Everyone knows that Dallas' Tex-Mex scene is on point. It is no wonder with the city's long and intimate relationship with Mexico that local chefs cook up some of the best Tex-Mex and Mexican food in the country. But the Dallas restaurant scene is more than a one-trick pony. A plethora of cafes, casual eateries and high-end restaurants serve mouth-watering cuisine from every corner of Latin America. Here is just a sampling of the establishments that make the city's food choices so diverse.
Meridian - The Village
You will not find waiters slinging skewers full of limitless cuts of meat at this Brazilian restaurant. Instead, executive chef Junior Borges' contemporary restaurant serves dishes traditional to his native Brazil. Menu highlights include moqueca (a traditional cobnut-based soup with grilled prawns, plantains and jasmine rice), picanha steak, and squid ink bucatini pasta. Chocolate-lovers be sure to save room for the Brigadeiro Cake made with hazelnut praline, caramelized milk and chocolate mousse.
The restaurant also happens to be one of the hottest spots in Dallas. Sipping Caipirinhas - the national drink of Brazil - on the patio under the canopy of the majestic Live Oak tree is one of the best ways to spend an evening in the Big D.
Chimichurri - Bishop Arts
Flights to Buenos Aires from Dallas are long and expensive, but luckily you don't have to hop on a plane to South America to get your Argentinian food fix. Chimichurri - named after the bright green parsley, garlic and olive oil sauce that accompanies most Argentine dishes - is an eccentric cafe that serves all the South American classics such as empanadas, chorizo, milanesas, and salchicha parrillera. If you are really hungry, order a steak traditionally cooked a la parrilla (on the grill) along with a glass of Malbec from Mendoza.
The restaurant has two bars. The terrace bar called Vermoutheria specializes in vermouth cocktails, bitters and spritzes while The Tango Bar specializes in classic cocktails in a speakeasy-like setting.
Gloria's Latin Cuisine - Bishop Arts
Finding authentic Salvadoran pupusas (stuffed handmade corn tortillas) in Dallas is not for the faint of heart, but we have a trick that makes it easy - head to your nearest Gloria's Latin Cuisine. The Salvadoran and Mexican restaurant that started in Dallas more than 30 years ago now has 22 locations scattered throughout Texas. While it is not the original location, the one in Bishop Arts is the only one housed in a restored fire station.
Colorful booths, upbeat salsa music, tangy margaritas and oversized brunch plates are a staple of every Gloria's. The menu is full of Salvadoran-inspired appetizers, entrees and desserts along with several Tex-Mex classics.
Zaguan Latin Café & Bakery - Oak Lawn
From Argentinian empanadas to Venezuelan arepas to Cuban ropa vieja to Mexican churros, this brightly tiled cafe offers specialties from every corner of Latin America. Breakfast lovers will be happy to note that the restaurant serves breakfast and brunch all day.
With so many delicious choices, it is almost impossible to decide where to start. If you have this predicament, we say start with the Cachapa. D Magazine named the grilled sweet corn turnover filled with beef, chicken or cheese the Best Latin Lunch in Dallas.
Meso Maya - Downtown
Brought to you by the owner of Dallas Tex-Mex legend El Fenix, Meso Maya recreates traditional dishes from central and southern Mexico. Menu favorites include specialties like cochinita pibil, camarones a la diabla and pollo con mole from regions like Yucatan, Vera Cruz and Chiapas. The house specialty Budin Azteca is similar to a Mexican lasagna with homemade corn tortillas layered in between melted chihuahua cheese, monterey jack and muenster cheese with your choice of meat or vegetables.