Contributed by guest author Meredith Steele from In Sock Monkey Slippers

With each day that passes, the Dallas food scene is evolving. From world-class sushi to the best American bistros, Dallas is stepping up to the impressive line of big food cities with the excessive flair it’s known for. Underneath this, however, lies the foundation of Dallas food, the classic unwavering iconic meals that are the perennial winners of the “Where should I go to get a taste of Dallas?” question. Here are just a few of those delectable meals everyone must have at least once in their lifetime.

Butch’s Original Brisket Tacos at Mia’s Tex-Mex

Slow braised tender brisket, sautéed onions and peppers, melted Monterey jack cheese, and a special out-of-this-world gravy get wrapped in warm tortillas and served with delicious rice and beans for the ultimate Dallas Tex-Mex experience. These tacos are Dallas legends that many have attempted to replicate, but you can only find the original at Mia’s. If you want to get a taste of Dallas, this is where you start. It’s even rumored that the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, signed Jimmy Johnson to coach over a plate of these famous tacos.

Two Meat Plate at Pecan Lodge


If you want Texas barbecue, you’ve come to the right place. Although Pecan Lodge is a young restaurant, its roots are in traditional Texas BBQ. There isn’t a time when a line isn’t out the door at Pecan Lodge, but it’s worth the wait. Grab the Two Meat Plate and make sure to choose the brisket. This is “sauce-optional” BBQ in the best Texas style, and the sides range from traditional (fried okra) to adventurous (Sriracha coleslaw) to nouvelle comfort (bacon mac ‘n cheese).

Tortilla Soup at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek and Fearing’s Restaurant


Nothing says Dallas like the tortilla soup from Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The bold flavors of Texas combine with a smooth rich elegance that its creator, Dean Fearing, is known for. With layers of local flavors, this soup is legendary to say the least. Chef Fearing has since left Mansion to open Fearing’s Restaurant, giving Dallasites a second option when they crave this dish.

Fried Chicken Dinner at Bubba’s Cooks Country


Ask anyone one in Dallas where to get the best southern fried chicken and the answer will be Bubba’s (or Babe’s, Bubba’s sister restaurant). Residing in a 1920s Texaco station, this famous spot was created by the Vinyard family with a simple mission to share their family’s recipes. Their signature dinner plate with crackling and tender chicken, your choice of classic southern sides, and a warm yeast roll is definitely a Dallas specialty.

The Italian Stallion at Jimmy’s Food Store


You will find everyone from businessmen to construction workers ordering the Italian Stallion at Jimmy’s, a small neighborhood grocery store founded in 1966. With layers of mouth-watering flavors, freshly sliced authentic Italian meats, and tangy cherry peppers, this sandwich is the king of all sandwiches. While you’re there, grab a beautiful bottle of Italian wine, handmade family-recipe sausages, and homemade pasta to make an epic dinner when you get home.

Filet Mignon at Al Biernat’s


Dallas is a steak-crazed city. With the combined history of cattle and banking, how could it not be? You’ll find a steakhouse on nearly every corner in this town, but the most talked about is the Filet Mignon at Al Biernat’s. It has been said that its beauty rivals Helen of Troy and has the texture of the finest sashimi.

The Original Cheddar Fries at Snuffer’s


Since 1978 the cheddar fries at Snuffer’s have been irresistible to Dallasites. Hand-cut crisp fries are adorned with freshly grated aged cheddar cheese, bacon, chives, and jalapenos for a deliciously indulgent combination. Grab an order and sit on the patio of Dallas’ iconic Lower Greenville Avenue.

Tacos Al Pastor at Fuel City


Dallas has a few hidden gems in unexpected places, and the Tacos Al Pastor at Fuel City is one of them. Yes, this is a gas station complete with its own herd of longhorn cattle, but it’s not the gas or the steers that it’s famous for. These corn tortillas filled with thinly sliced pork simmered in a special blend of chilies and topped with cilantro and onions are a favorite of locals and celebrity chefs alike. Grab a plate and watch the longhorns graze while you have your car washed and detailed – this is Texas after all.

Mile-High Cream Pie™ at Norma’s Café

mud pie

As far as Dallas institutions go, Norma’s Café and the Mile-High Pie could have invented the list. Since 1959, this Texas sized pie with its creamy custard filling and cloud-like meringue has been beloved by Dallas natives.

Codorniz A La Talla at Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano


Neighboring Mexico can heavily influence Dallas food, and this dish is no exception. The beautiful flavors of a spicy chili ancho garlic sauce delicately flavor smoky grilled Texas quail in this Dallas favorite, Codorniz A La Talla. Javier’s has become an institution in the last quarter century and the Codorniz is a large part of the reason why. Come for the quail, then stay for a cocktail and cigar in the luxuriously famous Javier’s lounge.

headshot_resizedIn Sock Monkey Slippers is a family food blog celebrating creative fresh foods and bringing the family together around the dinner table. You’ll find step-by-step recipes for everyone in the family and a peek into the life of Meredith Steele in her sock monkey slippers.