Sure, the pandemic threw a few curve-balls at the dining industry, but that hasn’t seemed to slow down the Dallas restaurant scene too much. And nowhere is this more evident than in the Bishop Arts District, where most of its notable spots are still up and running. Though it has moved into larger digs, the chef-driven trattoria, Lucia is still going strong, as is Trompo, the cozy taqueria that Bon Appetit named one of America’s 50 best new restaurants for 2016. Also still kicking is Lockhart Smokehouse, renowned for its Central Texas-style barbecue, and Boulevardier, a laid-back bistro known for some of the best Gallic fare in the city.
Keep an eye on the District’s latest arrivals, too. Not-to-be-missed is the Argentinean gem, Chimichurri, and Encina, a rustically chic eatery offering seasonally inspired New American cuisine and stellar cocktails.
Fact is, you could dine out here for weeks without repeating the same restaurant, but the following ten spots are a good place to start.
A fixture in Bishop Arts since 2008, this popular pizza joint not only slings superb wafer-thin pies garnished with locally sourced ingredients, it also boasts a standout rotating selection of craft beers on draught and by the can. Must-haves include the Pig Smiley topped with honey, ham, sausage, and pepperoni as well as a spinach pie loaded up with ricotta, garlic mushrooms and truffle oil. Don’t sleep on the rest of the menu, which includes everything from beef & boar meatballs to prime rib hoagies, farfalle alfredo and chicken cacciatore. The place always draws a crowd, so expect to find a line to get in during mealtime.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Eno’s is an ideal place to gather with friends and family.
Ilene’s expert tip: Score a Caesar salad or cup of soup plus an 8-inch pizza with two toppings for $9.95, Tuesday through Friday until 3 p.m.
Note that there is free parking available in Eno’s private lot.
A recent arrival to Bishop Arts is this upscale French-Indian dining spot from mother-daughter duo Afifa and Sabrina Nayeb. Located in the former Hattie’s space, the menu features a variety of contemporary twists on classic dishes that range from shareables like aloo tikki with purple potato, goat cheese and pepita seeds to mains such as pistachio crusted lamb chops, and anari chicken with fenugreek, ginger, yogurt and pomegranate seeds. Also find a mix of lentil, grain-based and vegetable dishes alongside specialty breads baked in a tandoor oven. Tucked in the back of the restaurant is the Elephant Bar, a chic lounge where guests can hang out on velvet couches while sipping bubbles and French-Indian inspired takes on cocktails.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Ame is the best place to go when you want to spice up your date night dinner.
Ilene’s expert tip: Weekend brunch is offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday.
Named after the official barbecue capital of Texas, this popular Bishop Arts smokehouse serves, what many locals consider, the most authentic Central Texas-style barbecue in town. Which is no surprise since co-owner Jill Bergus happens to be a member of the family who owns the legendary Kreuz Market in Lockhart. In fact, several of Kreuz Market’s specialties show up on the menu here, including their famous sausages, and a special cut of beef known as shoulder clod. Rounding out the offerings are spareribs, pork chops, smoked turkey, chicken, and of course, brisket. Not sure about what to order? No worries they’ll let you sample the goods before you decide.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Lockhart is the only place in Dallas where you can get Kreuz Market’s legendary sausage.
Ilene’s expert tip: Happy hour drink specials are on offer from 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Note that Lockhart also has locations in Plano and Arlington.
Spanish specialties centered around pinchos (a sophisticated version of Spanish tapas) is the name of the game at this cozy taberna that comes by way of the same folks behind neighboring indie bookstore, The Wild Detectives. A small but succinct menu sports a range of paellas alongside tripe stew, acorn-fed Iberic pork, rack of lamb and fish. And then there are the pinchos, which include salt cod stuffed piquillo peppers, Galician style octopus, and Spanish ham croquettes to name a few. An all-Spanish wine list, house-made sangria, gin-heavy cocktails, and phenomenal desserts (think Spanish cheesecake and fried bread with ice cream) add to the overall experience.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Sketches of Spain is a perfect option for a lite bite before a night out.
Ilene’s expert tip: Happy hour specials are offered Tuesday through Friday from 5-7 p.m., and from 12-5 p.m. on Saturdays.
Located off the beaten path from the main Bishop Arts dining area, this cozy neighborhood bistro is a must for those seeking French-inspired fare. Head here for solid versions of classics like French onion soup, beef tartare and steak frites along with pastas, lamb chops and wood-grilled fish. In addition to dinner service, Boulevardier serves a stellar Sunday brunch that includes options ranging from croque madames and burgers to crispy duck legs with grit cakes and eggs. Convivial dining areas plus a stellar craft cocktail program and affordable wine list contribute to Boulevardier’s overall awesome vibe.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Boulevardier is an ideal option for French bistro food in a casual setting.
