This is where the true essence of the city's restaurant and bar scene comes to life. In this insider's guide, we've tapped into the rich expertise of local food enthusiasts to bring you an exclusive list of the restaurants and bars that real breathing, walking Dallas residents recommend the most. Whether you're born-and-raised or a newcomer eager to explore the local flavors, these handpicked recommendations promise an authentic dining adventure that embodies the city's vibrant culture and diverse palate. Get ready to savor a symphony of tastes as we unveil the best Dallas restaurants, all vetted and endorsed by those who know it best—fellow locals.
Everyone's favorite patio coffee shop/gift shop/neighborhood quick-stop grocer is Foxtrot, with locations in Uptown, University Park and Knox-Henderson. They're delivering all across the Big D to share the bounty local chefs, cuisines, and small makers of Dallas. For breakfast order coffee from Oak Cliff Coffee or Noble Coyote—alongside fresh-baked goods from around the corner with Esmeralda French Bakery or JOY Macarons. Need a weekday grocery restock? Local is better, so Foxtrot stocks up with homemade favorites from Cafe Momentum, Festive Kitchen, The Salt Lick, Bonton Farms and more.
2. Bowen House
Our favorite part of a night out at Bowen House in Uptown isn't the bar or the patio — it’s visiting the secret back room, which only the true locals know about. The bar's bartenders will ask you what you like and make you a personalized cocktail — and they're spot-on, every time. The intimate atmosphere and creative drinks make Bowen House a favorite among locals and visitors alike. They also have happy hour every day of the week, which is a perfect time to grab a bite to eat and round of cocktails!
3. Another round
Another Round in West Dallas is a great take on adult mini golf, with a side of sports simulator thrown in! Their two 9-hole mini courses make for the funkiest round of golf you've ever played, and the simulator gives you the ability to play golf-inspired games or actual rounds on more than 1,000 courses! Also, check out Xtreme Music Bingo, which takes Another Round for a spin every Wednesday.
4. Room 520
Room 520 is one of the best-hidden speakeasies in Dallas, and we absolutely love it when we find our way here. It's actually a room in the Sova Hotel! Just ask the front desk to check into Room 520, get your secret code to enter on a key card, take the elevator up to Room 520 and enjoy! Once you’re inside, the atmosphere is dark, sultry, as the perfect, smoky scent fills the air. Whether you’re popping by before an evening out or winding down for the night, you’ll definitely want to try one of the six craft cocktails on the menu! We recommend the “Fushimi” and “Gion” for both sweet and robust sips.
5. The Mexican
Get ready to be captivated by the charm of The Mexican, which has recently taken the Design District by storm! With its stunning interior, sun-filled patio, and a menu boasting beautiful cocktails and dishes, this spot is perfect for a post-work margarita with friends. Don't miss the chance to experience their meticulous attention to detail, from the exquisite decor to the authentic Mexican-inspired cuisine. Make a reservation and get ready for a dining experience that will leave you excited, relaxed, and craving more.
The Dallas Design District plays host to one of our favorite haunts known to mix a good drink with a great dose of arcade-style nostalgia. We love the Cidercade, and so will you! They have expanded with location in Fort Worth and will soon open one in Arlington, but the original is one of the spots on this list we keep going back to. $10 admission gets you unlimited play on more than 140 arcade machines, and frequent flyers can save even more money by signing up for a $15 monthly membership.
7. hudson house
With locations in Las Colinas, Addison and two more in Dallas, Hudson House is always there for you with one of the "world's coldest martinis" (something of a claim to fame), right when you need one. The menu features everything from jumbo lump crab cakes and lobster rolls to maple planked salmon, shrimp scampi and a fresh Atlantic catch of the day. This place is also well known for its specialty towers which include raw bar favorites like oysters, tuna tartare, salmon crudo, cracked king crab, shrimp cocktail and whole lobster. Slide-in for Happy Hour between 4 and 6 p.m., when you can check out a variety of their martinis for half price.
8. Dallas Farmer's MArket
If there's one place we could spend the entire day exploring, it is definitely the Dallas Farmer's Market with all kinds of unique local vendors! Whatever you can imagine, you can find at the Farmer's Market, like baked goods, florals, wine, skincare, and so much more! Plus, the Dallas Farmer's Market features seasonal decorations and events, so there's always something new happening every time you go. PRO TIP: You'll want to bring a few tote bags along with you, because it's hard to not treat yourself to a few bags full of locally made items during your visit!
9. Las Palmas
"I don’t know why ’80s New Wave music reminds me of Tex-Mex, but it does,” Pasha Heidari, co-owner of Las Palmas, told D Magazine soon after this Uptown Tex-Mex paradise swung open its doors in 2019. And that explains the Las Palmas vibe. Bright and bold colors and tastes collide with classic Tex-Mex comfort, and the brothers Heidari bring a flair for fine dining that give Las Palmas an edge. Keep the Sparkling Palomas (our favorite drink on the menu) coming, please.
The Truckyard, now serving both Dallas proper and The Colony, is one of the greatest dining experiences in Dallas if you want to try a little from here, a little from there and one of those things from that other truck you heard about that one time. With food truck options lined up all around you, a centralized bar in the middle of it all, and live music most nights of the week, wasting time at Truckyard is never a waste of time.