Although Austin certainly bears the title of the foodie capital of Texas, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area is proving to be a worthy contender when it comes to local ingredients and exciting cuisines. From traditional BBQs to Asian fusion and haute cuisine, this update to our existing article on the city’s dining venues looks at the 10 best Dallas-Fort Worth restaurants to try now.
Chef Jeff Harris turned a historic building into a long-lasting concept restaurant in the area that was once the Settles Garage in the Bishop Arts District with Bolsa. With a farm-to-table concept that is emulated in both Bolsa and its sister restaurant down the road, Bolsa Mercado, Bolsa is a neighborhood dining spot that is casual and cozy. Currently headed by Chef Justo Blanco, Bolsa Mercado is a blend of deli, cafe, wine bar and market providing excellent food at all hours of the day, making it perfect for brunch with a variety of sandwiches and flat breads. Also try out the famed Dinner for Two option, which allows you to pack twice the food for the family.
Many pizza lovers dream of going to Chicago or New York, but some head to Dallas’ Cane Rosso for an authentic Neapolitan pizza with a Dallas twist. Chef Jay Jerrier was inspired over ten years ago by the authentic Italian pizzas of Italy and spearheaded the effort to create a fine pizza experience in the heart of Dallas. Cane Rosso began as a mobile catering company in 2009, but has expanded into a full sit-down shop in 2011. The pride and joy of Cane Rosso is a handmade Stefano Ferrara wood-fired brick oven that creates all the pizzas enjoyed at this Dallas favorite.
The brainchild of Dean Fearing, commonly known as the ‘Father of Southwestern Cuisine,’ Fearing’s is a blend of innovative design, elevated cuisine, and artistic excellence combined with true Texas hospitality. Named the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ by Esquire Magazine shortly after opening, Fearing’s has enjoyed quite the buzz thanks to its farm-to-market seasonal menu and amazing Southwestern brunch created by the man who wrote the Texas Food Bible himself. Try the quail for an appetizer and buffalo tenderloin for a traditional Texas feast, or ask for the vegetarian menu which offers spring vegetables and crispy tofu. Save room for desert, because the chef crafts an amazing chocolate monster with mascarpone and pretzel bites.
Located inside the historical Adolphus Hotel, The French Room offers a fine dining experience that blends French cuisine with a Texas-style grill. During your meal, make time to enjoy the restaurant’s ambiance created through custom-made Murano glass chandeliers and high, intricately frescoed ceilings. The food is nothing short of impressive, with friendly service and a Chef’s Tasting Menu that lets foodies sample all the five-star favorites. Try the foie gras and caviar with a red wine for a romantic evening out, then finish with the signature soufflé which is known for its decadent taste and gorgeous presentation fit for this haute cuisine establishment.
Chef Matt McCallister’s FT33 opened in 2012 to rave reviews after debuting a creative menu made on-the-spot. The restaurant’s kitchen works only with ingredients that are seasonally available and natural. In fact, Chef McCallister designs each dish based on which ingredients he picks for their quality daily, and prints the menu in the morning – a pleasant change in a sea of restaurants that operate to cut costs rather than provide a quality meal. FT33’s dishes are almost basic in their use of simple ingredients, only to combine into a creative and flavorful work of art crafted with boundless culinary talent.
Traditional Texas cuisine can be found at Pecan Lodge, which takes the specialty smoked meats of Dallas and cooks them old school-style. When a bunch of corporate consultants decided to quit their jobs to create a 24-hour burning BBQ pit they ended up with a restaurant that has lines forming well before the opening hour. Named by Texas Monthly as one of the Top 4 BBQ Joints in the World, the food at Pecan Lodge is handmade with passion and care, with each sausage grinded and stuffed to perfection, and even the banana pudding made entirely from scratch. Stop by and try the Hot Mess, which mixes potato, brisket, and chipotle cream into a critically lauded specialty dish.
Spiral Diner and Bakery opened in Oak Cliff in 2002 after founder Amy McNutt learned about the unfriendly practices of the dairy and egg industries and decided to create good, authentic and ethical vegan food. Spiral is known for its delicious cruelty-free and organic food that won it the Best Vegetarian Restaurant in America award from VegNews magazine in 2007. The venue also provides environmental and animal-rights advocates with benefits – by recycling all materials that are brought through the diner and donating a portion of profits to grassroots nonprofits, McNutt attempts to further the fight for friendly food. Breakfast is served all day, so stop by anytime for a quick meal and quirky agave limeade.
For the best ‘true Texas’ dining experience, head on over to Stampede 66 where Chef Stephan Pyles offers local foods, beers, and wines – expect a gourmet serving, as Stephan Pyles Concepts was awarded Best Wine Restaurants of 2011 by Wine Enthusiast magazine. Pyles, who was the first Southwest chef to win a James Beard Award, takes familiar Texas dishes and infuses them with contemporary twists. These dishes are locally sourced as much as possible, including the use of sustainable Gulf seafood and Texas grass-fed beef. The food isn’t the only great thing about Stampede 66, however: Pyles has donated $250,000 in culinary scholarships. This Southern hospitality is best represented by the elegant ranch house-meets-modern Texas amusement park ambiance, and the high-tech projection screens that showcase outdoor ranch scenes as well as live footage of chefs working in the kitchen.
Finding good soba noodles can be a challenge, but thanks to Chef Teiichi Sakurai Dallas food lovers can enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine at Tei-An. Nominated in 2013 for the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southwest, Chef Sakurai’s restaurant has a loyal following that enjoys its wide variety of dishes. Among its other achievements, Tei-An is one of the only Japanese restaurants in the country to make fresh soba noodles on-site, which can be served hot or cold. Try the noodles with the house-made Texas pecan dip, which combines Texas flavor with a Japanese twist. If soba does not sound appealing, try the white seaweed salad or soba ice cream with Kuromitsu honey, which are specialty favorites not found elsewhere.
Terra Mediterranean Grill
Meet Adam and Jalal Chanaa, the brothers who first brought Mediterranean cuisine to Dallas in the early 1990s, and immerse your senses in the unique ingredients and culture of the Mediterranean region right in Fort Worth with Terra Mediterranean Grill. Terra makes its dishes from the fresh and flavorful ingredients of the Eastern hemisphere to create dishes as bold as the regions they draw inspiration from. Try the baked or fried Kibbie, which mixes ribeye beef with tzatziki sauce for an ethnic blend of tastes or, if you’re a veggie, go for the eggplant-based moussaka, which is chickpea-infused deliciousness.