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Food & Drink

  • Best New Restaurant

    Iris

    Lemonade. That's what Iris is. Here are the lemons: a space that has been home to dreadful or dreadfully performing restaurants over the last decade; a restaurant owner (Susie Priore) who fled to California to get a master's degree so that she could join the Peace Corps and teach English in Morocco; a Peace Corps mission that was soured by… More >>
  • Best Chicken

    Ali Baba Cafe

    The browning of a chicken is an essential skill; just ask Julia Child. (Well, you could have asked her until a few months ago, anyway.) Mom told us the keys to a well-browned bird: Use quality olive oil, enhanced with butter; let the pieces warm to room temperature so they brown evenly; and dry the skin first with paper towels.… More >>
  • Best Mexican Fast Food

    ZuZu - CLOSED

    We can't quite figure out the ownership status of ZuZu. It used to be a chain; now it isn't. Each of the restaurants bearing the name ZuZu in Dallas has a different owner--or so we were told--and some have different menus. Well, we can vouch for three places named ZuZu, one in Addison and two in Dallas, and all carry… More >>
  • Best Steak House When You're Paying

    Culpepper Steakhouse

    As if we have the dough for dinner at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse ($75 per person, minimum) or other such expense-account establishments. Nope, that wouldn't be us. Still, we do appreciate something a cut above your local Outback, with the waitstaff's forced familiarity, those stupid commercials and the decent but not great steaks. That's why we keep going back to Culpepper… More >>
  • Best Place to Eat in the Southern Dallas Dining Wasteland

    Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

    We watched for months as that place slowly went up off Highway 67. When they put up the sign, when cars started appearing in the parking lot, we started the calling. Are you open yet? OK, but when will you open? At last, a Pappadeaux opened in Southern Dallas--specifically, in Duncanville. It instantly became the No. 1 dining destination for… More >>
  • Best Place for Healthful Mexican Food

    Baja Fresh Mexican Grill

    "No lard, no MSG, no freezer"--that's what Baja Fresh advertises above the order counter. They go further than that, with a good selection of low-carb and low-fat menu items that taste like they're full of the stuff. Don't hold it against them that they're owned by Wendy's; Consumer Reports recently cited Baja Fresh for turning out some of the tastiest,… More >>
  • Best Restaurant With Hardly a Carb in Sight

    Texas de Brazil

    Never mind that there seemed to be a preponderance of overweight middle-aged men on our recent visit. Texas de Brazil, with restaurants in Dallas, Addison and Fort Worth, is a carb-counter's paradise. You probably know the churrascaria concept: Guys in baggy pants (and a few ladies) tote around skewers of roasted meat and carve you a hot slice of whatever… More >>
  • Best Salad

    Tempura chili-citrus chicken salad at Cuba Libre - CLOSED

    Everything at Cuba Libre goes down easy, from the (pretty 'spensive) pitcher of mojitos to the elegant desserts to the eye candy that fills this Knox-Henderson joint late at night. But, to paraphrase an old Nate Newton commercial, when we are hawngry, which is most of the time, we like to pig out on this dish. A huge salad with… More >>
  • Best Soup

    Creamy asparagus soup at Greenz

    Soup is a tough call. There are winter stews, summer gazpachos, even autumnal bisques. Chicken noodle is good year-round, but that's too easy. We want a soup that's tasty but not too rich. One that's smooth and substantial. Greenz, the Uptown eatery that specializes in salads, impressed us with something else green. Their creamy asparagus soup is velvety and luscious.… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Jerk Frittes at Cuba Libre - CLOSED

    Give us fried potato in any form and generally, we're happy. We praise the inventors of the tater tot, french fry and hash brown. And we felt really bad for our arteries when we discovered a new addiction: Jerk Frittes from Cuba Libre. The thin little gems are crispy, golden and seasoned perfectly with an herb blend that is undoubtedly… More >>
  • Best Salsa

    Margarita Ranch

    In the Tex-Mex state, salsa has a lot to prove. Heat (as in spice) must make itself known but not so strongly that a full glass of water is needed after each bite. For us, the tip-off to a perfect salsa is a reaction after the initial taste of wanting to pour it on everything we order. But we weren't… More >>
  • Best Shepherd's Pie

    Tipperary Inn

    If there is a single dish that represents the idea of comfort food, it's shepherd's pie. It's warm, meaty and soft, and there's no worry of combining bites or elements since that's already been done for you. We've been known to tuck into some welcoming shepherd's pie, and in our experience, the Tipp's is the best. The ground meat is… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Ziziki's

