Food & Drink

  • Best Barbecue

    Original Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse

    Years ago Sonny Bryan's got rolled out into 10 different Dallas-area locations, and they're all great, but the original on Inwood is proof that part of the barbecue is the shack. Since 1910—that's when Sonny Bryan started peddling his incomparable ribs and brisket from a tumbledown dive near Parkland Hospital—a whole lot of smoke and flavor must have gotten rubbed… More >>
  • Best Cobbler

    Houston's

    For a casual restaurant, Houston's is a bit pricey ($17 for a French dip sandwich? Ouch.) And there are places that for a similar price serve a much better steak. But there's one thing on the menu that is well worth the price: the apple walnut cobbler. As one friend put it, "It was the most divine combination of fruit… More >>
  • Best Winery

    Times Ten Cellars

    A winery inside the city limits? Times Ten Cellars is the venture of three men, Christopher Lawler, Rob Wilson and Kert Platner, who took their love of wine to the next level and beyond. Walk through the wine-tasting rooms decorated with an eclectic mix of modern and antique furniture and local art and check out the barrel room where the… More >>
  • Best Oil and Vinegar

    Flavors From Afar - CLOSED

    Unleash your inner gourmet with a trip to Flavors From Afar, an "interactive" food boutique where you'll learn from owners Gary and Nancy Krabill the arcane and complex art of making balsamic vinegar and quality olive oils. Did you know balsam has nothing to do with this incredible vinegar ("black gold") from Modena, Italy? The Krabills will lead you through… More >>
  • Best Fried Catfish

    Alligator Café

    The whole fried catfish at Alligator Café never ceases to inspire envy in other diners who didn't have the sense to order it. First, it's large. The breading is perfect: fried golden cornmeal so fresh and crisp the meat inside is still steaming. Dip each yummy piece in cocktail sauce, tartar sauce or alligator sauce. Just when you think you've… More >>
  • Best Icon Resurrection

    Highland Park Cafeteria

    Though no longer in Highland Park, the legendary cafeteria, founded on Knox Street in 1925, reopened this spring and has reconnected with devoted customers at its new location in Casa Linda. Face it, sometimes you need a cafeteria. Maybe grandma's visiting and the discussion about where to eat Sunday dinner took an ugly turn. Or maybe you're just in need… More >>
  • Best Cheap Lunch

    Sali's

    Sali's doesn't have much of an atmosphere, despite the large mural of Venice on one wall, complete with canals and gondoliers. You'll see lots of big families and kids' soccer teams, usually there for the excellent hand-thrown thin crust New York-style pizza. But if you want a quick gourmet lunch and you have only a tenner in your pocket, Sali's… More >>
  • Best Dinner and a Movie

    Mockingbird Station

    Spike Global Grill and the Angelika have a movie-and-dinner deal that for $22.95 per person gives you fresh mint basil salad, skewered tapas and strawberries-and-cream parfait, plus a movie ticket to any film at the Angelika. Since movie tickets now cost $9.25, the three-course dinner is fresh and tasty and a real bargain. Spike also offers two other movie packages:… More >>
  • Best Prix Fixe

    St. Martin's Wine Bistro

    One week a month, St. Martin's Wine Bistro, an East Dallas staple, offers a four-course dinner paired with wine for $39.95 per person. Chef Georges DuBoeuf dreams up a perfect meal: for a starter, seafood Newberg, paired with a Côtes-du-Rhône white wine. The second course: country French with herbs and apple-wood smoked bacon-infused corn cake on mixed greens, accompanied by… More >>
  • Best Rotisserie Chicken

    Golden Chicken at Ali Baba

    Ali Baba serves a succulent, melt-from-the-bone golden chicken with a spicy garlic sauce and pita bread, or you can ask for hummus instead of the garlic. If you're like us, you eat too much rotisserie chicken anyway, because you tell yourself it's not as bad as fried chicken, and that's true. And fried chicken is not as bad as fried… More >>
  • Best Back-From-the-Dead Burger

    John's Cafe

    For a third of a century John's Café on Greenville Avenue was one of those chipped mug of coffee places you could go on a Sunday morning and get your feet planted squarely back on planet Earth for the week to come. Then two years ago they deep-sixed it for a bank. Story of our life. But now John's is… More >>
  • Best Dessert

