Best of Dallas®

Best Of 2008

Neighborhoods

  • + Abilene
  • + Addison
  • + Allen/ McKinney
  • + Amarillo
  • + Arlington
  • + Austin
  • + Baton Rouge
  • + Big Bend National Park
  • + Brownwood
  • + Bryan/ College Station
  • + Carrollton/ Farmers Branch
  • + Carswell AFB
  • + Cedar Creek Lake Area
  • + Cedar Hill
  • + Central Texas
  • + Cockrell Hill
  • + Coppell
  • + Corpus Christi
  • + Corsicana
  • + Crandall/ Combine
  • + Denton
  • + Downtown & Deep Ellum
  • + Duncanville/ DeSoto
  • + Durant
  • + Dyess AFB
  • + East Dallas & Lakewood
  • + East Texas
  • + El Paso
  • + Ennis
  • + Fair Park
  • + Far North Suburbs
  • + Far South Dallas Suburbs
  • + Far South FW Suburbs
  • + Forney
  • + Fort Worth
  • + Frisco
  • + Gainesville
  • + Galveston
  • + Garland & Vicinity
  • + Glen Rose
  • + Goodfellow AFB
  • + Granbury
  • + Grand Prairie
  • + Grapevine
  • + Gulf Area
  • + Houston
  • + Huntsville
  • + Irving & Las Colinas
  • + Kaufman
  • + Killeen
  • + Lake Dallas
  • + Lancaster/ Balch Springs
  • + Lancaster/ Wilmer/ Hutchins
  • + Laredo
  • + Laughlin AFB
  • + Lavon Lake Area
  • + Lewisville
  • + Louisiana
  • + Lubbock
  • + Manchester
  • + Mesquite/ Balch Springs
  • + Mexia/ Groesbeck
  • + Mid-Cities (H-E-B)
  • + Midland/ Odessa
  • + Nacogdoches
  • + New Braunfels
  • + New Orleans
  • + North Dallas
  • + North Texas
  • + Northeast Dallas
  • + Northeast Texas
  • + Northwest Dallas
  • + Oak Cliff & South Dallas
  • + Oklahoma
  • + Out of Town
  • + Panhandle
  • + Paris
  • + Park Cities
  • + Plano
  • + Reese AFB
  • + Richardson & Vicinity
  • + Royse City
  • + San Angelo
  • + San Antonio
  • + Sheppard AFB
  • + Sherman/ Denison
  • + Shreveport/ Bossier City
  • + South Fort Worth Suburbs
  • + South Texas
  • + Southeast Suburbs
  • + Tennessee
  • + Texarkana
  • + Tyler
  • + Unknown
  • + Uptown & Oak Lawn
  • + Waco/ Temple & Vicinity
  • + Waxahachie
  • + Weatherford/ Mineral Wells
  • + West Dallas
  • + West Texas
  • + White Rock Lake Area
  • + Wichita Falls
  • + Wylie
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Food & Drink

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Best Of :: Food & Drink

Best Vegetarian Restaurant
Spiral Diner

Longtime vegetarians are resigned to the fact that, when dining out, they usually have one or two choices on the menu. Lack of excitement washes over you as the server brings your steakhouse selection: a plate of iceberg lettuce with carrot shreds and a cherry tomato. So when you are presented with the abundance of choices at Spiral Diner—everything on the menu is vegan—prepare to feel a little overwhelmed. Sure, they have salads, if that's what you're into, but they also have delicious wraps (the Parmigiana is warm and delicious), sandwiches, burgers, and pasta and other hot plates. Try "The Mitch," a savory tofu club sandwich, or for a heartier entrée, there's Viva Las Migas or Sketti & (Soy) Meatballs. Organic juices and coconut limeade are a delight. Desserts are plentiful, including "I-scream," cupcakes, cookies and brownies on our last visit. Blue Sky natural sodas are on tap, and you can indulge in some reading material while you wait—The Sexual Politics of Meat, anyone?

