Pairing upscale design with fine dining is as natural as having a little sushi with your sake. But there are many ways to describe the handsome restaurants in the city, from ornate and ostentatious to clever and contemporary--and here we've included far more of the latter. (Think more Tom Brady, less Prince William.) That said, City of Ate presents our take on Dallas designs well done, those that enhance the dining experience without getting in its way, those that bring out the concept the restaurateurs are going for, and perhaps in their own way, make the taste of the food, and even its price, go down a little better.
Uptown Dallas' Kens and Barbies flock to this nautical-themed oasis in the middle of landlocked Travis Walk. Organic cuisine, like its Fennel Crusted Sea Scallops and Lasagna Bolognese made with Wagyu beef, is paired with the oceanic atmosphere, dark woods, crisp whites and deep blues. In the summer, the breezy patio is reminiscent of an alfresco afternoon on the Amalfi Coast.
Architects Bentel and Bentel spared no luxury in this multi-textured beauty. A two-story steel framed wine cabinet sits stark against walnut tables, and overhead, a chandelier of filament bulbs burns brightly. The food is served family-style, presented on large platters in the middle of the table, which cuts any bit of stuffiness some may feel upon entering the dining room, situated in the chic W Hotel in Victory Park.
If you have a lofty love of Asian artwork and can appreciate dining outside of downtown, this venue is for you. The panoramic view alone puts it on the list, but add to that the multi-million dollar gallery-worthy collection of vases, statues and paintings. The food is as rich as the scenery, and Chef Anthony Bombaci's minimalist plating techniques are a perfect pairing to the room's clean lines. The Sendero at Fearings
On a clear day, light floods this airy pavilion at the Ritz-Carlton, making it the fanciest yurt-style dining experience in Dallas. Using fine materials--teak tables, leather seat covers and a 750-piece glass chandelier crafted in Moreno, Italy--the dining room is suited for fanciful lunches and sexy, candle-lit dinners. Dishes like Crispy Barbecued Blueprint Oysters and 'Chicken Fried' Texas Quail seem to complement the upscale-outdoorsy atmosphere.
Just imagine if Elvis' living room met Philippe Starck. Then you'd have the sensation of walking into this kitschy farmhouse-inspired dining room in the Bishop Arts District. Designed by Oak Cliffs own Rob Dailey, the design takes inspiration from his Texas roots, incorporating surprising elements of color and textured, rustic facades. The menu offers a delectable collection of down-home favorites, with fantastic flair, from Skillet Cornbread to Venison Frito Pie.
This choice may seem surprising to some, but it's the Keith Urban of dining rooms: stylish, attractive and oh so, um, urban. A tavern-meets-bistro milieu provides a relaxing backdrop for the mellow, yet flavorsome, menu. The sleek 45-foot bar serves up classic cocktails and house-made specialties, like the Strawberry Bumblefresh, a concoction of vodka, fresh juices, Clover honey and champagne served straight up. Match this martini with an order of Chopped Brisket Sliders and you'll be livin' the Better Life.
This little bohemian gem is so earthy you'll feel like walking around barefoot. The casual place settings create a cozy landing pad for the wholesome dishes developed in the kitchen--designed without a fryer or freezer. Sustainably built, the original cement floor is repurposed on the patio, and rows of windows imbue the space with natural light. The bar--accessible to the patio through large operable windows--serves up sangria so rich and fruity you may take off your shoes and stay awhile.
This restaurant calls the Dallas Arts District home, and the locale fits it beautifully. The dining room boasts a geometrically complex design, illuminated dramatically with sconces and color-changing lights. Even the plating techniques resemble artwork, flaunting sauces spread like paintbrush strokes. And like the nearby performance venues, the chef has made himself the star of the show. A glass-enclosed kitchen can be viewed from almost every table of the restaurant.
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The crowded patio always seems to be spilling out onto Cole Avenue, especially when musicians strum Cuban acoustic tunes to guests pecking at paella and cured meats. While the food has lost some of its flair (the once mouth-watering tapas are now nothing to write a la casa about) it's easily forgivable in this warm and welcoming retreat. So let us thank Alberto Lombardi not for the cuisine, but for crafting a hacienda-styled space without at all seeming clichéd or hokey.
This restaurant sits 560-feet in the air, 50 stories above the ground and rotates 360 degrees. Perhaps those numbers also have your head spinning, but it's worth a trip up to the Zen-inspired (Zenspired) dining room. Sleek tables and low seating unite entrée and patron in a posh yet pleasant atmosphere. Let's just add one more numerical entry to the registry: 400.The number of wines available at the ultra-chic illuminated glass bar that overlooks the city below.