Best International Restaurants : Travel the World without leaving Dallas

Summer is around the corner and while we would all like to pack our bags, hop on a plane to go to far away places and see the world – its not always feasible with work, kids schedules, finances and life in general!  Sometimes you don’t need plane tickets for a mini getaway, just drive to an amazing International restaurant and let your taste-buds and senses be stimulated to transport you to fun destinations.

Best International Restaurants Dallas

Here are a few of my favorite International Restaurant in Dallas that gets you to Travel the World without actually leaving. These International Restaurants have great options for vegetarians as well. So plan a little staycation and fake a getaway even if only for a day, evening or a meal!

Dream of Turkey and the Mediterranean at Zaytina

With touches of turquoise, copper and earthenwares and Turkish style interiors, you forget you are in Frisco, Texas and not in Mediterranean when you are in Chef Andres restaurant at The Star.  Zatinya means ‘Olive Oil’ explained our waiter Fudge as he went over the menu inspired by Greek, Lebanese and Turkish cuisines.  The hommus is fresh and tangy and goes perfectly with the pillowy pita and family style kebab platter. The delicate pilaf has so many textures and tastes from the saffron, nuts and dates.  From bantijan bil laban, a crispy eggplant dish with pistachio and barberries to bronzino to seared halloumi – there are so many choices that keeps you wanting to go back to try them all.  Savor the flavors, soak in the vibe close your eyes and dream of Turkey and Greece.

Enjoy Beachy vibes at Tommy Bahama

Best International Restaurants in Dallas : Beachy vibes at Tommy Bahama

Dallas is definitely landlocked no doubt, but a visit to Tommy Bahama, the restaurant in the Legacy West, Plano helps you get some beachy vibes and cure that beach withdrawal. Stepping into the breezy open 2000 sq ft patio with the louvered roof and rattan looking furniture makes you instantly feels like you are in the islands.  The interior has the same island vibe with lots of green. The restaurant features hand crafted cocktails, craft beers, rum drinks and entrees such as Caribbean rubbed Mahi Mahi, jerk chicken and coconut shrimps.

Sip Sangria at Bulla Gastrobar

Got Spain on your brain, head to Bulla Gastrobar for some authentic tapas, the best red wine sangria and of course awesome paella.  Inspired by Madrid’s Tapas scene, Bulla’s creations stir the senses, stimulates your wanderlust and takes you on a mini getaway to Spain.  Start with the Patatas Bravas, Gazpacho Andaluz, Tortilla Espanola (a traditional spanish omelet) and Croquetas de Jamon (because no trip to Spain is complete without trying some ham aka Jamon).

Have a Schnitzel at Jörg’s Cafe

Best International Restaurants in Dallas

Photo from a Wiener Schnitzel meal in Vienna

Confession – I didn’t know what a Wiener Schnitzel before our trip to Austria last summer.  We had these crispy thin and buttery schnitzel and now we are hooked.  You will be glad to know that you don’t have to go all the way to Vienna to find these, just a quick drive to quaint downtown Plano – try Wiener Schnitzel (they come in chicken, veal or pork) at Jorgs Cafe Vienna.  Or just be like me have the Salat plate with Austrian potatoes and a double serving of the Apfel strudel – no one will judge.

Escape to the Wine Country

Best International Restaurants Dallas : Go to Gemma Dallas for Wine Country vibes

Fresh Bread and Gazpacho at Gemma, Dallas

You can make a trip to Tyler which is a short drive away to visit wineries or even go to Hill country for a weekend and induldge in wine or you can go to Grapevine, Texas which is famous for its wine. If you are looking for a great way to spend the day and you enjoy tasting wines, the wine rooms in Grapevine offer plenty of options for you. In addition to wine tastings, some of the wine rooms offer light food options and sometimes live music. Better yet head to Sixty Vines or Whiskey Cake in Plano or Gemma in Dallas and checkout their wine country inspired menu and taste some of their extensive wines.

