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Jan 14, 2007 03:12 PM

Dallas restaurant recommendations?

will be in Dallas from Boston for 2 days and would like to eat at a really good restaurant- whether it's a dirt cheap mexican or bbq hole-in-the-wall, or more upscale italian/french/whatever, just want some recommendations for really good places to eat.
preferably nothing too far out (more than a 10 minute drive) from W Hotel (Victory Ave) or Hotel ZaZa (Leonard St.) any good restaurants worth checking out in the Deep Ellum area?

thanks for the help!

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  1. If you're into wine, no better possible recommendation than Lola. Excellent food and a stunningly good wine and incredibly priced list.

    Also very good food at York Street (emphasis on seasonal ingredients) and at Bijoux. Probably the three top restaurants in Dallas.

    1. For hole in the wall Mexican, Cuquita's on Henderson is my current favorite. I hear good things about Avila's, though I haven't been there yet.

      For bbq, go to Sammy's, which is a short walk from Zaza.

      In Deep Ellum, there's Crustacean's or Daza for Cajun.

      2 Replies
      1. re: vktp

        vktp, We just returned from a short Dallas trip and were blown away by the Que at Sammy's. (And their onion rings are terrific as well.) We also fell in love with the Tex-Mex at Manny's. Hopefully the concept of brisket tacos for breakfast will catch on. Good luck with the Great Ice Storm of 2007. It was sent with love from those of us in the Pacific Northwest who are now digging out and heading for some great Szechuan.

        1. re: Leper

          Glad you enjoyed it! Manny's is also one of my default choices for dinner these days.

      2. If you want a great meal with no price tag go to the French Room in the Adolphus Hotel. By far the best meal in Dallas. Other than that you can head to Abacus and make a meal on their lobster shooters.

        For Mexican you can hit Chuy's on Knox or the Samba Room around the corner on Travis Walk for the best mojitos.

        7 Replies
        1. re: BillK

          Chuy's!!?? I wouldn't fee my cat leftovers from Chuy's. I've eaten there twice and both times it was beyond bad. Primo's on McKinney and Chaquita on Henderson for Mexican.

          And I've dined at the French Room and at Abacus. Between the two, I'd pick the French Room. But it is very formal and traditional. Personally, I don't think that their food is in the same category as Lola, York Street, or Bijoux.

          If you like the eclectic style of Abacus, I think Stephen Pyles does the same sort of thing, but does it somewhat better. But I'd place the three I recommended, plus Aurora, Local, Stephen Pyles and perhaps a few others ahead of Abacus.

          1. re: Mike C. Miller

            I have to admit. I have not been to Chuy's in quite a while but it was good when I did go. I ate at York Street and was not that thrilled. Maybe an off night.

            I had dinner at Stephen Pyles the other night it it was superb. Aurora is another one that I want to get to very soon. Abacus always holds a place in my heart (and palate). I have dined there a number of times and had great meals there on each visit. I do agree that the French Room is better but I leave that for my special dinners.

            Being way up north in Frisco, I do not make it downtown that often.

          2. re: BillK

            Best Mojitos are at La Duni, which would be a good dinner suggestion. I did dinner at Local on the edge of Deep Ellum just the other week and it was delicious!!!

            1. re: simply_victoria

              I don't know how I forgot to include Local. It's actually one of my favorites in town.

            2. re: BillK

              I have to pipe in here on the French Room and Chuy's. I actually did have an amazing meal at the French Room. Stuffy? Yes, absolutely. Would I prefer a handful of other restaurants in Dallas? Yes. But, for fine dining and unparalleled atmosphere, French Room is where I would send folks.

              But, that's not to say it's the best food in Dallas. I still think Lola, Bijoux, and York St have my votes for the best in Dallas. What's the buzz about Nana these days? Haven't heard too much.

              Now, I cannot defend Chuy's at all. I do not claim to be an authority on tex-mex, but I enjoy Mia's. I did not think Herrera's or Cuquita's lived up to the hype. Mi Cocina is always a nice fall-back, but the location you choose is important. From what I can tell, Lake Highlands location is best, HP village is probably worst, from a food (and drink) perspective. Any concensus on this one?

              One more "debunking" of myth...Abacus. Come on, folks. That place is just not that great. Trendy and fun, sure. But, I need more than lobster shooters to wow my food senses. Does anyone have other specific dishes from Abacus that are must tries to win me over?

              As for Mr Pyles, I enjoyed the appetizers and ceviches, but the main courses were nothing to write home about. He's a very charismatic restaurateur and I enjoy his menus, but I did not think the food was spectacular.

              Finally, I found Aurora to be sub-par. Not sure if others have had disappointing meals there, but I did not care for it.

              Happy eating, my Dallas friends. Let me know when Tim Byres opens up Standard again (if he has not already) and if Green Room will ever make a revival...loved those places.

              1. re: JCR

                It's been a while since I've been to Abacus, but I was not impressed the last time I went. Menu was too schizophrenic for me. All over the place. Food was OK, but nothing to write home about.

                Stephen Pyles was good, but not great, but I only ate there once, so I need to give it a second shot. Really wonderful salad dish with different vinegars in eye droppers for you to dose your own salad with that was quite interesting. As to Aurora, I thought it was good -- not great -- but a bit stuffy. Wine list wasn't up to the quality of the food, which is a big item for me.

                Again, I'd encourage everyone to try Bijoux. New, but very good.

                1. re: JCR


                  Tim Byres recently signed on as the new chef de cuisine at the Mansion. Maybe he will be able to bring back some Standard favorites to the menu there.

              2. Primo's best Tex-Mex in that area bar none....If you are using the corp expense account, do Aurora, if on your own dime go LOLA or Urban Bistro who is same chef as Aurora for 1/4 the price....enjoy, Mike

                1. thanks for all the suggestions! looks like we'll def. be checking out either Local and/or Lola, and i'm gonna make a point to hit Sammy's and Cuquita's for some bbq and Mexican.

                  b/t/w if you ever find yourself in Boston and you're craving some great Mexican, check out Zocalo on Commonwealth Ave. in Brighton. nice place, fresh & authentic ingredients and the prices are good, too. yum!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: krispybmc

                    For better barbecue that wouldn't be too much farther away, I'd do either Mac's or Baby Back Shak. For some reports (with photos) on both of those, plus Sammy's, see the following links:

                    Baby Back Shak ( ). (Though I usually don't comment on sides, I will say that Baby Back Shak's beans--so meaty that they're closer to a chili--are highly addictive.


                    Mac's & Sammy's ( ).

                    Good luck.


                    1. re: Scott

                      I second Baby Back Shak - get the ribs.