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Dallas - Inwood. Need suggestions from locals. French lunch, etc.

Need suggestions for Dallas. Wife and I will be there for a week next month for business and pleasure. We have our fine dining plans set, but I need suggestions for breakfasts, lunches, and light dinners. Places with character, places truly local, with preference for food quality. Can be fast food to casual fine dine. I’m more of homestyle/rustic food fan, wife goes more world cuisine. We are from Houston so we don’t necessarily need the Texan aesthetic for its own sake.

Also we’ll be staying in Inwood, so anything closer to that area would be nice.

I’d also like to solicit an opinion on a casual French lunch. I’ve gotten recommendations for Lavendou, Toulouse, and Rise. Any opinions on one or the other, or any other suggestions?


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  1. I would HIGHLY recommend Rise over the other two! Granted, I have not been to Lavendou (which I'm sure is wonderful), but Toulouse, to me, is just basic (albeit good) bistro food. Rise, however, is truly unique and charming and the souffles are to die for. The owner is all about French antiques and antique linens as well, so the atmosphere is just wonderful. Definitely try it!

    I'm not sure where else you are planning to go, but I would suggest The Grape as another dinner (or Sunday brunch) option. La Duni (on Oak Lawn) is great for breakfast/brunch, so I would suggest going there one day. Dinner is great, too, but is one of the few places that serves a really good breakfast mid-week.

    Can you tell us where else you will be going so that I/we don't repeat any suggestions?

    Have a good week here!

    2 Replies
    1. re: DKS1

      Yes. We are doing The French Room (can't wait!), a catered company dinner, a dinner at the company country club, and probably Mortons, Lonesome Dove or the Double Eagle for another company thing. Other than that no plans. I've done Del Friscos and Mortons for company events before, should I push for Lonesome Dove? I've never eaten there.

      1. re: sheltonp

        Lonesome Dove in FTW is a delight. Small oasis of goodness amongst all the hillbilly hootin' and hollern' outside its doors.

        Chef Love has a nice imagination and runs with his theme handily. The first courses are tremendous and difficulot to choose from. His steaks are perfect, but I have always ordered the lamb chops with out reservation, knowing I could swipe a bite or two of companions plated beef.

        Yum to cripsy onions and truffled mushrooms. Huzzahs to blue corn lobster hushpuppies!

    2. I'd recommend this place. They honor reservations, the food is solid and they don't miss a step when it comes to service.

      It's in a trendy area so you can go for a nice walk after your meal.

      4514 Travis St

      1. Toulousse is the best French food you can find in Dallas, just like your in Paris. Rise is ok if you like souffles, not just for dessert. If you don't then you should skip it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: OCNC

          There are numerous other items at Rise besides their famous souffles. From delightful salads to steak or seared tuna. Great concept, exceptional in execution.

        2. Personally, I would never recommend Cafe Toulouse. It's food is mediocre and the tables are very small. Not very conducive for comfortable dining. More a, "see and be seen" place. The food takes a second seat to the, "scene".
          I haven't been to L'Anestral in years but it always reminded me of a small mom & pop French restaurant in Paris. I'd say, worth a try. French provincial style cooking.
          Lavendou and, nearby Cadot are both excellent French restaurants but, they are up in far North Dallas. But, worth the short drive.
          Rise is very, very popular for lunch. But, it's really more of a "lady's who lunch" bunch.
          Good luck and, bon appetite!

          1 Reply
          1. re: twinwillow

            twinwillow, when was the last time you ate at Toulouse? It's been through a few chefs since it opened, and corresponding ups and downs.

            Lately, the kitchen seems to have its act together and I've had great food at Toulouse. If you were turned off a couple of years ago, maybe it's worth giving it another shot.

            I've been to L'Ancestral once, nearly 3 years ago. Stuffy, but felt like some places I've been to in Paris. Food wasn't great. But 1 visit isn't enough for me to review the place.

          2. I'll also recommend Rise. Excellent souffle. I prefer to stick to the basics (jamon or mushroom), a friend raves about the crab souffle. Great salads, soups and other light choices. Try the whole globe artichoke appetizer. Unique decor creates a relaxing atmosphere.

