The Dining Guide

The Dining Guide

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

American, Asian, Barbecue, Burgers, Italian, French, Cafes, Southern, Tapas, Afghan, Seafood

AMERICAN

American
Hash House A Go Go

hashagogoWhat’s not to love about a restaurant that’s self-described as “Twisted Farm Food?” Hash House serves hearty (very hearty!) portions of breakfast-all-day menu items like Sage Fried Chicken Benedict, an assortment of savory hashes that will make you rethink hashes and Sausage Gravy Pot Pie with scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes. Flapjacks and waffles are also solid choices, as is our other most recent anytime obsession—Hot, Sticky Granola with milk and mixed fresh fruit. Even several of the salads are rib stickers; you will definitely not leave this place hungry.

1900 Preston Rd, Suite 343 | Plano, TX 75093
www.hashhouseagogo.com

Highland Park Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain

hpsf_milkshakeCraving nostalgia, along with THE best half ham salad/half pimento cheese sandwich in town? Without a doubt, this is where you need to be. In business for over 104 (!) years, which in Dallas terms is practically like the Mesolithic era, very little has changed in the last century at HPOFSF, except for the gracious addition of central air-conditioning. Oh, if those original bar stools could talk! Moms and business moguls alike mingle over Frito chili pies, superior shakes and what we think simply has to be house made vegetable soup—it’s that good. And whether you’re craving a malt, cooler, float, freeze, soda or sundae, they’re all sublime.

3229 Knox St | Dallas, TX 75205
www.highlandparksodafountain.com

 

lazydogLazy Dog Restaurant and Bar
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
www.lazydogrestaurants.com

 

pdq-nuggetsclosePDQ

You 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

 

truckyardTruck Yard

It’s a little bit of Austin food truck and a little bit of a German biergarten. Throw in some east Dallas quirky hospitality and the ubiquitous urban plethora of beards and man buns, and you’ve got the Truck Yard. A rotating selection of food trucks (check the website for the monthly calendar), live music on the weekends and a respectable offering of booze, brews and yes, dog treats make this an easy-peasy outdoor hangout for both humans and their canine companions. It’s also family friendly, but just in case you’re planning a visit after a Texas-sized rainstorm, wear your rubber boots. Things get muddy, but nonetheless, still fun.

5624 Sears St | Dallas, TX 75206
www.texastruckyard.com

 

eight11-placeeight|11 place

If 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

 

JaspersJasper’s

Jasper’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

 

ricksRick’s Chophouse 

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, TX 75069

(214) 726-9251 | rickschophouse.com

 

kennysfishKenny’s Wood Fired Grill

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 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  www.kennyswoodfiredgrill.com

 

saintannSaint Ann Restaurant and Bar

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  www.saintanndallas.com

 

thegrapeThe Grape

Though 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

 

THEODOREThe Theodore

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

ASIAN CUISINE

Asian
padthaiMr. Wok

Located 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 St | Plano, TX 75074
www.mr-wok.com

 

tuktathaiTukta Thai

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 Friend Rice and Pad Woon Sen are equally good. And, it’s BYOB.

9625 Plano Rd, Ste 500 | Dallas, TX 75238
www.tuktathairestaurant.com

 

yaoYao Fuzi

If 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

BARBEQUE

Barbecue
kennyssmokehouseKenny’s Smoke House

No doubt about it—Texans love barbecue. But the thing that makes Kenny’s Smoke House so special is that it offers more than just standard Texas barbecue fare. Tasty eats like smoky Pulled Pork Tostadas are featured alongside must-have brisket, sausage and ribs. Even sandwiches and salads get the Smoke House treatment with ingredients like smoked turkey and smoked bacon, and don’t miss the Smoked Gouda Mac n Cheese. A family style to-go menu makes this a great party option, too.

