Food & Drink

  • Best New Restaurant

    Voltaire - CLOSED

    Sometimes putting your money where your mouth is...doesn't taste very good. But not all the time. Sure, multimillionaire Scott Ginsburg has used his considerable shekels to assemble a world-class wine list (1981 Chateau Haut-Brion is served by the glass in the bar) and a stunning array of knickknacks. (They include an exploding dish chandelier by lighting designer Ingo Mauer and… More >>
  • Best lesbian drink

    The Redheaded Slut at Sue Ellen's

    A couple of these sly concoctions of Crown Royal, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice will turn a mousy brunette into a scarlet temptress. The pinkish red color and the deceptive sweetness hide the puissant punch that quickly brings out the tart in anyone. Drink at your own risk.… More >>
  • Best quail

    Il Solé Restaurant & Wine Bar - CLOSED

    Il Solé's pan-roasted bobwhite quail with a truffled taleggio risotto cake is plump, juicy, and bursting with delicate flavors. The risotto cake edged the bird in racy cheese sharpness, putting the game in this game. It makes you wonder what kind of miracles they could perform with a parakeet.… More >>
  • Best Jack and Coke

    Bar of Soap Bar - CLOSED

    We like our alcoholic beverages the same way we like our panty hose, perfume, and boyfriends--strong and cheap. The process for making this barroom staple isn't hard to master. Put ice in a plastic cup. Pour in Jack Daniels. Hose in some Coca-Cola. Sure, it happens all over town, but here it will cost a least a buck or two… More >>
  • Best pasta to go

    Corner Bakery

    If you're looking for a quick, inexpensive meal, check out the Corner Bakery in North Dallas. Take-out or eat-in, pasta is prepared fresh as you wait. Entrées include fettucine Alfredo, pasta with pesto, pasta with tomato, pasta with ragu, and pasta with marinara sauce. Each dish is served with a salad of your choice, and a fresh assortment of bread--all… More >>
  • Best breakfast

    Bread Winners Bakery & Café

    Now that the weather's cooled down--oooh, that 89 degrees gives us goose bumps--what better way to bring in the morning than by sitting on the Bread Winners' patio drinking a little java, eating some French toast (a real highlight), and reading the morning paper (we take The New York Times, which makes it easier to digest)? The food's always excellent… More >>
  • Best place to buy a peach

    Hunter's at the Farmers Market

    Jerome Hunter's family farm in Gilmer produces the best peaches around--far better than those California croquet balls masquerading as fruit at the supermarket. Each of Hunter's beauties is a globe of tender, meaty pulp that virtually explodes when you bite it. Take a towel for your wrists, which will be slimed by waves of peach juice pouring from the bite… More >>
  • Best Place to eat alone

    La Madeleine French Bakery and Café

    The tables are filled with them: lone gnawers, grazers, and nibblers fiddling with cell phones, flipping through newspapers, or fumbling with Palm Pilots. With so many solo gourmandes taking down plates of Caesar salad, soups, sandwiches, rotisserie chicken, and daily specials (all obtained cafeteria-style so you don't have to feel like a lonely shmuck while a server takes your order… More >>
  • Best feta cheese selection

    World Food Warehouse

    What do you want? Bulgarian, French, or Greek? For those who make such distinctions, the differences are obvious, with the Bulgarian being the richest and creamiest. At this import shop, you can have your choice, and the proprietors will reach down into the water- and cheese-filled containers and pull out a chunk of bright white cheese that, when served with… More >>
  • Best steak

    Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

    Strip and rib-eye steaks at Pappas are dry-aged prime, and it shows, though not on the plate. You won't find any vertical architecture emerging from the meat; no swirling threads of brightly colored, pleated sauces. The preparation here is unapologetically minimalist, with just a sprinkle of kosher salt, a dash of pepper, and a little butter to pull out the… More >>
  • Best cheap dinner

    Bangkok Inn

    The last time we went out for pizza, we rang up a $30 tab splurging on four toppings. The price of cheap eats is going up, except, that is, at Bangkok Inn. Nearly everything on the menu is $6.95, and their curries--from mild yellow to spicy hot red panang--are some of the best we've had. How do they do it?… More >>
  • Best rooftop patio

    Milkbar - CLOSED

    Maybe this place sounds like a happy hour hovel for the Pokémon set, a spot where udders serve as taps. But Milkbar is a take on the watering hole in A Clockwork Orange, which is why it has fake fir banquettes (they cause nasty hairballs), zebra-striped walls (they cause more dizziness than tequila shots), and mannequin limbs (they make terrible… More >>
  • Best view

    Chaparral Club in the Adams Mark Hotel

    This thin-air refuge of exceptional cuisine is perched on the 38th floor of the skyscraping Adam's Mark tower. Here, it's easy to mingle among the shimmering mirrored and green luminescence of Dallas' skyline--a welcome respite from the Cheesecake Factory gothic-inspired architecture in Plano, which you can also see from this perch. Peering through the Chaparral Club's expansive floor-to-ceiling windows is… More >>
  • Best barbecue restaurant

