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First time to Dallas (no car)

I am planning FARRRR in advance for a conference I will be attending at the start of October. I am a native New Yawker who has never been to Dallas...in fact I have never been to Texas!

I will be staying at the Hilton Anatole on Stemmons Freeway and I will be there without a car for 4 nights. I will, however, have an entire afternoon/evening free so if there is mass transit or an easy cab ride, I can do that.

What I am looking for is anything I should not miss during my first trip to your state---I am not picky about price or type of food....only food I do not eat is beef (Steak) so steakhouses would be lost on me unless they do an amzing lamb chop.

Ideally, if there is anything in walking distance of my hotel, that would be my first choice, but as I said, I have at least one day where I can explore further out---just as long as the price of the cab would not be monumental.

Also, if there are any food gifts that I should look for to bring back with me, pass them along too!

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  1. Unfortunately there isn't much in Dallas in terms of mass transit, and it's the same regarding food around the Anatole. I think the only place within a walk is a Denny's.

    I've attended the past few Quakecons, which was at the Anatole last year and will be there again for this year. Someone in their forum made this for everyone's convenience. The red blip is the Anatole, blue is for restaurants: http://www.jimmydelagarza.org/mikesma...
    If the map is zoomed too far out, click on the Hilton Anatole link on the right column, then just click Zoom To until it's zoomed enough.

    As you can see, it's pretty much chain central around the area, also especially considering that you're near West End, another area of town full of chains.

    Initially I thought of Sonny Bryan's, but you don't eat beef. Next idea was Koreatown, so I'll suggest heading a little bit north and stopping by Song Kong Dong Tofu House. I've added a link below, and here's a thread about it: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/405709

    Nick and Sam's Steak and Fish House is also in that area, you might wanna look into that place as well.

    Song Kong Dong Tofu House
    11181 Denton Dr, Dallas, TX 75229

    1 Reply
    1. re: air

      I think you can probably find good soondobu much more easily in NYC. I would recommend trying to check out some tex-mex - Mia's isn't too far away, or if you want something fancier you could hit someplace in West Village or Knox-Henderson. I am with you on the no-beef thing, but it really is what they do best here.

    2. Don't bother going into the "West End" - It's all chain restaurants...Knox Henderson is a trendy area with Mexican (Trece), French (Toulose) and some neat, but expensive shops...If you're looking for something really wow, try York Street..Named one of Gourmet's 50 best restaurants..Very small, definitely need reservations...Incredible food..

      1 Reply
      1. re: RobinR

        second the York Street nomination.......AND , I highly suggest thst you take a cab ride to Stephen Pyles ; make a reservation...when you arrive , inform your host that this is your first trip to Texas , so he can place you with some helpful wait staff . They do Texan , they do Southwestern , they do it all , and it is all excellent . More I think about it , do Pyles before you do York Street .

      2. Here are 3 can't miss recommendations:

        Lola's - it may be the best restaurant in all of Texas. It has an amazing wine program, the service is fabulous and if you really want to do it right, make reservations for the 10 course tasting.

        Yutaka - I think it's the best sushi in town. Unbelievably fresh fish with some inventive dishes and flavor combinations you won't find anywher else.

        Avila's - Some of the best Mexican in Dallas. It'll knock your socks off.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Epicurious Esquire

          Ok...I am STILL a few months away from my trip but I checked out the suggestions as best as I could. The two that have sparked my interest are Stephen Pyles and Lola's. I may only have Monday night free so that would limit me to Stephen Pyles since Lola's is not open Monday. BUT if I do have the chance to have the choice, would you say one is better than the other? Both look amazing! Also, are either of them in an area that it would be "worth it" to check out? (Meaning cute shops and easy to walk around and see a bit of the city). Again, there is a chance that I will just take a cab from the hotel by myself so I would want to make the entire night an "experience" in Dallas.