5760 Legacy Dr #4 | Plano, TX 75024
www.kennyssmoke.com

 

smokeSmoke

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 | Plano, TX 75093

901 Fort Worth Ave | Dallas, Texas 75208
www.smokerestaurant.com

 

BURGERS

Burgers
grub-burger-dallas-700x521Grub Burger Bar

While this is definitely a darn good burger bar, a few surprises on the menu take it up several notches. For lighter fare, the Ahi Tuna Salad is tossed with a kicking-it wasabi-teriyaki vinaigrette. And you certainly wouldn’t expect Crawfish Pistolettes at a burger joint, now would you? And then there’s made-from-scratch étouffée, wrapped in a French bread roll and served with house made Mississippi Comeback Sauce. Veggie burgers are actually flavorful and a nice alternative to beef, as is the Jive Turkey Burger with pesto, chipotle aioli and avocado. Optional burger toppings are fun and inventive, from fried eggs to ghost chili sauce. And don’t miss the “Happier Hour” with $3, $4 and $5 drinks.

4925 Greenville Ave, Suite 150 | Dallas, TX 75206

8255 Preston Rd, Suite 300 | Plano, TX 75024
www.grubburgerbar.com

 

hopdoddy_shroomburgerHopdoddy

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 | Dallas, TX 75225

3227 McKinney Ave, Ste 102 | Dallas, TX 75204

Village on the Parkway
5100 Belt Line Rd, Ste 502 | Addison, TX 75254
www.hopdoddy.com

 

jakesuptownJake’s Uptown: Burgers, Beer & Atmosphere

Now this is where you take out-of-town visitors for a really great, no muss/no fuss Texas-style hamburger. Yeah, there are a couple of obligatory salads on the menu but really, who cares? If you’re at Jake’s, you’re there for fried, battered and delicious. Even desserts are fried. Really, it all goes back to the famous poppy seed buns, all crunchy and toasty. “Vegetables” include Fried Pickle Chips and even Fried Green Beans (See, Mom? We’re eating our greens!). There are giant TV screens everywhere, showcasing a plethora of near and far sports channels, and beer is always frosty—whether in bottles or on tap.

Multiple locations throughout DFW
www.jakesuptown.com

 

kennys-4-823x420Kenny’s Burger Joint

Whether you’re in the mood for a really great, classic burger like Zed’s Straight Up or something a little different like Mushroom Brie or Black & Blue (with Cajun spices and bleu cheese), Kenny’s doesn’t disappoint. Loaded Cheese Fries are the bomb here, and if you’re really feeling indulgent, don’t forget the thick cut onion rings—they’re epic.

1377 Legacy Dr, Suite 120 | Frisco, Texas 75034

5809 Preston Rd, Suite 588 | Plano, Texas 75093
www.kennysburgerjoint.com

 

CAFES, DINERS AND COFFEEHOUSES

Cafes
breadwinnersBread Winners Café and Bakery

Is your family having a tough time deciding what’s for dinner (or breakfast or brunch)? Bring ‘em on over to Bread Winners. 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

 

cafebrazilCafé Brazil

While 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

 

coffeehousecafeCoffee House Café

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
www.coffeehousecafe.com

 

crossroadsCrossroads Diner

Earlier 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 Rd, Suite 101 | Dallas, TX 75248
www.crossroads-diner.com

 

delinewsDeli News

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 | Dallas, TX 75248
www.delinewsdallas.com

 

dreamcafeDream Café

This 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

 

5thstreetpatioFifth Street Patio Café

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 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
www.5thstreetcafe.com

 

normascafeNorma’s Café

Since 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

 

FRENCH

French
bonnieruthsBonnie Ruth’s Bistro Français et Pattisserie

Can’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

 

riseno1rise n°1

Who doesn’t love a really good soufflé? And this is definitely the place for one. Whether you go with a savory version like Truffle Infused Mushroom or Herb & Spicy Sausage, or a sweet soufflé like Chocolate or Grand Marnier (we would definitely suggest at least one of each), these are soufflés just like your grandmother used to make, if she happened to be French. Or a chef. Or both.  And of course, you simply cannot miss the inadvertent appetizer for which the restaurant has become most famous: Marshmallow Soup. Though not technically marshmallows, small puffs of baked goat cheese float effortlessly on a delicious red broth topped with green pesto. Yum.

5360 West Lovers Lane, Suite 220 | Dallas, TX 75209

risesouffle.com

 

ITALIAN & PIZZA

Italian
campisisCampisi’s

When it comes to pizza, Campisi’s is a Dallas favorite, but don’t forget about the rest of the menu. Since 1946, the Campisi family has served up classic and beloved Italian favorites, from meatballs to artichoke hearts and everything in between. Pasta portions are generous and easily shared, and all entrées come with a salad, bread and your choice of pasta. In recent years, Campisi’s has expanded to include gluten-free pizza crusts, and most lunch specials, priced at just $9.99 including entrée and drink, keep business folks, students and stay-at-home moms coming through the doors every weekday.

