Good Eats Summer Dining Guide

Good Eats Summer Dining Guide

Our editors scoured the greater Dallas area for family-friendly dining destinations. Here are some of our favorites.

CASUAL DINING

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

Crossroads Diner

CrossRoadsDinerEarlier this year, Crossroads relocated to the NE corner of Preston and Campbell, making this former Walnut Hill favorite even more convenient for north Dallasites. Yes, the famous sticky buns are ooey, gooey, and over-the-top, studded with chopped pecans, caramel, and cinnamon—but this is a diner after all.  You can’t go wrong with the made-from-scratch, blueberry pancakes and hearty frittatas, but you’ll also want to try lunchtime fare such as My Mom’s Egg Salad Sandwich on wheat toast or the sublime Crispy Fried Chicken and Warm Brie sandwich. Crossroads welcomes kids and large parties, and, while this busy place doesn’t take reservations, simply download the Nowait app and you’ll get a text when your table is ready.

17194 Preston Road, Suite 101 | Dallas, TX 75248

www.crossroads-diner.com

 

Russo’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen

russosThis Houston-based eatery does offer a well-rounded menu, including Arancini (delectable Sicilian rice balls loaded with herbs and Romano cheese in a rich Bolognese sauce), fantastic Calzones, and standard Italian entrées (Chicken Piccata and the like).  That said, the real draw to Russo’s is the pizza, thanks to its nearly 1,000-degree coal-fired oven which gives us that chewy, but crispy, crust we love. Try the Prosciutto and Kale with Mozzarella and Ricotta cheese. Feeling carnivorous? The Paesano Napolatana will leave you feeling sated. Russo’s is family-friendly, and they cater to both big and small parties.

700 East Campbell Road| Richardson, TX 75081

www.russoscoalfired.com

 

Dream Café

DreamCafeThis favorite breakfast-lunch-dinner-brunch spot, equally popular among young, energetic families and sleepy singles sporting disheveled hair, offers something for everyone: vegetarian entrees so hearty you’ll never miss the meat; gluten-free dishes; breakfast items for dinner (Chicken and Waffles with bacon gravy?); and plenty more. Just looking for a nosh? Try the Blue Cheese Chips loaded with apple-smoked bacon and scallions or the Thai Crab Fritters with lemongrass, lime leaf, buttermilk, and chile. With friendly service and cocktail offerings, the dream is very much alive. Now with a location in Lakewood.

Addison, Uptown, Lakewood

www.thedreamcafe.com

 

Norma’s Café

NormasCafeSince 1956, Norma’s has been serving up its own brand of delicious fare and down-home hospitality. From giant omelets stuffed to the brim, to burgers, sandwiches, and so much more, narrowing down your choices can be a challenge. Everyone loves Norma’s biscuits, but don’t eat too many of them or you won’t have room for things like the Chicken Fried Steak (one of DFW’s best), Open-Faced Pot Roast Sandwich on Texas toast served with mashed potatoes and smothered with gravy, or the ubiquitous diner Patty Melt, positively oozing with Swiss Cheese and smothered onions. Don’t forget the pies! You can’t leave without indulging in one of Norma’s Mile-High Cream Pies™; the coconut version is an otherworldly experience.

Addison, Frisco, Oak Cliff

www.normascafe.com

 

Breadwinners Café and Bakery

BreadwinnersIs your family having a tough time deciding what’s for dinner (or breakfast or brunch)? Bring ‘em on over to Breadwinners. Southern Lump Crab Cakes with spicy remoulade? No problem. Free-Range Roasted Chicken with fresh herbs, seasonal vegetable orzo, and peppadew vinaigrette? Yep. Big, juicy Green Chile Jalapeno Bacon Burger? Of course! How about something more obscure, like Smoked Gouda Fondue with basil, or Pork Belly Sliders? Breadwinners has those, too.  Don’t worry, if you’ve got a hankering for big, hearty breakfast items such as Beeman Ranch Akaushi Strip Steak & Eggs or one of several Eggs Benedict varieties, you won’t be disappointed. Stop by the mouth-watering bakery on your way out for a little something to enjoy later, all by yourself.

Uptown, Inwood Village, Plano, NorthPark Center

www.breadwinnerscafe.com

 

Café Brazil

CafeBrazilWhile this Dallas staple offers a varied menu of appetizers, soups, salad, entrees, desserts, coffees, and more, ingredients lean heavily toward Mexico—not Brazil.  We’re okay with that though because tasty, comfort food options abound.  Breakfast portions are generous, and most entrees include a signature side of crispy Roasted Rosemary Potatoes or Fried Sweet Potatoes. Migas with housemade chorizo really hit the spot.  Several locations are open 24 hours on the weekends, and the University Park location is open 24 hours always. It’s not easy to find that in Dallas!

