Restaurants / Lists

10 Classic Dallas Restaurants That Are Always Worth the Visit

When You're Opting for Tried-and-True Over New

BY // 02.28.20

Dallas’ restaurant and bar scene is constantly changing, with new hotspots and must-try places continuously making headlines. Ahead of the new month, we decided to take a breather from focusing on what’s buzzy and new to highlight some of the city’s best and longest-running restaurants.

With beginnings as early as 1950, these spots have persisted in our ever evolving dining scene, and for good reason.

Javier’s

4912 Cole Avenue

Since 1977, Javier’s, has been serving continental Mexico City cuisine and martinis in the Park Cities. Owned by Javier Gutierrez, the restaurant’s menu focuses on authentic regional dishes such as Red Snapper Mojo De Ajo, Fajitas De Cabrito, and Barra De Navidad. Cocktails and wine can also be enjoyed in Javier’s Cigar Bar, which happens to be one of our “Five Surprising Spots to Meet a Potential Date.”

 

Celebration Dallas
Open since 1971, Celebration is one of Dallas’ best classic restaurants. (Courtesy of Celebration)

Celebration

4503 W. Lovers Lane

River Oaks District

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The first time I went to Celebration, I felt like I was roaming through someone’s home, and that’s how the farm-to-table family restaurant was designed to be. Celebration’s original stone, wood, and copper construction has been expanded upon since its 1971 opening to encompass a full-service bar and a cozy outdoor patio.

The menu is full of feel-good meals. From fried chicken and pork chops, entrees are paired with family-style sides like fresh veggies and soups and salads.

 

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Bob Sambol bought back Bob’s Steak & Chop House and is greeting customers six nights a week. (Courtesy of Bob’s)

Bob’s Steak & Chop House

Various Locations in Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine, and Beyond 

About a year ago, Bob Sambol, the original owner of Bob’s Steak & Chop House, bought back his restaurant on Lemmon Avenue (the now nationwide restaurant’s first location). Since 1993, the steakhouse has been serving prime steaks, chops and seafood alongside some notorious glazed carrots. 27 years later, there are now 16 Bob’s around the country.

Sambol is known for greeting guests at the door of his Lemmon Avenue restaurant (there are now 16 locations found everywhere from Nashville to New York). When you come to Bob’s, be sure to go big with a shrimp platter or smoked salmon appetizer, and side dishes like creamed corn, onion rings, and smoked gouda macaroni and cheese.

 

TJs Seafood
A classic Dallas restaurant, TJ’s Seafood serves mussels, oysters, salmon, fish tacos and more.

TJ’s Seafood Market & Grill

4212 Oak Lawn Avenue & 6025 Royal Lane, Suite 110

Having just celebrated 30 years in business, TJ’s Seafood Market & Grill certainly qualifies as a classic Dallas restaurant. After Jon Alexis purchased the business from his parents, the simple fish market has expanded to two Dallas locations—one on Oak Lawn and a slightly more formal atmosphere on Royal Lane.

At either location, you can come in and grab fresh seafood to take home. The Maryland jumbo lump crab cakes are a must-try, as are the salmon burger, TJ’s fish tacos, and sea salt fries.

 

Parigi Restaurant
Parigi has been open in Oak Lawn since 1984. (Courtesy of Parigi)

Parigi Restaurant

3311 Oak Lawn Avenue

Opened in Oak Lawn in 1984, Parigi has been a Dallas neighborhood bistro staple for more than 30 years. Chef and owner Janice Provost makes updates to the menu each month, continually offering the freshest seasonal ingredients.

One of the most popular consistent dishes on the menu is the deconstructed California Roll, made with sweet lump crab, avocado, ginger and wasabi-tamari vinaigrette.

 

Jimmy’s Food Store
Jimmy’s Food Store was founded in 1966. (Courtesy of Jimmy’s)

Jimmy’s Food Store

4901 Bryan Street

Run by the DiCarlo family for generations, Jimmy’s Food Store has been serving authentic Italian dishes and pastries out of a tiny market in East Dallas since 1966.

Back in 2004, a fire destroyed the store. When re-opening, the current owners (brothers Mike and Paul DiCarlo) decided to redirect Jimmy’s focus solely on Italian wine and cuisine. Jimmy’s has created some of the best Italian sandwiches in Dallas such as their massive muffuletta and hot Italian sausage. The made-in-house cannolis are practically legendary.

 

Campisi's Egyptian Lounge
The Dallas restaurant offers an illustrious history and excellent shrimp scampi. (Courtesy of Campisi’s)

Campisi’s Egyptian Lounge

5610 E. Mockingbird Lane

The first ever Campisi’s location opened in 1950 in the old Egyptian Lounge space on Mockingbird Lane. At the time, the owners didn’t have enough money to furnish a whole new sign, so they simply swapped out “lounge” for “restaurant.”

In addition to great pizza, Campisi’s history adds to the restaurant’s allure. Campisi family friend Jack Ruby reportedly ate at the Egyptian the night before John F. Kennedy was killed and two days before Ruby killed Oswald. He later asked Joe Campisi to visit him in jail, though we’ll likely never know what was discussed.

The restaurant has since expanded to nine locations in Dallas-Fort Worth and makes a great shrimp scampi.

 

Cafe Pacific
Cafe Pacific is a fine-dining institution in Dallas. (Courtesy of Highland Park Village)

Cafe Pacific

24 Highland Park Village

A Dallas institution since 1980, the Highland Park Village gem is a truly a special Dallas dining destination (with a strict dress code). However, the popular three onion-crusted sea bass or the lobster and truffle risotto are absolutely worth dressing up for.

 

S&D Oyster Company
S&D Oyster Company opened in 1976.

S & D Oyster Company

2701 McKinney Avenue

Founded in 1976, S & D Oyster Company is located right in the heart of Uptown on McKinney Avenue. Housed in a refurbished historical building, the seafood joint focuses on New Orleans-style fried shrimp and oysters. Named for Herb and Mary Kay Story’s first two children, Stephanie and Doak, S & D would have an extra C in its name if the couple waited to open a year later when their third child, Charlie, was born.

From snapper and flounder to trout and grouper, this classic seafood joint has it all. They also offer sandwiches with a choice of oyster, shrimp or fish loaf, jumbo lump crab, seafood gumbo, and sides like cole slaw, creole rice, and hush puppies.

 

Terilli’s
Terilli’s is one of the best Italian restaurants in Dallas. (Courtesy of Terilli’s)

Terilli’s

2815 Greenville Avenue

A must-visit on jazz nights, Terilli’s has become a Dallas classic since opening in a very different version of Lower Greenville in 1985. Legend has it, the restaurant exists because Jeannie Terilli flipped a coin—heads meant opening a restaurant, tails stood for continuing work at a landscape company.

Thankfully, the coin landed heads-up. Must-try Terilli’s dishes include the lobster bique, shrimp scampi, and Chicken Terilli with angel hair pasta. As for cocktails, martinis are the thing here. Choose between flavors such as pomegranate, white chocolate, and basil lemonade.

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