The areas I frequent, including my favorite shopping and restaurants! (If you visiting Dallas, be sure to see this post with hotel and sightseeing recommendations!)
When we first moved to Dallas seven years ago and started trying popular restaurants – pardon my candor – but we were often disappointed. Perhaps we had been spoiled by dining in culinary hotspots like San Francisco and New York for several years, but our opinion is that if we are going to spend money going out to eat, especially when it comes to pricey establishments, the food should be really good.
Thankfully, over the past five years, Dallas has not only upped it’s game in the culinary world but has become quite cosmopolitan, with amazing museums, urban developments, and so many artsy areas of town to explore. And I can’t wait to share them with you!
Note: This is” DoSayGive’s Dallas” so it’s not a comprehensive list of every neighborhood/shopping area in Dallas. It’s the stores and restaurants I love and visit more often. Part two in this Dallas series will post tomorrow and be more of a “Visitor’s Guide to Dallas” with my favorite hotels, restaurants, and things to do (other than shopping!).
Northpark Center – It’s not a mall; it’s a destination. If you are going with children, see the ducks by Neimans, check Bookmarks for story times, and eat a La Duni or Breadwinners while children play on the lawn. My mom loves the restaurant in Nordstrom, their Asian Glazed Chicken Salad is amazing. If you like outlet shopping, across Central Expressway are The Shops at Park Lane (Nordstrom Rack, Off Fifth, St. Bernard Sports Outlet). Also, there is a really fun retro bowling alley that’s fun to go with friends or a date night.
The Plaza at Preston Center – Swoozie’s, Calypso St. Barth, Orvis, KidBiz (good for elementary to middle school children), and, of course, Sprinkles Cupcakes. Eat at True Foods or Hillstone (I like it better than R&D Kitchen but most of my friends love R&D). My husband and I like to put our name on the list at Hillstone and have a glass of wine on the patio outside. Across Preston Road is Preston Center, where Bellacures Nail Salon is located.
Inwood Village – Saint Bernard has everything from ski gear to your favorite denim brands. Great shopping for men, too. Also see: Neiman Marcus’ Last Call, Wisteria which is one of my favorites for gifts and furniture. Restaurants here include one of my favorites, Rise No. 1, and Mesero. Flower Child Dallas is great for healthy eaters and super popular. And if you just need a quick pick me up, stop in Empire Baking Company for delicious ready-to-go sandwiches! I had my 30th birthday party at the Inwood Village Theater – so neat! They have a bar and you can take drinks into the theater. For you night owls (like my husband!) every Friday and Saturday night they have midnight showings of classics like CaddyShack, Godfather, etc. Be sure to stop in some of the shops along Lovers Lane nearby.
Shops Along Lovers Lane – There are so many I can’t include them all, but this is where many Park Cities’ locals shop. Clothing (most on the pricier side): Elements, Mine, Lou Lou, Hemline, and Canary. Tyler’s for middle/high school kids (a t-shirt from there says you are a local!). Home: Nicholson-Hardie (the one closer to the Tollway) is a garden store but has lovely selections for the home, too. Food: If you are looking for good coffee or just a hip meeting spot, join the locals at DRIP coffee. Rafa’s is a neighborhood casual Mexican loved my the surrounding neighborhoods. Start going there enough and they will start calling your children by name and inviting them back into the kitchen. For a chic dining experience, definitely check out Hudson House and Jose’s. Hudson House is known for their oysters, but they have this avocado dip that is to die for. If you are looking for something more casual and family friendly, Chips is your place. I stop in Eatzi’s at least three times a week and usually pick up some sliced french bread bread, some dips, cookies, and – if it’s lunchtime – will grab a salad or sandwich to go. Note: a few miles south is Mi Golondrina’s showroom and it is definitely worth a visit.
