Snooty Special Reports: Dallas Is #4 Best Dining City in the Country

More from those Snooty Foodies, who want to start a comment war. Really, they’d like that. Read below and tell us what you think:


No, not from those hacks at Zagat (yes, we still hate you for what you said about us in 2006) or Citysearch that like to disguise their online popularity contests as restaurant reviews. Nope, this is all according to Dallas’ own If you’ve been on snootyfoodie, you know we believe in our hearts and stomachs that Dallas is a top tier fine dining city. Call us homers if you want, but the progress that’s been made in our city by our top chefs and restaurants is still overshadowed by those so called national experts that think the only thing we can cook are steaks and Tex-Mex. Bastards! We’ve been an afterthought for far too long so consider our grass roots campaign to fine dining stardom officially underway!

Our criteria for the ranking is simple. How do the top 10 fine dining restaurants in each city stack up? We’re not evaluating the single best restaurant in each city, the sheer number of fine dining restaurants, depth of ethnic spots, and certainly don’t care what some tire company thinks. Your 10 vs our 10, got it? And even though this is our 1 million %, completely subjective and perhaps somewhat jaded list of the top fine dining cities in the U.S., we’ve visited all the others on our list enough times to stand by our rankings.

So, listen up all you Cali transplants and damn Yankees – Dallas is #4. That’s right, numero cuatro!!! Wanna dispute it? Hey, we’re down for a foodie fight so bring it on!

1. New York City – not even close, clear cut #1.
2. Chicago – equally unclose. Silver medal hands down.
3. San Francisco – if you pulled in the wine country, they could contend for 2nd.
4. Dallas – our top 10 contends with any in the country.
5. New Orleans – a frequent destination for us and a definite top 5.
6. Las Vegas – big name restaurants, but the chefs cook absentia
7. Los Angeles – I can hear the crying already but try finding a decent steak in La La land.
8. Houston – Status is rising almost as fast as Dallas.
9. Atlanta – It’s like Dallas without a regional cuisine to call its own.
10. Miami – Solid restaurant city but wildly overrated.

Hm. What about D.C.? Boston? Seattle? And what about LA in the #7 position? I’ll bet Leslie Brenner might have something to say about that.


  • Pot Net

    It would help if the Snooty Foodies told us what 10 Dallas restaurants they’re thinking of and what they consider to be the top 10 restaurants in each of those cities. It would be even more helpful if, for each of those restaurants, they said when and how often they’ve eaten there.

  • LisaS

    Definitely agree with slots #1 & 2, but Dallas at four? Really? I would love to know what criteria were used.

  • Brandy

    this does seem right on to me. i would agree. maybe switch SF w/ Chi-town. and Vegas before Nawlins. but Dallas is def #4. Maybe three. ; )

  • KRM

    That is a very poorly researched top 10. Steaks in LA…Cut, BLT, Mastro’s. There are actually a ton of excellent steak houses in LA. All credibility went out the window with that comment on LA.

  • Oh KRM, thanks for jumping in on LA. Was waiting on someone to do so. Okay, first how do you know what research we did? Anyway, we’ve been to Cut – very overrated. Mastro’s – been to both locations and neither would crack the top 10 in Dallas. And BLT, hmmm, how’d they do here?? If you’re trying to pump up LA, come with something better than this.

    Btw, LisaS, criteria was detailed in the lead in. Top 10 fine dining spots in each city.

  • KRM

    How does BLT Dallas’ performance have anything to do with the rating of their LA steakhouse? And, your comment seems to contradict that you can’t at least find a “decent” steakhouse in LA. So, which one is it, can or can’t?

  • KRM, what did I write above to contradict myself? You said there were a ton of “excellent” steakhouses in LA. It was my intention to completely shoot down the 3 you listed and I thought I did…Dallas is the standard for great steakhouses in the US, none you listed would be in our top 10. So if you want me to concede that you can get a “decent” steak in LA – okay you win the semantics war. But I do feel sorry for you and others that settle for decent steaks.

    And what does KRM stand for anyway – Know-it-all Reader Man?

