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Dallas + Fort Worth Restaurants

4511 McKinney Avenue
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 559 3111

When this foodie landmark opened in 1999, the combination of celebrity chef Kent Rathbun's Asian-Southwestern-Parisian fusion menu, the wackily geometrized but impeccably finished Miami-meets-Kyoto decor, and the gourmet glitterati crowd seemed almost insufferably chic. But Abacus has toned it down with age. A muted palate of cream, champagne, and brown now highlights new artwork, mostly by servers from the restaurant. The signature starter here is the lobster "shooter," a little lobster-filled deep-fried dumpling chugged from a shot glass full of chili-spiced coconut curry cream and sake. Pork belly is all the rage these days, and here it's crisply seared, with tamarind barbecue glaze and so-called "Thai style" pickled English cucumbers. There's also a full sushi menu in addition to the small plates and big plates. The menu changes frequently based on the seasonality of ingredients.

Open Mondays through Thursdays 6 to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 6 to 11 pm.

Al Biernat's
4217 Oak Lawn Avenue
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 219 2201

Dallas is a city of steak houses, and this is perhaps the most classic. Come here for a look into old-boy Dallas and its cigar-smoking fat cats—though you won't see them lighting up after the city's smoking ban. Steak is the real focus, so steer clear of the seafood options, or try one of the more ambitious game entrées, such as elk fillet with a shiitake port-wine reduction. The wine list here shows an intense New World focus, so there will be no shortage of big California wines to complement your hunk of beef. Keep an eye out for the corporate groups dining at tables of 20; they're hard to miss amid the dark woods and low lighting. Al Biernat himself is a ubiquitous presence, greeting everyone who walks through the door.

Open Mondays through Fridays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm, Saturdays 5:30 to 11 pm, and Sundays 5:30 to 9 pm.

Angelo's Bar-B-Que
2533 White Settlement Road
Fort Worth , Texas
Tel: 817 332 0357

In business since 1958, Angelo's has managed to become an institution (you can even find its dry rub in supermarkets now) without losing the respect of the notoriously picky Texas BBQ cognoscenti. The barnlike establishment remains no-fuss and a lot of muss. A couple of great big smoky rooms crammed with the stuffed heads of big-horned ungulates find faithful customers queuing up for the signature hickory-smoked pork ribs, crusty on the outside and falling-off-the-bone-tender inside (presented on a Styrofoam plate with beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and the legendary spicy sauce). They serve the ribs until they run out, which can often be before they shut off the spigots on the trademark ultracold beer at 10 p.m.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 11 am to 10 pm.

2708 Routh Street
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 871 1924

Sardinian cuisine in Dallas? You'd better believe it. Efisio and Francesco Farris import ingredients to create authentic Italian cuisine. They brag that Sardinian food is the simple food of the simple people there. The menu, however, does feature some dishes that are anything but simple, like handmade semolina dumplings with a ragù of braised baby lamb, or linguine with clams, tomatoes, garlic, and bottarga (the cured roe that's the specialty of Sardinia, nicknamed "Sardinian caviar"). A wood-fired pizza oven makes for a beautiful centerpiece; a bar area appeals to its fair share of attractive Dallasites. Arcodoro shares its space with Pomodoro, a more formal restaurant with a less relaxing ambience, also manned by the Farris brothers.

Open Tuesdays through Thursdays 11 am to 2 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm, Fridays 11 am to 2 pm and 5:30 to 11 pm, Saturdays 5:30 to 11 pm, and Sundays 5:30 to 10 pm.

4216 Oak Lawn Avenue
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 528 9400

Aurora is still a contender in Dallas's superheated dining universe: an intimate, Paris-style food shrine where globe-trotting gourmets can deconstruct a celebrity chef's riffs on cutting-edge culinary techniques. Aurora even adds an element of performance art: You enter the minimalist, 12-table dining room through a velvet curtain to find Avner Samuel and his all-star staff showing off their chops behind an enormous glass screen that presents the gleaming stainless-steel kitchen as the set of a restaurant-based reality show. Mere appetizers can evoke a world tour, like the Iranian osetra caviar on a Yukon potato chibouste. Entrées, such as the Ruti de Colorado lamb rib and saddle fillet with potato truffle galette, combine Samuel's polished French technique with distinctively American fare.

Open Mondays through Fridays 11:30 am to 2 pm and 5:30 to 9 pm, Saturdays 5:30 to 9 pm.

W Hotel - Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane
Suite 100
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 397 4111

Tom Colicchio isn't just a cutting-edge practitioner of the ingredients-first movement, he's practically the founder. This, the second outpost of his NYC institution, is one of the hottest tables in town. Soaring windows and muted natural colors flow through the big open space, but the mix-and-match minimalist menu is famously laissez-faire, putting all the focus on the ingredients. Your ordering task is to pick your protein and your sauce, so much of the meal's success is in your hands. Many of the more savory dishes are particularly good; pork belly melts in your mouth, and wild boar short ribs are impressive, but sweetbreads can come out slightly dry. Service is spotty, giving you the definite sense that success has gone to the staff's heads. Our last visit saw the dining room at a frigid temperature, and we had a server who seemed indifferent to the vintages listed on the wine list. And keep in mind that the bill is inevitably pretty steep. Still, the hot-table designation is deserved; this is Dallas's ante for the 21st-century game.

Open Sundays through Thursdays 6:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 10:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 6:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 11 pm.

