Dallas, Texas: An Underrated Foodie Destination

When you think of foodie travel destinations in the United States, Dallas Texas doesn’t typically appear on the list. Dallas has a reputation, often seen as a lesser food juggernaut than its southern neighbor of Austin. You’ll typically see Dallas’s culinary scene described as “up-and-coming” without many spots of note.

While I’m sure there will be more and more options as the city continues to try to attract newcomers, I found that Dallas’s restaurant scene isn’t coming—it is up! There are lots of great restaurant options to choose from and I think the Dallas food scene is wholly underrated. 

With a little bit of effort to find the gems, there are plenty of delightful restaurants, bars and cafes to explore in Dallas, Texas!

Here are my recommendations of where to eat on a trip to Dallas, Texas!

Taqueria La Ventana1611 McKinney Ave

In the land of Tex-Mex, it can be surprisingly challenging to find traditional Mexican food. Taqueria La Ventana solves that problem with their traditional Mexican street tacos which could be straight off a corner in Mexico City. At $1.95 a piece, opting for multiple flavors like lengua, barbacoa, or carnitas is a no-brainer. The meat is juicy and flavorful, but the tortilla is the real star of the show. Like any good Mexican spot, there are several sauce options which you can use to top of your tacos to your taste.

Off the Bone1734 S Lamar St

Texas BBQ is an experience all visitors need to try at least once while in Dallas. Every Texan will have a different suggestion of their favorite place (so maybe try a few spots), but one suggestion we loved was Off the Bone. An under-the-radar contender, Off the Bone serves up pecan-smoked cuts like brisket or ribs that do exactly as the namesake says. Their sides are also on-point — I dream of that mac n’ cheese “con queso”.

Meddlesome Moth1621 Oak Lawn Ave

Tucked in a quiet corner of the design district, Meddlesome Moth offers diners a robust beer list with over 200 options and a diverse range of delicious New American small plates. The Moth Balls (cheesy ricotta gnocchi), and the Pig & Fig are both must-try dishes. I was really impressed with their Thai curry mussels and don’t miss their rotating bread pudding dessert option. With a killer music selection, you are sure to cozy up in one of their leather booths for hours.   

Independent Bar & Kitchen2712 Main St

Located in the center of Deep Ellum’s main stretch, Independent Bar & Kitchen offers a European gastropub menu with Texas-sized portions and a few globally inspired twists. The scotch egg is one dish they are well-known for, and the curried poutine is top-notch. The deep wood paneling, 20+ European beer taps, and live music add to the comforting ambiance.

Emporium Pies314 N Bishop Ave

Fine pies for fine folks is the motto of this adorable bakery. With locations in Deep Ellum and the Bishop Arts district, you must have a piece of pie at Emporium before you leave Dallas. They offer staple pies, like their Drunken Nut (bourbon pecan) or Lord of Pies (Apple Streusel), all year round as well as rotating seasonal options. All pies have the option for ala-mode, and I would recommend it — they use a local creamery to source their rich vanilla ice cream. I opted for the Merry Berry (cranberry pecan) ala-mode and it was something so, so special.

Katy Trail Ice House3127 Routh St

Another popular BBQ joint, Katy Trail Ice House makes their BBQ fresh each day and sells until it runs out. You have to get here pretty early to sample their sliced brisket! Both of their locations have massive beer gardens where you can see the smoking process in action. Definitely get an order (or 2 or 3 orders) of the brisket nachos — they are delightfully good.

Dallas Farmer’s Market920 S Harwood St

In a controversial renovation, the Dallas Farmer’s market and surrounding neighborhood recently underwent a massive multi-million facelift. It now resembles a modern, sprawling market like the Public Market in Seattle or Milwaukee with several buildings including a food hall, a covered Shed, and an outdoor community space. Despite complaints I had read online about the renovation, I really enjoyed my visit to DFM. We went on Saturday to find the Shed full of local food, meat and cheese vendors, and I ate some DELICIOUS food inside the year-round market space. With live music and nitro cold brew options abound, it seems as though this part of town is in the throws of gentrification and it is actively redefining what the Dallas Farmer’s market is.

Sixty Vines3701 Dallas Pkwy

The coastal-California-meets-European-cafe design at Sixty Vines won me over immediately. I couldn’t stop snapping pictures of this stunning northside restaurant. Housed in a massive space, Sixty Vines has over 50 wines on tap and delicious food options throughout the day. I tried their brunch where the breakfast sandwich with avocado, brie, bacon and a fried egg on sourdough made for the best start to a day that I could ask for.  

Need more recommendations for an upcoming visit to Texas? See my guide to 48 hours in Dallas or my favorite food experiences from Austin!

Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

8 thoughts

  1. You published this post two days after I returned home from Dallas! Now I’m starving for some good Texan food. When I visited, I didn’t check out any of the places you mentioned. I go to Dallas usually once per year, so I’ll need to bookmark it for the next time I visit.

    Surprisingly, the only type of food I ate during my trip to Dallas (besides breakfast), was Asian cuisine. I’ve always been incredibly impressed with the diverse food scene, with restaurants typically servicing authentic food. It felt wrong, breaking away from the typical TexMex, BBQ scene, but those Asian restaurants sure serve up some authentic deliciousness!

    1. Oh bummer! Well yes, you should definitely add them to the roster for your next trip. That is super interesting that you mostly ate Asian food while you were in Dallas. What were some of your favorite spots? My in-laws live in Dallas so I also get down there like once a year, so I would love your recommendations!

  2. I moved to Dallas just over a year ago and have been exploring the food scene – a lot!! Sixty Vines has been on my list for a while and now you’ve made it even more tempting. Glad you enjoyed your visit.

    1. That’s awesome that you’ve been enjoying the Dallas food scene. Do you have any favorites? I think I’ll be traveling back there again later this year, and always love local recommendations. Yeah, Sixty Vines is definitely worth a visit. Their brunch was delicious, and with all those wines on tap, it quickly turns into a boozy brunch!

      1. Gemma is really good, just had brunch at Overeasy this morning which was delicious, Cattleack Barbecue is great (but only open Thursdays and Fridays and the first Saturday of each month), Wabi House for ramen, TJ’s Seafood market, Sassetta, The Rustic is fun and has a great family-style shared brunch for a bargain price, Milk n Cream for ice cream sandwiches, Kirin Court for dim sum, Pie Tap for pizza, Sachet is beautiful and has delicious food… that should help for your next trip!! :-)

      2. Oh my goodness, what a delicious Dallas bucketlist you’ve just given me. Yay! I can’t wait to check out some of those spots on our next trip :)

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