Take a virtual trip to Cuba (in The Colony)

Best International Restaurants Dallas : Go to The Latin Pig for a mini getaway to Cuba

Vegetarian Mofongos at the Latin Pig

The Latin Pig is my go to place when I see too many Instagram pictures of classic cars and yearn to see Cuba in all its vintage glory.  They even have a vegetarian version of Mofongos – fried plantains as its main ingredient. Plantains are picked green and fried then mashed with salt, garlic and oil in a wooden pilón, a kitchen device also known as mortar and pestle  They even have wine selection featuring rare wines from Latin America.  The Latin Pig is now in two locations – one in Plano and a new bigger one in The Colony featuring a big bar with a wall full of Cuban Art work and a cool patio. Don’t miss their coffee.

Join the debate if Arepas are from Columbia or Venezula

BBQ Jackfruit and brisket arepas at Arepas TX

Arepa is a type of food made of ground maize dough or cooked flour prominent in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela. It is eaten daily in those countries and can be served with accompaniments such as cheese, cuajada (fermented milk) or avocado, or split to make sandwiches.  Having never been to either of those countries – we were curious and tried them at the new Arepas TX, a fast casual restaurant specializing in Latin street food and pops.  Here, you’ll find beautiful arepas made from scratch ranging from smoked brisket with chimichurri sauce, Venezuelan Shredded Beef and Cheese Arepa  to many vegetarian arepas like sautéed cactus strips with red bell peppers and BBQ Jackfruit.  Don’t miss out on jicama slaw or the shoestring plantain chips.

Try Taiwanese or Dim sum at the Chinatown in Richardson

Taiwanese at Genroku

If you want more than orange chicken or kung pao chicken make the trek to the Chinatown in Richardson for some Authentic Asian food. They even have a sculptures in their parking lot and host a lot of Asian festivals including dragon dances during Chinese New Year.  Genroku Sushi & Grill has been in Dallas for over 10 years and one of our favorite places. They quality of sushi & sashimi, along with traditional fusion of Japanese and Taiwanese cuisine. Maru Ramen is our go to place ramen – they do have vegetarian broth based ramen as well like.  You might also like Kirin Court, the dim sum place or Royal Sichuan, another favorite fixture of this DFW China Town.

It’s Time for Africa 

Veggie Platter at Sheba’s kitchen

Dallas has some great spots if you want to try some East African dishes especially some Ethiopian.  Be prepared to to eat with your hands using injera, a spongy flatbread with a mesmerizing texture and a mild. Desta is a comfortable modern spot with a detailed menu. I love the vegetarian combo which comes with lentils, collard greens, cabbage and other veggies.  If you like your food a little spicy, go for the doro wat – this traditional dish features a moist, juicy, slow-cooked chicken leg swimming in hot sauce and spiced butter. It’s served with a boiled egg and ayeb, a creamy white cheese. Sheba’s kitchen is an Ethiopian places that serves breakfast along with lunch and dinner and have a solid vegetarian platter. If you are adventurous and try the kitfo, made with minced raw beef seasoned with mitmita (a spice blend) and kibbeh (spiced clarified butter) and served with gomen (collards) and iab (fresh cheese).

Indulge in a few Margaritas, Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican fare

Best International Restaurants in Dallas : Meso Maya

Mole Enchiladas at Meso Maya

Cancun might be a quick 3 hour flight away but you when don’t have your passport ready and yet want a quick Mexican fix, Dallas has you covered. There are more Mexican places in Dallas than you can count (Tripadvisor says there are 250) that serves authentic Mexican fare like tortas, tacos, gorditas, sopes, quesadillas, chilaquiles ans some of the best margaritas.  If you want to take out of town friends or clients try Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano – most decorations in this hacienda style restaurant was bought in villages surrounding Mexico City. The menu is full of traditional Mexican dishes they also have a cigar bar.  Meso Maya is great for some authentic Mole based Mexican dishes, also try the Carne Budin Azteca, they have locations all around the Dallas area. Mi Dia From Scratch in Plano blends traditional Mexico City recipes with modern Santa Fe and Tex Mex flavors – the handcrafted Margaritas are fresh and the patio inviting. Then there are the Tex-Mex favorites like Torchy’s Tacos, Mi Cocina and Velvet Taco.

