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Nov 12, 2008 07:19 AM

Best texas food in Dallas DFW area?

Visiting for a few nights solo from Boston, so any suggestions for spots that do whatever is "Texas style" food the best? By that, I mean stuff that's specific to the area. E.g., clam rolls and lobsters in new england, salmon and sushi in the northwest, chinese food in Vancouver/SF, etc.

I found quite a few threads on best asian and mexican in the area so I plan to try one or two of those as well.

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  1. Hey Spike! You say Dallas specific followed by DFW which also implies Ft. Worth. This total area is very expansive and if you're only here for a few nights, I'm assuming you'd prefer staying in one general area. Do you know what area that is? Central/Uptown or one of the outlying burbs? Will you have a car or be dependent on taxi or other transport?. There's a limited light rail running north and south out of the downtown Dallas area and a double decker train that runs west to FW. Give us an idea of where you will be.......

    2 Replies
    1. re: CocoaNut

      Spike, it doesn't really matter what part of the Metroplex you're visiting, you must consider a trip to Babe's Chicken Dinner House for authentic Texas food and atmosphere. Here's the link:

      1. re: CocoaNut

        Thanks for all the replies. I'm at the intersection of 635 and Coit (north of Dallas by 30min from what I've been told), but have car and will travel, as long as it's not over an hour each way :-)
        Dallas is a lot bigger than it looks on the map :-)

        Thanks for the Babe's recommendation, foodczar, but I haven't been able to eat lots of fried food at a time without feeling sick for a while (since hitting 30 or so way back :-) Though I'll have to try fried catfish since we don't get that up in Boston...

        Sounds like it's Soley! for me tonight and Bubba's/Babe's tomorrow for lunch :-)
        Local & Hattie's look like my kind of food..."new american"/fusion style w/ local ingredients but not horribly expensive and reasonable sized (not tiny appetizer sized) entrees :-) For those of you that hit Boston, equivalents to the Franklin Cafe, Giacomo's.

      2. At the high end, Stephan Pyles and Fearing's. They are sophisticated, excellent (and expensive) restaurants that do a southwestern take on fine cuisine. (And if you want haute Mexican, Lanny's in Fort Worth.) Two other places that you might consider are York Street and Local -- they doesn't scream "Texas," but they concentrate on local ingredients (especially York Street) and dishes, and the food is very well executed. I mention Local because you're solo and at Local you can eat at the bar, which I like to do when I travel.

        My favorite Mexican (not Tex-Mex) is Cafe San Miguel. I also like Vera Cruz in Oak Cliff. If you want to try cabrito (baby goat), go to El Ranchito, also in Oak Cliff. If you want Tex-Mex, there are any number of places to try (Avila's, Herrera's, Cuquita's, etc) that you can research on this board.

        There really isn't great barbeque in this part of the state, but if you want to try it, I suggest the ribs at Baby Back Shak in Dallas and Angelo's in Fort Worth. I have heard positive things about a new place, Off the Bone Barbeque, but haven't tried it yet.

        If you want a more upscale (but not way expensive) take on Southern cooking, go to Hattie's in Oak Cliff.

        If you want to try soul food -- real ribs and collard greens and hot water corn bread -- go to the South Dallas Cafe.

        Enjoy your stay.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Dallas Alice

          Good suggestions Dallas Alice. Regarding Lanny's - the basic idea is french technique applied to mexican ingredients. If you're closer to Dallas than to FW, you might give Soley! a try, which takes a similar approach. I haven't been to Soley! (yet), but have heard from several sources that it's quite good.

          1. re: gavlist

            Hit Soley! tonight and it really is good. Way better than what we were told was one of the best mexican places in Phoenix when we were out there :-)
            I think the only thing I'd change is to warm the bread up. It came with orange honey herbed butter and olive butter which was a nice change.
            I had the poblano stuffed w/ duck confit...very tasty and it was huge so I barely had room for my entree :-)
            For the entree, I had the ancho dusted pork chop on top of a truffle corn sauce...the tequila in the mushrooms was a bit strong for me (I'm not a drinker, so folks who like alcohol would probably like it).
            Wish I had space for dessert but I was stuffed.

            It was pretty empty tonight and undeservedly so if this is any indication of the rest of their menu. Double thumbs up for me and thanks for the recommendation :-)

            I'll add photos when I get back home. The food was presented nicely.
            The chefs are both mexican and went to school together in france...they both worked in the hotel industry in chicago before opening this place (yep, slow night, so I was chatting w/ the bartender and maitre'd)...

            1. re: Spike

              I'm glad you liked it - it's definitely on my list to try. The lack of customers concerns me - everyone who's been has had the same comment. I hope they are able to get more business going.

              1. re: gavlist

                They said they've been open only 4 months, so I'm hoping it's just slow starting up. There's a bar next door that was relatively empty as well and they said people sometimes come over from there for dinner. And they're in an area that's being developed so there aren't a lot of neighborhood regulars yet either.
                Forgot to mention the space is pretty hip/trendy. Definitely doesn't feel like your typical hole in the wall mexican restaurant.

            2. re: Dallas Alice

              The Cuquitas on Henderson is gone but there is one in Richardson on Coit and Spring Valley

              Throw Lola in for the high end places! The chef uses local (from his backyard) ingredients.

