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Food & Drink

  • Best Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

    Philly Connection

    A trip to the ballpark is not complete without the food: peanuts, hot dogs, pretzels, Philly cheese steaks. Yo? Philly cheese steaks? One of the best, most improbable features of the charming Dr Pepper/7UP Ballpark in Frisco is the fact that they serve the best cheese steak in this time zone--from a cart way down the left field line. A… More >>
  • Best Gyro

    Z Cafe - CLOSED

    There are gyro sandwiches, and then there are gyro sandwiches. First, there's the thinly sliced mystery meat piled into a cold piece of flat bread and topped with a tomato and a little bland white sauce. That's not the gyro sandwich we're talking about. Z Café owner Nicholas Zotos sells gyro sandwiches that are consistently far above average. The bread… More >>
  • Best Schizophrenic Restaurant & Bar

    Obzeet

    This inconspicuous little shop on Preston Road in far North Dallas could pass easily for just another nursery or patio furniture store, but it's what's inside that makes this hidden jewel shine. Beyond the aisle upon aisle of clay chimeneas and farther past the piles of imports ranging in origin from China to the Ivory Coast is a family restaurant… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Cafe Amore

    Somewhere between Mi Piaci and Chef Boyardee lies the concept of the family Italian restaurant, which is best exemplified by Café Amore in Richardson. Mama makes the tomato sauce, which is sweet, satisfying but never heavy; Papa flings the pizza dough, which makes "Ray's Original" New York pizza seem, to put it mildly, unoriginal. Their friendly bambinos wait on the… More >>
  • Best Challah

    Empire Baking Company - CLOSED

    How bagels lost their Jewish ethnicity and became the breakfast bread of Americans from Mississippi to Maine has less to do with assimilation than it does with marketing. But we suggest that it's time for another Jewish bread to become the next crossover cuisine, even though it is more ceremonial in nature (part of the blessing before Jewish feasts) than… More >>
  • Best Chicken Salad

    Whole Foods

    This category makes us hearken to our own salad days when Mom made the best damn chicken salad this side of the Ukraine. That is why we set the bar so high for this category and why we sampled way too much chicken salad. But in our quest for the best, we have come to one unalterable conclusion: It ain't… More >>
  • Best Fast Food

    Pei Wei Asian Diner

    Gone are the days when fast-food fare was simply the likes of Burger King and Sonic. Right alongside them are restaurants that fall into the "quick casual" genre and whip out dishes with the same attention to speed offered by their more downscale culinary cousins. Enter Tin Star and Baja Fresh and Masala Wok, and you will find food that… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Al's Pizza - CLOSED

    There's just something about ordering a small pizza the size of a large child that gets us hot and bothered; better still if we're eating it alone (and we usually are, wah). This venerable establishment, which has been facing Bachman Lake since it was a puddle, feels like a slice of Manhattan in the middle of Northwest Dallas. The pies… More >>
  • Best Reason to Think You're in Brooklyn

    Sal's Pizza

    It's the kind of neighborhood family spot you find all over the outer boroughs of New York: bright, bustling and filled with good smells and foreign, friendly waiters. In fact, Sal Jakova brought his family and recipes to this location (inevitably, a second Sal's is opening in Plano) from Queens 21 years ago. Some of the best pizza around, Neapolitan… More >>
  • Best Thin-Crust Pizza

    Scalini's Pizza and Pasta

    Even people who aren't fans of pizza will surreptitiously try to sneak a slice of Scalini's. It's thin, not too delicate and the options for topping allow creative license for personal pizza heaven. For dining in, delivery or carryout, the family folks at Scalini's serve up the best thin-crust pie we've ever masticated. Although incredible when direct from the oven,… More >>
  • Best Pizza for Pickup

    Alfonso's

    You may think you need to live near this White Rock eatery to order its pizza, but we would argue that the trip is worth it unless you live in Wylie or Red Oak--and even then, it may be a good idea to give it a go. Alfonso's is a small Italian restaurant that serves pretty good pasta, but it's… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Lakewood Landing

    The title Best Hamburger is not limited to the burger alone. It encompasses the atmosphere and the options as well as flavor. When we want a burger, chances are we want a drink, too. (Hey, we're going for the full-blown unhealthy beef and brew combo.) Enter the Landing, as we neighborhood dwellers are prone to call it, and they've got… More >>
  • Best Muffuletta (tie)

