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One day in Dallas?

p
Pearl May 15, 2007 07:50 AM

We have a day in Dallas--downtown--planning to do some sightseeing....after checking out the board, I made a dinner reservation at the Tasting Room at Lola's (if anyone has an alternate suggestion for a don't-miss restaurant, let me know)--but was wondering, if for contrast we wanted to do a little barbecue for lunch, what would you recommend that would be not too far away (staying at the Fairmont, planning to visit the 6th Floor Museum and walk around downtown to look at architecture and sculpture) and good?? Thanks so much

  1. jinet12 May 16, 2007 07:27 PM

    Best Brunch...No doubt about it...La Duni!...Don't miss their drinks or dessert (cakes)...It is also a great place for lunch or dinner...go to the one on Oak Lawn
    Best Greek...Zizikis...they also do a nice brunch
    BBQ...Sammy's
    Upscale...Stephen Pyles...innovative, wonderful food, great scene
    Mexican (Mexico City style)..Ciudad
    Tex- Mex...Lots of good ones, but I will recommend..Rafa's
    Steakhouse...Pappas
    Best just really great place for dinner, "everything's wonderful place"..Hibiscus

    1. tom in austin May 15, 2007 03:24 PM

      Chowhounds of D/FW--

      This coming weekend, I will be in Dallas.

      I'm a regular from Chowhound's Austin board. I've scanned the Chowhound Texas board, and applied some Google searches, but the density of information is fairly daunting.

      I'll be looking for somewhere awesome to dine breakfast on Saturday, late dinner on Saturday, and brunch or lunch on Sunday.

      If I'm looking for D/FW's absolute best meal, where do I go? Price not important. If formal dress is required, please let me know. I'm looking for something as good as Le Reve in San Antonio (if such exists in D/FW).

      What about D/FW's best brunch? Best sushi? Best Mexican restaurant? Does D/FW offer any great, authentic Italian food? How about just really good pizza? Or Greek food? Finally, what is D/FW's best steakhouse?

      Links to existing threads with good suggestions are much appreciated! Thanks in advance, and if you want Austin tips, I'm more than happy to reciprocate.

      22 Replies
      1. re: tom in austin
        tom in austin May 15, 2007 03:52 PM

        Places my Dallas friend recommends so far, by the way. Hopefully, this will get the ball rolling.

        Brunch: La Duni, Breadwinner's
        Greek: Ziziki's
        Mexican: Javier's
        Steak: Bob's, Nick & Sam's, Nine
        Sushi: Tei Tei, Shinsei

        He didn't provide any "fine dining" a la Le Reve.

        Thanks again, y'all!

        1. re: tom in austin
          vktp May 15, 2007 04:48 PM

          Your friend made some great suggestions. Here are my votes for bests:

          Brunch: La Duni
          Greek: Ziziki's (just took my mother there on Sunday)
          Mexican: Cuquita's or Cafe San Miguel (though, given Austin has plenty of great Mexican, I would try some other cuisine while you're here that Austin doesn't have)
          Steak: Bob's, Al Biernat's
          Sushi: (assuming you prefer sashimi/nigiri over rolls) 1. Sushi Sake in Richardson 2. Yutaka Sushi Bistro 3. Teppo 4. Tei Tei
          Fine Dining: Lola, York Street, Abacus
          Pizza: Campania's, Fireside Pies, Coal Vines

          For authentic Italian, I hear Daniele Osteria and Bice are pretty good and very authentic, but haven't been to either.

          And not that you asked, but I'll go ahead and plug New San Dor for authentic Chinese, since Austin is woefully lacking in that department. Or Bistro B for Vietnamese.

          1. re: vktp
            tom in austin May 15, 2007 09:59 PM

            Awesome! Thanks for your tips!

            And as far as authentic Chinese, while Austin is no Houston on this score, at least we have Din Ho!

            1. re: tom in austin
              kuidaore May 16, 2007 07:15 AM

              Yes, Tom, I'd rather go to Din Ho than any Chinese restaurant in DFW! I wouldn't bother with any Italian or Greek (or other European) restaurants in DFW, but I know you have different opinions on European food in TX.
              We love Breadwinner's breakfast, but it's casual.

