Where To Eat Near the Dallas Arts District
A serious stroll through the Dallas Museum of Art or the Nasher Sculpture Center is sure to work up an appetite. After you’ve fed your mind, feed your belly at these top Dallas restaurants.
The obvious choice for a meal is Seventeen Seventeen, the DMA’s pretty-as-a-painting restaurant. There, new executive chef Jason Ferraro executes dishes designed by renowned chef Stephan Pyles, who created a menu infused with flavors from Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean. Or you can head to one of these 16 nearby restaurants. From fish and chips to foie gras, one of these spots is sure to suit your tastes.
1. Craft Dallas
Fine dining is alive and delicious at Tom Colicchio’s restaurant in the W–Dallas Victory. The menu changes seasonally with what is fresh and available from artisanal ranchers, just-picked vegetables, and the finest herbs and spices. We love the braised beef short ribs, buffalo seasoned with rosemary and blueberries, and hen of the woods mushrooms, all served family-style. Pastry chef Shannon Swindle’s desserts are sublime. During the second week of each month, Craft offers a special Family Meal: three courses for $45 per person with $5 going to the special charity of that month.Fine dining is alive and delicious at Tom Colicchio’s restaurant in the W–Dallas Victory. The menu changes seasonally with what is fresh and available from artisanal ranchers, just-picked vegetables, and the finest herbs and spices. We love the braised beef short ribs, buffalo seasoned with rosemary and blueberries, and hen of the woods mushrooms, all served family-style. Pastry chef Shannon Swindle’s desserts are sublime. During the second week of each month, Craft offers a special Family Meal: three courses for $45 per person with $5 going to the special charity of that month.
2. Victory Tavern City Grille
Located beside the American Airlines Center in Victory Park, Dallas’ version of Times Square, this tavern is a happening spot before or after a big event, and the bar is often packed with locals watching the sporting event du jour. The menu comprises contemporary interpretations of American classics, such as a maple-brined pork tenderloin and Chilean sea bass. Don’t miss the fish and chips.
3. Screen Door
At this modern Southern kitchen on the edge of the Arts District, the menu, aspects of which change seasonally, is divided into two parts: Then and Now. The former, says chef Fitzgerald Dodd, features dishes “like Grandma used to make.” The latter he calls “innovative Southern cuisine that even Grandma would be proud of.” And they should be proud of the meatloaf—a mixture of ground beef and pork studded with foie gras. Also divine is the fried catfish served on a pile of fresh purple hull peas. Tuesday through Saturday, afternoon tea is served from 2:30–4:30 pm.
4. Dali Wine Bar & Restaurant
Dallas’ newest chic stop for a nice glass of wine—located in fashionable One Arts Plaza—isn’t your typical cheese-and-crackers wine-bar experience. Wine director Rudy Mikula, executive chef Joel A. Harloff, and owner Paul Pinnell have created a sexy place to taste new or hard-to-find wines while dining on fine cuisine. Macho entrées include rack of veal, New York strip, and braised lamb shank; the cheese plate, with beautiful halved figs and a smattering of roasted almonds, is a must-order. Whether you have it as a snack or an app, order the gazpacho—even if you don’t like gazpacho.
This glorious fine-dining restaurant sits high above the Dallas skyline on the 27th floor of the Hilton Anatole, affording the best views in town. Chef Anthony Bombaci presents a wonderful, avant-garde tasting menu inspired by his experience in Barcelona kitchens. We also love the bone-in rib-eye (aged 45 days) and the creative lineup of desserts that rotates with the seasons. Go early or stay late—the adjoining bar, with live jazz, stiff cocktails, and dancing, is one of the hottest tickets in town. Dinner only.
Set in the historic Boyd Hotel in Deep Ellum, this is a gem of a restaurant. Chef Tracy Miller brings diners distinctive takes on locally grown ingredients, which she whips up into upscale modern American dishes. One night you might find fried yellow tomatoes with spinach and cornbread croutons; the next may be Caesar tempura with fried hearts of romaine and creamy lemon dressing. Pastas are made in her kitchen, and meat dishes—say, osso buco—are likely to be served with an accompaniment such as cheesy grits or panko fries. Dinner only.
For chic dining rooms, see-and-be-seen crowds, and a rock star chef, look no further than Fearing’s in the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. Longtime Dallas chef Dean Fearing, famous for making and keeping the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in the rarefied air of five-star status, is now master of his own domain. His signature tortilla soup still reigns, but his famous lobster taco has been reworked into a barbecued shrimp version with sauce from Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. Get gussied up or go in jeans. Chef Fearing’s new rule is no rules.
