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