Dallas Visitors Guide: Food and Restaurants
We've planned out a few days' worth of gourmet heaven. You can thank us later.
Day Two: See-and-Be-Seen Dallas Chic
Morning: If your itinerary calls for a weekday breakfast, then graze among the city power brokers and visiting celebrities at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, where the dining room is as elegant as the service. Of course, you may choose to come back in the evening to sample executive chef Bruno Davaillon’s menu, and if you do, have an after-dinner drink on the twinkling—and romantic—terrace. The Mansion is the only five-star hotel in Texas for a reason.
Late Morning: Speaking of five-star, you must stroll through the charming Spanish-Mediterranean style buildings in Highland Park Village. Tucked among designer boutiques such as Chanel, Ralph Lauren, and Harry Winston is Molto Formaggio, a small shop dedicated to procuring hard-to-find artisan cheese. Recently we found chabrin, a goat’s milk cheese from the Pyrenees Mountains in France, and the unusual Sampietrino, a semi-firm Italian cheese made with a blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk and shaped like the pavement found in the historical center of Rome. For a taste of upscale Tex-Mex, lunch at local favorite Mi Cocina. A plate of beef fajita nachos and a Mambo Taxi—a frozen margarita swirled with sangria—can’t be beat. Then take a break from eating at Sur la Table, where you can browse the myriad kitchen gadgets, cookware, small appliances, and foodstuff that you never knew you always wanted.
Afternoon: If you didn’t stop for nachos at Mi Cocina, then head north on Douglas Avenue and hang a left on Lovers Lane to get to Inwood Village. Recently Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice were spotted among all of the other Dallas Ladies Who Love to Lunch at Rise No. 1. The French-inspired menu features savory (sun-dried tomato and pesto chèvre) and sweet (praline pecan) soufflés along with soups, cheese plates, salads, and a lovely list of wine-by-the glass. While you dine, note the one-of-a-kind, hand-embroidered sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths, and napkins on display. They are gorgeous and, of course, for sale. Also in Inwood Village is Empire Bakery, the best bread maker in Dallas. Grab a loaf of jalapeno cheese bread or Hippie Loaf to take home. If chocolate is your weakness, then head over to Paper & Chocolate, where you’ll find Wiseman Chocolates made in Hico, Texas, a charming little town about a three-hour drive from Dallas.
Late Afternoon: Head back downtown and take the elevator to the 50th floor of Reunion Tower, where floor-to-ceiling windows afford 360-degree views of Dallas at revolving restaurant Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck. Settle in at the bar and order a ginger mojito and perhaps a dragon roll from the fine sushi menu. Five Sixty is the best spot in town to people watch and catch the sun setting over the distant skyline of Fort Worth.
Evening: Elegant dining is at an all-time high in Dallas. Not only have world-renowned chefs such as Charlie Palmer and Wolfgang Puck opened eateries here, but there are also many local chefs gaining local and national attention. If you prefer to taste upscale Texas cuisine, then look no further than Dean Fearing’s eponymous restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton. Fearing’s offers seven different dining atmospheres and a menu that features Dean’s tortilla soup and Texas “mopped” barbecue rib-eye. Bonus: the Rattlesnake Bar is always packed with wealthy Dallas divorcés and the ladies who love them. If you prefer a little bit of Asian in your fusion, then book a table at superstar chef Kent Rathbun’s elegant restaurant Abacus. The dining room is warm and sexy, and the menu is full of Rathbun’s innovative global dishes, such as his famous lobster shooters, ancho honey-glazed quail with a jack cheese tamale and Shiner Bock barbecue, and soy-glazed wild salmon with stir-fried Brussels sprouts. Of course, if you’ve come here to eat steak—and why would you miss ordering a big slab of beef in Texas?—you must try a bone-in rib-eye and that famous glazed carrot at the original Bob’s Steak & Chop House on Lemmon Avenue. The scene at the popular bar is hopping by 5 p.m., and the restaurant is a famous watering hole and night-off spot for local professional athletes. The most unique dining experience in Dallas is at Tei-An, where veteran restaurateur Teiichi Sakurai showcases exquisite Japanese cuisine. While most Japanese restaurants in Dallas wrap themselves around sushi, Tei An specializes in noodles—spaghetti-like soba and the larger, though still wriggly, udon. The dining room is unlike any in Dallas: serene.