    Cuatro Leches cake at La Duni Latin Cafe

    "Greed is good," says Gordon Gekko in 1987's Wall Street, and damn if the selfish bastard wasn't right. Greed isn't just good, it's down right saintly when it comes to La Duni's cuatro leches cake. Oh, you could share it with a friend, but the noble thing to do is eat it all by yourself, throwing your expanding body on… More >>
  • Best Excuse for a Heart Attack

    The Stodg Burger at The Porch

    Named after Dallas lawyer Steve Stodghill, the Stodg Burger at The Porch, a lively hot spot in the Knox-Henderson neighborhood, is not only politically incorrect—high-calorie, high-fat, honest-to-God red meat—it might be a good idea to look over your shoulder for the food police while eating it. The combination of flavors would probably get you thrown out of culinary school. Here… More >>
  • Best Bloody Mary

    The Green Elephant

    Popular convention maintains that the appropriate time to consume a Bloody Mary is some Saturday or Sunday morning after a hard night out, perhaps accompanied by a plate of migas. But that's a shamefully short amount of time to dedicate to such tomatoey goodness. So when we discovered that the barmen at the Green Elephant could pour the damn tastiest… More >>
  • Best Onion Rings

    Lee Harvey's

    The best onion rings achieve a perfect harmony of onion, batter, grease and sauce, filling your mouth with the sweet, sweet flavor of short-order cook tears. It's almost as if you can taste the chef's hopes and dreams, and at Lee Harvey's, we taste the tears of a giver. Served thick and crunchy with a side of zesty chipotle aioli,… More >>
  • Best Hot Dogs

    Big D's Dogs

    For years, we've longed for a decent hot dog joint to open in Dallas. Sure, some love Wild About Harry's, but we know better. We've been to New York. We've been to Chicago. In other words, we have standards, and when Big D's finally came along, it met the criteria and then some. Try this on for size—a quarter-pound kosher… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    Old Monk

    There are plenty of bars where you can grab a decent bite in Dallas—Lee Harvey's, the Meridian Room and the Lakewood Landing all come to mind—but the Old Monk is the only one we frequent even when we're not drinking. From the sizable burgers to the awesome fish and chips, everything on the menu is tasty, and it's all better… More >>
  • Best Salsa

    Taco Diner

    Some like it hot. They're sissies. We normally want our salsa spicy enough to serve as a paint stripper in a pinch. The salsa verde at Taco Diner, however, is a different animal. We're not sure exactly what they put in this magical sauce, but it's unlike any salsa we've had in Dallas, creamy smooth and iridescent green, with a… More >>
  • Best Greasy Spoon

    Barbec's

    Barbec's may have cheesy décor, but you gotta love a non-chain restaurant where you can eat breakfast any time of day. There's not really anything low-fat or healthy here, but what's that old saying, "Eat breakfast like a king"? Well, we figure that still applies, whether breakfast is the first or fourth meal of the day. The beer-batter biscuits are… More >>
  • Best Dinner and Then...?

    Central 214

    We knew the service at Central 214 was attentive when our waiter surreptitiously noted our preference for Splenda and brought a single packet with each tea refill. And the food sparked oohs and aahs too, especially the hanger steak and the "mac and cheese our way" (their way is rigatoni with a garlic cream sauce and Parmesan). But if you're… More >>
  • Best Ciabatta

    Whole Foods Lower Greenville

    We were at Central Market once this year—and we love Central Market—but we asked for ciabatta and the person behind the counter held up this big black hank of bread that looked like some old lady's work boot. And we thought, "If that's ciabatta, we gotta say notta." But that's also why the smaller, more intimate scale of the city's… More >>
  • Best East Texas Outpost

    Cotton Gin

    Unless you really, really love Dairy Queen, the Crandall Cotton Gin is one of the last outposts for a hearty meal between Dallas and Tyler. Next time you're truckin' out to the Piney Woods, stop here for an $8.95 daily dinner special, which gets you more food than any person should eat in a single sitting. About as "fusion" as… More >>
  • Best Break From Tex-Mex

    Zaguan

    As much as we love Tex-Mex, it's easy to overload on refried beans and queso in this town. So when we want Latin, but are tired of the enchilada platters, we head to Zaguan, a bakery and cafe with a South American flavor. The menu seems to be constantly evolving, but standards include cachapas, sweet corn pancakes with your choice… More >>
  • Best Handcrafted Food

    Twisted Root Burger Co.

