The most exciting restaurants opening in Dallas in 2018 

Neither Italian food nor Chinese food is new to Dallas. But both are hot.

If I could forecast two major movements in Dallas dining in 2018, they'd be that our once-small selection of good Italian food will continue to grow, tremendously; and that upscale Chinese-American food is the new sushi.

I asked chefs and restaurateurs all around town to spill their secrets on their upcoming restaurants and bars — the places they say will define their careers in the years to come. Here's the list of the most interesting restaurants opening in Dallas in 2018.

Circo

Cuisine: French-Italian

Vibe: Everything about Circo screams "Dallas" through a New York City lens. The restaurant is affiliated with Le Cirque, the NYC restaurant famously helmed by one of the grandfathers of fine dining, Sirio Maccioni. "Le Cirque was one of the places the stars would go," says WhiteROC Hospitality Group CEO Lauren Santagati, who was able to visit the Le Cirque vault and pick a few hundred letters that celebrities including Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Jackie Kennedy and Barbara Walters penned to Maccioni. The letters will be displayed on the Dallas restaurant's walls, as if you're walking among friends' notes.

The first floor of the restaurant will be a glitzy, see-and-be-seen kind of place. (Free glasses of Champagne will be handed out at a bar inside the women's restroom.) Upstairs will be the real show, where patrons are likely to walk around in bathing suits and robes, resort-style, near the pool during the daytime. Pull up to the valet and look up: You'll see the legs of men and women in the glass-bottomed pool who surely know you're looking.

Expected opening date: September, after a delay; it originally made our "most exciting restaurants opening in Dallas in 2017" list
Address: 2619 McKinney Ave., Dallas, in the One Uptown building

Fachini Ristorante

The 100-layer lasagna is served on its side. Cuz dang, it's tall.

Cuisine: Italian-American

The 100-layer lasagna will be on the menu when chef Julian Barsotti opens his latest restaurant, Fachini.

Vibe: Restaurateur Julian Barsotti (Nonna, Carbone's Fine Food & Wine, Sprezza) is trying to create "an escapist experience" in his 1950s-style dining room. Fachini diners will look out over Highland Park Village from a second-floor perch, next-door to the movie theater. Fachini will have Old World flavor, Barsotti hopes, with a dark and moody color palette surrounding a 900-pound chandelier. Diners will eat oysters casino and veal Parmigiana, like Barsotti's Italian-American family did way back when. One of the stunners on the menu will certainly be the 100-layer lasagna that takes two days to make.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 33A Highland Park Village, Dallas

Fine China

Cuisine: New Chinese

Vibe: The mission at Fine China is to serve "the ultimate version" of a familiar Asian dish, says Todd Conger, managing director of food and beverage operations at the Statler Hotel in downtown Dallas. Executive chef Angela Hernandez and her team will utilize a wood-stone oven for roasting duck, chicken and pork. Despite the word fine in the name, you don't have to wear your Sunday best, Conger says.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 1914 Commerce St., Dallas, inside the Statler Hotel

#Getfried Fry Cafe

Cuisine: French fries

Vibe: #Getfried Fry Cafe is aimed at millennials in Deep Ellum. You saw that coming, didn't you? Nearly everybody will order french fries or the like (sweet potato fries, waffle fries, curly fries, you get the picture) at #Getfried. It is far from the fanciest place on this list, but it just might be the most focused.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 2656 Main St., Dallas

Gung Ho

Cuisine: American-Chinese

Vibe: Executive chef Kirstyn Brewer wants to cook Chinese food that Americans grew up with, like orange chicken and broccoli beef, but give it her own spin. She'll do a Taiwanese beef soup that has a hint of Mexican flair (from her mother, who is Mexican) by incorporating flavors from posole, a Mexican stew. Her orange chicken has hints of duck à l'orange because she is a French-trained chef. Gung Ho is a sibling restaurant to the popular HG Sply Co. on Greenville Avenue and will be next-door, in a renovated, enlarged restaurant space where Remedy once was.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 2010 Greenville Ave., Dallas