    I love LA and I love you too. 🙂

  • HC

    Don’t take the bait, KRM. Anyone claiming that Dallas is the #4 city in the US for fine dining isn’t worth arguing with or taking seriously. It’s such a kooky thing to say that they bear the burden of proving it, which they haven’t done and can’t do. Wait for Nancy to come home and send these yokels off to salivate over their “four fork” Italian at Arcodoro-Pomodoro and Ferrari’s Italian Villa.

  • Hey HC, thanks so much for checking out the site. The kooky yokels over here at snootyfoodie are dying to hear your top 10?!

    We are proud of our local talent and the progress Dallas has made and stand behind our rankings. But feel free to put us in our place.

  • DonnaT

    I once met this pair of hillbilly chef groupies at a cooking class. Take their opinions with a grain of salt and a pinched nose.

  • Sarah Eveans

    Wow. Is it possible to start a discussion without slinging mud? HC: People who believe in our dining scene must be “yokels?” DonnaT: that was a little uncalled for. We are just trying to start a discussion here people…let’s try to keep it clean, okay?

  • And DonnaT, fyi, we’ve never been in a cooking class together. Nice try though and love the hillbilly reference. You stay classy!!

  • Pot Net

    What are the ten best fine dining restaurants in Dallas and in each of the cities you listed, Snooty Foodies?

  • Pot Net

    {crickets chirping}

  • csyd

    Dare I try a top 10 dallas list?

    How about:

    1. Bijoux
    2. York Street
    3. Aurora
    4. Stephen Pyles
    5. French Room
    6. Fearings
    7. Tei An
    8. Local
    9. Abacus
    10. Mansion

    Worth mentioning: Lola, Trece, Hibiscus, Pappas Steak, Nick & Sams (note: I have not tried Neighborhood Services or Five Sixty).

    I don’t know if Dallas’s top 10 compares to other major cities top 10, but I would say that Dallas has a ton of great restaurants, so if we’re talking “quality quantity”, then I think they’ve got something.

  • Hello Pot (not exactly the 1st time I’ve said that!), rest assured we weren’t ducking you. All the restaurants on our site are rated sooooo getting to our 10 highest ranked shouldn’t be too tough to figure out.

    But here’s how it would play out if we listed our top 10 for other cities – people would jump on and start arguing about which restaurant wasn’t included in another city. And that takes away from our focus on the greatness of the fine dining restaurants here. Like any other, our list is subjective but it was thoroughly researched and is 100% serious.

    Don’t believe us? I suppose you could come over and look at our menus and notes from Alinea, Trotters, Mina, Danko, Le Bernardin, Per Se, etc but we’re honestly not so sure you’re someone we’d have over for dinner….

    btw, just checked and the domain is taken…bummer

  • Pot Net

    You expect too much of readers, Snooty Foodies, when you ask that we do homework to find out which 10 restaurants you think are the best in Dallas. If you can’t trouble yourselves to do it, why should we?

    You’re also right that if you listed your top 10 in other cities people would argue about what you’ve missed. That’s the point, though. Maybe you really haven’t eaten at some restaurants that many would consider the best in some of those cities. It might be useful for you to get some feedback on great places you could try next time you visit those cities.

    I’m not interested in seeing menus or notes from Alinea, Trotter’s, Mina, Danko, Le Bernardin, or Per Se. They’re in NYC, SF, and Chicago, which you rank above Dallas and won’t get any argument about. I would be interested in hearing what you think are the best restaurants in Vegas, LA, NOLA, and Atlanta. Those cities, but especially the first two, are the ones that most people would probably agree edge out Dallas in fine dining. Expand your criteria to informal dining and Dallas fares much worse.

    If you don’t have the time or would rather not have that kind of discussion, that’s fine.

  • ohMY

    to Pot Net-

    Just had to add my 2 cents. You misread somewhere! Snooty never asked us to figure out the best 10 restaurants, as you say. It was about the top ten restaurant CITIES. I did what he said and yup, the homework for Big D is all done on his site…which is also based on fine dining. I personally think Dallas has really risen in this area.

  • Pot Net

    No, you misread me, ohMY. The Snooty Foodies are ranking cities based on their top 10 restaurants. How can you have that discussion without knowing which restaurants in Dallas they’re comparing with which restaurants in the other cities?