              South Dallas Cafe is a great option and so is Sweet Georgia Brown further in South Dallas.

              Best Asian

              Nam Hua or La Me for Vietnamese
              Little Sichuan - Sichuan Chinese
              Kirin Court - Hunan or Cantonese (?) Chinese
              Yoa Fuzi - Shanghainese Chinese
              Yutaka, Masami, Teppo, Tei An or Kenichi for Japanese sushi or soba
              First Chinese BBQ - Carrollton - Hong Kong style BBQ meats
              jasmine Thai - Plano - Thai

              1. re: LewisvilleHounder


                Don't forget that there is a Cuquitas on the NE corner of Josey and Valley View. I assume it's the same folks as the old Henderson spot and the Richardson store.

                1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                  Hit Little Sichuan for lunch to see if it's as good as our sichuan places near's pretty close but the two dishes I tried are better in our area: sichuan dumplings in chili sauce and hot&spicy chicken. They're good but don't have as much heat/flavor as the ones near Boston. I think the fortune cookie tasted a bit odd (not sure if it was stale or just a different recipe).

                  Funny part was they didn't offer me chopsticks because I didn't speak mandarin...I spoke the waitress in english. The older lady manager gave her a hard time for that and offered me chopsticks. It probably would have been funny to speak to them in my dialect of chinese and have them not understand :-)

                  They're also located next to a big asian supermarket in a building that includes a bakery and in a strip mall that includes a bubble tea place, vietnamese soup place, and indian place. I'm surprised there are that many asians in the Plano area.

                  1. re: Spike

                    photos of mall that Little Sichuan is in and lunch

                2. re: Dallas Alice

                  Hit Cafe San Miguel tonight...I didn't realize it was just two blocks down from Soley!. It has a pretty big bar area so maybe that's why it's more popular?
                  Anyways, the guacamole was good but not fantastic (that's word is reserved for a place in cancun where they make it right in front of you :-) but the hot corn tortillas were a nice touch (wish they gave you more than 4 for a small though).
                  I had the huanigo (sp?) pan fried red snapper on top of rice with salad on was presented "modern" style and was a bit small (3 small slices so maybe 4x6" total) for $21 but I was pretty full from the guac anyways. The final bill ended up $20 less than Soley! so I guess I can't complain that much ;-)
                  It's definitely a well done modern take on Mexican food. I'll post up a picture when I get back because it describes this better than words :-)

                  1. re: Spike

                    photo of red snapper dish (the guac appetizer didn't look unusual enough for a photo :-)

                3. go to and dare to go ethnic with foods from south of the border: it's as Texan as most things reported here. Walk in, look around at what everyone is eating, point to what looks good and ask for "some of that", if the menu selections noted make no sense.
                  Caveat: my recommendation is for foodies only.

                  1. Hey, Spike.
                    If you're still in DFW, very close to you at Preston Rd. and LBJ (SW corner) is a reliably good BBQ place called Spring Creek BBQ. They're a small chain but they serve good food.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: twinwillow

                      thanks twinwillow. I think I'm all set for the next few san miguel tonight...dunston's on harry hines for lunch and bonnell's in fort worth when I check out the stockyards tomorrow night.

                      1. re: Spike

                        Well..Bonnell's was mostly good. I had the elk tacos (didn't taste all that different from beef tacos) and the redfish entree. I've been curious about redfish since seeing photos of them on fishing web sites but they're unfortunately somewhat blandish (bluefish up in our area is much better tasting when prepared correctly). The redfish was almond crusted and topped with shrimp and artichoke; it was on top of a dill mashed potatoes. The carrots were unfortunately so hard that I couldn't cut it with my knife (regular dinner knife instead of steak knife)...ditto the onions but they were bite size. They were booked for the night but I managed to get a seat at the bar. I've attached pics of both.

                        Dunston's (on Harry Hines) on the other hand was absolutely crap. I didn't know they weren't open for lunch, so I actually stopped by for 2nd dinner after I drove back from Ft. Worth. Waited over 1/2hr for my prime T-bone only to find out that it was way overcooked (even the waitress thought he screwed up cooking it). It was also 1/2" thick. No self-respecting steak house should be serving 1/2" thick steak IMHO (it should be at least 1"). You can't even properly sear both sides before it'll get past medium rare if it's 1/2". At any rate, as you can imagine, it was very chewy and only tasted like mesquite...Costco steaks are way better tasting, even cooked medium by mistake on my cast iron grill. The waitress offered to replace it, but at that point, I was just tired of the gaffs, like the tablecloth was dirty, there was no silverware, there was no bread until after the order was placed, etc. I seriously don't know how this institution could have survived 30 yrs like this. I'd be embarrassed to put my name on it :-P

                        BTW, you folks have an awesome farmer's market in Dallas. I tried to hit the Heritage Village but it was apparently being renovated, so I wandered there for a while and grazed. The pineapple was realllly sweet. I thought hard about trying to find a way to stuff a few in my carry-on but they probably would have make me throw it out :-)

                        I'll have to come up and make up for that bad steak dinner (hopefully at Pappas' bar area instead)....thanks for all the suggestions :-)