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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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
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.
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..
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 .
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.