    Ziziki's, the Travis Walk restaurant owned by Costa and Mary Arabatzis, has just celebrated its 10th anniversary, and with its record of outstanding quality, we expect another 10, at least. Ziziki's has won this award before--no great suspense here--and after trying the range of Greek restaurants in the area, we see no reason to dethrone it now. Though it would… More >>
  • Best Cupcakes

    Cupcake Kitchen

    The perfect sweet treat is indulgent, both cakey and gooey, and self-contained: the cupcake. Why people bother with slicing up a big hulking cake is a mystery, especially when the Cupcake Kitchen and their enorma-cups are just a phone call away. A one-dozen minimum is required for delivery, but there are no limitations to the complete satisfaction one achieves with… More >>
  • Best Lunch Deal

    Monica's Aca y Alla

    At the risk of never getting a table again, we'll impart our knowledge of a supreme lunch special. Monica Greene and her gang offer one of the most affordable lunches in town without skimping on flavor or quality ingredients. For a teensy $4.99, lunch patrons can have their pick of various enchiladas, Cha-Cha burritos, quesadillas, cheeseburger, Mexican lasagna (filling and… More >>
  • Best Use of a Pheasant Carcass

    Roasted pheasant broth at Landmark Restaurant

    Pretty much everything on Joel Harloff's menu at the Melrose Hotel's signature restaurant is stunning. It's set up in courses instead of the more prosaic appetizer/salad/entrée arrangement. Most diners will focus on second or main course standouts. Among the initial offerings, however, is a simple broth. Now, broth is the sort of thing a cranky old man slurps down when… More >>
  • Best BLT (tie)

    Lakewood Landing & Thomas Avenue Beverage Co. - CLOSED

    Crisp, crunchy, cool, hot and soft are all words that can describe a banner bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich. But the bacon is the clincher for a good BLT. It has to be two things: perfectly crispy with no chewy parts and hot. One without the other just won't cut it. The lettuce must offer a cool, thin crunch against the bread, and… More >>
  • Best Sommelier

    Todd Lincicome at Al Biernat's

    Go ahead, ask him anything. Is it acceptable to drop a few ice cubes into wine--even red? What's the best thing for less than $30 that pairs well with steak, fish and salad? Is there really a difference between Australian and New Zealand wines? He answers all questions with an unflappable grace and a frightening level of knowledge. Yep, frightening.… More >>
  • Best Reason to See Green

    "Feed Me, Wine Me" deal at Green Room

    If you want to support Deep Ellum but don't dare want to stay up past your bedtime, here's a good way to do it: Set up reservations for you and your honey, take 'bout $160 and make reservations at this DE staple. Here's what that covers: four courses of food and wine for each of you, each dish chosen by… More >>
  • Best Tamale

    La Popular

    Jesse Moreno and his family are among the few proprietors still producing truly handmade tamales in Dallas. They roast the pork, grind the corn, spread the masa harina de maiz (corn flour) by hand in the husks and cook the tamales themselves. The Morenos use all the best-quality ingredients, no lard, all vegetable oil. During the holiday season, La Popular… More >>
  • Best Fancy Restaurant

    Aurora

    Sometimes the servers can be snooty. Sometimes the prices are over the top. But this is the way things are in the world of Michelin star restaurants. You can't feed those suffering from wallet obesity unless there's a little condescension. Yes, the rich may like to belittle their bilingual Toro jockeys when they accidentally puree the azaleas, but they absolutely… More >>
  • Best Tortillas

    Taco Cabana

    We wanted to give this award to someone else; we really did. "Best Tortillas at Taco Cabana? Why not just give Best Hamburger to effin' McDonald's?" we think, angry with ourselves. But then we sigh, and our fists unclench as our thoughts turn to the pliable, pillowy flatbreads that are just 19 cents apiece at that familiar pink-and-green-stucco drive-thru. Plus,… More >>
  • Best Comeback

    Tipperary Inn

    After a several-month hiatus, Tipperary Inn is back in business, serving traditional Irish fare in the pub's old location at the corner of Skillman and Live Oak streets. The Tipp's environs are made for comfort--including dark woods and roomy seating areas--and so is the food. The menu is a little on the heavy side, but you can't miss the shepherd's… More >>
  • Best Waitstaff

    Il Mulino New York

    Il Mulino is cloaked in a jacket of elegance. The waiters have them. Even you are supposed to, except in the summer when wearing a jacket turns even the noblest, most mannered fellow into a sweating plow horse. At Il Mulino, waiters sport crisp tuxedos and move with impeccable precision and graceful warmth. They serve from the left and bus… More >>
  • Best Children's Restaurant on Saturday