2121 McKinney Avenue
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 922 0200

Chef Dean Fearing has transferred his trademark Southwestern style from the Mansion on Turtle Creek to the Ritz-Carlton. You can have your dinner (or lunch) in any of the seven uniquely designed rooms that make up the restaurant. They span styles: One room is a trendy spot with flashy art and grown-up Southern belles decked out in their best gold jewelry, while another is a more muted grown-up version featuring beige furniture with classy black stripes. An outdoor section—which should never be attempted during the summer months—features low seating around a cozy fireplace. Tortilla soup, famous at the Mansion, is still on this menu, as are other south-of-the-border-infused offerings, including buffalo tenderloin on jalapeño grits and chicken-fried Maine lobster on Queso Fresco corn potatoes.

Open Mondays through Thursdays, 6:30 to 11 am, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and 6 to 10:30 pm, Fridays 6:30 to 11 am, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and 6 to 11 pm, Saturdays 6:30 am to 3 pm and 6 to 11 pm, and Sundays 6:30 am to 3 pm and 6 to 10 pm.

Highland Park Pharmacy
3229 Knox Street
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 521 2126

The Highland Park Pharmacy is proof that the culinary avant-garde is not completely sweeping Dallas. There are still any number of distinguished retro-food spots dishing up artery-assaulting home-style cooking, traditional favorites like chicken-fried steak, and big greasy breakfasts and lunches. But it doesn't get any more authentically retro than the Highland Park Pharmacy, a working drugstore that has been in business at its quaint street-corner location since 1912. Take a stool at the old-fashioned soda fountain–lunch counter for a grilled cheese on white bread along with a chocolate soda, thick shake, or root beer float. It's nothing less than time travel.

Open Mondays through Fridays 7 am to 6 pm, Saturdays 9 am to 5:30 pm.

Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana
3405 W. 7th Street
Fort Worth , Texas
Tel: 817 850 9996

In this warm, hacienda-style space, chef Lanny Lancarte, a Fort Worth native, prepares his alta cocina mexicana, which in this case translates to fusion cuisine. He likes to combine Texan ingredients with Mexican and international ones, as in elk loin with mole colorado and gnocchi, or foie gras with pan de nuez. The extensive wine list has a refreshing, exciting focus on South American wines, and their pairings let you dig deeper into their cellar than your budget would normally allow. Tequila options are broad as well, and premeal cocktails include the creative Margaritas, such as one made with Sangria. The lunch menu features tapas and a number of cemitas, Mexican sandwiches on sesame-seed rolls. Although the vibe is casual, prices can climb fairly high; most main dishes hover around $40.

Open Tuesdays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 2 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm, Fridays 11:30 am to 2 pm and 5:30 to 10:30 pm, Saturdays 5:30 to 10:30 pm.

Lonesome Dove Western Bistro
2406 N. Main Street
Fort Worth , Texas
Tel: 817 740 8810

Celebrity chef and cookbook author Tim Love evokes the trail-drive era with cowhide throw rugs, raw brick walls, and the 19th-century-style molded tin roof of his bustling restaurant in the historic Stockyards District. But the cuisine, widely regarded as Fort Worth's best, isn't something you're likely to find on the chuck wagon. Start with Boursin-stuffed kangaroo carpaccio nachos or grilled duck quesadillas, then move on to Love's signature roasted garlic-stuffed beef tenderloin with Western plaid hash, grilled asparagus, and Syrah demi-glace—or maybe just a humongous buy-by-the-ounce, hand-cut buffalo rib-eye steak with a dollop of lime–serrano pepper butter on top.

Open Mondays 5 to 10 pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5 to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 5 to 11 pm.

Love Shack
110 E. Exchange Avenue
Fort Worth , Texas
Tel: 817 740 8812

This Fort Worth institution is a funky&compound. You order your burgers at the counter and then explore any part of the multilevel entertainment complex, ranging from movie theaters to live music venues. The burgers, equal parts tenderloin and brisket, are served dry (no dressing, no condiments) unless you specify otherwise. If burgers aren't your thing, opt for one of the hot dogs, like the flying dog, a chicken and apple bratwurst. Shakes are another classic here, with one daily designated flavor. If you're up for a kitschy, utterly Fort Worth–style evening, this is the way to go. For something international, or trendy, stay away.

Open Sundays through Wednesdays 11:30 am to 10 pm, Thursdays 11:30 am to 11 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 am to 1 am.

Sonny Bryan's
2202 Inwood Road
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 357 7120

This place is a testament to why Texans feel they have a monopoly on the barbecue market. Have a bite here, and you'll find yourself convinced, too. For starters, the atmosphere is dead-on. The inside is dark, walls are covered with soot, and you can just feel (and smell) the years of smoke this place has endured. Sonny Bryan's serves legendarily tender, smoky ribs; crispy onion rings; and classic barbecue sides like coleslaw, potato salad, and mac and cheese. And the appeal of the place transcends class: You'll see all types in Sonny Bryan's. Although a chain has sprouted from this famous name, the luster of the original is not lost. Stay away from the impostors, and stick to Inwood. (And if Dallas is your only stop in Texas, this recommendation goes double.)

Open Mondays through Fridays 10 am to 4 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 3 pm.

York Street
6047 Lewis Street
Dallas , Texas
Tel: 214 826 0968

The unassuming location of this tiny dining room in the Lakewood area hides what's really going on in the kitchen. The menu changes daily, and every dish is thoughtfully conceived, with carefully selected ingredients. Some call it Texan—presumably because of the number of locally sourced ingredients—but this foodie favorite really defies categorization. Some dishes are a bit challenging, like veal hearts, or a duck salad with bits of tongue; others are more pedestrian, such as a simple steamed salmon. Regardless, most tend to be crowd-pleasers. The tiny space ensures a romantic and intimate dining experience, and you'll see many residents of the nearby yuppie neighborhood among the clientele.

Open Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays 6 to 10 pm, Wednesdays 11:30 am to 2 pm and 6 to 10 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.