Weekend in Dallas...What absolutely can't be missed?
Hi there--I am headed to Dallas (from Florida) next weekend and would really appreciate some direction on 4-6 "Can't Be Missed" things to eat. Obviously, BBQ tops my list, but am also interested in authentic Mexican and any other unique to the area tastes. It doesn't have to be the trendiest or most expensive (although I've set aside cash for at least one splurge meal) just suggestions on the 4 to 6 tastes of Dallas you consider to be the best. Thank you in advance for all of your help and suggestions--I really appreciate it!
For authentic Veracruzan food you can try La Palapa Veracruzana on Jefferson. Not fancy and not the ritziest area of town but good authentic cooking of a style that's not all that common. They usually start with a small bowl of seafood soup and enmoladas are definitely worth getting if they've made them. They also do free (frozen) margaritas on Saturdays, so it's a good lunch place on a Saturday. Another place that is a little authentic although definitely big city-ish and fusiony is Cafe San Miguel on Henderson. Another option would be Avila's, on Maple. Any recommendation you get that's not located on Jefferson or Maple won't really be Mexican, it will be tex-mex. You may want to do one of each to get two different experiences.
How many CH venture off and tell you something out of the norm, like say Tortas Las Tortugas a few block from La Palapa. I think luniz is referencing the likes of El Fenix, Taco Diner, or Mi Cocina. I have given up on these kinds of lists but I agree with luniz need to get out of Uptown/Knox Henderson to get a real sense of Mexican food.
"Any recommendation you get that's not located on Jefferson or Maple won't really be Mexican, it will be tex-mex." That's just bogus.
However, I was not taking ANYthing away from Jerfferson, being the latest hot spot for many of you here. Just saying there is a lot more to Dallas that JUST Jefferson.... or Uptown, which if anyone simply drove the McKinney/Lemmon area, I don't think it'd be hard to recognize those restaurants for what they are.
If someone is discounting "chains" or a particular establishment, that should be so noted, rather than discounting 99% of a large metropolis with no doubt, many hidden pockets of authenticism.
I mean, according to many here - First there's no good bbq in Dallas and NOW there's no good Mexican??? C'mon.......
Back to the OP's question, here are a few suggestions for cuisines that are particularly good in Dallas. These aren't necessarily my favorite places but I'm not going to send you to a Cuban place (you being from Florida) nor would I recommend my favorite Szechuan in Dallas.
Baker's Ribs on Greenville is my absolute favorite for ribs and probably my favorite all around place despite their lack of fried okra. For barbecue chicken, you can't do better than Big Al's. And finally, I think one of the coolest "texas barbecue experiences" can be had at Clark's Outpost in Tioga, TX (an hour north of dallas).
Mexican: For a good truly Mexican meal you should probably head to Jefferson Ave in Oak Cliff. There are also tons of authentic taqueria's and torta restaurants throughout the city. Le Hechizerra (sp?) is excellent and is at Alpha and Montfort. There are also a lot of these type of quick service places around Spring Valley and 75.
Tex Mex: Honestly, I think Tex Mex is harder to find elsewhere than true Mexican (that might be obvious but it wasn't to me). I had tons of good Mexican food in NY but never found any Tex Mex. Anyways, for that, there are a lot of places I would recommend. Pappasitos is excellent for their queso dip (a very Texan item) and fajitas. Cantina Laredo has pretty decent Tex Mex as does Avila's.
Chicken Fried Steak: Another very Texan item, I think you should find the time to get some. There is a huge thread on the best CFS in Texas so search for that and I'm sure you'll get plenty of suggestions for the Dallas area. For fried chicken (and they also have CFS), I think Babe's is very good. You can also get a lot of good, and unlimited, southern sides/vegetables there.
Vietnamese: Dallas has a huge Vietnamese population. I'm a big fan of Bistro B in Garland. There are tons of great places for Pho and Vietnamese food so you should look into that.
Cajun/Creole: The Big Easy in Plano is my favorite all around. I actually haven't put too much thought into which is the best so you might want to do some research on this or maybe others here can fill in all the holes I've left.
State Fair of Texas, take the train, and enjoy the glutony that is fried everything. Drink a lot of water too.