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Food & Drink

  • Best New Restaurant

    Charlie Palmer - CLOSED

    Yes, it tortures us to select a foreigner for this honor—a chain no less, with installments in New York, Las Vegas, D.C., Sonoma, California and Reno, Nevada, among other locales. Chef Charlie Palmer's Dallas increment sits in the Joule Urban Resort in a rehabilitated Main Street building in all of its Texas handsome, breezy-themed glory. So it at least has… More >>
  • Best Cheap Tacos

    Fuel City

    Not that this truck stop needs any more love. Texas Monthly already called their tacos the Best in Texas, and we once wrote a cover story about the truck stop itself, calling it the best truck stop in the world or something like that. It is a delightfully weird place with a swimming pool, a drive-through featuring bikini-clad girls who… More >>
  • Best Fried Chicken

    Bubba's Cooks Country

    The Observer has given this place plenty of attention in the past, but still, after all these years the Texaco service station turned Art Deco restaurant remains the best place to get some authentic fried chicken. Like all comfort food, including its sister restaurant Babe's Chicken Dinner House, Bubba's fried chicken recalls Sunday dinner at home. The batter is gold,… More >>
  • Best Unusual Side Dish

    Houston's Restaurant

    A staple in Israel and North Africa, couscous has long been a side dish at Middle Eastern restaurants, but now it's making its way onto menus at places like Houston's. The weird thing is, Houston's does it as well as anyone (like a lot of things the restaurant does). With sliced radishes, golden raisins, almonds, tomatoes, green onions and parsley,… More >>
  • Best Sandwich

    Meatball Sub - Greenville Avenue Pizza Co.

    We know this guy from Boston. Sort of The Friends of Eddie Coyle meets The Departed. We're not saying he's a wiseguy, 'cause there's a little Fever Pitch thrown in there too, but the dude knows his meatball sandwiches. It's no surprise, really, that he found one at the Greenville Avenue Pizza Company, 'cause whoever runs the place has got… More >>
  • Best Churrascaria

    Fogo de Chao

    For meat lovers, the Brazilian churrascaria is the king of steakhouses, although it doesn't really qualify as a steakhouse, not in the traditional American sense of a slab of meat on a plate with some potatoes to the side. In case you haven't been to one of these places by now, it's caveman simple: meat on a stick. But the… More >>
  • Best Mediterranean

    Ali Baba Mediterranean Grill

    Gone are the days of huddling inside the tight quarters of Ali Baba's teensy Lower Greenville location waiting for a table to open up so you can chow down on falafel, kebabs and hummus. But we can't forget those days. No, those old cramped memories make us truly appreciate the spacious new Abrams digs that allow Ali Baba to provide… More >>
  • Best Road Trip Fuel

    The Green Spot Market and Fuels

    So you gotta get out of town. The car is packed and ready to go, and now you need fuel and snacks. Don't turn to the usual Fritos and Orange Crush. The Green Spot has even better fuel for the drive. Try some Kashi cookies, Bare Naked granola, a bottled Izze or fountain Blue Sky soda, and don't forget some… More >>
  • Best Way the Cookie Crumbles

    Hot Chocolate Chip Cookie - CLOSED

    Prepare for battle. Kathleen's Sky Diner (formerly Kathleen's Art Café) is known for fantastic cakes. Chances are, your dining companion knows this—or can tell from the dessert display—and will challenge your suggestion of the hot chocolate chip cookie. Do not back down. Order the cookie and wait. Be patient though: Each cookie is baked to order. When it arrives, the… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Natsumi Gelato and Frozen Yogurt - CLOSED

    There's a scene from 1971's Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in which Charlie and company taste Wonka's new lickable wallpaper while he boasts, "Lick an orange, it tastes like an orange. Lick a pineapple, it tastes like a pineapple. Go ahead, try it!" Ol' Willy Wonka was onto something—not the lickable wallpaper necessarily, but the idea that treats should… More >>
  • Best Liquid Lunch

    Xochitl soup - CLOSED

    It's difficult to stay energetic and productive without a bit of something in the tummy and a break from the office. That's why so many people nix the brown bag and spend the cash dollars on the weekday lunch. But those hard-earned bucks don't have to be wasted on greasy grub or even four-star noshes. Luna de Noche has the… More >>
  • Best Calzone