Highland Park Village – With stores like Christian Louboutin and Hermès, this is an exclusive (and the country’s first) outdoor shopping center and is a fabulous place to window shop if nothing else! Some you may want to visit: Tory Burch, Anthropologie, St. Michael’s Women’s Exchange (great gifts for children!), Blue Mercury (makeup), Ralph Lauren (sometimes have good sales on classic children’s clothing!). If your husband or boyfriend is with you, and he happens to be a hunter, let him wander him the Beretta Gallery. Mi Cocina in HP Village is one of our favorite restaurants in Dallas (the third floor bar is fun!) and locals also love Bistro 31. This is where I usually go with girlfriends, because it’s a little formal for my husband for just an normal dinner out. I love sitting on the covered patio at Bistro 31 and the bar also has a great atmosphere.
The Honor Bar is a new, hip restaurant that has a wonderful atmosphere and an amazing menu. A great place to sit outside on a beautiful day. Royal Blue Grocery is a neighborhood favorite with a beautiful flower selection and an amazing coffee shop. Grab a sandwich or cupcake at the Bird Bakery, which is the perfect backdrop for an Instagram photo.
Also, if you are in the area, drive along Armstrong Ave and the surrounding streets for some jaw-dropping Highland Park homes (a must at Christmas-time and in a horse-drawn carriage!). One of my favorite children’s store in Dallas, Layette, is nearby in The Shops of Oaklawn and across the street is another favorite of celebrity’s when they come to Dallas, Al Biernat’s.
Snider Plaza – University Park shops with cute shops and restaurants. Some standouts: Hip Hip Hooray for fine children’s clothing, East Hampton Sandwich Company (If there’s a line, it’s worth the wait!). Our go-to casual restaurant is Bandito’s (You can sit in the breezeway and not feel bad if children are loud!). We drive through Bubba’s Fried Chicken at least once a week! Also, Festive Kitchen is where I pick up chicken salad (as seen in this gift basket post) and J.D.’s Chippery is a local fave for cookies.
Greenville Ave/Deep Ellum – Lots of hip twenty and thirty-somethings like it over here, particularly on lower Greenville. Right now HG Sply is the place to be (their rooftop, that is!). Definitely check out Stirr for an amazing atmosphere and wonderful food. We like Ozona for a casual outdoor brunch on Sunday – they have a Bloody Mary bar. Also, visit Steel City Pops for some delicious gourmet popsicles and Society Bakery for cupcakes! Venture on down to Deep Ellum nearby for one of the best pizzas in Dallas at Cane Rosso. And husband says I have to include Twisted Root which is famous after being on lots of food shows, but he insists it’s one of the best burgers in town and a good place to eat with children. On Greenville, checkout Halcyon for a gourmet coffee experience and make sure to get the s’mores!
Knox-Henderson – Pottery Barn, PB Kids, Lululemon, Crate & Barrel, Restoration Hardware, Kate Spade, and Quatrine (interiors) just to name a few of the great stores along this street that borders Highland Park and crisscrosses the Katy Trail (If you are a runner or biker visiting Dallas, you will love this trail that runs through uptown and downtown!) Restaurants: Locals love the casual Wild About Harry’s (be sure to get a shake – I always order Peppermint Ice Cream with Oreos!) or dine on a grilled cheese with pickles at the counter of Highland Park Soda Fountain (which the locals still call by it’s original name, the HP Pharmacy (pictured in top photo). Some nicer restaurants with patios here including Taverna and Toulouse (packed for weekend brunch, but I probably wouldn’t bring children here!). Also nearby is Biblioquet where we have not been but it’s on our list! Cross over Central Expressway to find Sissy’s, Hibiscus, and many other Dallas favorites. (And, FYI, ladies who lunch in Dallas lunch at 4510 – fabulous, as well as the adjoining store!) For great coffee, hop over to Houndstooth.