    Hooters

    Why Hooters? On Saturdays, kids 12 and under eat for free--so put that in your Happy Meal and play with it. It's a deal so good that, let's face it, it makes Hooters the new McDonald's. Only better. It has more options for the little ones--they can choose between a hot dog, a burger, wings, chicken strips, a corn dog… More >>
  • Best Lettuce Creations

    Greenz

    If you want a tasty, crispy spinach salad, Greenz can fix you up, but their specialty is more creative inventions, like the Bar None, a salad festooned with steak, tomatoes and mixed nuts and served in a pretzel bowl. Other fanciful salads include warm pear and goat cheese, BBQ Texas slaw and spicy panko shrimp. Every visit has included fast,… More >>
  • Best Free Breakfast

    La Madeleine

    It's all about payback, or so we've heard. Maybe that's why La Madeleine, wherein some of the best breads on earth are made, fills a handy yet surreptitiously placed rack with homemade slices or half-loaves several times a day. On a little shelf, the bread fairies also put out pats of butter and little bowls of fruit preserves. The preserves… More >>
  • Best Cheeseburger and Cheese Fries Combo

    Fat Daddy's

    It's not hard to get good cheeseburgers or cheddar fries around here (Snuffer's is terrific on both of those fronts, but they employ a service system that tends to screw up your order and try your patience). Still, Fat Daddy's has about the best combination. Their half-pound cheeseburgers are as good as they come (they also have a full 1-pound… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Gingko Tree China Bistro - CLOSED

    Wolfberries are believed to be good for the eyes and enhance energy. Gingko seeds are swell for memory enhancement and urination promotion (not the same as urinal advertising). Lychee nuts are good for the skin. Gingko Tree China Bistro employs all of these healthful ingredients in its menu so that we can cease being forgetful sloths with eyesight that blinds… More >>
  • Best Family Fun

    Hamburger Mary's

    Hamburger Mary's is so gay--and we mean that in every sense of the word. The décor includes bejeweled high heels and all the colors of the rainbow. And the staff is about the friendliest we've ever seen. It's almost as if they're happy to come to work. Kinda weird. But not too weird, especially considering that Hamburger Mary's atmosphere is… More >>
  • Best Prime Rib

    The Palm

    For the unrepentant carnivore, nothing can compare with the cardiological time bomb that is the prime rib. If it's to be perfect, let it have been chosen and aged by experts and roasted in a manner that lets its enzymes caramelize into an ephemeral sweetness while its flesh remains firm but tender. Let it be well-trimmed with just a little… More >>
  • Best Cheap(er) Steak Place

    Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse

    We keep hearing that Deep Ellum and the West End are dead. Funny, we see plenty of young black and brown people in Deep Ellum and lots of pasty white tourists packing the West End. Oh, we get it: They're dead because the only good homogeny is white liberal homogeny. Now that we've cleared that up, we can tell you… More >>
  • Best Cup of Coffee

    Kostas Cafe

    Come for the fried cheese, stay for the coffee. See, this venerable Middle Greenville Avenue eatery is one of our favorite places to go for the Greek food--loads o' lamb, fistfuls of dolmas, that wonderful spinakopita stomachache (mmmmmm). But our favorite part of the meal is the cup of coffee that comes afterward. It may be small, no bigger than… More >>
  • Best Bagels

    Einstein Bros. Bagels

    Steam injected or boiled? A debate rages about the proper way to cook a bagel. What's the Einstein Bros. method? Dunno. Don't care. What matters most to us is the taste and texture, and this chain scores on both points, offering a wide variety of flavors--from garlic to cranberries and pumpkin--and doughy pillows that are light and chewy without that… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Chip's Old Fashioned Hamburgers

    We were always partial to the pig sandwich here, which is simply pulled pork between two slices. And it's good, don't get us wrong, but as we've gotten older and wiser, and as other places famous for their burgers have gotten slow and sloppy, we've come to appreciate the never-declining quality of Chip's. With burgers thick enough to be tasty,… More >>
  • Best Dessert

    Lemon cannoli at Old Hickory Steakhouse

    If you insist on pounding your plumbing with a 2,000-pound laser-guided porterhouse, you must follow such precision with a lithe dessert. Actually, you should always follow dinner with confectionary brevity. Dinner is, after all, the domain of the savory, and every square inch of digestive real estate should be reserved for the salted, the herbed and veal-bone reductions hopped up… More >>
  • Best Restaurateur to Party With

