Hot List: 18 great restaurants to visit in Dallas-Fort Worth in February 2023 (2023)

As long as the winter weather in Dallas-Fort Worth isn’t keeping you house-bound, February is a great month to make some restaurant plans.

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It’s Black History Month, and many great Black-owned businesses are listed here. February is also home to Valentine’s Day, a sorta made-up holiday that’s a good excuse to dine and drink with someone you love. February is still a time for new beginnings, too. Some of you are keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions. Others are emerging from Dry January for a drink, or, alternatively, choosing to extend the healthy eating or drinking for a few more weeks.

Whatever February brings, there’s a great restaurant or bar in North Texas for you on our monthly Hot List.

Restaurants listed in alphabetical order.

61 Osteria

in Fort Worth

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We can all stop lamenting the lack of Italian food in Dallas-Fort Worth, because it’s now one of the most popular cuisines for new restaurants in the region. Fort Worth restaurant 61 Osteria comes from chef Blaine Staniford and restaurateur Dain “Adam” Jones, who both operate Grace and Little Red Wasp. Read this story for a look at all the new Italian restaurants you should visit in D-FW.

61 Osteria is expected to open Feb. 2, 2023 at 500 West 7th St., Fort Worth. Dinner only, for now. Closed Sundays.

Black Jack Pizza

in South Dallas

It was a neighborhood victory when Black Jack Pizza re-opened about a month ago, following a shocking story about how a teen driving a stolen car crashed into the restaurant in fall 2022. The incident threatened the restaurant’s survival, especially because it happened after a tough two years during COVID-19. Happily, this Black-owned shop is back and worth a visit this month. It has a long history in South Dallas, having opened in 1990.

Black Jack Pizza is at 2536 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. Closed Sundays.

Cake Bar

in West Dallas

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If you’re looking for a sweet treat for your sweetheart this month, scoot over to Cake Bar in Dallas’ Trinity Groves. Baker Tracy German has created a wildly successful business selling whole cakes and slices of cake — strawberry, red velvet, German chocolate, Italian cream and so many more. There’s even a cake vending machine out front.

Cake Bar is at 3011 Gulden Lane (on the back side of Trinity Groves), Dallas. Closed Mondays.

Coupes

in Highland Park

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A husband and wife who are “obsessed” with Champagne, as they put it, have opened a chic wine bar in Highland Park called Coupes. Keep it in mind if you’re looking for a romantic spot to stop for a drink before or after dinner this month. Or, stop in with a friend for a Galentine’s drink.

Coupes is at 4234 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas. Open Tuesday through Saturday, starting at 4 p.m.

Culpepper Cattle Co.

in Rockwall

We were delighted by the responses to our story about the 40-year-old Rockwall restaurant Culpepper. You guys love this place! Culpepper was slated to close at the end of 2022 until a D-FW restaurateur made a last-minute deal to save it. You should go, if only to see for yourself the odd assortment of memorabilia, from a small airplane to a stuffed lion (apparently) shot by Teddy Roosevelt.

Culpepper Cattle Co. is at 309 E. Interstate 30, Rockwall. Closed Sunday and Monday. Dinner only.

How — and why —iconic Rockwall restaurant Culpepper was saved from closure

HTeaO

in Arlington, Bedford, Burleson, Carrollton, Denton, Garland, Grapevine, Lake Worth, Plano and Weatherford

and coming soon to Colleyville, Dallas, Flower Mound, Highland Village and Lewisville, McKinney

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HTeaO is on the lips of iced tea drinkers, y’all. This Amarillo-based company is a little bit like a daiquiri shop minus the booze: There are tons of unsweet and sweet teas to choose from, including stuff you’ve never heard of. (Example: Sweet Turbo Citrus is mixed with hibiscus flower, lemon, passion fruit and caffeine extract. Whee!) In a recent taste-test in our newsroom, I loved the cinnamony Texas Chai, the unsweet coconut, and the sweet almond green tea. Blink and there’ll be a(nother) HTeaO near you.

Find an HTeaO at hteao.com/locations.

