The Scoop: Want to impress a date in Dallas? Then Fearing’s should be on your radar. This highly acclaimed restaurant is the pride and joy of celebrity chef Dean Fearing. In 2007, Dean crafted the Southwestern menu himself and designed every charming room — from the wine cellar to the gallery. A dedicated and knowledgeable staff greets newcomers and regulars alike, often offering a tour of the restaurant or a run-through of new seasonal dishes. In recognition of its chef-driven menu and awe-inspiring ambiance, Fearing’s Restaurant has earned our Editors’ Choice Award for a great place to take a date.

Whether someone is trying to make a great impression on a first date or celebrate a wedding anniversary — an evening at Fearing’s Restaurant will always be memorable.

Couples often head to top-rated restaurants for dates because a romantic meal is one of the best ways to celebrate a new or lasting love. But it’s not always easy to know what to look for.

First, the person making the reservation should look for popular local restaurants, not chains, where adults can eat, drink, and be merry.

Photo of a Fearing's dish
Fearing’s Restaurant opened in 2007 with a fresh take on American dining.

The next thing to consider is the ambiance. Some people will prefer spacious, outdoor establishments, while others will like being seated in the middle of the action in the kitchen. Daters typically want to have a cozy table for two in a place quiet enough to hold a conversation.

Finally, it’s important to have a chef-inspired menu that offers a lot of tempting and unique items. And it should accommodate various dietary restrictions, if needed. Fearing’s Restaurant meets all of these criteria and then some. Fearing’s Restaurant has become one of the most popular restaurants in Dallas since its launch in 2007.

Celebrity chef Dean Fearing has dreamed up many of the elevated American dishes that appear on Fearing’s ever-changing menu. This restaurant has a little something for everyone, and its longstanding history shows its dedication to friendly service and culinary excellence.

“We have a very diverse restaurant, and I love that,” Dean said. “It is so wonderful in this day and age to see all walks of life in our restaurant every day.”

Nearly 15 Years of Impressive Service

Next year, Fearing’s Restaurant will celebrate its 15th anniversary. Few independent restaurants make it to that milestone, especially in competitive markets like Dallas. What’s the secret to Dean’s success? He said it’s all on the plate.

Dean and his partner John wanted to create a special place for foodies to celebrate life’s milestones. Dean put a lot of effort into crafting the menu, overseeing the design, and setting the tone for the restaurant staff.

“My partner said, ‘I want you to create the pinnacle for Dallas,’ and I had the opportunity to do that,” he said. “It’s still a great, bustling, busy restaurant.”

Fearing’s stands out in the culinary scene. The restaurant even has a different look. Instead of the typical open floor plan, the restaurant has been divided into smaller dining rooms which can seat around 50 people each.

Photo of the Southwest Sampler
PIctured above, the Southwest Sampler is a fun starter for couples who enjoy spicy food.

Couples can make reservations for the main dining room, which features stately white tablecloths. Or, if they want a little more action, they can have a table with a view of the staff working kitchen. Another option is the glass pavilion overlooking the patio and a garden. Finally, there’s always the romantic wine cellar, which is a bit smaller and more intimate than the other rooms, so it is a popular choice for couples on a date.

“All of these rooms have 18-foot ceilings, so it’s cavernous,” Dean said. “You walk in, and you’re in this unbelievable restaurant setting.”

Dean said the idea was to create an ambiance that’s comfortable for everybody. Each seating area has a slightly different vibe, but they all have access to the same impressive menu. Making a reservation through OpenTable is highly encouraged as the tables fill up quickly with regulars and dates.

The Menu Features Interesting Meats and Local Ingredients

The Fearing’s Restaurant menu changes every three weeks. The chefs highlight seasonal ingredients that are sourced as locally as possible.

“I feel the menu is modern Texas cuisine. We have a slant on all the flavors from Texas and Mexico,” he said. “Fifteen years is a long time, and we’re constantly changing. We’re constantly moving forward and listening to our customers to see what they want.”

Photo of lava cake
The lava cake has a warm gooey fudge filling that screams decadence.

From the tortilla soup to the chocolate lava cake, some of Fearing’s signature dishes are too good to replace and remain on the menu season after season. In fact, Dean has hardly changed his recipe for tortilla soup since he first made it in 1981.

When it comes to the main course, couples can treat themselves to the Chicken-Fried Maine Lobster, which comes with a Prime Beef Filet stacked on loaded whipped potatoes and featuring a soft spinach taco with smoked tomato gravy.

Another winning dish is the Maple- and Black Peppercorn-soaked Buffalo Tenderloin, served on Brazos Valley jalapeno grits, a tangle of greens, and a butternut squash taquito with smoky chili sauce. All the buffalo served at the restaurant is raised by a man named Jeff on a ranch in Oklahoma.

Other noteworthy dishes include the Achiote-glazed Broken Arrow Ranch Nilgai Antelope over mole rojo with a braised rabbit enchilada with chile verde and an heirloom squash variation. Plenty o restaurant patrons also order the Wagyu tenderloin or one of the many vegetarian options

“There are time-honored items on the menu, but we also have something new for those people looking for a little more adventure,” Dean said. “That’s what my chefs and I love to do — to create food and keep it moving forward.”

Fearing’s Offers a High-Quality Dining Experience

Fearing’s Restaurant has become famous for its culinary creativity and knowledgeable team. The majority of front-of-house staff members have been with the restaurant since the day it opened more than 15 years ago. 

“That says a lot about culture and community and where people want to work,” Dean said. “It’s vivacious and exciting. We have the best customers and serve great food in a beautiful atmosphere. When the staff walks in, they are empowered to feel a part of the restaurant.”

In the kitchen, a team of trained chefs puts a lot of thought and effort into the dishes they prepare. As a result, customers from all walks of life — from business travelers to couples celebrating special dates together — can savor a memorable, locally sourced meal. 

Dean himself works in the front of the house, checking on diners throughout the evening to make sure everything is beyond their expectations.

“When I come to the table, you can tell when it’s been people who have been married for a long time or someone on a first or second date,” he said. “I go through the menu with them, and it’s always a great feeling.”

No restaurant in the Dallas-Fort Worth region is quite like Fearing’s. The restaurant even has unusually high ceilings — a rarity for interior architecture. Dean recalled a designer asking if he wanted to drop the ceilings when he first opened the establishment. He opted to keep the space and give diners an elevated experience.

“We’re doing something brand new for people to see and be adventurous,” Dean said.

Photos courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas