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Food & Drink

  • FOOD: Cocoa Head

    “Researchers have discovered that chocolate produces some of the same reactions in the brain as marijuana. The researchers also discovered other similarities between the two but can’t remember what they are.” —Today Show co-host Matt Lauer Chocolate has been called a psychoactive food, an obsession and an addiction. It’s been referred to as the food of the gods and the food of… More >>
  • Best Catfish

    Hook, Line & Sinker

    When it comes to catfish, we're a picky bunch. Sure, anyone can batter up some fish and throw it in a fryer, but not everyone can make it taste good. Thankfully, the boys at Hook, Line & Sinker know exactly what they're doing. Served in the customary basket-and-paper set-up, their catfish is a dish to behold--never too greasy, always perfectly… More >>
  • Best Fried Pickles

    Love and War in Texas

    Every true Southerner knows the pleasure a quality order of fried pickles can provide. Unfortunately, they're not an easy appetizer to master, and a floppy pickle just ain't no good--no matter how well you batter it. The cut is also important--some prefer spears, others side with slices. We're in the latter camp, as we'd rather take our big pickles in… More >>
  • Best Fish Tacos

    Taco Diner

    Nearly every Dallas Mexican restaurant worth a dip boasts some type of fish taco on its menu, but almost none are as good as Taco Diner's. These upscale taquerias are certainly no hole-in-the-wall treasures, but what they lack in soul they more than make up for in flavor. The fish tacos feature grilled tilapia (soaked in a delicious, tangy citrus… More >>
  • Best Food Orgasm

    Pokey O's Cookies & Ice Cream

    The ice cream sandwich is a work of art, perhaps the most perfectly devised dessert ever created. Pokey O's has upped the ante, though, replacing the thin cookie wafer of the traditional sandwich with sizable, freshly baked cookies (available in 14 varieties) and thick scoops of Blue Bell ice cream (they stock 15 flavors). We soil our faces with oatmeal… More >>
  • Best Senior Dining

    Chubby's Family Restaurant

    We generally don't make it to Chubby's until 2 p.m. or so on the weekends, at which time we're enjoying a late breakfast. Most of the clientele, however, seems to be enjoying an early dinner before they watch JAG and turn in. Whether they come for the excellent omelets, the chicken-fried steak or the freshly baked pies we're not sure,… More >>
  • Best Homemade Ice Cream

    Ham's Orchard Peach

    Ham's, the little roadside stand that could, is already fairly famous for its pick-your-own or just-buy-it fruit, especially the peaches. But people need to know more about the "homemade" ice cream they sell. Both flavors, peach and strawberry, are delicious, but our particular favorite is the peach. Maybe because they use peaches to make it instead of Soviet-era surplus chemicals,… More >>
  • Best Muffuletta

    Jimmy's Food Store

    Second-generation owners of Jimmy's Food Store, one of the true treasures of Old East Dallas, weren't defeated by a fire in 2004: They reopened a year later, and now they're doing better than ever. People come from all over North Texas to buy sausage handmade behind the counter, imported Italian groceries and wonderful cheeses. And now the store has a… More >>
  • Best Taco Stand

    Tacos y Mas

    Here at the Observer, we're precise in our word use. So when we say stand, we mean a walk-up, no-indoor-seating, honest-to-goodness free-standing stand. And if there's anything we'll stand for, it's the torta al pastor at Tacos y Mas, which may be the best spicy pork sandwich any side of any border. As for the first part of the name,… More >>
  • Best Corporate Diner

    Lucky's

    What is it that makes a good diner? Grease? Lucky's has that. Kitschy memorabilia? The walls are groaning with it. Quirky neighborhood characters? Ever been to the Oak Lawn Halloween Parade? 'Nuff said. In other words, you'd never guess that this friendly retro joint is run by Consolidated Restaurant Operations Inc. (could you find a more impersonal name, please?), the… More >>
  • Best Soda

    Jarritos

    You can get Jarritos, the Mexican fruit-based sodas, in most major grocery stores now, but the best selection is at Fiesta. Something about these sodas makes them much more flavorful than American sodas, maybe because they try to taste like real stuff, as opposed to, say, Coke? What does Coke taste like? Can you imagine whatever Coke comes from growing… More >>
  • Best Dumpling

