Hibiscus is one of the best restaurants in Dallas, especially, if you want to go all-out, Dallas style. (Photo: Stephen Karlisch)
To the uninitiated, Dallas may seem like just a beef and barbecue town, but it has much more to offer foodies of any stripe on any budget. Whether you’re low on cash, looking to splurge, or fall somewhere in the middle, these restaurants are can’t-fail options for delicious eats and a true Dallas vibe.
Chow Down on Bargain Bites
Fuel City is a Texas-sized gas station and truck stop that serves some of the city’s best tacos. These authentic Mexican street tacos are inexpensive (less than $2 each) and flavorful. They’ve got basic chicken and beef but you should definitely try the Pastor and Barbacoa. Each order comes with limes, onions and cilantro — use them all. And while you’re at Fuel City, don’t miss the little side paddock with Texas longhorn cattle, donkeys and goats.
Another good spot for tasty cheap eats with real Dallas atmosphere is Angry Dog. This casual eat-in restaurant is in the Deep Ellum district, a neighborhood known for its history, food, and nightlife. Start with the Grifter’s Queso (with ground beef, sour cream, guacamole and salsa). Then, try the restaurant’s namesake, the award-winning Angry Dog, a beef hot dog with mustard, chili, onions, and cheddar. Or, for something bigger, try Duke’s Fried Chicken Steak, with the gravy on the side. Each of these meals will only set you back about $8-12.
Graze Over Modern, Moderately Priced Meals
You’ll want to wear “nice jeans” for a Friday or Saturday night out at The Porch, which serves American fare with modern twists. It’s best bites are the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Cobb Salad, the Scottish Salmon Burger and Short Rib Beef Stroganoff, all in the $15-20 range. They offer a variety of sides, including favorite Roasted Beets with Crispy Goat Cheese and Walnuts. Top it all off with the Gooey Butter Cake, as sweet, rich and delightful as you might imagine.
Cane Rosso (Italian for “red dog”) has put Dallas on the map for — wait for it — pizza. There are two locations (Deep Ellum and White Rock) and both are kid and dog-friendly. Cane Rosso’s pizzas are large enough for two moderately-hungry people or one super-hungry person. Try the Margherita, a classic sauce-and-cheese pie, or the Prosciutto e Rucola, a tasty white pie with prosciutto crudo ham, arugula, and parmesan. And know this: Cane Rosso makes “true” Neapolitan-style pizza, so expect super-thin crusts and a bit of “tip sag” at the end of your slice.
Feast High on the Hog (or Steak)
When you want to splurge and go all-out, Dallas-style, start at Stephen Pyles, known for its elevated southwestern fare. Begin your experience with one of its many ceviches, like the Rock Shrimp with Purple Sweet Potato and Corn Ceviche, a nice introduction for ceviche novices. For main courses, choose between fish and red meat dishes like Wood-Fired Branzino and Cowboy Ribeye, or a Potato Gnocchi as a vegetarian option. If you want to feel truly cared for, the staff at Stephen Pyles is equal to the task.
Finally, let’s talk about Hibiscus. Located across the street from The Porch, Hibiscus is comfortable for friendly group outings or romantic date nights. Start with the Akaushi Carpaccio and then the Sea Scallops, Colorado Lamb Shank, or the Black Angus Ribeye, which is roughly the size of a football. To end your experience, try the Ice Box Pie. You’ve never had Butterfingers, Oreos, or vanilla ice cream in quite this way.