Food & Drink

  • Food: Stephan Pyles

    Pyles On

    Shaved, rested and ready, Stephan Pyles is ready to turn up the heat again His hibernation lasted nearly five years. Sure, his torpid state had a few movements and shifts: consulting projects for Hotel ZaZa's Dragonfly and Ama Lur at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, plus the travel. But he was mostly out of sight. That was then.… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Alligator Café

    People who work downtown and in East Dallas pack The Alligator Café ("Quick & Cajun") for lunch and post-work munchies. Yes, they do serve alligator--fried, grilled, blackened and in jambalaya, gumbo and po-boys. But the best bets are shrimp-and-oyster gumbo, followed by a basket of fried shrimp or whole catfish. Sides go beyond French fries--dirty rice, fried green tomatoes, new… More >>
  • Best Greasy Spoon

    Goldrush Café

    The Goldrush is metro, retro and cool because it's one of those very rare commodities in Dallas, a place that doesn't try to be cool. Businesses come and go in the strip shopping centers at Live Oak and Skillman, but the Goldrush is forever. Good burgers, better migas, a respectable cuppa joe, but don't ask for any coffee that has… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    The Alligator Café

    People who work downtown and in East Dallas pack The Alligator Café ("Quick & Cajun") for lunch and post-work munchies. Yes, they do serve alligator--fried, grilled, blackened and in jambalaya, gumbo and po-boys. But the best bets are shrimp-and-oyster gumbo, followed by a basket of fried shrimp or whole catfish. Sides go beyond French fries--dirty rice, fried green tomatoes, new… More >>
  • Best Steak House Chef

    David Holben, Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse

    Prime beef doesn't need much help, really. Just a little salt and pepper plus a grill that flames to, oh, about 2,000 degrees. A few line cooks willing to roast their arms retrieving the steaks help, too. Seems every steak house serves Australian lobster but no big deal. Toss it into boiling water and melt some butter, it's perfect. Ah,… More >>
  • Best Naked Lunch

    Body Sushi

    We like sushi. And we like bodies, too. But for some reason, Body Sushi scares us--yet intrigues at the same time. This company, which caters events in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, offers an interesting twist on sushi: serving raw fish on raw flesh. Hungry yet? Body Sushi provides the food, the models (naughty bits covered, of course) and a hostess… More >>
  • Best Fresher than Fresh Fruit

    Ham's Orchard

    You long ago snubbed supermarket produce, and lately you've even become bored with the selection at the Farmers Market. Short of waiting under a peach tree for the fruit to drop into your mouth, Ham's Orchard is the freshest you can get. Various fruits--peaches, plums, apricots, plumcots--are picked daily and sold in Ham's air-conditioned roadside store, which also peddles preserves,… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    The Hobo Special at Metro Diner

    Every time you sit in the red vinyl booths and glance at the laminated sign, you cannot believe your eyes. "Hobo Special--2 eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns and toast, biscuit or pancakes. $6.60." It's like seeing heaven on a piece of 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper. So when the lovely server approaches, you confidently order the Hobo thinking, "I'm so gonna… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Café Izmir

    Don't speak. Don't speak. Not after siphoning a dab of Café Izmir's hummus. You'll flatten everyone within a 40-yard radius. This is why Café Izmir should be the first stop for cops after the doughnut shop. Dallas police could use Café Izmir hummus instead of pepper spray and Taser guns to subdue common criminals and jaywalkers--such is the garlic shock;… More >>
  • Best Ravioli

    Kathleen's Art Café

    See? It is possible to reach greatness without stuffing pasta pillows with pulverized shellfish and drowning them in fortified grape ferment. Kathleen's artichoke-stuffed ravioli is little more than a pile of tooth-firm green pasta bulges reeking of the pulverized thistle flower and buried loosely under a pile of bell peppers, mushrooms, grilled chicken and limpid strips of spinach. But this… More >>
  • Best Fish Dish

    Landmark Restaurant at the Melrose Hotel

    Mizuna, a feathery Japanese mustard green, does not make many house salad appearances in Dallas. But it does show up at the Landmark next to a sea bass, along with its Sicilian eggplant relish cousin caponata. Pommes frites are threaded through there, too, making this the first continental fusion fish that even Ronald McDonald could warm up to. The fish… More >>
  • Best Fancy Restaurant