    Thai Dumpling at Bangkok Inn

    Dumplings are touch-and-go. It's easy for a dumpling to be a little too dumpling or not quite dumpling enough. The shell has to be cooked but not overcooked, and of course the filling needs to be warm when the dumplings arrive at the table but not cooked solid and certainly not cold. If you've never been to Bangkok Inn before,… More >>
  • Best Lunch Deal

    Thai Thai

    An all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $6 is a deal good enough to set off warning bells. How good can the food be if they can give you so much of it for so little? At Thai Thai, the answer is pretty damn good. The spicy basil beef is truly mouth-watering while the masaman curry is sweet and zesty. The secret… More >>
  • Best Hangover Cure

    Gold Rush Café

    When you have a hangover, you don't want to cook. Nor do you want to shave, shower or have to be fit for human contact. You just want some basic greasy breakfast fare to soak up the toxins your evil twin guzzled the night before. That's where the Gold Rush comes in--no pretension, no dress code, just fantastic pancakes, eggs… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Nicola's Ristorante

    Like the best Plano-Friscovic mansions, Nicola's has a ceiling that vaults high in the entryway above the bar dangling glitzy chandeliers. It's a hall of opulence. On a fat post behind the back bar, a gentleman who bears a striking resemblance to David Niven holds a rod draped with freshly made spaghetti strands. Perhaps this is to subliminally press the… More >>
  • Best Carpaccio

    Bice Ristorante - CLOSED

    A lot can be said (hype) about Bice (beach-aye, beach-aye you ice heads) Ristorante, the circa 1926 Milanese trattoria opened by Beatrice Ruggeri that later found its way to New York, Chicago, Houston, Orlando, Latin America, Saudi Arabia, Beirut, Singapore and numerous other locales. Much more should probably be left unsaid. But what should not be left unsung in this… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    The Oceanaire Seafood Room

    "To eat an oyster is to kiss the sea on the lips," reads a quote posted on Oceanaire's Web site. It's fitting this quote should be used to shill Oceanaire, a seafood-intensive dining room (oh sure, there are pork chops and rib eyes for chumps) saddled with a menu in continual flux on account of the fresh fish shipments shuttled… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana

    OK, so it's not really Mexican, technically speaking. It's "high Mexican" or chichi-Mex, or froufrou-Mex--though it's more like global haute cuisine with a Mexican accent. There are no sombreros or mariachi posters on the walls. Instead, the interior is crisply contemporary with river stone, rich wood beams and contemporary art in a room washed in hushed tones. Still, Lanny's (Lanny… More >>
  • Best Sommelier

    Drew Hendricks, Pappas Bros.

    Once you get beyond the wine, you'll find Drew Hendricks is little more than a grunt. Joining the Army straight out of high school, Hendricks scored a tour on a family vineyard in the Baden region of Germany (it was part of an Army cultural exchange program). Here, Hendricks participated in war games where each side attempted to vanquish the… More >>
  • Best Ham Salad

    Amuse Restaurant & Lounge

    Ham is a cured cut from a hog's hind leg. In Italy, where it's salt-cured and pressed it's called prosciutto, which would make a really cool name for a Ferrari. Try this: F355 Prosciutto Spider. Except it would never fly in the U.S. market because nobody wants to drive a 500-horsepower hog shank, even if the name does sound cool… More >>
  • Best Fast-Food Chicken

    Marco Pollo Rotisserie

    How to torture an organic chicken: bath it in white wine, rub it raw inside and out with lemon halves, soak it in dark beer, rub it with a secret blend of Peruvian spices and leave it to stew for 24 hours. Then, give it another Peruvian rub, impale it on a rotisserie over smoldering charcoal and split hickory and… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    India Palace Restaurant & Club

    We like this: Most of India Palace's décor de pink has been flushed, giving way to lush golds, dark mustards and rich burgundies heightened by brass chandeliers. Which means it's actually beginning to resemble a palace instead of a casino by Larry Flynt. At the entrance is a plastic box with slots quarantining all of the spices: mustard seed, coriander,… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Margaux's, a Restaurant by Design