    We used to be satisfied with the greasy calzones at your standard mall food court pizza joints (Famous Famiglia, Sbarro, etc.), but now that we've sampled the Italian staple at Picasso's, we just can't go back. There are those of us who'd argue Picasso's serves up the best pizza pie in town, but fold the crust over and it's just… More >>
  • Best Bird's-Eye View

    Yumi To Go - CLOSED

    It's kinda Big Brother, but it's really cool too. Ever want to see exactly how your food is made? Lemmon Avenue's Yumi To Go satisfies not only a yen for tasty Asian cuisine, but your inner voyeur as well. Place an order for R and G beef or sweet-and-sour pork and, OK, maybe some ahi tuna spring rolls. Then cruise… More >>
  • Best Sip 'n' Flip

    Gachet Coffee Lounge & Books - CLOSED

    Sometimes it's hard to know what you're going to be in the mood to read. A fashion rag, a novel, a good nonfiction narrative or just a book of pretty pictures. Thanks to Gachet Coffee Lounge & Books, there's no need to lug around a back-breaking bag of reading materials to ensure a good coffee break. And you don't even… More >>
  • Best Spicy Italian Sausage

    Jimmy's Food Store

    If you've ever had the Jimmy's Sausage flatbread pizza at Bolsa in Oak Cliff, you know how perfect the sausage is—just the right combination of sweet tenderness and spicy-hot piquancy. "Jimmy's Spicy" is one of several sausages made on the premises at Jimmy's Food Store, one of the treasures of Old East Dallas. You can get your own frozen pizza… More >>
  • Best Grass-Fed Beef

    Texas Meats Supernatural

    Texas Meats Supernatural is a consortium representing several North Texas farms that raise cattle and other animals and crops by organic, humane methods. The consortium sells beef, lamb, pastured poultry, pork and farmstead cheeses at the Farmers Market. But you have to go look for them on Fridays or Saturdays, because those are the only days they'll be there. Grass-fed,… More >>
  • Best Scones

    Whole Foods Market

    Scones are funny. They're not doughnuts. A good scone has backbone. Scones are morning things. A scone needs to be fresh and hearty. But then, this is America. We don't want scones that taste English—you know, like a mouthful of baking soda. We want some sweets in there somewhere—raspberries, blueberries, cranberries. Give us a break. Something. Once in a while,… More >>
  • Best Seafood

    Fish City Grill - CLOSED

    Fish City is a mid-price to reasonable franchise place, but don't think that it has anything to do with fast food. This is a full-bore seafood restaurant, locally owned and operated, offering a revolving menu of specials including wonderfully succulent salmon dishes, blackened trout and more—everything served by a cheerful, well-trained staff. The decor is informally tasteful. A small patio… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Royal Thai

    Royal Thai, a great place for lunch or dinner, combines a full menu of fresh, elegant Thai dishes with rich décor and flawless service. Most of the time the uniformed waiters here write nothing down when you order and forget nothing when they serve. Pad Thai, the universal favorite, is perfect, with spices blended to just the right savor. Spicy… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Grimaldi's

    When fired for power, coal has a bad rep. It's a spitter of soot, a puker of sulfur, a farter of greenhouse flatus. But when firing pizza, it transforms into fossilized sublimity. Founded in East Harlem in 1931 and spread from New York to Arizona, Nevada and Texas, Grimaldi's cooks its pizzas in a coal-fired brick oven—just as the local… More >>
  • Best Lunch Deal

    Divino's Pizza Lunch Special

    In the new shopping center across the street from the old Divino's location, on Gaston between Peak and Haskell a few blocks from Baylor Medical Center, the new Divino's sells a lunch that's one slice with two toppings and a drink for $2.30. How can you beat that? And this is not lukewarm pizza that tastes like it came frozen… More >>
  • Best Diner

    Original Market Diner

    Many a weekday you'll find half the editorial and production staff of the Dallas Observer hunkered down at the Original Market Diner, enjoying meatloaf, a turkey club (forget fries—try the homemade potato chips), or best yet, a scrumptious breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy. You see, unlike our other old-school favorite—Mama's Daughter's Diner—the OMD serves the most important meal… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    Peggy Sue BBQ

