Best Of Food & Drink

  • Best Chef

    Tim Byres, Smoke

    As new chefs and restaurants shape the Dallas dining scene, it's important to celebrate the chefs who keep old traditions alive. Tim Byres' Smoke is often called a barbecue restaurant, and it is, but it's also much more. The kitchen is fueled by wood — a primal heat source that...

  • Best Pre-Marinated Barbecue

    H Mart

    Do you want to know how to win any outdoor cookout? Before you say "it's not a competition," we're here to tell you that life is a competition, and with your attitude, you'll never win at it. Think back to your last cookout. Did you bring the best piece of...

  • Best Pizza

    Zoli's NY Pizza

    For the past few years, Cane Rosso has reigned as the best pizzeria in all of Dallas. Leave it to owner Jay Jerrier to shoot himself in the flour sack, opening a New York-style pizzeria that would dethrone his very own pizza dynasty. Zoli's is everything a pizzeria should be,...

  • Best Sushi

    Teppo Yakitori & Sushi Bar

    You can get sushi all over Dallas, but when you start spending a lot of time in one sushi restaurant, you start to realize a whole new sushi experience. Teppo is a great place to plug in for the long haul, and it's not just because their fish and other...

  • Best New Restaurant

    San Salvaje

    Attempting to tackle the cuisines of Mexico and farther south all the way to Argentina, seems like a risky undertaking because there are so many ingredients and cooking techniques present in the Central and South Americas. But in tackling so much, veteran chef Stephan Pyles accomplishes the impossible, offering consistently...

  • Best Indian

    Chennai Café

    Biryanis, pilaus and other rice dishes are often overlooked by diners in Indian restaurants in favor of more familiar curries like chicken saag and lamb vindaloo. That move would be a mistake at Chennai, where some of the best baked rice dishes served in the DFW area fill the dining...

  • Best Italian

    Carbone's

    Dallas doesn't exactly excel in the red-sauce Italian category. There are a number of Italian restaurants that will serve you up pasta dishes inspired by the hills of Tuscany, but if you're looking for exemplary spaghetti and meatballs, you were out of luck until Carbone's came along. Stop by for...

  • Best Tex-Mex

    Mesero Miguel

    Let's get it out there right away that Mesero Miguel doesn't bill itself as a Tex-Mex restaurant. But that doesn't change the fact that there's a section on the menu for Tex-Mex dishes, and all of them are considerably more delicious than those from your old favorite lard-laden bean pit...

  • Best Salsa

    Avila's

    Chances are, if you eat at most of the Tex-Mex restaurants around town, your salsa is for sissies. Most places keep their table salsa on the mild side, for fear that tepid gringos will cry. Not so at Avila's. Here the salsa looks like it's dominated with tomatoes but it...

  • Best Hot Dog

    St. Pete's Dancing Marlin

    You can get hot dogs at many bars, but most of the time you will be served a commodity wiener that tastes like a tube-shaped shoe. Not so at St. Pete's, where the link comes from neighboring Rudolph's Meat Market. The pedigreed dog is tucked into a plain, white bread...

  • Best Barbecue

    Pecan Lodge

    For the past few years, it has been common convention that Pecan Lodge serves the best barbecue in Dallas. What nobody knew is that it was about to get so much better. A hastened departure from the Dallas Farmers Market threatened to ruin a great thing, but Pecan Lodge feels...

  • Best Baby Back Ribs

    Peggy Sue BBQ

    Peggy Sue BBQ has a wall covered in denim and some passable brisket. Another thing it has, though, is the finest, most tender, most delectable and juicy baby back ribs in a 200-mile radius. If your idea of barbecue is that ribs are king, then you should a) leave Texas...

  • Best Sushi for Sushi Novices

    Deep Sushi

    Sushi can be intimidating for novices, even for those who are open-minded and have no qualms about chowing down on uncooked fish. The menu cards often have dozens and dozens of items, most of which have names that have no meaning to the uninitiated non-Japanese speaker. And then there's the...

  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    Tom's Burgers & Grill

    It's rare you'll encounter a chicken-fried steak that's as interesting as the one served at Tom's Burgers & Grill. It starts out with the breading, which replaces everyday seasoned flour with crushed potato chips that pack a serious crunch. There are flecks of herbs strewn about and the whole thing...

  • Best Steakhouse

    Knife

    Steakhouses are a dime a dozen here in Dallas, but none of them will let you get out of door for loose change. Knife is no different, but it can be significantly more affordable if you know how to navigate the menu. Look for the section of affordable bistro cuts...

