HOME > Chowhound > Dallas - Fort Worth >

Discussion

Where to take my family to eat in Dallas for authentic food of any kind?

My sister and her daughter will be coming to Dallas to visit in May, I am just wondering where I can take them everyday to eat. We don't mind if it is expensive or cheap. My sister just said she doesn't like chain restaurants. I suggested Texas Roadhouse, didn't know they already have a few in Minnesota.

When I think of "Texas" food, all I can think of is Tex-Mex, Ribs and Wings. What is Texas famous for? We would like to have some good authentic sushi and Asian food too. Where can I take them to?
I live around the Plano, Frisco area so I prefer not to go to Fort Worth....
Also, where should I take them to shop besides the mall?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. These aren't fancy, but places I enjoy and would take friends and family are...

    The Fish Shack in Plano - great Mexican shrimp cocktail, hush puppies, catfish and oysters http://www.yelp.com/biz/fish-shack-plano

    Densetsu In Plano - Great sushi and fun atmosphere http://www.yelp.com/biz/densetsu-plano

    Mia's Tex Mex off Lemon in Uptown has great brisket tacos - http://www.yelp.com/biz/mias-tex-mex-...

    The best sub sandwiches in Dallas are just across from Mia's at Great American Hero - http://www.yelp.com/biz/great-america...

    Different grocery shopping for them might be Central Market and Trader Joe's. Also, for good deals and fun shopping, there is Nordstrom Rack off Preston and Park, just across from Willow Bend Mall.

    Again, none of this is fancy or high end, but delicious and fun. I hope they enjoy their stay :-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: TXMandy

      Thanks Mandy for your suggestions. I love Densetsu too. It is great that you mentioned the Fish Shack. How about the boiling crab? Have you been there yet? I have not but I have heard a lot good stuff about it!

      1. re: abschick

        I haven't been there yet, but it's definatly on my list to try very soon! The pics on yelp look amazing!

      2. re: TXMandy

        Also, a fun place might be Twisted Root (famous for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) and The Shops at Legacy for good burgers and shopping all in one.

      3. Texas Roadhouse is a chain founded in Indiana and headquartered in Louisville. Companies like using Texas in their names, like Texas Pete's hot sauce, out of North Carolina.

        1. For Chinese it might be interesting to take them to Little Sheep 75 & Legacy. They are a hot pot chain out of China. This is the only one in the states. For "Texas" food, Love & War in Texas on Plano Parkway & 75. Another good choice is lockhart smoke house in Downtown Plano.

          1 Reply
          1. re: irodguy

            Good choice, I will see if they still have the groupon deal for LIttle Sheep when they come! Thanks!

          2. Texas BBQ is unique and, when done well, delicious. I don't eat BBQ in Dallas very often, but there are several threads here that discuss the various options. None that I've tried (and I haven't tried Pecan Lodge) truly stack up to the great Central Texas iconic places like Louie Mueller's, but even average BBQ is pretty good and Dallas now has several BBQ joints that are reputedly well above average.

            Also Chicken Fried Steak is a iconic Texas item. I don't profess to know who has the best CFS in Dallas, but there are lots of places that have a decent CFS. I like Kel's not because they have the best of anything (except the fried squash), but because it reminds me of the restaurant of my youth in a small East Texas town -- they do everything pretty good. The CFS is like that. Very good, but not earth shattering. I can also recommend Celebration's CFS. the Babe's chain (very local, but alas, a chain) is also reputed to have very good CFS.

            In fact, Celebration is probably a good choice. It has a general Texas/Southwest slant to it's ingredient driven cuisine. Reasonably priced, and very good.

            It's a Texas of rather long ago, and almost a caricature, but you might also try Cattlemen's Steakhouse in Fort Worth. Not a bad place to stop for a bite after touring the Stock Yards in Ft. Worth. It's been ages since I ate there, but the last time I was there, they had still had calf fries on the menu. They weren't as good as the one's I had growing up that you ate hot out of the pan for lunch when you were working calves, but they were a serviceable imitation. You can't get more Texan than calf fries!!

            Then I guess there is either Fearing's or Steven Pyles. Both high end Southwestern influence food. I have a slight preference for Fearing's, but other prefer Pyles. Both are very good and well reviewed many times herein.

            Kel's
            5337 Forest Ln
            Dallas, TX 75244
            (972) 458-7221

            Celebration
            4503 W Lovers Ln,
            Dallas, TX 75209
            (214) 351-5681
            www.celebrationrestaurant.com

            Babe's
            various locations
            http://www.babeschicken.com/

            Cattlemen's
            2458 North Main Street
            Fort Worth, Texas 76164
            http://www.cattlemenssteakhouse.com

            1. 1. I saw your previous post back in 2011 has your view changed any on our Chinese options since then?

              2. Is there any restrictions to the restaurants? Hate Indian? Has to be kid friendly? Price range?

              7 Replies
              1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                This caters to the sushi request and several others. let me know if you would like any specific dish recommendations at the listed restaurants.

                Asian Foods:

                Thai
                Authentic Thai food close to Plano will be at Bambu in Richardson (Coit and Campbell). Ask for the blackboard specials. The family that owns the restaurant emigrated from the Issan region in NE Thailand. Basically the area is pretty arid so they use whatever ingredients they can get their hands on. Noting that, the Issan sausage and sticky rice would be a good first timer dish. Neither is offensive and you get to enjoy eating with your hands. I have had just about all of the specials and it really depends on your mood that night when you go. Ask lots of questions about the dishes but have an open mind. We have brought our 14 month old daughter and she has liked some of the dishes. Note, the curries are good here but not really the restaurants true specialty. You don’t necessarily have to ask for everything super spicy….that is a misconception that most have of Thai food. If you want it spicy ask for fresh Thai peppers, salty ask for fish sauce, sweet as for sugar. If your sister and niece is here on a Sunday then you all could go to the open air Thai market at Wat Dallas off Stults and Forest Ln. They have very authentic Thai dishes for super cheap and open only 11am – 1 pm. You can feed a family of 5 for about $40. I listed the Wat Dallas website only for the address. There is no info on the market. I suppose it is purely word of mouth. I just adore the Thai people and their food so I don’t mind getting the word out about their market!
                http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityo...
                http://www.watdallas.org/

                Indian
                Indian food is getting better and better in DFW. Plano is fortunately one of the areas that has a large population of Indians. The best restaurant I know of is Chennai Café in Plano (Preston and Tennyson). This is particularly Southern Indian. They specialize in dosas (crispy lentil pancakes with any number of fillings or plain) which come with 2-3 chutneys (usually mint, peanut and coconut). Another specialty is biryani, specifically dum biryani. This dish is a more moist and highly seasoned rice that comes with your choice of proteins. This is the influence of the Portugese/N. African pilaf on the Indian culture. If you like rice pilaf then you just might like this dish. If you can’t decide what to get then go for the sampler, thali. It is usually about 6-8 small samples of all the curries they have for the day 2-3 desserts, 1 yogurt, 1 raita (yogurt based dip) and a bread of your choice (naan (oven cooked flat bread) or roti/parata (similar to a tortilla). There are several other restaurants but this would be the best in Plano.

                http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityo...
                http://www.dallasobserver.com/2013-09...
                http://www.dallasobserver.com/slidesh...
                http://www.chennaicafeusa.com/

                Japanese
                Best bet for sushi/Japanese is Sushi Robata in N Dallas (Frankford and the DNT), Sushi Sake in Richardson (Collins and Campbell) or Masami (Belt Line and 75). All three have very high Japanese clientele. If you want more intimate dinner with sushi and about a handful of specials I would choose Masami. If you want a more robust crowd for sushi then Sushi Sake. If your group really can’t decide whether they want sushi or grilled items then Sushi Robata is the way to go. Out of all of them I would say if you are keeping it on a budget Sushi Robata is kinder to your wallet!
                http://www.sushirobatadallas.com/
                http://sushi-sake.com/
                http://masamirestaurant.com/

                Chinese
                Plano and Richardson are the only areas I eat in for Chinese. You have your choice of hotpot which can be fun for a small group at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Plano (Legacy and 75). Basically you choose your veggies, meats and broth. Next door you have a great Sichuan place in Little Sichuan, same shopping center. This is going to be a much spicier fare but well executed. Ask for the white board specials and be specific on which protein you want so they can narrow down the translation. Get items like the cold spicy cucumbers, Dan Dan noodles, Sichuan dumplings, and anything else that looks good. Good first timer dish is water boiled beef. Another I like is Sichuan King in Richardson. The hot pot is great, the dry style hot pot is awesome and the spicy beef hand cut noodles is the only place I have seen in Dallas with that dish.
                If you are in the mood for dumplings I would highly suggest Jeng Chi in the Richardson Chinatown (Greenville between Belt Line and Arapaho). Good starter and a specialty is the soup dumplings, these are just about the best rendition in Dallas. All of the other dumplings are very good and run from prtein and veggie to veggie only. Ask the servers which are best sellers!
                If you are wanting the typical Chinese dishes then I would suggest going to First Chinese BBQ in Plano (Coit and Parker). Very good BBQ pork and BBQ duck. I know that you are from HK so this is the best we have!!
                http://www.littlesheephotpot.com/
                http://www.littlesichuancuisine.com/
                http://sichuankingdallas.com/
                http://jengchirestaurant.com/
                http://firstchinesebbq.com/

