Dallas Foodie Bucket List

By Valerie Jarvie  |  October 29, 2013

There are certain restaurants every Dallas diner should experience at least once in their life - a top tier of special places that represent the essence of the city's culinary scene. Whether you’re new in town or have lived here for ages, here are the city's not-to-be-missed culinary meccas.

  • Abacus

    The flagship of chef Kent Rathbun's restaurant group shows off his globally influenced New American cuisine in a stylish setting. Signature lobster shooters and sushi items well illustrate his expertise with Pan-Asian ingredients. Fixed-price tasting menus, available Monday-Thursday with or without wine pairings, are a nice way to sample the range of this extraordinary chef.

    4511 McKinney Ave.; 214-559-3111

  • Bolsa

    Oak Cliff pioneer and local sourcing champion Bolsa is a spot every foodie worth their Maldon sea salt should know. Since opening in 2008, the relaxed, hip eatery and bar in a repurposed garage has stayed on the forefront of the local farm-to-table movement, offering seasonal New American cuisine and craft cocktails. It also has a nearby retail shop vending artisanal, local products including meats, cheeses, Texas wines and take-out items.

    614 W. Davis St.; 214-367-9367

  • Fearing’s

    Acclaimed chef Dean Fearing’s haute Southwestern cuisine graced The Mansion Restaurant for 20 years before he opened his eponymous spot at the Ritz-Carlton. The signature dishes that made him famous include tortilla soup and maple and black peppercorn-soaked buffalo tenderloin, but savvy Dallasites have also embraced his new takes on Southwestern cuisine. The restaurant sprawls through seven distinct dining spaces, each with its own character, so you might want to make a number of bucket-list visits. Don’t miss a drink at the Rattlesnake Bar, a renowned watering hole for the see-and-be-seen crowd.

    2121 McKinney Ave.; 214-922-4848

  • Five Sixty

    The circular revolving space at this Wolfgang Puck restaurant is perched 560 ft. above the ground in Reunion Tower. Enjoy the 360-degree vista with drinks and appetizers in the bar lounge or feast on Asian-influenced cuisine in the stylish, modern-decor-bedecked dining room.

    300 Reunion Blvd. E.; 214-741-5560

  • The French Room

    The haute French cuisine and superb, old-school polished service at this established restaurant is a treat under any circumstance, but delivered under the amazing rococo vaulted ceiling and Murano crystal chandeliers of the French Room, it’s an out-of this-world delight. Anchoring the luxurious, historic hotel built by and named after beer baron Adolphus Busch, it’s a “jacket-required” fine-dining experience to be remembered.

    1321 Commerce St.; 214-742-8200

  • Lucia

    David and Jennifer Uygur’s intimate, relaxed hideaway in the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff books reservations weeks in advance, but you can often get lucky on the spot with a seat at the bar. A perch there affords views of the finishing touches that chef and staff add to the exquisite Italian fare, showcasing housemade salumi and pastas, that has kept the buzz going about this place since its opening in 2010.

    408 W. Eighth St.; 214-948-4998

  • The Mansion Restaurant

    Locally known as “the Mansion,” this elegant restaurant within the luxury Rosewood hotel has been a fine-dining landmark for decades. Impeccable French-inflected New American cuisine by Chef Bruno Davaillon (formerly the executive chef at Alain Ducasse’s Mix in Las Vegas), polished service and sophisticated, contemporary decor make a meal at the Mansion a Dallas dining highlight. Take time for a drink at the bar, one of the city’s best people-watching spots.

    2821 Turtle Creek Blvd.; 214-443-4747

  • Stephan Pyles

    A name synonymous with Southwestern cuisine, chef Stephan Pyles has come to incorporate South American, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors into his acclaimed cooking. Signature items include ceviche, tamale tart with crab and bone-in rib-eye steak graced with red-chile-dusted onion rings. His flagship restaurant is a warm and sophisticated Arts District showpiece with a dramatic kitchen - engaging theater for true foodies.

    1807 Ross Ave.; 214-580-7000

  • Credit: Brian Hilson

    Tei-An Japanese Soba House

    Chef Teiichi Sakurai (former chef-owner of Tei Tei Robata Bar and Teppo) elevates Japanese soba noodles to a fine-dining experience at this stylish venue. Housemade noodles accented with dipping sauces and exquisite sushi comes served in a Zenlike minimalist space in One Arts Plaza.

    1722 Routh St.; 214-220-2828