  • Best Fried Chicken

    Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

    Normally you expect to eat fried chicken at an outdoor table made of pine or maybe on a picnic blanket, not at an elegant marble bar at some hoity-toity Henderson Avenue restaurant. But the bar stools at Sissy's turn out to be the perfect chicken perch. Order a cocktail, or...

  • Best Wings

    Ten Bells Tavern

    Ten Bells makes marvelous pub grub, so it stands to reason that their take on wings, the ultimate bar food, would be great. They're also quite a departure from the pedestrian Frank's-slathered slabs of gristle served with a ramekin of Kraft blue cheese dressing and a scattering of limp celery...

  • Best Breakfast

    Start

    It's 8 a.m., you're late for a meeting, you're hungry and last night you had a steak and creamed spinach for dinner. You need breakfast, you need it fast and you need it not to suck. That's why you're in line at the drive-thru at Start, perusing a menu of...

  • Best Chinese

    First Chinese B-B-Q

    Customers know they're somewhere interesting as soon as they walk through the door. The diners are nearly all Chinese, payment is accepted only in cash, and there aren't any egg rolls on the menu. There are marinated pork intestine and beef tendon and dried squid. First Chinese offers up Cantonese-style...

  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Palapas Seafood Bar

    When you walk into a Mexican restaurant with fajitas and nachos on the menu, you might be inclined to indulge in your standbys. You can do that at Palapas, too, and you'll leave with a great impression of the restaurant. But where this Greenville Avenue newcomer really excels is with...

  • Best Food Truck

    Easy Slider

    Easy Slider was one of the first trucks to have a real presence on the Dallas food truck scene, and years later they are easily still the best. Whenever you see their teal, stars-and-stripes-themed vehicle parked around town and you're feeling hungry, you'd do well to change your dining plans...

  • Best Taquería

    La Banqueta

    La Banqueta has been a mainstay on the Dallas taquería circuit for years. The tiny walk-up with only a counter for seating is the go-to spot for suadero tacos. But with the move across the street to a new location, the Dallas location of this four-taquería chain has become a...

  • Best Ice Cream Shop

    Carnival Barker's

    For those who have grown tired with the ice cream status quo, Carnival Barker's offers flavors that are anything but boring. Banana pudding and Nutella vodka join Fat Elvis — a peanut butter and banana ice cream with candied bacon and honey — in a slew of flavors that will...

  • Best Salads

    Gemma

    If you were just to read the list of ingredients off the menu, many of the salads served at Gemma would sound like abstract art. A bok choy salad features thinly shaved cabbage, paper-thin radishes, mint, fennel, cashews for crunch and peas for sweetness. A salad of heirloom squash features...

  • Best Barbecue Sandwich

    Cattleack Barbecue

    To put things delicately, the Toddfather is not a sandwich you should take lightly. Todd David's brisket at Cattleack Barbecue is worth a visit all on its own, but fold some pulled pork into the mix along with his brilliant house-made sausages and you've got a holy trinity, a great...

  • Best Ice Pop

    Steel City Pops

    If your understanding of a frozen pop was solidified with ice pops you squeezed from plastic tubes after they were plucked from your home freezer, it's time to give the art form another look. Even if you grew up on the small-batch paleterías around town, you need to reconsider. The...

  • Best Street Eats

    Monkey King Noodle Co.

    It's a fact: Food tastes better when you eat it while standing. Street stalls around the world have served up some of the best bites imaginable, catering to a diner's desire for deliciousness, portability and affordability. Dallas doesn't have a lot of street food, but at Monkey King Noodle Co...

  • Best Wine Shop

    Wine Therapist

    If you haven't paid the Wine Therapist a visit in a while, you need to check it out again. The East Dallas wine shop made a move across Skillman Street and has a completely new look and feel. There's a bar for sipping from a curated list of wines, but...

  • Best Place to Eat Bugs

    El Come Taco

    El Come Taco doesn't always have chapulines and escamoles on the menu, but when they do, enthusiasts come out of the woodwork. That's probably because there aren't many restaurateurs willing to put grasshoppers and ant eggs on their menus. Do not be afraid. The grasshoppers have a mild nutty flavor...

  • Best Use of Spam

    Local Oak

    Spam isn't exactly the most cherished ingredient. It's hard to work up enthusiasm for any meat product that comes suspended in a can full of jelly. But given the right treatment, the right complements and perhaps a little bit of luck, Spam can be turned into some stellar bar food...