    Gulf Coast & Crescent City Cafe

    Often, big muffs are overrated. What you want is a muff that is just the right size. You ever try to eat a muff that was too big to fit in your mouth? Not fun. Quality, not quantity, is the way to go when searching out a tasty muff. Which is why our favorite muffuletta, when we're not wanting to… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Wild About Harry's

    Harry's has had it going on since 1996. Truth be told, his mom had it before that, since it's her stellar recipe that makes possible the creamiest frozen custard ever to pass our lips. The shop makes custard daily, changing up flavors while keeping favorites like chocolate, strawberry, etc. It's probably safe to claim that if they've made it, we've… More >>
  • Best Dessert

    Terilli's Xango cheesecake

    The qualities of perfect cheesecake are really oxymorons if you think about it. Each bite should be saturated with flavor but fluffy and rich, while also being light. The Xango has all those characteristics, plus a surprising one: It's wrapped in pastry dough and flash-fried. Sign us up. Understand, though, we're not supporters of all things fried. We don't dig… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Sol's Taco Lounge - CLOSED

    This is Texas, so it's understood that there are quite a few margaritas to be had out there. And before we went on this quest we were pretty accepting of whatever 'rita goodness was served to us. Then we walked into Sol's. To be honest, we weren't thinking Best of Dallas. We were just having some Mexican food with a… More >>
  • Best Delivery

    Izmir Market and Deli

    Part of the experience of the Izmir order is the personality of the husband-and-wife team (Mehdi and Faye Nazari, an uncle and aunt of the owners Beau and Ali) that usually answers the phone. Mehdi's got an amazingly accented voice that is welcoming and calming (for those of us who hate phoning in an order). And both he and Faye… More >>
  • Best Place for General Tso to Chicken Out

    China Express

    It's Sunday evening, the lawn's mowed, laundry's done, the kitchen's clean and, frankly, why dirty it again? Pick up the phone and call the friendly man who remembers every customer (and we're convinced he's the super-nice delivery guy, too) and won't complain if you want a fountain drink instead of a canned one. While the Mongolian beef, fried rice and… More >>
  • Best Hangover Therapy

    Angry Dog

    Dad says the best hangover cure is to take an aspirin before bed and another upon waking up, washed down with a Coca-Cola. That works for the headache and drunken-injury aches, but what about that pit inside screaming for sustenance? Enter the Angry Dog and eat away at the post-intox hunger with an Angry Dog cheeseburger, nachos or even The… More >>
  • Best French Toast

    Bronx Restaurant & Bar

    There's cinnamon roll French toast, French toast sticks, even stuffed French toast. All these things are great (usually "for a limited time") at some 24-hour breakfast joint, but the best French toast has no gimmick. It's thick, soaked instead of battered and thick, thick, thick. What better way to achieve such qualities than to use fresh challah (Jewish egg bread)… More >>
  • Best Steak Tartare

    Cafe C

    Raw beef in Texas is generally good for just one thing: grills. But what do you get when you slap raw beef with French rigor? One thing you don't get is freedom flanks. Another thing you don't get is modesty. Café C's menu, created by Frenchman and "C" owner Francois Fotre, boasts that its steak tartare is "simply the best."… More >>
  • Best Toadstool Twist

    Avanti Ristorante

    Fungus is mostly a bore, except when it's between your toes. Yet this same sort of urgency can be coaxed out of a mushroom every now and again. Avanti's stuffed portobello Florentine with glazed chablis béchamel and Parmesan cheese is a lusty fungus treatment. Centered on a fleshy portobello cap complemented--but not in any way smothered--by the rich flavors of… More >>
  • Best Tamale Wrinkle

    Reata

    Named after the sprawling ranch in the 1950s epic flick Giant, Reata is a Cowtown narrative of Texas cuisine. It skillfully merges diverse Southwestern influences with Texas staples. Tenderloin tamale with pecan mash is just one such species. It's a supple meshing of flaky masa, beef, chopped pecan and cream wrapped in a shuck. The balance is impeccable; the textures… More >>
  • Best Mozzarella

    Mozzarella Company

    The Mozzarella Company is an amazing hole-in-the-wall Dallas success that produces specialty cheeses. We're talking real whole-milk mozzarella that could make any self-respecting Italian smack his lips. It's smooth and creamy and just flat-out good. Get out of the supermarket. Drive to the Mozzarella Company and see for yourself. You will agree. Molto buon. … More >>
  • Best Appetizer

    Rooster's fried asparagus

    Appetizers are nice friendly little things, like shrimp cocktails and fried crab cakes that look like powder puffs. But fried jumbo asparagus? What a freak. Served on a bed of field greens and roasted corn relish with an addictive, smooth mango-serrano chili cream sauce, these battered and fried asparagus stalks look like battle-hardened insect legs. Yet you must never judge… More >>
  • Best Soup

