48 Hour Cheat Sheet: Dallas, TX
When Local opened in 2003, it quickly put the artsy Deep Ellum neighborhood on the culinary map. Situated in the building that was once the historic Boyd Hotel, the restaurant stands out for its high-design interior, pleasantly laid-back service and unpretentious, seasonal menu by chef Tracy Miller. Must-tries include the “steak and eggs” (caper-laced steak tartare with sunny-side-up quail eggs) and house-made cheese ravioli in tomato broth.
Courtesy Arcodoro & Pomodoro
Efisio and Francesco Farris, the brothers behind these elegant Uptown restaurants, are devoted to the lesser-known cuisine of the Italian island of Sardinia—from linguine with clams and briny bottarga (dried and pressed fish roe) to seadas al miele (cheese-filled puff pastry glazed with honey).
To find classic Chinese food done right—General Tso’s chicken, orange beef—follow Dallas’s top chefs to Hunan Express. This modest restaurant is frequented by local luminaries like chef Dean Fearing.
Courtesy Asian Mint
4) Asian Mint
The focus here is on expertly executed Thai standards like pad kee mow (wide noodles tossed with chile paste and basil) and fusion dishes like crispy fried soft-shell crab topped with spicy mayonnaise. The exterior of this restaurant may be pure strip mall, but the interior is cheerful and stylish, with white chairs, mint-green walls and paintings of the namesake herb.
With the opening of this glamorous restaurant last year, chef-entrepreneur Stephan Pyles made his comeback after a self-imposed six-year sabbatical. His cosmopolitan menu draws inspiration from Spain and Latin America (there’s a ceviche bar), but, as the stupendous bone-in cowboy rib eye with fried red-chile onions confirms, Pyles remains deeply partial to the flavors of the Lone Star State.
Overlooking the Dallas skyline from its perch on the 27th floor of the Hilton Anatole, Nana is arguably the city’s most romantic restaurant. Yet, unlike many restaurants with stunning views, the scene doesn’t trump the food. Chef Anthony Bombaci, who took over the kitchen in 2005, creates modern dishes with Spanish influences, as in a seared Arctic char with saffron, pistachios and crispy leeks.
Chef Dean Fearing, the cowboy-boot-wearing chef at the Mansion on Turtle Creek who’s been at the forefront of Southwestern cuisine for more than two decades, has struck out on his own: His long-awaited restaurant at the new Ritz-Carlton is slated to open this August, serving bold-flavored dishes like barbecued shrimp tacos with mango-pickled onion salad.
At this souped-up Whole Foods, workers man the giant spinner that turns out all-natural cotton candy and pull pork shoulder and brisket from an in-house smoker. Incongruously, there’s a Whole Foods spa upstairs.
Zero in on Shed No. 1 (look for the building with the yellow roof) to find excellent Texan produce—local watermelons, peaches and tomatoes—at this big, bustling market on the southeastern edge of downtown.
The Southeast Asian men and women who tend to this garden grow water spinach, bitter melon and long beans, among other uncommon produce. On Saturdays, much of it is for sale, with proceeds funding the garden.
Dallas foodies were devastated when a fire shut down the 40-year-old Jimmy’s a couple of years ago. But the beloved Italian grocer has returned with the same great sausages, cheese and sandwiches (including muffulettas and Cubanos). A few months ago, the owners added yet another reason to make the trip to east Dallas: a back room stocked with bottles of good wine.
The opulent, Italian Renaissance-style Mansion on Turtle Creek is where visiting dignitaries sleep whenever they’re in town. Amenities include a gorgeous pool, a fitness center and 450-square-foot rooms—plus the services of a driver who provides free rides around the city in a Lexus. A major renovation of the property, starting with the restaurant, is in the works.
2) Hotel Zaza
This canary-yellow building in Uptown has an on-site spa and themed suites such as the Metropolitan (which features an urban palette of black, gray and white) and the West Indies (decorated in tropical hues).