Multiple locations in DFW

www.cafebrazil.com

 

Mr. Wok

mrwokLocated in what looks like a former Pizza Hut, this is anything but a chain restaurant. From Tom Chung Ramen to Egg Foo Young and everything in between—everything is good. Do not miss two of their most popular dishes: Peking Duck and Beggar’s Chicken. The succulent duck is carved tableside and made daily; when they run out, they’re out—so get there early. After the meat’s been carved, your server will ask whether you want the bones in a soup or stir-fried. Ask for a little bit of both—you’ll thank us. Beggar’s Chicken is a whole chicken stuffed with Chinese sticky rice that’s been stir-fried with shallot, Cantonese sausage, veggies, and five-spice powder and then wrapped in lotus, bamboo leaves, and bread crust, sealing in the juices and flavors during it’s 22-hour basting (yes, 22). Order the Chicken two days in advance; it’s worth the forethought. BYOB.

2600 14th Street | Plano, TX 75074

www.mr-wok.com

 

Mr. Mesero

mrmesseroFeaturing both “American standards and Mexican classics,” this cozy, but popular, McKinney Avenue spot is favored by the in-crowd, making it a wonderful place for a date night or meeting up with friends. During non-peak times, it’s also a nice family destination. When the weather’s nice, the outdoor patio is especially popular to enjoy a Micorita, a house specialty made with Herradura Jimador tequila. Other favorites include Brisket Tacos and the flat grilled Mico “12” Strip Steak, served with serrano and grilled cherry tomatoes. If you have a hankering for a hot dog, this is the place to go. The Big D Dog is made with ¼ pound of Kobe beef, topped with chile, cheese, and onion on a brioche bun.

4444 McKinney Ave | Dallas, TX 75205

www.mrmesero.com

 

El Bolero Cocina Mexicana (Dallas)

ElBoleroThis authentic spot draws the inspiration for its food and beverages from the diverse regions of Mexico. The patio has plenty of umbrellas to provide shade, making it an ideal brunch spot; or kick back on a sunny afternoon with one of their outstanding margaritas and some tacos al pastor.

 

1201 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste 160 | Dallas, TX 75207

(214) 741-1986

elboleromexican.com

 

The Rustic (Uptown)

therusticThe 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

(214)730-0596

therustic.com

 

Piada

piadaWhen you hear the words “street food,” you probably think about Vietnamese, Thai, or Mexican. Rarely, do you associate street food with Italian, so it’s nice to find a place founded on that very concept. It all starts with Piada’s super thin pizza dough—not quite tortilla, not quite lavash—but wonderfully chewy and light. From there, a plethora of topping options (delectable meatballs, fried chicken, steak, avocado, greens, etc.) turns the dough into your choice of either a folded/layered sandwich known as a Tasca (pocket) or a Piada (wrap). Street sides are also good and very fresh, including Orzo Crunch or Roasted Corn. Piada’s reasonably-priced menu makes it a favorite for a quick bite or a sit-down dinner in a fast, casual atmosphere.

Frisco, Richardson, Fort Worth

www.mypiada.com

 

Mi Cocina

MiCocinaGreat chips, zippy salsa, friendly service, and the infamous Mambo Taxi (an intoxicating—literally—blend of Sauza Silver tequila, lime juice and housemade sangria with Pinot Noir, brandy and fruit juices) have ensured that every single person in Dallas (or so we imagine) has been to Mi Cocina at least a dozen times. While the Brisket Tacos are legendary, and the Queso Blanco with Picadillo Beef is the bomb, for the fitness-minded, the housemade soups and hearty salads are also excellent.  Feeling fishy? The seared Tilapia Filet with Orange-Garlic Mojo is solid. We’ll also take anything they offer, as long as its smothered in Mi Cocina’s silky-smooth mole sauce.