  • Best Diminutive Baked Good

    Canelé, Village Baking Co.

    There are times you want a massive slice of cake when you're craving something sweet, and there are times when you'd really prefer something smaller and more understated. Canelés are perfect for this. Like a small gift, they are wrapped in a tough, waxy crust that is a deep mahogany...

  • Best Meat Mecca

    Blind Butcher

    With all the steakhouses and barbecue joints in Texas, opening a meat mecca on Greenville Avenue would seem like a non-event. But Blind Butcher has managed to completely shift animal protein expectations since it opened earlier this year. There are sausages of all varieties, ground and cased right in the...

  • Best Vietnamese Pancake

    Môt Hai Ba

    You're going to want to bring a friend for this one, as Vietnamese pancakes are a touch larger than the sweet breakfast items you doused with Aunt Jemima when you were a kid. They're also savory, and come stuffed with your choice of mushrooms and tofu for the vegetarians, or...

  • Best Fajitas

    Mariano's Hacienda Ranch

    Mariano's has been known for decades as the creator of the frozen margarita, but their more impressive accomplishment is what they've done with fajitas. If fajitas were measured by their sizzle, Mariano's would win based on heat alone, but there's a lot more to celebrate here beyond a hot metal...

  • Best Bread Service

    Pera Wine & Tapas

    Bread service is presented like an afterthought at most restaurants, if it hasn't been abandoned all together. But all of those napkin-lined wicker baskets filled with stale rolls make the bread served at Pera Wine and Tapas all the more impressive. A length of super-crusty baguette is scored into slices...

  • Best Restaurant For Kids

    Pepe's and Mito's

    Taking kids out to dinner can be a challenge, so you'll need every advantage you can get if you have any chance at having a relaxing evening. Chips and salsa land on the table just seconds after your butts hit the seats, keeping crumb snatchers occupied while you peruse the...

  • Best Sandwich Restaurant

    Uncle Uber's

    Lots of sandwich shops have character, but Uncle Uber's is a real personality. Stop by for lunch and you'll have to wait in a line filled with hungry workers from nearby offices, who come for creative takes on classic sandwiches they grew up on. There's a solid cheesesteak made from...

  • Best Burger

    Boulevardier

    The Tate Farms grass-fed burger excels in just about every category available for burger assessment. The bun is a soft round of pain au lait, the bacon is cured in-house and the pickles are made right there, too. The Gruyere is nutty and melted in a thick slice and while...

  • Best Farmers Market

    White Rock Lake Farmers Market

    The market's tagline sums it up really well: "Only Growers. Only Makers. Only Local." When you shop at White Rock Local Market you know exactly what you're going to get, while other markets often allow commercially supplied produce to mingle with local goods. It might not seem like a big...

  • Best Pie

    Emporium Pies

    Emporium Pies opened in the Bishop Arts District two years ago and quickly became known for the best pie baking in Dallas. The shop has only gained momentum since, and now a line snakes out the door and down the street in the evenings as diners from neighborhood restaurants defect...

  • Best Coffee Shop

    Houndstooth Coffee

    There aren't too many baristas in town who have to put on a shirt and tie before they start pulling espresso shots. Consider the uniform a testament to the seriousness with which every coffee drink is created at Houndstooth. Before the magic even starts, customers are given a choice of...

  • Best Sunday Brunch

    Meddlesome Moth

    Steak and eggs has reigned supreme as the high-protein breakfast dish of choice for generations, even though most restaurants deliver terrible renditions. Why would anyone want a thin and crummy New York strip when they could come to the Meddlesome Moth and enjoy an impeccably cooked hanger steak that packs...

  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Stratos

    When is a Greek restaurant not a Greek restaurant? When it's a full-blown club with a DJ filling the place with throbbing dance music. Stratos is a party as much as it is a place to eat. Come for lunch, though, and the cavernous dining room will be filled with...

  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Bambu

    You can order the pad Thai if you like, but cliché noodle dishes aren't the best use of your time in this Richardson Thai restaurant. Bambu focuses on Isaan-style cooking from northeastern Thailand. Be careful. If the crying tiger beef can make a big cat weep, it can do a...

  • Best Vegetarian

    Spiral Diner

    Here's a little secret that will change your life for the better. You don't have to be a vegan to enjoy meatless cooking. In fact, if you just fold a few vegan dishes into your week on top of all of those strip steaks, hoagies and chili cheese enchiladas, you'll...

