For our February edition of Where to Eat — our monthly roundup of the best eats in Dallas — we like something sweet.
This is traditionally the month to indulge, whether you're rebounding from a healthy January or else getting sucked into the "romance" of Valentine's Day. And we have a list of Valentine's Day meals around town — but for Where to Eat, the focus is entirely on desserts, and mostly newer desserts (because you probably already know about Haute Sweet and Bisous Bisous).
Here's 10 places to get sweets:
Paris-born chain known for its picture-perfect cones just opened its third DFW shop in the Plaza at Preston Center in the former Sprinkles Ice Cream space. Founded in Paris in 2002, Amorino specializes in gelato and sorbet, in 24 flavors such as chocolate, strawberry, gianduia, honey lavender, pistachio, and melon. Their gelato is fine but go for the presentation: The gelato is formed into "petals" which makes your ice cream cone look like a flower.
Baldo's Ice Cream
Ice cream shop first debuted in early 2019 near SMU, and recently opened a second location in Casa Linda Plaza in 2021. Beyond the chocolate-vanilla-strawberry basics, there are always creative seasonal flavors, with current entries such as Honey-Rose, with vanilla ice cream infused with rose extract, with ribbons of honey and garnished with edible rose petals. I mean, come on, that is Valentine's Day in an ice cream cone if there ever were one. They offer non-dairy flavors as well as ice cream flights.
Bambu was founded in 2008 in San Jose, California; there are more than 70 locations including Grand Prairie which opened in 2021. Their signature is Chè, a Vietnamese dessert category that comes in liquid form, whether it's a sweet beverage or a pudding layered with ingredients such as coconut milk, beans, and sweet gelatin jellies. Their best-sellers include the Bambu Special, a refreshing beverage with coconut, pandan jelly, longan, basil seed, and coconut water; and the Smashed Avocado, a rich and creamy drink with fresh avocado, boba, rainbow jellies, and condensed milk.
Better Than Sex
Over-the-top restaurant serves desserts with "racy" names is part of a chain founded in Florida; Plano opened in 2019. They offer limited-edition specials such as a recent French toast twist with Brie, dark "Belgium" chocolate (surely they mean Belgian?), and cinnamon sugar Texas toast, served with strawberry Champagne soup. Sex sells: They're almost completely booked out for Valentine's Day weekend.
Restaurant/stall at the AT&T Discovery District food hall in downtown Dallas does Wagyu burgers topped with queso, fried eggs, bacon, and more. But Dole Whip is half the deal. They are, after all, called Bobbers Burgers & Whips, so you know Dole is in the house. They always have pineapple, plus a rotating flavor such as mango. Get a Dole Whip here, then head over to Rise + Thyme, the the sweet cafe from celebrity chef Amanda Freitag, which sells a variety of sweet treats including intense dark chocolate biscotti made by Dallas' acclaimed La Duni.
Botolino Gelato Artigianale
Local chain with locations on Greenville Avenue and Preston-Royal makes it all from scratch including their stunning ice cream cakes. Pistachio cake combines pistachio semifreddo, salted caramel gelato, caramel glaze, and sponge cake with rose infusion. And their Fior Di Nocciciola Cake is a gift to vegans, combining vegan hazelnut spumone, vegan chocolate spumone, and vegan sponge cake with Frangelico. They take it so seriously that they post diagrams of how the cakes are made on their website.
Le Reve Gelato & Patisserie
Macarons and gelato are the thing at this shop newly opened at Preston Valley Shopping Center. Founder-owner Andy Pham has a passion for macarons; he's been making them since high school, and makes them a little less sickly-sweet than the standard. He's also doing picture-perfect little pastries and tarts with glossy icing, precisely trimmed, such as his latest three creations: Red Velvet Petit Gâteau, Blueberry Cheesecake Tart, and Tiramisu.
Soft-serve ice cream shop at 207 N. Kentucky St. in McKinney is from husband-and-wife Kham and Yim Phommahaxay are dishing out soft-serve ice cream, cotton candy, and coffees & espresso. The couple are taking a culinary approach, including making soft-serve from scratch, and what's really special here is that they follow a style inspired by Cremia, a Japanese version of soft-serve said to be the creamiest and milkiest soft-serve of all.
Sugar Factory American Brasserie
Restaurant known for over-the-top sweets just opened its first location in Texas in Dallas. They're the home of "insane" milkshakes such as the $19 has a special Crazy for You Insane Milkshake for February, made with strawberry ice cream and cheesecake, topped with whipped cream, cherry gummy hearts, M&M’s, chocolate hearts, and gumdrops, served in a red chocolate dipped mug which is their special flavor for February.
Zero Gradi Gelateria and Dessert Bar
Sweet shop is a spinoff of 400 Gradi, the Neapolitan-style pizzeria from Australia that debuted in downtown Dallas in 2019, featuring an espresso bar, dessert bar with Italian-inspired pastries, and a gelateria with 20-plus gelati and fruit sorbettos. There's lots of gelato around town these days but it's rare to find places that use pistachio nuts instead of paste, or hazelnuts from Piedmont, home of the best hazelnuts. Zero Gradi also makes ice cream cakes and some fairly luscious pastries such as this almond croissant filled with almond custard and a layer of blueberry preserves.