A young, hip crowd frequents Oak Cliff’s Nova, a Kessler Park gastropub that features some of Dallas’ best brick-oven pizza. Nova is a standalone space with a 1950s-esque exterior, and a chic, unruffled interior. Nova offers daily and weekly specials from mini sliders to New York strip Vietnamese style with baby bok choy, chili peanuts, cucumber, mint and roasted tomato-ginger sauce or lemongrass vinaigrette. As much neighborhood hangout as weekend haunt, the bar comes complete with beer and a special cocktail menu. There are also regular menu changes, so if you eat at Nova once, it could easily be different the second time around.
Located close enough to the Bishop Arts District in Oak Cliff to be conveniently considered a cool location in Winnetka Heights, The Kessler Theater sits on the corner of Davis Street and touts a colorful marquee and equally vibrant history. It’s the lime green and yellow brick art deco look you’ll notice first, while the façade and dusty red signage draw the eyes further. Inside is a more traditional rock venue, long and dim and pulsing with energy during performances that belie its early beginnings as a humble single-screen movie house. Today, the 70 year old venue stands tall as a venue for popular touring acts, while still playing true to its heritage – one of the eight-seat suites is named after guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn, a former Oak Cliff native.
Victoria's Mexican Grill resides in a double-decker building, layered like much of the food served inside. To that end, cooks spread cheese over a bed of chips and fajita-style steak to make nachos, or stuff and deep-fry whole jalapenos for a delicious snack and easy way to prove someone is a fire-breather. Some of their most exciting layering occurs after dinner ends, though. They top flan with fresh wedges of lime and even make ice cream nachos. Rather than tortilla chips, they start with cinnamon-dusted pastries crowned with scoops of cinnamon ice cream and chocolate sauce, before adding dollops of whipped cream and maraschino cherries. Of course, liquids have layers in their own right, so the bartenders contribute by whipping together a pina colada fresca recipe made inside a hollowed-out pineapple.
Located in the fashionable Oak Cliff’s Bishop Art’s District, Bolsa is a stand-alone restaurant that was one of the first hipster hangouts before the area was cool, but offers massive appeal to citywide diners looking to enjoy the European-leaning menu. Located in a historic building, outdoor seating in good weather is the perfect place to drink wine and watch traffic, though the high-ceilinged, industrial indoor space is no slouch either. Using the garage doors from the space’s pre-Bolsa days, the small two-story affair has a cement floor and intimate dining area, where eaters hunch over plates of charcuterie, cheeses and simple flatbreads. Ultimately, it’s the cocktails that have made Bolsa famous, though a lengthy wine list often comes in handy as well.
The pies at Eno’s Pizza Tavern are cooked in a fire-deck oven, loaded with produce from local markets, and, according to the Dallas News, emerge “crisp and attractively charred around their slender edges.” The "saltine-level thin" crusts create a crispy counterbalance to a garden’s worth of fresh vegetables and zesty meats. Try the Eno’s original, a pie loaded with mushrooms, fresh sliced tomato, garlic, and salami. Or the Dallas News-recommended Northside, with charred green onion, tri-colored bell peppers, salami, and sprigs of fresh basil. The selection of beers and seasonal draughts from brewers as far away as Left Hand and Magic Hat and as nearby as Shiner add a tavern-esque feel to this neighborhood spot, especially on Friday nights, when local musicians take the stage.
This little French bistro is a Bishop Arts District favorite, inspiring crowds with a Saturday and Sunday brunch and giving off a quaint, slightly hidden vibe. Billing itself as a neighborhood bistro, Boulevardier’s menu is both French-inspired and Dallas-honed, with a tremendous selection of homemade goodies, fresh oysters and wonderful bouillabaisse. A wine list covers more than 120 bottles, while meatier menu mainstays include charcuterie plates, grilled grass-fed hamburgers and a crispy duck pappardelle. The space’s casual vibe translates well to the décor, full with natural lighting and fatigued walls, hanging gilded mirrors and a tall shelf of bottles that display the day’s drinkable offerings.