The 29 Best Restaurants & Bars In Dallas

29 of the top spots for Tex-Mex, brisket, bánh mì, and classic Southern comfort food.
The 29 Best Restaurants & Bars In Dallas image

photo credit: Kathy Tran

Let’s get this out of the way: Dallas has big hair, bulls, and cowboy hats. You can find all three in the wealthy Dallas suburbs, at Round-Up, the beloved gay cowboy bar in Oak Lawn, or on the dancefloor at Ruins, a dance club in Deep Ellum.

Like the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex itself, the city’s food kingdom stretches far and wide, and there are endless neighborhoods where you can experience the best Dallas has to offer, from the thriving Vietnamese and Lao communities of North Dallas to the Mexican-American culture of Oak Cliff. 

In addition to born-and-bred Dallas natives that have helmed the classic spots for years, chefs have been coming from LA, London, and NYC over the past few years to develop experimental and unexpected menus around sushi, pasta, and regional Mexican dishes. All of that has made Dallas one of the more exciting cities to eat and drink your way through right now. Here’s where you should start.

We've also got a guide to the Mexican restaurants around town for all your queso and aguachile needs.


photo credit: Alex Lau



The Cedars

$$$$Perfect For:Outdoor/Patio SituationQuick EatsSerious Take-Out OperationLunch
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This warm and welcoming Vietnamese spot in the Cedars neighborhood has an exciting menu, with bánh mìi options that include griddled-to-order ginger tofu or chicken, pork sausage, and fried eggs, plus limited-batch specials from chef Reye Duong. Order at the window, grab a spot at one of the outdoor picnic tables under the hanging bird cages, and chow down.

Sandwich Hag spot is great for lunch, but set your alarm for Saturday and Sunday mornings to check out ChimLanh, the Vietnamese coffee shop that’s only open on the weekends and features a small lineup from Frisco's beloved Detour Doughnuts, plus Vietnamese cà phê.

El Carlos Elegante is a Mexican-inspired restaurant from the same team behind Sister, The Charles, and Cafe Duro. The service is top-notch, and the atmosphere feels like a high-end Mexico City restaurant—there’s an in-house masa program for all corn-based plates, a brilliant mezcal menu, and killer cocktails. Get the lengua-filled quesadilla with Oaxaca cheese and caramelized vegetables that comes with pickled giardiniera and dense, rich mole, and don’t leave without trying the pork al pastor and the Mayan hummus. If you’re dining solo, order a few things from their single-serving One Hitter menu.



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There is, perhaps, no better encapsulation of the “Dallas vibe” than the dining room at Town Hearth: a sports car is stationed in front of the kitchen, there’s a Ducati behind the bar, a yellow submarine inside a fish tank, and more chandeliers per square foot than there are in the entire Design District. You'll also find some of the best cuts of (non-barbecue) meat in the city, including the eight-ounce mignon that the waiters will insist you order medium rare. They also do private dining in the “Elvis Room” that can fit 15 people and is just as over-the-top as you’d expect.

The duck-fat fried chicken at this low-key but elegant Southern restaurant in the North Dallas suburb of Farmers Branch is famous for a reason: it’s excellent, and you should definitely order it. But you’re missing out if you don’t also try chef Tiffany Derry gumbo and Texas red fish. Dinner at Roots Southern Table works for just about any occasion—just make sure you come here with someone who’s down to split it all and still consider dessert.

Cattleack is the go-to BBQ spot for catering large groups in DFW, and is open for lunch on Thursdays and Fridays (plus the first Saturday of the month for their Whole Hog Day). It’s home to some of the juiciest charred brisket in the Lone Star state—the portions are massive and big enough to feed everyone you came with and then some. Wrap your hands around the pork ribs, smoked ribeyes, and marbled Akaushi beef brisket. It’s BYOB, so grab a few beers on the way.

Dallas’ Uptown neighborhood is where you’ll find historic Victorian homes, trendy cocktail bars, and, perhaps surprisingly, some of the city’s best fajitas. When it comes to carne and negronis, Las Palmas doesn't play around. Both are staples of their Tex-Mex establishment, which features moody lighting and an indie rock playlist. The wagyu fajitas that come doused in bone marrow butter sauce are so good that you just might find yourself right back in the same seat the next day.

There’s no Dallas dining experience quite like Uchi, whose mini-empire started in Austin and has expanded to Houston, LA, Denver, and Miami. This modern, experimental Japanese spot makes some of the best sushi in town, and you’ll find that everyone else in Dallas agrees when you attempt to make a reservation. The menu is long—as in 80+ options long—so make life easy and ask your server for help (a few suggestions: the hama chili, a couple of plates from their toyosu section, and some nigiri and sashimi). There’s also a solid Happy Hour menu if you’re not dining with a corporate card or a Dallas Maverick.