    Tucked into Dallas' design district, Kay Agnew's Margaux's is a breath of fresh lunch munch fueled by hot licks of Creole and Cajun brashness artfully designed to kick you out of your luncheon ennui. Red beans and rice with andouille sausage? Oh-so-supple firm beans poured over fluffy separate rice grains with flecks of scallion. Soft shell crab is littered with… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Quán Kien Giang Vietnamese Cuisine - CLOSED

    While many of us don't like them, we all have a voyeuristic fascination with whole fish arriving on a plate: tail, fins, head and gills fully intact. We try to decipher its blank expressions, play stare-down with the eye sockets, try to find the thing's tongue. In most places, you order a whole fish and it slumbers on the plate,… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Nakhon Thai

    It's a distinctive notch of Thai splendor. You have statues and statuettes of gods and warriors, reliefs of beautiful Thai women and photographs of Thai royalty. Plus, there is the tinkle and splashing of fountains in the entrance. Furnishings are all Thai imports, from the glossy web-worked wood chairs to the god sporting multiple limbs engraved on an urn. But… More >>
  • Best French Fry Impostor

    Hanasho Japanese Restaurant

    Everyone has fries: shoestring, cottage, home, steak, frites, french. Hash browns? Sure. But not everyone has Hanasho fries. They curl at one end, forming a fishing hook. They look like headless seahorses. The staff says they're just like french fries. No, they're not. They have golden brown fringe around the creamy flesh. These are Hanasho's fried squid legs. Probe past… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Restaurant

    Kitchen 1924 - CLOSED

    There's nothing like branding yourself bland. "This is a generic restaurant concept. It is a throwback. There is no special identity. It is what it is--a place to get well and nourished," the Kitchen 1924 says of itself. OK. But in truth, Kitchen 1924 sweats special identity. Look at all of the neighbors bellying up to the bar and huddling… More >>
  • Best Excuse for Bad Breath

    Garlic Rolls at Marco Italian

    First, let's get the obvious out of the way. The food is good, service is great and the ambiance is chic. But as you wait for your smoked chicken ravioli or your vegetarian calzone, beware the complimentary basket of garlic bread rolls. The homemade "doughballs" are served warm with fresh garlic and oil poured over. Don't let the tiny size… More >>
  • Best Guacamole

    Café San Miguel - CLOSED

    It's their top seller. They gladly admit it. And who are we to doubt such boasts? It's made to order. It's as vividly green as the poison tree frog mugs on those "Save the Rainforest" direct-mail fund-raising pieces. Shove in a chip. The guac is chunky, nutty and fresh. This is stellar stuff with white onion, lime, cilantro and roasted… More >>
  • Best Slice of Heaven

    Key lime pie from JANTT Catering Co.

    If limes could die and go to heaven, they would find themselves in owner Teresa Trevino's Key lime pie. This small, family-owned catering company in Mesquite has quietly made its mark among local schools and businesses, but its secret weapon is this dessert. With a whipped instead of gelatinous filling, it is as if limes ascended into the sky, evaporated… More >>
  • Best Coffee Shop in the Morning

    Crossroads Market

    Should you ever find yourself with a leisurely weekday morning, head here for an iced chai latte and muffin. The bustling of Starbucks is nil here as the low sound of the TV and warm but colorful décor slowly wakes you into the day. Whether reading the paper, using the free wi-fi or just catching a morning break, Crossroads is… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Kalachandji's Restaurant & Palace

    The moment you step into Kalachandji's, you sense the mood of the East--or maybe it's just the lack of air conditioning. No, it's more than that. It's the diverse clientele, the unusual food and something else that you just can't put your finger on. Ah, it's the chance to broaden your horizons through the exposure to vegetarian food, Hare Krishnas… More >>
  • Best Brunch

    Terilli's

    Most anyone who dines out in Dallas (and now Frisco) knows about Terilli's. They know that Terilli's has a diverse menu and that everything is good. But maybe you were put off by the boisterous party atmosphere of dinner at Terilli's. If so, it's time to revisit and enjoy the laid-back calm of brunch. Personally, we can't get out of… More >>
  • Best Place for Vegetarians to Take Carnivores