    We were sad to see that the elk sausage and fried mac 'n' cheese were off the menu on our last visit to Twisted Root, but you can still get a buffalo burger and sweet potato chips (with a dusting of cinnamon), which are tops on our list. Pretty much everything is handmade here, including the mustard and ketchup. And… More >>
  • Best Midday Breakfast to Go

    Tin Star

    Our favorite foods include eggs, fried potatoes and bacon. Did we mention we love breakfast? And, yeah, we're from Texas, so all the better when you wrap up those breakfast classics in a flour tortilla. Sadly, many taquerias don't serve their breakfast tacos during the day, but Tin Star does. Whether you favor the traditional bacon, egg and cheese taco… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Breakfast Options

    Buzzbrews Kitchen

    In our vegetarian phases, the thing we missed the most was breakfast meats. While we've still never met a truly satisfying bacon replacement, the faux breakfast sausage is doable. Even then, it's difficult to find at restaurants—unless you're at Buzzbrews Kitchen. This tiny shoebox of a diner, nestled in a motel parking lot, offers veggie sausage as an alternative to… More >>
  • Best Out-of-the-Way Tex-Mex

    Carmona's Tex-Mex Cantina

    So you find yourself in Terrell. Maybe you're on your way back from First Mondays in Canton, or maybe you're on the long haul between El Paso and Longview. Either way, you're hungry and you don't want fast food. So sit down and cool your leadfoot at Carmona's Tex-Mex Cantina, right next to the Tanger Outlets. This place is famous… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Primo Brothers Pizza

    These guys definitely have it down for pizza that's just oily and rich enough to taste great without turning into tomato soup on a tortilla. Crusts here are done the Old World way—tossed and flopped and smushed around the way dough ought to be done. It used to be called just "Brothers Pizza," but they added the "Primo" after a… More >>
  • Best Use of Pesto

    Pesto Pizza

    Atop a lunch line tray sits a simple work of gastronomical delight. Delicate, crispy crust (the best kind if you ask us) spread with a thin layer of pesto bright with basil and just a touch on the salty side. Fresh mozzarella is ooey gooey in an intimate cuddle with a diced trio of red onion, grilled chicken breast and… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Beth Marie's Old-Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain

    We'll bitch about gas at three bucks a gallon, but we've got absolutely no problem burning $30 to drive up Interstate 35 for absolutely the most delectable ice cream we've ever laid our lips upon. It's that good. Almost a decade old, Beth Marie's makes more than 60 flavors of ice cream right in the storefront location nestled on the… More >>
  • Best Sub

    Jimmy's Food Store

    The minute you take your first bite of a Jimmy's Italian sub, you realize what all those chain places are trying to do but don't. Jimmy's uses the best capicola, mortadella, provolone, pepperoni and Genoa salami with finely diced fresh lettuce, cherry peppers and Jimmy's own secret sauce all on fresh white or wheat loaf. It's fresh, sure, but you… More >>
  • Best Diet Destruction

    Chicken Club and Chocolate Shake

    What was it that your sorority sisters told you when you were packing on that freshman 10? A grilled chicken sandwich is lower in fat and calories than a burger? Right. If they said that at Snuffer's, they were lying to you. Don't feel bad. They'll get theirs eventually. For now, revel in the fact that you saved enough Weight… More >>
  • Best Low-Key Pizza

    Carmine's Pizzeria

    There's nothing wrong with trendy upscale pizza restaurants, but sometimes all you want is a classic, simple slice that doesn't stray from its roots or require an hour-long wait and valet parking. Carmine's, like any self-respecting New York pizza joint, has red and white checkered tablecloths and pizzas displayed on those round silver platters by the register. Best of all,… More >>
  • Best Sweet Treat