    Its pedigree is lengthy. For more than 40 Dallas years this 'cue post was Howard & Peggy's and then Peggy's Beef Bar before it shuttered in the late 1980s, the original menu still adhering to the window glass. The room is well-stocked with cowhand memorabilia (horseshoes, buck heads, boots). It was reanimated a short time later as Peggy Sue BBQ,… More >>
  • Best Ribs

    Baby Back Shak

    What started out as a backyard barbecue for family on Sundays has emerged into the best place to gnaw on a slab of ribs in Dallas. Clarence Cohens just couldn't keep it all in the family, so eventually he began selling it just south of downtown in a two-room dive known as Baby Back Shak. His Memphis-style herb-rubbed ribs are… More >>
  • Best Fancy Restaurant

    Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

    New Mansion chef John Tesar is the dark horse on the Dallas dining terrain, the diamond in the rough. This outsider could not compete with or build upon the traditions that unfolded from The Mansion through the decades under the Lucchese-booted Dean Fearing. So, he wisely chose to focus on foodstuff and flavor with laser precision as the restaurant received… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Alligator Café

    Alligator-skin wallpaper, green. Lots of napkins. And helpful hints: pinch the tail, suck the head. Who'd a-thunk Cajun could be so Freudian? Such is the power of the crawdad. And of the Alligator Café with its long ropes of thick and greaseless fried alligator tail, soothing and swarthy gumbo with rings of fresh scallion embedded in this Cajun lava, plates… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern

    Afghan Grill

    Thank Allah for impatient landlords and generous chefs. Without them Dallas would have missed out on the best food on a stick outside the State Fair. In Pakistan, Afghan Grill chef and founder Asmat "Matt" Pikar paid off a landlord who was hassling an Afghan refugee over two months of late rent. In exchange, the refugee, a former Kabuli restaurateur,… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Zen Sushi

    Chef Michelle Carpenter turns sushi into performance art with her omakase dinners, which lets her indulge her whims. Such whims may include Southwestern strokes—cilantro, lime, jalapeño—or a specific "market-fresh catch" of the day. The sushi is fresh, smooth and silken: racy strips of Spanish mackerel, bright fluffy tobiko; rich uni over rice. Zen Sushi is a raw fish respite blazing… More >>
  • Best Chinese

    Yao Fuzi Cuisine

    Yao Fuzi Shanghainese style blends in bits of Mandarin and even Japanese, keeping it floating atop the mainstream in North Texas. You can savor fried calamari in curry dust, spicy tuna summer rolls, pan-fried duck in Mandarin sauce, and sweet and sour chicken. For the authentically adventurous, try duck gizzard, beef tripe and cilantro, jellyfish sliced from the head. There… More >>
  • Best Indian

    Bengal Coast - CLOSED

    In the strictest traditional sense, Bengal Coast is not an Indian restaurant at all. But it is Indian-inspired, and that's close enough when the food's this good. Bengal Coast roasts its own spices and simmers more than 27 distinct sauces and marinades. The startlingly fresh dishes blend Indonesian, Malaysian and Thai influences with an Indian center. The result is not… More >>
  • Best Mac and Cheese

    Cliff Café - CLOSED

    Forget all of the goo-stricken, haute renditions. This mac and cheese is simple: elbows, house-made cheese sauce, basil. That's it. A gooey, muddy-yellow spread of macaroni is tarred in Gruyère and queso touched with finely minced and sautéed purple onions, garlic, and essences of basil and tomato plus sparks of black pepper and an unexplained halo of smoke wafting from… More >>
  • Best Appetizer

    Bob Armstrong Dip

    If you've ever spent time in Austin then you know it as well as we do—Dallas just can't do queso right. Sure, our fair city is full of decent Mexican food joints, maybe even a couple of great ones. But let's face it—even El Ranchito, Mia's and La Calle Doce serve up a substandard bowl of the yellow goodness compared… More >>
  • Best Escargot

    Watel's Allen Street Cottage

    From one of the maybe two French restaurants left in Dallas after the Franco-genocide that followed in the wake of the great "freedom fries" skirmishes comes Watel's escargot, an assortment of Thai snails sautéed in Chardonnay, onions, garlic, tomato, and a lasting touch of cream before they're finished with basil and olive oil. They're rambunctiously plump and earthy, without any… More >>
  • Best Beet Salad

