Dallas’s 8 most exciting restaurant debuts of 2023

An inventive New Zealand-inspired menu earned Quarter Acre in Greenville a 2023 CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker award. | Credit: Quarter Acre
New Zealand-inspired seafood and two glasses of white wine top a table at Quarter Acre in Dallas

In 2023, Dallas-Fort Worth’s booming food scene imported many luxury restaurants from other cities, and also launched some eagerly anticipated homegrown spots. The year’s most ambitious new entrants include an award-winning Kiwi restaurant and the Texas outpost of a Miami-based pan-Asian stunner that happened to be the highest-grossing restaurant in America last year. Read on for a guide to Dallas’s eight hottest restaurant debuts of 2023.

The Saint – Dallas (Downtown)

A spread at The Saint in Dallas includes bluefin tuna crudo, a Caesar salad with focaccia breadcrumbs, and prosciutto with burrata mozzarella, marinated tomatoes, and aged balsamic.
The Saint draws crowds for an Italian steakhouse-inspired menu and one of the city’s most striking bars. | Credit: The Saint – Dallas

This Italian steakhouse from multi-award winning Hooper Hospitality Concepts opened in May, and it’s an undeniable vibe. Candelabras drop from ceiling pipes in the dimly lit space, but the oversized bar—curvy and contemporary, with an industrial feel—steals the show. The menu is fueled with ingredients from local farms and includes a raw bar, caviar service, hearty wagyu steaks, and pappardelle bolognese. Even if you don’t go for a full-fledged dinner, a cocktail at the gorgeous bar, which could include a passion fruit and mezcal drink called Forbidden Kingdom, is a must.

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Maison Chinoise (Uptown)

Peking duck claypot rice with a sunny-side up egg at Maison Chinoise in Dallas
Maison Chinoise stands out for its American-accented Chinese staples. | Credit: Maison Chinoise

Dallas buzzed with anticipation for this chic Chinese spot by longtime restaurateur Alberto Lombardi (of other local favorites like Taverna and Toulouse) to open in August. The lavish restaurant already scooped up rave reviews for a slick menu by executive chef Ivan Yuen. Yuen is a pro at adding American twists to regional Chinese staples—think wok-fried lamb shoulder, pastrami egg rolls, and a knockout Peking duck served tableside with crispy skin and caviar. Bonus points for the not-so-secret lounge, Reginese—it’s attached to the restaurant and draws weekend crowds for after-dinner drinks made with Southeast Asian ingredients like dragon fruit liqueur and mango.

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Komodo Dallas (Deep Ellum)

Golden ceilings, orb lights, and a cherry blossom mural at Komodo Dallas
This Miami import was the highest-grossing restaurant in America in 2022. | Credit: Kevin Marple

In 2022, Komodo’s OG Miami edition was the highest-grossing restaurant in the country. Which explains why its Dallas outpost had a waitlist as long as its floor-to-ceiling bamboo columns when the restaurant opened in April. Club music sets the scene at this modern Asian superstar, and so does a hideaway-like upstairs lounge decked with pop-art murals. This is the place to go if you want to dress to the nines, dance the night away, and graze on seabass shumai and lo mein with black truffles. 

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Crown Block (Downtown)

Wraparound windows and blue dining chairs and tables set against a wooden wall at Crown Block in Dallas
Crown Block’s iconic address in the Ball means dinner comes with delicious city views. | Credit: Beck

It’s tough to overstate the buzz that preceded this steak-and-seafood stunner that debuted in the Ball—Dallas’s iconic orb with a view—in April. Luckily, the restaurant delivers on its sky-high promises and even earned votes of confidence from Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, and others. Crown Block is led by restaurateur Elizabeth Blau and her husband, chef Kim Canteenwalla, who own Las Vegas hotspots Honey Salt and Buddy V’s at the Venetian. They bring that same upbeat spirit to this Downtown restaurant, which serves giant tomahawks, IG-friendly cotton-candy desserts, and delicious city views via wraparound windows. For an all-you-can-eat dream, go on Sundays when you can dig into a prolific brunch spread that includes oysters on the half shell and fried chicken and waffles with caviar. 

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JOA Korean BBQ (Koreatown)

What was once Nuri Grill, a swanky Texas steakhouse-meets-Korean barbecue staple, became JOA Korean BBQ in April. JOA is a laid-back version of its popular predecessor, complete with tabletop grills for barbecuing cuts like black angus marinated bone-in short rib and pork belly. Warm lighting and an excellent sake and whiskey selection make it a go-to for date nights. Chefs Minji Kim and Ben Lee cooked in MICHELIN-recommended restaurants in Korea, and their technical expertise shines in JOA’s epic hotpots and bulgogi towers.

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Quarter Acre (Greenville) 

Quarter Acre was one of the first new restaurants to open in 2023 and wowed Dallasites—and even scooped up a 2023 CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker award—with a rare New Zealand-inspired menu from chef Toby Archibald. Dishes are nostalgic odes to the food he enjoyed on beaches as a child, like grilled amberjack and hot-smoked Glory Bay salmon. Even the interiors are filled with shoutouts to his home country, complete with sheepskin throws, oyster-shell chandeliers, and hand-woven bread baskets by New Zealand artisans. Archibald is a stickler for details, and the result is an extra transportive slice of the southern hemisphere.

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Pearl Sushi (Knox-Henderson) 

Chef Shine Tamaoki, a Nobu Dallas alum, serves only the freshest and most high-quality fish at this Japanese gem. Pearl opened its doors in September and is a small but elegant space filled with diners sipping sake and sighing over spicy tuna with perfectly crisped rice and seared toro, which the chefs will torch right in front of you. Tamaoki’s wife, Kaya Turner (who comes from another locally loved Japanese spot, Tei-An), designed the top-notch drinks program, which includes craft cocktails like the vodka and lychee-based White Pearl. Even though Pearl is a newcomer on Dallas’s growing Japanese restaurant scene, it’s already made one serious first impression thanks to Tamaoki’s precise and passionate approach. 

Mister Charles (Highland Park) 

Dallasites love a good see-and-be-seen restaurant, and this luxe destination by the acclaimed Duro Hospitality Group fit that bill when it opened in July. Mister Charles lives in a revamped turn-of-the-century soda shop with striking 38-foot ceilings and is loved for imaginative riffs on French and Italian classics like lobster thermidor with Calabrian tarragon butter and blue fin crudo with Thai passion fruit dressing. A crystal chandelier dangles above checkerboard floors, and it adds up to a sceney and splashy escape that’s just as Venetian as it is Parisian. 

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

Diana Spechler is a novelist and essayist whose work appears in The New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, Harper’s, and elsewhere.

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