The Best Meals We Ate in Dallas This Year

It’s been a delicious year. From beautiful cuts of beef to desserts so delicate they’ll bring a tear to your eye; we’re sharing the top 12 bites of the last year. Some of the dishes are from new neighborhood hotspots and others seem to be standing the test of time. Let’s dig in!

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Dallas Best Bites Au Troisieme
Photo courtesy of Au Troisieme

1. Fried Green Tomatoes at Au Troisieme

My southern roots are showing, but I absolutely swooned when I spotted this classic down-home dish on the menu at the recently opened Preston Center bistro. The key to a killer FGT is the right ratio of crunchy to veggie, and this one hit the spot. Paired with pimento cheese, roasted poblano and carrot and dill aioli, it was truly tough to sit back and wait for others to take one so I could go in for seconds.

Dallas Best Bites. A close-up image of two slices of The Royal French Dip sandwich with french fries at Brentwood
Photo courtesy of Vandelay Hospitality

2. The Royal French Dip at Brentwood

If I’m going north of Highway 635 for a meal, the food better be superior, and this French dip was dynamite. Gruyere, balsamic glaze, and horseradish cream compliment the beef to give the sandwich some serious flavor. The au jus dipping sauce provides the slam dunk to an already divine dish. Every time I order this, it feels like even the finest roast beef and provolone sub’s much more sophisticated stepbrother. Here. For. It.

Dallas Best Bites Carbone or Vino
Photo courtesy of Major Food Group

3. Spicy Rigatoni Vodka at Carbone or Vino

Word that the foodie famous Italian institution from New York-based Major Food Group was coming to Dallas traveled through town at record speed. Everyone wanted a taste of the spicy rigatoni vodka, and it lived up to the hype. It is the ultimate reminder that sometimes the simplest of dishes can be unforgettable when well executed.

Unable to snag a reservation at Carbone? Here’s a hot tip: Major Food Group’s Vino is next door and offers this dish on its menu. Been there, tried both. *Chef’s kiss*.

Dallas Best Bites. Image of five plates of the Pu Pu Platter at Elephant East
Photo courtesy of Elephant East

4. Pu Pu Platter at Elephant East

The Harwood District delivered a powerful Pan-Asian influenced restaurant in 2022. And while the vibe is right, and the cocktails are ice cold, it was the sampler of dishes offered in this elevated appetizer that had me coming back again and again. Fresh spring rolls, crispy pork spareribs, chicken satay, bang bang shrimp and Vietnamese nems make this the ultimate appetizer to order in Dallas when enjoying a fun night out with friends. It’s served on a rotating plate that makes it easily sharable.

Dallas Best Bites Il Bracco
Photo courtesy of Il Bracco

5. Italian Sundae at Il Bracco

A meal at this Preston Center Italian eatery never disappoints. Not only are you enjoying whipped ricotta with fantastic focaccia and spicy gemelli, but you also have dessert to look forward to. This delicious dessert features vanilla ice cream and whipped cream topped with olive oil, sea salt and chopped pistachios. It’s so light you could almost go for another, and if you do, no judgement here.

Dallas Best Bites. A close-up image of Smoked Brisket slices at The Douglas
Photo courtesy of The Douglas

6. Smoked Brisket at The Douglas

I don’t eat a lot of barbecue these days, since I am a mom of three and don’t have time to stand in an hour-long line in order to get my lunch. And so you can imagine my delight when this University Park spot opened its doors by barbecue big shot Doug Pickering. While the pimento cheese was divine and the banana pudding was downright delicious, it was the signature brisket that lingered in my mind post meal. The Texas Wagyu is smoked for 18 hours over oak and hickory, and the marbling is magnificent but not overwhelming. And the best part? I got to sit at a cozy booth with friends and order martinis while waiting. No lines or being served greasy beef on a paper plate. Can we make sitting down and enjoying brisket over cocktails and conversation a thing in 2023, please?

Dallas Best Bites Kessaku
Photo courtesy of Kessaku

7. Spicy Salmon Roll at Kessaku

Located on the 50th floor of The National, this cosmopolitian cocktail lounge is serving up some serious sushi. And with a name meaning “masterpiece” in Japanese, I was ready to call its bluff. While all the rolls were divine, the spicy salmon roll lived up to the restaurant’s name. Give me all the salmon, eel, and avocado, please and thank you! Need another roll to fill up on? If the spicy salmon roll is Bonnie, the king crab roll is its Clyde.

Dallas Best Bites. Small plates of Fajitas at Las Palmas.
Photo by Kathy Tran

8. Fajitas at Las Palmas

Do you ever eat something and immediately know that a new bar has been set? That is exactly what happened the first time I ordered the fajita fiesta from this Uptown Tex Mex spot. With large pieces of shrimp, chicken and steak, the sizzling dish of dynamite proteins comes with homemade, hot tortilla, refried beans and rice, cheese, pico, guac and bone marrow butter. This isn’t your grandma’s fajita plate; however, I know she’d love them anyway.

Dallas Best Bites. Image of the Cacio e Pepe Pizza at Pizzana.
Photo courtesy of Pizzana

9. Cacio e Pepe Pizza at Pizzana

I am the least patient person you will ever meet, but even I can hold out for chef Daniele Uditi’s “slow dough” Neo-neapolitan pies at this brand-new Knox District dining destination. These light and easy-to-digest crusts make it easier to load up on more substantial toppers. Case in point? The cacio e peppe pie that is unlike anything I’ve experienced on a pie before.  The creamy, cheesy goodness is best not described, but experienced. Trust me.

Dallas Best Bites. Close-up shot of Shrimp Cocktail with tortilla chips at Escondido.

10. Shrimp Cocktail at Escondido

Only in Texas is it completely normal to eat Tex-Mex twice in one day. And while I’ve lived in Texas for a decade, I truly cannot get down with it as naturally as my husband can. This sets the scene for our inaugural trip to Escondido when I had already devoured some very average brisket tacos at another restaurant earlier in the day. I wanted something light and healthy-ish. It was then that I went outside of my normal shrimp taco comfort zone and ordered their take on the shrimp cocktail. With gorgeous poached shrimp, citrus cocktail sauce, and lump avocado bites, I devoured it immediately. And while I didn’t eat the chips it came with; my son used them to finish off our table’s order of piping hot queso. Win, win.

Dallas Best Bites Rise Souffle. Picture of a pumpkin souffle and mini pumpkins placed around it.
Photo courtesy of Rise Souffle

11. Pumpkin Souffle at Rise No. 1

I stopped ordering pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks about a decade ago when I gained about 10 pounds from those drinks alone in the fall of 2012. And although I enjoy the annual piece of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, I generally do not eat much pumpkin. That is until I got a wild hair at a preschool moms meet up and ordered the seasonal souffle from Dallas’ most beloved ladies that lunch destination. The authentic flavors made the dish seem less sinful, all the more reason to pile on the cream anglaise and whipped cream that’s served on the side. It’s magic in a ramekin, people.

Dallas Best Bites Meridian

12. Oysters at Meridian

Born and bred on the coast of North Carolina, I still have saltwater coursing through my veins. So naturally, when this Village charmer by Junior Borges offers East Coast oysters, I order them. Flown in fresh from a plethora of places and served by the half dozen, they are beautifully dressed with a gooseberry, Thai chili and a rose mignonette. They quite simply transport you to the ocean, or wherever your happy place happens to be. And isn’t that, at the end of the day, what a good dish does for us all?

diana oates

Dallas Editor

Diana Oates is a freelance writer living in Dallas with her husband and three kids. When she’s not telling you about the best new restaurant in town or the hottest hotel to escape...