    Delicious Cakes

    True story: A cupcake fell on the floor in a friend's kitchen. We were busy cleaning up the icing mess, while the majority of the cake carnage lay in a heap on the counter. The husband walked in. "What happened?" "Cupcake casualty." "How long was it down?" "More than 5 seconds." "Where's it from?" "Delicious Cakes." "I'm all over that."… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Cosmic Café

    If you need a break from the corporate humdrum and find yourself craving some killer meat-free food in a Zen atmosphere, this isn't just your best bet, it may be your only one. The atmosphere is decidedly bright and colorful, with a building reminiscent of a Buddhist temple, complete with prayer flags, Krishna statuettes and brightly painted walls. There are… More >>
  • Best Hummus

    Sevan G&G Café

    This hummus is not only authentic and tasty, it's gorgeous, and the family that runs the place works hard to make it that way. When they bring out takeout orders, they open the box with a flourish to reveal a perfectly shaped mound of chickpea delight. The cooks are careful to pool just the right amount of olive oil on… More >>
  • Best Thai Up Yonder

    Zak8 Gourmet Thai Bistro

    The atmosphere at this spacious restaurant is both relaxed and elegant, with simple black décor that makes the enormous crystal chandelier hanging from the middle of the ceiling pop. Yet the prices are fairly low, with tasty wonton and eggroll appetizers at $3 to $5 and noodles, stir-fries and Thai curry dishes for $8 to $10. The Massaman red curry… More >>
  • Best Fancy Restaurant

    French Room in The Adolphus Hotel

    Despite its title, there is very little French in the French Room—save for the furiousness of its kitchen technique. It's more of an Italian-New York mash deliciously henpecked with Asian pinches and California thumbprints. The glory of it, aside from the paunchy flushed cherubs romping among the ceiling clouds and the gilded arches and explosive floral formations teasing the chandeliers… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream Selection

    Central Market

    Somewhere deep in Whole Foods culture, Whole Foods still thinks of ice cream as a sin. Now, it's a sin Whole Foods will tolerate and forgive, but only in moderation, like Catholic sex. At Central Market there is no moderation. Central Market offers you every kind of ice cream, sorbet, gelato and other frozen excess that mankind has been able… More >>
  • Best Salad

    Kitchen 1924 - CLOSED

    This classy neighborhood eatery turns out down-home cooking with an upscale flourish, and the menu changes with the seasons. You can count on delicious entrees such as the tender and juicy grilled pork chop, as well as unique sides like smoked Gouda grits and warm blue cheese potato salad. The salads are especially masterful. The 24 Chopped Salad, with tomatoes,… More >>
  • Best Killer Sandwich

    Croque Monsieur

    You can get a heart attack just reading about it: A baked ham and Swiss sandwich soaked in rich cream sauce. But La Madeleine's Croque Monsieur, which is French for "Mister, you're going to croak if you eat this," is worth the year or two it will take off your life. All the main ingredients work perfectly together; the ham… More >>
  • Best Waitstaff

    Twin Peaks

    Friendly, curvy waitresses in tiny outfits are hardly a unique restaurant theme. Or a good one, honestly. But if you like Hooters, you're going to love this place. Why? Hi-def plasma TVs on the wall. Free wireless Internet. Expansive menu. Modern music. And, most important, hard liquor. Look, it's your choice. But if it's batter-fried chicken wings and a pitcher… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    May Dragon

    Good Chinese can be hard to find in the land of hedge-fund lucre and cosmetic sculpting. Sometimes the marinated chicken gizzards and pork ears and spicy beef tripe just seem so out of context; where such things are fine and good and tingle the adventure sensors, the consistency stumbles. May Dragon presents Mandarin, Hunan, Canton and Szechwan cuisines plus selected… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Clay Pit Contemporary Indian Cuisine - CLOSED

    Founded in Austin in 1998, Clay Pit is a modernization of this ancient exotic cuisine of hundreds of potent and sultry aromas and flavors somehow subdued into harmonious beatitude. Indian cuisine is a marvel that sorts through coriander, fennel, cumin, cilantro, turmeric, saffron, cinnamon, cocoa, nuts, garlic and chilies, somehow keeping them from erupting into Diet Coke-Mentos chaos. Chef and… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Riccardi's Italian Dining & Lounge

