Dallas is known for a lot of things, and one of those is its vibrant restaurant scene. With SMU’s location in the heart of the city I have had lots of opportunity over the past few years to indulge my “foodie” side.
To give you an idea of some of the great options available, I have highlighted four of my favorite restaurants in the city to give you some ideas about places you might want to check out on a date, with parents, or to celebrate a special occasion. They aren’t the fanciest in town, but they aren’t the cheapest either. What are they then, you ask? Delicious. So, since picking favorites is far too difficult, here are a few places I would recommend (in no particular order):
HG SPLY Co. – Situated in Lower Greenville, a rather lively part of town with a lot of quality competition, HG SPLY Co. stands out for its great ambiance, friendly service, and emphasis on natural ingredients. If that last point scares you, fret not—it doesn’t come with any flavor compromises. My recommendation would be one of the bowls, particularly one called “The Stack”, but everything I have had there has been great so you can’t go wrong. The bar is a hit as well with a number of creative cocktail options. The only big downside? It’s not a last minute sort of place. High demand is certainly better than the opposite problem though, so if you have time to plan ahead you should put this one on your list.
Meso Maya – Tex-Mex is comfort food for me, so there was bound to be something from this genre on the list. That being said, Meso Maya is on here not because it fits the mold, but because it has pulled away from it. There are any number of “cheap Tex-Mex” places I could have mentioned, most of which are fantastic. But this list is about quality, and that brings us to Meso Maya on the edge of uptown near the Perot museum. The restaurant moves a little more upscale from your typical Mexican food place while also pushing towards the more authentic end of the spectrum. I recommend the seafood enchiladas, but if your tastes differ explore the menu for yourself—I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Sissy’s – Located on Henderson Ave., another popular restaurant zone, Sissy’s will take you home for some good old fashioned fried chicken. Make no mistake though… this is no KFC. The restaurant walks a tightrope between elegance and hominess, pulling it off with style. If fried chicken just isn’t your thing, they specialize in all things southern, so there is sure to be something on the menu for you. It’s not a huge place, so if you can’t find a table just take a seat at the bar—they will make you feel right at home there too. It may be finger-licking good, but be sure to save some room for milk and cookies (there is an adult version for those of age) at the end of the meal.
R+D Kitchen – Tucked away in a back corner of Preston Center, R+D Kitchen isn’t a place you might stumble upon driving around and searching for a restaurant. But believe me, it is well worth an intentional trip. With a dimly lit, intimate atmosphere and a bar running through the middle of the restaurant that almost makes it feel like an elegant diner, the décor won’t disappoint. The menu is primarily American style, but sushi and other more eclectic offerings are also available. The chef and staff clearly take great pride in their work, and it shows in the food. The Carnitas Sandwich and The Newporter salad are two of my favorites. Add in top-notch service and it quickly becomes apparent that they have a recipe for success.
This list is certainly not exhaustive, but hopefully it gives you some ideas of places to start after arriving in Dallas. If you start exploring I have no doubt you will have your own list in no time!