8. The French Room
Located at The Adolphus, this is the most elegant dining room in the city, with service to match. Although the name hints at a Gallic dining experience, the menu is sophisticated New American with a continental twist. Expect exotically spiced duck served with a sliver of foie gras or rack of lamb with hickory smoked whipped potatoes—all served in a rococo-style dining room with cherubs gazing down from 35-foot ceilings. For a luxurious and leisurely experience, order the 13-course tasting menu paired with appropriate wines. Dinner only.
9. Stephan Pyles
Prepare to be dazzled in this multipurpose fine-dining spot. Choose a seat in the formal dining room, tapas/ceviche bar, twinkle-lit patio, or long community table, where you can make new friends. Although Pyles’ roots lie in Southwestern cuisine, he has expanded his culinary horizons to include flavors from South America, Spain, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. Each day Pyles offers a whole fish, and we suggest you try it. Desserts, such as the signature Heaven and Hell Cake, are worth every calorie.
10. S&D Oyster Company
Located in a refurbished historical building along the trolley line on McKinney Avenue, this is a Dallas institution for seafood from the Gulf Coast. Choose broiled or fried snapper, oysters, shrimp, trout, or flounder, but don’t go home without trying the New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp, broiled and swimming in a robust, finger-licking-good sauce. The fried shrimp is the best around, and a piece of homemade lemon pie is the perfect finish.
11. The Zodiac
The second you sit down, you are served a complimentary, soothing demitasse of rich chicken broth and a puffy popover with a side of creamy strawberry butter. Located in the downtown Neiman Marcus, it’s the ultimate lunch spot in Dallas, where classic recipes such as the famous mandarin orange soufflé share the spotlight with an open-faced white albacore tuna salad mixed with avocado, daikon sprouts, and beefsteak tomatoes on toasted challah bread. The décor and the waitstaff are just what you would expect from Neiman’s: classy and professional. Lunch only; closed Sunday.
12. Mi Cocina/Taco Diner
Mi Cocina is the ultimate upscale Dallas Tex-Mex joint; Taco Diner is a Mexico City-style taqueria. We mention them together because they are across the street from each other in West Village, which makes it easy to put your name on both waiting lists and enjoy a Dallas-style margarita while you wait for a table at either spot. The people-watching is as good as it gets in Dallas, and the food at either restaurant will give you the true flavors of authentic Tex-Mex cuisine. Locals go loco for the brisket tacos.
13. Omega’s Tex-Mex Cafe
So you’re looking for a down-and-dirty Tex-Mex joint where you can roll up your sleeves and chow down on the real thing. Well, Omega’s isn’t dirty in the clinical sense, but it’s definitely a genuine mom-and-pop spot where you can enjoy thin, greasy-in-a-good-way chips, hot salsa, and great Tex-Mex combination platters at less-than-average prices.
14. El Fenix
The Martinez family has been dishing up some of Dallas’ finest Tex-Mex since 1918, including a top-notch tortilla soup. The dining room of this downtown location—the oldest—is punctuated by festive paper flowers and colorful Mexican hacienda-style murals. Enchilada dinners on Wednesday attract the top tier of Dallas’ rich and famous. Here you’ll also find some of the best soft cheese tacos in the city.
15. The Idle Rich Pub
The solid, upscale bar food menu includes great cheese boards with salami and pâtés and rockin’ fish and chips. The atmosphere is as warm and friendly as you would expect from an Irish pub, and, thanks to its Uptown location, the clientele ranges from the sorority crowds to the post-work or pre-game guys in ties. Idle Rich offers more than 60 single-malt scotches and more than 100 beers, including Belgian, English, Irish, and German varieties along with the best in American craft brews.
16. Twisted Root Burger Co.
This is not your average burger dive; it’s a chef-driven gourmet spot that claims its burgers are “slap-yo-momma good.” Quality ingredients are the key, and buffalo and Black Angus beef are hand-patted on-site. In fact, almost everything on the menu is made from scratch, down to the ancho-chipotle ketchup. The potatoes are hand-cut, as are the sweet potato fries, and the ice cream for the shakes is concocted by the “pastry chef.” Try one of the milk shakes made with Bailey’s Irish Cream and banana liquor.