    Bolla - CLOSED

    It's a dead ringer for a sculpture garden, this cluster of roasted gold and blackened blood-red beets, carved into silos and cubes and slithery rectangles, resting near dunes of sea salt. Bullet dabs of oil, suspending pulverized basil, chive, parsley and garlic hug the plate edges, while tufts of amaretto crème frâiche fill in spaces between the silos and delicate… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Charlie Palmer - CLOSED

    It's a new age, when cell phones navigate and home theater experiences can be had on media players barely larger than credit cards. Enter the touch-screen tablet wine list. Charlie Palmer's wine list is an ingenious harnessing of technology to help newbie drinkers overcome their fear of coming off as a vino-imbecile. The Charlie Palmer wine selection experience is self-directed… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Nonna

    This isn't strictly authentic regional Italian food. Instead, Nonna—carved out of the foyer of The Food Company catering firm—employs a strict Italian approach (freshness, simplicity) while borrowing and combining ingredients and influences and techniques from all over the Italian landscape. House-cured salumi. Fresh-kneaded and -extruded pastas. House-ground and -cased sausages. Wood-fired meats and pizzas and breads. The best inauthentic authentic… More >>
  • Best Tiramisu

    Olea Mediterranean Bistro - CLOSED

    Now that's dessert: The soft, sodden cake easily releases its layers of coffee, marsala, rich mascarpone and chocolate, the flavors radiating outward from the spongy texture like bicycle spokes, reassembling in the mouth, dressing and undressing all the way down. The best? We dare you to find a better one—and then please tell us about it.… More >>
  • Best Ceviche

    Dallas Fish Market

    Dallas Fish Market chef Randy Morgan says his goal is to align food with décor, in this case a modern white glass and metal room with repeating geometrical shapes cleansed into near sterility. Thus Morgan, who resuscitated the shuttered Russian Tea Room in New York, works his food into these cues, sometimes by shaping, sometimes by deconstructing and reformulating. His… More >>
  • Best Lamb Chops

    Fearing's

    Though his namesake restaurant might in time be best known for its lush, smoky prime rib served on Sundays or its "mopped" rib eye slobbered in a slop of molasses, German beer and vinegar during mesquite-firing—a welcome departure from Dallas steakhouse monotony—Fearing's wood-grilled coriander lamb chops might take the cake in some minds, as it does ours. These chops tease… More >>
  • Best Latin American Restaurant

    Aló Cenaduria and Piqueos - CLOSED

    Aló Cenuduria and Piqueos serves the sort of street foods sold off carts and from stands along the thoroughfares of Mexico and Peru. Founding chef Taco Borga (La Duni and its offspring) accentuates the Japanese DNA inherent in his Peruvian creations, like his cebiche, diced bits of shimmering halibut tossed into lime and orange juices blended with a fish broth… More >>
  • Best Soft-Shell Crab

    Gui Korean Japanese Bistro and Bar

    It's nearly ubiquitous in Japanese restaurants, but all too often the fried soft-shell crab is a mushy, spindly-legged blob that at its worst assumes the texture of a sodden sponge that sometimes squirts. At Gui, this cliché becomes sublime. It's called spider on a leaf, a panko bread crumb-coated creature burrowed into a sheaf of greens, its claws bared, its… More >>
  • Best House Salad

    Olenjack's Grille

    House salads ain't rocket science, yet they're so often afterthoughts—a loose bit of greens and garden things to fill a menu slot with no sense of the house in them. Chef Brian Olenjack takes the house part of the name seriously, making sure a good dose of personality goes into every bowl. It's a simple salad in a curvaceous metal… More >>
  • Best Bar Food

    The Libertine

    This European pub's atmosphere is as cool as its beer selection, which includes a wide range of Belgian ales, rare stouts and ambers, and organic brews. Then there's the food. Here, pedestrian bar fare is nowhere to be found. Instead, there are delicious sandwiches like the grilled cheese; the Cuban, shredded pork with artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, jalapeños and olives;… More >>
  • Best Pretzel Twist

    Blue Canyon Kitchen, Tavern & Wine Bar - CLOSED

    The typical pretzel rarely goes beyond its traditional role as a lager enhancement. Blue Canyon puts a twist in its twist. It's pulverized to powder a trout. The trout is then bathed in whole-grain mustard butter, capped with a crispy fried basil leaf and pocked with a birdshot blast of capers. The pearly sweet trout, delicate and fanned into a… More >>
  • Best Mussels