Petra and the Beast has racked up national buzz for its experimental pork- and fermented food-heavy menu since its 2018 pop-up days, and that’s all but guaranteed to continue when they move out of the current East Dallas spot to a larger space in the Lakewood Shopping Center. The charcuterie and the tea-braised pig tails are the stars of the à la carte menu, and there’s also a six-course tasting option that’s available on Saturdays (reservations for that are recommended, and released four weeks in advance). This spot is BYOB, so consider grabbing a bottle of pét-nat to pair with your Beast Board.

Tucked away on a busy corner of East Dallas is Mot Hai Ba, a tiny and beloved neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant. A small handful of tables and dancing shadows from candlelight create an intimate vibe around bowls of hot pho and dishes like stuffed peppers, day boat scallops, and eggplant curry. Aesthetically and spatially, this is one of the most enduring date spots the city has to offer, so bring someone you hope to someday split the rent with.

This tiny dive bar in Old East Dallas pumps out a tight, bar-forward food menu, twangy country music, and regional beers, and the small staff work their asses off to ensure everyone feels welcome. With its multiple rooms, you can find a spot to watch a game, play pool, or enjoy the Texas air on the patio. The bar is hip without being pretentious, makes a killer burger, and is stocked with ice-cold Topo Chicos.

Loro is an Asian-influenced smokehouse that comes to Dallas by way of Austin, and is from the chefs behind Uchi and Franklin Barbecue. The dining room at the East Dallas spot is huge (there’s also a new location in Addison, plus two in Houston) and is great for an easy lunch or low-key dinner. Grab a seat and place your order at the bar, which should absolutely include the smoked prime bavette, chicken karaage, and candied kettle corn. Happy Hour runs from 2-6pm during the week, and there's a rib special after 4pm on Sundays and Mondays.

Jimmy's Food Store is a Dallas institution. This Italian deli sells hard-to-find chips, wines, and bread, and has the best root beer selection in North Texas. The real treat, though, is the sandwich and delicatessen, which serves freshly made-to-order Italian sandwiches, like the muffuletta, Philly roast pork, and Italian beef. Grab yourself a bag of sea salt chips, a root beer, and a Cuban sandwich for under $20.

LDU brings Italian-style coffee roasting to Dallas by way of Australia, and makes some of the best damn coffee around. The service is quick and efficient and it's a perfectly pretentious-free atmosphere to grab and go or linger with a slice of banana bread. The shop has four locations across DFW and they all serve great sandwiches—try the SiSi, which includes smoked turkey and cheese, crushed red pepper, slow-roast tomatoes, and a housemade spicy sauce.

You’ll find this classic BBQ joint in Deep Ellum, the live music capital of Dallas. Their award-winning BBQ is smoked to perfection, including the oak-smoked spare pork ribs, pulled pork, and burnt ends. Order à la carte or pick from a two- or three-meat plate that comes with a side (the potato salad and mac and cheese with crispy bacon bits are both fantastic, and you’ll be grateful you decided to ordered both). Don’t leave without trying the homemade peach cobbler— it’s hot and gooey, packed with peaches, and topped with a crunchy, toasted crust.

In a state known for barbecue, this is as good as it gets in Dallas proper. Terry Black’s is pricier than most barbecue joints in town, but it’s well worth the money (sliced brisket goes for $34.98 a pound, whereas others are typically under $20). All the sides are delicious, especially the cream corn, which has the exact right amount of spice. But people come here for the beef, and damn do they deliver.

Expectations were high when Sister opened in the former location of The Grape, a long-time Dallas staple. But the restaurant quickly developed a reputation for its cool interior, great service, and classic, hearty pastas. Make sure you try the pasta trio of wild “boaranaise,” the buckwheat lumache, and the clams vongole with garlic, white soy, and hijiki seaweed. It’s a great spot for a date and equally solid for a solo dinner at the bar.

Taquero has been around for a few years, but recently moved to a new location in Lower Greenville. The space is an elegant refresh, but the same flavorful and from-scratch menu is still intact. The ceviche is a must-order and features red snapper in mayonnaise, avocado, and micro greens, and comes with housemade chips. The plates of the pio pio chicken tacos and baby octopus tacos are also incredible.

Rule number one at El Si Hay: bring cash. This spot stands out from its more high-end neighbors and has recieved lots of buzz for its Mexico City-inspired street tacos. You’ll find day laborers, lawyers, bartenders, artists, motorcyclers, and more at this red, white, and green outpost during the lunch rush, which brings us to rule number two: get in line early so you have plenty of time to finish your tacos in your car (there aren’t any tables).