  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Pera Turkish Kitchen

    If bread service is any measure of a restaurant, Pera Turkish Kitchen has the rest of the local Middle Eastern restaurants beaten easily. Small loaves the size of CDs but much thicker are warm and glossy when they hit the table. You can smell the toasting sesame seeds glistening on...

  • Best Diner

    Crossroads Diner

    Crossroads Diner doesn't look much like a diner. There's no glowing neon on the outside, and there are no blood-red vinyl booths to squeak your way into on the inside. Yet there are diner smells — sizzling eggs and butter, crackling bacon and searing sausage smells — all of it...

  • Best German Restaurant

    Bavarian Grill

    If you're of the mindset that a liter a day keeps the doctor away, join the club at the Bavarian Grill. No, literally — Stein Club membership lets you track which of the dozens of German (and German in spirit, like the local Franconia) beers the grill offers, with the...

  • Best Wait Staff

    Lucky's

    You gotta love the hustle and bustle and old-school-diner vibe at Lucky's Cafe. Sure, if you head over to the Oak Lawn Avenue diner on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you're guaranteed to wait for a seat, but time whizzes by after you grab a newspaper and start sipping a...

  • Best Margarita

    Stampede 66

    The margaritas in Dallas tend to blur together (especially when you drink them back to back). They're mostly green, they're made with cheap tequila and they all smell like a hangover. At Stampede 66, none of these are true. The margarita that's made on a cart beside your table after...

  • Best Bloody Mary

    Capitol Pub

    On any given Saturday or Sunday, provided the air isn't thick with humidity and the sun isn't searing hot, the patio at Capitol Pub is filled with drinkers. And in many hands, you'll find a tall pint glass filled with the blood-red liquid — one of the greatest hangover cures...

  • Best Selection of Local Beers

    LUCK

    With craft beer exploding in popularity and the opening of scads of breweries in the area, a good selection of local beers is all but mandatory for bars, pubs and restaurants these days. What sets LUCK apart is that it offers nearly 40 locally brewed ales and lagers — and...

  • Best Frozen Drink

    Frozen Irish Coffee at Twilite Lounge

    Imagine your favorite frozen coffee drink emboldened with a shot of Irish whiskey. Now picture in your mind a Coca-Cola Slurpee, but with a slug of Jack Daniel's to put a grown-up twist on a favorite childhood drink. The Twilite Lounge, one of our very favorite bars, offers both, and...

  • Best Local Beer

    Community Beer Co.

    Community Beer Co. head brewer Jamie Fulton has won multiple awards for his work at Community and his previous post at Fort Worth's sorely missed The Covey, and a few sips of Inspiration is all it takes to see why. Named for the street on which Community Beer Co. is...

  • Best Drunk Feeling From A Local Beer

    Peticolas Velvet Hammer

    There is a feeling, somewhere around the end of the second Velvet Hammer, where your face gets kind of warm and suddenly all of your friends aren't so terrible anymore, and you start anticipating the third Velvet Hammer with both delight and fear. It's more akin to a trip than...

  • Best Bartender

    Roger Nelson, Lakewood Landing

    People are putting a lot of focus on mixology these days, with artisanal bitters and obscure spirits dominating the local drinking scene. But for the utilitarian drinker who prefers imbibing in a dim dive, it's hard not to look at these needlessly complicated drink slingers as pretentious cocktoligists. Fuck your...

  • Best Beer Selection

    Meddlesome Moth

    The Meddlesome Moth offers an incredibly wide selection put together by people who are passionate about great beer. There's always have something unique. If there's a very limited release that has the beer nerds drooling, you can bet the Moth will have it. If a brewmaster from some far-flung state...

  • Best Combination of Tacos and Beer

    Fox Gas Station and Lucky Texan 2

    Our unofficial nickname for this place is "Tacos, Beers and Chandeliers," because it has those three things in abundance. It's a fairly new gas station with a grill and coin laundry, and for reasons unknown is lit by dozens of LED chandeliers, including a huge one that hangs directly over...

  • Best Outdoor Patio or Deck

    Nora

    When HG Sply Co. opened its expansive patio, complete with full bar and kitchen, we thought, "This is as cool as it gets." It's a respite from the high-octane Uptown rooftop decks and has a different view of downtown Dallas than the Hotel Belmont patio. But then Nora came in...