    Aurora - CLOSED

    Fancy schmancy. In this category, it's thoroughly inaccurate to claim chef Avner Samuel's Aurora has no rivals; Aurora is simply its own category. The evidence: Aurora offers Bentley car service to and from the restaurant. You see? Sure, Best Buy has its Geek Squad VW Beetles, and Sushi Zushi has its Scion xB sushi shuttles. But Aurora has a Bentley.… More >>
  • Best Late-night Restaurant

    Cuquita's - CLOSED

    After the cigarettes have been smoked, the shots have been swallowed and the numbers have been shoved into pockets, the beautiful people head to hook up or wherever it is they go. The rest of us go to Cuquita's to try to soak up all that is wrong in our stomachs. The restaurant stays open from 8 a.m. to 4… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Standard - CLOSED

    So, we lied. Standard isn't a new restaurant. Until recently, it was in the league of the undead. Standard has roots that stretch across time and Dallas neighborhoods. In 2003 it opened in Deep Ellum when former Tom Tom Noodle House chef Tim Byres decided to try his hand at restaurateuring. But diners' fear of crime plagued the Deep Ellum… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    Peggy Sue BBQ

    First off, it seems wrong for the region's best barbecue to be in hoity-toity University Park. Just wrong. Second off, the whole '50s theme at this place is sort of a Texas rip on Peggy Sue's Diner in San Jose, California. But so what? When it's barbecue we're talking about, we have to come back to the basic eats, don't… More >>
  • Best Cup of Coffee

    White Rock Coffee

    Flying in the face of the Starbucks-ification of America, Bob and Nancy Baker built a cool new building and opened this neighborhood coffee shop in Lake Highlands to offer custom blends of coffee roasted on the premises. Yeah, you can order almond mocha latte or the "White Rocker" (latte with caramel and white chocolate), but a plain cup of Baker's… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    El Ranchito

    Mexican food is a lot like sex. It comes in infinite varieties, but there are a few basic elements that you just can't do without. And of course, even bad Mexican food is usually pretty good. One way the two differ would be that sex delivers ample visual and aural stimulation, senses that a plate of enchiladas would seem to… More >>
  • Best Salsa

    Luna de Noche - CLOSED

    This stuff is unique: Made from a base of "lots of cilantro," as our waiter described it, it's dark green with little flecks of red tomato. Dense and deep-flavored, it isn't at all sweet, like many tomato-based salsas. We've had nothing else quite like it in the area. Also prominent in the recipe are jalapeño peppers. If you don't like… More >>
  • Best Lunch Deal

    Original Market Diner

    Some lunch hours you just want something cheap and filling to quiet the beast in your belly so you can get back to work. Sometimes, on the other hand, you want to splurge, to eat something you're not going to forget about before you pay the check. With its blue plate special, the Original Market Diner gives you both. For… More >>
  • Best Place to Lunch with Grandma

    Cindi's New York Deli

    Remember the feeling of going to your grandma's house when she's made so many appetizing dishes that you can't choose one, so you end up eating more than you thought humanly possible, and Nana (or Granny or MawMaw) still lays the guilt trip, "You barely touched your food. Don't you like my cooking?" Avoid this whole debacle by taking your… More >>
  • Best East Dallas-Mex Dish

    The John Wayne Special, Goldrush Café

    Hey, where but in East Dallas are you going to find a Mexican dish named after the Duke? And it's meant as a compliment. To Mexico. The John Wayne is two eggs over on a flour tortilla, hash browns, melted cheese, choice of sausage or ham and lots of hot sauce. It's a breakfast dish, but you can get it… More >>
  • Best Cheap Fajita Taco

    Carry-out window at La Parillada Mexican Kitchen

    Just up the hill from the intersection of Gaston and Garland roads, near the White Rock Lake spillway, La Parillada might be in a part of town you don't consider picturesque. But you could be wrong. Some nice evening, go get yourself a plateful of La Parillada's delicious fajita tacos, served from a little mail slot in the front of… More >>
  • Best Birthday Cake

    Dallas Affaires Cake Co.