    Dee Lincoln at Del Frisco's

    Somehow Dee Lincoln exists in a city rife with staid steak houses straining for elegance, with smiling maître d's and hushed dining rooms. There's never a dull moment with her around. When she holds forth in "Havana Dee's," the piano bar at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse in North Dallas, the mood shifts from upscale to frat-house blowout. In a… More >>
  • Best Front Person Besides Al Biernat

    Michel Boutemy de Guislain at Popolos

    No one tops Al Biernat in the meet-and-greet. But Michel etc. comes as close as any restaurant host possibly can. Like Biernat, he (yes, he--Michel is as masculine a name as they have in France) flashes a genuine smile at each guest, throws his arms in welcoming gestures and directs people to their tables with a fluid grace. He is… More >>
  • Best Imitation of Manhattan

    Jeroboam

    The philosophy of fine Dallas restaurants tends toward the overblown. We adore The Mansion, but aren't the flowers kinda humongous? Aren't the walls a little peachy? Aren't the waiters a little fawning? Jeroboam has the opposite tack--it's sleek and understated, furnished with classic woods and black-and-white photography. The waiters are knowledgeable and helpful without making us feel like Dudley Moore… More >>
  • Best Greasy Spoon

    Gold Rush Café

    This Lakewood hole-in-the-strip-center-wall is, now that Dan's Lakewood has shuttered, the finest hangover breakfast in town, which means that by its very definition it is the best greasy spoon around. They are one and the same. You wake up after being overserved, you need eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausage, hash browns, et. al. In fact, we may tie one on tonight… More >>
  • Best Mexican Soda

    Jarritos Tamarinda

    An icy Jarritos of any flavor--lime, fruit punch, guava, plenty more--is enough to win you over from the laboratory and focus-group flavors of most Norteamericano sodas. The fresh, clean fruit taste of Jarritos is a blast of beach and jungle rolled into one. Fiesta Mart offers a variety of Mexican brands--Goya, Victoria, Topo-Chico, along with Mexican versions of some U.S.… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Mantra

    Let's be honest here: There are no great Indian restaurants in Dallas. So with that premise established, let's examine the most interesting entrant in this mediocre ilk. Mantra is a stab at modernity; an incremental tweak of traditional Indian cuisine. Mantra attempts to preserve the rich, heady complexity of Indian cuisine while casting it as wily and deft, in a… More >>
  • Best Use of Crassness to Sell Sandwiches

    P.D. Johnson's Dog Day Deli

    We get it, all right? Yes, the word "Johnson" is synonymous with penis. Has been for--what?--a thousand years. Good job, P.D. Johnson's Dog Day Deli, for incorporating the joke into your menu and onto the T-shirts you sell and the paraphernalia that lines your restaurant's walls. Ha ha, funny stuff, a sophomore-ish bit, but the problem is...the problem is that… More >>
  • Best Variation on a Fattening Favorite

    Chicken Philly at Burger Island

    Stuff a toasted sub roll with grilled chunks of chicken. Add sautéed onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Then smother it all with melted provolone cheese. You have a lower-fat version of a Philly cheese steak. At least that's what you can tell yourself as you shovel in every gooey morsel. Burger Island's not really fast food--order at the register, take… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Crescent City Cafe

    Purists may scoff and pick, oh, Big Easy New Orleans Style Sandwiches up north or something farther east...say, in New Orleans. But this venerable Deep Ellum eatery has never let us down, whether we needed our café au lait-and-beignet fix at 8 a.m. or our muffaleta-and-fries jones satisfied at lunch. The gumbo and étouffée are extraordinary--the roux's particularly rich, like… More >>
  • Best Steak

    Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

    What's at stake with steak? In Dallas that's a foolish question. Our existence depends on it. Without steak, Dallas is just Six Flags and Big Tex. The former isn't even in Dallas, and the latter doesn't go very well with a first-growth Bordeaux. So you know how important steak is. And there's a lot of bad steak out there. Trust… More >>
  • Best Greek Salad

    Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

    What makes Pappadeaux's Greek salad the best? Absolutely fresh lettuce, not a brown leaf in the bunch; a tangy, well-balanced lemon vinaigrette dressing; a generous sprinkling of high-quality feta cheese; and all the other ingredients--capers, scallions, tomatoes, celery, pepperoncini--mixed tableside so nothing ends up soggy. The huge creation, available in portions for one or two, is garnished with a single… More >>
  • Vietnamese Restaurant

