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The best restaurants in Dallas for 2023

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

James Wong
Written by
James Wong
Contributor
Jonathan Thompson
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Dallas’ restaurant scene is causing a stir, not just for the best barbecue in the state (yah, we said it) but for its diversity and authenticity. What makes Dallas stand out from other Texan cities is the fact that it can do hip and casual – at neighborhood eateries in Deep Ellum or Lower Greenville – while impressing the glam and gorgeous over in Uptown and Turtle Creek. Recently, Dallas has also seen some of the nation's top restauranteurs and chefs descend on its concrete turf, so you need not taxi to the East or West Coast for award-winning cuisine – we’ve got ‘em down South! Whether you’re into fresh branzino served up all fancy in a sauce you’ve yet to discover, or just want to get queso on your lips from a familar overstuffed taco, there’s most definitely something in Dallas that’ll take care of hunger in a big way (and you know it’s always bigger in Texas). Come line your stomachs and live it large at the best restaurants in Dallas. 

RECOMMENDED: The best bars in Dallas

Best restaurants in Dallas

Carbone Vino is unlike anything else in Dallas; a step back to a time you’ll never want to return from. Next door to Carbone in the Design District, Vino is the restaurant's impressive extension with a wine cellar to end all wine cellars (we saw the list—it’s huge!). Come sample fine vintages at the bar, then sit down and say Mamma Mia! with every bite. We recommend the Prosciutto and Melon, and the Seafood Crudo to start; and persuading your table to share a bunch of pastas and entrees (you know, ‘the-family-way’) like the Spicy Rigatoni Vodka and Whole Steamed Lobster, Mulberry-style. For the grand finale, select their freshly made gelato, drizzled and sprinkled with goodies tableside. Note: all portions are bigger than you’d expect, so show up extra hungry, especially if saying yes to whipped ricotta grilled bread.

Richard Branson knows a thing or two about running a business, and Dallas’ Commons Club is no exception. The British billionaire enticed the Big D’s most sought-after chefs, giving them carte blanche to create an extraordinary (and pleasingly affordable) menu. The result is the hottest dinner reservation uptown (and the best Peking duck and gua bao buns you’re ever likely to taste outside a Chinatown). Always save space for dessert: cacao lovers will love the Chocolate Exhibit, whereby your server will bring you a beautifully lit box of handcrafted truffles to select from.

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This award-winning restaurant is a tribute to all the craveable American classics that bring people together; brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks. Their Chicken & Waffles are the best; made with honey hot sauce, chilled spiced watermelon, Vermont sharp cheddar cheese waffle and bourbon maple syrup; while other hits include the buttermilk biscuits, the super creamy mac & cheese and the deviled eggs (but seriously, just order the Chicken & Waffles—even if you hate chicken and waffles—they are life-changing). The venue is surprisingly upscale too, with a pretty bar, glam hosts and mirrored ceilings to offset all the finger-lickin’ and pant unbuttoning you’ll be doing; in order words, treat yourself!

Recently renovated and open for both lunch and dinner, Sassetta remains one of the top tables in town for good reason. The lush space oozes Tuscan charm and even better, cooks fare straight from its rolling hills and the surrounding Mediterranean region to perfection. The menu includes handcrafted pasta, seasonal small plates, house-cured meats, seafood and thin-crust pizzas. Our pick is the creamy Cacio E Pepe and a Grilled Octopus that retains a pleasingly unique texture, and too, the Salted Caramel Budino for dessert (it’ll remind you of a fancy Werther's Original—in a good way). The wine list features exquisite collections from Italy, California, and France, and there’s also a menu of classic Italian cocktails such as the Aperol-based Watermelon Sugar.

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LAW may only be here till the end of 2022, but it's riding things out in style with new Chef de Cuisine, Chris Dikovics, at the helm. Come by for a jolly farewell to the Las Colinas legend in Texan fare—the annual Guest Harvest Dinner has been announced for October 13, and there are a ton of winter holiday specials in the works. On the menu, inspired by robust local flavors found in the state, you’ll find a sensational Dry Aged Duck sweetened with Seville orange puree and accompanied by brigade and fennel poached in Anise butter; juicy steaks from their neighbors at Arrowhead Ranch, and Chris has more tricks up his sleeve. Speaking of which, desserts are a magic-meets-art show; order the chocolate cigar or the lemon cake and get those cameras ready, you’ll want to show the folks back home.

A restaurant where the food is as fabulous as the decor. Dragonfly is an Uptown escape into a global fiesta of sights and inventive dishes with a good pinch of ‘Oh my ZaZa’. Our pick is the Beer-braised Short Ribs, glazed in Shiner Bock and sided with baby carrots and mashed potatoes—yummy. The poke and superfood bowls are also great for those on a detox but don’t want the FOMO watching their rib-smacking pals. But when it comes to dessert, don’t deny yourselves of the cheesecake, a heavenly soft circle of sweetness, or the Dark Chocolate Espresso Martini.

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One for the adventurous eater, Petra and the Beast attracts national and international acclaim thanks to a fearlessly experimental menu 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 pigtails with ham and seed chorizo, charred pepper cream and smoked tomato adobo.

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 and order 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. 

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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.

Eatzi’s is like a Whole Foods with a whole lot more... Think meat and fish entrees from the chef’s case, a fresh salad bar where you can customize your greens, handcrafted sushi, bread straight out of the oven (and of course, a sandwich station), and a cafe, wine shop, snack shelves, cake counter and more. Eatzi’s Market & Bakery was created by Philip J. Romano in 1996, with six locations in North Texas. Our fave is the Oak Lawn branch because it’s in the gorgeous gayborhood and pretty to sit outside. 

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Few things satisfy a 2 am hunger craving like one of Velvet Taco's offerings, served in a 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).

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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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 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.

Situated in the gritty Deep Ellum district (hence the suffix), everyone was 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. 

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The Mansion Restaurant (and its adjoining bar) have long been a Dallas institution. Contemporary American cuisine gets a magical French touch on items such as cauliflower bisque, the beef tenderloin sided with paprika dusted steak fries, and desserts like the pecan torte, flourless chocolate, and the chef’s secret crème brûlée (which does not appear on the print menu). Toast a fine wine under exquisite European décor no matter which of the striking boudoirs of the restaurant your table lies. The Mansion Restaurant is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.

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 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 on to a dry-aged 22-ounce bone-in prime ribeye.

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When it comes to izakayas, 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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