    In business 20 years at its location near Abrams Road and Lakewood Boulevard, Dallas Affaires has earned a regional reputation for wonderful wedding cakes, but a good half of the store's business is in its other great product--the custom birthday cake. There is no birthday boy or girl who won't love the white chocolate cake with Chambord (French liqueur) and… More >>
  • Best Pink Drink

    The Pomerita, Café San Miguel

    A pink drink to make you think, the pomerita (pomegranate margarita) at Café San Miguel is a concoction of fresh-squeezed lime and pomegranate juices and Sauza Gold tequila. Goes by in a blink, makes you sink to your knees: the perfect potion to accompany the avant-Mexican fare at San Miguel. The only chink in the plan would be too many… More >>
  • Best Biscuits

    Barbec's

    If you're a reader (or employee) of this paper, the odds that you place a high value on respectability are probably only 50-50. But just in case you do, "the only respectable way to have beer for breakfast" (as proudly stated on the waitresses' shirts) is Barbec's beer biscuits, which accompany pretty much any of their breakfast plates. If you… More >>
  • Best Asian Chillout

    Asian Mint

    The Asian Mint dining room is rather small. (This is especially noticeable at busy hours, when you feel the waiting customers praying that you eat faster and leave sooner.) But for some reason, you just can't rush at Asian Mint. We always find ourselves slowly eating sushi, pondering the pad Thai and dawdling over dessert (usually one of their green-tea… More >>
  • Best New Neighborhood Lunch Spot

    Highlands Café

    The owners of Highlands Café were fed up with the dearth of non-chain restaurants in Lake Highlands, so they decided to start their own. Almost instantly, the place became the local lunch hangout. Nothing fancy; the walls are decorated with kids' art. The burgers, sandwiches, salads and homemade soups are fresh and inventive; kid-sized meals come with fries or raw… More >>
  • Best BLT

    Café Brazil

    Why is it so many restaurants don't understand why people order BLTs? Is it for the bread? No. The tomato? Not really. The lettuce? Please. You buy a BLT because you're in the mood for bacon, and the best place to buy a BLT with a hefty rasher on it is Café Brazil. Everything else on a Café Brazil BLT… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Carb Binge

    Suma Veggie Café

    It's too far for a workday lunch for up-and-downtowners, but you'll find many of us trekking there on Saturdays to sample the lunch buffet. Did we say "sample"? Strike that, we mean "gorge on." For about $6, a hungry vegetarian or vegan can get bottomless iced tea and a shot at Suma's all-you-can-eat buffet. The buffet varies somewhat week to… More >>
  • Best Soup

    Metropolitan Café

    Never pit a cooking mom vs. a canned good. There's no point. Especially when it comes to split pea soup. Bordering on stew, it's a tough soup to get right (not too salty, not too chunky) and it'll never be right if it comes from a can. Mom will always win. Christine Vouras proves this with a hearty, savory concoction… More >>
  • Best Bagel

    Park Cities Bakery & Deli

    When we bite into a bagel, we want dough so fresh that the shiny outer layer sticks to our teeth. We want chewy goodness that's fresh-baked whether it's sweet or savory. No truckin' it in. And schmeared or not, we don't want overwhelming spice from our cinnamon raisin round, and we don't want devastating heat from the jalapeño kind. We… More >>
  • Best Appetizer

    Hector's on Henderson - CLOSED

    Except in some diners and French restaurants, liver and onions has gone the way of Salisbury steak or chili mac. But in this era of retro, you know some smart-ass is going to come up with Salisbury squab steak or habanera chili mac ziti. Hector's gives us chicken-fried chicken livers and caramelized cipolline onions. This trio of crispy chicken livers… More >>
  • Best Wings

    Bone Daddy's House of Smoke

    A sign on the wall says this: Blonds, our other white meat. Fondle the pork substation and do what you will with it. Our concern here is the white meat that isn't the other, whether oinks or squeals. Bone Daddy's messy grilled chicken wings aren't exactly white. They're more of a barbecue bronze with jet-black wing tips. These wings are… More >>
  • Best Calamari

    Daniele Osteria

    We'll be honest here: We don't like our squid fried. It's not the concept, it's the execution. Virtually all of it in Dallas is either greasy and tepid or greasy and tepid with a dipping sauce. And then there's the primordial fear most kitchens have of tentacles. What's with this suction cup phobia? Does it stem from childhood traumas of… More >>
  • Best Dessert