    Oishii - CLOSED

    Oishii mixes Japanese and Vietnamese with a little Chinese. The latter two are closely linked, while the former is more distant. Does this sound confusing? It shouldn't. OK, sushi is a little hard to square with kung pao chicken. There's lemongrass tofu, too, which is hard to square with anything. Yet the sushi is good. And the pork ribs in… More >>
  • Best Creme Brulee

    Cuban coffee creme brulee at Cuba Libre - CLOSED

    Pretty much any event that combines two of our favorite pastimes--food and setting things aflame--will win our rapt devotion. Dislike bananas, like bananas Foster. Loathe the French, adore crêpes suzette. So, any dessert that brings a butane torch into the kitchen, namely crème brûlée, is tops on our list, especially when it's the coffee-tinged crème brûlée served at Cuba Libre.… More >>
  • Best Barbecue Restaurant

    Peggy Sue BBQ

    This is one of those no-win categories: Everyone has his favorite barbecue joint, be it some tiny roadhouse in Taylor or Sonny Bryan's on Inwood Road or even Sammy's, which is great but could be better if someone tweaked the sauce just a little bit. But we're sticking with this Highland Park hang, because the meat's as lean as a… More >>
  • Best Passport to 1956

    Norma's Café

    "We eat here every Friday because Norma's is Oak Cliff," said businessman and community activist Ralph Isenberg. Norma's is that and much more. It's an archetypal Southern breakfast and lunch spot, a place that feels familiar from the first visit, and, best of all, it's a living time capsule of a long-gone Dallas. Opened in 1956, Norma's has defied modernization.… More >>
  • Best Food in the Mall That Isn't Mall Food

    La Madeleine in NorthPark Center

    It's French, which helps, but what sets La Madeleine apart from other food-court stops is the tastefulness of the place. For one, the food at La Madeleine is flat-out better than anywhere else in the mall: The tomato basil soup is the best; the pesto pasta salad is light yet alive with flavor; and just try to stop at one… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Cosmic Café

    Cosmic Café is the one vegetarian restaurant where we can go knowing our carnivore friends aren't going to leave us alone at a table for four while they go down the street to a burger place. The converted house is funky but not too scary (unless you find murals of monkeys, sitar music and a fish tank scary). The same… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Iron Cactus

    This is really no contest. How do we know? Because our wife is the margarita-drinkin'-est fool alive. You think you're a 'rita fool? You couldn't out-fool her on the foolingest day of your life if you had yourself an electrified fooling machine. We're talkin' 'bout a fool. And when she first stepped her fool foot in Iron Cactus, she ordered… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Tei Tei Robata Bar

    God knows how many times we found ourselves on Lower Greenville on a Saturday night in the mid-'90s with a woozy tummy in need of filling. Happened every weekend, it seemed, and always we'd sprint (or wobble, whatever) over to chef Teiichi Sakurai's Teppo, which was awesome not only because of its location but because it served up some of… More >>
  • Best Frozen Dinners

    Horizon Foods

    What do Madonna and Mike Modano have in common with dozens of other celebrities and athletes and thousands of ordinary citizens who love good food? According to Chris Walter, Midwest regional partner, all have serious vittles--cooked and uncooked--delivered to their homes by Horizon Foods. "Our trucks pull up to the door, and our representatives put the food right in our… More >>
  • Best Place to Order a Negroni

    Meridian Room

    Old-fashioned drinks require a certain atmosphere. Not necessarily a clubbish dark wood and leather, billowing clouds of cigar smoke, British accents type thing, mind you. Cocktails like the negroni or the mint julep or the old-fashioned call out for a bar. That is, a room dominated by a long counter backed by rows and rows of alcohol--the kind of place… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Avila's Mexican Restaurant

    Yeah, yeah, we know. This is Tex-Mex, not true Mexican cuisine. With food this good, though, why be so persnickety? This tiny restaurant in a brightly painted converted house on Maple Avenue has all we expect in a Mexican joint--tasty, cheesy enchiladas, fiery salsa, creamy guacamole and rich tortilla soup--plus it offers something we don't expect. You can actually eat… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Brothers Fried Chicken - CLOSED

    We have this aunt. Her name is Lena. Well, technically she's a great-aunt, as she is our grandmother's sister. Anyway, her schtick is that she's always cooking. You walk in her house, any time of the day past 11 a.m., and there is a huge cast-iron skillet full of chicken frying sitting atop her stove. And the smell is unbelievable.… More >>
  • Best Wine/Liquor Store

    Pogo's

    Why is Pogo's a great place to shop? It's not because it covers just about every wine region in existence, or because it has low-riser wine racks instead of those floor-to-ceiling high-rises with Bordeaux avalanche insurance, or because it has a friendly staff who tell you what the heck's up with the Lois Gruner Veltliner from Austria. It's not even… More >>
  • Best $6 Lunch