    North Main Bar-B-Q

    We'll give you the onion rings at Sonny Bryan's. We'll spot you the cole slaw at Solly's. We'll even throw in the beef at Red Hot & Blue. But put them together and what do you get? A helluva lot of driving around. Make one trip to North Main Bar-B-Q, the belt-busting, rib-hugging, reflux-inducing pride of Euless. For a 10… More >>
  • Best Indian restaurant

    Swarna Palace Indian Cuisine

    The cuisine at this bowling alley-sized Indian dining room is lush, colorful, and laced with clean flavors. Virtually everything, from the spinach pakora (batter-fried spinach leaves) to the shrimp birani (shrimp with basmati rice) to the chutneys is brisk and tasty. Plus a huge TV screen surrounded by assorted monitors beams in programming from India: a cornucopia of televised entertainment… More >>
  • Best interior restaurant garden

    Bread Winners Bakery and Café

    Even if you just order a cup of coffee, you can enjoy the lovely indoor flora and open ceiling at this place. The room is just the right size, with seating for about 25. A table for two in the corner can be quite a romantic affair. … More >>
  • Best salad bar

    Texas de Brazil

    It's a hideously decadent thing, and so delicious you can skip the prolific and endless skewers of red meat plus some paler varieties served here. A sprawling black marble bar in front of this restaurant's Brazilian grills contains some of the freshest, most sumptuous spreads of leafy, seedy, and rooty food in Dallas. Big bowls of fresh salads. Tabbouleh. Hearts… More >>
  • Best mussels

    Daddy Jack's Wood Grill

    Are you looking for a briny sweetness from your mussels, as our food critic always does? Or is that a sweet brininess? Your sacred seafood quest has ended. Daddy Jack's in Deep Ellum serves these mollusks up right. Besides being tender and, yes, chewy, each little fella is coated in a tangy garlic-tomato sauce. When this appetizer is placed on… More >>
  • Best fancy restaurant


    If chef Kent Rathbun's brilliantly orchestrated Abacus is anything, it's fancy. Its rich elaborateness is accomplished in thoroughly fresh ways, both on the plate and in the dining room. The food is complex with lots of influences meticulously merged in a loud, well-creased ascot sort of way. The décor is...well, it's a futuristic rendering of poshness. The interior is filled… More >>
  • Best spaghetti & meatballs

    Raneri's - CLOSED

    The pasta is firm and tender. The sauce is tangy and rich. The meatball, shaped like a downed sparrow, is bulging with flavor. When you eat it your face gets messy, as messy as it does when you spill too much Chianti down your throat. … More >>
  • Best chocolate chip cookie (tie)

    J.D.'s Chippery & Great Harvest Bread Co.

    JD's cookies are big, crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and warm from the oven. One of these suckers can keep you going on a sugar rush for an impressive stretch. Then, in the throes of a nasty jones, you'll come back and buy another one. The snickerdoodles aren't bad, either. The Great Harvest Bread Co. gets our nod… More >>
  • Best romantic restaurant


    This ivy-covered frame cottage with mustard-colored walls, handsome wall sconces, and hardwood floors has the feel of an aging domicile embracing all of its coziness and lyric sparkle. Not only does Lola dish out inspired New American cuisine and well-priced wines, it does it in a collection of snug, intimate dining areas woven throughout. If this isn't the perfect place… More >>
  • Best apple turnover

    The Mixing Bowl Bakery

    Finely fluted layers of delicate pastry encase a juicy apple stuffing far removed from the leaden, tough-skinned clumps on most bakery shelves. Do not attempt to eat while driving, or you will emerge a pastry-flecked frump. Better to have a seat in the small café and check out the collection of vintage baking tins and eggbeaters while indulging. … More >>
  • Best wine list


    Though it's written in French, the list at Jeroboam is one of the most intelligently organized and readable we've seen. The first eight pages serve as a table of contents, with wines categorized under regional headings along with bottle and by-the-glass prices. There is also a bin number that cross-references to pages in the list with regional descriptions, tasting notes,… More >>
  • Best home cooking

    Traci's Restaurant

    We're constantly amazed to discover how many of our so-called friends have yet to eat at this charming restaurant, located next to Texadelphia. It really is one of the best restaurants in town, and one of the most cozy; it's one of those converted old homes that's lost nothing in the translation. And the food is exceptional: We're always torn… More >>
  • Best cinammon roll

    A&J Bakery

    It's hard to resist licking off the decadent half-inch of real butter cream icing before taking a bite of the dense, rich, cinnamon-infused pastry the size of a saucer. But resist you must to get the wicked, out-of-body experience when the icing fuses with the pastry in your mouth.… More >>
  • Best sushi

    Yokohama Sushi

    Love raw fish? We mean, do you really love raw fish, the kind so fresh it still wants to school? The sushi at Sushi Yokohama is so cool, silky delicious, and fresh, your neck will start fluttering like gills as it goes down. The tuna and hamachi lay across the rice pads like thick little wet tongues, and if you… More >>
  • Best stew