    Clay Pit

    There's no reason for meat-eaters and vegetarians to come to blows over who gets to choose the restaurant this time. Granted, vegetarians most often get the raw end of the deal, forced to eat a limp afterthought of a salad whenever their pals want to hit the steak house. And our heart goes out to flesh-eaters who are forced to… More >>
  • Best Sweet Tooth Fix

    Voila Bakery

    Sometimes you just gotta have it. You've been thinking about it all day, and the longing's just growing stronger. When your sugar jones kicks in, pray that you're near Voila Bakery. They have tempting sandwiches and soups for those normal days, but when your sweet tooth really needs satisfaction, it's straight to the dessert case. From an all-American apple tart… More >>
  • Best Free Appetizer

    Gloria's

    Often, the thought of having to wait for your food at a sit-down restaurant is downright depressing. When you've spent 45 minutes debating where to go, another half-hour rounding up the kids/friends/family and 20 minutes driving to and parking at your destination, you're simply ready to eat. NOW. You want the instant gratification of a snack that's plunked down even… More >>
  • Best Margaritaville Substitute

    Weekends Restaurant

    There may be an American Idol wannabe belting out country karaoke tunes rather than a steel drum band, but Weekends is the closest thing to a Margaritaville state of mind within 20 miles of downtown Dallas. Pick a balmy evening to sit out on their floating patio, stare out over Ray Hubbard Reservoir and imagine tossing your cell phone into… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Buzzbrews Kitchen

    Greasy spoons are so last year; eggs and sausage are surprisingly delectable sans griddle plaque. We were once content with morning dishes of once-frozen, deep-fried items covered in a shroud of gravy, but now we've tasted the flavor of true, fresh food just after sunrise, and there's no going back. The first incident came with Buzzbrews' "Hare Krishna" eggs. The… More >>
  • Best Afternoon Delight

    Fiesta Food Mart

    No one ever said that an afternoon snack had to be light, or even healthy, for that matter. For instance, say it's a Saturday following a rather eventful Friday night. You awoke a bit later than usual and have made it through those first couple of errands. Now you're looking for something more substantial, something downright artery-clogging. "Elote con todo,… More >>
  • Best Texas Two-Step

    Roti Grill

    Show us an Indian buffet and, based on past experiences, we'll clutch our Pepto and run screaming. Cheap, unclean buffets had convinced us that Dallas was without digestible masala. Then we met Roti Grill--no buffet in sight and satisfying dishes that after several trips have caused no intestinal distress. And for those who want to try something different every trip,… More >>
  • Best Drinking Buddy

    The Beer Companion at The Ginger Man

    After a long day in the cubicle fields, there's something heavenly about happy hour. Everyone de-ages by approximately 6.37 years, microchips are removed, spreadsheets are forgotten and actual human communication can commence. Only thing is, by 6 p.m., lunch is a distant memory. The belly needs some insulation before a deluge of lagers and other libations. The Ginger Man's Beer… More >>
  • Best Power Lunch If You Don't Have an Expense Account

    Chan Thai

    Located in a snug corner of Oak Cliff's Bishop Art's District, Chan Thai could easily pass itself off as a hip, trendy restaurant offering smart Asian cuisine. All they'd have to do is double their prices, halve their portions and dim the lights, and it would become the restaurant of choice for food snobs who mistake the frustrating accoutrements of… More >>
  • Best Place to Eat After Running/ Cycling White Rock Lake

    Legal Grounds

    Although a tad overpriced and almost always overcrowded, Legal Grounds is still an apt reward for a morning spent running and cycling around White Rock Lake. Located in the heart of Lakewood, Legal Grounds has long been a hotspot for athletic types, as witnessed by the veritable army of trim patrons clad in running/cycling shorts and tank tops. And while… More >>
  • Best Dessert to Get Fat On

