If you've got friends and family visiting from out of town — or especially out of state — they're gonna want one thing: a taste of Dallas. We may not have dusty, Wild West saloons with horses posted up out front, but there are a number of restaurants where visitors can get the whole Dallas (or Texas) experience, no spurs required. Here are a few of our favorite spots to bring visitors this year, many of which are located in walkable neighborhoods where you can wander after you eat to kill a little time and show off the city.
Billy Can Can2386 Victory Park Lane (Victory Park)
This modern Texas saloon is a little high-end but gives visitors a meal with Texas flair. From venison tartare to Nashville hot quail to no-bean Texas chili, Billy Can Can is a fun spot to taste Southern-inspired meats, and the modern but not cheesy saloon vibe will have your guests y'all-ing and fixin' to by the end of the night. As an added bonus, you'll be in the walkable Victory Park neighborhood, where you can browse retail like over-the-top candy shop It'Sugar and catch a movie at the neighborhood's new luxury movie theater, Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas.
Ferris Wheelers Backyard & Barbecue1950 Market Center Blvd. (Design District)
If you've got meat-eaters crashing in your guest room, there's a 100 percent chance they want the Texas barbecue experience. You've got plenty of options: wait in lengthy lines at Pecan Lodge, geek out over Cattleack BBQ on Friday or Saturday during lunch or go Kansas City-style at 18th & Vine. But if you've got a cadre of visitors ranging in age, Ferris Wheelers is a solid bet. With laudable barbecue, tons of outdoor space, live music and a working Ferris wheel, this Design District barbecue joint offers a memorable experience.
BrainDead Brewing2625 Main St. (Deep Ellum)
You can't do Dallas right without showing off Deep Ellum. One of the city's most vibrant and walkable neighborhoods, DE has tons of food options, from Japanese fare to barbecue to ramen, sushi, pizza and tacos. But if you're looking for a place that can appease just about anybody and is comfortable for groups, hit up BrainDead Brewing. Grab a table on the patio and watch Deep Ellum wander by while you eat above-average burgers and let your Druncle sample from BrainDead's massive selection of craft beer.
Emporium Pies314 N. Bishop Ave. (Bishop Arts)
Speaking of walkable, vibrant, must-visit neighborhoods, wandering Bishop Arts District is a great way to kill a day. From art galleries to affordable retail (not as easy to find in Dallas as you might think) to bars, restaurants and live music, there's a lot to do. But for some real Southern hospitality, take your visitors to Emporium Pies, an adorable cottage filled with from-scratch pies like the Lord of the Pies, a deep-dish apple pie with cinnamon streusel. After some pie, show off indie bookstore The Wild Detectives or grab a beer on the patio at Ten Bells Tavern, where you can meet the friendly cat colony this local pub lovingly cares for. Emporium has locations in Deep Ellum and McKinney, too.
Mutts Canine Cantina2889 Cityplace W. Blvd. (Uptown)
During the holidays, nothing serves as a better distraction than the family dog. Make your doggo's day and keep family entertained for hours at Mutts Canine Cantina, Dallas' favorite dog bar. Watch your pooch play with new pals while you pet other people's dogs and sip beer on Mutts' patio. Your family will be so distracted by the cute dogs that maybe you'll forget that you've all been fighting about politics for the last three days.
Off-Site Kitchen331 Singleton Blvd. (Trinity Groves)
Burgers are the great equalizer — it's easy, fuss-free food that, luckily, Dallas does real well. Take the fam to Off-Site Kitchen, one of Dallas' best burger joints and a spot that's family-friendly and, oh thank God, serves beer. As an added bonus, it's located at Trinity Groves, a walkable mini-neighborhood with tons of dining options. After burgers, grab dessert at Cake Bar, some chocolate-y Christmas gifts at Kate Weiser or a beer at the new Steam Theory Brewing.
Resident Taqueria9661 Audelia Road (Lake Highlands)
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You can't show off Dallas cuisine without delving into our stellar tacos, and your out-of-state visitors will almost certainly be in the mood for some true-blue Texas tacos. We suggest Resident, a fun Lake Highlands taqueria with far above-average tacos and great meat-free options for your family's vegetarian outlier. This is also a great spot to teach your visitors about beloved Texas beverages like Topo Chico, Mexican Coke (yes, it is better), margaritas and micheladas.
Kura Revolving Sushi2540 Old Denton Road, Carrollton
and 100 Legacy Drive, Plano
One thing your visitors may not expect is that Dallas has an incredibly rich, vibrant Asian food scene. Blow their minds with a trip to Carrollton Korea Town, where you can browse Japanese dollar stores and sip all the bubble tea your heart desires. If your group is on the smaller side, we suggest visiting Kura (formerly Kula) Revolving Sushi, a sushi conveyor belt restaurant where you help yourself to offerings that traverse the restaurant via conveyor belt. Sip green tea or Japanese beer while you help yourself to simple sushi dishes or use the computer to order desserts like green tea ice cream and mochi. For every 15 plates you feed into the slot beneath the conveyor belt, a cartoon ninja delivers a prize to the table.