I was recently given the opportunity to write/contribute to an article for a Dallas Mavericks fan blog that a friend writes for. In it, we discuss the top 5 places to eat around the American Airlines Center. You can visit the article here or if you are a Mavs fan, be sure to check out the site. Anyways, I thought I would share the full article to help those in the Dallas area looking for a quick bite to eat before an event at the AAC.
With the Cowboys and Stars seasons in full-swing, and now the Mavs new season underway, you’ll find Dallas to be an amazing sports town and this time of year is a sports lover’s paradise. The American Airlines Center is always a busy place between the Mavericks, Stars, and the numerous concerts. So what is a hungry fan to do? Sure, you could eat some of the overpriced food at the stadium, but then you would miss out on the amazing Dallas food culture.
In order to prepare the fans for another season (as well as all of the other events at the AAC), we have put together a list of some of the best (or our favorite) restaurants in the area. Around the AAC are some of the best restaurants the city has to offer. No matter what you are hungry for, there is something for every palette to enjoy. Obviously, you could go to one of the premier steakhouses (Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Perry’s Steakhouse), seafood restaurants (Ocean Prime, Dallas Fish Market), or other fine dining establishments (Stephen Pyles, Stampede 66) in the area, but do you really want to spend all that money just to scarf down those wonderful dishes? No way! Plus, if you are decked out in your jersey, you may have some difficulty even getting in. Not to mention, you could miss a legendary moment as you arrive late to the event.
Thus, in no particular order, here is our list of best places to eat around the AAC. This includes places in the Victory Park area, but also within a short distance where you could take the DART or have a brisk after-dinner jog.
Medina Oven & Bar – Specializing in Moroccan and Mediterranean cuisine, this small and casual establishment is conveniently located in Victory Park making it easy to get right to the game. First off, the service is very good. Second, there is a nice little patio that is great for the people watching and enjoying a nice fall/spring day. Third, the food is incredible. Medina cooks up some amazing Mediterranean food! Try the Moroccan beef cigars that have a wonderfully seasoned beef inside a flaky and crispy phyllo dough. The Merguez lamb sausage skewers are also very good. The beef tenderloin tagine is highly recommended, but if you want to go for something different, try the sea bass tagine which has a beautiful seasoned char while the fish is moist, flaky, and tender. Last but not least, the wood fired pizzas are not to be missed either. (2304 Victory Park Lane, 0.3 miles away from AAC which is a 6 minute walk. Since it is so close you can just park in one of the AAC parking lots and walk there and back in plenty of time).
Olivella’s Neo Pizza Napoletana – Located in Victory Park and just a few blocks from the AAC make it easy to get to the restaurant and back to the AAC in time for the event. Just like burgers and chicken fried steak, Texans take their pizza very seriously. Olivella’s doesn’t disappoint and serves up some of the finest in the city. Serving two styles of pizza: a Neapolitan and a Roman; the Neo offers a unique pizza dining experience. Voted the best pizza in Dallas and Texas by different media groups, Olivella’s offers a good selection of specialty pizzas that brings a taste of Italy to Dallas. If you are not in the mood for pizza, they also offer some tasty sandwiches, pastas and salads. (2340 Victory Park Lane, 0.4 miles away from AAC which is about a 7 minute walk. Park in one of the AAC parking lots in order to walk there and back in time for the start of the event).
Meso Maya (w/ Taqueria La Ventana) – This is not another Tex-Mex restaurant; it is a restaurant that celebrates Mexican and Mayan food. With an eye toward authenticity, this is the type of food that you would typically find in Central and Southern Mexico. One of the best parts of Meso Maya are the fresh tortillas that are made in house, that in turn results in some fantastic chips for that queso or guac (or on their own). Be sure to try the ceviche or chicharrones for a great starter. The Budin Azteca dishes as well as the Cochinita Pibil are some of the most popular dishes and for good reason. All of the food will transport you to the heart of Mexico and you will not leave unhappy with whatever you get. Each bite is so flavorful and spiced according to tradition. If you are in the mood for something quicker, be sure to go around back to the courtyard area for the walk up taqueria stand. Taqueria La Ventana is in the back of Meso Maya serving up some amazing street tacos and burritos. The barbacoa, suadero (brisket), and the pork are all tender and flavorful. If you are in the mood for something different, look no further than the lengua that is done very well. (1611 McKinney Ave, 0.6 miles away from AAC which is about a 12 minute walk. You could park in one of the AAC parking lots and walk there and back in time for the start of the event).
Ellen’s Southern Kitchen – Any Place that proclaims “grits rule” is fine by me. As the name suggests, Ellen’s serves some amazing Southern food. They serve breakfast all day for you brinner lovers (try the pancakes or French toast) as well a good selection of coffee options. But, this is a place to order something fried or made with lots of butter. The classic chicken fried steak is a popular option that will not leave you disappointed. With tender meat and a crispy breading, this will give you a taste of what Southern cooking is. Other notable options include a nice selection of sandwiches, a daily comfort food special, and the scrumptious smoked mac & cheese. Best of all, Ellen’s offers some great food at reasonable prices that will leave you satisfied. (1718 N. Market St., 0.7 miles away from AAC that is a 14 minute walk or an 8 minute DART ride)
Lark on the Park – Located on the edge of Klyde Warren Park, Lark on the Park is a vibrant and contemporary establishment offering global and seasonal cuisine. The interior is full of interesting illustrations that will keep you staring at them until your food comes. While the menu is small, that means they focus on doing those items well. Offering a nice selection of intriguing salads and sandwiches, Lark goes for items and combinations that are not found on every street corner. The Colorado lamb burger should be on every burger lovers list of burgers to try. This is a flavorful and juicy burger with feta that delights the palette. If you have time, try either the halibut or the Berkshire Porkchop as both are amazing, succulent, and delicious. (2015 Woodall Rodgers Fwy, 0.7 miles away from AAC which is about a 15 minute walk).
These are just a few of the many wonderful options Dallas has to offer around the AAC. Some other local favorites and recommendations are: Cook Hall (Decent food, although give yourself time as service can be slow), Omni Hotel Owners Box (Good standard fare, but also a nice place to watch the game), Kenichi (Good selection of sushi, although a bit expensive), Naga Thai Kitchen and Bar (Good Thai food and close to the stadium), Victory Tavern (Classic standby option next to the stadium that is generally busy during events, but also has a limited event menu), and Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar (American fare with a casual twist. Boasts one of the best and largest patios in Dallas). For those with a little extra time, check out some of the places in/near Deep Ellum (too many to list), including one of our favorites, Stackhouse Burgers, which offers great tasting burgers and fresh cut fries all at a reasonable price.
So whether you are in the area for a game, concert or no reason at all, these are just a few of the options around the AAC. We hope you enjoy some of the amazing food that Dallas is cooking up.