Dallas Dining

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Dallas Dining
If there is one thing you need to be ready to do on your visit to Dallas, it is to eat. The abundance of local produce and Southern, Southwestern, and Mexican influences make Dallas a delicious culinary experience.
Photo by Stacy Howell/age fotostock
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    Taste Tex-Mex in Dallas
    Tex-Mex cuisine is a must-try on any visit to Dallas, where the food culture has been greatly influenced by its neighbor to the south. You will see Mexican flavors on almost every block in restaurants serving tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas. Start your meal with a giant bowl of queso fundido (melted cheese) and a top-shelf margarita; finish it off with a cinnamon and sugar–encrusted sopaipilla topped with honey. For some of the most authentic Tex-Mex experiences around the city, head to restaurants like Javier's, Fernando's, Avila's, or Mr. Mesero and taste Tex-Mex done right.
    Photo by Stacy Howell/age fotostock
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    The Importance of Brunch
    To say weekend brunch is a big event in Dallas would be quite an understatement. Brunch is a time to see and be seen and to recount your adventures from the night before. Find a spot with bottomless mimosas served on a sunny patio, and you'll experience the city's preferred method for proper brunching. Boulevardier in the Bishop Arts District, Nick and Sam’s Grill and Bread Winners Café in Uptown, and the Grape Restaurant in Lower Greenville are just a few of Dallas's brunch superstars. The most popular restaurants usually have lines out the door by 11 a.m., so be sure to arrive early if you want to beat the crowds.
    Photo courtesy of The Grape
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    Modern Texas Cuisine
    Some of Dallas's top restaurants serve upscale, well-crafted food that is unique to Texas. The menus of these dining establishments are influenced by the abundance of red meat, barbecue, and Southwestern flavors found in the area. If you want to try it for yourself, pick one of Dallas’s celebrity chefs’ restaurants—Stephan Pyles, Dean Fearing, Jon Bonnell, and Tim Love have all put their personal mark on the culinary map by perfecting this specific type of comforting, upscale Texas cuisine. New to the scene and quick to be adopted into the Dallas hall of fame is Stampede 66, which serves a menu loaded with favorites like mashed potato tots, tamales, and Shiner Bock beer bread.
    Photo courtesy of Kevin Marple/Stampede 66 by Stephan Pyles
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    An Expanding Food Truck Scene
    Austin, Dallas's neighbor to the south, has greatly influenced the growing food truck scene in the city. Your best chance to find a selection of some of the best food trucks is at Klyde Warren Park, a new community space that connects Uptown and Downtown over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Food trucks park along the park’s perimeter and serve everything from sushi to homemade ice cream sandwiches. Stop by the Coolhaus truck to taste cookies like chocolate chunk pretzel and red velvet, with ice cream flavors like Nutella-almond and root beer float.
    Photo courtesy of Klyde Warren Park
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    Just Like Grandma Used to Make
    Texans will tell you that although their state is in the southern half of the country, it's not necessarily part of the traditional South. Regardless, you will find a deep Southern influence in the food. Whether you're looking for shrimp and grits, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, or biscuits and gravy, you'll find everything from greasy diners to upscale restaurants. For a hole-in-the-wall experience, head to Buzzbrews for diner classics with a 24-hour menu. Craving fancy fried chicken? Stop by Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar, where chefs Lisa Garza and Patton Robertson serve buckets of honey-fried chicken with heaping bowls of buttery mash. Babe's Chicken Dinner House is a renowned and beloved chain for casual, high-quality homestyle food.
    Photo courtesy of Shannon Faulk/Sissy’s Southern Kitchen + Bar
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    Texas Barbecue
    Texas-style barbecue is deeply revered; ask a local which state produces the country’s best barbecue and you should already know the answer. In North Texas, meat is usually dry-rubbed with spices and then cooked for hours over pecan or oak wood. The result is a smoky meat that, if done properly, completely falls apart. Choose from brisket, sausage, or pulled pork and be sure to load up on sides. Pecan Lodge has been ranked by Texas Monthly as the second best barbecue joint in the state; be sure to arrive early. Tim Love's Woodshed Smokehouse is dedicated to all things grilled and uses wood to impart different flavors. Another option is Dickey's Barbecue Pit, a local chain that's big on quality.
    Photo courtesy of Pecan Lodge
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    Craft Coffee
    In the last few years, the number of neighborhood coffee shops serving their own brews has increased dramatically around Dallas. Cafés and coffee shops are now serving European-style latte, espresso, and cappuccino, as well as craft drip coffee that you formerly had to be on either coast to get. These coffee joints each have their own personality, easily recognizable baristas, and café-style food menus, and are a great place to refuel after a long day of shopping and exploring the city. A few Dallas favorites for a caffeinated pick-me-up are Oddfellows, The Pearl Cup, and Company Café.
    Photo courtesy of Oddfellows
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    Margarita Madness
    The classic Tex-Mex drink, the margarita, is on almost every cocktail menu in Dallas, regardless of whether you are in a Tex-Mex restaurant or not. A margarita is a cocktail traditionally made with tequila, citrus juice, and Triple Sec, and can be served frozen or on the rocks. There are many non-traditional flavors of margarita that you can discover on Dallas's cocktail menus, including jalapeño and strawberry. For margaritas that are always mixed using the finest fresh ingredients and top-shelf tequila, take a seat at the bar at one of La Duni's three Dallas locations.
    Photo courtesy of Kevin Marple/Stampede 66 by Stephan Pyles
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    Dallas Classics
    In every metropolitan area, there are a few institutions that the city would not be the same without, and Dallas—where many of the city’s fine-dining establishments and steakhouses have been around for decades—is no exception. Highland Park Village, the Crescent, and Oak Lawn are lined with restaurants where the parking lots are filled with exotic cars, regulars have been sitting at the same tables for years, and serious business deals are done. To have your own classic Dallas dining experience, book a table at Café Pacific, Nick and Sam’s Grill, or the Capital Grille. Learn what all the fuss is about as you sit in a wood-paneled room and taste food that has been served the same way since the restaurant opened.
    Photo courtesy of Café Pacific