    Dream Cafe

    The Dream Cafe has one of the best cheap lunches in Dallas. It's called "The Cheap Lunch." It costs six buckaroos. It's mighty tasty. Whether you love red meat and consume dead animals on a regular basis or whether you're vegan or some form of vegetarian, you will love this lunch. If you're into low carbs, high fat; low fat,… More >>
  • Best Breakfast (Tie)

    Landmark Restaurant & Original Pancake House

    When you order fresh-squeezed orange juice, you don't want it from a plastic jug labeled "now with extra pulp." You want to know that someone actually crushed the rind between his fingers to force that last drop into your glass--just like at Grandma's. Landmark Restaurant in the Melrose Hotel is a place to break from tradition and enjoy an artery-clenching… More >>
  • Best Appetizer

    Risotto cake at Café Modern

    The appetizer is traditionally a thing you eat before the headliner. You know, salad, foie gras, fried calamari, frog legs in aloe vera. But sometimes appetizers can be meals instead of just tongue-whetters or fodder for the grazing trough. This is what Café Modern's smoked mozzarella-stuffed risotto cake is. It's a bronzed baseball--with the bronzing provided by panko bread crumbs--resting… More >>
  • Best Wings

    Buffalo Wild Wings

    Why wings? Simple answer: Because it's the only part of the chicken that still tastes like chicken. We've had enough of boneless, skinless, lifeless, loveless chicken breasts; of chicken parts larded with slimy globules of yellow fat. So we've developed a taste for wings. We kind of get a kick out of pulling little strands of meat and crispy skin… More >>
  • Best Excuse to Say Got Milk?

    Pastel des tres leches at Taco Diner in West Village

    So we're having lunch at Taco Diner in the West Village. One in our party--the one who is washing down his lunch with shots of Patron and bottles of Negra Modelo--says, "OK, who wants dessert?" We all shake our heads and moan. Who eats desserts these days? They're full of carbs and sugar and sin. We all want to be… More >>
  • Best Fried Green Tomatoes

    Hattie's

    Sliced in smallish rounds, lightly breaded, served on a sour cream sauce sprinkled with diced chives, these fried green tomatoes offer exactly the right combination of garden freshness with batter-fried flavor. Somehow, in spite of all that preparation, these succulent mouthfuls manage to stay firm at the core. They are a perfect expression of the South--juicy but fried--with a sophisticated… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    The concept is simple: swap hoofs with fins. Well, maybe it's not that simple. Most people wouldn't go for a bone-in halibut. Still, the Oceanaire is bulging with fat and fresh succulent seafood, just like steak houses throb with triple-bypass beef. The Room offers roughly a dozen different oysters with names like Pemiquid and Hog Island. And it hits you… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Sandwich

    Meeker Special at The Metropolitan Café

    Give us no doughnuts, bagels or bear claws. It ain't breakfast without at least one chicken ovum. We prefer a large meal of eggs, bacon, hash browns, pancakes and other artery-clogging dishes, but most days, time constraints demand a meal that demands no flatware. To other one-handed breakfast eaters, we recommend the Meeker--an egg, juicy ham, cheese, a slice of… More >>
  • Best Place to Smell Like Your Lunch

    Baker's Ribs

    At some restaurants, the aromas of the cuisine being prepared inside slap you in the face when you walk through the door. But Baker's Ribs is different; the odors of this barbecue joint sneak up on you. Sure, you can smell the various meats being carved and chopped and sliced, but it's not an assault. It's an inviting, appetizing scent… More >>
  • Best Non-Italian Pizza

    Cigarz

    The spicy Greek pizza at this takeout-only spot near Lakewood is the best excuse to forgo pepperoni in town: crisp crust with a garlic-olive oil base, mozzarella, seasoned chicken, kalamata olives, tomatoes, red onions, pepperoncinis and feta cheese. Owners Omar Dibe and his wife, Sadie Ayers, opened shop last spring and offer traditional Italian pizza as well, but their Lebanese-inspired… More >>
  • Best Lunch for Two Under $10

    Jade Garden

    Sure, the building looks vacant from the street, and it sits in a neighborhood that can get rough after, like, 10 a.m., but please look beyond this, for Jade Garden is one of the best Chinese restaurants in Dallas, a place as filling as it is good as it is cheap. And this last point is the true measure of… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Il Mulino New York