                1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                  I don't think of it as particularly emblematic of Texas, but the Sichuan food in the far, far north Dallas area is quite good. We eat at Royal Sichuan quite frequently. The only downside is it's a huge slog to get out that far, but as you're in Plano already, you're pretty close. The food is excellent and I can say that I've never had a bad dish there.

                  http://www.royal-sichuan.com/index.html

                  1. re: Mike C. Miller

                    Wow, Sichuan! I love that idea. I am just thrill to see all those hot pepper on the dish! I will take my sis there for sure. We both love spicy food and we really don't have a lot of those Sichuan restaurants in Hong Kong (where we are originally from)!

                  2. re: LewisvilleHounder

                    wow, such good suggestions. To tell you the truth, I don't like first BBQ as much now. Their BBQ pork is a bit too dry for my taste. Since I am originally from HK, we usually like our BBQ pork, "half fat, half skinny." I guess I am not totally Americanized yet.

                    I love Indian and spicy food. So I will try out some of the places you suggested as well. I love Masami too. They do have authentic Japanese food. My sis will appreciate that since she had lived in Japan for 3 years.
                    Thanks for the great info. I really appreciate your help!

                    1. re: abschick

                      You're right ... it is a bit dry.

                      From the same people as Afghan Grill, Nora is in a more interesting neighborhood and has a rooftop bar that is the perfect place to be in this lovely weather. It is really all about the kabobs, and the rice they come with is pretty great too.

                      1. re: foiegras

                        So which one do you like better? Afghan Grill or Nora? Are their food totally the same?

                        1. re: abschick

                          Nora ... not sure about the food as it's been a couple years since I've been to Afghan Grill. The food seemed more evolved ... dessert was stronger, rice was better. At both, IMO the early parts of the menu are weak (apps & salads). I think next time I'll dive right in to the entrée ...

                2. McKinney is great for shopping. For food there, Patina Green (lunch) and Snug on the Square are good.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: foiegras

                    I have to check those places out. I have not been to McKinney for ages!

                  2. For Texas type food consider All Good Cafe in Deep Ellum. Try shopping at Waters Creek in Allen. Coconut Express in Allen has some legit Indian.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MooTorrent

                      oh yeah, I almost forgot about Allen! Great place to go shopping and eating...... Thanks!

                    2. My votes:
                      Spiral Diner
                      Afghan Grill
                      Ali Baba

                      My husband's votes:
                      Meshack's BBQ
                      Jonathon's Oak Cliff

                      Restaurants that were on TV and people are likely to inquire about:
                      http://www.tvfoodmaps.com/s3/TX/Dallas

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: CookingKatie

                        Katie,
                        I saw the Joanthon's Oak Cliff on the TV the other day. I can't wait to try it out.Look like they are famous for their gravy on their sandwiches! Thanks for the recommendation!

                        1. re: abschick

                          That's where he saw them too. :)

                          I love pepper gravy, but Jonathon's has a chicken base so I can't give you a personal review. They get pretty good marks from what I've seen. Everyone I've seen says that chicken and waffles is their signature dish.

                          1. re: CookingKatie

                            I want to try that too. I wonder if I can "tolerate" the salty with sweet. I always think waffle is on the sweet side and chicken is salty. I hope this mixture is good. I saw it on TV and people were so impressed by it! I got to try it out!

                            1. re: abschick

                              When you put chicken and cream gravy on top, it's basically like a biscuit in a funny shape on bottom. And waffles are so airy that it sorta disappears in my experience.

                              We eat a vegan version, so my concern if I were eating the omnivore version wouldn't be the savory taste on the tongue but the chicken grease/fat on the stomach. I just don't know how that works with the waffles and that heavy cream. Enough people around here have eaten them to tell you , though!

