The best and most annoying food trends in Dallas 2023

There was a lot that our panel of experts liked about Dallas in 2023. There was also a lot that annoyed them. They didn’t hold back when we asked them to share the best and worst of the city’s food industry over the past year.

Michelle Carpenter by Beatrice Restaurant:

“The top ‘trend’ is the media’s focus on ethnic and immigrant cuisines. DFW has been diverse for a long time. It wasn’t until recently that the local food media decided to head to the suburbs to discover just how much variety North Texas has to offer. Worse trend: When customers make multiple reservations for the same night and then cancel on the night of. This is careless to the restaurant and other guests. This prevents other guests from enjoying the restaurant’s services. For the restaurant, this often results in reduced sales and inconveniences the scheduling of wait staff. It’s okay to change your mind, but please do so with more notice.’

Amy McCarthy of Eater:

“Always happy to see more natural wine on menus!”

Didi Paterno, Eater Dallas Contributor:

“I love the explosion of Yemeni owned and operated restaurants and cafes. It took a decade to get to this point! In the past we had to drive down to Houston for Yemeni food, but now it’s a shorter trip within the Metroplex. I love the expansion of regional Middle Eastern food beyond established Levantine (Lebanese) food.”

Andy Pham from Le Rêve Gelato & Pastry:

“It’s been extremely exciting to see the diversity of the food scene in Dallas. Recently, it seems like more and more Asian cuisine is being introduced to more and more Dallasites, whereas a few years ago it didn’t seem that way.”

DeQuilla Henderson, Eater Dallas contributor and Da Food Baddie:

“Honestly, these are fusion fragrances! Some are super tasty and some fail. Fusion is a great way to combine flavors, but sticking to traditional flavors may soon be on the way out. Cris and Jon’s was overhyped and now has a chicken mole ramen burrito that has no business merging! A mole is madness itself, why add it with ramen?”

Jenny Kelly from i love:

“I think the espresso martini trend was a little maddening. Suddenly it was everywhere, and even though I love a good espresso martini, I started trying ones that were just too sweet and out of balance. I spent college working at Terilli’s over the years and they have the best, period. I say don’t mess with something ain’t broke!’

Benji Homsi from Duro Hospitality:

“There was a lot of excitement in the restaurant industry in 2023. It seems that a lot of new restaurants that opened in 2023 were focused more on design. From the large restaurant groups to the smaller ones, the design seems more favored than previous years.”

Natalie Keomungkhun from D magazine:

“Japanese omakase was the most exciting trend for me. There is a huge influx of new Japanese concepts in Dallas and I love it!”

Jill Bates from Sugar & Sage Bakery:

“More mocktails. I’m really loving the soft drink trend. We served pomegranate lemonade at Chef for Farmers and it was a hit. I also love the new coffee drinks with spices like turmeric for kick and good health.”

Brian Rinehart of D magazine:

“The most expensive trend is probably the proliferation of high-end sushi. From Shoyo in 2021 and Tatsu in 2022, the market has blossomed to now include Sushi Bar, Sushi by Scratch, Kinzo and Yujo for omakase tasting meals, plus more newcomers: Pearl, Maji, Kaiyo, Yellowtail, Naminohana and Heian. I want to write a new sushi review article, but with so many restaurants, how long will this article be? The costs would also be wild.

“The opposite of that trend – but also a good thing overall – has been the increased focus on casual neighborhood places where people can go out without dressing up and still get really good food. It was a category where Dallas needed an upgrade and we got it.”

Terrance Jenkins from Beatrice Restaurant:

“Exciting: farm to table and people buying local and supporting local businesses. Infuriating: When restaurants aren’t actually farm-to-table and you just use that phrase. This is unfair to the guests. They do not understand the purpose and significance of this movement.”

Lee Hutchinson of Via Trioci:

“Most infuriating was the wave of big men that rolled into the city. Let’s keep the Dallas food scene local and family friendly.”

Rachel Pinn, Eater contributor:

“There is still a lot of confusion and resentment around tipping. Excessive automatic tip calculations at the counter have gotten out of hand. I’m all for fair pay and believe that those in service positions in the hospitality industry deserve our respect, but at some point I’d rather it go to my tab before a tip and be paid by the business.”

Elijah pope of UNCO Hospitality Group:

“Infuriating: Big budgets for out-of-town construction that come with an even higher price point on the menu [that are] fun to experience once or twice, but soon it will cease to exist. These places steal the love from our local talent who invest their time in the plate, not the picture of the plate posted on Insta.”

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