Duro Hospitality's latest concept El Carlos Elegante is now open in thee Design District. (Courtesy of Douglas Friedman)
Make sure to start with a few of the One-Hitters at El Carlos Elegante. (Courtesy of Douglas Friedman)
End your meal with the Mexican Chocolate dessert. (Courtesy of Douglas Friedman)
California import Pizzana is now open on Knox Street.
The Cacio e Pepe is a signature pizza at Pizzana.
The Finch is a new restaurant at Mockingbird Station. (Photo by Ashley Estave with Estave Creative)
The Finch offers modern American cuisine and raw bar. (Photo by Ashley Estave)
This & That Hospitality’s latest concept comes filled with nostalgia. (Courtesy)
The Double D's cocktail menu was created by operating partners Jermey Elliott and Sung-Joon Koo. The Razz Letter 23 is a must-try.
The Escondido menu features 12 kinds of margaritas, enchiladas, tacos, and more. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Escondido offers Tex-Mex classics including a fresh shrimp cocktail. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Chef Nick Badovinus' Brass Ram is now open. (Photo by Luis Martinez)
Brass Ram is chef Nick Badovinus' 9th concept in Dallas. (Photo by Luis Martinez)
There have been a staggering amount of restaurant openings in Dallas in 2022. The latest notable debuts: a new Latin restaurant from Duro Hospitality, a celeb-loved pizza spot in Knox, modern American cuisine in Mockingbird Station, great cocktails in the Design District, Tex-Mex in Preston Hollow, and chef Nick Badovinus’ latest upscale concept.
To help you narrow down the best of the buzziest, we’re highlighting our favorite new Dallas restaurants and what cocktails, entrees, and appetizers to order at each spot.
A new Duro Hospitality concept (The Charles, Sister), this upscale Latin restaurant just debuted in the Design District. Located down the street from The Charles, El Carlos Elegante is serving Mexican-inspired bites like crudo, ceviche, carnitas, and more. There’s also an in-house masa program for fresh corn tortillas.
Best Sips: If you are a bourbon lover, definitely start with the El Chaz Elegante with cinnamon and lime — it is one of the restaurant’s most popular cocktails. I loved the Jamaica Mezcal with hibiscus and agave. It’s delightfully refreshing and only offers a hint of smokiness. The Checco is another favorite with tequila, kiwi, and ancho reyes.
Best Bites: Everything at El Carlos is sharable. It’s recommended to order something from each of the five sections of the menu. We started with a few One-Hitters (a bite-size appetizer). The Tuna Toro and Osteones are must-tries. For cold dishes, the Ceviche de Tigre is a stand-out with a large piece of chicharron to top the delicious blue prawn/kumquat mixture with. The Chayote Salad with goat cheese and beets is another stunner.
For mains, order the Pork Al Pastor. It comes with a pineapple butter and adobo sauce that made this dish one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. Pair with a side of the roasted sweet potato with a peanut sauce for an elevated experience. And for dessert, don’t miss the Mexican Chocolate. It’s an indulgent pot de creme with meringue and brown butter.
Co-founded by actor Chris O’Donnell (NCIS) and the co-creator of Sprinkles cupcakes Candace Nelson in 2017, this Dallas outpost is the buzzy pizza chain’s first location outside of California. Chef Daniele Uditi leads the kitchen using a signature “slow dough” process (proofed for two days) for Neo-Neapolitan pizza making.
Best Bites: If you like a bit of spice, start with broccolini prepared with whipped ricotta, roasted garlic, honey, Calabrian chili oil, and parmesan. For something a bit lighter, the Cesare salad is a good mixture of little gem lettuce, fried capers, pizza croutons, parmesan, and Calabrian chili caesar dressing.
For pizzas, there are 16 options (including two vegan-friendly styles). The Cacio e Pepe is their signature pie with cracked black pepper. The Pignatiello is another favorite with short rib and basil.
After three years of vacancy, Milkshake Concepts (Harper’s, Stirr, Vidorra) took over the former Cafe Express space in Mockingbird Station to open this new modern American restaurant. Led by chef Eric Freidline, The Finch serves a raw bar, upscale twists on classic bar foods, steaks, seafood, and more.
