Beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday, Lent is a season that is traditionally spent in solemn reflection and, for observing Christians, focused on fasting and abstaining in order to replicate Jesus' sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. While a lot of people observe Lent in the spirit of physically, emotionally or spiritually detoxing from less than optimal behavior (i.e. caffeine, alcohol, carbs, social media, etc.), the traditional practice of Lent requires specific dietary adherences, specifically no meat other than fish, on specific days during the Lenten season.
So whether you are visiting Dallas during Lent and need restaurant reservations that won't derail dietary restrictions, or you are a local and looking to alter your Friday forage for the next 40 days, here is a list of six Dallas restaurants with menus that will help you successfully navigate meat-free meals with no fear of missing out.
Boulangerie by Village Baking Co
Nestled among the bustling businesses on Greenville Ave., this beloved Dallas-based bakery is the perfect place to pop in for a French pastry and most of their offerings are compliant. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a cafe you'd lazily wander into on a weekend in Paris. Nosh on a buttery croissant or sample one of the kouign amann while you wait on your latte. They also regularly carry a vegetarian quiche, such as mushroom and gruyere, if you're feeling something savory. *Bonus: VBC offers a to-die-for Tuna Salad on a demi-baguette during Lent that will change how you think about this humble sandwich and make fish on Fridays a real treat.
Take your meatless meal a step further and visit Tiki Loco for some of the best vegan breakfast options in the city. Located in the hip Dallas neighborhood of Deep Ellum, Tiki Loco prides itself on a wide array of vegan breakfast options that won't have you missing meat anytime soon. Whether you choose the Green Chile Chk'n Hash or the Smothered Breakfast with house made oat sausage, you really can't go wrong.
Four Dallas locations
If you're visiting Dallas, you'll soon come to find that tacos are one of the central food groups in any self-respecting Dallasite diet. But what to do when carne asada, ground beef or chicken tinga won't do? Velvet Taco has the answer! While a chain, it is a local favorite with globally inspired and Lent-compliant options like the Nashville Hot Tofu, Fried Paneer and Falafel tacos. If fish is what you're after, try the Shrimp and Grits, Fish and Chips or Grilled Salmon tacos, too.
TJ's Seafood Market
A seafood staple since 1989, TJ's Seafood Market has been Dallas' premier source for the finest fish and shellfish in the area for over 30 years. From the shrimp cocktail and Maryland crab cakes to the salmon burger and lobster roll, nearly everything on TJ's menu would work for a Lenten Friday. Centrally located in the Oak Lawn neighborhood, TJ's Seafood Market has something for everyone and what better way to sample some of the best seafood available in the area.
Located inside the brand-new Virgin Hotel in Dallas' Design District, Commons Club features a gorgeous dining lounge and patio with a retro vibe and a decidedly delicious dinner menu. Diners looking to avoid meat will be pleased; rather than notating which items are vegetarian, Commons Club takes a more progressive approach by alerting guests of which options contain meat, labeled with a tiny red hambone. Salt Cod Fritters, The Daily Catch and the Parisian Gnocchi are just a few of the items to be savored and enjoyed.
Dallas sushi bar and pan-Asian dining as pioneered by renowned restaurateurs Tracey Rathbun and Lynae Fearing, Shinsei is a culinary experience worthy of the coveted Friday Night Date Spot on your calendar. Enjoy the freshest sashimi, sushi rolls and Asian-fusion delicacies, but be sure to make reservations for this upscale eatery because it's always packed - a testament to its long held tradition of serving up only the best of what pan-Asian cuisine has to offer for over 10 years.