    Toulouse Café and Bar

    If it was a brave man who ate the first oyster, imagine the cojones on the guy who slurped down the first mussel. Its shell, black and pointy, opens to reveal an orange, amorphous mass of meat. Sometimes the smell ain't so great either. But put enough culinary goop on it, spice it and butter it and let it stew… More >>
  • Best Sea Scallop

    Mirabelle - CLOSED

    Chef Joseph Mahr's diver is a titillating tango of Latin and Southwestern, its veneer seared into a slight, consistent brittleness shrouding buttery succulence that veers into extracted sweetness on the finish. It's bedded down on a knoll of smooth polenta richened in chicken stock, cumin, cream and orange honey, a pool of lobster broth surrounding the island, the spinach floating… More >>
  • Best Tuna Roll Transfiguration

    Loft 610 - CLOSED

    Forget the rice or the ribbons of seaweed binding tight around the precious little bands of meat. Loft 610's rolls are loosely bound in long, thin ribbons of cucumber with generous strips of tuna, as dark as a blood blister, woven with slivers of carrot to slip in some sweet. Cucumber is the air conditioner of the culinary canon, thus… More >>
  • Best Sports Bite for Your Buck

    Texas Rangers All-You-Can-Eat Seats

    Face it, you'll never be able to afford tickets to a Cowboys game once the new stadium opens. Hell, a handful of nachos at Jerry Jones' prices will probably run you twice what a pair of Texas Rangers tix might cost. So when you consider that the Rangers' all-you-can-eat-seats promo includes seats in the Lexus Club Terrace and as many… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Cindi's New York Delicatessen

    This is one of those hotly contested categories that people are willing to go to the mat over, so it's never easy coming up with a winner. You've got your biscuits-and-gravy crowd of the Mecca and Metro variety, who swear on the beehive of their favorite waitress that their local diner holds the true secret to the egg well-fried. You've… More >>
  • Best Fried Clams

    New Top's Café

    There is something so Cape Cod-ish about fried clams—the smell, the tartar sauce, the rubbery taste that rebounds the mouth with each chew—it makes you want to cozy up to a boiled lobster and suck out those green guts without questioning what the hell you're eating. Oh, of course, we have never been to Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard or… More >>
  • Best "Local Food Movement" Restaurant

    Garden Café

    Wikipedia defines the local food movement as a "collaborative effort to build more locally based, self-reliant food economies—one in which sustainable food production, processing, distribution and consumption is integrated to enhance the economic, environmental and social health of a particular place." Bankruptcy lawyer Dale Wootton probably had no idea that was what he was participating in when he decided to… More >>
  • Best Cheap Trip to Japan

    Yutaka Sushi Bistro

    Starting with the décor, Yutaka is impeccable and authentic. Shelves behind the hostess stand bear beautiful Japanese vases, and walls are accented by bright wooden box frames that hold delicate Japanese maples. This place is the best relief in town from the disappointment of cheap, Americanized sushi. Their fish is incredibly fresh—the salmon and yellowtail unagi melt in your mouth—and… More >>
  • Best Guacamole

    Trece Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Lounge - CLOSED

    That guacamole might be allowable on a strict diet plan seems at best ludicrous, but we have been consuming guac all over town and still losing weight. Might have something to do with the two hours of aerobic activity we do every morning and the fact that we're forced to slather the Mexican munchie on celery sticks, but hey, it's… More >>
  • Best Shaved Ice

    Mel's Ice Cream - CLOSED

    Funny thing about Mel's Ice Cream: It used to be a Marble Slab Creamery, and the marble slab remains—unlike Mel, who has gone the way of Marble Slab Creamery and is no longer the proprietor. The current owner is Dae Cho, who daily scoops out about 40 flavors of ice cream, many of them overtly delish, especially mixed together with… More >>
  • Best Use of a Tuber

    Jake's Hamburgers

    The decision to upgrade to sweet-potato fries with your next meal at Jake's Hamburgers is not one to be taken lightly. Not so much because they cost a buck or so more than french fries, but because plain old french fries will never hold quite the same appeal after you've experienced Jake's sweet potato fries. Dusted with a mixture of… More >>
  • Best Taqueria That's Not in a Gas Station