                              And they have lots of pictures on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jonathonsoak...

                              It's worth pointing out (as I was confused by it) that the "Gravy Train" concept of having gravy with every dish was their food court concept and isn't identical to what they do in the Oak Cliff location, which has plenty of non-gravy foods.

                              1. re: CookingKatie

                                What do they put in the vegan version?
                                Also can you recommend a good dish and dessert at Spiral please?

                                1. re: abschick

                                  Oh, they don't make it vegan at the restaurant. We just occasionally make them at home.

                                  I haven't ever had a bad dish at Spiral Diner. The entrees, baked goods... everything is yummy. Sometimes I just get a bowl of broccoli and a dessert. Other times, a wrap or pasta. Others, a blue plate special. They do eggplant very well when they have it. Soy-allergic, an old cowboy who identifies as a "meat and potatoes guy," elderly, children, random friends, gluten-free... everyone who has gone there with me has been happy with getting whatever appealed to them. It really is just a great neighborhood diner.

                                  Stuff to know: you seat yourself, collect your own utensils and condiments, serve your own fountain drinks, and should save room for dessert. :)

                                  The specials will change before they come, but you can get a feel for the place on their website where they post pictures, a menu, and so on: http://www.spiraldiner.com/menu/

                                  1. re: abschick

                                    You may be used to eating vegan food, but what I found at Spiral as an omnivore was that the only thing on the menu I'd ever truly had was apples and peanut butter. I expanded my knowledge of alternative pastas I'd just as soon not eat. When I went to the FW location, they were out of several things I wanted to order. Don't know if this happens at the Dallas location ...

                                    1. re: foiegras

                                      That's an interesting experience. I've never been to Fort Worth to compare, but haven't had a similar situation in Dallas.

                                      Hashbrowns, hummus, broccoli, potato salad, many green salads, toast, guac & chips, salsa, black beans, nachos, taco salad, veggie wrap, hummus wrap, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, soup, spaghetti, pasta primavera, brownies, cakes... there's lots that is only coincidentally vegan and could be found at omnivorous restaurants as well.

                                      Maybe the anti-vegan omnivores of my acquaintance are more influenced by Austin than they realize such that none of these were outside their previous experiences. Being out of several menu items would be a huge bummer!

                                      1. re: CookingKatie

                                        For someone who's used to eating traditional pastas, corn, artichoke, etc. pastas are noticeably not the same, as are baked goods prepared without eggs. Typically the taco salads, spaghetti, hash browns, brownies, etc. I eat are not vegan. For example, a typical taco salad will contain meat, beans prepared with animal fat, cheese, and sour cream.

                                        1. re: foiegras

                                          I can accede that anyone expecting meat and animal fats at a vegan restaurant would walk away disappointed. And having several menu choices out of stock would be maddening.

                                          However, I've served their cakes to unaware people who raved and wanted to know the recipe and source and had no clue it was vegan and surely didn't find it lacking. And pasta primavera is naturally vegan and would be the exact same nearly anywhere. It seems like we simply disagree on the restaurant.

                                          However, as this thread is asking for authentic choices across many spectrums and Spiral Diner consistently wins awards in the vegetarian category, I think the recommendation can stand on it's own and anyone who finds a menu with broccoli and quinoa beside portabello burgers and pasta primavera should consider that it might be too much for them.

                                          1. re: CookingKatie

                                            I'm simply pointing out that the foods you're saying are 'naturally' vegan aren't, and that vegan versions of them taste significantly different. Every pasta primavera I've ever ordered has come with a cream sauce ... every taco salad I've ever ordered has come with meat and cheese. Lasagna made without actual cheese and traditional pasta doesn't taste like lasagna to someone who's been eating the traditional dish.

                                            Vegan choices can be few and far between, so I'm glad you like Spiral.

                        2. I loved Love & War in Texas in Plano. Their Texas strip and mashed potatoes with cream gravy was a-mazing. I was just there last week when we were visiting. Yum.

                            1. re: twinwillow

                              Thanks for the tip! Loved this ... " If you've always wanted a day out among smoked meat and horseshoes, then it doesn't get any better."

                            2. I absolutely love Hillstone on Preston (Addison) - I don't know if that even qualifies as "Texas" food? But it's definitely locally authentic and delicious. Highland Park has got some unique botique shopping as well (albeit expensive) - but always a treat to walk around!