    Chocolate Cappuccino Pie, Scalini's

    If we were on death row we'd request Scalini's chocolate cappuccino pie as a last meal because it's so unbelievably delicious. In fact, it's so awesome that if given the chance between having a wild night with Scarlett Johansson and having a slice of this pie, we'd choose, oh come on, obviously Scarlett Johansson. But we'd still take her to… More >>
  • Best Mojitos

    La Duni Latin Café

    Appropriately located in the upscale Knox-Henderson neighborhood, La Duni does everything so well that singling it out for a drink seems akin to praising Jessica Alba for her ankles. So, dear God, don't just go to La Duni to order a mojito and then head across the street for a generic meal at Chuy's. Stay a while and enjoy any… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Dining

    Manny's Uptown

    In September 2005, we gave the relatively new Manny's Uptown a so-so review. The menu, created by former Mia's chef Javier Hernandez, engendered lofty expectations for our critic, and he came away disappointed by the inconsistent dishes and the spotty service. Perhaps it took a few months to work out the kinks, but Manny's is on top of its game… More >>
  • Best Free Beer

    Fat Daddy's Burgers

    This Casa Linda joint has a loyal following. On Thursday nights you'll catch the biker crowd; they park their Harleys in the lot and catch up on gossip. They come for Fat Daddy's burgers, giant hand-formed beef patties with a bun that's not too thick and not too thin, accompanied by seasoned steak fries and a generous condiment bar for… More >>
  • Best Dim Sum Sunday

    Arc-En-Ciel

    This Vietnamese-Chinese spot packs 'em in on Sundays for an endless parade of carts that offer a huge variety of dumplings and other dim sum treats. Steamed pork buns, barbecued ribs, shrimp rolls and small plates of ever-changing delicacies make Sunday brunch an adventure. Arc-En-Ciel serves dim sum daily until 3 p.m. but really draws people on Sundays. Especially in… More >>
  • Best Roasted Chicken

    Pollo Fiesta

    At the Garland Road location, multiple TVs blare Mexican shows so you know this place is authentic. Pollo Fiesta's specialty is pollo asado, chicken roasted on a giant spit. Rubbed down with Mexican spices and falling off the bone, it's a great alternative to the ubiquitous rotisserie chicken. The charro beans are great, filled with chunky onions and peppers. The… More >>
  • Best Nighttime Transformation

    Legal Grounds/Papou's Greek Kitchen and Taverna

    During the day this Lakewood neighborhood spot serves up coffee and legal advice. At night it dishes Greek favorites such as spanakopita and moussaka. It's cozy and intimate and one of the few places serving Greek cuisine on this side of town. It focuses on the traditional: stuffed grape leaves, gyros, grilled lamb and chicken kebabs and pastitsio, with sweet… More >>
  • Best Dessert for a Crowd

    Cheesecake Royale

    Need a happy ending for a dinner party? Try the tiramisu at Cheesecake Royale. The layers of ladyfingers, mascarpone cheese, espresso, Kahlua and whipped cream topped with a layer of rich cocoa are heaven in a pan and will give the end of an Italian meal a flourish. No need to order in advance, but give yourself time to let… More >>
  • Best Crawfish

    Aw Shucks

    This is the sort of place where you roll up your sleeves, put your elbows on the table and get down and dirty with your crawfish or crab legs. There are no tablecloths here, or napkins for that matter. Instead, grab a roll of paper towels and get to work. Try the shrimp, boiled or fried. Dip 'em in butter,… More >>
  • Best Chocolate Obsession

    Xocolatl - CLOSED

    The walls are painted the color of chocolate, and the tables are covered in cloths that looks like caramel. At Xocolatl, everything in the store has something to do with chocolate. Take breakfast, for example. They have chocolate pancakes, chocolate croissants and chocolate pastries; a dinner menu is on the way. The owner and chief chocolatier loves chocolate so much… More >>
  • Best Brazilian

    Rafain

    Brazilian churrascarias are a meat lover's paradise. The meat is cooked over an open fire on a stick of steel and then carried table to table where it is cut to order by men dressed as gauchos. The best Brazilian barbecue house in the area may be Addison's Fogo de Chao, but it's so pricey it's hardly enjoyable. For meat… More >>
  • Best Use of Sausage