    Taqueria El Si Hay

    Comparing Fuel City's tacos with those from other taquerias in Dallas is like comparing The Dark Knight to any other movie that came out this summer. But Taqueria El Si Hay in Oak Cliff holds its own against the big, bad bully. Though it doesn't offer the heavenly potato-and-beef picador taco that elevates Fuel City into a class all its… More >>
  • Best Sorbet in the History of Frozen

    Savoy Sorbet

    A few weeks back we made the horrific mistake of leaving the ice chest at home; but, hey, we should have known this Saturday would wind up like most—with a trip to the Dallas Farmers Market. Specifically, Shed 1, site of the homegrown goodies. Down toward the end was a table set up for relative newcomer Savoy Sorbet, the result… More >>
  • Best Goat Cheese in the History of Goats

    La Cuesta Farm's Goat Cheese

    So, yeah, on the very same day we stumbled across Savoy Sorbet, we landed knee-deep in La Cuesta Farm's goat cheeses, for sale right across the shed from the sorbet people. And we're picky about our goat cheese: It's gotta be this salty and this spready, which isn't a word until you get your hands on the flame-roasted green chile… More >>
  • Best Iconic Eatery Makeover

    Royal China

    No doubt about it, the Preston Royal mainstay since 1974 needed a sprucing up; no matter the quality of the food, always high and occasionally top-notch, the place felt and smelled its age. Not even a sneak peek at the plans for the redo could have prepared us for what we found upon the eatery's reopening in late August, following… More >>
  • Best Fast-Casual Indian Restaurant

    Roti Grill

    Truth is, we could dine on Indian every day of the week—man and woman, we're so totally hoping, can live on samosas alone. And if so, Roti Grill's the place to get 'em hot and fresh once you place the order at the counter...if, that is, you can keep your mitts off everything else on the menu at the joint… More >>
  • Best Fresh-Roasted Cup of Joe

    Dunn Bros. Coffee - CLOSED

    This year, Starbucks Coffee instructed their cafes to start prominently displaying the date that the coffee beans they are serving as their "freshly brewed coffee" was actually roasted. Helpful for coffee connoisseurs, but the problem is that Starbucks, like most coffee shops, still brews up coffee that was roasted weeks, or sometimes months, before the baristas grind and serve it… More >>
  • Best Place to Spice Things Up

    Penzeys Spices

    If variety is the spice of life and you're feeling the need to spice up your mealtimes, then Penzeys Spices is place to start. With more than 250 different herbs, spices, seasonings and sprinkles to choose from, Penzeys has every standard spice your grandma would've cooked with plus a few to make her purple hair stand on end. For example,… More >>
  • Best Burger

    Twisted Root Burger Co.

    This Deep Ellum gem is known for one of the best hamburgers in town, along with its famous homemade root beer and milkshakes that can be ordered with Bailey's or amaretto. But for those hoping to avoid a future of getting drunk on milkshakes and packing on calories from hamburgers, the turkey burger is a way to satisfy your craving… More >>
  • Best Place to Drink a Bellini

    Patrizio

    If you're a fan of the Bellini, a mixture of Champagne and peach schnapps, then you must have spent most of July at Patrizio enjoying the $1 Bellini promotion. But even if you missed a chance at Bellinis for a buck, Patrizio offers the right atmosphere to relax and enjoy one. Or two. Or five. The Italian music, the décor… More >>
  • Best Place to Take a Date

    Avanti Ristorante

    Avanti is one of the best restaurants in Uptown, and it certainly ranks as the most romantic. The dim lighting, small and intimate dining area and classy look make for the perfect dating experience. The live music also adds to the romantic appeal. It's not a loud, intrusive sound that interrupts the atmosphere, but instead, it adds a soft soundtrack… More >>
  • Best Vegan Adventure

    New Start Veggie Garden

    We love seitan. We also love tempeh, tofu and textured vegetable protein. But occasionally, we do feel the need to break out of the stir-fry and pasta dish routine. So we head to New Start Veggie Garden, which offers an all-vegan buffet that's a mix of veggie favorites (fried rice, tofu lasagna) and offbeat Asian food. The lunch buffet begins… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Spiral Diner

