Dallas Restaurants Receive National Accolades
Dallas is partially defined by the national accolades directed to its new Dallas restaurants. In 2019, the last year restaurants were open, Bon Appétit named Dallas the Restaurant City of the year.
Two of the Dallas restaurants were named in the top 10 new restaurants in the country, with the Laotian based Khao Noodle named second best new restaurant in the nation. New Dallas restaurants thrive, excite and stimulate Dallas.
Texas Modern Food Was Introduced By Chefs In Dallas Restaurants
For a generation star Dallas chefs have put Dallas on the international culinary map. Dean Fearing, Stephan Pyles, Kent Rathbun, and others introduced and advanced Texas foods and flavors across a broad spectrum of culinary offerings in their Dallas restaurants.
Iconic Dallas Restaurants Capture the Affection of Dallas
However, while new restaurants and star chefs attract the spotlight, iconic Dallas restaurants continue to capture the affection of longtime Dallas residents and invite those new to Dallas to share the underlying energy of the city.
The Five Most Iconic Dallas Restaurants
There are many favorite Dallas restaurants, neighborhood favorites, food type favorites, and long-established restaurants. However, there are five Dallas restaurants that stand out as they combine a neighborhood feel, a Dallas feel, and a fun place to entertain those new to the city. My criteria for iconic Dallas restaurants is that the most important and influential residents of Dallas often dine there as one of their neighborhood restaurants, the food is fabulous, the staff is seasoned and professional, and the owner is often seen at the front of the house. Most important, it is fun to dine at these Dallas restaurants and entertain those in Dallas or friends from out of town.
1) Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano
Javier’s is a restaurant based on gourmet Mexico City cuisine that Javier Gutierrez created as a young man in 1977. You might see one of his Lamborghinis or Ferraris parked in a reserved space in front of the restaurant. You will certainly recognize him in the restaurant as the dashing gentleman in his Armani suit among a background of loyal and experienced staff. The trophy adorned spaces cobbled together, as the restaurant has expanded over the years, provides each room a warm, intimate feel. That is not to say the patio, cigar bar, and restaurant are not fashion model stylish on weekend nights before it returns to a Highland Park homeowner Sunday night dinner neighborhood restaurant.
2) Café Pacific
On the other side of Highland Park, located in Highland Park Village, is Café Pacific . Jack Knox, a Highland Park resident and owner of a Highland Park architecturally significant home, created this restaurant in 1984. It was a hit then, it is a hit now. The warm elegance is as likely to appeal to Europeans as it does Dallas civic, business and philanthropic leaders. Terry Cook is a fabulous chef, massaging longtime Café Pacific favorites and adding new dishes and Dieter Krappl is a gracious general manager. The highest profile national figures can dine here with hardly a glance from other patrons, and those new to the restaurant are treated with the same decorum and attention. Café Pacific is to Highland Park and Dallas what Chasen’s might have been to Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.
3) Mi Cocina
It is hard to imagine this Dallas restaurant has been in Highland Park Village since 1993, as it seems like the newcomer to the Dallas restaurants list. While Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village is one of a string of Mi Cocina Dallas restaurants, it, too, embodies Dallas. Mi Cocina is owned by old Highland Park families that also own Highland Park Village where it is located. Highland Park Village, with its Rodeo Drive quality shops, was the first inward-facing shopping center in the country. It was designed by architects Fooshee and Cheek in a Beverly Hills Spanish Colonial Revival style. The patrons of this restaurant also include many prominent Dallas families, but on Friday evenings they are apt to bring their children. How many restaurants can be both a social scene and family oriented? A Mi Cocina restaurant has also just been selected to go into the flagship restaurant space in Klyde Warren Park, the deck park that links the Dallas Arts District with the surrounding neighborhoods.
4) Al Biernat’s
Dallas has many great steakhouses that attract business leaders and athletes and those celebrating a special occasion, but Al Biernat’s stands out as one of the iconic Dallas restaurants.
Al Biernat’s is also located on the cusp of Highland Park and the Turtle Creek neighborhoods, so it has the feel of a neighborhood restaurant. It is the type of restaurant where the bartender might have a drink set up on the bar for the arrival of a regular client. The owners of iconic restaurants do seem to set the tone for a great evening. Al Biernat was also a young man when he opened his steakhouse in 1998. You will be sure to see Al Biernat, a handsome figure, at the front of the house making sure everything in the restaurant is handled with perfection. Here is a Dallas restaurant where millionaires can relax or a couple can get engaged. I think it is telling that the owners of these very different restaurants like to dine at each other’s establishments on their nights off, where they know they can enjoy food often supplied by the same exclusive vendors.
5) Salum Restaurant
Abraham Salum created Salum Restaurant in 2005 on the periphery of Highland Park and close to the Katy Trail. Salum is a small restaurant closer to the vibrancy of Uptown and the tranquility of niche single-family neighborhoods like Northern Hills, Turtle Creek Park and Turtle Creek Bend. When the owner of a Dallas restaurant is an accomplished chef found in the kitchen or at the front of the house, one has the confidence that every dinner and experience will be fabulous. Abraham prepares a monthly menu that longtime patrons are eager to see unveiled. Diners of high net wealth might be seated next to museum directors, artists or doctors. There is an ecumenical calm that shows that above all else Dallas loves quality, service and civility.
At all five of these Dallas restaurants, one knows they have come to the right place. After dining, they leave knowing Dallas a little bit better.