Dallas Eats: Locals Dish the Must-Try Restaurants and Cafes


Maybe you’ve been living in Dallas for years and are looking for new restaurants to try out, or you’re new to the Big D and you’ve yet to discover some true hidden gems – regardless, you’ve come to the right place. 

We got the insider scoop from Dallas locals for some of the best bites in the city. So whether you’re renting an apartment in Dallas, already own a home in the city, or are considering moving to the area, you’ll want to check out some of these top Dallas eats.

Enjoy good eats and good vibes at Hotel Drover

“If you want to experience the Neon West at its finest, Hotel Drover is the place to check out. When you walk into their lobby, it feels like you’re walking onto the set of Yellowstone, yet in Texas,” says Dallas-based photographer, Dixie Dixon. “With tons of spaces to lounge and enjoy, I love the Backyard where you can make s’mores by one of their many firepits, listen to hip local artists, and grab cocktails at their horse trailer bar.” 

Dixon continues: “I really enjoy dining at their restaurant 97 West. You should definitely try the Tomahawk Steak and 97 West burger – they’re both absolutely delicious. Lastly, while staying there, you have to walk around Mule Alley, which is filled with tons of great western shops, restaurants, and bars.” Whether you’re looking for a staycation or a new go-to place for great drinks, yummy food, and wonderful vibes, hop on over to check out this spot in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Eat your heart out at El Rincon

El Rincon is a locally owned Mexican kitchen and tequila bar. Everything including their fresh scratch-made salsa, delicious margaritas, and daily happy hour specials make it a must-try hidden gem restaurant in Dallas,” dishes local blogger Doreen Heake. “My favorite item on the menu is the Nachos Locos. It has fresh queso and chipotle sauce drizzled on a bed of tortilla chips with pico de gallo, black beans, jalapeños, and your choice of protein.” 

Get caffeinated at White Rock Coffee

Whether you drink coffee as fuel for a big day or because you love the taste, you’ll want to try out White Rock Coffee, which has multiple locations from Preston Hollow to downtown Dallas.

“This is my favorite hidden gem in Dallas,” raves Dallas-based Kelsey LaNae Photography. “A must-try menu item is a blended caramel latte – it’s what got me hooked on coffee. Now, it’s still my go-to drink, and I love grabbing one on my way to photograph a big wedding day.”

Visit Detour Doughnuts for some of the most delicious eats in Dallas

If you have a sweet tooth like North Dallas photographer Catie Ronquillo Wood, then you’ll love one of her favorite spots for sweet treats, Detour Doughnuts. This POC women-owned business is located just North of Dallas and offers unique flavor combinations featuring new options each month. Flavors such as That Tea Coconut and Blueberry Goat Cheese will surprise your taste buds and might make Detour Doughnuts your new go-to shop when you’re craving something sweet or after you grab dinner in Dallas.

top Dallas eats pasta and salad

Partenope Ristorante serves up authentic Southern Italian cuisine

“My favorite hidden gem for Dallas eats is Partenope Ristorante, located on the corner of Main and North Saint Paul downtown. Parking is a challenge, but you’ll want to find yourself a spot because they have some of the best traditional Italian dishes you’ll find in DFW,” raves Dallas-based photographer Monika Normand.

“Chef Dino Santonicola is incredible. Their wood fire oven makes all their pizzas and handmade dough absolutely delicious, but I’m going to direct you over to the Penne di Parmigiano e Funghi because it is hands down the best thing on the menu. They also have a fabulous wine and cocktail menu.”

Marie Gabrielle offers gorgeous scenery and alfresco dining

Who doesn’t love a restaurant with an amazing ambiance? If dining outside in a lush garden with photo-worthy bites and drinks sounds up your alley, then you’ll love this recommendation for top Dallas eats from local blogger Ellen of The Perennial Style

Marie Gabrielle is one of my favorite hidden gems in Dallas. Dining Alfresco in this 1.5-acre lush garden oasis is always such a serene experience that you almost forget you’re in the middle of the bustling Harwood District,” shares Ellen. “The atmosphere at Marie Gabrielle can’t be beat – plus it makes a picture-perfect backdrop for any occasion.”

Indulge in tasty bites at Nubias Drive Thru

If you’re looking to take a break from your typical sit-down restaurant, consider checking out Nubias Drive Thru. You’ll find them serving up delicious tacos and candy-filled drinks. 

This hidden gem in Dallas is one of local blogger Gabe Vasquez’s favorite Mexican spots in the city. “Not only is the food amazing, but talk about Instagram-worthy food and drinks. I recommend the Mangonada and Elotes to start and finish it up with their Birria Pizza, you won’t be disappointed!”

delicious BBQ dallas eats

Maple Landing is a must-try for those new (and native) to Dallas

Located in the Medical District of Dallas, this casual neighborhood bar dishes up some of the tastiest BBQ in town. And although they specialize in brisket, they also specialize in bourbon, burgers, and beer, so there’s something for everyone here. “My absolute must-try hidden gem in Dallas is Maple Landing. This is the perfect place for a chill, relaxing atmosphere and really good food,” raves local Dani Adams Barry Photography

“The decor is a wonderful mix of eye candy from part of a place to a Christmas tree. I swear I always notice something new each time I visit. My ultimate favorite item on the menu is their brisket tacos – I’ll make special trips for these.”

Trompo’s tasty tacos are top-notch

“One of my favorite hidden gems in Dallas is a restaurant called Trompo. They are best known for their tacos al pastor, but my favorite from their restaurant is barbacoa tacos,” shares Dallas-based photographer Monica Salazar. “If you want to try authentic Mexican street tacos, then Trompo is a must. While you’re there, you should try a few other items on their menu, such as the barbacoa empalme, campechana quesadilla, and elote en vaso (corn in a cup). Don’t forget to order a Mexican Coke or Topo Chico to go with it.”

They have recently relocated so be sure to stop for a tasty bite to eat at Trompo’s new location as you’re exploring Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood.

Revelers Hall is truly a hidden gem in the Dallas food scene

“The streets of the Bishop Arts District are unique and artsy, perfect for a date night or hanging out with your friends. As a photographer, it’s also a perfect spot for a lifestyle photoshoot in front of one of the unique shops. My favorite place to go on Sunday afternoons is Revelers Hall, a small intimate bar in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas,” shares local photographer Annette Matthews

“I highly recommend this place if you’re looking for a live jazz band and a good drink. The best part is that they have their own band, The Revelers Hall Band. This band brings in the sounds of New Orleans Second Line Band right through your table, literally.”

Looking for delicious Dallas eats? Try Rathbun’s Curbside BBQ

Another hidden gem in Dallas for mouthwatering BBQ is Rathburn’s Curbside BBQ. “Celebrity chef Kent Rathbun has quite the resume of the fine dining experience. In the midst of the pandemic his curbside BBQ trailer was born and it doesn’t disappoint, but I don’t think a critic would expect anything less,” raves local photographer Brandi Mollica

“From pecan smoked beef tenderloin to cedar plank salmon, there’s something for everyone. However, if you’re looking to enjoy some BBQ on the weekend, take note that only to-go orders are offered. Grab a plate for the road and find a spot on the Katy trail to enjoy your food, soak up the sun, and people watch while you eat.”

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