    We've come to the conclusion that Italian in Dallas is the rope-a-dope cuisine. It takes its punches and wobbles weakly, acting like it's barely in the ring. Then when you least expect it, it springs to life and delivers a knockout blow. We aren't sure yet if Il Mulino New York is that knockout blow (we're still dizzy, and we… More >>
  • Best Free Lunch

    Whole Foods Market

    Man and woman shall not live by nuts, berries, wheatgrass shots and tofu alone, but when we want these things, organically grown, of course, we schlep our Birkenstocks to Whole Foods Market. Forget the stereotypes and focus on the strategies. This food chain's in-store sampling not only gets you cooking and buying suggested ingredients, it has become a 21st-century meet-and-greet-and-eat.… More >>
  • Best Item Not Found on a Menu

    Mias brisket tacos

    We debated whether or not to tell you peasants about the awesomeness (yeah, we checked, it's a word) that are Mia's brisket tacos. See, for the longest time, Mia's served the delightful treats only as a once-a-week special, but they were so popular that Mama and company decided to make them an everyday thing. But they never got around to… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Kids

    The Purple Cow

    Burgers, the "mundane hot dog" for tykes too finicky for ketchup squirts, grilled American cheese sandwiches, a variety of fried foods that make swell props for carb-counting lessons, ice cream desserts and purple vanilla milk shakes. The Purple Cow has everything a kid could ever want outside of Gummy Bear cell phones. There's an electric train up above that chugs… More >>
  • Best Kids Menu

    Eighteen-O-One

    Eighteen-O-One is the small, lunch-only restaurant inside the West End's Dallas World Aquarium, but it could easily stand on its own merits. They please parents as well as kids with interesting seafood dishes and quality renditions of old standbys such as hamburgers and sandwiches. But someone put a lot of thought into the kids menu. Best of all is the… More >>
  • Best Commute to Dinner

    Goodhues Wood-Fired Grill

    Goodhues is not, in itself, a reason to move to McKinney, but it's sure worth the occasional drive. This former RC Cola bottling plant just off the town square provides a wonderful antidote for the franchises that have infested this booming community. The charming interior, with its exposed brick and long antique bar, is welcoming, casual and heartily American, and… More >>
  • Best Box Deal

    Bento box at Reikyu - CLOSED

    Reikyu says it features "contemporary fusion," but what that means to us is damn fine sushi. It's a great place for people-watching--if the moon and stars align, you can see the yuppies in the Mock-Station lofts wandering about their chic pads in their underthingies--but not so great for watching your checkbook. Getting full at Reikyu is fun but not cheap.… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Royal Thai

    The lunch crowds here tell you all you need to know about the food. Expect a 10- to 20-minute wait during peak lunch hours, but go ahead and put your name in. It's worth it. Just tell the boss you had a flat on the way back from lunch (or come back for dinner). We like our curry dishes and… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Paciugo - CLOSED

    They say they use only fresh ingredients to make their gelato, or Italian-style ice cream. They say it's lower in calories, fat and sugar, smoother and more velvety than American ice cream. We say they're sneaking heroin into the mixer. Yeah, that must explain why we can't pass a Paciugo shop without stopping in for a piccolo cinnamon or, when… More >>
  • Best Urban Cheesemaker

    The Mozzarella Co.

    Soft, smooth, ivory-colored snowballs of fresh mozzarella move out the back door of Paula Lambert's The Mozzarella Co. headed for local groceries including Simon David, Whole Foods Market, Tom Thumb, Albertson's and Fort Worth's tiny, exclusive Roy Pope Grocery. Some of these cheeses are headed for the salad plates at The Mansion, too, where they might be sliced and alternated… More >>
  • Best Bakery Samples

    Central Market

    Decisions, decisions. Can't make up your mind between the cheesecake and the chocolate raspberry truffle cake? Central Market knows that these are hard choices and makes it harder still by putting out hefty samples of both, so cruise by the bakery counter and conduct your own taste test before buying. (We vote for the chocolate every time.) Then try to… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Café Istanbul

    Trust us, we've tried virtually every Middle Eastern restaurant in the area, and there are a few that get repeat business from us: Hedary's, which has Dallas and Fort Worth locations; Byblos in Fort Worth, run by a member of the Hedary family; and King Tut's in Fort Worth's Hospital District. But the place you'll see us at most often… More >>
  • Best Sidewalk Cafe

    Greenz

    Dogs are welcome at the outdoor tables lining this unusually broad and colonnaded stretch of sidewalk along the trolley part of uptown McKinney Avenue, a sure sign of a cool and civilized spot. In fact, everything outdoors and indoors about this smartly designed, smartly run cafe whispers cool in the kind of voice that Miles Davis might have had if… More >>
  • Best Place to Spend a Lot for a Little