1101 N. Beckley Ave., Dallas, 75203
MAP
214-948-4747
Best "Local Food Movement" Restaurant
Garden Café

Wikipedia defines the local food movement as a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies—one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place." Bankruptcy lawyer Dale Wootton probably had no idea that was what he was participating in when he decided to grow his own vegetables in his own garden in the back of his own restaurant. At his Garden Café in East Dallas, you can get okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, black-eyed peas, sprigs of rosemary, oregano, fennel, sage, mint, parsley—or whatever he happens to be growing and adding to the tasty meat and potatoes menu at his restaurant. Some within the local food movement want you to travel no further than 25 miles to satisfy its agricultural tenets. Wootton has got that beat: He only has to truck into his backyard, harvest his veggies and herbs, transport them a few feet to his restaurant, prepare them in the kitchen and serve them to customers, many of whom consume them on the pleasant patio in the same garden where they were grown. The bankruptcy advice he dispenses is local too. His law office is only a few yards from his restaurant.

5310 Junius St., Dallas, 75214
MAP
214-887-8330
Best Appetizer
Bob Armstrong Dip
Photo by Taryn Walker

If you've ever spent time in Austin then you know it as well as we do—Dallas just can't do queso right. Sure, our fair city is full of decent Mexican food joints, maybe even a couple of great ones. But let's face it—even El Ranchito, Mia's and La Calle Doce serve up a substandard bowl of the yellow goodness compared with our Central Texas neighbors. Thank God for Matt's Rancho Martinez then, an East Dallas institution sprung fully formed from the nurturing bosom of an Austin institution some 20 years ago. Their renowned Bob Armstrong dip takes a perfect, cheesy consistency—not too thick, not too watery—and combines it with ground beef, guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo to create a dip so kick-ass we've seen fights break out over the last chip.

1904 Skillman St., Dallas, 75206
MAP
214-823-5517
Best Artisanal Cheeses
Molto Formaggio

We must confess: In our childhood, we ate quite a bit of Easy Cheese. And we've been trying to make up for that ever since. We enjoy fresh mozzarella, Tillamook cheddar or creamy chèvre any day. But we have hesitated to enter the realm of real artisanal cheeses. That's why it's kind of intimidating to walk into Molto Formaggio—where do you start? Will our Philistine palate be able to tell the difference between an Idiazabal and a Manchego? Should this cheese be proud that it's "cave-aged," or does that mean bats have been pooping on it? Fortunately, since the Molto Formaggio store policy permits—nay, commands—you to sample their cheeses, you can rest easy that you won't end up with a pound of cheese that, once you get it home, you find tastes like baby vomit. The display case makes it easy to select a cheese by name, origin and maker, and the friendly staff dishes up the samples with a smile. And you can even outfit a whole tasting party: They also stock raw and varietal honeys, crackers (ooh, charcoal crackers?), preserves, bulk olive oil and fondue sets.

6025 Royal Lanene, Dallas, 75230
MAP
214-361-9191
Best Bar Food
The Libertine

This European pub's atmosphere is as cool as its beer selection, which includes a wide range of Belgian ales, rare stouts and ambers, and organic brews. Then there's the food. Here, pedestrian bar fare is nowhere to be found. Instead, there are delicious sandwiches like the grilled cheese; the Cuban, shredded pork with artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, jalapeños and olives; and a wood-grilled flat-iron steak with port wine reduction and shallots. The Hog Wings, with meat falling off the bones and a scrumptious poblano pepper sauce, are not to be missed. You can't really go wrong here. No wonder, since the place was started by the founders of the Meridian Room.

2101 Greenville Ave., Dallas, 75206
MAP
214-824-7900
Best Barbecue
Peggy Sue BBQ

Its pedigree is lengthy. For more than 40 Dallas years this 'cue post was Howard & Peggy's and then Peggy's Beef Bar before it shuttered in the late 1980s, the original menu still adhering to the window glass. The room is well-stocked with cowhand memorabilia (horseshoes, buck heads, boots). It was reanimated a short time later as Peggy Sue BBQ, with all of the smoke and spicy-sweet that slow-cooked meat deserves. Hearty brisket. Moist turkey. Rib racks that shed their bones even as they maintain their sticky sweetness. No paper towel columns rising over the white and red checked table coverings, but the cloth napkins can be replenished along with the icy lemonade.

6600 Snider Plaza, Dallas, 75205-1352
MAP
214-987-9188
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Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Spiral Diner

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