Invasion

in East Dallas

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Chef Airric Heidelberg’s menu at Invasion is as creative as it is fun. The Cardi B sandwich — fried chicken with spicy mayo and pickled coleslaw — is a winner, says our Claire Ballor. (And, bonus: They’re buy one, get one free on Tuesdays.) I’ve got my eye on the Notorious burger with caramelized onions and jalapeños. Or, if we all decide to meet there together, we can probably split the U.O.E.N.O., a giant fried chicken sandwich with fried onions and jalapeños. I’ll get some basil-Parm potatoes on the side to share.

Invasion is at 4029 Crutcher St., Dallas. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

Kinzo Sushi

in Frisco

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We’ve seen a few omakase restaurants open in Dallas, and now, Frisco has one. At Kinzo Sushi, the chef chooses the items for the tasting menu, leaving diners to simply enjoy (for a flat fee of $90 to $170 per person, depending on the number of courses). Chef Leo Kekoa worked at Nobu Dallas before breaking away to co-own his own restaurant, reports our special contributor Amanda Albee. The restaurant also has an a la carte menu of cold raw fish, cooked fish, yakitori and temaki.

Kinzo Sushi is at 14111 King Road, Frisco. Closed Sundays.

Former Nobu chef opens Kinzo Sushi omakase restaurant in Frisco

Kuluntu Bakery

in Oak Cliff

Micro bakery Kuluntu, run by pastry chef Stephanie Leichtle-Chalklen, has gotten national attention recently as a semifinalist for Outstanding Bakery in the James Beard awards. (La Casita in Richardson also got a nod.) If you haven’t been lured to Oak Cliff to pick up pastries or bread yet, special contributor Nick Rallo will help entice you: “Leichtle-Chalklen’s focaccia is as fork-tender as wedding cake, adorned with rosemary threads and crackly bubbles,” he wrote in 2020. This week’s creamed kale, potato and cheddar galettes caught my eye, too.

Kuluntu Bakery is at 1201 Haines Ave., Dallas. Menu changes weekly. Pre-orders open Saturdays at 10 a.m. and close Mondays at 10 p.m. Pick-up is on Thursday evenings only.

Loro

in Addison

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Following the success of Loro in East Dallas, Texas chef duo Tyson Cole (Uchi) and Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue) have opened a second Asian smokehouse in North Texas, in Addison. Lunch or dinner is interesting here, as a meal can start with snacks like green curry hushpuppies and sesame rice noodles. Then it’s on to my favorite, the smoked prime bavette. Or smoked salmon. Or Malaysian chicken bo ssam with yellow curry vinaigrette. Maybe it’s too hard to pick a favorite.

Loro would be a great first-date spot or a jovial place for happy hour with colleagues.

Loro is at 14999 Montfort Drive, Dallas/Addison.

Meridian

in East Dallas

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Brazilian chef Junior Borges has been impressing us in Dallas for years, starting as a top chef during Uchi’s prime. He opened a restaurant of his own, Meridian, in 2021, where he brought his Brazilian-American culinary point of view to a restaurant that served dishes that we’d never seen in Dallas. Fast-forward a year and a half, and Borges is a James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Chef and has changed his menu to a four-course prix-fixe experience. Here’s why.

Meridian is at 5650 Village Glen, Drive, Dallas. Closed Mondays. Dinner costs $73 per person with optional $40 additional charge for wine.

Motor City Pizza

in Lewisville

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According to Yelp, the best pizzeria in Texas is Motor City Pizza in Lewisville. We love the inclusion of owner Greg Tierney’s Detroit-style pizza joint, but we wish Dallas’ other great pizzerias made Yelp’s list, too.

Motor City Pizza is at 1425 FM 407, Lewisville. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Lunch only on Wednesdays.

Portillo’s

in The Colony

Look, there’s no denying it: Portillo’s is probably the most popular restaurant that will open in Dallas-Fort Worth this quarter. That’s not a knock on the other great, new restaurants that just debuted. It’s just an accurate observation, given the tens of thousands of people who have shown interest in this legendary Chicago fast-food restaurant since it opened in early January in The Colony. I waited over an hour for my food recently and wasn’t even mad about it. I’ll be back when the lines shorten for another Italian beef sandwich.

