Where to eat in Dallas right now: 8 best restaurants for lunch
The March issue of Where to Eat, our monthly article where we recommend the best Dallas restaurants to visit, gives love to a meal that needs it: lunch.
Lunch has been slipping since the pandemic, when COVID-shy workers stopped going to the office. Then came the trend of working from home and it was goodbye to lunch. Restaurants saw their lunch business, which kept many afloat, evaporate overnight.
Good news: that trend is starting to reverse. According to security company Kastle Systems, which monitors the trend of working from home every week, office workers are returning to the workplace. A recent survey of 10 of the largest cities in the US found that office occupancy rates are at their highest levels since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether you’re an office worker or still working from home, it’s time to get out and grab a bite to eat at those restaurants that put out afternoon spreads.
Here are eight great places in Dallas for lunch:
Best Salad: Bread Zeppelin
This Dallas-based chain takes an ingenious approach to salad, that lunchtime dish, by packaging it in an edible container: a crusty, artisan baguette that’s scooped out and filled with your custom chopped salad from 40 ingredient options. Or choose one of their signature selections, such as the Shanhai with mixed vegetables, carrot, almonds, currants, Chinese noodles, mandarin oranges and a choice of tofu or chicken in a carrot ginger lime dressing. The bread will absorb just enough of the dressing, but not get soggy. It is portable, eco-friendly and really good. They have six DFW locations, including the original in Irving and one in downtown Dallas, with another opening later this year in Knox Park Village.
Best Healthy Bowl: Buddha Bowl at Modern market
Healthy bowls make for a convenient lunch, and none are more ubiquitous than the classic Buddha bowl, with its perfectly balanced combination of grains, vegetables, and protein; Veganuary says the name was coined by Martha Stewart. The one on Modern Market is great, popular enough to inspire counterfeit recipes all over the internet. It features hot rice and quinoa, spicy roasted broccoli, carrot, citrus coleslaw, peanut, cilantro in peanut-mango sauce, topped with thick slices of sesame-glazed tofu that have the perfect creamy and dense texture. Costing just $11.45, Modern Market — with five locations in DFW, including one in Preston Hollow Village — makes lunch easy with its quick casual ordering style and casual cosmopolitan vibe.
Best Lunch with a Bustling Chef: Restaurant Paris
Owner Janice Provost’s Oak Lawn restaurant has always been a classic and always a great destination for lunch. But for those in need of an excuse, there’s a new chef in the kitchen: Joel Orsini, who has earned fame in kitchens like xxx, creating seasonal dishes such as a stunning pasta with leek top cavatelli, hakuri turnips, baby carrots, sugar & snow peas and candied chicken thighs. There’s also Parigi’s reliable range of incredible salads, sandwiches and risottos, and great wine by the glass.
Pasta with turnips, carrots and snow peas from Parigi.Paris
Best Lunch Buffet: from DiMassi
The lunch buffet was in jeopardy during the anxious days of the pandemic, but that’s all behind us — much to the relief of fans of this Mediterranean buffet concept, first established in Houston in 1992, now with four DFW locations in Richardson, Grapevine, Irving , and plano. Their menu of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern favorites includes four types of hummus, warm puffy pita chips in both regular and whole-wheat versions, beautifully grilled vegetables, meats and seafood, stuffed grape leaves, salads and desserts like baklava. Some buffets are about excess, but this is one place where it’s just a variety of items prepared superbly.
Best Indian Lunch in Irving: Our house
Irving’s vibrant Indian community makes it one of the best places to find Indian food, with a plethora of restaurants. So is this popular classic that has been serving all kinds of Indian dishes since 2005 – from North Indian and South Indian to Moghlai and Indo-Chinese. They pride themselves on their proven skills of Tandoori-style cooking in a clay oven, and also their signature buffet lunch, served every day, with over 40 items including a full salad bar, vegetables, halal meats, seafood, bread , desserts and ice cream.
Best lunch for a work group: Terry Black’s BBQ
Who would have ever thought we’d get nostalgic about the work group’s lunchtime expedition? But it’s one of those measures of office normality, of life as it was before the pandemic. Barbecue joints are a popular choice for so many reasons. You go through a line and pay yourself, so there’s no hassle about who’s picking up the check. The food is ready. You can get a sandwich or meat or just a side dish if meat isn’t your thing. Terry Black’s, the Austin-based family chain that opened a location in Deep Ellum in 2019, is centrally located, has plenty of seating and menu options from burgers to homestyle to Tex-Mex to sandwiches.
Best Tex-Mex Combo Lunch: El Jordan Cafe at Bishop Arts
This little no-frills old Tex-Mex in the middle of the hustle and bustle dates back to before Bishop Arts was an Arts District, when rent was cheap, and served as a reminder of the neighborhood’s original charm. It’s also a reminder of the cheap and funky Tex-Mex joints that were once commonplace but have faded away, where you can get a taco and enchilada combo plate for $7.50 or a BLT for $4.50. They are not open after lunch, but they are open for breakfast with migas, omelets, pancakes and a breakfast special of eggs, bacon or sausage and pancakes for $5.50.
Best for ladies-who lunch: Cafe Pacific
Bless the ladies who lunch and make their valuable contribution to the restaurant lunch scene (and hopefully tip more generously than the reputation that preceded them). Ground zero for this set is Highland Park Village, a neighborhood that certainly has a higher per capita percentage of this dining category than other less fortunate parts of DFW. HPV has multiple dining options these days, but the old classic is Cafe Pacific, whose entree salads, French dip sandwiches, grilled seafood, elegant atmosphere, and dedicated service make it a favorite for the likes of Yvonne Crum, the one-time flight attendant, bubbly, bold name, and gracious lady. if there ever was.