Leading up to our annual Best of Dallas® issue, we're counting down the 50 most interesting restaurants in Dallas. These spots bring something unique or compelling to the city's dining scene, feeding both your appetite and soul. Find more interesting places on our all-new Best Of app for iTunes or Android.
When Stephan Pyles was interviewed by the Observer in 2010, he quietly alluded to an upcoming restaurant. "I would like to do an in-your-face Texas concept," he told then food critic Hanna Raskin. "Maybe it's a little Disneyland-like," he added, playing up the cartoonish intensity of the restaurant taking shape in his head.
When Stampede 66 opened nearly three years later he delivered just that -- a Texas-themed restaurant tailored to downtown Dallas. He grabbed every faced of Texas culture he could find, and in Dallas fashion turned the volume up to 10.
Dallas is a Texan city for sure, but the specifics can be a little hard to explain to outsiders. There's a distinct art, music and food culture but they're all unique. Stampede 66 somehow captured the essence of all of these facets and brings them together all in one stage fit for dining, and then he embraced what can be described as modernist Texan cuisine.
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From the multicolor lighting and quirky sculptures (Dallas) to the images of cowboys branding calves, and the wall-mounted longhorns (Texas) Stampede 66 is as in-your-mug as it gets. Sure you know chicken fried steak, but you've never had is served with a gravy-injection. Cut it open to liberate a sea of Texas' favorite embellishment. The tacos are fancied up with gourmet fillings, and beans arrive in little cast-iron dishes held over smoldering coals. They're like props from a tiny country western movie set. Eating here is certainly entertaining.
If there's one restaurant to take an out of town guest to show them everything Dallas Texas is about, Stephan Pyles' latest creation is it.
No. 50: Joyce and Gigi's No. 49: East Hampton Sandwich Co. No. 48: 20 Feet Seafood Joint No. 47: Taj Chaat House No. 46: Mot Hai Ba No. 45: La Nueva Fresh and Hot No. 44: Pera Turkish Kitchen No. 43: Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 42: Mughlai No. 41: Russian Banya No. 40: Off-Site Kitchen No. 39: Bachman Lake Taqueria No. 38: Carbone's No. 37: Babe's No. 36: Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo No. 35: Zaguan No. 34: Royal Sichuan No. 33: Spoon No. 32: Bambu No. 31: Pecan Lodge No. 30: FT33 No. 29: Keller's Drive-In No. 28: La Pasadita No. 27: Ten Bells Tavern No. 26: El Ranchito No. 25: Cafe Urbano No. 24: Nova No. 23: Jeng Chi No. 22: Omi No. 21: Tei-An No. 20: Jonathon's Oak Cliff No. 19: Yutaka and Sharaku No. 18: Local No. 17: Ibex No. 16: Pakpao No. 15: Chennai Cafe No. 14: Smoke No. 13: Nonna No. 12: Kuby's No. 11: Sushi Sake No. 10: La Banqueta No. 9: Kalachandji's No. 8: Mesa No. 7: Teppo