For many people, December means house guests, and house guests means, you need to find places to go. You want to take your out-of-towners someplace that can handle a group; that satisfies a variety of tastes; and that, in one way or another, says "Dallas."
Here's our list of suggestions for where to take your holiday company in 2018:
Billy Can Can
Sassy new spot from restaurateur Tristan Simon and company has big tables, big booths, a fun vibe, and a flexible menu with good wines by the glass and a variety of dishes for sharing or grabbing alone. The vintage saloon decor is a hoot and after your meal, you can loiter around the concourse in front of American Airlines Center and work off your feast with a stroll through Victory Park.
Heading over to Oak Cliff/Bishop Arts is an excellent expedition that can theoretically eat up many hours and also get some walking in, just as long as you end up at Bolsa. This trailblazing farm-to-table restaurant hasn't missed a beat, with fantastic cocktails and an upscale menu that always stays fresh.
Going to Da Mario achieves a number of things. It gets you out of the house for a long long drive. (It's in Frisco, after all.) There's an Ikea on the way, if you seek further distraction. You can walk around The Star complex and discuss Jerry Jones. You can also get some solidly good Italian food in a region where good Italian is in short supply.
This re-concepted restaurant is from veteran Mexican restaurateur Mico Rodriguez, founder of the Mi Cocina and Mesero restaurant chains. Mico signed a deal with the guys who made off with Mesero, so officially speaking, Doce Mesas is not Mexican, OK? It's food Mico likes. Some roast chicken, some salads, some guacamole and chips. Whatever you call it, Mico is a key figure in Dallas' Tex-Mex history, so you may want to pay your respects. And maybe have a margarita.
Wholesale makeover of the grand old Adolphus Hotel includes a buzzy re-do of the lobby (check out the recently revealed marble floors with all their decades-earned flaws) and the culinary options including this longtime top special occasion destination in Dallas. They've revamped the menu to allow diners to order items a la carte (it used to be that you could only go the prix-fixe route), and they have a great new chef, Anthony Dispensa.
These days, every family has at least one vegetarian, but even for the entire fam, this restaurant at the Hare Krishna temple in East Dallas is a delightful excursion, with a serene outdoor courtyard in the center. It's cafeteria-style, nothing fancy, but the food — fresh vegetables, casseroles, and frequent Indian items — is homey and wholesome, and one of the cheapest splurges in town.
The Market at Bonton Farms
This heroic endeavor in South Dallas The Market opened on November 19 as an offshoot of Bonton Farms, an urban farm working to restore health, create jobs, and ignite hope in South Dallas. It's not only tangible proof that Dallas is not entirely a superficial, self-indulgent town, it's a place to get dishes such as green tomato sandwich with house-made pimento and upland cress, served on sourdough bread from The Commissary; and "fish and greens," with cornmeal breaded catfish, braised collards, smoked ham hock, burnt lemon, and sweet-and-sour pickled seasonal vegetables.
Street's Fine Chicken
As founder of Black Eyed Pea and Good Eats, Gene Street is a major figure in Dallas' dining history. Now his son Marco takes on chicken: fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, chicken & dumplings, peri-peri chicken, chicken pot pie, and more. There's still some of the home-cooking vibe that diners loved at Gene Street's earlier chains, including meat loaf and an epic CFS, but with a more modern approach.
This is your over-the-top splurge, your super-duper special occasion restaurant where you go when one of your spendier relatives is picking up the tab. Chef Nick Badovinus' spin on the steakhouse has big slabs of beef for the table to share, and enough chandeliers and other eye candy to fill the awkward silences that are inevitable amongst family reunions.
Revered restaurant at downtown Dallas' Neiman Marcus will always feature its signature chicken salad and famed popovers with strawberry butter, but the restaurant is also staying up with one of the biggest trends in dining right now: vegan or plant-based foods, an initiative led by new chef Jennifer Oost. The Zodiac also got a cool makeover that restores some of its mid-century modern style.