It's an oft-touted fact that Dallas has the most restaurants per capita of any city in the nation, meaning there's no shortage of places here to eat. One such pocket of dining bliss is downtown Dallas, which is densely packed with a variety of cuisines at all price points.
Like CBD Provisions, an adventurous brasserie in The Joule hotel that was named to Texas Monthly's list of best new restaurants shortly after it opened in 2013. It's famous for its Berkshire pig head carnitas, though insiders know to also stop by the bar and ask for a McKnight: a Grey Goose, champagne, and lemon concoction named for one of the restaurant's regulars.
Another fun stop at The Joule is its roaming cocktail cart, which you can catch in the lobby every Thursday through Saturday starting at 5 pm. The bartender will whip up a crafty libation personalized to your tastes.
Speaking of hotel dining, check out City Hall Bistro, the new all-day restaurant at the Adolphus. Its Southern European-inspired cuisine includes dishes such as paella and squid ink pasta, and for the Sunday crowd, there is brunch. For direct access, the bistro has its own entrance on Main Street — but who would pass up strolling through the hotel's grand lobby?
A good reason to stay in the downtown area on Wednesdays is for Cafe Izmir's "neighborhood night." Wines are half price and tapas — think beef piroshky rolls, saffron chicken kabobs, and veggie dolmas — are only $4 at this family-run paean to Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, and Persian cuisine.
Craving some down-home cooking? Find it at Ellen's Southern Kitchen, where breakfast is dished out all day, and the fried green tomato salad is a must.
For a healthy fix, hit Gather Kitchen, the fast-casual concept inside Thanksgiving Tower that specializes in trendy bowls. There are bowls for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You choose a base, such as "noodles" made from zucchini, and top it with veggies, protein, and sauce to tie it all together.
For healthy with ethnic flavors, Spice in the City serves up samosas, dumplings, and dishes with Indian, Pakistani, and Malaysian spices and flavors. Its cool rooftop patio with its bird's-eye view of downtown has no rival.
Or build your perfect pizza at Tutta's. It's not advertised on the menu, but you can take any topping listed and secretly combine them into your dream pie. Did we mention the restaurant specializes in smoked meats? If you happen by on the third Thursday of each month, it's stand-up comedy night hosted by Jimmy Nelson. Four to six local comedians perform short sets starting at 8:30 pm, so get there early to take advantage of happy hour from 3-7. And bring Fido if you want to enjoy the dog-friendly patio — he'll even get his own bowl of water.
New for lunch is Mirador, the chef-driven restaurant on the top floor of chic boutique Forty Five Ten. It's there for when shoppers need deviled eggs and a Cobb salad, or a Champagne cocktail with cognac and lime.
The best-kept secret for happy hour is Dallas Fish Market, where on Wednesdays and Fridays between 5 and 7 pm glasses of wine are only $5 and you get a free sushi roll with each drink.
Another happy hour of note is at Frankie's, which is also agreed upon by many as the best sports bar in Dallas. There are $4 Moscow Mules, 20 Texas craft beers on tap, and a mixed drink menu devised by cocktail king Eddie "Lucky" Campbell, all in addition to 44 HD TVs that have all the top sports packages.
If you're still on a cocktail kick, The Woolworth is a worthy option. Perched above Tony Tasset's famous Eye sculpture, this drinks den was a former — you guessed it — location of a Woolworth five-and-dime. Visit Mike at the bar and ask for the secret, off-menu drink called The Local, which mixes blackberries, blueberries, ginger, and gin.
And it wouldn't be a list of downtown Dallas' best dining without a mention of the Dallas Farmers Market. Bigger and better than ever, it houses more than a dozen artisanal food vendors and restaurants including Mudhen, Rex’s Seafood, Stocks and Bondy, and Taqueria La Ventana. Of particular note is Scardello, a cut-to-order shop that stocks more than 100 handcrafted cheeses. It also hosts the Extra Credit series, which pairs two wines, six cheeses, and two accompaniments for a meal that's tasty and informative.