Multiple locations throughout DFW
www.campisis.us

 

grimaldisGrimaldi’s

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
www.grimaldispizzeria.com

 

kennyspizzaKenny’s East Coast Pizza

If you’re from the East Coast, there’s no doubt about it: you’re going to be verrrry picky about your pizza. North Dallas has drawn the lucky straw in pizza eating because Plano is where native Bostonian (and one of Dallas’ fave restaurateurs) Kenny Bowers is soon opening his own pizza place. While the menu will also offer Italian American favorites featured on the menus of his other successful restaurants, expect a selection here focusing mainly on the pie—pizza pie, that is—cooked in a classic Bakers Pride Deck Oven. Handcrafted cocktails and Grey Goose on tap, too? We’re already lining up at the door.

4701 W Park Blvd, Suite 101 |Plano, TX 75093
www.kennyseastcoastpizza.com

 

kennysitalianKenny’s Italian Kitchen

This is the real deal when it comes to Southern American Italian comfort food (think: Parmigiana, Picatta and Marsala) in a fun and friendly atmosphere. A nice selection of pastas ranging from vegetarian to killer “Midnight” meatballs as well as seafood, steaks and chops make Kenny’s a perfect choice, whether it’s family night or date night. Many dishes can be prepared “light” (if you’re so inclined), vegetarian or gluten free.

5100 Beltline Rd, Suite 764 | Dallas, Texas 75254
www.kennysitalian.com

 

piadaPiada

When 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

 

romancucinaRoman Cucina

The best way to describe Roman Cucina is just this: simple, delicious and family-friendly. The Dallas location, with strings of party lights and comfy black leather booths, reminds us of something we might see in a Brooklyn neighborhood, and the arched patio provides a lovely place for dining al fresco. The newer Allen location boasts a spacious dining room as well as an intimate banquet room, both perfect for larger parties. At both locations, you’ll find straightforward Italian fare. But unlike a lot of other old-school Italian joints, this one also accommodates egg-free, gluten-free and dairy-free substitutions at low or no additional cost. A small but well-priced wine list and cocktails are also available.

7989 Belt Line Rd, Suite 315 | Dallas, TX 75248 ‎

201 E. Bethany Dr, Suite #1 | Allen, TX 75002
www.romancucina.com

 

russosRusso’s Coal-Fired Italian Kitchen

This 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 Rd | Richardson, TX 75081
www.russoscoalfired.com

 

spezzoSpezzo

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
www.spezzoitalian.com

 

terillisTerilli’s

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
www.terillis.com

 

carrabasCarrabbas’s

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.

Dallas
17548 Dallas Pkwy | Dallas, TX 75287

Plano
3400 N Central Exwy | Plano, TX 75074

MEXICAN

Mexican
chuysChuy’s

What started in Austin in 1982 as a fun/funky Tex-Mex joint, perfect for grabbing a beer and chips or a mix of comforting entrees, has since grown into what you might call a Tex-Mex empire, with locations across Texas and 14 other states. Still, Chuy’s hasn’t lost its charm. A lot of love goes into Chuy’s food—from hand-pulled chicken in all entrees, hand-rolled fresh tortillas, to any of the 10 signature sauces made fresh daily—those extra steps really make a difference. A small but refreshing selection of signature drinks makes Chuy’s a perfect place to kick back any time.

Multiple locations in DFW
www.chuys.com

 

elboleroEl Bolero Cocina Mexicana

This 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
www.elboleromexican.com

 

mattitosMattito’s

This is the kind of Tex-Mex cuisine that North Texans both love and crave. And at Mattito’s, you have to start off with the Bob Armstrong dip. Basically a layered chile con queso with seasoned ground beef, guacamole and sour cream, you’ll soon find yourself swooning over Mr. Armstrong. While not on the menu, with a wink and a smile your server will be happy to accommodate you. Then move right on to more cheesy goodness with Texas Enchiladas or Quesadillas de Brisket. If your mood isn’t cheesy, you can’t go wrong with the fajitas and yes, if needed, they even offer gluten-free tortillas. The Lite Fajitas are perfect for calorie counters, sautéed without oil and served over seared broccoli and cauliflower. A few locations also offer a well-priced Sunday brunch from 10-2, and all locations are very family friendly.