  • Best Sandwich Life Hack

    Mudsmith

    At most coffee shops, the pre-made sandwiches are a bready snack scarfed down in a carbohydrate rush. But Mudsmith sandwiches require you to sit down. These sandwiches are stacked high with protein — piles of cold cuts like turkey or roast beef between two thin slices of bread. There are...

  • Best Mexican Pastries

    Chichen Itza

    This low-key taquería/tortería/panadería is tucked away behind 7-Eleven on Lower Greenville and decorated with paintings of the actual Chichen Itza, the ancient city in Mexico built by the Mayans. But this Chichen Itza is more conveniently located to East Dallas, plus it serves tortas on fluffy pan baked in-house. The...

  • Best Grocery Store Deli for People on Special Diets

    Green Grocer

    Restaurants are notorious for breaking diets and causing allergic reactions. Grocery store delis are a little easier to navigate, but for questionable dishes, good luck tracking down an employee able to tell you all the ingredients. Green Grocer is different. This tiny neighborhood market sells only pasture-raised local meat and...

  • Best Allergy-Friendly Carbs

    Unrefined Bakery

    Unrefined Bakery goes beyond gluten-free. Customers can get nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free. They are incredibly accommodating to just about any allergy, and the food is surprisingly delicious. In addition to the typical small baked goods that one finds in gluten-free bakeries — cupcakes, cookies, muffins — customers can order their...

  • Best Heart Attack on a Bun

    SoCal Burger at Ten Bells Tavern

    The name has to be sarcastic. Supposedly it's named for pastrami-topped foodstuffs in Southern California, but it's hard to imagine this monument of meat having many takers in the land of fish tacos and juice cleanses. Ten Bells Tavern's burgers are already plenty big (and delicious) without the addition of...

  • Best Food Death Coma

    Mughlai

    Mughlai's curries are impossibly rich, the creamiest, most decadent motherfuckers this side of the Atlantic. However, there is something about their curries and the richness of them that makes it physically impossible to eat them in the quantities you want to do so. Do not do this. If you eat...

  • Best Cake Balls

    Isabelly's

    The cake ball is far from the loftiest of dessert foods. Typically they are little more than globules of sugary flour. But Isabelly's cake balls are refined, closer in consistency and quality to decadent chocolate truffles than to cake. A box of them works quite nicely as a gift to...

  • Best Dog Patio

    Mi Cocina Lakewood

    It's a hard balance to hit in most of the inner city: How do you find a patio restaurant that will have lots of dogs and not too many children? Nothing against children. It's just that dogs are better drinking companions, maybe because most dogs have heard the word "no"...

  • Best Onion Rings

    Stackhouse

    For some reason the onion rings genie is always on the move, dwelling for a while at one particular burger joint or full-menu restaurant that is home to wonderfully fresh fried onion rings — still crisp and juicy at the center with a paper-thin coating of flakes. Then suddenly the...

  • Best Tomatoes in Season

    Jimmy's Food Store

    During the season — about eight weeks from June first through the end of July — Jimmy's is not the only place in Dallas where you can buy J.T. Lemley's dirt-grown tomatoes from Canton, but it's definitely the one place you can count on, and there's a reason for that...

  • Best Bakery

    Cuban International Bakery

    The word bakery usually evokes pallets of hamburger buns and the occasional baguettes — the sort of white bread baked goods we eat thoughtlessly every day. This is not so at Cuban International Bakery, where sweet smells of caramel and fruit permeate the storefront filled with Cuban coffee sippers. It...

  • Best Doughnut Shop

    Glazed Donut Works

    Deep Ellum's Glazed Donut Works combines the best of both doughnut worlds. They push the limits with sometimes-weird but always-delicious creations like the Donut Grilled Cheese with Bacon and doughnut ice cream sandwiches stuffed with shop-made ice cream — both of which are only available at the shop's weekend late-night...

  • Best Cronut

    Mozart Bakery

    The cronut arrived in Texas to a yawn. By the time it got here we were all cronutted (it's a word) out, tired of hearing of lines outside bakeries in other cities, and already moving on to other ill-advised baking fusions. This French-Korean bakery's take on the pastry deserves a...

  • Best Flour Tortillas

    Gonzalez Restaurant

    Gonzalez's flour tortillas are not a lot of things. They aren't subtle, they aren't light in any way and they most definitely are not part of any diet you could possibly hope to lose weight on. What they are is amazing. As thick as a pancake, they render accoutrements like...