After years working in fine-dining kitchens like The Greenhouse in London and Cafe Boulud in New York and Toronto, New Zealand-born chef Toby Archibald settled in Dallas in 2016. He served as chef de cuisine at Bullion and then executive chef at Georgie by Curtis Stone, putting the finishing touches on his resume before launching his own restaurant, Quarter Acre, in December 2022.
Quarter Acre’s menu features contemporary global cuisine inspired by his New Zealand roots and world travels — think foie gras custard pie and hot-smoked salmon. But since moving to Dallas, Archibald has acquainted himself with the local food scene, preferring chef-driven restaurants and coffee shops that provide a taste of home. Below he provides his favorite spots to eat and drink in the city, from pastry-fueled breakfasts to dinners anchored by tacos and wine.
“I do not often eat out for breakfast on my days off, as this is valuable time to spend with my wife and our wee newborn baby girl. However, if we have friends from out of town visiting we will go to Carte Blanche, which is right across the street from Quarter Acre. They have hands down the best pastries in the city of Dallas. The variety is amazing, and they taste just like something you may find on the street corners of Paris.
“I just had brunch at Encina this past weekend. I love going there, and the blue corn pancakes are what dreams are made of.”
“I tend to skip lunch unfortunately. In the kitchen, I taste things my team is prepping and snack throughout the day until family meal comes up at 3:30 p.m. However, during restaurant construction, the sandwiches and wraps at Trader Joe’s next door really did the trick.”
“New Zealanders have pretty strong feelings about good coffee due to our cafe culture. We live in Oak Cliff, and if I am meeting a friend or colleague, I will go to La Reunion in the Bishop Arts District. The coffee is great, the vibe is relaxed and chill, and we love supporting local. If I am out and about in the city and have time, my two other refuel locations are LDU (Land Down Under) Coffee and Full City Rooster. These two roasters have amazing coffee.”
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“Taco y Vino. This place is also really local for us. It ticks all the boxes for my wine-loving Mexican wife, and the music is always on point. During the pandemic, they had great ways to help support them and their staff, and they came out of it stronger and better than before. The Tamale Bites are a can’t-miss, and the six tacos and bottle of wine special is a great deal!
“There are so many chef-driven places around town I want to mention here. Cry Wolf is a fun spot to eat right now; the food is always interesting and the room is such a contrast to the usual spaces around town. The beef tongue is a must if they have it.
“Homewood does it right — service, food and atmosphere. They set the bar here in Dallas. Petra and the Beast continuously manages to push the dining scene along, and if you want meat in all its cured glory, this is the place for you. Lucia in Bishop Arts sneaks under most people’s radar, but it should be near the top of everyone’s list. Get yourself a charcuterie board, a glass of wine and relax.”
“I am so easy to please here. A cold (must be cold) beer — good beer, not anything that comes in a “lite” form — in the sunshine with friends will make me happy every time. Although when my wife and I want to head out for a cocktail, we will try and make it to Bowen House in Uptown. The room is small but fun, the drinks are always interesting and delicious, and the service makes you feel like you could be in NYC. My wife and I love to travel — it’s how we met, and this place makes you feel like you could be out in the world somewhere.”
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