A staple in the Dallas eating scene since before the first location in Oak Cliff was cool, La Calle Doce opened in 1981, just ten minutes from downtown. Set inside a renovated former home, the original location on 12th Street is near to bursting with relaxed charm. Each cozy, wood-floored room offers up a couple of white tablecloth spots for simple dining, while sunlight pours in and homey touches – think hutches filled with china, decorative wallpaper – round out the experience. Offering some of the best Tex¬-Mex food in town, La Calle Doce pushes plates of saucy seafood and fresh ingredients, served in tacos, sopas, cocteles or as standalone plates.
Though it’s certainly worthy of the recommendation, you may want to think twice before telling all of your friends to go to Lucia. The cozy restaurant is so small that it can’t accommodate parties of more than six—and that’s assuming that nobody is a giant. This actually counts as a point in Lucia’s favor, as it enhances the intimate appeal of chef David Uygur’s Italian restaurant. Nestled inside an historic building, Lucia is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Rustic wooden walls and cherry wood surround guests as they dine on hand-crafted salumi and fresh pastas made in-house daily. Though it changes frequently, the restaurant's menu has recently included such entrees as a Berkshire pork chop and a duck breast with roasted carrots. Uygur’s desserts have a special reputation, thanks to creations such as his salted caramel gelato and lemon panna cotta with caramelized grapefruit.
If the bar on Cheers was where everybody knew your name, then Outpost American Tavern is where everybody knows you. That's because the neighborhood spot?dreamed up by Christopher Zielke, Christopher Jeffers, and Tim Byres?cultivates the personable feel of long-broken-in taverns where patrons bellied up to share drinks, stories, and fringe political opinions on how to wear red, white, and blue together. Byres, also the chef, created the menu, which brims with small, sharable plates that bolster the eatery's homey vibe.
As diners sample steamed mussels and grilled flatbread or split a griddled onion cheeseburger, they can chat with the bartenders who mix up cocktails brimming with Ketel One vodka, Jameson whiskey, and Jim Beam Kentucky bourbon. Before you know it, everyone might start chewing along to the soundtrack of the bar's live tunes, which ring out from the tavern most nights of the week.
The fry-masters at The Original Snappy Catfish assemble hearty dinner packages centered on the tasty golden-fried fish. Catfish baskets brim with 10 crispy pieces, which can be comfortably divvied up among four or five eaters, or stowed in safe-deposit boxes when no one's looking. Diners tear taste buds away from entrees to devour sides inspired by the Deep South, such as fried okra, corn fritters, and hush puppies. Two-liter sodas sweeten up feasts enjoyed at the eatery or dished out around home dinner tables.
Fresh, cooked to order catfish fillets and jumbo fried shrimp anchor the focused menu at Catfish Fridays. The restaurant’s catch is always fresh—never frozen, microwaved, stowed under a heat-lamp, or tied to a radiator. One big reason for their success: Catfish Fridays’ owner perfected his secret recipe during his time as the owner of another Dallas seafood institution, Catfish Connection.