Dinner in Dallas?
Visiting from Asheville, NC, looking for suggestions for good restaurants for dinner in Dallas the day after Thanksgiving. Open to different types of food, but would like to keep the price to a moderate level. We are very interested in quality as much as ambience.
Agree w/ Esquire that you will get better recs if you're more specific. What part of Dallas will you be in? Some places are worth going to if you're already in the general area but not worth a cross town trip. With that said I'll go ahead and throw in a second for La Duni, moderate prices, typical Dallas scene, and Knox-Henderson is centrally located for most.
I wish I knew what you meant by "ambience" and "moderate level" pricing.
While all of Soulslinger's recommendations are excellent, I'm not sure that any of them, save Cafe Madrid, have any sort of "ambience".
By ambience, I'm going to assume you mean some Dallas-style people watching.
In Dallas, moderate pricing means entrees that range from $15-25 or so. At least that is what it means to me. Add in an app or two and 2 drinks per person, and you're looking at about $80-100 for 2. Believe me, there are hordes of restaurants in Dallas that are much, much more expensive.
Hibiscus has decent enough food, is not terribly expensive and as an added bonus you will get to see the very definition of "Dallas style".
Primo's is a super-fun, super popular happy hour destination with passable Tex-Mex.
One of my favorite restaurants in Dallas is Asian Mint. It's Thai Fusion at it's best - super flavorful at a nice price point. However, there is not much "ambience".
I'm a huge fan of The Grape. It was the 1st wine bistro to open in Dallas and has now been open for 35 years. It is an excellent value restaurant.
If you like seafood in a casual setting, I'd recommend Aw Shucks. I eat there once a week on average and love the cold-boiled shrimp and the grilled salmon plate. It's nothing fancy, but it is a local favorite.
Urban Taco at Mockingbird Station is also a great choice. It's right in the middle of a little Urban Oasis, surrounded by Shops and all sorts of neat stuff. I've been and I LOVED it. Great food at a GREAT VALUE. This actually might be your best bet.
You might want to reply with a little more specificity - what part of town, what kind of ambience, what is your actuall dollar figure price point, etc.
Moderate priced places are usually what I go for also but I like the quality to be high also.
If looking for different Cafe Madrid (Spanish Tapas) is different and you can control the price.
For a taste of mainland Chinese I would suggest and of the First Chinese BBQ (ask any waiter there for suggestions and don't go with the typical Americanized dishes (i.e. Beef & Broccoli) there might be a bit of a language barrier but just ask for suggestion on the type of meat or veggie dishes you like
)http://firstchinesebbq.com/ - I like the one in Richardson the best
I would also suggest Zoom Viet-Thai has the best Thai food I have had around the area and a nice owner who my wife and I have become friends with. They have great modern feel to the ambience with Buddha Bar selection on the radio (softly) and with pictures of Vietnam (home of the owner) adorning the support columns.
A little bit out of the moderate range is Jorg’s Café Vienna (Austrian, similar to German) has great schnitzels and wursts. This is my favorite European restaurant in the metroplex. Friday nights are usually crowded and boisterous in the small restaurant in downtown Plano.
If you are in the mood for great Lebanese food (humus, baklava, kebabs) I would highly recommend Afrah Pastries in Richardson. The prices are very reasonable and I believe their food quality to be superior to Ali Baba’s (which most Chowhounds seem to praise). They have the best humus, fresh baked pita, and the best freshly made baklava in the Metroplex…IMHO. Afrah is located just around the corner from First Chinese BBQ!
If you are in the mood for some spicy Chinese food that is unlike any Chinese cuisine you have had, try out Sichuanese Cuisine in Plano. The website doesn’t give much information but I have a menu with circled recommendations from the manager. They are very friendly and very authentic so you might be the only non-Chinese there. There also might be somewhat of a language barrier as before with First Chinese BBQ. I would highly recommend Sichuan Boiled Fish and Ma-Pa Tofu (non vegetarian). Let me know if you would like a copy of the menu and we can work on getting it to you. Some additional info on Sichuanese is provided below by a fellow Chowhound
For Vietnamese (not sure if you have tried it or not) I would recommend two places for two separate dishes. For Pho (Noodle Soup), Bahn Mi (Sandwich) and most other items I would recommend Pho Bang in Garland same shopping center at Arc-En Ciel (Chinese & Vietnamese mega restaurant) which is at the northwest corner of Jupiter at Walnut in Garland. It is somewhat of a shady neighborhood but great Vietnamese places. For probably my favorite Vietnamese dish I would recommend La-Me Café in Dallas at Audelia at Walnut across the parking lot from Hong Kong Supermarket and Bistro B (another highly touted Vietnamese restaurant, which I wasn’t impressed). At La-Me Café make sure to order the Bun Cha Ha Noi which is detailed in Charles Kemp’s website on the dish here in Dallas and Vietnam.
That is what I would start off with for now. Perhaps you will have several “Friday nights” in Dallas on another trip. I doubt you can even make all of these in one weekend but hopefully you will like some of the options and would love to hear some feedback!