So you’re planning to be in Dallas for RT15. I hope you have a car or are okay taking a cab/Uber because there’s not all that much next door to the Hyatt Regency, our conference hotel. That’s not to say you’re going to starve. You won’t. This local just wants to make sure you know you won’t be able to fall out of the hotel and into restaurants like you did in New Orleans last year.
In fact, we like to bandy about this little gem: Dallas (well, the entire Metroplex) has more restaurants per capita than New York City. You can eat reeeeeeeal good in our fair city.
I’ll devote several blogs to Dallas cuisine over the next week. Today’s is going to be governed by one theme: MY FAVORITES. (The others will cover steak, fast-cas, Tex Mex, veggie/vegan, and close to the hotel, etc.)
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my favorite places to eat (and what I order) in Dallas…
Zizikis—get the chicken souvlaki without red onions and an Onassis cocktail. The Uptown location is closest to the conference hotel. Just be warned, the servers at that location are supermodels. Eat your extra crispy rosemary potatoes anyway.
I know I said this list was in no particular order, but Rise No. 1 might be my favorite place in Dallas. Ask about the off-menu soufflés (there are usually some seasonal showstoppers) but you can’t go wrong with anything here. The bread is TO DIE FOR. Ask for seconds. Don’t be shy.
Chef Stephan Pyles is a Dallas fave. His eponymous restaurant is good, but I like Stampede 66 quite a bit. Try this for a Ladies Who Lunch; it’s not far from our conference hotel (about a 6 minute drive—a long, hot mile walk in May). The chicken verde tamales are perfection and the bacon wrapped meatloaf will make you wanna call your mamma and ask her why she never fixed it that way for you.
Rafas—in a strange shopping center outside of the Park Cities with horrid parking, but this is one of my favorites. Has been since my first days in Dallas, lo those many years ago for their awesome spicy salsa and always-fresh chips. Maybe you can make it there for their famous brisket enchiladas (get ‘em covered in queso!) or order a Dieciseis, the number 16. But my mom swears by the chile reallanos.
Mi Cocina (not the best best best food but you cannot miss the Mambo Taxi): I love a good patio, and Mi Cocina has a good one for chilling out at any of their area locations. Try the one in Highland Park Village for maximum people watching. The one in West Village is down the street from PACIUGO, the best gelato this side of the Atlantic.
Del Frisco's* makes a damn fine steak, but it’s pretty pricy. Del Frisco's Grille is also pricy, but it won’t hurt as bad. Plus, it’s a great place to people watch. Order the 8-oz filet and weep with joy. Start with the heirloom tomato and burrata salad. Split a side of the roasted asparagus and the CHIPOTLE MAC AND CHEESE. Or just eat three orders of the Mac and Cheese by yourself.
Sissy’s Southern Kitchen—if you don’t order the squash hushpuppies to start and a side of squash casserole as a side, you can’t be my friend. I guess there’s other stuff on the menu. I wouldn’t know.
La Duni—there are multiple locations; honestly, I go to the one in NorthPark Mall. Two birds, one stone. Get the Rajas Con Queso Y Carne Asada. The bread will MAKE YOU WEEP. And get sweet potato fries; they’re always crisp and perfectly seasoned.
Hattie's is the one of the best Sunday brunch spots, but it’s tough to get into. Fortunately, there are lots of great places in Bishop Arts to try. But if you sneak down there for lunch, you won’t be sorry. Macaroni and Cheese. Just order that. Although the chicken fried chicken sandwich is yummmmmy.
If you want to see a little more of Dallas but still just want a place to chill and talk, try Goodfriend in east Dallas, a chill spot. Great weekend spot to while away some hours. During the week they open about 4 or 5. The fried green beans are a novelty you might want to try, but the sweet waffle fries are my favorite. Order the grilled cheese (add bacon). Also in east Dallas, times ten cellars. Taste a flight of local wines or just ask for a bottle recommendation. Tons of soft seating is available plus some high-tops. They make a cheese and meat platter that is very, very good. Parking is tragic there, so just a heads up. Of course, hiring a car might be best because did I mention local wines?
And last but not least, The Cake Bar. If you follow me on social media, you'll know I just can't quit this place. It's in a new restaurant development just west of our conference hotel, Trinity Groves. Please, DO NOT WALK THERE even though it might look like an easy stroll on Google maps. Please don't. Believe me. Don't. I will come pick you up and take you to The Cake Bar if you need me to. The pina colada cake is amazing, as is the strawberry--but honestly, I've never had a bad slice here. Just watch for the nuts.
*EDIT: I lost my mind and first wrote this blog with Nick & Sam's and Nick & Sam's Grill as my favorite steak place. Not that those aren't lovely places, but when my Dallas bestie read this piece, she made the O.o face at me--"don't you mean Del Frisco's Grille?" Yes, yes I do. I drive by landmark, people, and apparently my car just knows where to zooooom all by itself, regardless of the name out front.