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Dallas downtown restaurant needed this Saturday

My food-loving family is visiting from Italy and I will collect them in Dallas this weekend. I'm looking for a restaurant in downtown for a nice lunch together on Saturday. My parents are chefs, but I am on a budget ;) Is there any place you could recommend? I've never been in Dallas before. Thanks!

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  1. What hotel are you staying at? Are you sure you want to eat downtown? Other areas of town have many more options.

    4 Replies
    1. re: luniz

      Totally agree. Downtown Dallas sucks.

      1. re: luniz

        We are staying at the Hyatt Regency... don't tell me that it sucks too ;) Ok, so, considering that we are not familiar with the city, is there anywhere you would recommend. We like all sort of food, really, but a steakhouse would not be my first choice.

        1. re: slowfoodverona

          Neither downtown nor the Hyatt suck. The bulk of Dallas fine dining is within a mile of downtown. While there is no Chili's, Olive Garden or Red Lobster, there are some cheaper options. The best cheap eats downtown are mostly only available during the weekday at lunch, but there are some good dinner spots too.

          You're gonna most likely have to catch a cab almost anywhere you go, but it shouldn’t be more than a few bucks or a mile or so at most.

          El Fenix is a downtown institution. It’s traditional Tex Mex that is pretty good representation of what most folks eat in Dallas when they eat "Mexican", at a very reasonable price. Is it the best around? No. Is the menu in Spanish? No. But it's a great place to take a group for some local fare on a budget, close to where you’re staying.

          Another option would be Medina, which is a Moroccan/Mediteranian place in the Victory area (also very close). It’s a little bit more expensive than El Fenix, but it won’t break the bank. The service is very accommodating and the food is good.

          Landry’s is another option. It’s a middle of the road Cajun restaurant. Not terribly expensive, it’s a chain and not the greatest but you can get a decent gulf coast meal of fried seafood. It’s in the West End area so it’s a nice place to walk around and pick up some Dallas tchotchkies after dinner.

          Keep in mind that Union Station is right next to where you’re staying so it could open up a bunch of other options with a quick train ride.

          Do go get a drink at 560, the view is great.

          1. re: slowfoodverona

            I'm not sure how you plan to getting around but Smoke is an option (reviewed today: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedconte...

            )

            Or Cafe San Miguel (better option imo than chains like El Fenix) or one of the other restaurants on Henderson Avenue (not sure which would be open for lunch Saturday). The other options listed are nice for locals but they wouldn't be anything particularly interesting for visitors unless they're unavailable wherever you're coming from.

        2. The downtown Hyatt is great. It's an icon and if anyone remembers the opening sequence from Dallas, they will get a kick out of staying there.

          If you have to walk, your choices are somewhat limited. You can walk up Main to Iron Cactus, for some ok Tex-Mex (great guacamole, cool atmosphere), or walk to the West End and have some Sonny Bryan's BBQ (good lunch spot for out of towners, even if it's not the greatest BBQ for those of us that know BBQ from central Texas). For longer a longer walk, go to the Nasher Sculpture Garden and experience that terrific place and have lunch in the cafe. It's quite nice, especially on nice day that Saturday will be. You can also walk to Victory – Medina and Luna de Noche are both open Saturday for lunch and you can walk through the West End on the way.

          If you have a car or are willing to get in a taxi, the options expand. Not far away and just across the Trinity is Smoke at the Belmont Hotel. You can have them experience some good southern cooking and then get a drink at the bar with a great view of Dallas. Or head to Bishop Arts, where there are plenty of restaurants (Bolsa is great for a weekend lunch).

          1. Do not allow anyone to say Downtown 'sucks' there are many options in and around that area. Fortunately, you are staying at a fairly nice place that is easily accessible to many other areas via light rail that is at your doorstep. From the light rail you could move aross the downtown area, or hop off and catch the Uptown trolley system that trakes you past many wonderful places that vary from upscale to some of the pricier restaurants in town.

            Once on the light rail you could actually move across the city, or even catch the train from the same spot and move into Fort Worth for some of their attractive offerings. What a wonderful bit of options that are at your fingertips from the Hyatt.