    Big Island Meatloaf

    Sausage makes everything better. And luckily Kona Grill in NorthPark Center knows this. Kona's big island meatloaf is a slab of tasty meat topped with a wild mushroom ragu and served with white cheddar mashed potatoes and a side of vegetables. And all of it is good. Really good. But the best, most awesome, most saliva-producing piece of the culinary… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Piggie Pies Pizza & Pasta

    There are many reasons Piggie Pies takes home this award, as well as receiving similar ones in the past. Here are a few: the mozzarella cheese, the fresh mushrooms, the pepperoni, the feta cheese, the Canadian bacon, the just-right crust, the goat cheese, the fresh garlic...the list goes on. And that's just the regular, choose-your-own adventure pizzas. Piggie Pies also… More >>
  • Best Bhalle Papdi

    Taj Chaat House

    We have to be honest. We have no idea what bhalle papdi is. (Or bhel puri or aloo chhole or dahi bhalle, for that matter.) But that's OK. We do know it tastes good, and that's all that matters. Nothing on the Taj Chaat House menu is translated into English, so if you're less than adventurous, you may want to… More >>
  • Best Place to Pray Over Nuggets

    Chick-Fil-A

    We already feel guilty enough eating at Chick-Fil-A, given the company's notoriously right-wing beliefs. We don't need to constantly be reminded by a bunch of Bible- beaters loudly and publicly praying every time we sit down with a delicious No. 1 combo (value-sized with a sweet tea and a golden wheat bun). If God really is all-powerful, don't you think… More >>
  • Best Place to Have Soul

    Vern's Place

    People may want to "keep Austin weird," but up north, we try to "keep Dallas plastic." Jags and Hummers speed up and down Central Expressway as big-name suits broker real-estate deals and wage high-dollar lawsuits in glassy office towers. But in a tiny white shack at the edge of Deep Ellum, a crew of home-cookin' connoisseurs at Vern's Place fix… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Angry Dog

    America's fatter than ever. Obesity epidemic. You've heard it all, and maybe you've been guilted into reducing your burger intake as a result. So why half-ass your occasional indulgence with a skinny patty or a charred hunk of grease? Don't settle for less: No hamburger patty in town has more flavor than at the Angry Dog. Certainly, a hamburger is… More >>
  • Best Cheap Mexican

    Casa Navarro

    We know at least one managing editor around these parts who doesn't dig Casa Navarro, which works for us; one less person crowding up the joint, which gets more and more packed 12 years after Blanca Navarro moved from downtown El Taxco up to Northwest Dallas, where this place has since become a fixture in a strip mall known for… More >>
  • Best Customer Humiliation

    Twisted Root Burger Co.

    After telling a customer off and getting fired from his corporate job, proprietor Jason Boso turned to culinary school and found not only a new partner in Quincy Hart but a dream for a top-notch burger joint. Enter their brainchild Twisted Root. Hand-crafted patties of beef, turkey and occasionally ostrich and other specialty ingredients join forces with homemade root beer,… More >>
  • Best Unexpected Sunday Brunch

    Coal Vines

    We love the pizza; it just may be the best in town, come to think of it (and we often do think about it--like, every other day). But, look. We hate to give this away. It's a pretty well-kept secret. It's not like we've seen you there at 11 a.m. on Sundays. We've looked, danged near every weekend. But, like,… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Upscale

    Café Istanbul

    A little line on Café Istanbul's menu offers a telling piece of information: The owner imports charcoal all the way from Turkey for his grill. It's that kind of attention to quality and detail that sets this attractive eatery apart from most other Middle Eastern restaurants in Dallas. We've eaten there many times, and we realize Turkish food isn't for… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Inexpensive

    Kasbah Grill

    We kind of don't want to tell them, for fear they'll raise the prices, but Kasbah Grill's Moroccan cuisine is a steal. You can easily get out of here with a sumptuous meal for $10 a person or less. The focus is on tagines, rich stewed dishes such as beef with onions and prunes, or lamb shank in a sauce… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Zorba's Greek Café