    Guinness Stew, Emerald Mist Restaurant & Pub - CLOSED

    Sometimes a pint of warm, thick Guinness is hard to get down without the aid of a raw egg. This is especially true in the sweat-hog thickness of Texas summer, when the sky steadfastly refuses to tinkle on our heads. But when it's simmered for hours with some beef, carrot, and potato, Guinness takes on an air of smooth exuberance.… More >>
  • Best margarita

    Don Pablo's

    You've got to taste them to believe them. No mixes used. Fresh-squeezed limes, top-of-the-line booze, ample servings and reasonably priced. The food's not bad, either. … More >>
  • Best duck


    Citizen's glazed duck is nothing short of stunning, which normally is hard to do with a duck unless you dress it up in a sequined gown, fishnets, and stilettos, and watch it doze off on one foot. Instead of garters, Citizen uses a dazzling soy plum demi-glace over slices of moist duck breast tucked near a set of duck landing… More >>
  • Best Turkish atmosphere

    Café Istanbul

    The entire staff is from Turkey, and Turks not only know food, they have atmosphere nailed. Unique and authentic hookahs, rugs, and wine bottles adorn the walls and shelves. There is a library feel to this place in that everything feels so well-placed and so...cultural. They have a belly dancer who entertains while you eat, and scares the hell out… More >>
  • Best dip

    Tramontana's Absolut pepper diablo sauce - CLOSED

    It comes paired with potato-crusted calamari. But in this case the dunking medium is better than what's dunked. The dip is robust, rich, and lively with smoothness rippled by big chunks of blanched tomato. It's so racy, you could make lingerie out of it. … More >>
  • Best fusion foray

    Chow Thai Pacific Rim - CLOSED

    There's a curvaceous bar with a top made of stained concrete. The sector containing the bar is separated from the dining area by a screen made of chain mail, which kind of makes you wonder what the staff does with the cutlery when the barflies get riled. Chow Thai Pacific Rim also has a natty little entrance chamber, a kind… More >>
  • Best ceviche

    Ciudad D.F.

    This is hands-down the best bowl of lime-seared seafood in Dallas. Scraps of tender, firm octopus, conch, and shrimp are crammed into a margarita glass with key lime, cilantro, diced tomato, papaya, pineapple, and mango. The flavors are prodded with vanilla and a little clump of pickled onion that adds a jagged edge of raciness. It's as sexy as it… More >>
  • Best pancakes

    The Landmark at the Melrose Hotel

    Want the best pancakes? You'll have to go to a four-star hotel to get them. The 92-seat, award-winning Landmark Restaurant in the Melrose Hotel serves the best stack--tall, fluffy, and never mushy, with indescribably light and aromatic fruit flavors. To those further inclined, check out the restaurant's breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, featuring foods from Asia and the Americas.… More >>
  • Best seafood restaurant

    S & D Oyster Company

    Nothing fancy here, just basic ocean livestock. It's fast, simple, and indelicate. But it's the best fast, simple, and indelicate you'll find. The oysters--at just $6.95 a dozen--are clean and firm. Servers whip up a sauce right at your table with ketchup, horseradish, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and a squeeze of lemon. If we tried that, we'd end up with a… More >>
  • Best wrap

    Wall Street Deli

    The best thing about a wrap is that they are healthy (or so goes the perception). Bread has somehow become the enemy for dieters, and the flour or spinach wrap has taken its place as the vehicle for sandwiches. No one makes wraps as tasty (and, if you like, unhealthy) as Wall Street Deli, which boasts a dozen stores in… More >>
  • Best gnocchi

    Mangia e Bevi

    In most places they come out like little gum grommets--or transaxle grease curds. But at Mangia e Bevi, they look like green little scallops (they're drenched in pesto). These potato dumplings are tender, fluffy, and consistent--like a brood of cloud puffs. Plus, they're safe for most dental work. … More >>
  • Best produce (tie)

    Farmers Market &

    The city keeps meddling with its venerable Farmers Market, trying to figure out ways to fix something that ain't broke, but those trusty farmers from East Texas and South Texas and Oklahoma just keep on truckin' in, bringing those great tomatoes, fresh-shelled pintos, pattypan squash, peaches, and watermelon. Shop there often enough, and you'll get good at picking out… More >>
  • Best middle eastern restaurant

    Basha Mediterranean Restaurant

    This restaurant serves inspired saj (a thin, flaky tortilla-like bread), smooth hummus, refreshing tabbouleh, and tangy labni. Plus there's the "tent room," where you can sit on a low couch and stuff yourself with kabobs or maybe some sautéed lambs brains. Think about that. … More >>
  • Best burritos

    Chipotle Mexican Grill

    Now that we think about it, it might not be fair to call what Chipotle Mexican Grill serves as "burritos." It just seems to diminish the restaurant's bigger-than-a-baby's-leg concoctions, full Mexican dinners wrapped in a flour tortilla. Too-big portions of rice, black beans, steak or chicken, guacamole, sour cream, and hot sauce that's actually hot--all assembled in a few seconds… More >>
  • Best patio


