City Guide / Dallas

The Best Restaurants & Bars in Design District Dallas

By Landing | Jun 28, 2024
The Dallas Design District is a hotbed for high-end restaurants, particularly for steaks.

When Dallas was named America’s Restaurant City of the Year shortly before the pandemic, eyebrows were raised as far afield as Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and New York City. What was happening in north Texas to overshadow the country’s traditional culinary capitals? The answer is a bona fide foodie renaissance in Dallas driven by genuine gastronomic innovation across the city.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the upscale Design District on the western flank of downtown, where a plethora of exciting dining options rub shoulders with upscale art galleries and chic boutique hotels.

If you’re considering one of Landing’s fully furnished apartments in the city, congratulations—you’re scoring a front-row seat to one of the most innovative dining scenes in the entire country. Read on for the 15 hottest restaurants right now in the dynamic Dallas Design District, including:

Let’s get started!

1. The Charles

Type of food: Italian

Address: 1632 Market Center Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75207

A gorgeous homage to Italian design and cuisine, the Charles is one of the hottest restaurants in town right now. Helmed by longtime Dallas restaurateur Chas Martin (the “Charles” in question), it serves gourmet dishes ranging from charred octopus with cannellini puree and mint pesto to lemon ricotta gnudi with brown butter honey. Factor in its romantic speakeasy-style cocktail bar, and you have a guaranteed date night winner.

Order this: The pork blade chop here is the stuff of Dallas legend, served in a fennel crust with wild mushrooms and a slice of orange.

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2. Town Hearth

Type of food: Modern American

Address: 1617 Market Center Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75207

Lined with glittering chandeliers and populated with quirky objets d’art (including a submarine immersed in a fish tank), Town Hearth is the brainchild of legendary Dallas chef and enfant terrible of the local food scene, Nick Badovinus. The restaurant specializes in high-end steaks cooked over an open flame, but also boasts an extensive raw bar that will have seafood lovers ecstatic.

Order this: All eyes will rightly be on the magnificent dry-aged steaks or juicy Maine lobsters, but don’t sleep on the sides. The roasted mushrooms in veal juice and butter alone are worth the visit.

3. El Bolero

Type of food: Mexican

Address: 1201 Oak Lawn Ave #160, Dallas, TX, 75207

A lively, colorful neighborhood restaurant where the Dallas Design District meets the rich, picante flavors of regional Mexico. Not only is this one of the best authentic Mexican restaurants in town, but it also boasts an awesome bar, where you can drink the celebrated Oilman Margarita, voted the best in Dallas. Throw in live music, a rotating raw bar, and out-of-this-world guacamole, and you have a true winner.

Order this: The Queso Fundido, El Bolero’s classic melted Oaxaca cheese, is served in a hot iron skillet with homemade tortillas.

4. Pakpao Thai

Type of food: Thai

Address: 1628 Oak Lawn Ave #120, Dallas, TX, 75207

An intimate restaurant on buzzy Oak Lawn Ave, Pakpao Thai is a local favorite thanks to its delicious pan-Asian menu and legendary specials nights. The latter includes $10 pad thai on Pad Thai Monday, half-price wine on Wine Down Wednesday, and Drunken Thursday, when a steaming plate of drunken noodles is a steal at only $10 (and the drunken theme is underlined by an extensive cocktail menu. Don’t miss the Phuket Fashioned!

Order this: The Pad Kee Mao drunken noodles are not to be missed, regardless of whether you’re paying full price. Order the combo for extra deliciousness.

5. Commons Club

Type of food: French/Modern American

Address: 1445 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75207

As hotel restaurants in Dallas go, the food at Commons Club on the ground floor of the Design District’s Virgin Hotel is up there with the very best. Chef Jonah Friedmann serves up a creative blend of French and Texan cuisines in a modern, vibey dining room. Ask for the exclusive chef’s table when you make your reservation for an unforgettably delicious experience.

Order this: The parmesan truffle fries here are absolutely not to be missed.

6. Carbone Vino

Type of food: Italian

Address: 1617 Hi Line Dr Suite 390, Dallas, TX, 75207

An offshoot of the celeb-friendly Carbone restaurants in Miami and New York City, this new Dallas Design District hotspot comes with a twist: a candlelit trattoria across the courtyard known simply as “Vino.” Yes, they serve a vast range of exquisite (and surprisingly affordable) Italian wines here, but Chef Mario Carbone has not sacrificed the food aspect by any means.

Whether you sit down for dinner in the restaurant or at the bar, you’ll be able to choose from a mouthwatering selection of homemade pastas, Sicilian pizzas, and plenty more (not to mention fresh gelato for dessert!). Better still, you can order wine by the quartino (a glass and a half), if you’re feeling particularly indulgent.

Order this: We recommend the fried veal chop, prepared “your way.”

7. Rodeo Goat

Type of food: American

Address: 1926 Market Center Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75207

Burger restaurants are hard to really get wrong, but also hard to get really right. Thankfully, Rodeo Goat achieves the latter in style, with a friendly, casual vibe and a superb selection of juicy burgers, including excellent vegetarian options. This Design District favorite is perfect for a lazy weekend lunch, particularly for families, who can hang out on the spacious patio and enjoy its assorted games.

Order this: The Sugar Burger is an intriguing twist on the traditional burger, including grilled peaches.