    Longtime vegetarians are resigned to the fact that, when dining out, they usually have one or two choices on the menu. Lack of excitement washes over you as the server brings your steakhouse selection: a plate of iceberg lettuce with carrot shreds and a cherry tomato. So when you are presented with the abundance of choices at Spiral Diner—everything on… More >>
  • Best Kosher-Vegetarian-Indian Restaurant

    Madras Pavilion

    Not that trying to locate an Indian restaurant that serves only kosher vegetarian fare is something many people struggle with, but Madras Pavilion offers diners enough options that you can find something savory enough to satisfy within the bounds of any dietary restrictions. They have several sampler-style entrees that make for easy grazing, and there are several safe items to… More >>
  • Best Artisanal Cheeses

    Molto Formaggio - CLOSED

    We must confess: In our childhood, we ate quite a bit of Easy Cheese. And we've been trying to make up for that ever since. We enjoy fresh mozzarella, Tillamook cheddar or creamy chèvre any day. But we have hesitated to enter the realm of real artisanal cheeses. That's why it's kind of intimidating to walk into Molto Formaggio—where do… More >>
  • Best Meatless Enchiladas

    Enchiladas de Frijoles Negros at Avila's

    The main problem with Tex-Mex restaurants lies in the free chips; it's difficult to pace yourself so that you're not already loosening your belt when your meal arrives. Avila's provides a delicious plate that's a perfect-sized complement to three baskets of their delicious chips: the enchiladas de frijoles negros (that's black bean enchiladas for all you white folk). Two corn… More >>
  • Best Bubble Tea (TIE)

    Tempest Tea|Fat Straws Bubble Tea

    We still don't understand the purpose of the tapioca balls in the bottom of the bubble tea: They just get stuck in the freakishly wide straw. And yet we're still attracted to this weird concoction, a kind of milk slushie. At Tempest Tea, they improve on the regular bubble tea by offering a variety of quality teas as the base.… More >>
  • Best Burrito

    Chuy's

    Sadly, the word "burrito" conjures up the idea of a bland, paper-wrapped item purchased in a drive-through during the "fourthmeal" time of night. Chuy's has shown us it shouldn't be that way. Their "Big as Yo' Face" burritos live up to the claim; we can usually make two meals out of one. This is what a burrito should be: stuffed,… More >>
  • Best Unlikely Campaign Hub

    Texas Caribbean Foods

    This locally owned nook in the shops of South Side on Lamar seems an unlikely place for a campaign hub or monument to black political history. Yet the bright orange walls are covered with framed paintings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X as well as local art that portrays black history. Owner Jan Gore, who was born and… More >>
  • Best Sweet & Raw

    Hail Merry

    It's hard to know what kind of food we should be the most terrified of. One minute we're avoiding carbs and loading up on eggs and steak; the next minute we're cleansing our cupboards of trans fats. Next thing you know, it's E. coli-laced spinach and bovine growth hormones. And to further confuse us, there are companies like Hail Merry… More >>
  • Best Never-Knew-It-Was-a-Restaurant Restaurant

    The Cock and Bull

    Like its nearby Lakewood neighbor The Lakewood Landing, The Cock and Bull hardly screams high class from its exterior. In fact, you're far more likely to walk on past it and never even know it existed unless you walked this block of Gaston with a watchful eye. When you get inside, there's nothing too fancy about the place either—looks like… More >>
  • Best Chicken-Fried Pride

    Chicken-fried bacon at the State Fair of Texas

    Glen Kusak's chicken-fried bacon won the award for "Best Taste" in this year's State Fair of Texas food contest, but let's give credit where credit's due. Chicken-fried bacon's been served up for years at Sodalak's Original County Inn, located in the small Texas town of Snook. They even serve it with cream gravy—none of the wussy ranch and honey mustard… More >>
  • Best Slice of Lunch

    Pizza By Marco

    In the late '50s, Joseph Marco Nuccio started serving pizza at his Marco Pollo Lounge on Carroll Avenue. Then in '62, he moved his pizzeria to its current location at Preston Road and Royal Lane. Not sure how much a piece of pie and a cold drink cost back then, but today Pizza By Marco will serve you up a… More >>
  • Best Greasy Spoon

    J's Breakfast & Burgers

    The closest thing to actually stepping into a time machine for a visit back to the early '80s has to be a trip to J's. It doesn't look like much has changed in the more than 20 years since the restaurant first opened. The seats are covered with sparkly green vinyl, the smoking section is right up front, duct tape… More >>
  • Best Kids' Restaurant

