Restaurant Review: Ristorante Nicola in Dallas

Kevin Marple's picture of pasta with shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, and mascarpone cheese.

The June issue of D Magazine is out and in it you will find a review of Ristorante Nicola. Other reviewers in Dallas liked the restaurant more than I did. The food is an upscale version of what I call Highland Park Italian.

However, the people-watching at Ristorante Nicola, near Preston Center, may be the best in town. The scene is a Dallas version of the movie Cocoon—only here the old people are drinking the magic water instead of swimming in it. As the cocktails flow, the patrons grow younger and more energized. Men wearing dreadful comb-overs and pastel short-sleeved shirts tucked into khakis gather around well-manicured matrons. We stare in awe as somebody’s grandmother calls her group to attention. “Watch how many olives I can get in my mouth at one time,” she says, sticking her red-tipped fingers into their martinis and slipping the olives past her lips. Her friends roar with laughter. Recession? Depression? Incontinence? Not here.

Read the whole report here and tell me what you think.


  • GMOM

    Nancy, you are the best – great review. You should go to the HP Cafeteria – purple hairs unite AND they food is back to normal, fabulous!!

  • FortWorthGuy

    Sounds like my business trip to Fort Meyers, Florida several years ago. Every restaurant was like a scene out of “Seinfeld”…when he would visit his parents in Florida. Food was all cooked to mush and the most exotic ingredient was salt.

  • tinkerbell

    I’ve eaten there twice – once for lunch, once for dinner. The salmon/pasta dish I ordered was really, really bad. It was as if they made my dish 20 minutes before the rest of my table mates’ and stuck it under a warmer. The sauce was congealed and the pasta stuck together in wads.

    The antipasti was very bland. The meat was flabby, not firm. the rest, meh.

    It makes perfect sense that this is run by Culinaire. The food reminded me of corporate cafeteria/ wedding reception on a budget fare.

  • joeat

    I agree with Tinkerbell. I have been for lunch and dinner and liked it for the decor and energy – it is the place to be. I was very disappointed in the food and the menu, very mediocre and I had such high hopes for this place. Oh well, one of these days we will get an Italian restaurant.

  • Twinwillow

    Sounds like the perfect “Parkie” place.

  • tejasmom

    We took my in-laws at Easter (80+). The food wasn’t horrible, just not worth the price. Describing it as Highland Park Italian was so apt! Service was not good, either. We will definitely not go back.