Uptown – (Knox-Henderson and Uptown merge into each other so good to plan together!) Too many to name! But Blue Print Store is a must stop. Haven is a cute boutique with brands like Hunter Bell, Cynthia Vincent, and they carry that cute Kelly Wynne handbag line I’ve talked about. Of course, there is Stanley Korshak, too, where if you are getting married, you must book an appointment here to try on wedding dresses! Don’t miss Mercat Bistro for a chic lunch or dinner. In the West Village, you will find many of the stores you have in the mall as well as a lot of twenty-somethings! Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse is a wonderful special occasion restaurant (tell them and they will make it extra special). Lots of bars within walking distance up and down McKinney Ave. and hop on the free trolley and head downtown. The Crescent Court hotel has been recently renovated and is so beautiful. Have to get a Shake Shack burger nearby!
Downtown – Favorite Hotel? The Joule with my favorite restaurant, CBD Provisions. (I don’t really like Americano.) Also, the bar downstairs is super cool. Favorite Shopping Destination? The Flagship Neiman Marcus store, especially during the Christmas season. And the recently opened 4510 is pretty to windowshop and have a ladies’ lunch. Don’t miss the free DMA and Nasher Sculpture Center, plus Klyde Warren Park, the Perot Museum, and the Dallas World Aquarium. Looking for a cool experience? Eat at a food truck, play a board game, or take a free yoga class at Klyde Warren Park. Also the walk-up burger place attached to Savoy in the park is really good. Mercat Bistro is a wonderful french restaurant with a great brunch. Stop in the historic post office for a quick lunch at The Hospitality Sweet (also a great place to order cookies and cakes!). Dolce Riviera is a new Italian food restaurant that is the place to be or if you’re craving sushi, Uchi fulfills all you’re sushi dreams. Although it’s actually considered to be part of uptown, Dream Café is close and is a casual outdoor place to eat with children with a unique and healthy menu (and an outdoor area where children can play!).
Trinity Groves – Cross over the gorgeous Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge to this new development of restaurants and shops. Kitchen LTO is supposed to be good. We recently ate at the more casual Off Site Kitchen because they have outdoor pool tables and games that our children could play with. A fun thing after lunch is to do the free tour at Four Corners Brewery with tastings (and children are welcome!). Make a reservation in advance here. Amberjax Fish Market & Grill has an amazing menu with different fish specials every night. Be sure to stop in Kate Weiser Chocolate (I’ve written about it here) for gorgeous bonbons and macaroon ice cream sandwiches – they have Ice Cream Socials every night at 8 pm. For another great dessert experience, check out the Cake Bar! You can order any flavor of cake by the slice., And this is not at Trinity Groves, but nearby, Smoke Restaurant is a great restaurant. Be sure to visit the adjacent bar at the Belmont Hotel pre-dinner for beautiful views of the Dallas skyline.
Bishop Arts District – an artsy and popular area of town with the fabulous Hattie’s restaurant (modern, Southern low-country). Lucia is the place to go for authentic Italian food. The menu is impeccable, but you must have a reservation. There are so many eclectic shops and it is so fun to wander around on the weekends. Skip dessert at dinner and hop over to Emporium Pies for a gourmet experience. Dude, Sweet Chocolate gives you a whole new chocolate experience. Try the chocolate marshmallows! If you’re looking for something more casual, Lockhart’s Barbeque is so good, but beware of the spice! Finally, Oddfellows is great for coffee and brunch!
Galleria Mall – I don’t shop here often, but it’s a fun family destination. My sister and her husband love to stay at the attached Westin Galleria and have the freedom to walk the mall anytime of the day or night. (Tip: the concierge floor is worth the upgrade and sometimes they will upgrade for free if you sign up for their Rewards program!). In the Galleria, there is a children’s playground, an ice skating rink, Mi Cocina, and, our favorite, the American Girl Doll store. If you have girls, definitely book a reservation for lunch and ask to sit near the windows.
Note: There are more areas of Dallas that are fabulous but I just don’t frequent that often (East Dallas (Lakewood) and the Design District are two examples!). If you live in Dallas, please feel free to comment below any recommendations you have – I have lots of readers who travel to Dallas or have just moved here!
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Photos: Megan Weaver