Sandwiched between the Texan metropolises of Dallas and Fort Worth, the state’s entertainment capital Arlington was bound to inherit a trickle-down of first-rate restaurants from its neighbors. Arlington’s dining scene is diverse, with upscale restaurants residing amicably alongside casual haunts. Our guide to the city’s culinary community will steer you on the right track to Arlington’s best restaurants.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
Babe’s Chicken Dinner House started out as one restaurant in the neighboring city of Roanoke, established by Paul and Mary Beth Vinyard in 1993. It has since grown into a successful locally owned restaurant group of nine branches across the Fort Worth-Dallas area, including its Arlington location which opened in November 2010. Offering guests Texas country-style fried chicken dishes in an interior full of kitsch-chic Western fittings, Babe’s must-try menu items include its famous fried chicken and delicious fried catfish. These can be accompanied by sides like buttermilk biscuits and cream gravy, and topped off with indulgent desserts like chocolate meringue pie.
The Louisianan expression ‘laissez les bon temps rouler’, or ‘let the good times roll’ to non-Creole speakers, is the motto at Bayou Cat – a lively restaurant specializing in Cajun and Creole cuisine, whose proximity to the University of Texas at Arlington makes it a popular hangout with the city’s student community. Combining a casual and friendly atmosphere with a retro diner-style interior, Bayou Cat is the perfect dining destination in which to enjoy tasty seafood dishes. Try the fried catfish, oyster po boys and seafood gumbo with red beans and rice, or other delicious fare including chicken wings and Louisiana meat pies.
Damian’s Cajun Soul Café
Dining at Damian’s Cajun Soul Food Café does exactly what it says on the tin – serving up delicious, Louisiana Cajun and Creole cuisine guaranteed to warm the souls of any diner. Owned and operated by a family originally from Louisiana, authentic fare is provided when eating at Damian’s, with chef and namesake Damian L. Placide Sr. overseeing a menu full of tempting entrées and desserts. Must-try items include Damian’s signature dishes like gumbo smothered pork steak, while other mouthwatering dishes include plenty of Cajun-Creole comfort food classics, like seafood etoufee, dirty rice, fried chicken and mustard greens.
A much-loved sandwich shop and deli, Dino’s Subs is a casual and welcoming establishment that if local diner reviews are anything to go by, is Arlington’s go-to destination for delicious and hearty sub sandwiches. Opened back in 1980, Dino’s Subs has been serving local hungry diners for over 30 years, and accolades including Arlington Today Magazine’s Favorite Lunch of 2014 Award only strengthen its impeccable reputation. Choose from popular sub varieties that include hot roast beef and cheddar cheese, hot eggplant parmigiana and diner favorite the Black Jack – baked ham, peppered beef, provolone cheese, cream cheese and mushrooms. Wash your meal down with a schooner of Dino’s ice-cold beer.
Fork in the Road
Opened in late 2013, Fork in the Road is one of Arlington’s most recent additions and a warm, family-style restaurant serving hearty American lunches and dinners. Set up by Mohawk-toting owner and chef John ‘Silverback’ Hopkins, Fork in the Road is a truly local and personal endeavor featuring a menu full of local ingredients and individual touches from the owner himself. Burgers, sandwiches and other tempting entrées dominate Fork in the Road’s menu and a new burger is created weekly. Past options include the Philadelphia Experiment, a 7 oz. burger patty topped with Philadelphia cream cheese and fresh jalapenos – perfect washed down with pure sugar cane sodas.
Established in 2009 by owners Sam and Didem Sensel, Istanbul Grill boasts a unique reputation for being the Arlington area’s only Turkish restaurant, having become one of the city’s best-loved dining hotspots. A wide range of exotic dishes and an elegant but welcoming interior with authentic artworks and wall hangings typify the dining experience at Istanbul Grill. The restaurant’s menu gives guests the perfect opportunity to sample some of the flavorsome and healthy cuisine typical of Turkey, such as the rich moussaka and the hunkar begendi – tender lamb simmered in tomato sauce and served with smoked eggplant puree.
Widely regarded as serving some of the best pho – the much-loved Vietnamese broth consisting of rice noodles and beef – in the city, Pho Pasteur is a restaurant offering authentic Vietnamese fare located just a short distance from Arlington’s scenic Johnson Creek Linear Park. A simple and understated interior ensures surroundings do not detract from Pho Pasteur’s menu brimming with traditional, flavorsome dishes like its signature appetizer thit nuong Pasteur – lemongrass marinated pork served on a bed of lettuce with a side of nuoc cham dipping sauce. A BYOB policy means guests can bring their own drinks to enjoy with their meal.
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