There’s a special feeling that comes with traveling abroad, especially when you’re about to enjoy authentic international cuisine. But who's to say you have to hop on a plane to have that experience?
Here are five Dallas restaurants that offer an international staycation.
Italy: Dolce Riviera
Dolce Riviera in the Harwood District oozes Italian charm. Inspired by the iconic film, La Dolce Vita, and modeled after the Amalfi Coast, dining at Dolce feels like an upscale Italian getaway. Spanish fountains and Roman fireplaces that adorn the interior and exterior are from as early as the 1500s, according to general manager Danilo Di Nardo, and the outdoor patio is lined with lemon trees that are traditional to Portofino. Diners can enjoy one of many Italian cocktails or choose from a diverse wine list. Pair a drink with a plate of pappardelle al cacao, a cocoa Infused pasta with sweet peas, speck, and white truffle oil, or risotto alla milanese con ossobuco, a safferon risotto dish served with a veal shank, for a memorable experience.
Mexico: Javier's Gourmet Mexicano
It’s no secret Texans are acquainted with Tex-Mex -- there seems to be a restaurant on every corner. But Javier’s offers an immersive, Mexico City experience that's significantly different from the Texified Tex-Mex so common in our area. Nearly every decoration in this hacienda-style restaurant was bought in villages surrounding Mexico City. The menu is full of traditional Mexican dishes few others in Dallas are serving, such as filete cantinflas (beef tenderloin, stuffed with Chihuahua cheese and topped with a mild chile sauce), or carne asada a la tampiqueña (a traditional Mexican dish accompanied by sautéed vegetables, guacamole, and rice and black beans). If you really want a staycation, ask for some tequila with sangrita, a spicy yet tangy Mexican chaser, or try Javier’s famous cigar bar located behind the outdoor patio.
Afghanistan: Nora Restaurant and Bar
France: Rise n°1
Souffles, souffles and more souffles. Rise n°1, located in Inwood Village, considers souffles an essential part of a daily diet, just like you’d see in France. The owner, who grew up Grenoble, has turned the restaurant into a little chateau right here in D-FW. In fact, you'll nearly forget you're in Dallas once you step inside: From cau pain bread slicers brought to the table to cut your own baguettes to a birch tree and cobblestone forest in the middle of the restaurant, Rise n°1 fills patrons with the spirit of France.
Vietnam: Mot Hai Ba
Located on a corner in Old East Dallas, Mot Hai Ba is a quaint restaurant that transports you to Vietnam. The dimly lit space is decorated with bamboo trees, Vietnamese art and lanterns that shine over each table. Mot Hai Ba offers communal seating traditional to Vietnam, with customary low tables and chairs. The communal tables really do create a sense of community, and you might meet your new best friend over a glass of Beerlao beer or a bowl of pho.