First Look

First Look: Atipico Serves Up an Uncommon Bit of Everything

Atipico is a lovely chic and modern space.
Atipico is a lovely chic and modern space. Lauren Drewes Daniels
Atipico is a new restaurant just north of downtown where Harry Hines Boulevard meets North Akard Street. Along with The Henry, Royal 38, North Italia and Tacolingo, it's part of a large courtyard at The Union Dallas, an office and residential tower.

Atipico is originally from Mexico City, and the concept is from chef Claudia de Murga. Outside of that, it’s hard to discern much about the restaurant. Its Google meta data offers this: 

“Be original, stay different. Long story short, Atípico it's the place where you will find international dishes and drinks that will define your personality through flavours.”

After that the website implores us to “Find Your Thing,” and is followed by a menu that includes breakfast, bowls and fruits, a salty corner and a sweet corner. The dinner menu has appetizers, salads, soups, bowls, pasta, mains, rolls and burgers.
Also here: a coffee program (“cold press hot,” “latte and more”), a juice bar menu that offers a Sex Me Up, Hangover and Kombucha Mix, and a full bar with house cocktails, new classic cocktails and world classic cocktails.

A Meet and Eat section on the website explains that this restaurant was inspired by the chef's six daughters’ personalities, explaining she "created atypical recipes according to each preference."

Ah. Now it makes a bit of sense.

We visited for lunch recently. Surprisingly, parking here is easy even though the restaurant is attached to an office building. A garage available for retail customers is easy to find and free with validation. It was very hot outside the day we visited, and the whole area was pretty dead. In fairness, we’ve passed by in the evening and seen lots of people at the restaurants. Maybe lunch on a scorching day is just bad timing.

Specifically, there was no one else in Atipico on our visit. We almost walked out. Question: Is it rude to ask a kitchen to cook for one table? It feels like a big ask. But there was a parking ticket in need of validation, so we sat at a booth.

The space is comfortable (one person left a review on the great dining room chairs) and decorated with light purple (fake) lavender everywhere, warm wood tones and modern touches. The service couldn’t have been any nicer or more prompt. Water glasses were constantly refilled, to the point that we felt bad about how much water we were drinking.

In terms of ordering and the big diverse menu, our approach was entrusting those who know the menu best. Our server recommended two dishes from the salad, soups, bowls and pastas section, and we got them both.
click to enlarge
Before and after with the Andean soup.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
First was the Andean Soup ($10), a thick tomato soup poured into a bread bowl that had a smear of goat cheese at the bottom. The soup is presented in a unique carafe-like pot and poured into the bread bowl at the table. This soup was phenomenal. You can use your spoon to scrape as much or as little cheese or bread as you’d like, making for a mix of flavors and textures. Then you can just eat the bowl. Busy menu or whatever, the soup was quite amazing. One of the six daughters has impeccable taste.

The second plate, was the octopulp salad ($17), with octopus — 100 grams, per the menu — lettuce, arugula, cherry tomatoes, olives and toasted potato squares, all tossed in a lime vinaigrette. It, too, was fantastic — fresh and light on a hot day.

On occasion when doing write-ups of new places, we’ll peruse other diners' comments for insight, perhaps in an attempt — as the world is wont to do now — to confirm what we’re already thinking. And here, too, in line with everything else about Atipico, the comments are confusing. They run the full spectrum of positive and negative, although mostly on the positive side. Some note how the menu and space are confusing. But, also in line with our experience, most seem to swoon over the actual food once it hits the table.

So, yes, the menu and offerings are busy. There's a lot going on. You can have an organic freshly pressed juice or a burger or an octopus salad. There's a bit of something for everyone, including families with six kids. But one thing is also true: the kitchen is pushing out some really good plates. We're still not sure what the theme is, but maybe that's because it's simply atipico, which is Spanish for atypical: nonconforming, abnormal.

Atipico, 2300 N. Akard St., Suite 230, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.