    There's a joke among Dallas' culinary gentry that the best place for decent Italian is York Street, Sharon Hage's jewel where only the holy spirit of Tuscan cookery haunts her menu. That's why Riccardi's is such a surprise. It not only serves distinctive cuisine from owner Gaetano Riccardi's hometown of Avellino (near Naples), it bottles three of its own wines… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Trece Mexican Kitchen &Tequila Lounge - CLOSED

    Chalk it up to climate change—everything else is—but it's getting increasingly difficult to stir up deft authentic Mexican cuisine in Dallas. Most of the stuff that tries passes muster, but it won't spark the Pavlov reflexes. That's why Trece—or thirteen—is just our luck. Here you can get the most virile tableside guacamole known this side of the Minute Men; at… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Nate's Seafood and Steak House

    Nate's is as plain and shamelessly effective as a good swamp cooler; a Cajun kitchen bog sweating the smoky scent of spice that haunts the spaces between the beer signs. Big slices of slick buttered and heavily garlicked French bread; deep and dirty yet exquisitely balanced seafood gumbo with clean spices discernible through grains of fluffy white rice. Fresh fish,… More >>
  • Best Soup

    RJ Mexican Cuisine

    Because it's considered a simple tomato soup, people tend to think gazpacho is easy to make. So wrong. Often you order the cold Spanish dish only to be served a bowl of chopped tomatoes, onions and peppers, as if they can just whip up some pico de gallo and change the name. RJ's gazpacho is the real deal, though, a… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Quán Kiên Giang - CLOSED

    Like any good ethnic restaurant, Quán Kiên Giang has a near inscrutable menu; one that helpfully offers color photos embedded in the plastic-coated, spiral-bound menu. Here you'll note spring rolls as plump and virile as kielbasa; stir-fried Alaskan crab, red and bulbous; pinwheels of stir-fried frog legs dipped in fish sauce; and catfish steaks in a clay pot. On the… More >>
  • Best Nachos

    Fish City Grill

    OK, so it's a chain, but Fish City has its roots in Dallas (originally called Shell's Oyster Bar) and it hasn't expanded past Oklahoma or Louisiana, keeping it unique enough to make our list. But even if Fish City were to expand to McDonald's-like proportions, there's no denying the mind-blowing goodness of the oyster nacho. We know, it doesn't sound… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    The Oceanaire Seafood Room

    If it swims, it flies. The Oceanaire has fresh fish—arctic char, Shetland Island trout, barracuda, red mullet, smoked sturgeon, thresher shark, blowfish—flown in from every conceivable global spot, including Iceland, the East Coast, New Zealand, Panama, South America and Hawaii. The menu is driven by freshness and reshuffles daily—even hourly—as the market dictates. Have your catch prepped the way you… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Royal Thai

    Like other cuisines—Italian and Chinese creep to mind—unearthing good Thai can be confounding. It can be listless. It can be sloppy. It can be uninspiring. Royal Thai shakes up the ennui, not only with fresh cuisine, but with its Thai elegance and sophisticated staging that includes a wine list fraught with clear thinking (acid lush whites and reds along with… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Yutaka Sushi Bistro

    As sushi restaurants spread like black mold across DFW, blooming in strip malls and grocer cases, transforming sushi rolls from the exotic to the silly (with names like crazy, mermaid, grasshopper), rolled with fake shellfish, it's easy to forget that sushi is an art form rendered from precisely forged steel, years of drilling and the rigors of near insane meticulousness.… More >>
  • Best Barbecued Fish

    Grilled Salmon in Mongolian Barbecue Sauce

    It's not always on the menu, but you can get it if you call ahead 24 hours with insistence in your voice. Shinsei's perfectly grilled salmon, polished in Mongolian barbecue sauce, is an astonishing thing. A neatly cleaved square of pink rests on a banana leaf. The thick, sweetish sauce drools from its edges. Sesame seeds and parsley are trapped… More >>
  • Best Expression of the Mundane