    In Dallas, restaurant patios are usually the places where the natives go to watch Michelins kiss parking-lot abutments. You can do that at Patrizio's too, if you squint. Furnished with marble-topped tables and padded wrought-iron chairs, Patrizio's patio is more inviting than the typical cement slab. It's cordoned with an iron gate tangled with ivy. A big tree grows from… More >>
  • Best Chinese (tie)

    Caravelle Chinese & Vietnamese and Tong's House of Richardson

    That ubiquitous brown goo that's found on most of what passes for Chinese food is not welcome at Caravelle. Vietnamese firepots, whole baked fish, and beautiful spring rolls, all freshly prepared and served by the gracious staff, are what you'll find. Great for large groups, and when the kids get bored, they can hang around the huge fish tank. For those… More >>
  • Best late-night restaurant

    Fishbowl - CLOSED

    The thing you want to do most when nibbling late into the night is look. And here, there is a much look at, from the stylish nocturnal nuzzlers linking and languishing in lust at the bar, to the big red doors at the entrance, to the row of TV monitors rolling Japanese movies. (OK, maybe we don't want to read… More >>
  • Best Texas salad

    Cowboy Cobb, Star Canyon - CLOSED

    It's big, smoky, voluptuous, and colorful--too pretty to be a cowboy. It's filled with typical stuff like egg and lettuce, but it also has roasted peppers, charred tomatoes, and bright, clean, creamy avocado. The whole thing is smoked and spiked with bacon, smoked chicken, and jalapeño jack cheese before it's stiffened with some tortilla strips. It's an articulate confluence of… More >>
  • Best hangover recuperation spot

    John's Café

    Saturday morning at John's Café is a longtime tradition to nearly everyone in Dallas with basic motor functions. But it still deserves recognition from our panel of expert imbibers, who eschew Mueslix (doesn't mix well with a Crown and Coke aftertaste) for large helpings of eggs and sausage. The menu-board here bluntly advertises "omelets with meat" (why not just call… More >>
  • Best Chain


    This small casual upscale chain from Iowa with clean, fresh food is a big culinary mutt of influences including Mexican, Italian, Asian, and New American. It's all generated from a two-story kitchen consuming roughly half of the restaurant's 17,500 square feet, and it prepares everything from scratch including breads and pasta. Service is efficient and briskly gracious. It isn't the… More >>
  • Best Greek restaurant

    Kostas Café

    This Greek café is unpretentiously cozy and distinctively romantic with a roster of authentic Greek cuisine that's fresh, flavorful, and paraded past the nostrils via a host of sampler plates. This food is more comprehensible than...well, Greek.… More >>
  • Best ready-made party dip

    BLT at Marty's Cafe TuGogh

    Believe it or not, that's BLT as in bacon, lettuce, and tomato. The creamy dip (based on mayonnaise and sour cream) is smoky with bacon and piquant with sun-dried tomato. Grab a few packages of toasted bagel bits, and you've got an hors d'oeuvre that puts the old onion dip out to pasture. … More >>
  • Best biddy-gut appetizer

    Chicken-liver mousse, Charolais Steakhouse

    Sometimes it's hard to figure out what to do with the assortment of organs tucked into the cavity of fresh chickens. Do you make a hen gut tapenade for your pet ferret, or do you freeze them to use as accessories on this year's Halloween costume? No. You do what Charolais Steakhouse does and craft chicken liver mousse. Three spokes… More >>
  • Best Thai restaurant

    Best Thai

    With a name like Best Thai, you better be great. And this place is: The fried corn patties are superb (never rubbery, never oily). The chicken dumplings are delicious (as is its accompanying sauce), and the shrimp pad Thai is spicy but never overwhelmingly so. We've never been disappointed by a single dish, the price is right, and despite the… More >>
  • Best ice cream

    Marble Slab Creamery

    Marble Slab Creamery… More >>
  • Best all-American diner/lunch spot

    Guthrie's Historical American Restaurant

    This fine restaurant, well known to City Hall workers and other downtown denizens, strives to recreate diners of old with its early 20th-century menu and ethos. The daily lunch "blue plate specials" range from pork loin (Wednesday) to lamb patty with mint jelly, but Guthrie's also has salads, pasta, and burgers. The desserts are delectable, especially the pecan pie that… More >>
  • Best smoothie

    Smoothie King

    Given as we are to indiscriminate corporate-bashing, it would have been a great joy to announce that the Smoothie King has not earned its crown. Alas, the good regent does sit best, if not cheapest. Smoothies, for the uninitiated, are tasty ice-based treats for those who crave sweetness but are scared of what ice cream will do to the ass.… More >>
  • Best dumplings

    Tabil spiced pork dumplings, The Landmark at the Melrose Hotel

    This little dish is a magnum opus in a bowl. Three little pork-stuffed pillows soak in a puddle of brisk citrus-sherry soy broth. The dumplings are plump and tender with well-seasoned specks of pork meat. They're covered with a delicious relish of leek, sesame seeds, and orange zest. This is a tight, well-orchestrated little dish. With little pillows so plush,… More >>
  • Best Manhattan