          1. re: L_W

            I would suggest Stephen Pyles over Lola because NY has many Lola-esque restaurants. Stephen Pyles and the flavor combinations are much more unqiue to the area.
            If you go to Avila's for Mexican food, consider getting the mole. It is wonderful.

            1. re: L_W

              Stephan Pyles is in the middle of downtown Dallas . . . unlike Manhattan, our downtown area is definitely NOT pedestrian friendly (especially after hours). Lola is in Uptown (it's an old home that's been converted into a restaurant), much nicer area and only a block from McKinney Ave where there's lots of shops and restaurants to walk by. I've not been to Stephan Pyles (I've heard the ceviche menu is to die for but other items are up and down) but I've been to Lola several times and it's second only to York Street for my vote as Dallas' best restaurant. BTW - York Street is in Lakewood (a very cool, funky neighborhood on the East side of the city with the city's best wine bar - Wine Therapist right across the street - but it's quite a schlep from the Anatole via cab).

              1. re: skedhead2000

                The ceviche menu at Stephen Pyles is absolutely to die for. It is wonderful.

                I should have expanded my earlier list of 3 to 4. Stephen Pyles rocks, but I would agree that certain menu items are so-so. I had the pizza when it first opened and it wasn't so great. But I had a Florida Wild Striped Bass special that was fantastic.

                Whatever you do, if you go to SP you absolutely MUST order the 8 ceviche sampler.

          2. Perry's restaurant is amazing. www.perrys-dallas.com Yes, it is touted for their steaks but they have a ton of other choices and nightly specials with numerous seafood options that are awesome, none of which you will find on the menu by the way. It is very upscale but attire is casual. It is in the same area as Nick and Sams but I think more comfortable. Food you should try while here is barbeque at Sonny Bryans. Its an institution. Mexican for sure. Breakfast at Dream Cafe would be great - healthy and very cool vibe and very different. It is in that same general area as Perry's. Lots of galleries, shopping. Perhaps you could make an afternoon of it. Mass transportation in Dallas sucks big time. You have to rent a car or take a cab. Nothing like NYC. I will be going to NYC in fact in Sept. I can't wait! I come here to get food tips for that trip! how ironic.

            1. Fuse is downtown and there are some fun restaurants and bars within walking district. And Fuse has a rooftop bar complete with outdoor beds and a small swimming pool, so it's great people watching.

              For downhome gourmet cooking, you could try Hattie's in Oak Cliff. But that area closes kinda early, but some great shops. It's in the Bishop Arts District.

              There is also Abacus which is in the Knox Henderson area. Again, great to walk around and check out the stories (local and name brands). Visit Crush for a glass of wine or the Bodega Wine Bar in Travis Walk for a night cap. Enjoy!

              1. Well, I am a native Dallasite, but honestly, it is YOUR city that is my favorite culinary spot...You will definitely have to take cabs here, and you will have to call for them, or have the restaurant call for one, as there is no such thing as "hailing a cab"...
                We are a Texas City, but more than anything, more of a large cosmopolitan city, with many different cuisines to choose from, and most of them are within a short cab ride from your hotel...I, too, recommend Stephen Pyles, but do get a reservation early on, as it books up quickly...I also recommend Hibiscus (also books up early), Abacus, La Duni ( the one on Oak Lawn, and no reservations, just show up and wait for a table...Go somewhat early and there will be no problem...GREAT drinks, food, and decadent desserts)..If you want to try something that is truly Texan and is much better than you can get in NY, then go for Mexican....or Tex-Mex, I should say...I love Rafa's, and Avila's is wonderful as well...When I get home from NY, it is the one food that I have missed...good ol Tex-Mex food...

                1. You say you are coming in early October; better hope it isn't the weekend of Oct. 6th as that is TX-OU weekend. Great for us fans of the game but definitely not a weekend to be in town if you aren't headed to the game. It is crazy to say the least.