    We know Ziziki's is a great place. It wins "Best Greek Restaurant" just about every year in Best of Dallas--as well as in other, inferior "best" lists compiled by competitors. Oh, and we know Ziziki's is much more than a Greek restaurant, that its owners weave in influences from all over the Mediterranean, all over the world. And we applaud… More >>
  • Best Atmosphere

    Stephan Pyles

    The genius of this assembly is that it is subtle yet dramatic; decidedly Texas, without slipping on its kitsch; it's sensual, without tripping over clumsy clichés. Stephan Pyles--the restaurant, not the chef--is a gentle conglomerate of modern geometric shapes, metal, rich wood, stacked Texas flagstone and terra-cotta brick swaddled in Southwestern sunset and desert hues. At the portal, a lit… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Bubba's

    Bubba's monster chicken pieces, coated in extra-crispy batter, are the perfect specimens. Not too greasy, not too salty, just a giant hunk of chicken-y fried goodness--perfect with Bubba's exquisite made-from-scratch dinner rolls. Another thing about Bubba's: Each time we've eaten there, the chicken was perfectly cooked, a testament to quality control and properly maintained fry vats. Doesn't happen at some… More >>
  • Best Service

    Craft Dallas - CLOSED

    The beauty of this service protocol is its deftly coordinated tag-teaming. Bread is dispensed and water poured with choreographed precision. Order wine by the glass and the bottle is presented, a taste is poured and, after a nod, the glass is filled. Servers know the menu and almost no question trips them. They confess to ingredients, technique and approach with… More >>
  • Best Taxi Service

    Tijuana Bar & Grill's Tijuana Taxi Express

    We can think of nothing better than having a friendly delivery person arrive at our door with tacos al pastor--yummy wraps of chicken, cheese, lime and pineapple pico--as well as a Corona six-pack, limes, Tylenol and some cereal for in the morning. No, you heard right. Just hit a $15 minimum and Tijuana Bar & Grill will send their Taxi… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    EatZi's

    You want cake? EatZi's has good 'uns, and there are other fine establishments named in this issue to help you with your frosted desires. Here, however, we're talking about the staff of life. You can keep your buttercream icing and your red-velvet masterpieces. For us, the true measure of a great bakery is its bread. Thick frosting and a butt-load… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    Baker's Ribs

    Tough call here. Perennial Dallas favorite Peggy Sue BBQ whips up a mighty fine pulled-pork sandwich, and its ribs, brisket and sides are equally tasty, but for straight-up, down-home, Texas-style barbecue with just the right amount of smoke and fall-off-the-bone tenderness, we have to give the edge to Baker's Ribs (this year, anyway). It's no surprise that Baker's emphasizes ribs… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Steak

    Peggy Sue BBQ

    It may seem odd giving Best Chicken-Fried Steak to a joint known for its barbecue. On the other hand, to anyone but a Texan, applying the word "best" to a flattened, floured and fried hunk of cheap beef slathered in--ugh--cream gravy is pretty weird itself. Texans' love of this dish was always a bit of a mystery to us, seeing… More >>
  • Best Deli

    Deli News

    Our heart always sinks a bit whenever a Dallas business boasts that it has a true "New York-style" anything. Most often that means that someone has hung up a few black-and-white posters of the Manhattan skyline, maybe a shot of King Kong atop the Empire State building, and is serving up ersatz slices of what passes for the Big Apple… More >>
  • Best Fast Food

    Back Yard Burgers - CLOSED

    Listen Wendy, Ronald and Your Royal Burger Highness, you can stop calling those flattened sheets of beef-like substance you dish out "burgers." We know better now. Sure, Dallas has always had its share of great burgers--Whassup, Angry Dog?--but when you don't have time to sit down to the real deal, that doesn't mean you have to eat McSlop. Back Yard… More >>
  • Best Wings

    Wingstop

    What the hell happened to chicken wings? We've always loved them, but they used to be the red-headed stepchild of the chicken, just one cut above gizzards and livers in the parts pecking order. Sure, they're tasty, but back in the day few people would make a whole meal out of them. Now wing-slinging eateries are springing up everywhere--almost literally.… More >>
  • Best Salad

    Snappy Salads

    The never-ending diet that dominates our portly life means we must eat a lot of salads. By lots, we mean we could give that giant invisible rabbit in Harvey a run for his roughage. When we want a fancy salad, we head over to Greenz, but mortgage rates being what they are, we often don't have the green for their… More >>
  • Best Cheap Sandwhich

    Which Wich?