    Craft Dallas' Swiss Chard - CLOSED

    It's a gangly, lowly beast with a thick crunchy stalk and curled, rippled leaves. It was once honored by the Greeks and Romans for its medicinal attributes, a weed that calms with spinach essence even as it teases with a pungency followed by a fierce, if tiny, lick of salt. In the hands of the Craft magicians this natural militancy… More >>
  • Best Salt Lick

    Central Market Southlake

    Among pleasures we've missed in our long adventures in gluttony is the joy of pink salt from the Himalayas. Say what? Yeah, the pink unrefined fossil marine salt formed some 200 million years ago in the mountains of the sherpas. It has a pinkish shimmer, a swell granulometry and crunch, and a slightly bitter flavor on the finish—everything you want… More >>
  • Best Steak

    Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

    Big slabs of red beef alive with juice and char are the essence of Dallas cuisine. Diners full of lust and sweat and drool are the essence of the Dallasite. All of this is found in a maze-chambered dining room appointed with meticulous elegance for the indulgence of the well-appointed paunch. Pappas' prime meat is dry-aged, hung out to dry… More >>
  • Best Place to Eat Till You Explode

    Maxim's

    Why is it that even long-timers here don't know about Chinatown, just north of Dallas off Main Street and Greenville Avenue? Sure, it's a strip mall, but it boasts the best Asian grocery store in town, some of the best Chinese food in three states (you ain't lived till you've soaked up the garlicky, greasy goodies at Mandarin Garden, which,… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Legal Grounds

    Unlike the Starbucks across the street, Legal Grounds is a cozy neighborhood staple with a regular cast of servers and customers who seem as if they've known each other for years. But the easygoing nature of the place would be for naught if the coffee and food didn't come along for the ride. From the delicious and rich muffin tops… More >>
  • Best Wraps

    Chaat Café

    If only all fast food tasted this good. The wraps at Chaat Café are truly innovative. Made with naan bread and tandoori chicken, they are prepared on the spot, like everything else at the restaurant. The meat is marinated in yogurt and spices in a clay oven until it is tender and juicy. The best part, besides the taste? The… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Yutaka Sushi Bistro's Martini Sunomo Salad

    There are innumerable ways to formulate a martini. Fuel it with vodka, gin or tequila. Treat it with green apple, cranberry, chocolate or whatever chick drink accoutrement you can dream up; or kick it with pickled okra and a Nicorette patch for the ultimate anti-Dean Martin refreshment. But to really finesse the martini, skip the hooch and go sunomo. Yutaka's… More >>
  • Best Destination Dining

    Four Winds Steak House

    It rests in the thick of the back country, at the end of a twisty driveway, wood fencing lining its flanks. There's a gazebo, a long porch and a few oaks sulking in the breeze plus a 15-acre pond where bass can be reeled in. This is Dallas steak dining as envisioned by Zeus and executed by former Del Frisco's… More >>
  • Best Foie Gras

    Craft Dallas - CLOSED

    You may likely encounter a different version of this embattled dish (foie gras has been banned in Chicago and California) as the Craft menu is a living document. Our fowl liver delicacy was roasted and rested in gooseberry gastrique, ornamented with tiny crouton-like cubes tumbled across its surface. It's served in a dual-handled metal roasting implement with the lobe occupying… More >>
  • Best Crab Cakes

    Central 214

    Crab cakes are ubiquitous. Crab cakes are dull, persecuted into monotony by the terror of filler tyranny. Chef Tom Fleming conquers this heinousness. Fleming's Maryland jumbo lump crab cakes have filler, but there is a precise method to his madness: quarter-cup of bread crumbs to 5 pounds of cleaned crab flesh. To this he adds a dressing composed of brandy,… More >>
  • Best Cheesecake Discombobulation

    Little Katana Mango Cheesecake

    On its face, busting things up is the antithesis of culinary craft. But Little Katana has mastered the art of creative destruction—deliciously. With mango cheesecake, Little Katana starts with the traditional sour cream-topped cheesecake, mingles it with fresh mangos, busts it up and dumps the debris into a sundae glass before topping it off with whipped cream. The beauty of… More >>
  • Best Fries