Mama Tried Honky Tonk

Cuisine: Country

Vibe: If you've been to Nashville, you'll feel at home at Mama Tried Honky Tonk, a bar, restaurant and occasional music venue coming to Deep Ellum. Owner Brooke Humphries visited Nashville six times in eight months to make sure she could get the ambience right at this new joint: Think Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard and Tammy Wynette playing on the speakers, in a venue "that looks like it's been there for 50 years," she explains. Chef Roe DiLeo will create the menu, and we know two things about it so far: "It'll be country, and it's going to be served on paper plates," Humphries says. She also operates several other bars in town, including Beauty Bar — which is closing on Henderson Avenue in 2018 to move to Deep Ellum, a four-minute walk from Mama Tried. Hello, Deep Ellum!

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 215 Henry St., Dallas

Maplewood

This is the most I've seen of Maplewood, a private social club opening soon in Dallas.

Cuisine: It's a secret.

Vibe: Maybe we shouldn't be telling you about Maplewood; if you don't know about it already, chances are you can't get in. Maplewood is a private social club — a restaurant, bar and meeting spot — for about 100 members and their guests. If you haven't been invited, sorry to say there isn't a way in, says co-collaborator Richard Ellman.

Expected opening date: Early 2018
Address: 2651 Inwood Road, Dallas

Midpark

Cuisine: American

Vibe: "If you've been to Chicken Scratch and Katy Trail Ice House," says restaurateur Tim McEneny, "ratchet that up about 10 times and you're going to get this component." Midpark is going to be built on 2 acres near Walnut Hill Lane and Greenville Avenue in Lake Highlands and will be a family-friendly spot that serves brunch, lunch and dinner. The menu isn't finished yet, but McEneny expects it to include burgers, grilled and fried fish, and barbecue.

Expected opening date: Unknown
Address: 7580 Greenville Ave., Dallas

Pazzo

Pazzo Uptown officially opens Jan. 18, 2018.

Cuisine: American-Italian

Vibe: If Pazzo is anything, it's over the top, both in cuisine and in decor. This restaurant in Uptown Dallas will serve Americanized Italian food and then turn into a lounge on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Picture a DJ and bottle service. "The intent is always to be approachable," asserts Ellman, whose company Apheleia Restaurant Group is a partner in Pazzo, "but there is going to be an opportunity to be extremely extravagant." Pazzo will also have brunch, which will cater to that same high-energy crowd.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 2680 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas

Scout

Cuisine: Americana

Vibe: Scout feels like a basement hangout at a university student union, if all the stuff down there were brand-new and stylish. Scout has four bowling lanes, four pingpong tables and an eight-person foosball table. The games surround dozens of tables and couches with chic, midcentury-modern touches. Chef Graham Dodds is serving what you might call bar food, but don't get confused: It's chili topped with pretty, fried pearl onions; honey-glazed ribs; and chicken wings with Calabrian chiles served alongside an iceberg wedge. The 12,000-square-foot place will be a rare addition in downtown Dallas.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 1914 Commerce St., Dallas, inside the Statler Hotel

Sixty Vines

Cuisine: New American

Vibe: We try not to tell you about restaurants that already exist, but we made an exception for Sixty Vines. The extremely popular Plano restaurant is expanding to one of Dallas' most interesting redesigned areas, the Crescent in Uptown, and its opening will be big. Expect a greenhouse with a retractable roof as a fascinating design perk. "You're not going to feel like you're in Dallas," says Jack Gibbons, president of Front Burner Restaurants. "You're going to feel like you're in wine country somewhere around the world." Sixty Vines in Plano is known for its wines on tap, affordable food and modern-comfortable decor. Expect those things at the new Dallas restaurant, too.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 500 Crescent Court, Dallas

Victory Park restaurants

In 2018, Victory Park is expected to be home to eight new restaurants and bars, which could bring that neighborhood the foot traffic it never had.