              FYI, this event will be at downtown Dallas on Sat. Don't know how good the food will be, but I'm going to sample some food :-)
              http://www.gdaacc.com/programs/asianf...

              1. re: kuidaore
                tom in austin May 16, 2007 09:00 AM

                Thanks a lot!

                I'll be tied up during the day on Saturday, so I won't make it to the festival. Bummer. But I appreciate the info!

          2. re: tom in austin
            Honey Bee May 16, 2007 07:45 AM

            Hi Tom,
            Current Austin Hound and former Dallas Hound, here. Some feedback on your friend's suggestions:

            La Duni- I have been underwhelmed here. They have a reputation for their cakes which are good, but (IMO) don't live up to the hype. It falls under my category of "take it or leave it".

            Breadwinners- Nice courtyard. I truly love the Banana Bread French Toast, but have consistently been disappointed in their savory items. If you are a "sweet" kinda guy for breakfast this is a good choice. If you are more of a "savory" person, I would skip it.

            Ziziki's: Greek food...a little better than Ararat and more consistent. I think they have a great brunch.

            Javier's: Closer to an interior Mexican place than Tex-Mex. Think more Fonda San Miguel than El Chile.

            Bob's: My favorite steak place in Dallas. Very old-school masculine steak house.
            Nick & Sam's: Also very good, but I still prefer Bob's.
            N9ne: Wow, only go there is you can tolerate the essence of Dallas wannabe glitterati. I couldn;t take the techno beat playing the background.

            Tei Tei: Good sushi (on par with Mushaushino but not as good as Uchi), but can be very Dallas. Long waits on the weekend and lots of men wearing all black. If you want to go some place less trendy, they also own Teppo which is very good.
            Shinsei: Never been, but I hear one of the upcoming contestants on Top Chef 3 is from here.

            My fine dining suggestions would include Stephen Pyles (#1 choice) and Abacus (#2). I love both of these places. However, I am the first to admit that my tastes run closer to fusion cuisine more than clasically prepared dishes. York Street and the Tasting Room at Lola have wonderful reputations, but I have not been to either.

            1. re: Honey Bee
              tom in austin May 16, 2007 07:49 AM

              Awesome! Thanks for your advice! This is great. I'm going to point my Dallas friend towards this thread to get his feedback.

            2. re: tom in austin
              tom in austin May 16, 2007 07:52 AM

              After thoroughly searching existing Chowhound posts (including the responses to this thread), I've put together the following list of "Best 'Fine Dining' In Dallas". If anyone can comment on specific experiences or impressions of these places, I'd be grateful!

              Lola / Tasting Room @ Lola (different places in the same bldg?)

              Stephen Pyles

              Abacus

              Aurora

              York Street

              Local

              Bijoux

              Nana

              The Mansion

              1. re: tom in austin
                g
                gavlist May 16, 2007 10:14 AM

                I have been to Lola, the Tasting Room at Lola, Abacus, Aurora and York Street. All were good except Abacus, which I probably won't try again. By far, the most impressive dinner I had was at Lola's Tasting room. They served ~10 incredibly flavorful small dishes with very well matched wines, and were pretty generous with the wine when I failed to pace my drinking and eating well (they served one wine for two consecutive dishes, which was cool because you got to experience two different pairings with each)

                Second favorite was Lola's regular dining room - it's an upscale but casual atmosphere that I really enjoy, and the food is great (and very reasonably priced).

                Aurora was fantastic, but I found it to be a bit more formal than I prefer. I wasn't uncomfortable there... but it wasn't as relaxed as Lola. Pretty expensive too, and while I know that money is no object for you, I don't think that Aurora is a good value for the money. Is the food better than Lola's regular dining room? Probably, but I'm not as eager to return.

                York Street - I keep hearing great things about York Street... my experience was good but unimpressive. I want to try it again because I like the seasonal focus, but I can't recommend it as highly as other people have.

                Abacus - I know a lot of people who love Abacus. I had a terrible dinner there. Way overly salty. Noisy. It seemed to be more about the scene than about the food. Unimpressed.

