Located in the beautiful Grand Hotel & Ballroom in downtown McKinney, Rick’s is absolutely a date destination for lunch, cocktails and dinner. Comfy leather couches, live music from local artists Thursday through Saturday and handcrafted cocktails are just part of what makes Rick’s so popular.
107 North Kentucky | McKinney 75069
The latest offering from favorite local chef Kent Rathbun offers everything you need for a festive night out: killer burgers, comforting sides (green apple-chayote slaw or charred jalapeno creamed corn, anyone?) and both familiar and fancy cocktails. Not in the mood for a burger? Try their wood grilled market fish or Wood Smoked Pork Loin Chop with Texas Peach BBQ. Homemade condiments galore and a swanky, supper club setting make this a must-try-and-repeat.
8100 Dallas Pkwy Ste 115 | Plano, TX 75024
(972) 712-7077 hickoryplano.com
The Oceanaire Seafood Room
THE freshest seafood in a sleek setting makes The Oceanaire the perfect spot for a luxurious dinner with top-notch service. Menu offerings are based entirely on freshness and availability, so arrive prepared to “just go with it.” There are several few sides you won’t want to miss including Chardonnay Roasted Mushrooms and Shells & Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Applewood Bacon. Their full bar might just make you forget you promised to pick up the tab.
The Westin Galleria Dallas
13340 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75240
(972) 759-2277 theoceanaire.com
The Lion & Crown Pub at Watters Creek (Allen)
If you’re experiencing Downton Abbey withdrawal (who isn’t?) you’ll get your fix at The Lion & Crown Club. A full English-style pub menu with good wines and 38 beers on tap will tide you over nicely. Enjoy classics such as Fish & Chips, Cottage Pie and Bangers & Mash but also some American twists like Pepperoni Flatbread.
932 Garden Park Drive, Allen, TX 75013
(972) 649-4311 lionandcrownpub.com
Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar (Addison)
Reminiscent of a Jackson Hole, Wyoming après-ski lodge, this Addison outpost at the Village on the Parkway offers something delicious for everyone. From comfort food classics such as burgers and big salads to heartier fare including Lamb Stroganoff and Housemaid Veggie Lasagna, Lazy Dog feels like the perfect place to replenish all those calories you burned off on the slopes (or more likely, holiday shopping at the Galleria).
Village on the Parkway
5100 Belt Line Rd Suite 500, Addison TX 75254
(469) 754-1300 lazydogrestaurants.com
Carrabbas’s (Dallas, Plano)
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta have Italian. Carrabbas’s makes dinner a no-brainer, offering classics such as calamari, tomato caprese and lasagne. We also love their Tag Pic Pac—Tagliarini Pasta in housemade sauce with crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil.
17548 Dallas Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75287
3400 N Central Expressway, Plano, TX 75074
TO BE REVIEWED OR LISTED IN THE GOODLIFEFAMILYMAG.COM DINING GUIDE, CONTACT TRICIA WHITE at TRICIA@GOODLIFEFAMILYMAG.COM.