    62 Main Restaurant - CLOSED

    62 Main is a double-barrel high; one, because you have to climb a circuitous flight of stairs to get to the dining room and, two, because the food gets the serotonin juiced up. So you need something to bring you down: raspberry cobbler. Chef David McMillan, who escaped from L.A. to do a tour at Nana atop the Anatole 27… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Marble Slab Creamery

    Sure, they're everywhere--Marble Slab Creamery's Web site lists 32 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. (We picked the one in Cedar Hill because the workers are so friendly.) But this is killer ice cream: smooth, rich, dense and available in several intriguing flavors such as black walnut, Amaretto, mango and our favorite, rum. Add in all kinds of toppings (which… More >>
  • Best Steak

    Hibiscus

    Forget rare, medium rare, medium well, well or soot. The true color of steak in Dallas is jade. We're jaded by these slabs of meat, by the temples and ranches that arise in their honor. Pity the steers; envy the cardiologists; be awe-stricken by the steak-house glut; pity us. This is why it was inevitable that the best steak would… More >>
  • Best Waitstaff Footwear

    Bone Daddy's House of Smoke

    We like the shoes the servers wear in this barbecue joint, mostly for their inspired classic look: Mary Janes, the strapped shoes styled after the traditional shoes children wore more than a half-century ago. These shoes are touchingly framed by lacy anklets, creating a heartwarming, homey image from a simpler time: one of innocence, where simple rib-sticking barbecue and a… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Ziziki's

    In Dallas, Greek cuisine, where it exists at all, seldom moves beyond gyros and a salad of broad leaf weeds, feta cheese, tomato wedges and olives that are usually black Mission instead of Greek. Perhaps this is why Ziziki's on Travis Walk is such a heroic steakless stalwart, surviving in the cutthroat flash and dash of the Dallas restaurant grinder… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Il Mulino New York

    Let's be blunt: The bench in Dallas for mouth-watering, clean, elegant Italian cuisine is thin; thin enough to make into a racy camisole. So the competition isn't tough. Il Mulino pounds it silly anyway, shredding this flimsy bench into saucy confetti. It does this with large portions and bold flavors from Italy's Abruzzi region. Yet it executes its bloodying with… More >>
  • Best Waitstaff

    Houston's

    Houston's servers aren't good because they're friendly, efficient, knowledgeable and able to act on service cues without your even noticing. They're good because they perform like this in a powder keg. Houston's is almost always confronting the crush of a crowd. Waits build and grow. Reservations are not taken. Chaos threatens but never invades. The staff is calm, seemingly oblivious… More >>
  • Best Crab Cakes

    Hibiscus

    Like fried calamari, crab cakes are the ubiquitous foodstuff of contemporary dining--though most times they seem more at home in a mattress than on a dinner plate. Too often, crab cakes are little more than Underwood Deviled sandwich spread/Shake 'N' Bake hybrids. Not so with Hibiscus' crab cakes. For starters, chef Nick Badovinus uses crushed Ritz crackers. Second, the crabs… More >>
  • Best Dining Room

    Watel's Allen Street Cottage

    You know the organ part of Watel's; the menu swath that offers calf's liver, sweetbreads, calf brains and veal kidney. But you probably didn't know that Watel's has a room with a view, too. Tucked in back of this quaint Allen Street cottage is the sunroom, which offers the opportunity to munch on juvenile bovine brains while taking in the… More >>
  • Best Salad (Tie)

    62 Main Restaurant, Greenz

    In many ways, the menu at 62 Main is child's play. Example: In the center of the menu is Ryan's warm pecan and rosemary-crusted goat cheese salad. It's a delicious mix of crisp greens drizzled in tomato coriander dressing. The cheese is thoroughly embedded with pecan and herb debris, which contrasts well with the subtle cheese sharpness. Instead of gooey,… More >>
  • Best Way to Fatten Up Too-Skinny SMU Chicks

    Dough Monkey

    The women at SMU are thin. We're talking Mary Kate Olsen thin. And since the best bakery in town is only a few blocks away in Snider Plaza, we have no idea why. Dough Monkey is a quiet little shop where the offerings are much better than anybody could ever expect. That probably means that the fat and calorie contents… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Sam's Pizza and Pasta

