10 Texas Neighborhoods for Food Lovers
There's no doubt about it - Texas is a foodie's paradise. But no matter what you've heard, there's more than barbecue in the Lone Star State. Next time you're in the mood for something sumptuous, head for one of these neighborhoods:
Once a tired, slightly neglected neighborhood not far from downtown Dallas, this is the newest "happening place" to live, work, and have fun. You'll find burgers and beer, wine bars with tasting plates, fine dining, sushi, pizza, Tex-Mex, barbecue and a whole lot more. Deep Ellum was a historic center for the blues and jazz scene in the 1920's, but is now a mecca for chef-driven restaurants, serving as a backdrop to the live music that permeates the neighborhood on a weekend afternoon.
An experiment, an innovative concept, a foodie destination -- whatever you call it, this new site along the banks of the Trinity River has a great view of the city skyline, a dramatic sight for the crowds who regularly flock to the neighborhood's variety of restaurants and food stores. Although often regarded as over-commercialized and somewhat sterile, West Dallas still has some exceptional dining options that can easily be overlooked by those who can't get beyond the shopping mall aesthetic. There's often live music so plan to "sit a spell."
Bucking the trend of busy but culturally lacking business districts, Austin's downtown provides several reasons to stick around for dinner after work. Boasting some of the city's finest culinary options, the downtown district offers 24-hour diners, beer gardens, comforting pub food, and chef-centric, European-inspired fare - all within walking distance of each other. Make sure to also pay a visit to Chuy's, an Austin staple that prepares a great wet burrito.
Daytime or late night, you're sure to find something to your taste in this neighborhood. There are romantic restaurants, trendy bistros and friendly eateries where your pet will be welcome on the patio. With boutiques, museums, galleries and antique shops, you'll also have plenty to do between meals.
Food trucks reign supreme in the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World". Sample everything from "designer pizza" to Mexican, Moroccan and Venezuelan specialties, wings and ravioli, biscuits and gravy, lobster rolls, homemade pie slices, cake balls and other desserts, and scrumptious breakfasts. And there are a few BBQ restaurants - of course. Look along South First Street, South Lamar and South Congress Avenue, or head for The Picnic Food Park along Barton Springs Road or The Midway Food Park.
Another phenomenon in neighborhood rejuvenation, this trendy hot spot is an older part of town, south of Trinity Groves. Bishop Arts District went through an economic and population decline until the 1980's, when local developer Jim Lake snatched up the abandoned storefronts and began renovating the neighborhood. Today the area is populated by local chefs who now serve diverse menus with a vibe that varies from upscale to decidedly homey. Congregated mostly along N. Bishop and W. Davis, Bishop Arts District, this neighborhood's eclectic cuisine is only matched by the quirky and charming architecture. .
In downtown, the Riverwalk is one of San Antonio's most iconic sights, second only to The Alamo. Stop in at dozens of restaurants to people watch, enjoy tranquility of the river, and enjoy one of many cuisines. For a special experience that offers fine dining in a spectacular setting, choose The Fig Tree. Dine inside in the historic Gray-Guilbeau House or enjoy the same impeccable service on the multi-level outdoor terrace. As a bonus, it's near Little Villita and is not far from the city's convention center.
Not only is The Pearl a great farmers market destination (open Saturdays and Sundays) but for those really serious about food, the Culinary Institute of America has a campus here. The former Pearl Brewery site boasts interesting sit-down eateries as well, and is a favorite local spot to spend a few hours. The restaurants here, including BBQ, brewpub, vegetarian, and Italian options, are housed in preserved spaces within the historic brewery building.
In Cowtown, the old standby is Joe T. Garcia's, and you can't go wrong there. A Fort Worth favorite since 1935, this family restaurant still offers only two choices for dinner: a family style plate or fajitas. They still only accept cash and they don't take reservations, but you can sip margaritas as you wait in line as a consolation. But to restrict yourself to this classic favorite would be a culinary mistake, as Northside has a a nearly singular focus on BBQ restaurants, with the occasional Mexican establishment making an appearance.
Sometimes termed Asiatown, this is the street for foodies with a taste for the unusual. You'll find live seafood, traditional dim sum, and noodles of every kind. Try a favorite like Mala Sichuan Bistro, or stop in at a new place. The seasoned foodie or those looking to expand their horizons will find the perfect spot on Bellaire Street.