                  First of all, a place withing walking distance of your hotel isn't an option. York Street is excellent but is a long cab ride from the Anatole. Better to stick with the closer Pyles/Lola/Abacus suggestions. If you want to make an evening of it then Abacus is probably your best bet--near the Knox-Henderson area with lots of bars, shops, etc. Another option would be to head to the West Village in Uptown where there are lots of bars and restaurants and shops. Cru winebar is there and is a good place to start while you decide where to eat. Here is a link that may help.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bhoward

                    Gonna be there Oct 8th-12th so I think I will nmss the crowds (will I?). I know the conference is also gonna bus us to the state fair so I will get to sample your fair food---which I am also looking to try! So far, I am leaning toward Pyles but please keep suggestions coming cause they ALL look good! I now live in Buffalo, BTW, so one thing that I am looking forward to is fresh(er) seafood which many of these places seem to have a ton of!

                    1. re: L_W

                      As far as fair food goes, you will need to get a Fletcher's Corny Dog for a prime example of that species. Also, on the midway there is a stand called Darn Good Corn that offers roasted corn with all the traditional Mexican elotes condiments like chile powder and parmesean cheese, etc. There are other stands all around the fair offering corn, but only the DGC stand on the midway offers the roasted ears and they are far and above any boiled ear.

                      I second the reminder that you will have to call for a cab at the hotel - be sure to let them know when you want the cab - and make sure to let the restaurant you dine at know that you will need a cab at the end of the meal. Otherwise, you could be in for quite a wait.

                  2. It doesn't look like anyone has recommended Nana on the 27th floor of the Anatole. Granted there is nothing Texas-like about it but Chef Anthony Bombaci is turning out some of the best food in the city and the view is amazing. Also, Fearing's is opening in the Ritz Carlton downtown mid Aug so will be in full swing for your trip in Oct. He is one of the pioneers of southwestern cuisine so that or Pyles would definitely be on my list for a high end Texas/Southwest experience.


                    1. Ok, I just discovered I DO know someone in Dallas so I MAY be able to get a ride. She however, suggested Cafe Pacific, which I am having trouble finding a website for. I am still leaning toward just saying I wanna go to Pyles (she is concerned with the price but I think I will have an expence account :) ) Any info on Cafe Pacific? And thanks for the info on the fair, too! This is already making my trip much easier since I only look forward to what I am eating when I travel....sightseeing comes in second

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: L_W

                        Cafe Pacific is in the very nice neighborhood of Highland Park. The restaurant is in a shopping center, if you can call a complex with Channel and Hermes a shopping center. I have only eaten there one time and the food was good (particularly the fish), but I have chosen not to return because the atmosphere is very reserved and, dare I say, stuffy. It felt very old-Dallas money and I prefer a livelier atmosphere. It is lovely, but I would choose Stephen Pyles over Cafe Pacific hands down.

                        1. re: Honey Bee

                          Cafe Pacific is a very Ladies Who Lunch kind of place. It's good food and there's no reason to avoid it, but it isn't what I would think of as destination dining. I'm sure there are dozens of places in NYC just like it.

                          My vote is still Lola, but I haven't been to Stephen Pyles. Lola is just wonderful and they really take care of you.

                          1. re: dalaimama

                            Honestly, given where you are coming from and what you are looking for - and your friend's inclination to take you to Highland Park Village (the first mall in the US or some such) why not just go to Mi Cocina? It is a mini chain (meaning multiple locations in the metroplex) but I do love their enchiladas and we can't let you leave without having some decent tex mex! Also - - you cant walk to anything from your hotel really. Its not a walking hotel. But you can cab it as long as you ask the restaurant to call a cab for you - no hailing cabs in Dallas they are too hard to come by. Good luck and enjoy your visit ---

                            Oh, and if you have time to kill and a big budget Nana IS excellent (but I agree, nothing texas about it). They do have a good bar, so you may wish to go there for fun one night (try the sidecar).