    The Bar at The Mansion on Turtle Creek

    The clubby, old school décor, the sophisticated tunes from the piano player, and the, um, of-a-certain-age crowd, demand that you order something other than "another cold one" or a Run, Jump, Skip, and Go Nekkid. Generous pours of first-rate bourbon in elegantly muscular glasses with the perfect amount of vermouth and one cherry, just doesn't get much more tasteful… More >>
  • Best po' boy

    Maguire's Regional Cuisine's Catfish Po Boy

    It's unremarkable, yet it works. A wide tongue of catfish with a crisp golden coating is slipped between a cleaved roll and crowned with fresh ruddy tomato slices and a smear of Creole rémoulade. The fish is greaseless, crisp, and moist with stratified flakes of flesh and not a hint of river silt. … More >>
  • Best hamburger (tie)

    Angry Dog & Jake's Old Fashioned Burgers and Beer

    We once worked at a restaurant that hosted a weekly half-priced burger night. As a result, for months we could not stomach a burger and came dangerously close to vegetarianism. Luckily, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and soon enough we were eating burgers again, doing our part to help out the national beef industry. Most of the time for… More >>
  • Best dressed-to-kill restaurant

    Avanti Euro Bistro

    Curved leopard-print banquettes, sequestered in gauzy curtains, resemble a sheer negligée over cat-pelt bloomers. Black lacquered chairs are cushioned with leopard-print padded seats, and tables are cloaked in black tablecloths, like a black slit skirt over shiny black stilettos. The focal point of the back bar is a dramatic pair of narrow, triangular shelves bathed in the kind of neon… More >>
  • Best fried chicken

    Babe's Chicken Dinner House

    No fast-food assembly line or heat lamp warming here. Manager Don Oates doesn't buy frozen chicken, so everything's fresh. The crunchy crisp breast, wing, drum, and thigh that come with the dinner have been marinated for 24 hours before being battered and cooked. Forget the calorie count and plan to go away full and happy since the side dishes include… More >>
  • Best crab (and otherwise) cakes

    Sweet Temptations Bakery & Café

    Sweet Temptations' wonderful crab cakes are served over salad or pasta in an intimate European setting. Their dessert selections are also awesome, including the Lake Highlands rock cake or the Godiva cake. … More >>
  • Best bong

    Royal Spice Thai Bistro's, Bong Bong Chicken

    It's searingly potent. Sewn with thick sheets of tender, supple rice noodle, Royal Spice Thai Bistro's bong bong chicken contains a simple combination of ground bird and Thai basil in a clean, spicy oyster and Thai bean-sauce blend. Yum, yum. Cluck, cluck. No smelly water to chuck. … More >>
  • Best lemonade

    La Madeleine French Bakery & Café

    If you're sick of the smog, the ozone alert days, the heat, and the general misery of a Texas summer that lasts into February, head over to La Madeleine for some freshly squeezed lemonade. Not too tart, not too sweet. As the immortal Tammy Faye Bakker once sang, "When life throws you a lemon, make lemonade." … More >>
  • Best pho

    Pho Saigon

    Pho is a little like Buddha: It invites nourishing contemplation. A Vietnamese beef-broth soup, pho is often described as the national dish of Vietnam. It's a fundamental part of the day, a mind-clearing tonic steeped in ritual, often served for breakfast. It's an arduous, labor-intensive thing created by simmering meat and bones for roughly eight hours to extract that soothing… More >>
  • Best cake by the slice

    Dallas Affairs Cake Co.

    How many times have you ogled the layer cake at your favorite coffee shop, ordered a slice of the vertical wonder, and then sunk in disappointment at its day-old taste and fridge-ridden frosting? Cake by the slice is a risky choice, but not at Dallas Affairs, the Lakewood-area bakery known for its stunning special occasion cakes. At the counter, Dallas… More >>
  • Best cup of coffee

    Einstein's Bagels

    We hate to do this, if only because it seems so unfair giving this award to a chain (though that doesn't stop readers, who, until recently, were convinced that the best burger in town came from the Burger King "grill") when plenty of local coffeehouses serve their own brand of bean brew. But having lived here our entire lives and… More >>
  • Best arena food

    Turkey leg at the Ballpark in Arlington

    Stadium food is a blessing and a curse. The best things about turkey legs at a ballgame are: 1. They are self-contained and easy to transport down steep steps; 2. They disgust large segments of the population, who are too squeamish to watch someone tear the meat on the bone like a cur, not to mention try it themselves;… More >>
  • Best bagel (tie)

    Einstein Bros. Bagels & Gilbert's New York Delicatessen

    Yes, it's a chain. But when the quality control, selection, and freshness are this good, screw mom and pop. The blueberry and cinnamon-raisin varieties are some of our favorites--sweet and chewy, great smeared with copious amounts of butter. The coffee is on par with the garden varieties offered by those Seattle guys too. The one in our neighborhood is always… More >>
  • Best mojito

