In times like these, we think of desserts. Times like these might be when it's cold outside. Or when the holidays are near. Or when everything around us feels like it's going to collapse, and all we want is a slice of cake to make it all better.
There are plenty of great sweets to be found in Dallas-Fort Worth. But for these 10, we turned to our Top 100 list of the very best restaurants in Dallas. So that means no cookie shops, no ice cream stands, no place that wasn't already on our list. We sifted through dozens of desserts to arrive at what we felt like were 10 of the best dessert options in the city. These are our best of the best.
Chef-owner Nikky Phinyawatana is well-known for her dedication to desserts. When Asian Mint first opened at US 75 and Forest Lane in 2004, she earned as much buzz for her gorgeous green-tea ice cream layer cake as she did her impeccable Thai food. The sweets don't stop at the cake. There's a crème brûlée infused with jasmine, a cheesecake flavored with salted caramel and cashews, and the oh-so intriguing sticky rice with your choice of coconut or green tea ice cream.
Highland Park Village restaurant is a classic, and that extends to the impeccably made desserts. It knows that no dessert list is complete without chocolate cake. Its French apple cake is dense with apples. Lemon curd comes with irresistible pistachio biscotti. Chocolate chip cookies are served warm. But don't forget the signature pecan ball — vanilla ice cream rolled in pecans, served with house-made fudge sauce — so wow-ee it was featured on TV show The Best Thing I Ever Ate.
Joule Dallas hotel restaurant has pastry chef extraordinaire Ruben Toraño on its team, so we know the desserts are good. The dessert menu evolves with seasons but includes treats such as the clever banana trifle with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, a hot fudge sundae with cream cheese ice cream and salted caramel hot fudge, and one dessert that demands a special trip: the chocolate stout bar, with toasted meringue, salted pretzels, and orange sorbet.
Del Frisco's Grille
Hugely popular casual restaurant in Uptown knows how to please dessert addicts. Its sweets look as good as they taste, especially the coconut cream pie, showered with a blizzard of white chocolate shavings. Other desirable options include molten chocolate cake and a bread pudding flavored with Nutella. But bypass all those, if you can, for the simple-yet-stunning lemon doberge cake, with six thin layers of cake interspersed with lemon butter cream icing and topped with a lemon glaze.
Southern restaurant in Bishop Arts gives an ultra sophisticated twist to its desserts. Push the kids aside, these sweets have a worldly savvy that seems more suited to adults. Its bread pudding comes fortified with bananas and almond. Dear Hattie's Key lime tart, is that a frill of Chantilly cream you are wearing? There's a super-elegant version of strawberry shortcake made with a sweet biscuit, and oh yes, there are fried fruit pies.
Lark on the Park
Downtown restaurant not only has a view overlooking Klyde Warren Park, it has a pastry chef on-site in Laurel Wimberg. Lark's list of desserts is generally long, creative, and changes with the seasons. Currently there's a buttermilk cake with cream cheese mousse; chocolate and jasmine pot de creme; and a thick (not thin!) mint coupe, with chocolate mint chip and vanilla ice cream in a cup with chocolate-chunk cookies.
Design District restaurant remains quietly consistent, and its desserts follow that mantra, with flavor combinations that discreetly delight. Sweets such as white chocolate and citrus mousse with fennel ice cream accomplish the mission of making you stop for a second, then nod and say, "of course!" Oak makes S'mores feel new again by reconfiguring it with a chocolate-habanero cake, toasted marshmallow, and house-made graham cracker.
Original Market Diner
Market District diner is one of the few of its kind left in Dallas. The food is good, the price is reasonable, and no meal is complete without a serving of one of its exemplary cakes or pies. In addition to local standards such as pecan, it has pies you don't see around here so much, including fruit pies in cherry, apple, and blueberry. Dallas doesn't have much in the way of decent pie, making OMD all the greater a treasure.
Of course this dessert list would not be complete without Rise Nº1. How could we not include a place where souffles are the raison d'etre? It's fab that they offer savory souffles in options such as cauliflower and Brie, but our focus is on their lineup of sweet soufflés, with flavors range from the archetypal chocolate to fruits such as raspberry and apricot, and the unique dark chocolate mint, all buoyant and ethereal.
While Spiral Diner is definitely best known as the city's premier vegan restaurant, what is perhaps less known is how good its desserts are. The Oak Cliff spot (and its Fort Worth sibling) has amazing cakes, cupcakes, thick chewy cranberry-oatmeal cookies, rich dark brownies, cheesecakes, and some of the best pies in the city. Its desserts are not merely "good for vegan" — they're just plain good.