    Dragonfly

    Dragonfly's white bean soup is as beautiful as it is tasty. It's assembled at the table with bowls of ingredients--tomato, tiny crouton cubes, smoked bacon and white beans--ceremoniously transferred to a serving dish. This soup is a smooth, piping-hot blend with a creamy texture and a delicate racy aroma from pureed fennel, while the rough bean grip is pleasantly pronounced.… More >>
  • Best Salad (tie)

    Nikita & La Dolce Vita

    Nikita is a hash of Soviet Bloc funk twisted and sanitized into Red hip, which means it serves caviar and James Bond flicks. But it also has one swell innovation crafted with a lowly proletariat root--the beet, progenitor of borscht. Nikita's golden beet and goat-cheese salad, feathered with arugula and planked with petite green beans, is a masterpiece. Slightly sweet… More >>
  • Best Big Salad

    Baker Bros. American Deli

    Back in the '90s, when Seinfeld dominated prime time, one of the things Elaine really wanted was a big salad. Sounds easy enough, but apparently it's more difficult than one might think, and Elaine's not the only one who's come up short. Dallas menus are laden with subpar salads--limp lettuce, bland dressings and sparse ingredients abound. But not at Baker… More >>
  • Best Veal Piccata

    Ernie's of Dallas - CLOSED

    Veal piccata, a thin veal escalope that's dredged in flour, seasoned, sautéed and sauced in lemon, takes on many forms in Dallas. Sometimes it's pasty, sometimes thick. Sometimes it's drowning in lemon to the pucker point. But Ernie's, a supper club with dancing and avocado crab salads, gets it right. Pounded into a skinny scaloppine and drenched with a bracing… More >>
  • Best Wine Flight Thingamajig

    Mercy

    Wine flights, even in rooms posing as wine bars, are often a rarity. When they are offered, they arrive as laser-printer sheets of paper with little circles so servers can bull's-eye the glass bases in proper flight formation. But at Mercy, flights are delivered in 6-ounce crystal carafes dangling from custom-hewn loops of iron with little hooks fastened inside the… More >>
  • Best Pork Piece

    Smith & Wollensky

    It's truly weird when a bit of hog can outflank a steer in an upper-crust steak house. It's even weirder when that pork piece is not a loin or a chop, but a shank. It looks like a battered, partially deflated deep-fried soccer ball: in other words, butt ugly (which is no way meant to denigrate pork butts). But Smith… More >>
  • Best Dallas Restaurant That Ended Up in Podunk

    Rough Creek Lodge

    OK. Glen Rose isn't Podunk. It's a swell little quaint town with lots of rejuvenating hospitality and giant fiberglass dinosaurs. But the restaurant in Rough Creek Lodge, an executive retreat with activities ranging from bird-watching to hunting wild boars, has a profoundly delicious menu--so delicious, it would do any haughty metropolis proud. Sherry-maple-glazed Texas quail is the best version of… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Dawat@FunAsiA - CLOSED

    Even if Dawat didn't serve the exotic and sensually complex cuisine emanating from India, it would be an absorbing experience. Couched in a former General Cinema multiplex theater, Dawat is the creation of a pair of Richardson businessmen, one Pakistani, the other of Indian descent. They cobbled together 47 investors and $6 million to turn the place into FunAsiA, a… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Lola, The Restaurant

    Few car hawkers are as passionate about wine as Van Roberts (Point West Volvo) and his Lola. The restaurant is his vino playground. Roberts is a diligent and tireless wine-taster and list-tweaker, and his roster shows it. Lola's selection of Italian wines rivals that of just about any Italian restaurant in Dallas, and his group of Alsatian wines (more than… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Celebration

    You can't drive through, and they won't serve it to you in a cardboard box, but for flavor and crispness, Ed Lowe's restaurant, which has been on the Dallas scene for 32 years, is head and shoulders above all others. All day Sunday (11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.) and on Monday and Tuesday nights, the $10.50 fried chicken plate is… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Charlie's Opa! Grille - CLOSED

    Progeny of longtime Dallas restaurateur Charlie Venetis, Charlie's Opa! Grille is a rich cacophony of Greek grub, sprawling the gamut from deliciously tender lamb chops to flaky spanakopita (a savory pie), juicy grilled chicken, gyros that are lean, rich moussaka (Greek lasagna) and saganaki, thick pie sections of lightly breaded Romano cheese that are deep-fried, placed on a hot metal… More >>
  • Best Fancy Restaurant

