The Dallas Fort Worth area is a bit like the Gemini zodiac; it has two faces! The city can be sleek and sophisticated, but also down-home country. I've read that Dallas has four times more restaurants (from eclectic to traditional) per person than even NYC. Food groups in Texas consist of: chicken fried steak, Tex-Mex, BBQ, and steak. Beef...It's what's for dinner here that's for sure!
When my husband and I first got married, I became a Zagat member for fun. To me the Zagat is like a gastronomic bible! I love to get the little books in the mail that tell you the best places to eat all around the world. It has proved to be very useful (even though we mostly cook at home) for those special occasions.
Please consider this Part One of Ashley's lucky thirteen gastronomic guide. I am thoughtful of quality, flavor, value, family, and pizzazz! Food is a delicious hobby and happy part of who I am. Come...Eat, Drink, and be merry with me!
1. Stephan Pyles The perfect place to eat before a show in the arts district. Stephan Pyles himself came over to an "eager to see Abba in concert" table to check on us. The southwestern cuisine will wow you with: stylish presentation, southwestern décor, but most importantly taste. What's popular? Chef Pyles' ceviche, caesar salad (taste the cumin), wood burning pizzas, and cowboy ribeye with red chile onion rings. If having dinner for two I suggest eating at the bar for a view and smell of the kitchen and wood burning oven. Eat your heart out Bobby Flay!
1807 Ross Ave. (St. Paul St.) Dallas, TX 214-580-7000 www.stephanpyles.com
2. Babe's I was a Babe's hostess in Roanoke for a short breath after high school. I never felt so silly wearing cute sandals instead of tennis shoes to work because the lines start forming around 4:30. Babe's is heaven for those who enjoy comfort food. Pick your comfort: pot roast (my favorite), fried chicken, chicken fried steak...What's even better is that Babe's is more child friendly than McDonald's! Once inside, children have plenty of time to do the hokey pokey and count the chickens (before they hatch out of their seats). But, if it's too hot to wait in line outside you can order and get it to go. When you do wait, bring a cooler because it's BYO. It's not possible to leave Babe's hungry!" This is the perfect place to take your family and visitors. After all, it is "family style!" http://www.babeschicken.com/
Photo: Ashley's son, Quincy enjoying Babe's mashed potatoes.
3. Nonna My husband and I recently celebrated our ten year anniversary here. We found Nonna to be charming, warm, and authentic. Derek had been so excited to try the white pizza with clams, it exceeded the recommendations! We look forward to returning because we felt the love in the homemade pastas and brick oven pizzas.
4115 Lomo Alto Dr. (bet. Bowser & Lemmon Aves.) Dallas, TX 75219 Phone: 214-521-1800 www.nonnadallas.com
4. Tei Tei Robata Bar Pay attention when a chef shares with you their favorite restaurant; that's how Derek and I came to love Tei Tei! Special occasions keep bringing us back here. What's robata mean? It's a traditional grill cooking style of Hokkaido in northern Japan. The contemporary bar is a warm and inviting place to wait for your table. It's fun to people watch in the everyday mix then sit in front of the robata bar to watch the sushi chefs create. Tei Tei is not stuffy; they welcome questions and are happy to help you with menu choices. Our favorite is the kobe beef cooked on a rock; it is extremely satisfying to hear and smell the sizzle.
2906 N. Henderson Ave. (Willis Ave.) Dallas, TX 75206 Phone: 214-828-2400 www.teiteirobata.com
5. Rise N° 1 Travel to France when eating at Rise, a restaurant specializing in soufflés. Rise caters to a much younger crowd! They love children and offer children's birthday parties for twelve and under. Rise even has a young ten year old apprentice who works the cheese cart. Rise to the occasion and enjoy this restaurant. Recommended: marshmallow soup and the lobster soufflé.
5360 W. Lovers Ln. (Inwood Rd.) Dallas, TX 75209 214-366-9900 risesouffle.com
6. Café Istanbul Delicious Turkish food with live entertainment. I am a magnet to this place! The smells, music, and atmosphere draw me in. My sister-in-law is Turkish and our families occasionally get together to eat here. Recommended: Doner Durum (tender beef and lamb with a yogurt sauce that brings it all together), and Tavuk Sarma (taste the pistachios inside this stuffed marinated chicken breast). This can be enjoyed with some delicious Turkish white wine.
Inwood Vill. 5450 W. Lovers Ln. (Inwood Rd.) Dallas, TX 75209 214-902-0919
9. Don Camillo's Visit this North Texas Italian restaurant and you'll be coming back. There is something to say about a wood burning brick oven. The smell brings you in and it's mesmerizing to watch. Don Camillo's is very child friendly. Favorites include: chicken noodle soup, pizza chef, and homemade wood oven lasagna.
1400 North Corinth Street, Suite 103
Corinth, Texas http://www.doncamillo.us
10. Joe T. Garcia's is an old fashioned...cash only, no advertising just word of mouth, very few menu choices kind of place. Like Babe's, Joe T. Garcia's is another favorite place to take out of town guests. The beautiful grounds make for great for outdoor dining.
2201 North Commerce Street
Fort Worth, TX 76164-8586
(817) 626-4356 http://www.joets.com/
11. Chip's Old Fashioned Hamburgers has been open for 28 years. One of my favorite American meals is a cheeseburger with fries and milkshakes. Chip's does this well and children appreciate that too! My daughter loves this place (it's the shakes) and my husband can't get enough of the onion rings.
4530 West Lovers Lane
Dallas, TX 75225-6925
(214) 691-2447 http://www.chips-burgers.com/
12. Marakkesh Café Walking into the Marakkesh you feel like you have traveled to Morocco. If you've ever eaten Moroccan food you know it has a powerful and lingering taste. I love its earthiness. There is a small stage (where I did some Spanish dancing) that offers some entertainment while you eat. Marakkesh is warm, cozy and colorful. You can't help but be happy eating here.
7989 Belt Line Road
Dallas, TX 75248-5711
(972) 239-7775 www.marrakeshrestaurant.net
13. Beth Marie's has created the perfect gathering place for friends and family. As a born and raised Denton girl I am so happy to have Beth Marie's in my home town. Beth Marie's is special because they make their own ice cream, waffle cones, and hot fudge. I'm a sucker for cinnamon ice cream but my new favorite has to be lemondrop. There are two Denton locations. One off the square permits a nice stroll around the courthouse and the other by the very popular Cinemark to discuss the movie you just saw with friends around a nice water fountain. http://www.bethmaries.com/