            1. If you like French antiques and pretentious waiters go to Rise. If you like great French food, go to Lavendou. I have been to both on several occasions. Rise, first with my husband. We got the salmon, escargot souffle, jamon souffle and the cheese plate. All was nice. ZzZzzzz As much as I try to dissuade them, I've been since with girlfriends. They love the antiques too. Husband wont go back as he says it's all fluff. The last time I was there it was raining gently outside and that beautiful silk wall was weeping. I felt drip, splash.. drip, splash.. all through the meal. The manager didn't seem concerned.
              Lavendou, on the other hand is so warm, so laid back and very French in all the right ways. The first time was with my mom. We had the goat cheese salad, french onion soup and an amazing souffle for dessert. OMG. I had to go back with my husband. We've been back since for special occasions. I'm always more than satisfied. I had my first taste of foie gras there. The steaks with their sauces are always rich and delicious... oh the sauces. I'm making myself hungry.
              Don't get me wrong - The antique cheese cart at Rise No. 1 definitely set the mood, but you get what you pay for and I'm paying for amazing French food and a memorable meal, not the owner of Rise's high rent and imported antiques.

              1 Reply
              1. re: HalfBaked

                How terribly sad for you and the experience. I found it whimsical, at the very least. The food was very nice, the atmosphere as you said, interesting, and the people were really into their work. perhaps we went to two different places.

                I appreciate the concept and the souffles were truly delicious and inexpensive. I will be going back. And, yes, Lavendou is another gem.

                Vive La Différence!

              2. Thanks for the suggestions so far.

                I looked online at the sites for many of the suggestions. Toulouse looks exactly like some of the bistros I've eaten at in Paris. It is uncanny really. Of course Paris bistros are crowded, loud, and often uncomfortable, especially for a big Texan who needs his elbow room. The menu at Lavendou looks the most appetizing to my tastes. Reminds me of some of the better meals I've had in France (country style, home cooked type). I like that they offer a prix fixe at lunch, though I may not take advantage of it. Why don't more American restaurants do that?

                For those of you who have been to Lavendou, are reservations recommended, or are we safe to walk in?

                Also, if anyone is still following this thread, what about other cuisines. Looks like we're set on French. How about a burger, new American, homestyle, Persian, or Greek? Near Inwood would be nice.

                And finally, any specifically Indonesian/Malaysian places in Dallas?

                Thanks for all the help so far!

                1. Celebration Restaurant on Lovers Lane about 1/2 mile West of Inwood Road is perfect for "homestyle".
                  The food is delicious and, locally sourced when possible. You won't be disappointed.
                  Reservations at Lavendou are recommended on weekends. Also, consider nearby Cadot. Run by two great chefs who have been getting a lot of positive buzz lately.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: twinwillow

                    The folks at Rise do what they do well. And besides the soufflés, there are nice salads. But, you go there for soufflés, so you better like them enough to enjoy 1 or 2 courses of the stuff. They are very good. That being said, it is over-the-top pretentious. The place is stuffy and I think that part of the shtick is to make you feel like you are in Paris, with tiny little over-priced cokes and snotty service. The kicker is when they ask you to take a proverb out of bowl on the way out! We still laugh about that.

                    Toulousse is a lot of fun. The food is standard bistro stuff, but well done. It looks and feels like a fake version of the real thing, including the crowded tables. I think the atmosphere works for what it is and I enjoy it. But Lavendou or Cadot are both better choices for French food.

                    Lonesome Dove is really good. I have had terrific nights there on the way to a show at Billy Bob’s in the stockyards. But, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the drive to Fort Worth, parking in the stockyards and the drive back after dinner, perhaps with wine. Just for dinner, my answer is no. But, if you are making a day, evening or night in FW, it’s a great spot.

                    Mortons and Del Friscos are fine, just like they are in any city where they have an outpost. Go to Stephan Pyle’s for his Cowboy Ribeye or to Al Biernet’s or Nick & Sam’s for a good in-town Dallas steakhouse.

                    Bengal Cost is a cool spot in Oak Lawn that does a good mix of Indonesian and Malaysian with some Indian and Thai. You can get a little bit of everything. It’s a bit corporate and not a divy/mom&pop place, but that also means you can get a killer cocktail!

                    1. re: dfwtexex

                      Maybe Stephen Pyle's was just having an off-night when I had the famous Cowboy Ribeye a few months ago... but it was just plain awful. The cut of meat was clearly inferior (instead of a nice marbled texture it was uneven, fatty, and gristly). And poorly prepared (way over-seasoned).

                      I on the other hand ordered the short rib, which was supposed to be "reconstructed" or some other ridiculous notion. What this means is that they shape the meat into a rectangular brick. It was too salty to eat, and so I had to send it back.

                      But we did really enjoy the ceviches and gazpachos.