                Local and Bijoux and Stephen Pyles are next on my list to try... so if you're bringing me along to dinner, those would be my choices :)

                1. re: tom in austin
                  Honey Bee May 16, 2007 11:00 AM

                  I am sorry to hear that gavlist had a bad experience at Abacus- I hope it was an anomaly. I have been there many times and found it great. Of your other choices, I have eaten at Nana and The Mansion.

                  Nana- great views, creative amuse bouche, refined setting, formal service

                  The Mansion- Formal atmoshpere, amazing tortilla soup, good fish entrees, I have not been since Dean Fearing left.

                  Tom in austin, what kind of atmosphere do you want? The "feel" of these places on your list are very different. Given that you will have good chow, do you prefer a livelier, trendy scene or a more refined, elegant scene?

                  I would still vote Stephen Pyles and will expand a little bit on my expereinces there:
                  1. The restaurant is beautiful. The setting is modern without being too trendy. The tables are not crowded too close together so that you hear everything happening at the next table. It is clearly a very nice place, but not formal. You feel like you can laugh and be a little noisy, yet the place is quite enough to carry on a conversation.

                  2. The kitchen is pretty open and you can see what is happening in there. It is fun to watch everyone work. When I have been, Stephen Pyles was there himself...cooking and working front of house.

                  3. The ceviche menu is amazing. Chef Pyles spent several months travelling in Peru and other places in South and Central America to learn about various types of ceviche. You can predr a cevich tasting of 3 or 6...I like the hamachi and halibut the best.

                  4. The poblano asiago soup is amazing. Creamy without being too heavy and perfectly balanced flavors. I think I would force myself to eat it in the dead of summer heat. I don't care too much for the Southwestern Cesar..it was fine but a waste of stomach space in a restaurant this good.

                  5. Hubby likes the rib-eye. It is enormous and served with great, crisp onion rings. I prefer the lamb which was cooked medium-rare. A nice red center was very tender.

                  6. Desserts are sublime. The Heaven and Hell Cake is a great way to end the meal and we also had some banana bread pudding type dish. I don't remember the name, but that it was served in a tiny cast iron pot.

                  Okay, now I am hungry and need to eat lunch.

              2. re: tom in austin
                e
                Epicurious Esquire May 16, 2007 09:39 AM

                Best Brunch: Ziziki's, Breadwinners, 4 Seasons at Las Colinas
                Best Sushi: Food-wise Yutaka, Atmoshphere-wise Tei-Tei
                Best Mexican: El Ranchito (go at nite - awesome, kitschy atmosphere)
                Steak: Bob's
                Fine Dining: Stephen Pyles (get the 8 Ceviche sampler), Lola's, York Street

                1. re: tom in austin
                  tom in austin May 16, 2007 08:18 PM

                  Update! We've made reservations at Lola's for our late Saturday night dinner.

                  That leaves a Saturday breakfast and a Sunday brunch or lunch. Note: we're open to driving over to Fort Worth on Sunday if that would help our options.

                  Thanks to everyone (vktp, kuidaore, Honey Bee, gavlist, E.E., and jinet12) for the advice so far! Keep it coming!

                  Any specific dishes we should get at Lola's?

                  1. re: tom in austin
                    tom in austin May 17, 2007 08:32 AM

                    Also! Austin really lacks good burger places.

                    I've heard Kincaid's is the best in D/FW, but is closed on Sundays.

                    Any other suggestions on that front?

                    1. re: tom in austin
                      Honey Bee May 17, 2007 09:30 AM

                      Have fun at Lola!

                      Wingfield's has quite a burger following and is very good, but is also closed Sunday. I like both Chip's and Jake's. Both have multiple locations in Dallas which makes them a little less charming than Kincaid's, but still good bugers.

                      I see several recommendations that you do brunch at La Duni. If you do that, please post. I have been underwhelmed with their food and would be interested in your feedback. I would do brunch at Ziziki's, the Mansion on Turtle Creek, or Craft. If those aren't in the budget Breadwinners is good for sweet items. Dream Cafe and Cafe Brazil are quite popular choices. They are good but not amazing. Dallas versions of Magnolia.

                      1. re: tom in austin
                        e
                        Epicurious Esquire May 17, 2007 11:23 AM

                        If you are going to be around for lunch on a weekday, there is no question the Lunch Burger served at The Grape is the way to go. I've posted about it several times, but here we go again.

