Contributed by: Eliezar Eidenbom | Last Date of Travel: August 2008
Kosher Info: Dallas has seen tremendous growth in kosher options in the last few years and now has several kosher restaurants and markets to take advantage of. Like all cities, kosher restaurants come and go but some are becoming fairly well established now. The Jewish community in Dallas is primarily in North Dallas between Forest Lane and Plano, which is where you find all your kosher options. All kosher establishments in Dallas and Fort Worth are under the local Vaad, the DK (Dallas Kosher), headed by Rabbi Klein and Rabbi Shawel.
Cafe Fino: Located at the southwest corner of Coit and Campbell, Fino is Dallas’ pizza shop. it has a wide selection of pizza choices or other entrees. The pizza here is generally average but the calzones are very good. The eggplant parmesan and lasagna are also well worth a try. There are a lot of side dishes and wraps to try as well. My wife loves their salmon raspberry wrap. Kids may enjoy Fino fries which are french fries with gravy and cheese on top. The best deal here is the “Fino fun pack” which is offered on Sunday. You get an extra large cheese pizza, family size fries, and a pitcher of soda for a little over $20.00. Fino is also the only place in Dallas opened Saturday night after Shabbat.
Esther’s Steakhouse: Esther’s is located at 580 Arapaho road in the back of a shopping strip. It is somewhat removed from the rest of the Jewish community and can not been seen from the street when driving by. The owner has redecorated the interior from its previous Americana theme and now has a much better up scale design. The food is primarily Israeli and Moroccan and is the best tasting meat restaurant in town. I highly recommend the steak, BBQ ribs, kabob and schwarma. The Moroccan cigars are a good appetizer. They also have a bakery which makes fresh deserts, pita, and challah. The owner, Albert, is very personable and is a great cook. While the food is excellent the service is slow and difficult to come by sometimes. Plan to spend some time eating here. Because of its location it is not frequented nearly as much as the other resteraunts in town and you may be the only people there at dinner time. The restaurant also discourages bringing kids. Esther’s is open for dinner only Sunday through Thursday. If you want a great meal and don’t care about the service or eating by yourself it is well worth finding it.
Natalie’s Kitchen & Market: Natalie’s is located at the southeast corner of Hillcrest and Campbell. Natalie’s is a meat restaurant with a primarily Israeli cuisine. The shwarma and falafel here are very good. They can be bought in a pita only until 5pm and then they must be bought as a more expensive dinner plate. The kabobs and steak here are also very tasty but I was not as big a fan of the lamb. Natalie’s is reasonably priced and has good service and ambiance. In addition to the restaurant, Natalie’s has a kosher market primarily consisting of products from Israel. While it is not the only Israeli market in Dallas it is very convenient with the restaurant and has a few items the other markets do not carry. Natalie’s is a great option if you are looking for a sit down meat restaurant.
Cafe Carmel: This restaurant is the closest one to the 635 freeway located at 13410 Preston Road. It is a dairy restaurant that serves fish, pizza, and an Israeli menu. The highlight of Cafe Carmel is that it is the only restaurant in Dallas that serves a breakfast menu. The breakfast menu is very good and served all day. The pizzas at Carmel are tasty but they are smaller than normal and really only feed one or two people. Every time I tried the fish here it had a very strong fish flavor that was too much for me. The decor inside is nice but the seating area is small and can be cramped if many people are there. If you are looking for a kosher breakfast to get your day started Carmel is the place to go.
Milk & Honey: Located at 420 N. Coit Rd. in Richardson Milk and Honey is a kosher market and meat grill. it is my favorite place to eat in Dallas. It serves Israeli food like falafel and schwarma and also has hamburgers and hotdogs. Nothing on the menu is over $10 and almost everything comes with a free side of fries. you can also get a kids half order at half the price on many items. There is not much room for seating and even when there are seats it will be crowded, but you can always get your food to go. The market carries a good selection of Israeli and other kosher products. They also sell cold cuts from their deli at good prices. They make their own pita and challah and a few other bakery items that are very good. It is located in the same shopping center as a Wal-mart grocery store so it is easy to do all your shopping in the same center.
Madras Pavilion: 101 South Coit Road, Richardson, TX Madras is a a vegetarian Indian resteraunt that happens to be kosher. They have traditional south indian food but they also have a Indo-Chinese menu for those who are not such big fans of regular Indian food. They have an all you can eat lunch buffet with most of their popular items available.
Grocery Stores: In addition to Milk and Honey and Natalie’s mentioned above, the Tom Thumb grocery store at Preston and Forest and the Tom Thumb at Coit and Campbell have full service kosher delis including kosher fried chicken, egg rolls, sandwiches, sushi and other items. They also have good sized frozen, dry, and cold kosher sections including frozen dinners. Both stores also have kosher bakeries. The Albertsons at Hillcrest and Arapaho has a good sized kosher section but they do not have a deli or bakery. Other stores around town also have smaller kosher sections and may have locally packaged baked goods.
Ice Cream: On a hot summer day in Dallas ice cream is almost a neccesity. The Cold Stone Creamery at Preston and Frankford and Gooeys Yogurt at Preston and Forest are both certified under the DK. They are not chalav Yisrael but Gooeys does have some parve drinks.
Tourist info: The main tourist attraction in Dallas is the Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza where Kennedy was assassinated. The museum is very well done and you can still recognize all the sites from the Zapruder film. Also downtown the arts district has a lot of good museums.
Fair Park has the largest collection of art deco architecture in the nation and has museums and other attractions. If you are in Dallas during the State Fair of Texas it is fantastic and shouldn’t be missed. If you want more ‘Texas’ activities I strongly recommend seeing a rodeo.
The Mesquite rodeo runs April through September and is very popular. There are lots of great places for shopping around Dallas such as the Galleria mall in North Dallas. The best things to do in Dallas are actually in nearby Fort Worth and the surrounding area. Ranches, dinosaur footprints, horse riding, nature preserves and much more can be found within a couple of hours of Dallas.
Jewish Info: There are two eruvs in Dallas, the North Dallas Eruv and the Far North Dallas eruv. The North Dallas eruv has four synagogues and is the older community. Congregation Ohr HaTorah is in a big new shul and is very welcoming and full of Texas hospitality. If you need meals or a place to stay they will arrange it. Down the street is Shaare Tefilla which is the oldest orthodox synagogue in Dallas. There are also two Sephardic synagogues: Young Israel and Achdut Israel, run by Rabbi Terinio. Both of them are primarily Israeli and the entire service is in Hebrew, there is little to no English spoken. They are both very friendly and welcome everyone – Israeli or not. This eruv also has two kollels and the Akiba Academy day school. There is also a women’s mikvah and a men’s mikvah in this eruv.
I have never spent a Shabbat in the far north eruv but there are a number of synagogues there including Congregation Ohev Shalom, Congregation Toras Chaim, Chabad of Dallas, and Magen David Sephardic Congregation. Most of the day schools including the Torah Day School and the Texas Torah Institute yeshiva are also in this eruv. The people I know and have met from these shuls are all great people and go out of their way to provide hospitality.
If you go farther north into Plano there are also a couple of other shuls DATA Plano and Chabad of Plano. Data of Plano is the Plano branch of the Dallas kollel and only has services the third Shabbat of every month. I have been to both Rabbis houses from Data of Plano many times and they are both wonderful welcoming families.