    Nana - CLOSED

    Nana has always had a spectacular view of Dallas from its 27th-floor perch, but it was blunted by burgundy brothel décor that included acoustic ceiling tiles, brass railings and sagging velvet curtains that cramped the windows. Now more than a year old, Nana's understated makeover has settled in. Alterations include Asian art installations from the Trammell Crow family collection, unobtrusive… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Café Izmir

    Café Izmir has all the staples: briskly fresh tabbouleh, velvety-smooth and nutty hummus (among the best you'll find anywhere), warm, thick pita bread and deliciously juicy lamb, beef and chicken. But the best part of Café Izmir is the tapas offerings, little plates of mixed olives, dolmas, grilled asparagus and beef and chicken kabobs, among other nibbles. On Tuesdays the… More >>
  • Best Sangria

    Cafe Madrid

    Jerry Jeff Walker immortalized it in song. Chain restaurants often lace their margaritas with it. Even Boone's Farm has a version of the concoction. In spite of all that, we love that sangria wine. And at Spanish tapas bar Cafe Madrid, we really love it. Their sangria is a mixture of red wine and...well, we can't tell you the rest,… More >>
  • Best Place to Eat a Monster

    Freebirds World Burrito

    Well, Dallas finally got The Bird. First it was College Station (in 1990), then Austin (in 1999) and Houston (in 2001), but it seemed Big D might get lost in the shuffle. So when Freebirds World Burrito opened this spring in the Old Town shopping center, the lines that formed outside made it clear that this grand opening was a… More >>
  • Best Use of Pineapple Juice

    The Scza at The Meridian Room

    We used to think that our old college roommate's homemade piña coladas were the best possible use for pineapple juice. They were so good we almost didn't mind the brain freeze we got trying to hide the evidence from our dorm monitor. But, you see, we had yet to discover The Scza. While the name (pronounced skee-za) sounds like something… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Cosmic Café

    Dining vegetarian frequently involves ordering a salad (hold the ham cubes), second-guessing whether the soup may have been cooked with chicken stock or leaving hungry. None of these applies at Cosmic Café. It's all vegetarian, much of it is vegan and we still haven't found a dish we don't like. Though it's Indian-inspired, there are also enchiladas, beans and rice,… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    Peggy Sue's BBQ

    We suspect Peggy Sue's gets ignored by Texas Monthly and other established barbecue-rating agencies because it's in the Park Cities--and what-inna-world would those stiffs know about 'cue? We are here to assure you that the barbecue world is a classless society, and besides, Peggy Sue's wagon-wheel décor and early-'60s house music will make you feel right at home. Anyway, why… More >>
  • Best Cheap Italian

    Sal's Pizza

    For all but the heartiest eaters, $7 goes someplace at Sal's, someplace good. For $7, you can get a massive slice of Neapolitan (thin crust) pizza with one topping and a nice garden salad, or a bowl of ziti with fresh tomato sauce, or that old standby, a big plate of spaghetti. No wonder in these difficult times business seems… More >>
  • Best Place to Pretend You're Italian

    Arcodoro & Pomodoro

    Ask Americans about their heritage and almost invariably they will mention some distant Irish or Italian ancestor who fled the old country during a famine or riot or depressing film festival. Reconnecting with our Irish roots is a simple matter involving buckets of whiskey and a bloody brawl. Finding the inner Italian, on the other hand, requires more authenticity. Arcodoro… More >>
  • Best Salsa

    Ozona Grill & Bar

    Be honest, most salsas that restaurants bring out with the premeal basket of chips taste pretty much the same. The only difference is whether they're mild, hot or nuclear. Unless, that is, you're dipping into Ozona's unique blend of fire-roasted tomatoes, jalapeños and lots of fresh garlic that make up a West Texas-style salsa that will have you returning for… More >>
  • Best Lunch Deal

    Frito pie at Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse

    No, Frito pie wasn't invented in a double-wide disposal. Daisy Dean Doolin, mother of Elmer Doolin, the Frito Company founder, concocted the recipe in the kitchen of her San Antonio home way back in 1932 in the depth of the Great Depression. At Sonny Bryan's downtown tunnel location, they substitute chopped brisket for ground beef in the $4.99 Thursday Frito… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Kids