                        The chef hand trims his filet for the dinner menu and then grinds it for the Lunch Burger. Methinks it is the best patty in Dallas.

                        Topped with applewood smoked back and white Vermont cheddar cheese, it is absolutely delicious.

                        I actually went to The Grape for Lunch today (I got the Tex Mex Cobb Salad, which I LOVE) and there were Burgers everywhere.

                        Yum.

                      2. re: tom in austin
                        e
                        Epicurious Esquire May 17, 2007 11:29 AM

                        Yes, there are 10 dishes you should get at Lola's (11 if you get the foie gras, which you should).

                        Do the 10 course tasting menu. I've done it several times and WOW WOW WOW WOW.

                        And be prepared for maybe the best wine program in Texas.

                      3. re: tom in austin
                        d
                        danebaxter May 16, 2007 08:49 PM

                        For fine dining, price is no option, I'd recommend the French Room in the Hotel Adolphus. I went last year and it was absolutely stunning.... plus Bill Addison in the DMN recently gave it five stars.

                        1. re: tom in austin
                          tom in austin May 18, 2007 07:21 AM

                          Thanks again to everybody who has contributed to this thread.

                          I leave for Dallas in several hours -- any last minute suggestions?

                          1. re: tom in austin
                            Honey Bee May 18, 2007 10:03 AM

                            If driving, I assume you'll stop at the Czech Stop?

                            1. re: Honey Bee
                              tom in austin May 18, 2007 11:26 PM

                              Arrived safely in Dallas. Survived rehearsal dinner at Macaroni Grill. Ready for an amazing breakfast tomorrow -- Dallas, what has ye to offer?!

                              Is the Czech Stop in West? I've never been, but have heard good things. On my way home on Sunday I'll drop by if you can tell me where I should be stopping!

                              1. re: tom in austin
                                vktp May 18, 2007 11:35 PM

                                A couple giant billboards will point you in the right direction. It's on the east side of 35, just on the access road. I like to load up on kolaches, walnut crescents, and gingerbread men while I'm there.

                                Another option for breakfast is Cuquita's on Henderson, which is where I go in Dallas when I'm craving Las Manitas. Pales in comparison, but I'll take what I can get. They'll bring you hot, fresh tortillas as soon as you sit down.

                                1. re: tom in austin
                                  jinet12 May 19, 2007 05:29 AM

                                  Do brunch at La Duni's..they have it on Saturday as well as Sunday...Wonderful!

                          2. s
                            skedhead2000 May 15, 2007 03:02 PM

                            Baker's Ribs is not to be missed if you like pork ribs. It's in Deep Ellum - about ten minutes away. Whatever you do, DON'T EAT TOO MUCH AT LUNCH if you're treating yourself to Tasting Room at lola for dinner . . . it's sublime. Great (and affordable) wine list too.

                            1. y
                              y2000k May 15, 2007 08:19 AM

                              I don't have a BBQ place to recommend, but the Dallas Museum of Art has a nice restaurant (Seventeen Seventeen) where you can have lunch. You can get in to the restaurant without paying for museum admission - if you're not planning to visit the museum. Or if you're visiting the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Cafe there is catered by Wolfgang Puck. Food is not bad, has a nice view of the Garden. But you do have to pay for admission for the NSC in order to eat at the cafe.

                              Another option for lunch nearby would be Stephen Pyles. It is literally just across the street from the Fairmont.

                              1. aaronswoman May 15, 2007 08:08 AM

                                hello, if you are coming to Dallas you have got to try Mexican food, one of the best is Monica's Aca Y Alla. For barbecue Bakers Ribs on Commerce downtown is so good and voted #1 in the city. Check the web site monicas.com they have major special every day, a good suggestion is the cheese enchiladas with avocado sauce and grilled shredded chicken on top, sososo good!

                                1. s
                                  sl1 May 15, 2007 07:56 AM

                                  Sammy's BBQ across from the Hotel ZaZa is very close and probably the best in the area.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sl1
                                    vktp May 15, 2007 09:52 AM

                                    Second the vote for Sammy's. Though for Mexican food, heading over to Maple Avenue and trying a place like Avila's would be your best bet. But any of those would require a drive. . .

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