When City Hall Bistro first opened, it nearly sank like a rock under the weight of its attempt to capture nearly every trend in the food world. With no head chef at the helm, the Adolphus Hotel’s elegant-casual restaurant tried to be all things to all Instagrammers, with uni, paella, squid ink pasta, Lebanese duck pancakes and a few too many shaved truffles. Then chef Jeramie Robison took command and calmed the waters, paring the menu down to a small selection of simple, cleanly made Mediterranean dishes. The wine list is equally approachable and equally focused on southern European delights. City Hall may not blow anyone away, but it’s a very satisfying restaurant — and, thanks to its location in the far back corner of a hotel lobby, it rarely gets too busy.
Top pick: The farro salad nicely illustrates the kitchen’s ethos of doing things simply but right: Add a creamy feta dressing and some veggies, then toss in crispy roasted chickpeas to make sure the texture isn’t gloopy. The brunch menu is especially good, too — and yes, $16 is a reasonable price for a breakfast sandwich when it’s well-balanced, generously filled with slices of wagyu beef and served alongside a pile of crispy-outside, fluffy-inside potatoes.
The downside: Cooked or candied lemon peels occasionally drop into plates like surprise house guests. Also, the bathroom is quite a long walk back through the hotel lobby bar, and staff like to escort guests because so many diners have gotten lost.
Fun fact: This is more of a hot take than a fun fact, actually, but we’re in the hot take business, so here goes: City Hall Bistro is the best hotel restaurant in downtown Dallas.