When Gemma opened, it was a Dallas pioneer, bringing along the dressy-casual seasonal cuisine from co-owners Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers’ last home in Napa. Since then, a dozen imitators have sprung up around town serving renditions of Gemma’s Mediterranean-accented, California cooking. Even specific dishes, like braised rabbit on pappardelle pasta, have radiated out from Gemma onto other menus.
Rather than packing up dishes like squid ink spaghetti topped with lobster in takeout orders, the Gemma team decided to remain closed for most of the summer, returning with family-style meals reflecting Rogers’ eclectic interests, from sheet pans of lasagna to Japanese curries. Gemma reopened for limited dine-in this fall by reservation only.
Top pick: After the mandatory snack bowl of fried olives and pecans, indulge in some of Dallas’ best house-made pastas, and one of the state’s best wine programs.
Fun fact: This is a favorite among Dallas Symphony Orchestra members and other musicians, with a history of hiring musically talented staff. That’s probably because Yoder and Rogers met at a conservatory, where she sang and he played the organ.