One of the best ways to explore the Lonestar State is by taking a road trip to experience all the beautiful scenery; diverse culture; and hip, bustling cities that are top destinations for everyone from Wild West fans to metropolitan music mavens.

However, one of the best things about visiting Texas is its amazing food—but authentic, delicious can’t miss Tex-Mex and some of the best steakhouses in the country are just some of the things foodies will find unforgettable when visiting America's second-largest state.


But where are the best spots for an intrepid lover of food to begin their Texas tasting journey? The answer lies on the road between two of the state’s largest cities—Dallas and Houston.

RELATED: Food-Fueled Road Trip: The Guide To The Best BBQ Restaurants In Texas

Dallas To Houston: The Itinerary

Road trips are the best way to explore because they offer travelers the freedom of both planning an itinerary—and also changing it for stops along the way. Depending on how much time you have, the trip from Dallas to Houston can be completed in a single day. However, to experience the best foodie finds, it’s best to devote at least two days to this trip. But feel free to customize it if you have more (or less) time! Below are some details about the trip from Dallas to Houston.

  • Total Distance (non-stop): 239.2 miles
  • Total Driving Time (fastest route, non-stop): 3 hours, 35 minutes
  • Fastest Route: Via I-45 South from Dallas to exit 47C in Houston
  • Price Range: $ ($5-10/person) to $$$ ($20 and up/person). Prices do not include beverages (alcoholic or non-alcoholic); additional sides; or gratuity

Note: Because Dallas and Houston are two of the largest cities in Texas, there is an endless number of delish restaurants to choose from—but the following itinerary is meant to highlight some of the best spots on the road between the two cities, so don’t expect to find any Dallas rib joints or Houston hot dog spots...but do expect to find eclectic, fun menus with Tex-Mex flair and small-town charm.

Breakfast or Lunch in Corsicana

The first stop on this fab foodie adventure is in Corsicana, less than an hour south of Dallas. Travelers who get on the road early will want to stop for breakfast or brunch in this charming spot that is known for being the first oil boomtown in Texas. Got a late start? There are plenty of tasty lunch options here, too.

Where To Eat Breakfast: Across The Street Diner

Simple, yet delish diner fare where travelers can get a yummy Texas breakfast.

  • Location: 125 N Beaton St.
  • Reservations: No
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 7 AM-4 PM, Closed Sundays
  • What To Get: The Hometown Tradition; The Scrambler Sandwich; French Toast
  • Price: $

Other Breakfast Spots

  • Looking to get back on the road quickly? Then grab a coffee and pastry at Collin Street Bakery & Cafe. Be sure to grab one of their signature fruitcakes for later! $
  • Mita’s Coffee House & Fine Food has delish small breakfast plates and an amazing beverage menu to start the day off right. Be sure to try the Breakfast Tacos; and the house specialty latte, the Camilla. $

RELATED: Southern States Do It Best, Supposedly: The Best Breakfasts In Nashville

Where To Eat Lunch: Cotton Patch Cafe

Cotton Patch is a chain with locations all over Texas—but don’t let that fool you. The down-home menu is plentiful, delicious, and perfect for anyone looking for a taste of Southern charm.

  • Location: 1200 West 7th Avenue
  • Reservations: No
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 11 AM-10 PM, Sunday 10:30 AM-10 PM
  • What To Get: Chicken Fried Brisket Platter; True Texas Tenders; Fried Shrimp served with jalapeño hushpuppies
  • Price: $-$$

Other Lunch Spots In Corsicana

  • Arlene’s Kountry Kitchen is home-cooked soul food at its finest. Visitors say the portions are generous and delicious at this authentic, cozy spot. Try the Chicken Fried Steak and Candied Yams. $$
  • La Pradera has a classic Mexican menu that makes for a great lunch. Give their Street Tacos a try, or mix it up with one of their delish combos. $-$$

Dinner In Madisonville

About an hour and a half south of Corsicana lies the small town of Madisonville, named for former U.S. President James Madison. Get here in the afternoon to explore the charming downtown, then spend a couple of hours at Lakes Madison before heading out to dinner. Bonus if you visit in Mid-October for the town’s famous Mushroom Festival!

Where To Eat Dinner: Texas Legends Steakhouse

You can’t take a road trip in Texas without trying a delicious steak: and Texas Legends is a great place to get one.

  • Location: 115 S Madison St.
  • Reservations: No
  • Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 11 AM-9 PM, Friday-Saturday 11 AM-10 PM, Closed Sunday and Monday
  • What To Get: Texas Ribeye; Texas Kobe Salisbury Steak; Ribeye Stuffed Potato
  • Prices: $-$$$

Other Dinner Spots In Madisonville

  • Rancho Viejo Mexican Restaurant is a great spot to grab a margarita and some Fajitas Poblanos. Try the Huilotas with grilled quail if you’re feeling adventurous! $$
  • Hungry for a burger? Then be sure to stop at TX Burger for a Bacontastic with fries and a vanilla shake. $

Continue south on Day 2 for some more amazing restaurants in some of South Texas' most charming small towns.

Breakfast, Brunch, Or Lunch In Conroe

Where To Eat Breakfast: Toasted Yolk Cafe

Just a short 53-minute drive from Madisonville, the town of Conroe is the perfect spot to score the most important meal of the day, and Toasted Yolk is the perfect casual spot to sip your morning java.

  • Location: 2129 W Davis St.
  • Reservations: No
  • Hours: Monday-Sunday 7 AM-3 PM
  • What To Get: Biscuit and Gravy; “Churro Style” Doughnuts; Shrimp and Grits
  • Prices: $-$$

Where To Eat Lunch: McKenzie’s Barbeque and Burgers

Missed breakfast and ready to chow down on an early lunch? McKenzie’s is a chill spot to grab some ribs and an afternoon brew.

  • Location: 1501 N. Frazier St.
  • Reservations: No
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday 6:30 AM-9 PM
  • What To Get: Pork Spare Rib Platter; Jalapeño Sausage Sandwich; Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • Prices: $-$$

RELATED: These Texas Hill Country Cabins Combine Majestic Views and Rustic Charm

Dinner In Spring

A 25-minute drive South takes travelers to Spring, a suburb of Houston. Get there in the afternoon and stroll (or horseback ride) at Pundt Park. Afterward, head to Pappasito’s Cantina for a Happy Hour Reserva Margarita before grabbing dinner.

Where To Eat Dinner: SwitcHouse Plates & Pours

This upscale, yet rustic spot celebrates Texas flavor through in-house smoked meats and dishes that are an eclectic take on traditional Tex-Mex fare.

  • Location: 1200 Lake Plaza Drive
  • Reservations: Recommended; call (832) 823-2528 or book online with OpenTable
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 6 AM-9 PM, Saturday-Sunday 7 AM-9 PM
  • What To Get: Pulled Pork Sliders; Smokehouse Sample Platter; Stuffed Gulf Coast Snapper
  • Prices: $-$$$

It doesn’t matter where you grab a bite on the road from Dallas to Houston; with so many amazing choices along the way, these top spots have something for everyone—from those looking for the best of Texas with a juicy steak or plate of ribs to Mexican food aficionados with an eye toward casual, no-frills dining.

NEXT: These Unique Texas Towns Make For The Best Vacations