    We admit, we found out about this place in the "Sentence Restaurant Guide," a highly critical survey of local restaurants by a Dallas author we'd never heard of, one Ralph Robert Moore, who posts a moody, authorly pic of himself on his Web site (www.ralphrobertmoore.com/dallasrestaurants.html) as well as personal essays and diary entries that fall in the category of Too… More >>
  • Best Rack

    Angela's Bistro 51

    This rack is bright green, and this is a good thing. The green, as frilly as a shamrock boa, is a bright herb encrustation unmolested by intense heat. The lamb chops themselves are gorgeously ruddy, creating a kind of Christmas holiday wreath in meat. The bones are propped vertically, leaning into a crown pinnacle around a central core of portobello… More >>
  • Best Thin-Crust Pizza

    Scalini's

    Lots of Americans are suspicious of thin-crust pizza. It's hardwired into our brains to want the most stuff for the least amount of money, and nobody but nobody is gonna skimp on my pizza dough. But for those of us willing to transcend our capitalist heritage, a good thin-crust pizza is manna from heaven. Cooked just right, crispy but not… More >>
  • Best Other Suburban Pizza Place

    Paparazzi Pizza

    There are a few magic words when it comes to pizza: "delivery," "wood-burning oven," "stuffed crust," "extra pepperoni." The new spot at Josey Lane and Keller Springs Road forces you to pick up the damn pie. We don't see a big open flame anywhere behind the counter. Guess you can order extra pepperoni, though. And pay with a credit card--the… More >>
  • Best Eatery Where Everything is Good (And Maybe Even Good for You)

    Eatzi's

    The fruit is fresh. The milk is cold. The sushi's delivered daily (we think). The breakfast burrito is great. The ribs come slathered in a sauce that's tangy without being showy. The salsa is showy--who knew peaches and raspberries went well with Mexican spices? The salad offers more toppings than could be included--either here or on the greens. On the… More >>
  • Best Curry

    Bangkok Inn

    Ambience is in short supply at the Bangkok Inn. The garish red and green décor may be an attempt to distract patrons' attention from the uneven floor and matching ceiling, and often the best tables are taken by members of the owner's family reading the paper or doing homework. But don't worry, once your masaman curry arrives, that smell is… More >>
  • Best Tapas

    Hola!

    Like its cousin Café Madrid on Travis Street, Hola! serves Spanish tapas, small plates that pack big taste. Our favorites are the potato omelet and the corn-and-codfish croquettes, but the menu offers a plethora of other dishes as well, including a fabulous dessert of sautéed bread drizzled in toffee. Hola! is a dinner-only establishment, and that seems fitting. The place… More >>
  • Best Comeback

    Mariano's Hacienda

    When Mariano's Mexican restaurant lost its lease in the Old Town shopping center, it was a sad day. The birthplace of the frozen margarita would be no more, replaced instead with a Petsmart. They should make historical markers for occasions such as this, but history, alas, is lost on some. Mariano's, however, would not be beaten. It has found new… More >>
  • Best Shaved Ice

    T&C Shaved Ice

    We picked this category in the summer, when shaved ice is as necessary to survive the August heat as air conditioning, water bottles and Umbro shorts, but the great thing about T&C Shaved Ice is its year-round appeal. If you've ever thought "shaved ice is just shaved ice," then you haven't been to this blink-and-you'll-miss-it shack on Garland Road. The… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Spiral Diner

    Yeah, we know Spiral Diner is in Fort Worth, and this is Best of Dallas. But that's the point: If you want vegetarian food in Dallas, be prepared for Indian food, Thai food, carb-heavy Chinese food, salad bars or veggie burgers cooked right next to the meat. And let's not forget the refried beans (which may contain lard) and the… More >>
  • Best Root Beer

    The Alligator Café

    There are people who will come to fisticuffs when debating who makes the best root beer: A&W, Barq's, IBC or Mug. Pedestrian, we say. If you've tasted homemade root beer, nothing manufactured can compare. Thank goodness for Ivan Pugh, the chef at East Dallas' Alligator Café, which makes its own root beer and cream soda at the restaurant. Served from… More >>
  • Best Cinnamon Rolls

