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How to show a Foodie a good time in Dallas

I've got a friend coming into town who loves food and appreciates a good adventure. He's introduced me to many great restaurants up in New York, and now that he's coming down here I'd like to show him that down in the south, we're not culturally barren!

So where would you imagine I could take him? I'd like the first words out of his mouth to be, "Wow, this place is neat!", and after that he should be pretty much incapable of speech because he's to busy stuffing his piehole to speak. I've thought about Kalachandji's, and if the Queen of Sheba was still open on Lemmon, I'd take him there. Where would you take a fellow foodie to give them a memorable time? To make things a little more interesting, I'd like to keep the prices under $40 a person too.


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  1. Queen of Sheba reopened in Addison. That would be a great place to take him. It's at inwood, south of belt line.

    I'd also recommend a visit to Central Market (the Dallas location).

    1. LOL...Queen of Sheba popped into my head as well.

      Ama Lur in Gaylord Texan. Order off the Bar menu...it's good.

      The Grape..Greenville Avenue.

      AliBaba off of 75 in Richardson.

      1. Little Sichaun for great Sichuan style Chinese food. Ask for the specials that are written in Chinese and ask for extra sichuan peppercorns and drink water as you will fly through it with the spicyness. Legacy & 75 in Plano. $30-$40 for two and depends on what you get....a few of the special run $16 but worth it! Tea smoked duck is wonderful here!

        Jasmine Thai also in Plano for awesome Thai food ask the waiters for specials not on the menu or make your own dish (i.e.steamed whole snapper with ginger and basil).


        South Dallas Cafe just because it is that good. Great home style cooking and not expensive at all. I haven't had a bad dish there ever. About $35-$40 for two with drink and dessert...but you will be so stuffed you will need a nap


        La Me in Dallas for the Bun Cha Ha Noi...some say it is better at Pala Cafe. This is a dish you get cravings for it is so good. Also good here are the Bahn Mi (all of them) and the sweets. Pala Cafe supposedly has great Pho and also Beignets. It is Vietnamese you will be hard pressed to spend $40 for two at both including dessert if you can stomach anymore.


        Lola of course would be my No.1 suggestion for a foodie for a high end place. Try the tasting menu a 2 1/2 hour grand feast and a great deal for the amount of food. Also don't for get to try the house cured salumi. Above the $40 per person but every foodie needs to splurge once!


        For real inexpensvie try out one of the many locations of El Pollo Regio. The chicken is just a great babecued grilled chicken with a bit of spice. Dinner for two will set you back about $14.


        Taqueria El Paisano (on Lombardy btwn Webb Chapel and Denton Dr) - just have two meats (al pastor or fajita) on two tortillas (corn or flour). I would go at lunch. Excellent al pastor tacos. $1.15 for corn and $1.40 for flour.

        Elaine's Kitchen just dow a bit from South Dallas Cafe but worth every penny. The Jamaican style Caribbean fod here is awesome, cheap and very spicy! Another only to visit at lunch! Contact info on the post below. $30 for two max....portions are large

        Just for refried beans alone...I know it is an overlooked dish for sure. Tipicos on NW Hwy in the flight path for Love Field on the north side of Bachman lake has IMHO the best in the city. I also like the cheese enchiladas just b/c the sauce is not ranchero style sauce but a chili gravy. Simple and great! About $20-$30 for two

        I will throw El Ranchito in Oak Cliff out there for just for the thicker corn tortillas. I liked the cabrito there my wife did not. Plenty of options, but too bad we don't have a Oaxacan style place. This will suffice for the time being.


        Also on the Mexican theme is Cafe San Miguel. They have a few dishes that are good to great but overall I think it is more hype hence the pomerita web address. I have heard the chile en nogada is pretty good there. I have not had it personally but had it on my recent trip to Oaxaca.


        Afrah in Richardson is probably the best place for Lebanese though not the best you have ever had, the pita and the baklava are worth the trip. About $30-$35 for two depends on how hungry you are!


        Most of the suggestions I posted will be $40 for two people and most of the restaurants can easily acommodate that price range here. I would skip any of the pizza places here as I am postive there are better in North NJ/NYC. This should get the list started. I am sure you will have some others chime in! I am also not sure which area you will concentrate on. My recommendations tend to lean more towards the hole-in-the-wall kind of places that are affordable for the general public not just the foodie! Hope your enjoy showing your friend around!

        1 Reply
        1. re: LewisvilleHounder

          What a great list of suggestions! Thanks, buddy!

        2. Lola would be the obvious choice, I also would try Hibsicus or Suze.

          1. I third the El Ranchito rec, it's quite an experience. And for lunch or a snack, I'd suggest going to Fuel City on Industrial for awesome tacos and elotes in a cup. I also really like La Duni, Hatties, Tillman's and Cafe San Miguel.

            For something more high-end, I'd recommend Stephan Pyles.

            1. ..If you want to get a great lunch in North Dallas, I would recommend The Second Floor Bistro. It's located on the second floor entrance into the Galleria from the Westin hotel (across from Macy's) GREAT food...influenced by Gina and Scott Gottlich (the owners of Bijoux) I recommend the grilled prawn and the calamari is wonderful. They have absolutely one of the best burgers I have ever had..and the fries are to die for. Cost will be around $25.00 per person...well worth it.

              1. Wow, your friend being from New York makes it a bit tough, but here goes...I would not do Kalachandij's or Queen, because they have some really cool places in Manhattan (I assume that you mean Manhattan) like Vatan's etc...SO...I might do something like the Grand Luxe at the Galleria, since they don't have anything like that, and I would do La Duni for incredible desserts, and your favorite place for Tex Mex since they absolutely do not have it (mexican they have, not Tex Mex), and how bout some place for steak a bit over the top like III Forks...You could stop by Eatzi's and grab some stuff for eating at home...a cool place to show people...Just a few suggestions...Oh and I would steer completely away from pizza or anything Italian...If you've been to New York you know why....