    Samba Room

    A mojito is an exhilarating blend of lime wedges and mint leaves bathed in rum, with a splash of soda and a stalk of sugar cane for garnish. It's the kind of drink that will turn even the most uptight WASP into a samba-dancing Latin lover. … More >>
  • Best Vietnamese coffee

    East Wind - CLOSED

    As good as the food is at East Wind--and it is good, possibly the best Vietnamese cuisine this side of a day-long plane ride, or maybe just Mai's--the Vietnamese coffee is even better, 8 ounces of happiness disguised as coal-black coffee and sweet, thick cream. A liquid heart attack? Probably, but it's worth it. One day, the Drug Enforcement Agency… More >>
  • Best whole fish

    Fishbowl - CLOSED

    For roughly 10 bucks you can experience Fishbowl's sizzling whole catfish in sweet chile sauce. Though this sounds like a bottom feeder dolled up in a sequined corset with tassels gyrating from its underbelly, it's actually a fish covered in a sternly crisp sheath, seemingly deep-fried in the midst of a swim shimmy. The meat is tender, sweet, and moist.… More >>
  • Best Italian restaurant

    Salve! Ristorante

    Its cool, slick Milano-inspired décor may be a bit much for some in Dallas to stomach (we think it's stunning). OK, although it looks like a cross between a bank lobby and a Shriner's dinette set, we admire successful crossbreeding. The food is even more stunning. With Salve!, restaurateurs Phil and Janet Cobb have created a marvel featuring "Tuscan-style home… More >>
  • Best out of towner

    Casa Del Lago

    It's lodged in a circa-1946 duplex cluttered with family photos, stained-glass windowpanes, and antique furniture (all with little Minnie Pearl price tags dangling from them). It features delicious Southwestern-inspired items (lobster tacos) and dishes of other influences (Muscovy duck, seared pork steak ravioli), all at prices that won't force you to tie Minnie Pearl price tags on the kids and… More >>
  • Best sushi to go

    Tom Thumb Food & Pharmacy

    Why would a Houston-based grocery store chain have good sushi? For that matter, why would 7-Eleven announce it has entered the bait business or expect to compete in freshness? We don't know the answers, but check out Tom Thumb's selection. For about five bucks, you can acquire a sweet little package of the sticky rice and seaweed concoctions. In summer… More >>
  • Best neighborhood restaurant


    OK, so this little restaurant is tucked into a strip mall. But it's outfitted to resemble a sophisticated country café, with lacy curtains that delicately refract light in a cozily assembled dining room that's tight but comfortable. It's casual but sharp, with a sweet caviar-in-the-rough feel. Plus, the kitchen is directed by chef and owner Gilbert Garza, whose grasp of… More >>
  • Best beer cheese soup

    Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

    What could be better than sipping your Shiner Bock with a piping hot bowl of this delicious concoction? Served in a large bread bowl with a convenient lid for dipping, this is perfect for chilly winter evenings on the couches in the beer garden. If you feel like being social, ask for a chess set or checkers. We promise they… More >>
  • Best Oak Lawn Restaurant

    Marco Italian

    This restaurant gets the nod because of great food at even better prices. Owner Mark Serrao's second restaurant (the first being the flagship store Vitto's in Oak Cliff) has been open only nine months, but it's already made a big splash with Oak Lawn-area patrons. The mood is cheery when you enter, with a friendly and competent staff. (The background… More >>
  • Best pub grub

    The Old Monk

    Most beer gulpers don't have a palate that ventures much beyond leftovers found between the couch cushions. But Trappist monks have always enjoyed good food to go along with their beer brewing--or so we've been told. That's why the Old Monk, a pub rife with Trappist monk imagery, has a range of good nibbles such as delicious mussels steamed in… More >>
  • Best crème brûlée

    The Green Room

    The Green Room, a small and very loud dining room tucked behind a Deep Ellum saloon, offers a variety of excellent fare, including the very best crème brûlée in Dallas. The perfectly balanced, deep smooth pudding beneath a crackly caramelized surface can make you oblivious to any amount of hilarity and mayhem around you. … More >>
  • Best martini


    Late Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Westbrook Pegler once said that a martini was the meanest, no-damn-goodest mess of rancor ever concocted. More fights and more people get their glasses broken and arrested and divorced on account of martinis than for any other reason. So head on down to Parigi and recoil at one of life's great splashes of rancor. Parigi's… More >>
  • Best ice cream flavor

    Coconut-banana at Marble Slab Creamery

    If you're going to eat ice cream, then damn the health concerns: Head to Marble Slab, which never disappoints. Pimply teenagers scoop the thick, rich ice cream onto a marble countertop, where the customer has a choice of ingredients to have mixed in. The hands-on process is slow but worth it. Lines of enthusiasts can stretch out onto the hot… More >>
  • Best muffaletta

