The next time your family is coming to Dallas, they HAVE to check out these favorites downtown. There’s something here for everyone – casual or elegant dining; kid friendly and adults preferred. Go through this list and then get them to downtown Dallas.
#1 – Keller’s Drive-In (6537 E Northwest Hwy, Dallas, TX, 75231)
It really doesn’t get any better than paper-thin burgers on poppy seed buns, crispy onion rings, and spoon-thick milkshakes, and that’s exactly what Keller’s does best. Skip every $10 burger in town and head to this 50-year-old establishment for cheap burgers, beers, and the friendliest car-hops in town. Don’t forget to bring actual cash – apparently credit card machines didn’t exist in 1965 – or be prepared to withdraw from the on-site ATM.
#2 – Knife (5300 E Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75206)
John Tesar’s worked in more kitchens than anyone can count, but his magnum opus (at least to date) is Knife, the meat palace he’s built inside The Highland hotel. The steaks are dry-aged for up to 240(!) days in the restaurant’s specially-designed aging room, there are flights of bacon, and of course, the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the perpetually controversial chef working on the line.
#3 – Lucia (408 W 8th St, Dallas, TX 75208)
After more than four years, a table at Lucia is still one of Dallas’ toughest reservations. If you’ve somehow not made your way to David and Jennifer Uygur’s tiny Italian restaurant in Bishop Arts, you’re missing out on the best Italian in town. The menu is constantly changing – think fresh pasta and to-the-minute seasonal produce – but you can always count on foie gras stuffed prunes and stellar charcuterie from this Eater 38 stalwart.
#4 – Mesa (118 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208)
There’s a reason that Jay-Z, Beyonce, Conan O’Brien, and just about every other celebrity who comes to Dallas makes their way to Mesa, the upscale coastal Mexican cuisine mecca in Oak Cliff. The restaurant’s complex mole sauce is good enough to make you feel like you actually are in some way similar to Beyonce, even though you’ll likely just be licking it straight from the plate.
#5 – Monkey King Noodle Co. (3014 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226)
Now all moved in to its swanky new digs in Deep Ellum, Monkey King Noodle Company can serve more of those crave-worthy dumplings and noodles than ever. And, as an added bonus, you won’t have to jockey for position on the sidewalk. Instead, find a cozy spot on the patio and slurp on.
#6 – Montlake Cut (8220 Westchester Dr, Dallas, TX, 75225)
After mastering all things meat, Chef Nick Badovinus’ take on Seattle-inspired seafood is equally impressive. Choose from a bi-coastal selection of bivalves, ceviche, or crudo, then choose from ridiculously fresh fish preparations like Chilean sea bass in white cocktail sauce, or the city’s best basket of fish & chips.
#7 – Mot Hai Ba (6047 Lewis St, Dallas, TX 75206)
The brainchild of Dallas restaurateurs Colleen O’Hare and Jeana Johnson continued to improve its take on authentic Vietnamese food when Chef Peja Krstic joined the kitchen earlier this year. A big bowl of pho is obviously an excellent choice, but don’t skip out on the grilled duck hearts with green papaya salad if a true taste of Vietnamese cuisine is what you seek.
#8 – Nick & Sam’s (3008 Maple Ave, Dallas, TX 75201)
The steakhouse is a well-worn formula in Dallas, but Chef Samir Dhurandhar is still keeping it fresh at this long standing Uptown establishment. Fresh off a trip to the James Beard House, Durandhar’s dishes are decidedly more interesting and creative than standard steakhouse fare.