Dallas residents dine out on a frequent basis, thanks to living in a city with thousands of restaurants with cuisines that run the gamut — from no-frills taco joints to the finest steakhouses in the nation. Whether you’re visiting Dallas for the first time or you’re a longtime citizen, here are eight restaurant recommendations that represent a great cross-section of local favorites that never disappoint, including tacos, frozen margaritas, burgers, BBQ and chicken–fried steak. You’ll also find quick and easy links for ordering takeout and delivery.
1. Fuel City
Located near Downtown Dallas, you might not realize right away that the massive gas station and car wash in front of you also slings some of the best street tacos in town. Choose from a variety of fillings (steak or chicken fajita, spicy picadillo, pork al pastor) all nestled in a warm flour or corn tortilla with chopped onions and cilantro — all for less than $2 apiece. The taqueria is cash–only, so make sure to hit up an ATM on your way, then enjoy a classic Dallas meal in your car or on the patio overlooking a pasture with longhorn cattle.
Order takeout directly from either the outside or inside window, or order delivery from one of Fuel City’s other area locations.
The world’s first frozen margarita machine resides in the Smithsonian Institution, but you can still sip on one of the famous icy tequila drinks at the restaurant where it all began. In addition to pouring superb margaritas, Mariano’s in Lake Highlands and multiple locations of its sister, La Hacienda Ranch restaurants, serve up a variety of traditional Tex-Mex staples. Start with creamy Queso Mariano studded with ground beef, guacamole and sour cream before moving on to local favorites like enchiladas, flautas and mesquite-grilled fajitas. And maybe another margarita.
Order curbside takeout or DoorDash delivery from any of the locations.
If you’re in the mood for good, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, this University Park fast-casual restaurant feels a bit like stepping back in time to a bygone era, from the 1950s-style decor to being greeted with a smile. Even though you order food from a counter, your food will be delivered piping–hot to your table, whether you’re indulging in bacon-egg-and-cheese biscuits or pancakes for breakfast, or fried chicken, chicken–fried steak and a variety of blue–plate specials for lunch and dinner. Crowd-pleasing sides, including mashed potatoes, ambrosia fruit salad and black-eyed peas, come along for the ride.
Order curbside or takeout by calling 214-373-6527 or visit the drive-through.
4. Pecan Lodge
Dallas definitely doesn’t have a shortage of BBQ restaurants, but this Deep Ellum joint near Downtown Dallas consistently wows everyone who waits in sometimes-long lines to sample its smoked meats. Always order brisket and handmade sausage, as well as the incredible mac ’n’ cheese. Then add on a few other things to truly get a diverse cross-section of all that’s great about Texas barbecue. Of course, you can always get The Trough, which has a little bit of everything on one (really big) plate.
This charming French-style bistro has been a popular spot in 2020 because of its pleasant street-side patio, perfect for social distancing in the open air. Situated in the heart of Oak Lawn, and close enough to be a favorite of Highland Park residents, this quaint eatery serves a variety of delectable dishes from its small craft kitchen overseen by chef-owner Janice Provost. Guests can delight in the fine-dining vibe but in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Make sure to try the deviled eggs or classic escargot to start; the lobster sandwich, fresh grilled catch of the day or the chef’s special for your main course; and the famous, ooey-gooey Chocolate Glob for dessert, or a slice of heavenly pie baked by local artisan J.R. Brown, each of which can be paired perfectly with wine or cocktails.
Order curbside or delivery by Alto by placing your order directly with the restaurant at 214-521-0295.
Every city has its go-to place for burgers, and this Northwest Highway location has been an East Dallas staple ever since it opened more than 50 years ago. Drive up to the building and park under the awning, turn on your lights and a carhop will appear at your window to take your order for beefy cheeseburgers on poppy–seed buns (or you can request regular buns), made-to-order onion rings and thick milkshakes to accompany your meal. Get anything smothered in chili, too. (Well, maybe not the milkshake.)
Order takeout directly from a carhop and enjoy at home or from the comfort of your car.
World-class steakhouses and Dallas make for one really good match — and either the SMU-adjacent original or the newer Plano location of Knife showcase the beefy expertise of celebrity chef John Tesar. With an in-house aging program, you’ll find some of the most mouthwatering steaks and burgers imaginable, with must-try options including flights of bacon, beef or tuna tartare and truly remarkable cuts from the exotic side of the menu, which includes an unforgettable 240-day-aged bone-in ribeye.
Normally a must-order at the State Fair of Texas, the famous fare from this family-run business is becoming available at multiple pop-up events throughout the year, so that die-hard fans of the deep–fried hot dog on a stick can get their fix — with mustard, ketchup or perfectly plain. Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs have held a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike since 1942, and it’s nice that you no longer have to wait until the fall to grab hold of one.