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Visiting Dallas for a week: Regional local/food and bars

Visiting Dallas for the week from washington DC. Looking for local hangouts, good regional/local food, and general things to do. NOT looking for the trendiest or most expensive, I want a taste of texas in my first trip to the area, as wall as any funky local places anybody likes.

MANY thanks.


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  1. This time of year I always like Aw Shucks on Greenville Ave for a Saturday afternoon lunch. I ride over from White Rock eat lunch then ride on back to white rock and back to my car.

    1. what part of town are you staying? car?

      1. When I have more time, I'll post properly.

        El Ranchito on Jefferson is an ABSOLUTE MUST for an out-of-towner that wants a taste of Dallas.

        For kick-ass pub food, try The Old Monk, Vickery Park and/or The Capitol. They're all within 1 mile of each other on Henderson.

        If you want a neat little neighborhood bistro, The Grape is a good bet. It would also be my recommendation for brunch.

        Margaritas on the patio of The Blue Goose or Primo's.

        Sushi at Tei-Tei.

        Burgers on the patio at Jake's.

        Cafe San Miguel for regional Mexican.

        Natsumi for the best gelato/sorbet in town.

        If you want something more exclusive, do research on Stephen Pyles, York Street or Lola's.

        If you want a trendy pizza scene, try Fireside (it's gloppy and gut-busting, but Dallasites sure seem to love it).

        1. If you want some down home cookin' and a touch of sassy attitude from the waitress, try Mama's Daughter Diner for lunch. Maybe something "chicken fried".

          Upscale down home cookin' served in large portions at The Porch on Henderson. Try their special margarita called "Our Margarita" with blood orange juice...it's fantastic. The brisket sliders are extremely popular (and messy good).

          Simple Tex-Mex and Margarita's at Rafa's.

          Great Mexican, kitsch and margaritas at Chuy's...Jenna Bush made the Austin location quite popular before she was of drinking age...she and her twin, Barbara, liked the margarita's there. Me too.

          More Mexican & Margarita's at Mi Cocina.

          Chille Relleno night is Tuesday's at Mia's on Lemmon (almost a must do in Dallas). The brisket tacos are legendary there as well. Have a margarita! : )

          I like margarita's as you can tell, but I do enjoy a good martini. If you want to go have a great martini in an unusual atmosphere, try the Inwood Lounge at the Inwood Theatre....it's a funky art deco art house and you can smell the popcorn in the theatre lobby from over the glass block wall (and some neon) seperating it from the bar. Limited to two martini's there...big ones. They open at 5 PM.

          Funky, vegetarian and even some yoga or meditation sessions, try Cosmic Cafe.

          Authentic and organic Italian at Nonna's (you'll need reservations because it's the cat's ass in Dallas right now as they are fairly new and blowing everyone's sox off with their food). It's the only place in town that people say is like being in Italy foodwise.

          Sadly, Dallas is not a Barbecue mecca. I can only recommend Sammy's for a casual lunch (near downtown) or Sonny Bryan's (an institution) on Inwood.

          The Grape as mentioned earlier is an institution at this point as well.

          A one of a kind restaurant serving sweet and savory souffle's (many to choose from) is called Rise No.1 in Inwood Village...very quaint and cozy and they have a cheese cart.

          A second for Cafe San Miguel. The advice about Stephen Pyles, Lola's and York Street...you might want to check them out. Of course, there's Fearings at the Ritz for a decadent Texas experience. Chef Fearing will be the tall man in the cowboy boots. Cougars will be in the bar.

          A less expensive local family owned & run steakhouse in business for over 50 years with mesquite wood burning pits to grill your steaks right there in the dining room try Dunston's Prime Steak House on Harry Hines. Mr. Dunston can still be found cooking a steak or two or visiting patrons in the dining room or bar on any given night

          2 Replies
          1. re: BluffViewChound

            BVC...what a great post......nice going .

            1. re: pinotho

              I agree with pinotho, great post, BVC!!! May I add a couple:

              Babe's Chicken Dinner House is THE place for great Texas food in an authentic atmosphere. Fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, catfish, chicken tenders, smoked chicken, pot roast. Plenty of family-style veggies. Great desserts, or just fill up on homemade biscuits with clover honey and sorghum molasses. website: www.babeschicken.com.

              Tupinamba Mexican Food - On Inwood south of LBJ 635. Great family owned Mexican Food place. No website, call 972 991-8148.

              Have a great trip!!!

          2. BVC is right on.

            I second Mi Cocina for mexican food and margaritas. And also, Cafe San Miguel and Stephen Pyles.

            For BBQ, head to Smokey John's (www.smokeyjohns.com) and order one of the bar-b-que plates. My favorite side is their fried okra - which isn't displayed, but they'll make it if you ask.

            I moved out of Dallas 7 years ago, but every time I go back I make sure to eat at Mi Cocina and Smokey John's; there is nothing like it up in NY.

            1. One other thing. If you haven't been to Central Market (Lover's/Greenville), I'd recommend going. Even though I was born in DC, I have no idea regarding which type of massive, cavernous foodie joints you have access to. Great produce, nice (if a bit overpriced) wine selection, fantastic sandwiches (see my post on best sandwich in Dallas), live music on the weekends, super fantastic people watching, etc. IMHO, it's worth an hour.

              If you like to exercise, go to the Katy Trail (jogging or biking). You will not be disappointed with the people watching and, for Dallas, it's quite beautiful. You can also head out to White Rock Lake. Great views of downtown.

              If you want the best view of downtown Dallas, go to The Bar Belmont. It's in a super funky area of town. If you have a pulse, you'll enjoy it.

              I can't believe I didn't mention this with my first post - Hattie's in Oak Cliff. Upscale, downhome cooking, good crowd, surrounded by numerous other fun spots in a walkable area. I'd actually put Hattie's on the "can't miss" list.

              1. I'll second the Babe's and Hatties suggestions....and thanks for the props.

                One more. If you want a funky eclectic little 24-hour joint with free wi-fi, good coffees and breakfast, try Buzzbrews at Central & Fitzhugh just north of downtown.


                1 Reply
                1. re: BluffViewChound

                  Thirding Babe's. Went for the first time when I was back home in March and really enjoyed it. Loooong waits, but worth it and be sure to BYOB.

                  The original Sonny Bryan's on Inwood is a hound must, naysayers be damned. Stick with sliced brisket, get some onions rings and enjoy everything with their sauce. Best bet is for an early lunch... they get very crowded and close when they run out of meat. A unique experience if nothing else.

                  My fave TexMex is Herrera's, with the quasi-original on Maple near Oak Lawn the location of choice (also BYOB). There are more upscale Mex places like Mi Cocina and such, but I like my TexMex down and dirty, and Herrera's has been satisfying me for 30+ years.

                  My pick for an upscale meal is Mercury Grill. Search for it and me for a couple of reviews. Excellent New American menu with good service as long as you don't get stuck with Kenneth.

                2. Hey.. I just got back from a trip to Dallas myself, only I visited from Los Angeles, not DC. One place that many locals know is Snuffer's. http://www.snuffers.com/

                  I have to say, there isn't anything like it in LA. Probably nothing like it in DC either.

                  It is a small local chain of great neighborhood bars in and around Dallas (so there should be one near where you are staying) that serve good burgers, cold beer and phenomenal cheddar fries.

                  I can't say enough about the fries. I posted about them, with enticing photos, here:


                  1. I like Mias for Tex Mex, and Fuel City Tacos for, well, the atmosphere. Their tacos are pretty good, but if you want funky, Fuel City is the epitome.