    Crescent City Café,

    Ah, New Orleans--capital for all things salacious, sodden, and spicy. For a slice of that easy-livin' place, go to the Crescent City Café in Deep Ellum, where the food is Cajun and the risk of heartburn is high. The food is the gastronomical culprit, not only because it's spicy but because it's so damn good that it's hard to eat… More >>
  • Best appetizer

    Abacus Spoons

    Four large, shimmering silver spoons are fanned over a reddish square plate. The spoon bowls hold fried oysters with daikon and a dab of wasabi cream topped with a sprinkling of tobikko caviar. They are cleverly presented, tightly packed bombs of explosive flavor. Pray that you're born with one of these in your mouth in your next incarnation.… More >>
  • Best frozen concoction that's not a margarita

    Cuba Libre's Island Mojo - CLOSED

    This will get your mojo working in no time flat. A luscious, not-too-sweet concoction of pineapple, coconut, and four kinds of Baccardi rums that makes you yearn for a beach and a turn at getting your groove back. … More >>
  • Best foie gras

    Voltaire - CLOSED

    It seems the height of cruelty to pull the liver out of a duck, leaving the bird with nothing to filter its Scotch, but it sure tastes good once it's out. Voltaire's sautéed Hudson Valley foie gras is a mean organ. It's scored with repeating diamond patterns across its surface, folded, and settled atop a cushion of light mashed potatoes.… More >>
  • Best place to buy a vegan birthday cake

    Cosmic Café,

    The adjective "vegan" usually evokes visions of plates full of gray, squishy substances or tasteless products designed to resemble meat, not a big hunk of chocolate cake or a large, gooey brownie. But at Cosmic Café, the yummy Indian-style meals can conclude with desserts sans dairy products. The cakes, which don't scrimp on the frosting, may also be bought whole… More >>
  • Best gulab jamun

    India Palace Restaurant and Bar

    Short of hopping a plane to India, you won't get a better gulab jamun--cake-like fried milk balls in scented syrup--than at India Palace Restaurant. They make it to the proper consistency and temperature to prevent the mushiness that often mars this Eastern standard. A refreshing dessert after a heavy meal.… More >>
  • Best restaurant for kids

    Purple Cow - CLOSED

    Maybe this '50s soda fountain-diner-burger joint with a purple train chugging along the ceiling with a preening purple cow in a freight car is a little much for those of us who act 6 but aren't. Yet this place is clean and bright, the food is good, and kids love it. Plus, they'll spike your milkshake with hooch, so you'll… More >>
  • Best salsa

    Mis Cazuelas

    The folks at Mis Cazuelas know all the hot and spicy stuff (in the right proportions) to make their salsa easily the best in the city. The key ingredient is the cilantro, which other restaurants around town skimp on (or omit entirely) in their salsas. At Mis Cazuelas, there's just the right blend of herbs, tomatoes, and peppers. … More >>
  • Best dessert

    Salve! Ristorante

    Salve's Tartufo is a double-chocolate gelato truffle with lively brandied cherries that spark its creamy heft out of cloy range. This tight little dessert will arouse any set of sweet teeth. … More >>
  • Best bean dip

    Cuba Libre Café

    It's topped with diced tomato, cheese, and cream. It's smooth. It's creamy. It's got a little tang in there. Plus a little smoke. And the horns won't start for at least an hour. … More >>
  • Best falafel

    Café Med

    Spiced and fried balls of ground chickpea paste sounds less than appetizing. But for the aficionados of this Middle Eastern treat, any traveling distance is worth it for a bite. At this family-operated restaurant tucked into a Richardson shopping mall, the $7.95 platters of falafel satisfy even the newcomers from the oldest part of the world.… More >>
  • Best exotic restaurant

    Tei Tei Robata Bar

    There are a many things to love about this tiny room with an open kitchen and an ice pit where live lobsters twitch and quiver. First, there's the cozy bar with odd, sloped couches and great martinis made with sake. Then there's the chalkboard where all kinds of exotic specials are posted, depending on the catch of the day, which… More >>
  • Best lunch deal (tie)

    Nuevo Leon & Monica's Aca y Alla

    The $5.95 lunch special at Nuevo Leon, a Mex-Mex mini-chain, is not for the feint of appetite. Nuevo Leon's eight selections on its daily lunch special menu are nicely prepared with fresh ingredients, sauces that go well beyond the ordinary Tex-Mex glopfare, and generous portions. The plates here are huge. A hearty eater is hard-pressed to get through, say, the… More >>
  • Best tapas

    Café Madri

    Tapas and tarps have a lot in common. A tarp is a waterproof cover designed to keep things from getting wet. Tapas, which means "covers," came into prominence in Spain in the 19th century when barflies began topping the mouths of little sherry glasses with slices of cured ham or sausage to keep out the dust and flies. Flies apparently… More >>
  • Best piece of meat

    Star Canyon - CLOSED

    Yes, the place gets a bit pricey as far as pricey places go, and, yes, it has a history of being a bit snobby as far as snobby places go, but look around and see what everyone is eating at Star Canyon. It's a big, fat, juicy hunk of rib-eye steak, and its been cooked with a tangy Southwestern sauce,… More >>
  • Best french fries

    We Oui

    They're golden, crisp, well seasoned, moist, ample, and they make a terrific palate prelude to the "kiss of mint" condoms this place passes out at closing time. … More >>
  • Best Mexican restaurant

    Ciudad D.F.