Multiple locations in DFW

www.micocinarestaurants.com

 

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House

babeschickendinnerhouseBabe’s just might be the ultimate in family-friendly, down-home cooking. If you like things battered and fried, Babe’s has got you covered. The fried chicken is (practically) world-famous but the chicken fried steak is equally delicious. The catfish is as good as any we’ve had.  If you insist, they have one un-fried option: Hickory Smoked Chicken. Sides are unlimited and served family-style, just like Grandma used to make, including iceberg lettuce with sweet vinaigrette, creamed corn, green beans cooked with grease (don’t expect al dente), mashed potatoes with gravy, and fluffy biscuits. Without a doubt, Dallas loves Babe’s, so there can be a wait, especially on weekends, but seating moves quickly.  For food this good, at just $12.99/person for adults, it’s definitely worth it.

Multiple locations in DFW

www.babeschicken.com

 

PDQ

PDQYou know how it is when you’re hungry and want something quick, but you also want it to be on the healthier side, and, oh yeah—you don’t want to get out of your car? Think PDQ.  While this acronym typically stands for “Pretty Darn Quick,” (and they are!) in this relatively new, but rapidly expanding concept, it stands for “People Dedicated to Quality.”  While the menu is decidedly poultry-driven, it’s also surprisingly varied, with several good-for-you fruits and veggies tucked into unexpected but delicious places. Zucchini fries and Blueberry Coleslaw (try it!) sit unpretentiously alongside hand-battered chicken tenders served with made-fresh-daily sauces. The heavenly Handheld Thanksgiving is actually the Grilled Turkey Sandwich, with all the seasonings of the holiday layered inside a signature toasted brioche bun. The salads are generous, fresh, and filling, and to satisfy your sweet tooth, try a handspun milkshake. Dine in or drive-thru.

Locations in Frisco, Plano, Murphy

www.eatpdq.com

 

Spezzo (Plano)

SPEZZO-3A 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. Spezzo’s choice of two appetizers—fried calamari with marinara and spicy garlic aioli or white bean soup—are solid. 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)

SissysReally, 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 (if you prefer all white meat, it’s $32) and it comes with your choice of coleslaw or whipped potatoes and gravy. Throw in some of her delicious sides like collard greens ($9), Sissy’s mac & cheese ($12) or 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)

ChickenScratchIf 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. Grab an adult beverage next door at The Foundry and hang out at the outdoor picnic tables. When you’ve had your fill, enjoy an all-natural fresh fruit popsicle.

2303 Pittman St. | Dallas, TX 75208

(214) 749-1112

cs-tf.com

 

Grimaldi’s (Allen)

GrimaldisThere was a time when you could only get Grimaldi’s famous coal-fired brick oven pizza in New York. But that was then. Today, there are Grimaldi’s almost everywhere, it seems. 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 (Plano)

GuideSometimes, 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. But they do dinner, too. Dine in or take out (they also cater) from their hot food menu including beef stroganoff, boiled chicken in the pot with matzo ball, stuffed cabbage rolls and braised short ribs. What are you waiting for?

17062 Preston Rd. (at Campbell Rd.) | Dallas, TX 75248

(972) 733-3354

delinewsdallas.com

 

Tukta Thai (Richardson)

TuktaThaiDelicious 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 Friend Rice and Pad Woon Sen are equally good. Its BYOB policy makes it a budget-friendly place to dine in, or skip the putting green and do take-out.

9625 Plano Rd., Ste 500 | Dallas, TX 75238

(214) 342-0121

tuktathairestaurant.com

 

Terilli’s (East Dallas)

terillisThe 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

 

Torchy’s Tacos

torchystacosWhat 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

www.torchystacos.com

 

The Lion & Crown Club at Watters Creek

lioncrownIf 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 until Downtown’s Season Six arrives early January. Enjoy classics such as Fish & Chips, Cottage Pie and Bangers & Mash but also some American twists like Pepperoni Flatbread. The cozy pub décor adds to the fun.

932 Garden Park Drive | Allen, TX 75013

(972) 649-4311

The Lion & Crown Club at Watters Creek

 

Lazy Dog Restaurant and Bar

lazydogrestaurantReminiscent 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

 

Fifth Street Patio Café (Frisco)

5thstreetcafeThis 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 Cheesesteak (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

 

Coffee House Café (Dallas)

CoffeeHouseCafeThis 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

 

Hopdoddy (Dallas, Park Cities, Addison)

HopdoddyBurgerHopdoddy 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. There’s no table service, per se, but staff helps you find a seat and is more than “happy” to bring you refills or anything else you need. Waits at the Preston Center location can be long at lunch but worth it.