    Penne Pomodoro

    The criteria here are a restaurant where you are comfortable taking the kids and where you actually like the food. Not an easy order, at least until you find the pasta pleasures offered at this reasonably priced Park Cities eatery. Sharply designed--it was the old Café A--with a nice sidewalk patio, Penne Pomodoro serves some of the best hearty pasta… More >>
  • Best West End Hangout

    Spiatza's Italian Grill and Bar

    If all else fails and you'd rather hang among tourists than Dallasites, go to the West End. Let's rephrase: If there's a cool joint in the West End, then it's Spiatza's Italian Grill and Bar. Tucked between a shack full of crabs and the infamous neon rainbow walkway, it's a bit hard to find, but the ample-sized servings along with… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Burger House

    Not mushy, not crunchy, just right--even Goldilocks would be satisfied (if she were into french fries). These golden beauties are always warm and crisp, like great fries should be, but the real secret is in the seasoning. The spicy, salty blend has made Burger House fries famous since 1951, and with good reason. Even the thought of their aromatic deliciousness… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch (tie)

    La Duni Latin Cafe & Maxim's

    We've been known to watch Sunday morning turn to Sunday evening at this McKinney Avenue eatery, where our cups of awesome coffee always manage to turn into tall mojitos; somehow the thought that Monday's around the corner goes down better with a gulp of rum poured over crushed ice, sugar and lime. Against our better judgment, we always start with… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Royal China

    Three things you can never get people to agree on: whether Polyphonic Spree is gimmick or salvation, just what is the best advertorial in the history of D magazine and who has the best Chinese food in town. Everyone has his fave, and though we've tried many, many of them (August Moon, P.F. Chang's and others rank high on the… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Metro Diner - CLOSED

    You scoff; we can hear you cackling all the way from the Dream Café, you snobs. But think about it: Where else in town can you get breakfast just as late night gives way to early morn? This 24-hour joint, where Deep Ellum gets a little deeper, serves up just what you need after a night of getting hassled by… More >>
  • Best Sandwich Sold in a Grocery Store

    Crazy Cuban at Central Market

    We've been addicted to this sandwich ever since we tried it at Jimmy's Food Store on Bryan Street, which is still the best version in town--hotter and heavier than the Central Market variation, which means it's the lunch that lasts till breakfast. But Central Market's Cuban, ham and cheese and pickles melted and then pressed twixt hot griddles, is a… More >>
  • Best Gazpacho

    Smith & Wollensky

    You wouldn't expect a steak house to deliver a zesty rich gazpacho, at least not one that hasn't been carpet bombed with A-1. But there it is, dark and delicately lumpy, ceremoniously poured from a silver urn into a white bowl--a ritual that seems mildly out of place in one that serves knife-wielding carnivores. It resembles a homicidal salsa. But… More >>
  • Best Ceviche

    La Calle Doce

    Ceviche is a peculiar twist on the Crock-Pot: scraps of raw fish cooked slowly, not with heat but with lemon or lime juices. La Calle Doce's ceviche is a tight, focused arrangement--a tiny still life--with a cupped lettuce leaf spilling over with avocado chunks, chopped tomato, scallion and opaque creamy-white chunks of fish and shrimp. It strikes the palate like… More >>
  • Best Po' Boy

    Antoine's of Dallas

    For the low, low price of $3.59, they serve up the po' boy to end all po' boys. Just ask for the "red wrap" and they'll know what you're talking about: double ham, double German salami, double provolone cheese, mayo, chowchow and pickles on fresh hoagie bread. On the Dallas scene for almost four decades, Antoine's serves up color-coded slices… More >>
  • Best Cheap Wine Shop

    Best Cellars

    Best Cellars is clean, crisp and easy, everything wine should be but mostly isn't. Instead of by geographical origin or grape variety, wines are arranged by color and taste--fizzy, fresh, soft, luscious, juicy, smooth, big, sweet--so shopping is easy on the brain. Best Cellars scours the globe to dig up wines that veer elegantly from the beaten path. Yet this… More >>
  • Best Place to Scrounge Free Lunch

    Best Cellars

    It's a frugal place already (see above). On Saturday afternoons, however, it becomes a freeloader's heaven, as top Dallas chefs drop by to offer sample plates paired with a good wine. That's right. For the cost of a little gas and a bit of shoe leather--well, not leather, perhaps, but whatever Target makes their shoes from, you damn cheapskate--you can… More >>
  • Best Foie Gras

    Citizen

    Citizen's neo-Asian fusion menu stapled to a traditional sushi bar has eked out a foie gras recipe that is virtually peerless. It's seared and draped on a brioche seasoned with a little cinnamon and sugar and placed on a square plate with dots of dark berry sauce in each corner. It's an ample bit of flesh, mottled with blotches of… More >>
  • Best Chef Comeback