Portillo’s is at 4560 Destination Drive (at Grandscape), The Colony.

Quarter Acre

in East Dallas

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If you haven’t driven down Greenville Avenue in Dallas recently, Lowest Greenville has seen some significant change. Rapscallion is gone, replaced by stylish new restaurant Quarter Acre. Toby Archibald, the chef-owner who hails from New Zealand, hopes to sell “Michelin-level food and service without the stiffness,” he said in a statement.

If you’re intrigued, enter to win Valentine’s Day dinner for two at Quarter Acre. We could have picked any restaurant to send two Dallas Morning News readers to — armed with a $200 gift card to cover costs, it’s a great thing! — and Quarter Acre was the winner.

Quarter Acre is located at 2023 Greenville Ave., Dallas. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Dinner only.

Enter for a chance to win a Valentine’s Day date in Dallas for two

Restaurant Beatrice

in Oak Cliff

We were already fans of Restaurant Beatrice, the Oak Cliff restaurant from Zen Sushi chef-owner Michelle Carpenter. But now foodies all over the country have their eyes on Carpenter’s upscale Cajun restaurant, as it was named a semifinalist in the Best New Restaurant category of the James Beard awards last week. Carpenter shares her executive chef title with chef Terance Jenkins, who gets support from chef de cuisine Craig Pouncy. Their commitment to soul food and their knowledge of Louisiana’s influences from Afro-Caribbean, Vietnamese, Southern, Western European and others make Beatrice special in Dallas.

Restaurant Beatrice is at 1111 N. Beckley Road. Closed Mondays.

Roots Southern Table

in Farmers Branch

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Celebrated chef Tiffany Derry is making big waves beyond Dallas. You might have “met” her first on screen on Top Chef, where she earned the “fan favorite” people’s choice award during her season. Derry has gone on to be Dallas’ most prolific TV chef, recently appearing on Bobby’s Triple Threat, The Great American Recipe on PBS, and, starting Feb. 19, Guy Fieri’s culinary contest Tournament of Champions on Food Network. In the kitchen, Derry’s food is thoughtful and smart, which is one reason why her Farmers Branch restaurant Roots Southern Table got national nods from Esquire and The New York Times.

Roots Southern Table is at 13050 Bee St., Farmers Branch. Closed Mondays. Dinner only.

SouthSide Steaks & Cakes

in Fair Park

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Dallas isn’t known for its cheesesteaks, but SouthSide Steaks & Cakes is one of the best examples of a local business serving really good Texas-style cheesesteaks. Husband-wife owners Chris Easter and Nicole Sternes close their shop each year for the State Fair of Texas, then open a cheesesteak booth so close to their Fair Park restaurant, it’s quicker to walk than drive. They famously won an award for their State Fair dessert in 2022 called Peanut Butter Paradise, making them the first family to win a Big Tex Choice Awards on their first year in the contest.

SouthSide Steaks & Cakes is at 3125 Al Lipscomb Way, Dallas. Closed Sundays.

Starship Bagel

in downtown Dallas

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MORE BAGELS, yes, please! Owner Oren Salomon has been making bagels in Lewisville since 2021, and he just opened a satellite shop in downtown Dallas in late January 2023, writes Albee. Notably, his kettle-boiled bagels come with the option of six tofu-based schmears, which means the bagel and its toppings can be vegan. (Traditional cream cheeses like scallion, garden veggie and lox are also available.) There is no such thing as too many bagels in Dallas, and we’re thrilled to have another shop to try.

Starship Bagel is at 1520 Elm St., Dallas. Breakfast and lunch only.

What restaurants should have been on this list? Email sblaskovich@dallasnews.com.

Or, check out past Hot Lists to see which restaurants moved on and off:

  • January 2022 — the theme was healthy
  • December 2022 — the theme was celebratory
  • November 2022
  • October 2022
  • September 2022
  • August 2022

For more food news, follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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