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Dallas Downtown recommendations wanted!

I will be in downtown Dallas for 3 days and without a car but don't mind walking a mile or two. I am looking for suggestions of restaurants whose chefs use high quality fresh local ingredients somewhat creatively and preferably with some authentic local character.

Here are some of the considerations I've culled from various posts.
LOCAL
FEARINGS
STEPHAN PYLES
FT33
CBD PROVISIONS

I would also like to try Tex Mex or something Texan but not a steakhouse (I do not eat meat). What is the very best in the downtown vicinity?
These were mentioned
MESO MAYA
SOL IRLANDES
EL FENIX

I thank you in advance for advice

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  1. I have not been to all the Mexican restaurants you mention, but I believe Meso Maya has the best reputation. Familiar with El Fenix, and doubtful it would be the best. However, it is 'your grandfather's Tex-Mex,' so if you want to know what that's like ...

    FT33 and Local are good choices. I'd start with FT33 ... you may find you want to go back and try more things. It's going to be the most interesting of your choices.

    6 Replies
    1. re: foiegras

      Meso Maya is quite good. I'd go there, but foiegras has it right... El Fenix probably has more "local character". I have not been, but I've heard that Sol Irlandes is nothing special.

      FT33 often has really fantastic vegetarian options (in particular appetizers). CBD Provisions is quite good too, but there aren't very many meatless options for you there.

      1. re: gavlist

        El Fenix offers the iconic, Tex-Mex style of food most folks from out of town think of when they say they want to experience Tex-Mex when in Dallas.

        I always recommend El Fenix to my friends who want Tex-Mex when they are come to Dallas for the first time.

        1. re: twinwillow

          El Fenix definitely has authentic local character, but not so much creative or using "high quality fresh local ingredients".

          1. re: gavlist

            Agreed. But, no one ever said Tex-Mex was gourmet food. Basically, it's beef or pork, lard, flour, beans, cheese, onions, and avocado.
            But when done right, it becomes delicious Mexican comfort food.

            http://www.dallasobserver.com/slidesh...

        2. re: gavlist

          Check the menu at FT33 in adavnce for vegetarian options. Gavlist has been much more than me and I trust his advice but the one time I went they had literally no vegetarian options. There was a pasta that was the clear choice if you're vegetarian but even on that dish you would have had to request no ham (i think it was ham, it was clearly a meat that you could omit to make it vegetarian).

          1. re: demigodh

            demigodh is correct. My comment was not meant that there are a lot of vegetarian options... just that, when they have them, they're often some of the best choices on the menu. You should definitely check the menu in advance... but since they might change it the day of your visit, you should also ask if they are willing to make something vegetarian if there's nothing on the menu... I suspect that they would.

      2. Where downtown are you staying? Some of these will not be easily be walked to. FT33 is in the Design District which is not quite downtown.

        Are you looking for vegetarian food, or just no beef/pork?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Webra1

          We're staying at the Hyatt Regency and as New Yorkers, really don't mind walking a mile or two.

          I do eat fish - just allergic to shellfish

          1. re: nyperr

            For fish, there is an excellent small seafood restaurant/market in the Shops Of Highland Park on Oak Lawn called TJ's Seafood.
            But a ride would be required.
            Dallas' taxi's suck big time but, if you have an
            UBER app on your "smartphone" then use it.
            You never know, you might get me!
            UBER is in NYC as well.
            http://www.tjsseafood.com/
            https://www.uber.com/

        2. I'd consider Meso Maya or Komali. Think Rosa Mexicana but way better and more interesting as well. The latter would be hike but would take you through a vibrant part of Dallas (uptown) which might be fun to see.

          10 Replies
          1. re: demigodh

            OK so I'm definitely decided on Meso Maya and FT33.

            What should be my third night?
            CBD PROVISIONS
            LOCAL
            FEARINGS
            STEPHAN PYLES

            1. re: nyperr

              Fearings or Pyles or Stampede 66. They are distinctly Texan.

              1. re: demigodh

                I Second demigodh on above. Komali would be my first choice but, it's not Tex-Mex!
                http://www.komalirestaurant.com/

                1. Stampede 66.
                2. Pyles.
                But personally, of those mentioned I'd go with CBD Provisions in the Joule hotel.
                I've heard great reports!

                1. re: demigodh

                  I Second demigodh on above. Komali would be my first choice personally but, it's NOT Tex-Mex!
                  http://www.komalirestaurant.com/

                  1. Stampede 66.
                  2. Pyles.
                  But personally, of those mentioned I'd go with CBD Provisions in the Joule hotel.
                  I've heard great reports!

                  1. re: demigodh

                    I posted a detailed review of Stampede 66 after my extremely memorable visit. I think you'd be better off elsewhere. The food was not that exciting, and some was downright bad. I think the highlight were the deviled eggs, which were quite good, and the drinks. The lowlight ... well, all the details are there.

                    Last time I went to Local, I thought the game was a little weak in comparison to past experiences there. I haven't been to CBD Provisions, but if it were me, I'd try it.

                  2. re: nyperr

                    Anyone else worried about them walking to FT33 from Reunion Tower?

                    Just keep in mind you'll be walking along highways on grass with no sidewalks. I live very close to FT33, and there is no way I'd walk to Reunion Tower.

                    For your third night, if you only eat fish - out of your list I'd recommend Pyles.

                    1. re: Webra1

                      Great point Webra. The distance is manageable but it wouldn't be a pleasant walk.

                      1. re: Webra1

                        The OP will be trying to hail a cab very quickly after starting that trek!

                        1. re: bhoward

                          Better the OP use Uber X. If the OP doesn't have the app, he or she should get it.

                          https://www.uber.com/go/GADAL612?gcli...

                  3. what about Oak? No one on this site mentioned this?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nyperr

                      I was never a huge fan of Oak - I had pretty variable experiences there, despite glowing reviews from DMN et al. But then they changed chefs, and I read a substantially less glowing report (I think from DMN again).