    Matthew Antonovich, Sipango

    He was a founding partner of Sipango, which in the mid-1990s was perhaps the hottest restaurant in Dallas. But after cashing out some five years ago, Matthew Antonovich trekked a bumpy road, sustaining a bruising at III Forks, a bounce on Chuck Norris' defunct Lone Wolf Cigar Bar, a fizzled restaurant project with former Mansion maître d' Wayne Broadwell and… More >>
  • Best Catfish

    Hattie's American Bistro

    Catfish can often be dull, spongy and soggy, even when fried. It takes a special set of fingers and a deft mind to breathe life into these supple fillets. Hattie's chef Lisa Kelley does it. Her pecan-crusted catfish resonates with such rich buzz that you'll find it bathes your mind as well as your buds. A long fillet, tapered on… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant That Doesn't Have a Sushi Bar

    Waka - CLOSED

    Waka chef-owner Seiji Wakabayashi defines his craft as nouvelle Japanese. And the nouvelle part is like a projector or viewer for peering at Japanese cuisine from a different vantage point. The examples are subtle--creamy carrot soup, rich nutty foie gras perched on yams, mixed seaweed salad fluffed with baby greens and little surprises like a thing called an eel carpet… More >>
  • Best Popeye Growth Hormone

    Royal Tokyo Sushi Den's chilled horensoo oshitashi - CLOSED

    This spinach never saw the inside of a can. A square dish is layered in the center with steamed spinach leaves, and soy sauce is channeled between the stack and the edge of the dish. The leaves are dusted with shredded bonito, blond thin curls of dried skipjack tuna. The bitter, leafy earthiness--silky in texture--is deftly foiled by the concentrated… More >>
  • Best Calamari

    Cru Wine Bar

    Fried calamari is as ubiquitous as Monday-morning yawns, but it's the subtle details that make it shine. Crú's scraps of squid are light and airy and virtually greaseless. And the spicy sweet-and-sour sauce kicks your senses back into alignment, should your wine-tasting flights knock you off course.… More >>
  • Best Turkey Burger

    Janine's

    Turkeys were never meant to trod where cattle hoofs tromp. And that fleshy wattle growing from its throat ain't no set of horns. That's why turkey burgers don't have steer power: They often lack juice and richness, and they crumble like parched bran muffins under stress. Here the burgers are juicy and rich, and they stick together like their beefy… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Blue Fish

    We hear that one of our staff has had a bad waitstaff experience here. Not saying that isn't possible, just saying that we've never experienced anything except top-notch attention and care from the folks at Blue Fish. The sushi here is fresh and huge--it's often hard to put it all in your mouth. (Stop it.) The specials are rich and… More >>
  • Best Fancy Restaurant Where You Can Take the Kids

    Cafe on the Green

    Our 3-year-old was greeted enthusiastically at Café on the Green, and the staff really meant it. They immediately brought out a basket of colorful building toys and an Etch A Sketch, more than enough amusement to sustain the tyke through four courses of nearly flawless Asian-accented cuisine. Café on the Green has a surprisingly good children's menu with fare that's… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Desperados

    We hesitate to point this out because Desperados, the longtime Tex-Mex hideaway on Upper Greenville Avenue, is one of our favorite weekend haunts. We hesitate because part of the reason we love it so much is that it never seems too crowded. Sure, it gets full, but it's not like one of those trendy Dallas spots where you know you'll… More >>
  • Best Wine 'n' Dine

    "Feed Me, Wine Me" at The Green Room

    A few times a year, we ship the kids to the baby sitter, dress up like the hip kids (plus 30 pounds) and go out for a grown-up meal. Good food, good wine, good times. Our favorite place in which to do this, as it has been for about a decade, is The Green Room. Hip enough to be fun,… More >>
  • Best Jazz Dinner

    Watel's

    The Observer's Mark Stuertz suggests you "feed your culinary soul" at Watel's, a French restaurant that is one of Dallas' top eateries. But we suggest you experience your fine food with some aural ambience. Chef-owner René Peeters (one of the nicest guys who'll ever confit your duck) offers $29, four-course jazz dinners every other Monday or so. (Check www.watels.com for… More >>
  • Best/Worst One-Two Punch

