There’s no doubt that DFW is awash in buzz-worthy restaurants, but being the hottest meal ticket in town isn’t always synonymous with good food. Here are five of DFW’s most talked about eateries where the gastronomic delights thoroughly live up to all of the hype.
408 W. 8th St., Suite 101
Dallas, TX 75208
www.luciadallas.comEver since David Uygur and his wife Jennifer opened up this 36-seat Bishop Arts bistro in 2010, it has been consistently winning rave reviews from diners and restaurant critics alike. Uygur’s ingenious interpretation of Italian cuisine even scored him a 2014 James Beard Foundation nomination in the Best Chef: Southwest category. Something as simple as the salumi misti which features Uygar’s thinly shaved house-cured meats are enough to warrant a prize on its own. But the culinary delights don’t stop there. Other highlights include a decadent cocoa tagliatelle with braised duck and foie gras, and a heavenly Berkshire pork jowl with cream peas. Even desserts are top notch as well. With a dynamically changing menu and a one- to two-month wait for a table, Lucia is undeniably one of Dallas’ hottest meal tickets.
The Ritz Carlton Dallas
2121 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75201
www.fearingsrestaurant.comThe Daily Meal named Fearing’s one of the best restaurants in America and Esquire named it the best restaurant of the year. In fact, Fearing’s Restaurant in the Ritz Carlton has earned numerous awards, as has its celebrity executive chef Dean Fearing. If that’s not enough to persuade you that this restaurant is worth the hype, then the five-star food, ambiance and wine selection will. Fearing’s innovative take on southwestern cuisine is legendary. Everyone knows about his famous tortilla soup. But there’s more than tortillas in Fearing’s roster. Broiled black cod with crispy pork belly, pan roasted spicy beef filet with chicken fried Maine lobster and chorizo street tacos with fried avocado are just a few of the wildly exciting items that make this place worthy of all of the praise.
2702 Main St.
Dallas, TX 75226
www.pecanlodge.comHusband-and-wife duo Justin and Diane Fourton knew they had a knack for grilling, but they probably never dreamed that what started three years ago as a small BBQ stand and catering operation in the Dallas Farmers Market would create such a cult following. The cue is so good here that Texas Monthly named Pecan Lodge one of the top BBQ joints in the state. It’s even been featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” And to top it all off—before Pecan Lodge moved into its huge 4,850-square-foot Deep Ellum digs, its ever-expanding fan base had to wait for hours just to get their fix of house-made sausages, mesquite smoked brisket and ribs.
2869 Crockett St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 916- 5300
www.afandbfortworth.comFort Worth is fast becoming one the metroplex’s foodie hotspots thanks to a slew of new restaurants— including AF+B— which was already receiving plenty of hype even before it opened this past January. Much of the well-deserved accolades go to the restaurant’s executive chef, Jeff Harris—who was responsible for putting Oak Cliff’s beloved Bolsa on the map. Harris’ modern Texas cuisine takes items like Scotch eggs and elevates them with a layer of spicy house-made chorizo. His blackened snapper marries nicely with white beans, kale, clams and a fragrant gremolata. Even grass-fed burgers get a delicious kick from Veldhuizen cheddar and sherry onions. Along with Harris at the helm is Laurel Wimberg, one of the most talented pastry chefs in the metroplex, whose prior stints include Craft and Lark on the Park. Expect to be further wowed with Wimberg’s sweet corn cake with blueberries, lemon curd and corn ice cream.
1400 W. Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104
www.facebook.com/Nonna-TataPerhaps no other Italian restaurant in DFW has received as much exposure as Nonna Tata, named after owner/chef Donatella Trotti’s Italian grandmother. Trotti is not your usual chef— in fact, she wasn’t ever a chef before opening this tiny 22-seat bistro back in 2006. There’s not a wine list, it’s all BYOB, including the glasses. And you won’t find your typical spaghetti and meatballs here either. What you will find is delicious Northern Italian home cooking, showcasing everything from grilled calamari with parsley pesto to tagliata with sliced tenderloin and truffle oil. If you’re still not sure what the buzz is all about, join the crowds that line up Tuesday through Friday for one of the most memorable Italian feasts that can be had outside of Italy.