A Dining Guide for Recent Dallas Transplants: Where to Find the Best Tacos, Fried Chicken & More

By Farah Fleurima
August 13, 2014

If you’re new to town, you’ll want to dive right into Dallas’ dining scene. Refer to this handy guide for the best of the city's signature dishes.

For Tex-Mex: Herrera’s Café 
: We’ve yet to find a Tex-Mex spot that comes close to whipping up the enchiladas, tacos, burritos and refrieds like this family-owned restaurant on Maple Avenue. (Sadly, the original location is closing on August 18, so head over to Denton Drive after that.)
Also Try: Manny’s, Mia’s, Ojeda’s

For Chicken Fried Steak: Norma’s
Why: With its crisp and light batter that never falls off the meat before its time and a classic cream gravy (or brown, if requested), this mini-chain keeps the iconic dish simple and outstanding.
Also Try: Mama’s Daughter’s Diner, Bubba’s, Babe’s Chicken Dinner House

For Regional Mexican Cuisine: Mesa
Why: The family-owned Oak Cliff restaurant draws in mole lovers … and seemingly every celebrity who passes through town.
Also Try: Komali

For Southern Fried Chicken: Bubba’s Cooks Country  
Why: Like the best country cooking, Bubba’s keeps things simple and no-frills, turning out a tremendously juicy bird with a perfectly seasoned coating.
Also Try: Babe’s (owned by the same family), Sissy’s Southern Kitchen, Pecan Lodge

For Barbecue: Pecan Lodge
Why: Taste the current king of pitmaster-crafted barbecue, in slabs of brisket, ribs and rich sides.
Also Try: Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse (Inwood location), Off The Bone BBQ, Lockhart Smokehouse

For Brunch: Oddfellows
Why: Everything’s bigger in Texas, including brunch — and lines. This popular Bishop Arts diner always has a wait.
Also Try: Jonathon’s, Smoke

For Margaritas: Gloria’s
Why: For stiff and flavorful versions, both on-the-rocks and frozen, you can’t beat this local favorite. 
Also Try: Mi Cocina, Desperado’s

For Street Tacos: Taco Stop  
Why: The approachable menu and terrific food make it a great starting point for exploring the city’s extensive street taco scene.
Also Try: Fuel City Tacos, El Si Hay

For Steaks (and Scenery): Nick & Sam’s
Why: It’s the quintessential place to see and be seen while digging into a bone-in ribeye and lapping up the city’s favorite lobster mac 'n' cheese.
Also Try: Pappas Bros., Del Frisco’s, Capital Grille

For Meet Market Dining: The Rustic
Why: This Uptown resto/live music venue packs in the pretty young urbanites (note: the wait for a table and packed parking lot). It’s a great place to scope or be scoped.
Also Try: Ocean Prime

For Dinner with a View: Five Sixty
Why: Because it’s in the big sparkly tower ball you’ve been dying to check out since you landed.
Also Try: SER

Places Mentioned

Mia's Tex-Mex Restaurant

Tex-Mex • Oak Lawn

Food24 Decor16 Service21 Cost$18
Food26 Decor21 Service25 Cost$16
Mesa Restaurant

Mexican • Oak Cliff

Food26 Decor21 Service24 Cost$17

Mexican • Knox-Henderson

Food25 Decor24 Service25 Cost$44
Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

Southern American • Knox-Henderson

Food23 Decor24 Service23 Cost$30
Pecan Lodge

Barbecue • Deep Ellum

Food26 Decor20 Service21 Cost$18
Off the Bone Barbeque

Barbecue • Cedars

Food25 Decor14 Service23 Cost$16
Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ

Barbecue • Bishop Arts District

Food25 Decor20 Service21 Cost$18

American • Bishop Arts District

Food21 Decor21 Service20 Cost$19
Jonathon's Oak Cliff

American • Kidd Springs

Food26 Decor22 Service23 Cost$21
Gloria's Restaurant

Salvadoran • Lower Greenville

Food24 Decor22 Service23 Cost$23
Mi Cocina

Tex-Mex • Highland Park

Food23 Decor22 Service22 Cost$21
Fuel City


Food25 Decor10 Service16 Cost$8
Nick & Sam's

Steakhouse • Uptown

Food26 Decor26 Service26 Cost$81
Del Frisco's Steakhouse

Steakhouse • Far North Dallas

Food27 Decor26 Service27 Cost$67
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Steakhouse • Northwest Dallas

Food27 Decor25 Service27 Cost$77
The Capital Grille

Steakhouse • Uptown

Food26 Decor26 Service27 Cost$71
The Rustic

Southern American • West Village

Food- Decor- Service- CostI
Ocean Prime

Seafood • Uptown

Food24 Decor26 Service24 Cost$76
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck

Asian • Downtown

Food24 Decor27 Service24 Cost$79

Steakhouse • Design District

Food22 Decor26 Service24 Cost$58
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