    There might be cheaper sandwiches out there, but we doubt you'll find anything better than the variety at Which Wich, the ubiquitous shop created by Genghis Grill founder Jeff Sinelli. For $4.33, you get to play Dagwood Bumstead, building your own masterwork from the bread up--and the fresh baked bread here actually tastes like bread, not that fluffy Wonder Bread-like… More >>
  • Best Doughnuts

    Krispy Kreme

    Yeah, that's right. We went with the chain. So what? Look, it takes a determined idiot to create a bad doughnut. Deep-fried flour covered in sugar--how do you screw that up? Even a mediocre doughnut gets better with 15 seconds in a microwave oven, but why nuke when you can get doughnuts hot and freshly baked--at least when Krispy Kreme's… More >>
  • Best Tortilla

    Café San Miguel - CLOSED

    Hey, we don't care if you grew up next to Laura Miller in Connecticut: Anybody who lives in Dallas any period of time develops a tortilla palate. You can tell the mass-produced ones from handmade. Café San Miguel offers fare that might be called neo-Tex-Mex, based on familiar dishes but with a creative flair. In the matter of the near… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Teppo Yakitori and Sushi Bar

    Since Teppo was sired by Teiichi Sakurai in 1995, Dallas concrete has been swarmed by sushi depots in hotels, countless strip mall nooks, grocery stores, even from warehouse stores such as Sam's. In the thick of this krill, Teppo still floats to the top, compelling awe with its often perverse sense of culinary fish doctrine. Flounder carpaccio in a mango-hued… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Kirin Court

    In Dallas, the quest for good Chinese food is not only about grub quality; it embraces clean fragrant ambiance and graciously attentive service too. Many, if not most, Chinese restaurants skirt the service part. But not at Kirin Court, a second-story restaurant nearly as big as a football field with a burbling tank filled with live crustaceans on one end… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Stephan Pyles

    What's there to say about Stephan Pyles? Much and little, all at the same time. He demonstrated his paranormal facility with flavors at Routh Street Café, his imaginative wittiness at Star Canyon, his ability to weave and float a pan-American mesh at AquaKnox and his skill at panning commercial karats with his work with Carlson Restaurants, Dragonfly and the Gaylord.… More >>
  • Best Fancy Restaurant

    Aurora

    What kind of a mad chef would do Iranian osetra caviar on chiboust of Yukon potato and Maine lobster with green apple sorbet? Or beef tenderloin with foie gras Rossini with Himalayan truffle potato marble? Poached lobster with chlorophyll tart? All disgorged from a glass jewel-box display kitchen into a dining room nipped and tucked with ultra-suede, exotic wood and… More >>
  • Best Steak

    Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

    Just as Pappas Bros. was cleaving its way into the North Texas steak house storm, the Steakhouse ran a series of sonically sensual radio ads. Its dry-aged steaks splintered silence with the sputtering hiss of rendering beef fat. Cigar tips kindled with the scratch and pffft of a stick match. Cognacs sloshed in clanking crystal. Much of that swirled down… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Dairy-ette

    You can season french fries to death or smother them in pounds of ketchup and come away with a satisfying hunk of cooked taters, but there's something to be said for the perfect car fry. It always happens: You grab an order to go and can't wait to start in on those fries, their aroma filling your mid-sized sedan with… More >>
  • Best Three-Course Lunch for Less Than $10

    East Wind - CLOSED

    This spot in the Quadrangle is a stylish room with linen tablecloths and napkins and fresh flowers. It's also got one of the best cheap three-course lunches in town: soup or salad, an entrée and dessert for $9.95. Entrées include sushi or sashimi boxes, stir fry and big vermicelli bowls, mounded with charbroiled chicken, pork, beef or shrimp and topped… More >>

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