Wedged between the Texan metropolises of Dallas and Fort Worth, Irving boasts a dining scene that mixes casual eats with upscale fare. The region has a host of restaurants to choose from, offering authentic Argentine food, award-winning sushi and Korean-infused burgers. Read on for our guide to the best local eats in Irving, Texas.
Since it opened in 2010, Empa Mundo, a casual, counter service restaurant owned and operated by Argentinian expat Raul Gordon, has become the go-to dining destination for local diners looking for a quick and tasty empanada. A concise menu offers 13 empanada options, ranging from classic Latin American flavors like camote (sweet potato) and criolla (ground beef, onions, olives, raisins and eggs) to American influenced recipes like cheesesteak and Texas brisket. Diners can complete their authentic dining experience with quintessentially Argentine desserts like alfajor, a cookie-like sweet treat made with dulce de leche sauce and coconut.
Empa Mundo, 3977 North Belt Line Road, Irving, TX, USA, +1 972 746 4516
Owned by twin brothers and chefs Sam and Wassim Merched, who honed their trade cooking their mothers’ secret recipes, Anadalous brings the classically flavorsome cuisines of the Mediterranean to the heart of Texas. Combining traditional recipes with decadent, new twists, Andalous’ menu brims with authentic dishes from Greece, Lebanon and the wider Mediterranean like spanakopita (a fluffy pastry stuffed with a creamy spinach filling) and fattoush. The restaurants’ service style also evokes the Med, where guests queue cafeteria-style, allowing diners to view different recipes before they decide on their ideal dish.
With a motto like ‘born, bred and fed in Texas’, it perhaps is not surprising that a farm-to-table mentality is what guides The Ranch at Las Colinas. Staying true its Texan roots, the restaurant sources fish from Texas’ Gulf Coast, Kobe beef from the states’ southern plains and vegetables from Texan farmers and producers. With its stylish but casual, welcoming ambience, the venue attracts a vibrant crowd. Try dishes full of Texan flavor with adventurous, contemporary twists like the South Texas wild boar stroganoff with fettuccine, wild mushrooms, baby spinach and parmesan cheese or the farm-raised redfish with grilled asparagus, charred orange butter and jumbo lump crab and arugula salad.
Combining rustic Texas comfort food with quite possibly the best beer menu in all of Irving, FM Smoke House is a smart-casual restaurant mixing homey ambience with contemporary, sleek interior design opened by owners Christi and Brian Rudolph, who also own the Holy Grail Pub in neighboring Plano. All dishes are made from scratch using local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible and lovers of meat will fall in love with dishes like the BBQ trinity plate, brisket, pork and spicy sausage each smoked in their own delicious sauces and served with tri-color coleslaw and borracho beans, perfect when paired with one of FM Smoke House’s 42 craft beers, wines or craft cocktails.
FM Smoke House, 660 Walnut Ridge Drive, Irving, TX, USA, +1 972 751 6633
An Irving dining tradition since the mid-1980s, Via Reál has been under the ownership of Fran Lively, a former patron or the restaurant who purchased it after learning it was about to close. Over its years in operation, Via Reál has become renowned throughout the local area for its beautiful, inviting Santa Fe-style space and menu offering delicious Southwestern and Mexican fare. Warm, rustic dining rooms set the perfect scene in which to enjoy flavorsome dishes like the Rancher’s Special of pork chili relleno with cheese enchilada, crispy beef taco and Spanish rice or the chicken Monterey, grilled chicken breast with Texas goat’s cheese, Monterey jack cheese, sautéed spinach, poblano rice and roasted red bell pepper sauce.
Specializing in the dishes of the peshawari variety, a historic cuisine native to Pakistan, Underground Indian Cuisine is the perfect dining destination for hungry mouths looking for something a little more adventurous and spicy than American fare. Immerse yourself in an authentically Asian dining experience by trying dishes like the paya shorba appetizer (a healthy and flavorsome soup made with mutton trotters and garnished with brown onion and fresh mint) and the mallika-e-dariya, a curry dish made with river-caught prawns cooked in a coconut and cream gravy. Finish your meal with a classic dessert like phirni, a sweet, creamy rice pudding made with saffron and almonds.