Preston Center

6030 Luther Ln., Ste 100 | Dallas, TX 75225

(214) 363-2337

hopdoddy.com

3227 McKinney Ave., Ste 102 | Dallas, TX 75204

(214) 871-2337

 

5100 Belt Line Rd., Ste 502 | Addison, TX 75254

(972) 387-2337

 

Amberjax (Dallas/Trinity Grove)

amberjaxThis 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. Don’t like fishy things? No worries. They also offer delicious chicken and beef.

3011 Gulden Lane, Ste 107 | Dallas, TX 75212

(469) 513-9088

amberjax.net

 

UPSCALE DINING

When it’s time for date night, a celebration, or a family treat, here are some dining destinations that o er more sophisticated fare and ambiance.

 

Kenny’s Wood Fired Grill (Addison)

kenny-s-wood-fired-grillEveryone 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 and delicious. Every meal starts with Kenny’s famous popovers and in our humble opinion, should include their half-pound jumbo lump crab cake. It’s too delicious not to order! 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

 

Mia Dia From Scratch

MiaDiaWhile folks who like Tex Mex food tend to prefer Tex Mex, and those who like Mexican food tend to prefer Mexican, Mia Dia offers the best of both worlds. The name says it all:  from scratch.  From tamales lovingly stuffed with pork and then topped with New Mexico red and green chile sauces, Oaxacan salsa with crema and pasilla, silky Negra Modelo Glazed Sea Bass to the crowd-pleasing Applewood Smoked Bacon and Chipotle Fajitas, each dish is prepared using mouthwatering ingredients with a flair. Signature items include Chipotle Ribs and wonderful Sopes—corn masa boats topped with Oaxacan black beans, pork belly, queso fresco, crema, micro cilantro, and New Mexico red chile. The Plano location’s outdoor patio area is a perfect spot to enjoy one of their more than 25 different margaritas, maybe one of their craft cocktails, or a tequila flight.

Plano, Grapevine

www.midiafromscratch.com

 

Smoke (Plano, Dallas)

SmokePlanoWhat’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. And since it’s date night, after all, don’t miss the fire roasted oysters with scampi butter, chorizo and ash salsa. 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. | Plano, TX 75093

(972) 599-2222

smokerestaurant.com

901 Fort Worth Ave. | Dallas, Texas 75208

(214) 393-4141

 

Crú Food and Wine Bar (Plano, Allen, Dallas)

crufoodwinebar2All three of the Cru 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.

Shops at Legacy

7201 Bishop Rd., Ste E2 | Plano, TX 75024

(972) 312-9463

cruawinebar.com

 

Watters Creek

842 Market St. | Allen, TX 75013

(972) 908-2532

 

3699 McKinney Ave., Ste 107 | Dallas, TX 75204

(214) 526-9463

 

Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar (Dallas)

SaintAnnRestaurantAlthough 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)

cafemalagaAnother 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

 

The Grape

thegrapeThough The Grape has been around for more than 40 years, there’s a reason (actually, several) why it remains a Dallas favorite. Let’s start with THE Mushroom Soup, a must-have, and move right into, say, Cornmeal Fried Oysters and Crispy Duck Breast with Roasted Brussels Sprout. Craving something less fancy? The burger, topped with housemade peppered bacon and Vermont white cheddar, has been voted “Best in Texas” by Texas Monthly. Two dozen wines by the glass and a Monday through Friday Happy Hour with drink specials help make The Grape an after-work respite from the daily grind, and its romantic atmosphere keeps it at the top of everyone’s Date Night list. Swing by for Sunday brunch, too.

2808 Greenville Avenue | Dallas 75206

214.828.1981

www.thegraperestaurant.com

 

The Theodore (NorthParkCenter)

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. Handpainted constellation murals, vintage furniture, natural curiosities and cozy, nook-like seating give The Theodore a refined, quirky air. The menu contains the sort of rustic/sophisticated and shareable twists we’ve come to expect (and love) from Chef Byres. Highlights include Sausage and Chervil Artisanal Toast, Crispy Chicken Thighs with Squash Mustard and Salted Cucumber and the (vertical) Lamp Shank Pie in puff pastry. For dessert, don’t miss the sublime Grapefruit and Honey Baked Alaska. In good weather, enjoy the patio.