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8. Pie Tap Pizza Workshop & Bar

Type of food: Italian

Address: 1212 Oak Lawn Ave #131, Dallas, TX, 75207

Yes, they do awesome pizzas at Pie Tap Pizza Workshop & Bar, worthy of cities like Detroit and Chicago. The dough rests and rises for 96 hours before being cooked to transcendent precision in twin Italian ovens. But it’s not just about the perfect pies, here—the menu at Pie Tap is rounded out by melt-in-the-mouth homemade pasta, rotisserie chicken, and even a moreish fondue dish.

Order this: The Spiedini, oven-fired skewers of prosciutto and cheese, is definitely worth a try.

9. Meddlesome Moth

Type of food: New American

Address: 1621 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX, 75207

This bustling gastropub is better known as a stylish bar where locals go to drink fine wine and delectable craft cocktails, but it also has more than a tasty dish or two under its wing. The best time to dine at Meddlesome Moth is Weekend Brunch, when a hot plate of Berkshire pork hash or biscuits and sausage gravy will salve even the harshest of hangovers (particularly when paired with a punchy Moth Bloody Mary).

Order this: British expats swear that the Cod & Chips here are among the best fish and chips in Dallas.

10. The Mexican

Type of food: Mexican

Address: 1401 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75207

The new kid on the block in the Design District, The Mexican became a local favorite almost overnight when it opened thanks to its upmarket food and design. Each room is dedicated to a different region of Mexico, while the bar is stocked with pretty much every tequila and mezcal bottle you can possibly imagine (look out for the $250 margarita, the priciest drink on the menu).

All the time-honored favorites are done well here, from tacos to discada. Just be aware of the strict dress code. If you want to wear shorts and a cowboy hat to dinner, you’re better off skipping the Design District altogether and heading to Deep Ellum.

Order this: The Wagyu Tomahawk Ribeye Steak is a mouthwatering showstopper served with sea salts and cremosa de arbol.

11. Mama’s Daughters’ Diner

Type of food: Southern home cooking

Address: 2014 Irving Blvd, Dallas, Texas, 75207

An absolute staple among Design District restaurants, this is a classic diner that’s been serving life-affirming home-cooked food since 1958. Everything here is prepared from scratch (they vow “the only thing you’ll find instant here is our service”), from the fluffy blueberry pancakes to the rich biscuits in sausage gravy. If you’re craving a classic American breakfast with all the frills, Mama’s Daughters’ Diner is the place to order it.

Order this: The Texas Size Breakfast is everything you can possibly imagine and more (including a chicken-fried steak if you’re really hungry).

12. Ser Steak and Spirits

Type of food: American

Address: 2201 N Stemmons Fwy Floor 27, Dallas, TX, 75207

There are restaurants, and then there are restaurants. Ser Steak and Spirits is one of the latter—a high-end treat suitable for any occasion. From the 27th floor of the Hilton Anatole, the views here are nearly as mouthwatering as the menu, which features prime steaks served with “enhancements” ranging from lobster tail to candied maple bacon. If you’re looking to dine in style, whether to impress a client or a date, then Ser will most certainly suit you.

Order this: The 22 oz Bone-In Ribeye Steak is the most popular steak on the menu and is dry aged for a whopping 45 days.

13. Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ

Type of food: BBQ

Address: 1950 Market Center Blvd, Dallas, TX, 75207

The beauty of the Design District is that you can dine on pretty much any cuisine you fancy, every night of the week. But if there’s one type of food that Dallas does best, it’s barbecue. Ferris Wheelers is a fun outdoor patio where you can enjoy lashings of deliciously hot meat, alongside lashings of deliciously hot weather (rest assured, they have fans to counter the oven-like temperatures in July and August). Just be warned, the famous Ferris wheel itself can be a little dicey after three or four Blood and Honey beers.

Order this: Named because you’ll probably need one afterward, The Day Off is a magnificently indulgent plate that includes generous portions of chopped brisket, pulled pork, homemade sausages, and jalapeño bacon slaw, with hot BBQ sauce on the side.

14. Delucca

Type of food: Italian

Address: 1628 Oak Lawn Ave Ste 100, Dallas, TX, 75207

A welcoming, Gaucho-style, all-you-can-eat pizza place, Delucca is beloved by Dallasites—not least for its Brazilian cocktail bar. The open kitchen with its wood-fired pizza adds to a friendly neighborhood atmosphere, while locals swear by the quirky dessert pizzas, including Banana Flambe and Dulce de Leche. Don’t sleep on the incredible chef-made lobster bisque with brandy either.

Order this: The Chicken Tikka Masala shouldn’t work, but it does. Trust us—it does.

15. Tango Room

Type of food: American

Address: 1617 High Line Drive, Dallas, TX, 75207

“Fine foods; finer wines; no jacket required” is the slogan of this upmarket Design District favorite. Perhaps uniquely among American cities, Dallas is awash with steak restaurants—and Tango Room is most certainly one of the finest (not to mention one of the only places where you can drink a deliciously salty caviar martini). All the classic steak cuts are present and correct, of course, but so too is an intriguing seafood selection, including panko-crusted halibut and a caviar trifle.

Order this: The 16oz Akaushi Wagyu Ribeye is the best of the best—and you deserve it.

Looking for more ideas for spending a night out in Dallas? Check out our blog post, “Your Guide to the Best Cocktail Bars in Dallas.”