    Lola the Restaurant

    Everyone serves tapas these days. Boring. Lola takes the small-plates idea a step further, designating an entire room as a chef's tasting room. They even hired a second chef, David Uygur, to handle the space. Diners choose between a five-course, 10-course or 15-course meal. Not to worry: Each plate contains about two bites' worth. Granted, everything from the description to… More >>
  • Best Raw Deal

    Blue Fish

    On Fridays, Blue Fish makes a startlingly generous offer: $1 draft beers and sake. Our man goes for the rice wine (a taste to which we have never grown accustomed), but we go for a frosty pint (or three) of Kirin Ichiban--a crisp Japanese pilsner that has become one of our favorite drafts in the city. It goes perfectly with… More >>
  • Best Salsa (Music)

    Gloria's in Addison

    At Gloria's in Addison there are two kinds of salsa. One comes in a dish and is pretty hot. The other is on the dance floor, and it's even hotter. On Friday and Saturday nights the Mexican-Salvadoran restaurant transforms into a Latin Dance Dance Revolution. Couples step, gyrate, dip, spin and swivel, working up a sweat and working off the… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Fireside Pies

    This is a tough category, because everyone has a different version of what makes a great pizza: thin crust, chunky toppings, lots of sauce, extra cheese, blah blah blah. Tell you what: Just go to Nick Badovinus' hip and happenin' joint (next to his Cuba Libra) and scan the menu. You'll find just the right pie for you. If you… More >>
  • Best Food Event

    KRLD Restaurant Week

    Restaurant Week, usually in late August every year, has grown up: It now includes almost 100 restaurants, from casual family to formal dining. During Restaurant Week you can make a reservation at any of the featured venues and enjoy a prix fixe three-course meal at $30 a person. For many of the more expensive places, this is a very economical… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Lola the Restaurant

    A quick look at Lola's 25-selection by-the-glass wine list is reason enough for this award. Rather than pound your eyes and tongue with endless chardonnays and merlots from California and elsewhere, Lola throws out a couple of ticklers from Veneto, Italy; Germany; and Vouvray, France. The sweetener is this: Prices range from $6 to $18, with most of them hovering… More >>
  • Best Soy Latte Free of Corporate Grubbing

    The Nodding Dog Coffee Co.

    Addiction is an ugly thing. The first step is to admit you're powerless over it: You need your coffee, you will have your quintuple espresso low foam the runway mocha frappadoodle, and the rest of the world be damned. Having accepted the situation, the next step is to quit slopping the corporate hog. The Nodding Dog in Oak Cliff is… More >>
  • Best Cooking Classes for Kids

    Sur La Table

    Kids love to cook, and you love to rationalize any opportunity to dump them somewhere for a couple of hours on Saturday as a great educational adventure. Sur La Table meets all your needs. This classy kitchen/cookware store not only takes grown-up cooking seriously, with adult cooking classes and the most amazing gadgetry, high-end pots and pans, and chi-chi tableware,… More >>
  • Best Buffet

    Fadi's Mediterranean Grill

    Their motto is "eat like a sultan," and if sultans had to pick up their own trays and silverware, we'd believe it. Start at the beginning and work your way through this beautifully presented buffet of fresh Mediterranean specialties: salads and appetizers such as tabbouleh, fattoush, hummus and baba ghanouj; vegetables such as cilantro zucchini, coriander potatoes, pomegranate eggplant and… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch

    Café on the Green in the Four Seasons Resort & Club

    Any reason to go to the Four Seasons is a good one, unless it's for the Byron Nelson, in which case, ugh. The resort's restaurant, with its towering windows letting in an endless supply of sunshine, gives us the feel-good vibe of getting out of town; it's like being in the Hill Country without the drive and all those damned… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    GoldMine Family Restaurant

    Garland may not be so small-town anymore, but it still knows comfort food as well as any farming town. More specifically, the GoldMine Family Restaurant knows its "chicken fry." Fried chicken? Sure. Fried okra? Of course. But the real gem of the golden battered is the chicken-fried steak. These babies aren't frozen wholesale steaks; they're fresh cuts dredged in a… More >>
  • Bite the Vote

    Politics and food are inextricably entwined. Food is the staff of political oratory, the mother's milk of stump rhetoric, the fruit of floor harrumphing. The French recognized this intimate relationship more than two centuries ago when Marie Antoinette famously remarked: "If the people have no bread, then let them eat cake." Historians doubt she ever said this, but she… More >>

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