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Uchiba Dallas
Photograph: Courtesy Uchiba/Alina Tyulyu

The 18 best restaurants in Dallas right now

The best restaurants in Dallas serve up anything from Tex-Mex to Mediterranean and everything in between

Written by
James Wong
Contributors
Jonathan Thompson
&
Cecilia Meis
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This city is big for a lot of things, and the culinary scene is no different — the best restaurants in Dallas offer range well beyond barbeque.

Where to begin? The city’s bright young chefs are making their mark throughout downtown with international flavors blended with Texan charm and a splash of good design. On the casual front, hip eaters in Deep Ellum and Lower Greenville munch at rustic day-to-night hangouts that serve some of the best brunches in Dallas along with lethal cocktails. And certainly, the glamorous housewives — dressed to the nines with champagne in hand — lend undeniable status to chic restaurants uptown and in Turtle Creek, too.

Whatever your cravings, it’s an exciting time to sample the city’s culinary delights. No, it’s not just brisket and tortillas here — there’s also plenty of room for menus that sparkle with caviar, schnitzel, baba ganoush and handmade dumplings. Trust us: you’ll need to loosen that belt, because you won’t be leaving anything on your plate.

Who’s hungry? Here are the very best restaurants in Dallas to eat at right now.

RECOMMENDED: the best bars in Dallas

Best restaurants in Dallas

If you’re only in Dallas for one night, do whatever you can to snag a seat at this acclaimed restaurant (i.e. book early, because the waitlist is long). Situated on the 49th floor of The National, the modern Italian hotspot is helmed by the double-Michelin starred chef Danny Grant. The specialty here is wood-fired steak, though the seafood and house-made pastas are equally delectable. Indecisive? Go for The Royal if you don’t mind the steep price tag — the chef will surprise you with the best cuts from the menu. This venue is all-out European glam, so cowboy hats should be left at the door.

As far as izakayas go, this is a clear winner on Maple Drive. From the same team behind Uchi, this sexy upstairs bar puts a twist on Japan’s greatest hits. Some of our top menu picks include the hot fried chicken bun with pickles, a juicy pork belly with fish caramel from the yakitori grill, and the once-a-month ramen special. Unlike traditional izakaya, Uchiba has a massive vegetarian selection (the chef is herself a vegetarian) like crispy tofu, cauliflower buns, mushroom skewers, and avocado nigiri.

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Whichever way you slice it, barbecue is king in Texas. And, as pretty much any Dallasite will tell you, Pecan Lodge smokes the rest of the competition for miles around. The bad news? The line snakes for at least a block most lunchtimes. The good news? You can skip straight to the front when you order five pounds of meat or more. If it’s your first time, dive straight in by ordering The Trough — it comes with a beef rib, a pound of pork ribs, a pound of brisket, a half-pound of pulled pork, and three sausages (best shared between four people, obvs). And if you’ve got any room whatsoever left after that, Aunt Polly's banana pudding is an absolute must.

One of the oldest and most storied restaurants in the South, The French Room was remodeled a few years back, which only upgraded an already timeless experience. The chic, en pointe decor (think Louis XVI-style chairs and Italian Murano Glass chandeliers) is matched by an exquisite afternoon tea menu featuring a tier of finger sandwiches, sweet scones and of course sweet treats such as peach upside-down cake, white chocolate key lime tart, and roasted rhubarb and hazelnut financier. Best washed down with some Laurent-Perrier.

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Texans have been praising Dean Fearing’s creations for decades, long before he became a celebrity chef. Maybe it’s because he literally wrote The Texas Food Bible. Maybe it’s because his well-heeled, ever-popular restaurant continues to offer the best in hearty Texan food served with a fine-dining flourish. Maybe it’s because the chef himself often bursts from the kitchen, electric guitar in hand, to serenade his unsuspecting diners. Either way, his maple peppercorn-soaked buffalo tenderloin is to die for. This is mama’s home cooking with a million-dollar upgrade.

Richard Branson knows a thing or two about running a business, and Dallas’ Commons Club is no exception. The British billionaire enticed one of the Big D’s most sought-after chefs, Matt McCallister, then gave him carte blanche to create an extraordinary (and pleasingly affordable!) menu. The result is one of the hottest dinner reservations uptown (and the best crispy pork belly you’re ever likely to taste). Be sure to check the events calendar for “Live with…” performances, drag brunch, and afternoon tea events.

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One for the adventurous eater, Petra and the Beast attracts national and international acclaim thanks to a fearless experimental menu that’s served in a former gas station in old East Dallas. Chef Misti Norris, a skilled nose-to-tail butcher who doesn’t like to waste any ingredients, concocts a cornucopia of unexpected flavors in this intimate, unassuming setting, with dishes including pappardelle with oxtail sugo, parmesan ribbons, chives and crispy garlic crumb, and tea braised pig tails with ham and seed chorizo, charred pepper cream and smoked tomato adobo.