    Bonnie Ruth's Café and Catering

    Sin, when done right, tastes like one of these soft, yeasty, luscious cinnamon buns sticky with creamy caramel, a steal at only $2.50. Chef Bonnie Ruth Ianace makes them only on Saturdays, so that also imbues the buns with an even more illicit cachet. You know you really should be doing something constructive, like cleaning out the garage, but all… More >>
  • Best Dinner and a Movie

    Ferré Ristorante e Bar

    The come-on: For $22.95 per person, you get a three-course dinner plus a ticket to a movie at the Magnolia Theater next door. The catch: You have to arrive for dinner between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Oh, the suffering. This Tuscan-Italian hotspot in the West Village provides the perfect way to impress a first date. Choose one from a… More >>
  • Best Lobster

    The Original Daddy Jack's

    It's casual and crowded, with red gingham tablecloths and lots of noise, but Daddy Jack's is an institution. The chowder is hearty and the grilled fish always fresh, though sometimes pricey. But there's one thing tightwad gourmands can always count on. For years, every Monday through Wednesday, Daddy Jack's has served up Lobster Madness for dinner: $12.95 gets you lobster… More >>
  • Best Chef Younger Than 27

    Todd Erickson, Hector's On Henderson

    It's a bit disturbing when you slide into a chair at this highly regarded restaurant and spot some kid in kitchen garb shaking hands with patrons. Then you discover he's the chef. Geez, that punk kid with the flipped 'do is the chef. No effin' way. Todd Erickson looks quite a bit younger than 26 but cooks much older. Already… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    AllGood Café

    We've never understood this state's passion for hunks of inferior beef pounded flat with a mallet, dipped in batter, tossed into a frying pan, then drenched in white gravy that resembles that gooey grade-school paste. Yes, we've tried it. No wonder it took Laura Bush so long to find a replacement White House chef; no classically trained culinary artist can… More >>
  • Best Thing To Happen In Addison Since...Ever (Tie)

    Monica's Aca y Alla, Go Fish

    Remember when the Boss lamented the sorry state of cable television? You know, "57 channels and nothing's on?" As a dining and nightlife destination, Addison has a similar unfavorable reputation. Despite hosting the area's only authentic British pub (The Londoner), a good Chinese spot (May Dragon) and the best-known comedy club, people refer to Addison as a land lacking originality.… More >>
  • Best Frontperson Besides Al Biernat

    Hector Garcia, Hector's On Henderson

    No matter how earnestly gourmands discuss truffle oil or jicama or whatever, the success of a restaurant hinges on the human element. In other words, ambience and service matter more than food. That's why the best restaurants find someone to set the tone, make an outstanding first impression. Comely babes with firm implants work in a pinch, sure. Remembering names… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese

    Zoom

    The posts upon which the ceiling beams rest are photo galleries. Digital pictures, shot by Zoom owner Tess Nguyen, have been blown up and pasted onto the curving surfaces: craggy cliffs in a deep blue bay and villagers harvesting salt from a lagoon in Vietnam; frolicking ducks that look suspiciously like future candidates for ped kee mow (drunken duck with… More >>
  • Best Thai

    Thai Chili

    True Thai pierces the mouth like a laser, with cleanly articulated flavors delivered with succinct accents. Chile must strike but not ravage. Citrus must stoke but not reap strangling winces. Fish sauce and lemongrass aromas must arouse but not descend into a choking stink fog. Thai Chili chisels out these flavors and aromas with sharp definition and grace. Pad Thai… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar

    NORFOLK, VIRGINIA--People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced today that Teppo chef Teiichi Sakurai, the top sushi maestro in Dallas, has made the animal activist group's list of the world's Top 10 Vegan Villains, faulting the chef's exquisite work with raw, hand-carved fish with triggering a sadistic sushi obsession among Dallas consumers. "Pigs wag their tails when they're… More >>
  • Best Seafood

    Oceanaire Seafood Room

    Take a flounder, mount horns above its gills, give it a cud to chew on and hoofs to flap and you have Oceanaire, the bloodthirsty steak house of the nation's fisheries. Servings are big and bold. Fish is fresh, nuzzled in 1930s supper-club ocean-liner hyper-swank. At the raw bar, a dozen varieties of oysters rest on the half shell. Crab… More >>
  • Best Korean

    You-Chun Korean Restaurant

    You-Chun is small and simple. Proof: A water cooler with hot and cold spouts dispenses water and tea. The menu is brief. Proof: Under "meat dish" there is just one dish, an exquisite beef rib served sizzling with white, crisp onion shards. Meat is impeccable: juicy, rich, loaded with flavor, easy to pinch with chopsticks. Korean dumpling hot soup is… More >>
  • Best Saltimbocca

    Saltimbocca's!

