Dallas- Everything’s Bigger in Texas
The third-largest city in the state of Texas (the ninth-largest city in the U.S.), the Dallas metropolitan area (of 6 million) is a big and richly diverse city which thrives on a burgeoning culinary scene, endless shopping destinations, hip n’ trendy arts and entertainment districts, a notorious nightlife and an abundance of luxury accommodations – for all tastes.
Known for having a healthy ego, the “Big D” (as it’s often referred to) draws in locals and tourists alike. They come from far away lands to see where JR lived or what the grassy knoll looks like.
But Dallas is far beyond the traditional Stetsons, Southern Charm and Steakhouses, for which it’s known (and adored for). This U.S. heartland is bustling with all things old and new – from its cosmopolitan center to its time-honored roots! Yes, the locals still love their Dallas Cowboys first and foremost, but this city has more to offer than just football!
Here’s journeyPod’s taste of Texas for y’ all!
When it comes to accommodations, no one does it better than The Adolphus. Founded in 1912, this historic and award-winning hotel has hosted everyone from queens, celebrities and other famous folks – which is no surprise, considering it’s been rated among the “Top 500 Greatest Hotels 2007″ by Travel & Leisure.
Filled with old-world charm, lavish decor and plush accommodations, The Adolphus affords you the luxury of baroque splendor and deep pampering: beautiful art and antiques such as 17th-century Flemish tapestries and crystal chandeliers, a grand ballroom, and an opulent dining room. The rooms are large and tastefully decorated in English country- style, with Queen Anne and Chippendale furnishings. The graceful, old-world style of the hotel is also epitomized in the hotel’s lobby living room every afternoon from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., where you can enjoy a traditional three-course English tea. If you’re in the mood for something more, the award-winning The French Room- one of the city’s finest is just steps away (see more below).
Dining in Dallas:
With a density of restaurant choices greater than the big apple (yep, it’s true) – Dallas is a dining mecca. The city has become much more than a slew of Steakhouses and BBQ joints. An abundance of innovative and awe-inspiring chefs have taken post here – driving cuisine from American and Italian, to Mexican and Asian. Some of journeyPod’s picks include:
The French Room – Housed in The Adolphus and rated among “Top 20 Restaurants in America” (Conde Nast Traveler) and the ”Top 10 Most Romantic Restaurants 2007″ (Mobil Travel Guide), the restaurant serves classic French fare and offers a dining experience like no other! Boasting 18-foot ceilings, hand-blown chandeliers and old-world opulence, the French Room is as much about the ambiance as it about the cuisine. Chef Jason Weaver’s selections are also as stunning as they are scrumptious – particularly the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with Lemon Grass-Ginger Infused Lobster Sauce and Tomato Jam and the Medallions of Veal with Herb and Feta Cheese Crust and Braised Veal Cheek with Minted Potato Gnocchi, Poached Pears and Shallot Sauce. It would also be a sin to dine here and not experience the restaurant’s famous Soufflés (the Grand Marnier was our fav). And, to experience the ultimate in dining – make sure to ask for Connie (there’s nothing like dining under her reign!)
III Forks – It’s no surprise that III Forks has been awarded “Best of Excellence” award by Wine Spectator, this Dallas steakhouse (with a French twist), exudes opulence. With over 25,000 square feet, III Forks boasts a 24-carat gold dome, giant wall murals, Tiffany-stained glass and elk chandeliers. Though meat is the driving force in dining here, start your meal with the delicious crab cakes and a great glass of wine (one of the most extensive wine collections in Dallas).
S&D Oyster Company – A legend in Dallas, S&D Oyster Company has been around since 1976 and not much has changed since. Serving a New-Orleans inspired menu, this inexpensive hot spot offers everything from shrimp to oysters and po’ boy sandwiches – though the Seafood gumbo and fried oysters were the best! Whatever you order, just make sure you save enough room for the bread pudding with whiskey sauce.
Mattito’s TexMex Cocina – Offering a one-of-a-kind dining Tex-Mex experience, Mattito’s has the best Tequila bar and boasts a great Sunday brunch. With a ranch-inspired dining area, Mattito’s offers bright-colored walls and star-shaped lanterns – along with floor-to-ceiling windows affording diners a great view of the outside patio. A house specialty (which many folks don’t know about) is the Bob Armstrong dip – a fusion of ground beef, guacamole, cheddar cheese and sour cream – delicious! Psst… avoid even trying to find parking near this place, just go for the valet – it’s free.
Steel Restaurant & Lounge – Who knew you could find amazing Japanese food in the southwest? Steel serves authentic Japanese and Indo-chine (Vietnamese) cuisine and offers a wine selection of over 1000 boutique choices. Located in the heart of Dallas, this hot spot (offering a great bar scene) provides a Zen-like atmosphere – thanks to European music selections, candle-lit tables, mahogany walls and cherry wood floors. Everything on this menu is truly delectable, but our favorites included the Beef Tataki and the restaurants specialty-sushi rolls like Hells and Firecracker.
Dallas Down Under
After a great dining experience, there’s nothing better than some live music, karaoke or a little dancing. Music plays a Texas-sized role throughout this area, with performances in venues from bars and lounges, to roadhouses and concert halls. Either way, Dallas’s nightlife doesn’t disappoint! From its downtown area to the city’s outskirts, there are a number of choices. Here are some of ours:
Urban Oasis – A dreamy poolside retreat with va-va-voom views of the Dallas skyline, Urban Oasis is an exotic nightspot located in Hotel ZaZa. Drawing an interesting mix of Dallas elite, celebs and international travelers, the place offers some of the most tantalizing selections of cocktails you’ll ever find. And, no worries when the winter arrives – the place allows you to walk-on-water (literally) over the clear plexi-glass covered pool in the cooler months, lending a surreal dance-on-water vibe. Just make sure you dress your best!
Absinthe Lounge – A downtown lounge boasting comfy couches, mood lighting and a rotating lineup of awesome music (DJs on Fridays and Saturdays and jazz bands on Tuesday through Thursday – along with regular karaoke nights), Absinthe is a great destination for a date or a great spot to hang out with a crowd. For all you smokers out there, you can even puff on a cigar from the impressive humidor. For everyone else, the signature drinks and nice wine selection will have you covered.
The Old Monk – Offering an impressive selection of beers (15 on tap, as well as more than 50 by the bottle), the Old Monk is one of the best beer spots in the city. If you like beer and good food, then you must try the Monk’s Guinness Beef Stew or the Bass-Ale batter-fried fish n’ chips. An intimate little place with loads of Old-World charm and decor, The Old Monk appeals to just about every beer fan out there… hence, the crowd. Oh, and for all you pet lovers: The Old Monk welcomes pooches too (as long as you sit al fresco)!
Eight Lounge – An upscale and luxurious club experience, Eight Lounge offers up magnificence from the second you step inside its doors. Greeted with a gorgeous glass wall waterfall, a paradise of private booths with satin curtains and a swanky and sexy glass bar with plasma TVs – you’ll quickly realize why Eight Lounge has become one of the best lounges in Dallas. DJ’s here spin everything from exotic world music to hip hop – so make sure you arrive in a dancing mood. The addictive martinis here should also hit the spot. For all you singles out there, check this place out on a Wednesday night and you might even get lucky!
Check out a complete list of the best reviewed hotels in Dallas!