Originally launched as a patisserie in 2002 by three brothers, Afrah is now a full-service restaurant offering traditional Mediterranean and Lebanese treats based on their mother’s home-cooked recipes. Lunchtime is packed with patrons stuffing themselves with gyro and kebabs, but dinners are a more exciting affair with baba ganoush, falafel plates, and generous minced meat pies. The baklava is also unmissable—don’t skip it!

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At The Joule, one of Dallas’ most stylish hotels, CBD Provisions is something of a bright spot. Join the in-crowd sipping craft cocktails at Midnight Rambler, the subterranean speakeasy, before heading upstairs for a main course of traditional American fare with a Texan twist. Expect a warm, big city brasserie with a bustling, inclusive ambiance, and menu highlights including Shrimp Watermelon Gazpacho and a shareable Crispy Pig’s Head Carnitas with salsa roja, salsa verde, corn tortillas, and more.

Perched on the corner of Main and Field in the heart of downtown, Commissary is best described as a European-style market. Wrapped in a splashy blue tile mosaic (created by Cuban artist Jorge Pardo), it’s a lively addition to the resurgent heart of the city—and it’s already making a name for itself as a destination spot for morning coffee, lunch on the go, or a leisurely brunch. It’s also there for you when you need it most: its Biscuit Sandwich is a world-class hangover-smasher.

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A hybrid bar and restaurant in the middle of Dallas’ hipster neighborhood, Rapscallion has a killer brunch menu to match its uber-cool location. The chicken and dumplings can and will cure all ills, while the Snake River Farms wagyu with pomme puree, grilled broccolini, and tallow butter is even better than it sounds. Pair it all with the pleasingly spicy cocktail menu and you have the kind of venue that’ll keep you satisfied all day and all night.

Few things satisfy a 2 am hunger craving like one of Velvet Taco offerings, served in paper wrap with a spork (napkins optional). You won’t find the predictable, run-of-the-mill fillings here: expect global cuisine wrapped in soft, decadent tortillas, with curious toppings that include peppered bacon, seaweed salad, and shrimp and grits. Insider tip: ask about the "$20 backdoor chicken" special which should get you a rotisserie chicken and all the taco fixings (perfect for groups).

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Situated in the gritty Deep Ellum district (hence the suffix), everyone was a little confused when Armoury D.E. opened back in 2015, offering Hungarian food with Mexican beer and shot combos. Now, it’s a cherished cornerstone of the weekend crawlers, positioned perfectly amid a glut of boisterous bars and live music venues. Whether you’re looking for a snack (spiced Hungarian sausage, all the way) or a full dinner (porkolt: juicy beef roast in a Hungarian pepper sauce with spaetzle), the menu is brimming with non-traditional options. Better still, the kitchen is open seven days a week till late.

There are only 14 tables at Lucia, which means securing a spot can be tricky. However, book far enough in advance and you’ll tuck into some of the most delicious Italian food in Texas. Chef David Uygur's innovative menu changes with the seasons, but you can expect handmade spaghetti in rich, spicy sauces, as well as melt-in-the-mouth ravioli and a selection of heavenly desserts.

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Brothers Harris and Chris Pappas still run the family business that launched their first restaurant in 1976. They pride themselves on tradition, comfort, and simple but timeless flavors. Controlling the quality of nearly every aspect of the restaurant, the family even owns and operates the trucks that deliver local meats and imported seafood. We recommend the classics: start with prime rib carpaccio or the oysters, before moving onto a dry-aged 22-ounce bone-in prime ribeye. Expect a beautifully crunchy charred exterior with a red, juicy interior. This is Texas beef at its finest.

Tucked away in dainty Harwood (an artsy pocket district between downtown and Uptown), Mercat is lively and welcoming without being overbearing. There are plenty of seats for solo diners at the chic metallic bar, while tiny Parisian-style tables for one or two guests populate the bistro proper. The French-themed menu is exemplary from the escargot all the way through to the crème brûlée, including possibly the best duck confit you’ll find on this side of the Pond.

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The brainchild of Nick Badovinus, the young darling of the Dallas dining scene, Montlake Cut feels like it should be in Seattle or Portland rather than dusty Texas. But this little slice of the Pacific Northwest works here—and it works well. Think fresh, juicy seafood including a munificent raw bar, served up in a stylish, nautical-themed space. Then pair it with an expansive wine list and a perfect location in University Park and you have yet another winner for the bulletproof Badovinus.

Bad day? Make a beeline for E-Bar's offering of familiar Tex-Mex. Enjoy enchiladas, tacos, carne picosa, shrimp salad, nachos, quesadillas and so much more. Then wash it down with a margarita or three. E-Bar is open until midnight most nights, too, which makes it the perfect spot for grub after a night out.

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