The kitchen anglers at Staks of Fish bait appetites with a menu showcasing crispy, comforting fish dinners. Jumbo shrimp, catfish, tilapia, red snapper, and whiting take a dip in the house's secret batter before diving into the deep fryer and emerging golden brown like a pan-fried Academy Award. Cooks craft dinners to sate a range of appetites, with meals such as two red-snapper fillets ($7.99) or 10 shrimp ($10.99), complemented by a choice of fries, hush puppies, coleslaw, or bread and pepper. Fingers wrap up ready-made sandwiches ($3.99) to take on impromptu picnics, and à la carte diners may order extra coleslaw ($1) or extra bread ($0.25 for two slices) to create DIY po boys.
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.
Ruggeri’s Italian Kitchen’s experienced culinary crafters whip together an expansive lunch and dinner menu brimming with homemade Italian dishes. A plate of thin spaghetti ties tongues in a web of noodles and slow cooked bolognese sauce ($16) while a meal of italian sausage and peppers serenade mouths with a harmonizing trio of bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes ($18.95). The pescatore diavalo ($19.95), a savory blend of shrimp, calamari, mussels, scallops, and artichoke hearts, bobs in a pool of marinara sauce to give land-locked tongues a more authentic taste of the sea than a fricasseed ship hull. Though Ruggeri's offers an array of meat options, including chicken, veal, and beef, plantivores can sink their bicuspids into a tomato & blue cheese salad bedecked with fresh basil vinaigrette and shallots ($8).
Chef and owner Franchesca Nor caters to health-conscious Park Cities crowds at stylish Dive Coastal Cuisine in Snider Plaza. Order at the counter, then grab a sleek white or metal table in the bright, airy dining room and await your food. As the restaurant’s name indicates, the menu is heavy on seafood, and decidedly fancier than you might expect from a fast-casual space. Starters include striped bass ceviche with housemade plantain chips and fried calamari with spicy Sriracha aïoli. A selection of sandwiches and wraps includes the popular ahi tuna wrap, a colorful arrangement of seared fish, coconut rice, avocado and ginger slaw tucked into a spinach tortilla; there’s also simple grilled fish with lemon, or shrimp tacos with jicama slaw and spicy lime ranch. Surprisingly, seafood haters will find plenty to like here too, including a pulled pork sandwich, turkey burger or white bean hummus with pita.
Casual but classy seafood haven S&D Oyster Company has been a Dallas staple since 1976, offering up a simple taste of New Orleans via Uptown. The timeless dining room has changed little since then, still decked out in red-and-white checkered tablecloths and neon beer signs. Start with meaty shrimp cocktail or a platter of freshly shucked Gulf oysters while you peruse the rest of the well-edited menu, which includes fried shrimp or oyster po’ boys, seafood gumbo and the quintessential New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, served with crusty French bread that’s ideal for soaking up the spicy sauce. Round out the experience with crunchy fried hushpuppies or an order of the whiskey sauce-soaked bread pudding. Red apron and bowtie-clad servers, many of whom have been here for decades, are utmost professionals and will mix up cocktail sauce to your liking tableside.