NorthPark Center (near Nordstrom)

8687 North Central Expressway | Dallas 75225

469.232.9771

www.thetheodore.com

 

Bonnie Ruth’s Bistro Français et Pattisserie (Watters Creek)

bonnieruthsCan’t get to Paris? Then get to Bonnie Ruth’s, where you’ll enjoy classic French bistro cuisine, music and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Menu favorites include Croque Monsieur with decadent béchamel sauce, Steak Frites (ala 10 ounces of NY Strip, pan seared and served with red wine jus) and of course, Onion Soup Gratinée made with veal stock, caramelized onion and topped with melted Gruyere. Heavenly. The Thursday, Friday and Sunday Date Night menu is an exceptional value at just $69 for two, including a bottle of house wine, one hors d’oeuvres, two delicious entrees (choose from Seafood Crepes, Duck Two Ways, Bone-In Pork Chops with Calvados and more), dessert to share and coffee. And don’t forget to swing by the adjacent patisserie to pick up some post-date deliciousness.

916 Garden Park Drive | Allen 75013

214.383.6777

www.bonnieruthsallen.com

 

Rick’s Chophouse

rickschophouseLocated 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 but it’s a chophouse, after all, and the real emphasis here is on the food. Mouthwatering steaks, juicy burgers, fresh seafood (including Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes served with Roasted Corn-Crawfish Bisque and Bacon-Wrapped Trout) along with classic, hearty salads like the Iceberg Wedge with Maytag Bleu Cheese Dressing are just a few of the things you’ll love at Rick’s. And since you’ve already booked the sitter, why not include an overnight stay at the historic hotel? Rick’s serves Sunday brunch, too.

107 North Kentucky | McKinney 75069

214.726.9251

www.rickschophouse.com

 

eight|11 place

eight11placeIf walking into eight|11 feels like you’ve stepped into a friend’s house (in Austin), there’s a good reason for it: 1) it actually used to be a house and 2) the chefs/owners are from there. A classic, intimate interior with wood floors, plenty of candles and Mason jar pendant lighting make this wine bar a very cozy place to unwind; or, venture outside and share a table with fellow music lovers. Menu items Salads, Bites (think: Pimento Cheese Sliders) and housemade Flat Breads such as the Chorizo Hero with local goat cheese, red onion, cilantro and roasted yellow peppers. This is the kind of place where you can kick back and enjoy the cool vibe while sipping on wines by the glass/bottle and local beers on tap.

7080 W Main Street  | Frisco 75034

469.888.4037

www.eight11place.com

 

Jasper’s

JaspersJasper’s motto may be “Gourmet Backyard Cuisine,” but our question is, Whose backyard? And more importantly, How can we snag a nightly invitation? Beloved Dallas-based chef Kent Rathbun believed the concept was “just crazy enough to work,” and it certainly does. The dining here is largely indoors (though there is a nice patio), the atmosphere is upscale-meets-cozy, and the service is equally attentive and relaxed. Start with Jasper’s famous Maytag Bleu Cheese Potato Chips and Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp ‘N Grits. We’re slightly addicted to the smoky Blistered Shishito Peppers served with lime and Falksalt. For bigger appetites, you can’t go wrong with the Slow Smoked Baby Back Ribs served with Baked Potato Salad or the Wood Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Texas Peach BBQ Sauce. Cast iron sides like the Smoked Onion Creamed Spinach are generous enough to share with the table, and an eclectic wine list ensures perfect food pairings every time.

7161 Bishop Rd | Plano, TX 75024

www.jaspersplano.com

 

Yao Fuzi

yaofuziIf there’s such a restaurant genre as “upscale, Chinese comfort food, served in a romantic setting with great cocktails,” then Yao Fuzi has nailed it. From Shanghai-style soup dumplings to Pork Steamed Buns and Ma Po Tofu to Kung Pao Chicken—everything is freshly made and utterly delicious. Some delightfully unexpected twists also make an appearance, like Summer Rolls with Spicy Ahi Tuna and Asian Pear, Lamb with Scallions, and Jalapeno Chicken. Yao Fuzi aims to please both the diner looking for familiar Chinese favorites, as well as those looking for something a bit more adventurous. Yao’s extensive menu of Special Martinis is a refreshing departure from most Chinese restaurants: don’t miss the Lychee Grapefruit-tini or the Orange Crush-tini with Absolut mandarin vodka, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and Grand Marnier.

4757 W. Park Blvd, Suite 108 | Plano, TX 75093

www.yaofuzi.com

 

Hickory

hickoryplanoThe latest Plano 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 (we love the Killin’ Thyme with vodka, cucumber, lime, soda and thyme). 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 including pickles 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

oceanaireseafoodroomWhile this may be considered more of a date night place, if you happen to bring your in-laws here for a Thanksgiving weekend night out, they’ll never forget it. 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

 

Javier’s

JaviersA 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