Sometimes a pricey plane ticket isn’t needed to indulge in a mini-getaway. As a travel blogger I’m always trying to find places in my own backyard that make me feel transported to exotic destinations. These restaurants in and around Plano will take diners’ tastebuds on a journey from Paris to the Phillippines.
Confession: I didn’t know what wiener schnitzel was before my family’s trip to Austria last summer. One taste of these crispy, thin, buttery, breaded schnitzel and now we are hooked. You can try these, too, with a trip to historic Downtown Plano. Jörg’s Cafe Vienna offers chicken, veal or pork schnitzel, perfect alongside a pint in its bier garten. Or have the salat plate with Austrian potatoes and a double serving of the apfel strudel – no one will judge.Jörg’s Cafe Vienna >
The Latin Pig is my go-to place when too many Instagram photos of classic cars make me yearn for Cuba in all its vintage glory. Try the lechón or mofongo, a dish of fried then mashed green plantains with crispy pork, garlic, olive oil and beef sauce. A vegetarian version of mofongo is also served. The Latin Pig is now in two locations – the original one in Plano and a larger one in The Colony that features a long bar, a wall of Cuban artwork and outdoor patio. And don’t miss the coffee – Cubans like it very strong.The Latin Pig >
There are now several coffeehouses to be found around Plano but nothing quite like the old world charm of Café Intermezzo at The Shops at Legacy. Stepping into the charming space, one senses an era when meals were savored, not rushed. It’s a vacation, a holiday, an intermezzo between the busy acts of life. Café Intermezzo offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, or just a late night glass of wine or cocktail. The Beverage Book offers hundreds of choices and “dessert tour guides” take guests through the extensive pastry offering. The tiramisu is a must-have any time we are in the neighborhood.Café Intermezzo >
The sake drums, lanterns and overall ambiance at Yatai Ramen are true to what one would find in a Japanese soul kitchen. The full sake bar features many varieties as well as happy hour specials. With 14 different ramens, plus rice bowls, udon and soba noodles, it’s almost impossible to run out of options here. Spicy tonkatsu ramen, vegan ramen, garlic edamame, gyozas and kimchi chashu fried rice are always on our table.Yatai Ramen >
With touches of deep ocean blue, copper and earthenwares, the stunning interior of Chef José Andres’ restaurant at The Star in Frisco echoes the homelands of its Greek, Lebanese and Turkish cuisines. Zaytinya means olive oil, our waiter explained. The hommus is fresh and tangy and goes perfectly with the pillowy pita and family style kebab tasting platter. Saffron, nuts and dates offer texture and taste to the delicate pilaf. From bantijan bil laban – a crispy eggplant dish with garlic yogurt and pistachios – to bronzino to seared halloumi cheese, there are many reasons to keep returning.Zaytinya >
Say “oui, please” at Toulouse Café and Bar at Legacy West. This French-themed bistro serves the best salade Niçoise this side of the pond, with seared ahi tuna, Niçoise olives, pickled onions, tomatoes, anchovies and haricot verts on a bed of greens. Yes, escargot is on the menu, but we especially love the sweets. Beignets served with cappucino sauce and orange French toast with berries and mascarpone cheese are brunch favorites. Lunch and dinner offerings include chicken paillard, trout grenobloise, dover sole meuniére and other creamy dishes full of French flavors.Toulouse Café and Bar >
Literally translating to “Dining Area in Laguna,” Kainan Sa Laguna is a no-frills Filipino restaurant located at Spring Creek Parkway and Alma Drive. Owners Romeo and Margarita Monsalud are from Laguna, Philippines, and both share a passion for cooking. The menu offers traditional Filipino dishes like beef nilaga, pancit bihon, beef bistek and pork adobo, with changing daily specials. Ask for the halo-halo, a sweet concoction of shaved ice with coconut shavings, evaporated milk, sweet beans and fruits served with ube ice cream and jackfruit.Kainan Sa Laguna >
Got Spain on the brain? Then head to Bulla Gastrobar in Legacy West for tasty tapas, flavorful red wine sangria and of course, authentic paella. Inspired by Madrid’s tapas bars where small plates are shared among friends, Bulla’s creations stir the senses and stimulate wanderlust. Start with patatas bravas, Andalusian gazpacho, potato tortilla and ham croquettes, because no trip to Spain is complete without trying dry-cured Serrano jamón.Bulla Gastrobar >
Follow Priya’s travels at outsidesuburbia.com.