    Krispy Kreme opening next to Central Market

    Lord, how we try to keep healthy--hard to stay that way when the last time you saw the inside of a gym was in sixth-grade P.E. But, hey, Central Market's expansive produce section--some 4,312 varieties of radishes alone, at last count--was gonna help us stay trim. For months we cruised the asparagus like horny frat boys at a sorority mixer;… More >>
  • Best Hot Bagel

    Bagel Chain

    On a recent Saturday, we stopped by our regular bagel provider for a dozen of the everythings--garlic with poppy and sesame and the wondrous addition of sunflower seeds--and were told there won't be a batch ready for 10 minutes. So we waited patiently, like Job or his second cousin, and were greeted by a bagful of the hottest, softest, moistest… More >>
  • Best Cachapa

    Zaguan World Bakery & Cafe

    OK, granted, we don't know anywhere else you can actually get a cachapa in Dallas, but even if we did, we would still think this is the best one in town. This South American bakery is one of our favorite lunchtime hangover spots, and that's primarily because of said dish. The cachapa, the big corn pancake with cheese and your… More >>
  • Best Butter

    Gumbo's Louisiana Style Cafe

    A friend suggested this as his favorite spot for butter to put on bread, and so on a day we were feeling particularly decadent, we gave it a shot. ("I'll have just butter and toast, please. And my friend will have four fried chickens--and a Coke.") We agreed. Not for the reason he said--"Because it tastes good, and I like… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Mai's

    We make the trip over to Mai's at least once a week for the clay pot, a devilishly hot (in every sense of the word) mixture of rice, Asian vegetables, rice noodles and, in our case, tofu. (It works just as well with chicken and shrimp.) We'll accept no arguments when stating that it is, without a doubt, the best… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Restaurant

    Cuba Libre - CLOSED

    You can get something to take the edge off a hangover anywhere. A meat-and-potatoes plate of, well, meat and potatoes? Nothing special. There are plenty of places that'll hook you up. In a pinch, there are also half a dozen 7-Elevens on your way home. But if you're sober enough to want real food, something you can (and want to)… More >>
  • Best Orange Chicken

    Jade Garden

    Sometimes, one dish done perfectly is enough to bring you back to a restaurant time and again. Such is the case with Jade Garden's orange chicken. While the restaurant itself is a dingy little place with ancient seating, cracked mirrors and limited parking, the chicken (extra crispy, with cashews, please) is almost painfully good. Covered in a sweet and salty… More >>
  • Best Bagel

    Salt Bagel at Central Market

    First, let's put a few things on the table. This is not New York. Bagels here are not New York bagels. They are like us: They are not kneaded; they are whipped. Bagels here are machine-made and have lots of air in them. They're soft. That doesn't mean they have to taste like doughnuts, but they can. You have to… More >>
  • Best Buffalo Wings

    Wing Stop

    While Buffalo wings at most restaurants are an afterthought, Wing Stop makes it their business. Though we understand that it may be inconceivable that a chain restaurant has the best of anything in town, just hear us out. They do, because, um...we say so? There's no substantial argument here or anything, just our opinion that they're really, really good. Lip-smackingly… More >>
  • Best Sommelier

    Todd Lincicome (Al Biernat's)

    Sooner or later, things become too complicated. This is true no matter the arena or walk of life. When our knowledge of the human body extended no further than the four humors, any barber could apply medicinal leeches or perform annual bleedings. Now we need specialists to assist the specialists referring us to other specialists who deny our medical insurance.… More >>
  • Best Steak

    Perry's New York Strip

    Perry's serves only prime beef, and while prime may at times seem interchangeable with flame-proof saddle padding on the city's menus, Perry's has the real thing both on paper and between the lips. It's juicy, rich and infiltrated with lusty silk that successfully straddles the razor-thin line between feminine refinement and masculine rusticity, never delving too far into either pocket.… More >>
  • Best Waitstaff

    Perry's

    It's a given that a competent service staff has a deft grip on the menu, and Perry's is no exception. Yet steak generally doesn't cause a strain on the culinary memory banks. What does tax servers are the vagaries of people. Perry's staff knows people. They know how to make them feel at ease, how to serve without being a… More >>
  • Best Cup of Coffee

    Krispy Kreme

    Technically speaking, Krispy Kreme's isn't the best cup of coffee, if by "cup of coffee" you mean just coffee. Starbucks is fine for that, though with all its iced drinks, the chain lately seems more like an ice cream stand. (Hint: If it has lots of ice, sugar and milk and is whipped in a blender, it ain't coffee. It's… More >>
  • Best Greasy Spoon