Ilene’s expert tip: Score half-price steak frites on Tuesday nights. Also find half-price bottles of wine from 4:30-6:30 p.m., Tuesday-Friday.
Sporting one of the lushest alfresco spaces in Bishop Arts is Paradiso, a stunning Mediterranean-chic eatery that features a seasonal menu inspired by the southern coast of Europe. Expect to dig into dishes such as lightly fried baby artichoke hearts, house-made pasta, and grilled steaks as well as wood-fired fish and pizzas. The drinks list includes natural wines, beer and Italian-influenced cocktails like the Ciao Bella with strawberry-infused Campari, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and prosecco. Weekend brunch brings items like rose almond French toast with pomegranate seeds and apricot agrodolce alongside live entertainment in the garden. Don’t sleep on the desserts.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Paradiso is where to go for reasonably priced Italian food in a gorgeous setting.
Ilene’s expert tip: Customers can sit in the courtyard and order drinks and coffees from sibling venues, The Botanist and Companions. There’s a valet as well as free parking in a nearby garage.
Bishop Arts is the new home for Luis Olvera’s no-frills taqueria, which garnered national attention when Bon Appetit named it one of the 50 best new restaurants in the country in 2016. Monterrey-style street tacos are the specialty of the house, so expect to find around five options ranging from chicken tinga to poblano-paneer, and of course, the eatery’s namesake taco made with marinated pork shaved from a trompo rotisserie. Also find quesadillas, elotes, plus burger sliders garnished with trompo pork, salami and mozzarella on a charcoal-infused bun. As an added plus, this location not only features a take-out window but also plenty of seating in a shared courtyard.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Trompo is where to go when you’re after some of the best tacos in the Dallas area.
Ilene’s expert tip: Check Facebook for weekly specials and events, including Taco Tuesdays when you can score a trompo al carbon taco for $2 between 5 to 8 p.m. on the patio.
Chef/Owner Matt Balke and restaurant veteran Corey McCombs, the team behind this New American eatery, took over the former Bolsa space last fall. Here, guests can expect to find a down-to-earth, seasonal menu with influences from Texas, California, and the South. This translates into appetizers such as skillet cornbread with sorghum butter and whipped feta, and black-eyed pea fritters, alongside quail, rainbow trout, veal bratwurst, and goat tacos. All of which can be paired with seasonal cocktails and a dynamic selection of affordable wines. Sunday brunch includes the likes of migas, turkey confit hash, and blue corn pancakes with butterscotch, salted butter and cajeta.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Encina is a terrific place to go for a casual date or night out with friends.
Ilene’s expert tip: Score $6 select cocktails, $5 glasses of wine and $2 beer during Happy Hour in the bar from 4:30-6 p.m., Wednesday –” Friday.
This bustling new eatery by restauranteur Jesus Carmona of Tacos Mariachi and Argentine restaurateur Ramiro Fernandez Pazos is the destination for some of the most authentic and mouth-watering Argentinian food in town. So, of course, Asado-style grilled meats and house-made empanadas play a starring role, but the menu also features everything from Argentinian pizzas and pastas to Milanesas, choripáns (chorizo sandwiches) and dulce de leche desserts. Must-try dishes include lamb empanadas, ojo de bife (rib-eye), and milanesa caballero topped with sunny side eggs. In addition to a solid lineup of South American wines and beer, the restaurant boasts a one-of-its-kind Vermoutheria that specializes in a variety of vermouth-based cocktails, bitters and spritzes.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Chimichurri is the place for authentic Argentinean cuisine in a vibrant atmosphere.
Ilene’s expert tip: Keep an eye on Facebook for happy hour and an Argentinian inspired speakeasy to open in the back of the restaurant.
Arguably one of the best Italian eateries in the city has now reopened in the space that formerly housed sibling restaurant, Macellaio’s. Which means, diners will not only find Lucia’s rotating menu of house-cured meats, handmade pastas, wild game, and seafood, but also enjoy it all in larger digs complete with an al-fresco patio. Expect to indulge in dishes like spaghetti with sea urchin butter, and Wagyu beef with celery root and truffles. Definitely order the foie-gras-stuffed prunes to start. You’ll thank us later. And for dessert: the Earl Grey tiramisu with candied oranges, mascarpone, and cocoa is nothing short of genius.
Recommended for Bishop Arts District’s Best Restaurants because: Lucia is the place to go when you crave an authentic Italian experience but can’t spare the time or dime to go to Italy.
Ilene’s expert tip: There is a small parking lot behind the restaurant as well as a parking lot at the corner N. Bishop and 9th. Reservations open every day at 9 a.m., and all reservations must be made through the website. Also note that you can place your name on a wait list to be notified in the case of cancellations.