Cuisine: all types

Vibe: Restaurateur Tristan Simon and several partners are working to invent Victory Park as a delicious dining destination after it struggled for years to be no more than That Place Near American Airlines Center. The talent Simon has gathered just might mean Victory Park will find its groove. Here's a quick look at four of the notable restaurants and bars coming soon.

Expected opening dates: some open now; others coming in late 2018 or early 2019
Address: Located on dozens of acres near American Airlines Center, which is at 2500 Victory Ave., Dallas

Billet: It won't be the world's first bar inside a parking garage, but it'll likely be Dallas' first. Billet has been designed by Brooke Humphries (Beauty Bar, Barcadia, It'll Do and more) as a casual spot with an '80s Dallas vibe. "Right now, every operator wants to be anything but Dallas: They want to be L.A. They want to be San Francisco. They want to be Chicago, New York," Humphries says. "I want to do an homage to what put Dallas on the map." It'll have two patios, a walk-up window and late-night food.

Dibs on Victory: This bar-restaurant's job is to cultivate a crowd before and after events at American Airlines Center. (And on other days, to be sure.) It'll do happy hour and brunch. The second story is devoted to a patio, both covered and not.

An entertainment complex: Elias Pope (of HG Sply) wouldn't say much about the 24,000-square-foot concept he's putting into Victory Park with Humphries. It'll have 1970s decor and will be "a sports fan's place," he says. The restaurant will open out onto AT&T Plaza, the area in front of American Airlines Center.

A modern Texas saloon: This Simon restaurant will be "very bar forward," says Leslie Brenner, of Rebees, a Dallas company founded and led by Simon. (Brenner was previously The Dallas Morning News' restaurant critic.) Chef Matthew Ford (formerly of downtown Dallas restaurant Americano) will create a menu of modern Texas cuisine.

Other eateries outside of Dallas to visit in 2018

One cold spot heating up Fort Worth

Amorino Gelato is expected to open in Fort Worth in late 2017 or early 2018.

Cowtown will be a delicious spot in 2018, too, but we decided to focus this story on Dallas restaurants. If you want a teaser about one delightful spot expected to open in Fort Worth, keep an eye on Amorino Gelato, a coffee and sweets shop that serves gelato in an iconic flower shape. (We also want to sample its gelato macaron, two French cookies with gelato slathered in the middle.) German Rodriguez, who is half-Colombian, half-Italian, will open D-FW's first Amorino at the Shops at Clearfork, a development in West Fort Worth that'll be hopping with new restaurants very soon.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 5273 Monahans Ave., Fort Worth

Keep an eye on John Tesar

Chef John Tesar already operates Knife, a steakhouse in Dallas known for its dry-aged beef. Now, it's his turn to cut into Plano. In late 2017, former Top Chef contestant Tesar opened Knife Burger at Legacy Hall in Plano. Two more Knifes are coming to P-town: a 7,000-square-foot Knife steakhouse that'll be similar to the one in Dallas, but with more seafood; and Knife Butcher, which he describes as "like a jewelry store," but for meat. "We'll wrap it in pink paper. You'll feel like you've been buying steak at Neiman Marcus," he boasts. Tesar also has plans to expand Knife Burger into Fort Worth and Flower Mound.

Expected openings: late 2018

Big eats coming to The Colony

Food court isn't much of a flattering term these days, but a musician turned restaurateur wants to make food courts cool again. He plans to launch Urban8, which is described as a "free-standing food court" in The Colony in spring 2018. It has eight eateries and one bar, all of which share seating for just under 300 people. The eateries range from burgers to fro-yo to sushi to Tex-Mex. "It's about convenience," says Urban8 founder and owner Stanley Rose.

Expected opening date: open now
Address: 5265 State Highway 121, The Colony

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