                3 Replies
                1. re: jinet12

                  It would be pretty silly to take someone from NY to Grand Luxe, considering it's essentially a high end Cheesecake Factory (it's owned by the same company). Unless you want a good culinary prank, I suppose.

                  Considering the variety and quality of Asian and New American food available in NYC, I'd probably avoid going to these places in Dallas. They are good, but they don't compare. I would think the recs for Fuel City Tacos or El Ranchito are more appropriate for a Mex spin. Also consider the southern/soul food category. Maybe South Dallas Cafe or Babe's Chicken Dinner House.

                  1. re: donnaaries

                    "Considering the variety and quality of Asian and New American food available in NYC, I'd probably avoid going to these places in Dallas"

                    I was thinking along those lines too! I am coming from SF Bay Area & am planning on Babe's & Hattie's (late lunch on Sunday, hopefully not a problem).

                  2. re: jinet12

                    Actually, he's from Rochester, but the food he's shown me there has been wonderful. You're dead-on about TexMex. I will make a point to take him someplace regional.

                  3. Whenever i have family in town from NYC, the three "food groups" they ask for are...1) Tex-Mex 2) BBQ and 3) Steak. I would take your friend to your favorite Tex-Mex or someplace fun like El Ranchito. Even though the BBQ selections here are so-so, any New Yorker will take what they can get! Beleive me! I might get slammed for this one but County Line out on Lake Ray Hubbard by Rockwall might be a good choice if not for the atmosphere alone. It 'feels' very Texas and the BBQ is good. Then for steak, III Forks might be a bit more on the budget but might be worth it. And yes, New Yorkers are totally fascinated by the shear size of our grocery stores (have you been to a NY grocery store?) so a trip to Central Market would be a good thing to do for lunch. Although the Whole Foods in Columbus Circle (NY) will put our Central Market to shame - it's amazing.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: pizzaQTpie

                      He has a Wegman's, and we cannot compete in any way, shape or form. I am quite willing to be assimilated. :-)

                    2. Tillman's Roadhouse in Bishop Arts Dist is a somewhat uniquely local experience. Nothing all that adventerous about the food, but I think the Wow factor may be there. $40 per person in probably manageable.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sike101

                        Don't forget the mac n' cheese and s'mores if you go to Tillman's!

                      2. I agree with pizzaQTpie about showing them Tex-Mex and BBQ, neither of which is done very well in NY. My fav Tex-Mex is Avila's on Maple.
                        I wouldn't bother taking them to a steak place since NY knows how to do that.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Maynerd

                          True - you can get a good steak in NYC. But New Yorkers do think Texas = Cow's (steak). It's funny.
                          On another note, Tillman's would be a good choice too for the fun/wow factor. Although I had a tough piece of pork once. But I will forgive them for that one time!

                          1. re: pizzaQTpie

                            I think you're right about the BBQ, but the places that serve the best meat usually don't have the most interesting atmosphere. I love Marshall's in Carrollton, for example. But perhaps driving to Fort Worth for Riscky's BBQ wouldn't be out of order...

                          2. re: Maynerd

                            In the same vein, I don't know that I would recommend Lola in this situation either. Don't get me wrong, Lola is a great restaurant with an amazing wine program but very little about it speaks uniquely to Dallas or even Texas. There are countless restaurants in NY that offer similar cuisine.

                            If you wanted to do one nicer meal, I would recommend either Stephen Pyles or Fearing's. You are less likely to find a similar restaurant in NY. For restaurants that focus more on local ingredients, I would suggest either York Street or Local.

                          3. Rise No.1 is supposed to be the first of it's kind, so you might go there for lunch. Great atomosphere too.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: BluffViewChound

                              Rise sounds fascinating! Thanks for the rec, bro!

                            2. And do go by the Belmont in Oak Cliff to sit outside and have a few drinks. The view of Dallas at night is incredible! Plus, the hotel itself is very funky. That would be a good follow up after dinner at Tillmans. Tillmans is very Texas, yet upscale. Tillmans and the Belmont are both on the same side of town.

                              Our out of town guests demand to go to Matt's Rancho Martinez in Lakewood for a chili relleno. Though, the tacos at Fuel City might be fun if you have a pick-up truck. You can sit in the back of the truck and eat them while you look at the longhorn steers grazing.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: margiehubbard

                                Babe's Fried Chicken
                                Central Market
                                First Chinese BBQ

                                1. re: margiehubbard

                                  I've said repeatedly that the best view of Dallas is from The Bar Belmont. Absolutely gorgeous. Even though I've heard great things about Tillman's, I haven't been. Hatties', on the other hand, used to be on the regular rotation. Great food at a great price point.

                                2. The Dallas/Ft. Worth area has me in a bit of a quandary.

                                  I spoke with several people who live and/or lived in Dallas prior to our trip there for three nights (four days) in March.

                                  Hands down our best meal was at Abacus http://www.abacus-restaurant.com/inde... See http://www.chowhound.com/topics/505031

                                  Lola, the Restaurant -- http://www.lola4dinner.com/ -- was very good, though service was a bit odd. See http://www.chowhound.com/topics/504779

                                  Clearly the "only in Texas" experience was at the Lonesome Dove Bistro in Ft. Worth -- http://www.lonesomedovebistro.com/ -- but considering Tim Love opened (and apparently closed) his NYC version rather quickly . . . See http://www.chowhound.com/topics/504778