    The Oceanaire Seafood Room

    They retain just enough heat from the hot oil. Piled high into a berm, these are thin fries, house-cut, desperately crisp; some golden, some bronze, some with mahogany tips. Sea salt covers them like scalp flakes on Brooks Brothers. You pick up a little tuber sweetness on the attack, but it's quickly cleansed by a gentle whoosh of vinegar that… More >>
  • Best Sommelier/Wine List

    Rudy Mikula, Hibiscus

    There's a reason why, shortly before this writing, Rudy Mikula was poached from Nove Italiano by Consilient Restaurants to become wine and beverage director for Hibiscus, among other Consilient duties. No surprise. Mikula is a walking comfort zone, a wine geek whose easy style and bone-dry wit melts inhibitions, making diners susceptible to Mikula's unique brand of vino evangelism. Listen… More >>
  • Best Appetizer

    Crab "Scampi Style"

    Ultimately, the purpose of an appetizer is to whet, to arouse, to salivate. It's to kick-start the innards and make them receptive to the more weighty compositions to follow. Mansion Chef John Tesar's crab "scampi style" does this. Six ounces of king crab leg meat is torn from the shell in ropes, flecked with parsley and set in a pool… More >>
  • Best Home-Style Restaurant

    Norma's Cafe

    Norma's Café, which has been open since 1956, has everything you'd hope for in a diner: bar stools and booths upholstered in cherry red, breakfast served all day and a waitstaff that greets you like family. That's the thing at Norma's: It pretty much is family. It's the sort of place where customers come every single day, where the waitress… More >>
  • Best Cold Cuts

    Nove Italiano's Salumi - CLOSED

    Most people are born with salty meat urges, the kind of meat with generous sequins of fat. Nove assembles them on a wooden board with timepiece precision, tiny slices of red and pink and blood black overlapping their way toward your cravings. The board hosts salamis and ruffles of prosciutto di Parma, sweet and salt tangy; mortadella folds, reeking of… More >>
  • Best Restaurant for Kids

    Bin 555 Restaurant & Wine Bar - CLOSED

    Here's a swell parlor game: try pairing a nice full-bodied red wine with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Notice how the tannins complement the evil darkness enshrouding the land of Hyrule; revel in how the rich ripe cassis notes harmonize with the young farm boy Link as he awakens his hero and rabid inner animal. Also, don't the subtle… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Bijoux

    Words fail at Bijoux. Eat. Let little bites speak to you. Let thoughts go where they may. Observe how you feel, how your face sometimes vibrates and your toes curl. Notice how a gastrique tangos the sex out of foie gras. Revel in the caramelized surface of a seared scallop, how it is like leather if leather could be shaved… More >>
  • Best Dining Diamond in the Rough

    Local

    Local is a slowly evolving organism, one that seems to thrive creatively on the cusp of its own extinction. Chef/owner Tracy Miller brought forth her restaurant in 2003, an offshoot of the catering operation she's nurtured in Deep Ellum's classic Boyd Hotel since 1997. Miller opened with the commitment to shepherd and develop Local in deliberately managed increments so as… More >>
  • Best Bowl of Mussels

    The Porch

    In almost every bowl of mussels served in these parts you'll get one or two that possess the lingering flavors of highly extracted morning mouth. You wince. You cringe. You struggle to spit into your napkin while maintaining decorum. If you narrowly miss a brush with the emergency room, you gulp a shot of vodka and move on to the… More >>
  • Best Butcher

    VG's Butcher Shoppe - CLOSED

    "Your hometown butcher shoppe, in the city" reads Greg Geerts' business card. The tiny shop isn't much to look at. It's spartan and white, with only a few old Samsonite suitcases and end tables to give it charm. But the infectiously engaging Geerts, who learned his craft at the meat counter in Huntsville after a string of DWI charges before… More >>
  • Best Sister Act

    Barbara Woodley and Natalie Woodley

    For much of the last couple of decades, two sisters "of a certain age" have been serving meatloaf and attitude to customers at competing diners. In the process they have won fans and even a bit of fame. Barbara Woodley, 70, in her signature oversized sunglasses, works the crowd at Mama's Daughter's Diner, while little sis Natalie, 66, in oversized… More >>
  • Best Back Room