Best Sips: For a new twist on a classic, check out the Rosé Sangria. It’s a sweet mixture of rosé, brandy, guava, cranberry, and grapefruit. The Finch Espresso Martini is another favorite, but definitely leans more towards a dessert cocktail with vanilla vodka, Kahlua, Baileys, and cinnamon. Next time, I’ll be trying the Salt and Pepper Martini with cracked pepper and a lemon twist.
Best Bites: Each day of the week features a special. I recommend going in on a Thursday night for the Wagyu Short Ribs with roasted poblano mac and cheese. It’s a stunner. And if it’s not Thursday, the Ora King Salmon is another great choice. There are also four pizzas on the menu including a Bombay Chicken Tikka that we enjoyed.
Short for “Design District Bar,” Double D’s is This & That Hospitality’s (Sfuzzi, High Fives) latest concept. The intimate space resembles a living room you would find in the ’70s with cozy couches, wood paneling, a vintage pool table, and checkered flooring. There’s even a ceiling mirror above the bar.
Crafted by operating partners Jermey Elliott and Sung-Joon Koo, the cocktail menu includes specialty draft cocktails, house drinks, and rotating classics.
Best Sips: There are so many intriguing cocktails to try on the Double D’s menu, but after a first taste, I definitely recommend the Razz Letter 23 with raspberry and dill vodka. It’s sweet, but not overpowering and the hint of dill is much better than it sounds. The Bingo Bango is another favorite (made with tequila or mezcal) — a twist on the classic margarita with additions of pineapple and vanilla agave.
Also, the “Expresso Martini,” comes with vodka, but if you like mezcal, be sure to make that switch — it’s delicious. And if you’re into melon, the Use your Melon with gin is quite refreshing.
TJ’s Seafood owner Jon Alexis just opened his first Tex-Mex spot at Preston Royal. The menu features family-friendly classics (tacos, enchiladas, fajitas), 12 different kinds of margaritas, seven Mexican-inspired cocktails, beer, and wine. There’s also a large heated patio for al fresco dining.
Best Sips: Escondido’s frozen guava margarita is a refreshing must-try. On the rocks, don’t miss the jalapeno cucumber or mango. There’s also a Mexican Martini with Lunazul reposado, jalisco orange liquor, thyme, and cotija stuffed olive if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous.
Best Bites: Don’t leave without trying the Tex-Mex pizza. Made with ground beef, cheese, ranchero sauce, and lime crema, it’s a favorite at the new spot. If you’re opting for tacos (or a combo plate where you can mix and match tacos and enchiladas), the shrimp a la plancha is delicious. Oh, and don’t forget the dulce de leche cream donuts for dessert — they were our favorite part of the meal.
Dallas chef Nick Badovinus’ ninth local dining concept is an intimate, upscale steakhouse perched above National Anthem (another Badovinus joint) in the East Quarter. Brass Ram focuses on USDA prime rib, as well as steaks, seafood, soups, and sandwiches. The cocktail menu features more than 70 bourbons and whiskeys and a martini menu that offers four different styles with gin or vodka.
Best Sips: If you’re a tequila drinker, definitely try the Left Foot Special with Midori, mint, and lemon. It’s refreshing and has a nice mellow green color. The Sling cocktail is also a tasty creation of gin, chai, stone fruit, lemon, and soda. There are three kinds of Old Fashioneds and Manhattans as well.
Best Bites: Start with the Crudo Royale. It’s a hefty portion of hamachi, ahi, king crab, rock shrimp, and avocado with dynamite, ponzu, and sesame sauces. We devoured every last bite. If you’re more interested in meat, the Pigs in a Blanket and barbecue meatballs are other popular choices. For mains, you’ve got to go with a prime rib — there are four options, plus a Mishima Reserve Wagyu only available on Friday and Saturday.
I also had to try the “A Burger Like I Had in Paris That One Time a While Ago.” It was my favorite dish of the evening. It is a Wagyu burger with dijonnaise, port salut cheese and raclette, minced red onion, caramelized onion jam, and bacon. For dessert, don’t miss the Apple Bourbon Donkey Roll with rum raisin ice cream.