Known for its seasonal, modern Italian fare, the new Sassetta menu features influences from the Mediterranean region including Southern France, Northern Africa and Spain. (Photo by Thanin Viriyaki)
Sassetta reopened in downtown Dallas on April 8. (Photo by Thanin Viriyaki)
Sassetta reopened at downtown's The Joule hotel. (Photo by Thanin Viriyaki)
Clifton Club, a neighborhood bar, just opened on Fitzhugh with great cocktails. (Photo by Megan Ziots)
Always start with the whipped ricotta at Clifton Club. (Photo by Megan Ziots)
La Stella Cucina Verace is a new Italian restaurant in the Dallas Arts District. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
La Stella offers authentic Italian food in an upscale atmosphere in the Arts District. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
The Korean BBQ Pork Belly is a highlight of the District Dallas menu. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
District debuts its first location outside of California in Addison. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
District Dallas debuted in Addison on May 6. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Don't miss the S'mores Pot de Creme dessert at District Dallas. (Photo by Kathy Tran)
Darkoo's Chicken Shack has opened in the former Khao Noodle Shop space in East Dallas. (Courtesy)
There have been a crazy amount of restaurant openings in Dallas over the past several weeks. Italian spots — old and new — seem to be popping up everywhere. A new Asian chicken spot took over an East Dallas favorite. A Northern Cali-import opened in Addison. And a highly-anticipated bar finally debuted on Fitzhugh. But that’s just the start.
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.
Opened by Beverley’s owner Greg Katz, this new neighborhood bar and restaurant took over the former Zippers space on Fitzhugh Avenue. The old building was completely gutted and revamped with black paint, fresh new windows, and a slick, effortless interior with baked in personality. Saddle up to the 14-seat bar, settle in to a cozy booth along the wall, or gather around the charming back patio with bistro tables. And like every great neighborhood cocktail lounge, the cocktail and bites menus also happen to be stellar.
Best Sips: If you like mezcal, the Oaxacan Affair is a must-try and one of the most popular cocktails at the bar since opening. It includes tequila, mezcal, watermelon, agave, lime, and black lava salt. There’s also an espresso martini that’s not to be missed.
Best Bites: Start with the whipped ricotta topped with tomatoes and pistachio dukkah, served with sourdough for dipping. For sharing (or as a meal on your own), the mini wagyu smashburgers are delicious. And don’s miss the steak tartare toast — it’s a delicious mix of capers, cornichons, and djionaise.
La Stella Cucina Verace
This new Italian concept from Tricolore Pride LLC just debuted in the former Flora Street Cafe in the Dallas Arts District. Led by chef Luigi Iannuario (formerly of Da Mario Ristorante Autentico at The Star), the new spot serves authentic, nostalgic Italian family recipes in an upscale setting.
Best Sips: The Via Flora 23 was a favorite, refreshing cocktail of the evening. It includes Empress 1908 Gin, Italicus, lemon, lavender, egg white, and creme de violette. Another popular light and fruity option is the Giulietta with vodka, St Germaine, peach puree, lemon, and blackberries. La Stella also offers an extensive wine list of some tasty options.
Best Bites: Start your meal with the Market Oysters with caviar and champagne granita. Next, make sure to try the Agnolotti. It’s filled with ossobuco and topped with a butter and sage sauce, as well as veal reduction. If you like a bit of heat the Astacus is a spicy mix of pasta from Gragnano Napoli, Maine Lobster Fra Daviolo, Brodetto, herb, and tomato. And for dessert, Faby’s Tiramisu is a dreamy mixture of mascarpone mousse, espresso-soaked Ladyfingers, and dark cocoa served in a martini glass.
Founded in San Francisco in 2007, this globally-inspired restaurant brought on Dallas chef-partner Aaron Staudenmaier (formerly of Jasper’s and Abacus) to run the kitchen for its first location outside of California. The menu is a mix of Northern Cali and Texas influences with bites ranging from hamachi crudo to short rib. The Addison spot also has a travel-inspired design with artwork depicting Dallas-area airports and aircraft.
Best Sips: A must-try cocktail if you enjoy easy drinking is the Briar Patch. It’s a mix of Ford’s gin, Cassis liqueur, creme de violette, and fresh mint. For a kick of spice, My L’il Friend was also a favorite with tequila, Ruby Red Grapefruit, lime, pineapple syrup, and habanero bitters.
Best Bites: A can’t-miss appetizer is the sweet potato pakoras with zucchini and onion enveloped in a crispy chickpea batter. They come with a jalapeño-lime aioli that is delicious. The crispy squash blossoms are another favorite and include locally-sourced goat cheese. For mains, the fried chicken duo comes with two flavorful decently-sized mini sandwiches with dark meat, a pickled fresno chile slaw, and spiced honey remoulade. Lastly, do not leave without ordering the S’mores Pot de Creme. Topped with butterscotch mousse and toasted marshmallows, it is a delightful rendition of the classic fireside dessert.
Recently relocated from the Design District (making way for Carbone) to The Joule hotel, this popular Italian restaurant returns with a new chef and menu. Redesigned by sought-after Dallas designer Jean Liu, the former Americano space features a neutral color palette and handblown glassware from Il Buco Vita. The menu has been crafted by executive chef Mat Urban, known for his signature agnolotti.
Best Sips: The spring cocktail menu boasts 12 classic and unique creations, but a favorite of the evening was the Sassetta in Rossa. It’s a gin-based cocktail with select, apple brandy, lemon, and egg white to create a frothy mixture.
Best Bites: Make sure to start with the tomato braised meatballs and cauliflower parmesan. Also, don’t miss the tagliatelle bolognese with pork, veal, white wine, and parsley. The chicken Milanese is also a standout with a drizzle of harissa aioli and side of grilled ramps.
Earlier this year, we learned that beloved East Dallas noodle shop Khao would be closing for good, but — fortunately — a new concept by owner Donny Sirisavath would take its place. Now Darkoo’s Chicken Shack is serving Asian-style fried chicken like Lao Gai, Karaage, and Panko tenders. Pair your poultry with sides like spicy cucumber salad, fries, sticky rice, macaroni salad, and more.
Best Bites: Start with the Lao Gai-Darkoo’s five-piece chicken bucket combo. Marinated for 24 hours in fish sauce with garlic and lemongrass, the on-the-bone chicken thighs and drumsticks are then fried and tossed in Darkoo Dust — a special, delicious blend. You can also opt to make the chicken spicy, but I went with regular. Side options include rice or fries, as well as another side dish choice. Definitely try the Lao cucumber salad.