Have BBQ at Hard Eight for a true Texan Experience 

While not exactly international for us, this is one place you must stop at if you are visiting from out of the country for a True Texan meal! There are many places in Dallas area for BBQ and Hard Eight in Colony is just the best! You will be served Texas Style – straight from the pit by the Pit Master who prepared it.  It feels like you are in a someone’s BBQ party. The brisket is the best says D and Mr. Suburbia –  the meat is so tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned. What do I know, I’m a vegetarian and live on the sides here. They have a great choice of them though – from fried okra to baked potatoes (they even have a sweet potato version) and complimentary pinto beans.

BONUS : Here are a few activities that help you fake a getaway….

Take a Gondala ride in Irving

Take a Gondala ride in Irving, TX

Picture taken during our trip to Venice

There is nothing more romantic than a gondola ride through the canals of Venice. But if you make a trip to Italy this summer the next best thing is to do a gondola ride through the waterways of the Mandalay Canal in Irving.  Gondola Adventures Irving is a first-class gondola experience offering cruises on Lake Carolyn and through the Mandalay Canals. The narrow canals have some private inlets with refreshing waterfall views, and the gondolas share the private waterway with just a few. Gondola Adventures offers plenty of options ranging from one-hour basic tours to full-blown gourmet dinner cruises.  Alternatively, the company provides hour-long public cruises aboard a covered Lear electric boat every Friday through Sunday during the late afternoon and evening.

Have an across the pond experience with an Afternoon Tea

Tea at Taschen at Joule

Tea at Taschen, Joule Hotel

Venture into downtown Dallas for a very special tea service surrounded by books in the Taschen Library inside the chic Joule Hotel. Once guests are seated in the lucite chairs for a communal tea, fixings are presented in tiered plates, along with a too-pretty-to-eat version of a deviled egg – the Joule Egg. Champagne flows freely as guests mingle. The Joule sources some exotics teas and rare blends, and serves them in boldly colorful cups. Guests are even encouraged to pick up books from the shelves to browse through during tea. Into My Tea Garden Tearoom is an unassuming little tearoom, steps away from historic Downtown Plano, where you will find frilly tablecloths, ornate teapots, floral china and a nice tea menu.

Learn to make French Macarons

Bisous Bisous Macarons

Photo by: Bisous Bisous

What is better than picnic by the Eiffel tower?  Nothing really – although eating your weigh in macarons might help(sometimes). Macarons, the delicate almond meringue French cookies are rather finicky, you won’t be able to just bake them from a recipe you found on the internet (believe me I have tried), you can’t find it in many of the bakeries either. Grab a bottle of wine and a friend and join the fun classes class at Bisous Bisous Patisserie. You will get detailed demonstrations by the Pastry Chefs and hands on experience for making these babies yourself.

Pretend you in Provence

Lavender Ridge Farms is located 8 miles east of Gainesville, Texas and it is a beautiful hour drive through the country side with farms and open skies that we Texans love. Originally a strawberry and melon farm in the 1920’s & 1930’s, Lavender Ridge Farms opened in 2006 as a lavender, cut-flower, and herb farm. Plan a trip end of May or first weeks of June when the Lavenders are in bloom.  Go early so you can snap a few pictures in their lavender field.  Apart from the lavender they also have a variety of perennials and lots of birds and humming birds visiting.

I wrote about Traveling the World without leaving Plano last summer, for more staycation ideas you can read it here.

See Also : Best Coffee Shops Around the Dallas Fort Worth Area.


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