swanky, excellent food, and affordable in Dallas
I am hosting a dinner party for 14 people next week. I'm looking for a swanky ambiance (not too stuffy) with fantastic food but affordable. We are all staying at The Joule Hotel. So, it would be great if it was within a reasonable cab ride or walking distance. Please do not recommend the Charlie Palmer Restaurant at The Joule. I went to the Charlie Palmer Restaurant in CA and had to send my food back. Wine is not a factor but excellent food is a big deal. Does such a place exist in Dallas?
Local looks great as does Stephan Pyles but they are beyond my price range. I like the price range of Hattie's. Is there something closer to The Joule than Hattie's? Or any other options besides Hattie's? I've heard mixed reviews of Lola. If you had to choose, would you go to Tillman's or Hattie's?
Done right, Lola will set you back quite a few bucks, but it's one of the best foodie spots in town. IMO it’s a couples place.
Difference between Hattie's and Tillman's is primarily atmosphere. Hattie's is a quite a bit more polished and low-key compared to Tillman's. Although it’s typically pretty good, especially brunch, I've had both marginal food and terrible service there more than once, and I really want to like Hattie's. Tillman's can be a tad raucous for some, but it’s a good time. The menu is quirky and fun, but a bit limited, you're not likely to see one like it elsewhere, but the food is well prepared and the service is great. I usually end up with the CFS, which is really good, if not exactly representative of the local version. Either way, I’d call soon as they are both fairly small spots.
Downtown is either upscale, chain or takeout. Except for One Arts Plaza, a new area that has some new restaurants. I’ve never eaten at any of them, I’m sure others here have. It’s probably an 8-10 min walk, in Dallas that’s a car ride.
The Henderson Ave area has a couple of places, like Hector’s or Hibiscus, both good. There is a lively bar scene in that area, if you want to see what the well-heeled natives look like. Further down Henderson is a great little spot called Café San Miguel, which serves excellent interior Mexican food. There is also serviceable sushi at Axiom. Much better Japanese at Tei Tei, also on Henderson. Although it seems to end up expensive there.
Another option is West Village. There are a couple of decent restaurants up there like Mi Cocina, Taco Diner (ignore the haters on this board about those two spots). West Village and Henderson Ave are a 10 or min or less cab ride from downtown.
The swanky is all over the place, it's the affordable that's difficult. Tillman's in Oak Cliff is a 10 min cab ride, they have a very cool room in the back, the food is different, but good not great. Prices are very reasonable. You're almost guaranteed to have fun. Trece in the Knox/Henderson area may also meet the criteria. Service can be a little bit snotty, but the food is good and regional (if you're coming from out of town), it's fairly swanky (ask for a table in the front glass room) and won't break the bank. Otherwise just go to Stephan Pyles and get the whole downtown atmosphere with great food. You can probably walk this time of year. It's pretty expensive, but not obscene, at least you'll save on cabs.