            One of the newest places downtown proper, and very affordable (better told once we all know your budget) is Samar. Think tapas, on a slightly smaller scale. Small plates from various world wide regions such as India, South America and Arabic countries (NOT fusion). Easily affordable at 30+ usd per person, or more for the heariter appetites and drinkers.

            There are scads of places to mention but the budget would be nice to know.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DallasDude

              Samar is not open for lunch. They're supposed to be starting lunch service on Nov 30.

              I would recommend Cindi's New York Deli. It's affordable and within a short walk of the Hyatt. Just be aware thay close at 3:00 PM on Saturday.

              http://www.cindisnydeli.com

            2. Sorry, I would skip El Fenix and Landry's.

              Newport's is a great seafood place that is great for lunch. http://www.newportsrestaurant.com/

              Nasher Sculpture Garden and their cafe is a GREAT idea.

              On the other end of downtown I would recommend Izmir for a great and affordable lunch. Mediterranean. I recommend their super smooth hummus and their delicious Russian Chicken Salad. I'm not sure if the downtown location is there anymore though?

              Definitely ask the Concierge too.

              You might look at www.guidelive.com which has a restaurant listing for Dallas and surrounding areas. It's a bit overwhelmind, and it used to be a LOT better, but you could narrow it down.

              Good luck! Definitely visit the "Ball" on top of the tower if for the views alone. If you do get a chance I second the idea of visiting 560 which is up there. You can order appetizers at the bar if you don't want to shell out the money for their nice dinner.

              Oh yeah, Smoke at the Belmont would be great too - or Bolsa or you can take your pick of almost any place in the Bishop Arts District if you want to take a cab down there. Bishop Arts would be a great place to have lunch and stroll around for a little while.

              1. I suggest the Zodiac at the downtown Neiman Marcus. The food is good and not too expensive. It should be beautiful, too, with freshly unveiled Christmas displays.

                1. Thank you for all the replies, I will spend the whole night checking all the places online ;) Now I feel that I should spend a few days in Dallas and try a few of them out. Options and choices are something I do really miss since I moved from Italy to a small town in Kansas. I am really looking forward to the trip tomorrow. Thanks again, chowhounds!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: slowfoodverona

                    Ahhh, don't feel bad. I own a farm in a small town in Kansas. Where in kansas did you live?

                    Hope you enoy Dallas, and hoped you woukld let us know a budget. It would have helped us give you the best recommendations.

                    1. re: DallasDude

                      Winfield, pretty close to Wichita ... a big change from my hometown, Verona. We are happy here, anyway. As for the budget I was thinking around 30 each as it is not an official dinner and we will be heading back home soon after. Thanks again for the help!

                      1. re: slowfoodverona

                        Know it well. The farm is in Amish country, near Yoder.

                        For 30 a head, technically, you could go to Fearings at the Ritz. Very pricey, but lunch options are easier to handle with that budget. He is the former chef of the Mansion and one of the fathers of Southwest cusine, and very well respected.

                        Craft has a wonderful prixe fix luncheon menu for 28. That is Tom Colicchio's Dallas outpost.

                        Salum is very nice and super affordable with such luncheon entrees as Grilled Ahi Tuna Nicoise and shrimp with pumpkin ravioli.

                        Trulucks is not too far out of reach and has a very affordable lunch menu with fare such as a nice Cioppino or Striped Bass Pontchartrain (ala NOLA).

                        Charlie Palmers has a $28 prixe fix menu that is hearty.

                        So many choices for that range if you are wanting a really nice afternoon meal at places that would normally be prohibitive in that range for an evening meal.

                        But to be perfectly honest, i think I might take my 'foodie' family to Eatzi's where they could select an entree from the case, or have the most deeelightful sandwich made for about six bucks. They would be talking about that sandwich for a long time to come.

                        In your neck of the woods, I like Larkspur, Chelsea (they have made their Caesar salad from the same wooden bowl behind the bar for years) and of course the Scotch.

                        http://www.eatzis.com/
                        http://www.craftrestaurant.com/craft_...
                        http://trulucks.com/pdf/sample_lunch_...
                        http://salumrestaurant.com/
                        http://www.charliepalmer.com/Properti...

                        1. re: DallasDude

                          Wow, lots of choices and some of the menus are really interesting. I am about to leave now, I think I might try Salum for dinner tonight if we get in early enough. As for tomorrow, I will keep you posted... Ciao!