    Everyone now knows that real Mexicans rarely eat a steady diet of nachos, burritos, stiff tacos, and Mescal worms. Real Mexicans eat limp tacos and veal short ribs braised in red mole--at least the haute ones do. Monica Greene's Dallas interpretation of Mexico City cuisine is at once intriguing, dazzling, and soothing--from the clay-pot fish entrées to the chicken tacos.… More >>
  • Best place to chill out

    Café Brazil

    In Lakewood, Deep Ellum, University Park, and elsewhere, the groovy diners of Café Brazil add character to neighborhoods and make for a great place to get everything from empanadas to blackened salmon and smoked turkey migas. Breakfasts are similarly excellent, and the French toast is a must. It's also not a bad place to snack on artichoke spinach dip or… More >>
  • Best piece of catfish

    Texana Grill

    Sometimes it's hard to find a piece of catfish that doesn't taste like rank pond scum, or if it's farm-raised, like pond scum that's been to finishing school. That's why feline fish must be brutally abused and coated with assorted mixtures of grit such as granola or spicy birdseed before you boil it in 30 weight. We're not sure if… More >>
  • Best queso

    Matt's Rancho Martinez

    As legend would have it, the Bob Armstrong Dip at Matt's was christened after the former Texas land commissioner of the same name because he came up with the recipe for the specialty item during his frequent visits to the original Matt's in Austin. Also known to insiders as Bob Dip, it is a tasty appetizer chock-full of hot melted… More >>
  • Best new bistro

    Yumeya Sushi Bistro

    It's not a sushi bar, and it's not a bistro--at least not in the traditional senses of such establishments. It's more like a brisk, clean comfortable hybrid that serves decent raw fish and thrilling little exotic specials such as monkfish liver, grilled smelt bursting with tarry roe, and Yumeya beef, a paper-thin sheet of marinated meat fashioned on the plate… More >>
  • Best fried shrimp for under $6


    Never could a college student afford so much seafood as at Rockfish (maybe that should be a bumper sticker). This laid-back establishment has friendly, easy-going waiters, fast service, and good portions. Since its opening a year ago, the place has caught on with Richardson residents and students, so expect a wait. For a quick meal on the go, order the… More >>
  • Best place to get in a food fight


    There is something horrifying yet natural about seeing vultures and hyenas fight over the scraps of meat clinging to a zebra carcass. It highlights the animals' desperation for survival in the hard African landscape. What's our excuse for the skirmishes that occur at eatZi's? Sure, the food is great and pre-prepared for modern convenience. But, my God, are we savages?… More >>
  • Best bell pepper

    Raneri's - CLOSED

    A bell pepper generally is about as sexy as a bunion, but Raneri's version is one mamma of a little appetizer. Sheets of green bell pepper are spread with fragments of ground meat, grains of rice, specks of onion, and gooey knots of cheese anointed with a rich tomato sauce. The flavors are simple yet profoundly robust. Sometimes all a… More >>
  • Best doughnuts

    Mustang Donuts

    Though it seems impossible, fried dough with a sugar glaze becomes an ethereal treat of subtle nuance. Even the chocolate cream doughnuts rest so lightly in your tummy that you can eat two--or six, if you're like us. People-watching is especially amusing on Sunday mornings when the getting-over-Saturday-night crowd runs into the on-the-way-to-church crowd. … More >>
  • Best sandwiches

    Hungreez Deli & Pizza Pies

    We are not sure where the "grocery" is in this place, but the sandwiches sure are good, as is the pizza. You can get a regular meatball sandwich, but we recommend one of the more creative concoctions, such as the Cubano, a zesty, packed sandwich featuring beef, turkey, provolone, peppers, Cuban relish, and more. Also, if you are trying to… More >>
  • Best pizza

    Brother's Pizza

    You say New York pizza doesn't exist in Dallas? You say it's all in the Manhattan tap water, or in the way Italian-American males, who act like they are right off the set of The Sopranos, fling the dough high over their heads and beat the hell out of the crust until it surrenders its thickness? Or maybe it's in… More >>
  • Best wait staff

    Maguire's Regional Cuisine

    The typical wait staff team has a range of characteristics: Either they are indifferent, dim, perfunctory, or overbearing, or they're dressed like pee-wee golf caddies. Maguire's gaggle of servers is so professional and self-assured, they're able to cloak their brutal efficiency in an air of graceful sincerity. Plus, they know the menu and perform their tasks with mindfulness. Restaurants charging… More >>
  • Best brunch


    Brunch is a weird word, a mutant merging of successive events (breakfast and lunch). It's like merging beer with gut and coming up with butt, which is what years of beer guzzling will grant you, only it emerges in the wrong place and makes your belt fit funny. The brunch assortment at Ziziki's isn't as broad as a beer gut,… More >>

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