The pleasure of the Dallas dining scene is that it leaves no room for mediocrity. So central are restaurants to the city’s culture that Dallas restaurateurs have no choice but to step up to the plate on every front — food, service, ambiance. The fierce competition fuels nothing short of greatness and the scene is always growing and evolving.
The restaurants on this list of reservations Dallas diners “must book” are brand-new or on the cusp of opening and already garnering excited buzz — no easy feat for any restaurant in a city of extraordinary options. These establishments offer the freshest, most innovative sushi; steak in an underground setting; pan-Asian recipes with cocktail pairings; homemade pasta; and piping-hot Chinese dumplings.
Make your reservations now and be among the first to experience these five new Dallas gems.
Wok Star Chinese (Walnut Hill)
When Dallas restaurateur David Romano decided to open a Chinese restaurant, he hired Chinese chefs to not just cook, but also create the menus. The result is the brand-new Wok Star, a hip but casual destination for Chinese cuisine with an Americanized “rock star” theme, noticeable through the ’80s rock played all day and graffitied walls. Nestled in The Hill Shopping Center at Walnut Hill and 75, Wok Star serves buns and dumplings made in house, hand-pulled noodle dishes, and favorites such as orange chicken, General Tso’s, and kung pao.
Neighborhood hidden treasure Oishii (Japanese for “delicious”), a beloved sushi and pan-Asian spot, has expanded again. The third location since 2003 just opened on Parkwood Boulevard in Plano, thrilling north Dallasites who have been wanting an Oishii for years. The Plano location offers up the same beloved sashimi and maki, as well as pan-Asian recipes — Peking duck, Singaporean noodles, Mongolian beef, and of course, plenty of buns, pho, and hot pots, courtesy of Oishii’s owner, Dallas’s first Vietnamese sushi chef, Thanh Nguyen (Tan New). Dishes pair well with sake, Japanese beer, and the wide variety of specialty cocktails, including the “shiso cute” (sake, yuzu liqueur, shiso leaves, and cucumber).
Dakota’s Steakhouse (Downtown)
When Dakota’s closed during the early months of COVID, Dallas felt the loss of the iconic 36-year-old subterranean restaurant. Where else could Dallasites eat aged Allen Brothers steaks underground while admiring a 20-foot granite waterfall? As luck would have it, Dakota’s is back. Though new owner Meredith McEneny made some changes to the old menu, she left the beautiful patio and firepit (and waterfall, of course). When it opens September 13, Dakota’s will once again be a standout special-occasion spot for steaks, seafood, and wine in one of the coolest venues on the Dallas dining scene.
After a COVID closure, hotelier Tim Headington’s Italian restaurant Sassetta is rising from the ashes. First things first: It’s moving from the Design District to Headington’s downtown hotel, The Joule Dallas, a restored 1920s neo-gothic building filled with modern art, where Sassetta will replace former on-site Italian restaurant, Americano. At Sassetta, Tuscan wines play well with homemade pasta (everyone loves the carbonara), thin-crust pizzas (the burnt-honey pizza is a signature dish), and Italian seafood recipes such as fried calamari and grilled octopus. Look for a fall opening.
Tried them all? Check out other options here.