Multiple locations throughout DFW
www.mattitos.com

 

mexicansugarMexican Sugar

If Mexican Sugar doesn’t make you want to book a vacation south of the border, pronto, we don’t know what will. Chic, hacienda-style design, replete with arched doorways and hardwood floors, showcases perfectly the Latin food and flavors of this Shops at Legacy gem. Fresh, local ingredients and plenty of lighter fare, too, help make this place a date night/family/crowd pleaser. Don’t miss the stellar ceviche and shrimp/crab/avocado cocktail alongside heartier items like enchiladas and a fantastic hamburguesa with chile bacon, roasted poblano and pickled jalapeno. For carb watchers, all of the fresh tacos can be served with lettuce cups rather than tortillas. “Beautifiers” (aka killer cocktails) are worth the trip alone.

7501 Lone Star Dr, Suite B150 | Plano, TX 75024
www.mexicansugarcocina.com

 

mc-mambo-taxiMi Cocina

Great 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

 

javiersJavier’s

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  www.javiers.net

 

mi_diaMi Dia From Scratch

While folks who like Tex Mex food tend to prefer Tex Mex, and those who like Mexican food tend to prefer Mexican, Mi 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

 

mrmesero

Mr. Mesero

Featuring 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

 

torchysTorchy’s Tacos

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
www.torchystacos.com

 

PUB FARE

 

lionandcrownThe Lion & Crown Club at Watters Creek

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 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 Dr | Allen, TX 75013

 

SOUTHERN

southern
babesBabe’s Chicken Dinner House

Babe’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

 

chickenscratchChicken Scratch

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
www.cs-tf.com

 

sissysSissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar

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
www.sissyssouthernkitchen.com

 

therusticThe Rustic

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
www.therustic.com

 

SEAFOOD

Seafood
amberjaxAmberjax

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. 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
www.amberjax.net

 

diveDive Coastal Cuisine

Yes, Dive, located in Snider Plaza, attracts ladies who lunch. And ravenous, yet well-heeled SMU students. But what packs in customers for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday is the food. It’s really good, and portions are surprisingly generous. Think the-Hamptons-meets-shabby-chic with convenient counter-service and a strong commitment to seasonal, organic ingredients. As the name suggests, there’s a strong bent toward seafood with freshly-shucked oysters, mussels and daily fish specials served with a choice of sauce and two sides. But that’s just the beginning. Not feeling fishy? Try the South Beach Turkey Burger with sriracha aioli or the Grilled Churrasco Steak Wrap Cocktails, beer, wine and seasonal sangria round out your swim.

3404 Rankin St | Dallas, TX 75205

dive-dallas.com

 

oceanaireseafoodroomThe Oceanaire Seafood Room

While 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 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.

13340 Dallas Pkwy | Dallas, TX 75240

(972) 759-2277 | oceanaireseafoodroom.com

TAPAS STYLE

tapas
malagaCafé Malaga

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
www.cafemalaga.com

 

Crú Food and Wine Bar  

All 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

Watters Creek
842 Market St., Allen, TX 75013
(972) 908-2532

3699 McKinney Ave., Ste 107, Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 526-9463

www.cruawinebar.com

 

AFGHAN

 

Afghan

noraNORA

Restaurants featuring Afghan cuisine in Dallas aren’t that easy to find. And finding one with a beautiful rooftop bar and patio is just about impossible—until Nora came along. If you’re already familiar with the country’s food, you’ll be delighted to find your favorites such as Kadu (sautéed pumpkin with garlic yogurt and meat sauce), Mantoo (steamed beef dumplings), Kofta Chalao (stewed meatballs with spices and dried plum) and Qabili Palao (seasoned meat with raisins and carrots). But if you’re just getting started, you can’t go wrong with any of the Kabobs and some of the best hummus we’ve sampled. Before or after dining, grab a Cardamom Martini and head to the roof for some of the city’s most romantic views.

1928 Greenville Ave | Dallas, TX 75206

noradallas.com

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