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The 18 best restaurants in Dallas right now

Dallas is fast becoming a magnet for the country’s brightest young chefs; Head to the best restaurants in Dallas to see why

By Jonathan Thompson and Cecilia Meis |
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Eat List Dallas

Once you look past the football field-sized steakhouses, Dallas is a medley of increasingly hip neighborhoods (particularly Deep Ellum, Oak Cliff and Lower Greenville), rich with a seemingly endless supply of innovative eateries. From eclectic brunch spots perfect for refuelling after a night out to bars that serve top-notch cocktails alongside truly unbelievable food, the soul of the city is a foodie one. Loosen those belts, folks, it’s time to eat your way through the best restaurants in Dallas. 

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Best restaurants in Dallas

1
A plate of ribs being poured with au jus
Photograph: Flckr/Brad Murano/CC

Bullion

The extraordinary “bistronomie” of Michelin-starred chef Bruno Davaillon, Bullion is a masterful blend of haute cuisine and farm-to-table cooking (think wine braised rabbit with gnocchi, or pheasant and black truffle meat pie). Choose your day carefully—the stellar Plats Du Jour, listed on the website, are worth the visit alone—and ensure you arrive at least an hour early to savor the outstanding craft cocktails on offer in the lounge bar. Just ensure you book well in advance: reservations here are like gold dust.

2
Pecan Lodge
Photograph: Courtesy Pecan Lodge

Pecan Lodge

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 is that the line snakes for at least a block every lunchtime, but the good news is that you can skip straight to the front when you order five pounds of meat or more. If it’s your first time, dive straight into “The Trough”: a beef rib, pound of pork ribs, pound of brisket, half-pound of pulled pork, and three sausages. And if you’ve got any room whatsoever left after that, Aunt Polly's banana pudding beckons with its delicious sticky fingers. 

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3
The French Room
Photograph: Courtesy the French Room/Kevin Marple

The French Room

One of the oldest and most storied restaurants in the South, The French Room’s 2016 remodel has 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 menu featuring caviar snacks, foie gras terrine, sublime soufflés and an entire section dedicated to truffles. Don’t miss the tableside sazerac or cheese cart carrying 12 (yes, 12) types of cheesy goodness either. A major treat for the palette—if not the wallet. 

4

Commons Club

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 in town (and the best crispy pork belly you’re ever likely to taste).     

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5

Petra and the Beast

The current MVP of the city’s dining scene, Petra and the Beast has been attracting national and international acclaim for its fearless experimental menu, served up from 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, has concocted a cornucopia of unexpected flavours in this intimate, unassuming setting, with dishes including milk-and-mustard-bathed chicken hearts and pork-blood-and-chocolate terrine. Just don’t miss the signature “meatums” charcuterie board – pretty much the most talked-about dish in Dallas right now.      

6

Commissary

Perched on the corner of Main and Field at the heart of downtown, Commissary is best described as a European-style market. Wrapped in a splashy blue tile mosaic (created by revered Cuban artist Jorge Pardo), it’s a lively addition to the resurgent heart of the city—and is already making a name for itself as a destination spot for morning coffee, lunch on-the-go, or a leisurely brunch, with the Butcher’s Hash a world class hangover-smasher. 

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7
A plate of roasted pork shoulder
Photograph: Flickr/Dallas_Foodie/CC

CBD Provisions

Dallas has more than its fair share of world class hotels, but The Joule remains the cream of the crop, and CBD its star gourmet turn. Join the in-crowd sipping craft cocktails at subterranean speakeasy Midnight Rambler, before heading upstairs for the main course of traditional American fare with a Texan twist. A warm, big city brasserie with a bustling, inclusive ambience, highlights of CBD’s menu include wagyu beef tartare served with pickled mushrooms and shrimp and grits in hot sauce butter.   

8

Rapscallion

A hybrid bar-restaurant in the middle of Dallas’ hottest neighbourhood, Rapscallion has a killer brunch menu to match its killer location. The chicken and dumplings here can and will cure all ills, while the chicken fried steak with horseradish mashed potato and sausage cream gravy is even better than it sounds. Pair with the pleasingly spicy cocktail menu and you have the kind of venue where you’ll want to spend all day ... and all night. 

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9
Three tacos filled with different toppings
Photograph: Flickr/Carl Raether/CC

Velvet Taco

Few things satisfy a 2am hunger craving like one of the 20 Velvet Taco offerings, served in paper wrap with a spork (napkins optional). You won’t find the predictable, run-of-the-mill fillings here, though. Think global cuisine wrapped in soft, decadent tortillas, with curious toppings include peppered bacon, seaweed salad and shrimp and grits. Insider tip: $20 cash at the restaurant back door will get you a rotisserie chicken and all the taco fixings for a group. Trust us, it works.

10

Afrah

Originally launched as a patisserie in 2002 by three brothers, Afrah is now a full-service restaurant offering traditional Mediterranean and Lebanese treats prepared from their mother’s home-cooked recipes. We don’t typically go for buffets, but Afrah is quickly changing our mind. For just $12.99 during the week, pack your plate with minced meat pies, falafel, baba ganoush and, true to their bakery roots, some of the best baklava you’ll find in the area.  

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11

Armoury D.E.

Situated in hipster-friendly Deep Ellum (hence the suffix), everyone was a little confused when Armoury D.E. opened back in 2015, offering Hungarian food with Mexican beer/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 (duck hearts, all the way) or a full dinner (porkolt: juicy beef roast in a Hungarian pepper sauce with spatzle), the menu is brimming with non-traditional options. Better still, the kitchen is open until 2am, seven days a week. 

12
Fearing's Restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy DCVB

Fearing’s

Texans have been praising Dan 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 barbecued crescent Long Island duck with creamed sweet corn, fried okra and southern chow chow is to die for. This is mama’s home cooking with a million-dollar upgrade. 

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13

Lucia

There are only 14 tables at Lucia, so securing one can be a tricky task. However, if you book far enough in advance, you could be tucking 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.   

14
The interior and bar of Pappas Bros
Photograph: Flickr/chenjack/CC

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

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 chilled seafood tower 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. 

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15

Mercat Bistro

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 steak tartare you’ll ever taste this side of the Pond.      

16
A plate of tacos, rice and beans with a margarita
Photograph: Flickr/Jonah Gilmore/CC

E-Bar Tex-Mex

Bad day? Make a beeline for E-Bar's offering of moreish, 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 2am most nights, too, so you can easily while away an evening setting the world to rights here. 

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17

Montlake Cut

The brainchild of the untouchable 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.    

18

Beverley's

Owner Greg Katz named this popular, airy bistro after his mother, and it remains very much a family-friendly establishment, serving seasonal American fare with panache, particularly during weekend brunch. The menu, which has been described as “a cross-culture love letter to New York City kosher cuisine, Mediterranean seaside cafes, and the cool chic of North Texas restaurant culture”, boasts a treasure trove of classics ranging from chicken schnitzel to steak frites, via fritto misto and grilled lamb chops, but its the skillet shakshuka that’s the standout star—ideally washed down with one of the punchy house cocktails (‘Fire When Ready’ is particularly feisty). 

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SODA Bar
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Nightlife

The best nightlife in Dallas

Dallas’s nightlife is nothing if not legendary. Whether you want to go clubbing, swig fancy cocktails on a rooftop, bar hop, two-step or do a little bit of everything, one thing’s for sure: You’re bound to have a really, really good time. 

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