    Fuji Steak House and Sushi Bar

    Don't let the kids sidetrack you to the Chili's next door or the Goff's across the parking lot. The real deal in kids' meals is the far pricier Fuji's Steak House and Sushi Bar. Yes, this is one of the best sushi bars in the city, thanks to chef Son Le, formerly of Steel fame—one that you and the spouse… More >>
  • Best Cookout

    Central Market

    Cookouts are a staple of many holidays, but let's face it—between the picky eaters, the charcoal and the bugs, sometimes they can be a real pain in the buns. Lucky for you, Central Market sets up an outdoor grill on most holiday weekends (and for their annual Hatch Chile Festival), serving up gourmet burgers, hot dogs and sausages all afternoon… More >>
  • Best Brunch/Pancakes

    The Dream Cafe

    A self-described "urban retreat serving wholesome global cuisine," this eclectic and artfully decorated restaurant offers healthful and delicious lunches and dinners, but we'll focus on the breakfast and weekend brunch. The "cloud cakes," made with ricotta cheese, are the perfect consistency—light and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness. Those and the granola-encrusted French toast are topped with fresh… More >>
  • Best Waitstaff

    Lucky's Café

    So, we've been on this diet since—oh, what's it been now?—1973, seems like. That means nothing but veggies, and hold the bread. It also means we're very, very cranky at mealtime. The kindly staff at Lucky's understands. They gently wave us to our table and fetch a giant Diet Coke before we've even unrolled our napkin. "Still dieting?" they ask… More >>
  • Best Home-Style Restaurant

    Celebration

    How do we know that Celebration has the best home-style cooking in Dallas? Listen, we live with our 86-year-old mother-in-law, a woman who wouldn't leave the house if it caught fire. But let her know we're heading out to Celebration on a Sunday afternoon—with about 70 percent of all the church-going families in North Dallas, apparently—and the old broad fetches… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Mai's Vietnamese Restaurant

    How do we love Mai's? Let us count the burn scars on the roofs of our mouths from all the times we couldn't wait to dig into our chicken clay pot because it smelled too damn yummy. Yeah, we're stupid that way, especially when it comes to Mai's fiery baked blend of vermicelli noodles, black mushrooms and spicy chicken, which… More >>
  • FOOD: Everything Old Is New Again

    Driving across his ranch in Greenville,Robert Hutchins watches as a hawk swoops down into one of his chicken hoops (no, not coops). Killing the engine of his flat-bed truck, Hutchins waits for the hawk to come back into sight. "I just saw you," he says under his breath. "Look at that dadgum hawk, bet it just killed a chicken." But… More >>
  • Best Gas Station Hot Dog

    Exxon On the Run

    Which is worse? Gas station hot dogs that are overcooked, all dried out and leathery like big, fat Slim Jims? Or a gas station that never keeps its hot-dog cooker stocked, so the hot dogs are always back on the part where it says you can't eat them yet? On the Run is one of the city's busiest gas station/lifestyle… More >>
  • Best Steak

    Ounce Prime Steakhouse - CLOSED

    The flatiron steak here is sure to curl your toes. It's a quantum leap richer than most steaks, woven as it is with a harness of fat that melts and leaches into the meat fibers. It relegates the bulk of prime beef to the sub market sector in one clean cut. It's called akaushi beef—allegedly a few cuts above prime,… More >>
  • El Postre Mejor

    Pasteles de Guayaba y Queso - CLOSED

    Over at La Cubanita, Alberto Lombardi's new Cuban "concept" restaurant, they're a bit goo-goo over guava. It seems like any time you ask your server, "Hey what's in this that makes it taste so good?" the answer is "guava." You name it: appetizers, side dishes—even La Cubanita's ribs have guava sauce. But it works, so who's complaining? The guava's sweet,… More >>
  • Best Hole-in-the-Wall Pad Kee Mao

    Star of Siam - CLOSED

    Sometimes you don't want snazzy décor or a big dining room filled with fashionable souls. You just want some good ethnic food in a little, low-key joint. If this is you, Star of Siam is your place. The family eatery is small (and so is the parking lot), and it's best to bring cash. The pad kee mao, a signature… More >>

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