    Metro Diner - CLOSED

    Located across from Baylor hospital, this place deserves a spot in the Greasy Spoon Hall of Fame. Waitresses balance three or four orders at once, all the while yelling good-natured chatter at one another and calling every customer "sweetie." Signs on the wall note that only "two coffee warm-ups are allowed" before you start paying again, and another politely asks… More >>
  • Best Crab Cakes

    Metropolitan Cafe

    Better get to the Metropolitan Cafe early on Wednesdays, because the lunch special is crab cakes, and they sell like hotcakes, whatever that means. Unlike many Dallas restaurants that buy their crab cakes from food distributors, Metropolitan's Momma Christine makes these oval morsels from scratch, having divined her recipe from a dream, she says, as she did for many of… More >>
  • Best Way to Eat a Sicilian

    Cafe Nostra - CLOSED

    Their tagline is "We'll make you a pizza you can't refuse." The logo splashed across their menu features a sextet of sharp-suited gentlemen walking toward you like a pack of reservoir dogs...and one is armed with a pizza box. The name of the joint is Café Nostra, and while they may play it up "bad," every run-in we've had with… More >>
  • Best Pickles

    Gilbert's New York Deli

    Even though Gilbert's Deli broke the hearts of many of its most loyal patrons by leaving North Dallas and moving to Addison, there are too many things about the restaurant that make the drive worthwhile. The meat loaf sandwich, the bagels, the pastrami, the vegetable soup, the knishes--all of which cost money. What doesn't cost are the pickles, which are… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Local

    There are a lot of good things that can be said about Local, the tiny boutique restaurant that opened in the heart of Deep Ellum in the historic Boyd Hotel, one-time stopover for Bonnie and Clyde, Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter and Blind Lemon Jefferson. One of them is the Sluree, a blend of Rotari, an Italian sparkling wine, and scoops of… More >>
  • Best Meal in Less Than an Hour

    El Fenix

    The term "fast food" does not have to describe the greasy cesspool of unidentifiable mystery meat served up at drive-through windows. Well, at least not in El Fenix's case. Quick, simple and delicious, we'd take a sit-down meal in this cozy Dallas landmark over a puck-sized burger in our car any day. The service is the fastest in town, but… More >>
  • Best Move

    Liberty Noodles - CLOSED

    Though it was conceptually groundbreaking when it fused tastes from Thailand, Korea, China, Laos, Malaysia, Vietnam and India under one roof, Liberty was mostly a bore when it opened. Aside from the birdcages posing as chandeliers with incarcerated amber bulbs and a swell, spacious patio with a huge aluminum washtub posing as a koi pond, there was little of interest… More >>
  • Best Seafood

    The Oceanaire Seafood Room

    "Think of us as a power steak house with a seafood center." This is how the top brass at Oceanaire want you to think of their restaurant. They're referring to the beefy, two-fisted portions that in some cases--in true oxymoronic fashion--contain shrimp. Chilled shellfish is delivered in two portable ice mountain versions ($35 and $65) embedded with all manner of… More >>
  • Best Home-Style Restaurant

    South Dallas Cafe

    Soul food is the quintessential home-style cuisine: black-eyed peas, corn bread, macaroni and cheese, meat loaf, okra. At South Dallas Café, greens such as cabbage and okra skirt mushy textures and rise to supple sensations. Meat loaf is thick and hearty, smothered pork chops are tender and rich, and the fried chicken is crunch-crisp, spicy and moist. To really reach… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    River Spice Thai Restaurant

    River Spice has a fairly typical Thai menu with clever atypical touches. Pad Thai is often an effective barometer of Thai kitchen brilliance--or haplessness. It's far too often cloyingly sweet or a sticky knot of noodles or a soupy mess or some frightening combination of all three. Here, it is superb. At the far end of the plate is a… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Hurricane Grill

    There are more high-dollar Cajun restaurants in town, but high-priced food ain't what Cajun is all about. What we're looking for is the best taste of NOLA, the combination of better-than-good bar food, ice-cold beer and gluttonous/libidinous spirit that exemplifies all things bayou. You find that at HG: great bar food (fries and oysters are faves), all-you-can-eat crawfish on Wednesdays… More >>
  • Best Sushi Buffet

    Osaka Sushi

    A friend asked us to make a Sunday lunchtime trek to this far north outpost. We weren't excited, as the word "Plano" and the phrase "sushi buffet" make us queasy. Of course, we were blown away by the quality of the food and the family atmosphere. The buffet at Osaka Sushi is huge, composed of not only cool, comforting sushi… More >>

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