Lists

Inexpensive, Under-the-Radar Restaurants That Won’t Require a Reservation This Valentine’s Day

The crepes at BigDash are worth the trek to Richardson, and you’ll get a lesson in Syrian culture while you’re there.
The crepes at BigDash are worth the trek to Richardson, and you’ll get a lesson in Syrian culture while you’re there. Matthew Martinez
Chances are, if you haven’t made a reservation yet at one of Dallas’ date-night hot spots, you may be out of luck, unless you and your date have a sense of adventure, in which case you should skip the high-end spots and opt instead to explore the outskirts of DFW food.

None of these spots are hip or trendy, and most of them certainly wouldn’t be described as romantic, but if your sweetheart is a foodie who loves to try something new, these spots can deliver. As an added bonus, dinner will be gloriously inexpensive and no reservation is required. Show up at your valentine’s door with a bouquet of flowers and treat them to a meal they won’t soon forget. Check out this slideshow to see the full list.

BigDash Ice Cream & Pastries
717 Lingco Dr., Richardson
If you’ve never tried Syrian sweets before, now’s your chance. The friendly folks at BigDash will fill you up with pistachio-laden ice cream and gorgeous crepes.

Get all googly-eyed over the grill at Sura Korean Bistro. - KATHY TRAN
Get all googly-eyed over the grill at Sura Korean Bistro.
Kathy Tran
Sura Korean Bistro
2240 Royal Lane
If your date goes bananas for bulgogi, treat them to a grill-it-yourself meat bonanza at Sura Korean Bistro and wind down the date by wandering around Koreatown to walk off all that banchan.


Your date isn’t likely to forget the time you treated them to a traditional Ethiopian coffee service. - TIM COX
Your date isn’t likely to forget the time you treated them to a traditional Ethiopian coffee service.
Tim Cox
Dire Dawa Cafe & Restaurant
2119 Buckingham Road, Richardson
If coffee gets your date’s motor running, treat them to an experience they’re not likely to forget anytime soon: a traditional Ethiopian coffee service at Dire Dawa in Richardson.

Add dumplings to your ramen at The Taste for an extra special bowl of comfort. - COURTNEY JACOBS
Add dumplings to your ramen at The Taste for an extra special bowl of comfort.
Courtney Jacobs
The Taste
408 N. Texas Blvd., Denton
If your date lives in Denton, grab a warm bowl of ramen at The Taste and slurp the noodles a la Lady and the Tramp.

What's more romantic than a cozy family-owned Italian spot? - NICK RALLO
What's more romantic than a cozy family-owned Italian spot?
Nick Rallo
Pietro’s Italian Restaurant
5722 Richmond Ave.
After serving comforting Italian fare for more than 50 years, Pietro’s is closing for good on Feb. 20, so stop by with a date and renew your vows to love carbs ’til death do you part.

It may not look like much, but the barbecue is mighty fine at this take-out barbecue trailer in Richardson. - CHRIS WOLFGANG
It may not look like much, but the barbecue is mighty fine at this take-out barbecue trailer in Richardson.
Chris Wolfgang
Nate’s BBQ To-Go
2009 W. Hebron Parkway, Carrollton
If you and your date love exploring off-the-beaten-path barbecue, head to Carrollton to grab takeout from this tasty barbecue trailer.

LA Burger's Korean-fusion burgers and hot dogs are a fun adventure for a date who feels more comfortable with familiar dishes. - PATRICK MICHELS
LA Burger's Korean-fusion burgers and hot dogs are a fun adventure for a date who feels more comfortable with familiar dishes.
Patrick Michels
LA Burger
Multiple locations in Irving, Richardson and Carrollton
If you’re sticking to the ’burbs this Valentine’s Day, hit up one of LA Burger’s four locations to try Korean fusion hot dogs and burgers.

Get hands-on at Desta, where you can sample traditional Ethiopian dishes. - KATHY TRAN
Get hands-on at Desta, where you can sample traditional Ethiopian dishes.
Kathy Tran
Desta
12101 Greenville Ave.
Ethiopia’s flavorful fare is well represented in DFW, and for someone who’s never experienced injera before, an Ethiopian meal can be especially fun. Try a beginner-friendly spot like Desta.

Cut down on your bar bill and sample to your heart's content at VomFASS in Plano. - SUSIE OSZUSTOWICZ
Cut down on your bar bill and sample to your heart's content at VomFASS in Plano.
Susie Oszustowicz
VomFASS
8315 Preston Road or 4909 W. Park Blvd., Plano
If your beau loves sampling booze they’ve never had before, go way outside the date-night box and take them to this new Plano liquor store that offers guests endless samples of their selection of casked liquors, oils and vinegar.

Enjoy a little Cuban-Mexican fusion at this laid-back Arlington cafe. - COURTESY OF COMPADRES
Enjoy a little Cuban-Mexican fusion at this laid-back Arlington cafe.
Courtesy of Compadres
Compadres Cafe
1700 W. Park Row Drive, Arlington
This new Arlington eatery blends Caribbean and Mexican food for a flavorful fusion that’s endless fun to explore.

Kottu, a mixture of curried meat, vegetables and strips of flatbread, at SpicyZest. - KATHY TRAN
Kottu, a mixture of curried meat, vegetables and strips of flatbread, at SpicyZest.
Kathy Tran
SpicyZest
13920 Josey Lane, Farmers Branch
DFW’s lone Sri Lankan restaurant is in Farmers Branch, and if your sweetheart loves to spice things up, this fiery fare will do the trick.

Order your date a house-made root beer at Dairy-Ette and enjoy an old-school night out. - NICK RALLO
Order your date a house-made root beer at Dairy-Ette and enjoy an old-school night out.
Nick Rallo
Dairy-Ette
9785 Ferguson Road
Stick two straws in your house-made root beer, order a couple burgers and make googly eyes at each other while you dine inside a piece of Dallas food history.

New York Sub is back and better than ever. - NICK RALLO
New York Sub is back and better than ever.
Nick Rallo
New York Sub
3411 Asbury St.
Open since 1976, New York Sub closed a few years ago but was resurrected by chef Andrew Kelley, and it’s better than ever.

Three Tupy Tacos, deep-fried, greasy envelopes of their spicy ground beef, are one of Dallas’ oldest hangover cures. - NICK RALLO
Three Tupy Tacos, deep-fried, greasy envelopes of their spicy ground beef, are one of Dallas’ oldest hangover cures.
Nick Rallo
Tupinamba Cafe
9665 N . Central Expressway
If your sweetheart goes nuts for Tex-Mex, treat them to one of the grandfathers of Dallas’ Tex-Mex scene, Tupinamba Cafe, open since 1953.
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Beth Rankin is an Ohio native and Cicerone-certified beer server who specializes in social media, food and drink, travel and news reporting. Her belief system revolves around the significance of Topo Chico, the refusal to eat crawfish out of season and the importance of local and regional foodways.
Contact: Beth Rankin