Restaurant Beatrice is a Cajun-style sit-down spot in Oak Cliff that has two different outdoor spaces, bar seating, and a casually elegant dining room. You can bring just about anyone here and have a great time, whether that’s your parents and your grandparents, a new romantic partner, a nowhere-near-new romantic partner, or just little old you for a solo meal at the bar. The menu changes seasonally, but a few current and classic favorites include the gulf shrimp and grits, duck confit, and fried chicken. The latter is made to order, but as the menu assures, it's worth the wait.

Lockhart has become the perfect post-work hangout for a beer and a pound of brisket, which they serve à la carte on butcher paper. It’s a simple, familiar setup: order your meat, then find a table to pull up a stool and chow down. There are three locations, but the Oak Cliff spot has the best neighborhood vibe. Pair your order with the brisket devil eggs and the spicy blue cheese slaw, and grab plenty of napkins.

El Ranchito is at the top of the city’s Tex-Mex ecosystem and gives visitors the genuine Southern hospitality of a Mexican kitchen. It’s the type of casual, down-to-earth spot that you can show up to in sweatpants, and yes, you will see a mariachi band play no matter what day you show up. There are a ton of Tex-Mex options in Oak Cliff, but El Ranchito’s fajitas, mole, and pechuga are big highlights.

One of the longest-standing Oak Cliff restaurants is Hunky’s: a burger, fries, and milkshake ’50’s-style diner. It’s a meeting place for all to feel welcome, with an affordable menu full of hearty American grub. Don’t overcomplicate your order—go with the bacon cheeseburger, sweet potato fries, and a vanilla milkshake.

Dallas is a great city to explore local spots tucked in shopping malls and food trucks in the surrounding suburbs. One of the best examples is Ly Food Market, which is on the Western outskirts of Oak Cliff in a nondescript strip mall washed in white and beige. The owners have turned the inside of their space into a restaurant, watch repair, and grocery store, a one-stop shop serving Dallas’ Lao and Thai communities. It’s also home to some of the best pad thai in the city, and every dish is under $15.

Of all the places that opened in Dallas in 2022, Lexy’s—the newest American restaurant from the owners of the nearby Beto and Sons—has the most memorable (and familiar) branding: there’s a chunky, cursive logo, a blue-and-pink color scheme, feather chandeliers, and a vending machine in front of a floor-to-ceiling flower wall that sells $25 bottles of Moet. Lexy’s isn’t exclusively a brunch spot, but it’s certainly primed for it. Order the brisket-stuffed avocado croquettes, lobster rolls, and the CBD-infused High Tea, which comes with tequila and is served in a teapot that bellows out smoke streams of dried ice.

Henk’s has been around for over 50 years and is owned and operated by the sons and daughter of its Dutch immigrant founder. It offers great Bavarian baked goods and German sausages (a rarity in Dallas) and Henk’s daughter, Hanneke, is one of the best waitresses in the city. Trust her recommendations on your sides, especially if there’s a soup of the day. There’s no better brunch option on Saturdays for beer drinkers, as the cafe has beer taps from mostly European breweries to pair with schnitzel or sausages.

For over 30 years, Sam’s Pizza and Pasta has brought New York City-style pizza to Dallas. The pies at this family-run spot are excellent, and so is the service. The Lushaj clan goes out of their way to meet and greet every customer and have created a welcoming atmosphere that really stands out. Order a large cheese pizza and a slice of cheesecake, and bring a bottle of your favorite wine, as Sam’s is BYOB).

If you’re looking for really great Chinese food, travel to Jeng Chi in Richardson. The restaurant is known for their steaming soup dumplings and bakery, but they also hit home runs with their orange chicken, sweet and sour chicken, and kung pao chicken. The atmosphere is cozy, casual, and perfect for a quick meal or takeout before stocking up on groceries. 

There might be more experimental and fancier places to grab sushi in DFW, but Sushi Sake is the spot to go when you’re craving a traditional setting. Guests eat together on shared dining tables, and if you reserve a large table in the back for a special event, you’re required to remove your shoes and sit on the floor—it’s a warm, inviting group dynamic. Sushi Sake is home to the freshest cuts of salmon and tuna sashimi, their quality of fish is excellent, and they pride themselves on importing the highest-grade sushi for the best pieces of sashimi and traditional rolls.

The Nalinh Market is crucial to the Thai and Lao communities living in Irving and surrounding areas. The grocery store is a nexus point for ingredients, and the restaurant offers Northern Thai specialties like hot and spicy combo ladna, khaopiak (chicken noodle soup), and laab brisket. Whether it’s hot or cold outside, there’s sure to be a dish that’s perfect to balance out the temperature and your mood.

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