    Overhearing a Hooter habitué dining with his gourmet wife: Hooterman: Saltimbocca! What the hell does that mean? Is that one of those boysenberry microbrews from redwoods hippies? Never could wash down a five-wing flappertizer with that dreck. What color are the shorts? Wife: Sheesh, Burt. It's a classic Italian dish with thinly sliced veal, a dusting of sage and a… More >>
  • Best Risotto

    Taverna Pizzeria and Risottoria

    Risotto is a fickle mistress. Demote it from the center of attention, and she will kick you where jewels reign. Stir it improperly, and you will hang your head in a mush of starchy shame. But get it right...Taverna's risotto ai frutti di mare is this: clams, mussels, calamari and shrimp--loads of all of it. All of it is fresh… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Temple Disguise

    Grand Lux Cafe

    Grand Lux is a solemn cathedral--if you don't count the eggs Benedict and the servers scouting the floor with walkie-talkies. But in time these will be reverent, too. After all, chanting, long flowing robes and smoking heirlooms were strictly brothel before they went Notre Dame. Grand Lux is kind of holy, too, with lots of loud yellows, gas lanterns, glorious… More >>
  • Best Chinese

    August Moon - CLOSED

    Buffets, MSG, goo, glop. Chinese in Dallas is mostly high-horsepower gullet ballast. But the food at August Moon is deft. Seafood bisque imperial is packed with king crab, shrimp, scallops and calamari in a "bisque" of chicken broth and egg whites. Whole red snapper is sweet and moist with shredded pork, snow peas, shiitake mushrooms and bamboo shoots in sweet… More >>
  • Best Chinese Delivery

    Yin's Wok

    Chinese food delivery is always an iffy proposition. Just looking at some of the menus we find on our front door on a regular basis can induce some sort of psychosomatic food poisoning. That, however, doesn't mean we haven't tried them. And it certainly doesn't mean we haven't regretted it. But there's one delivery place that has never let us… More >>
  • Best Indian

    India Palace Restaurant & Club

    India Palace gushes with fine interior appointments--and pink. The large space is portioned into separate rooms where candles flicker and chandeliers glow. Pink drips from the walls and linens. The servers are finely dressed. Hooch is available. The breads--warm naan, a leavened white bread; tandoori roti, unleavened wheat bread; and aloo paratha, wheat bread stuffed with potatoes and peas--is delicious.… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Taste

    Wine lists don't have to be as thick as the tax code. They don't have to be as ostentatious as a set of Park Cities fingers. They just have to be concise and make sense within the context of the menu while they challenge, pique and intrigue. This little list does all of that. The wines are smart, unexpected and… More >>
  • Best Sommelier

    Todd Lincicome, Al Biernat's

    A city of high-maintenance winos needs a few good sommeliers. For uninitiated inebriates, sommelier is just a French word for guy who brings you wine. Anyone can mumble "very good, sir" and trot out the bottle of swill you ordered. Lincicome excels at the delicate art of pairing wine with menu items and individual tastes. Love big, bold cabernets but… More >>
  • Best Local Beer

    Rahr Blonde Lager

    Do not, repeat, do not let the word "lager" fool you. In fact, in the name "Rahr Blonde Lager," perhaps you should concentrate on the word "blonde," because this beer is more fun to drink than just about any other lager out there. The brewery describes the flavor as "rounded maltiness" with good reason: There's a heft to the sweet,… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Hibiscus

    You can do whatever you want to fries. You can pour industrial Velveeta on them and blast them with bacon bits; you can serve them with 14 varieties of Wishbone; you can braid them with beads of French's and Heinz; or you can cut them as thin as thong string, dust them with herbs and call them frites. But we… More >>
  • Best Home-Style

