Andy’s Favorite Places in Dallas

I’m a semi-proud resident of Dallas, in that there’s a lot that annoys me about this town but, after living here for 11 years, I guess I’m from here.  So let’s talk about my favorite places in Dallas.  This is in no way a comprehensive guidebook about Dallas, moreso just to tell you the places I find myself at over and over again, should you visit sometime soon.

To Eat and Have a Few – The Old Monk

The Old Monk is a Dallas staple.  In addition to the good Irish pub fare they have a great beer selection and the atmosphere isn’t a typical Loud Bar sort of feel, so you can actually have a conversation with the person with you!  I love their food, the beer is cold, and it’s fairly close to me, so I end up there more times than not when we’re looking for a place to eat.

The Old Monk

The Old Monk

To Sushi – Densetsu

I absolutely LOVE sushi.  Densetsu is a small Japanese restaurant north of Dallas in a suburb called Plano.  Their sushi rolls are enormous and are made right in front of you.  I recommend the Lone Star Roll and the Dynamite Roll.  The rolls are a bit on the expensive side but it’s very much worth the expense in my opinion.

To Dessert – Savor Patisserie

I like french macarons because they’re full of flavor but you don’t feel like you need to take a nap afterward.  Dallas has a couple of macaron shops but none better than Savor Patisserie (and not just because yours truly does some photography work for them).  You can order macarons from their website or visit their shop and even take a baking class from them.

Savor's October Flavors of the Month

To Relax – White Rock Lake

White Rock Lake is just east of downtown Dallas.  A former water reservoir, it’s now dotted with public parks, a great dog park, and a wonderful 9.3-mile running and biking road that circles the lake.  There are also a few companies who rent out kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and sailboats.  You’ve seen this lake plenty of times on my various Pictures of the Week.  I head out here when I need to jog or just to relax and watch the sun set.  It’s a bit of a respite from the noise of Dallas, unless it’s a Saturday morning, then the noise of Dallas all gets on their bicycles and do laps in herds numbering in the hundreds around White Rock Lake (just giving you a hard time, cyclists).

Paddleboard Sunset, by Andy Luten

To Work Out – CrossFit Strong

There are like a million quite a few CrossFit gyms around Dallas, and I’ve made my home at CrossFit Strong.  If you’re a CrossFitter you’ll love this gym!  I’ve made my CrossFit home here for almost seven years and have always enjoyed the people, the coaching, and the HUGE facilities.

CrossFit Strong

To Do Something Awesome – Epic Helicopters

There is nothing more fun than seeing your city from a new perspective, and Epic Helicopters is your go-to place for a thrilling ride.  They offer downtown tours of Dallas and Fort Worth for a reasonable price (understanding that owning and operating a fleet of helicopters is not cheap) as well as plenty of other types of trips, including charter service.  If you follow them on Instagram they offer last seat specials at certain times of the year where you can get some great discounts on a ride!

dallas epic-1

Again, this isn’t a comprehensive guide, just some things I enjoy doing and businesses I enjoy supporting, hopefully it gives you some good ideas next time you’re in the area!

Have you been to Dallas or live here now?  What else would you recommend that I missed?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!




  2. This is important info, Andy. I’ve been consulting in Dallas for almost 1 year now and the city has not appealed to me as a photographer or foodie. I’ll try some of your suggestions and hope at least one of them (not the Crossfit!) makes me feel better about being here. Thanks.

    • Deep Ellum and Bishop Arts have some amazing food!

  3. Love the Old Monk. Live in Addison and there are quite a few good places there and the ‘burbs, too.

  4. Dallas is not complete without going to Lockhart’s..!

    • Ah, true, that’s partially why I left BBQ off of the list, I don’t have just one favorite!

  5. As a Dallas/Addison resident, there a few other good ones. Neighborhood Services will never disappoint for new American, farm-to-table fare. The issue with Dallas is that the good places are all pocketed in little areas spread over long distances and there are large swaths of land where quality offerings seem just hopeless (if you are comparing to cities like San Fran, LA, D.C.,)

    • Really good point about the differences between here and the rest of everywhere

  6. I have to echo Andy’s sentiments about CrossFit Strong. I’ve visited or become a client at something approaching 30 CrossFit gyms, including one in France. I’ve never been able to recreate the magic that had me feeling like I belonged to a community, or to get me in the shape I was then. Sadly, I live 22 miles away, and my office is even further. If you’re looking for a gym in the Dallas area, check out Andy’s tip.

  7. If you absolutely LOVE sushi, you would not recommend rolls. Moreover, if you tried Densetsu’s sushi, you would not recommend that place. The sushi at central market is better than Densetsu. Seriously.

    • The best sushi I’ve ever had was in Ginza in Tokyo and it kind of ruined me on regular sushi, the quality was just unbeatable. For rolls it doesn’t get better than Densetsu in my opinion, in fact I ate there again last night!

  8. I love White Rock Lake, so pretty. Dallas definitely has its perks if you dig far enough. Great post!

  9. Excellent dim sum at Kirin Court in Richardson. Authentic, delicious, and cheap Laotian cuisine at Sapp Sapp in Irving. Excellent, affordable Japanese cuisine at Hanasho, also in Irving.

    I lived in Japan for 9 years, traveled all over Asia during that period, and recently relocated to Dallas. The above 3 restaurants are legit.


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