    Jimmy's Food Store

    You know Jimmy's sausage and meatballs (and mortadella and prosciutto) are the stuff of legend, forcing chefs and gastronomes (why does foodie sound like a term for someone with a sippy-cup fetish?) alike to knuckle under its culinary weight in devoted reverence. You also know the wine selection is the best ever brought forth from the entirety of the boot,… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Burritos

    JusMex

    This is the sort of place that makes a breakfast that will keep you full well past lunch. Try the huevos rancheros, or any one of their omelets; you can't go wrong. But what this place is known for are its breakfast burritos. Filled with eggs, bacon, sausage and whatever else you want them to put on it, they're the… More >>
  • Best Coffee House

    White Rock Coffee

    Here's how you can make a billion bucks in just a few easy steps. First, secure a good supply of cow pies (horse apples will do in a pinch). Next, char those pies or apples (apple pie?) over an open fire until they're black and crisp. When they're done, grind 'em up, force hot water through the grinds, mix the… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Ziziki's

    An original pick this is not; our readers anoint Ziziki's just about every year, and that's because it feels and tastes like upscale Greek, with attention lavished on top-notch ingredients, inventive touches, a warm atmosphere and polished service. This isn't your stereotypical Greek joint with gyros—they aren't even on the menu here—and laminated travel posters on the wall. The Preston… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Restaurant

    Metro Diner - CLOSED

    We've neglected our old friend of late, and it has made us sad. Long ago, during the beginning of Bill Clinton's age of prosperity and peace, this place was our home-away-from. Late at night, the din of Deep Ellum still ringing in our ears, or early in the morning, on the way to our battered former HQ on Commerce Street,… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Stodgerita, Trece - CLOSED

    Forty-five bucks worth of mindless tribute, that's what it is. Named after "famous for being famous" Dallas "barrister" Steve Stodghill—who gained fame partly by investing in Mark Cuban's Broadcast.com and partly by flaunting the demeanor of a cuddly pit bull of a lawyer—the Stodgerita is billed as the ultimate margarita experience. That isn't all bark. The Stodgerita is formulated with… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Burger House

    We've been to 'em all: Snuffer's (every one), Scotty P's (Plano location, legendary), Chip's, Twisted Root, Adair's, Who's Who, Balls, even Perry's, since a honest-to-goddamned steakhouse is where a real man oughta get a burger every now and again. And on any given night, any one of them's the best in town; hell of a place we live, where someone's… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Celebration

    We know: You like Bubba's, and they're great and all. But we just can't love a place that once somehow charged us $1 per organ for an order of chicken livers. What were they fried in, rendered unicorn fat? So give us Celebration. For around $11 bucks, we get fresh bread and muffins, all we can eat of juicy-not-greasy chicken,… More >>
  • FOOD: Rabbit Hole Rising

    DRINK ME. EAT ME. These are the words Alice confronts down the rabbit hole. All of the other thickly woven strands of logic and nonsense and satire and the criminal court packed with cards are mere Wonderland sideshows. Just after Alice falls down the rabbit hole, she finds a bottle with a paper label marked DRINK ME in large, beautiful… More >>
  • Best Asian Food

    Asian Mint

    Thai noodle houses and sushi bars are popping up around Dallas as if this were California or something. But Asian Mint is a different kind of café. The atmosphere is modern and bright, stylish with nary a travel poster in sight. The fusion cuisine leans toward Thai, with Chinese dishes second. But whatever the dish, it's reinterpreted in way that… More >>
  • Best Etouffee

    Greenville Avenue Seafood & Jazz - CLOSED

    While men on stage blow altos and beat snare heads, women and children moisten their lips in crawfish etouffee with a creamy sassafras sauce. Their lips purse. Their eyes close. Their jaws do an Elvis swivel. Why is this so ridiculously good? Is it the perfect cook-down of onions and celery and peppers blended into roux? Is it the serrations… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Kasbah Grill

    Africans eat here—from both north and south. Middle Easterners eat here. On Sunday, you'll find an after-church Anglo crowd. During Ramadan, the place packs at sundown for multi-course specials. What brings these disparate populations together is Moroccan home cooking in the form of rich, warmly spiced stews, or tagines, and excellent couscous and kebab dishes. The proprietors are exceptionally welcoming;… More >>

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