    Celebration

    Celebration feels like a vacation. It has the smell of a hunting lodge, with lots of wood, stone and simple copper-topped tables. There are no appetizers, so decisions are focused. There are no reservations. Just rib-sticking meals you used to get at your great aunt's house before she discovered Emeril and sank your inheritance into a Viking range. You can… More >>
  • Best Brunch, Sunday or Any Other Day

    La Duni Latin Kitchen and Baking Studio - CLOSED

    The McKinney Avenue La Duni's better known and more crowded, so please, God, whatever you do, don't tell anyone we prefer this location; enough, already, with the crowds. But we're resigned to the fact that the secret's out about this spot, which is a little darker and more cramped inside but somehow a little superior to the other joint. It… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Your Caribbean On

    Caribbean Grill

    Ever since our first visit to Miami, we've been hooked on the Cuban sandwich--not the slab-o'-pork crammed between two slices of cardboard they're serving up at Little Havana but the real thing, which melts in your mouth before it even hits your tongue. See, with a good Cuban sandwich, it's not just about the pork and pickles and melted cheese,… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Pollo Campero

    They say Guatemalans fill duffel bags with hunks of Pollo Campero chicken for import to the United States, filling the airplane cabin with the smell of freshly fried fowl. We know, it sounds like an urban myth, but we read about it in no less a source than The New York Times. It just goes to show you that Pollo… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Culver's

    We've tried all the hamburger joints everyone touts and were disappointed to find places frying up frozen cow chips and trying to hide the paucity of flavor with gobs of toppings, or failing to grill the beef at the appropriate temperature, in effect producing steamburgers. Yuck. It really isn't that complicated. Fresh (never frozen) lean meat, seared at a high… More >>
  • Best Bar, Bakery, Boutique, Restaurant and Coffee House

    Cretia's on McKinney

    Cretia's really oughtn't work. It's one of those Jack-of-all-trades ideas that could be a mile wide and an inch deep. The thing is, from morning until way after dinner, you can eat, shop, drink and hang out in this bakery gone wild, and it's all good. Start with a cappuccino and croissant in the coffee bar on the way to… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Kids

    Cracker Barrel

    Two words: country store. Kids love Cracker Barrel's country store, which features all kinds of nostalgic toys and confections such as Walnettos (caramel blended with bits of walnuts) and maple sugar candy. There's no escaping the country store without making some kind of purchase for the kids, but most of the items are inexpensive and blessedly low-tech. The restaurant? The… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Décor

    Nicola's Ristorante

    When you settle into a groovy space you just feel a bit more suave. At least we think so. There must be some connection between décor and attitude. After all, the University of Iowa football program painted the visiting locker rooms pink--floors, walls, lockers, everything--just to pacify the opposition. They've won 20-some odd home games in a row. Nicola's prefers… More >>
  • Best Way to Let Tea Knowledge Seep In

    www.Yasemintea.com

    It was always a nice diversion to visit the Yasemin Tea shop in Uptown. Owner Yasemin Mosby took pleasure in educating customers on the health benefits and customs of tea drinking, and she encouraged plenty of sampling before choices were made about what to take home. It's a little sad that she only operates her business through a Web site… More >>
  • Best Belt-Buster

    Southern Fried Pie Company

    If Denton friends are trying to persuade you to brave Interstate 35 for a visit, tell them they can seal the deal with lunch at Southern Fried Pie Company. That place will wrap anything into a pocket pastry, and we mean anything. Just perusing the café's menu of hand-held goodies will add five pounds to your figure. The main course… More >>
  • Best Bowl of Chicken Soup

    La Fiesta Fruits Café

    Here's one for DART rail riders: Get off at the West End stop and walk into the building that houses Chipotle. Instead of taking a right into the chain restaurant (we've seen you, and you don't need another burrito), take a left into La Fiesta Fruits Café. Order the chicken soup. This ain't no Campbell's canned crap; this is authentic,… More >>
  • Best Odd-Sounding Salad

    Chicken liver salad at City Café

    Jerry Jones orders it every time he lunches at this charming Parkie redoubt in the shadow of the Tollway. According to owner Paula Bruton, it's become so popular that it's now a constant lunch entrée as well as a dish they'll make as an off-the-menu dinner appetizer. It sounds so, well, odd. And then you taste it. It begins as… More >>

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