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Food & Drink

  • Food: My Name Is Nobody

    Web extra: Hear from some of Dallas's new and unheralded chefs in our video feature. It's cliché to paint Dallas as a city that likes things big. Whether it be stadiums, scandals or the name recognition of chefs at the restaurants we flock to, size has always mattered in these parts. We cheered Kent Rathbun, chef-owner of Abacus, not only for… More >>
  • Best Chicken and Dumplings

    Cindi's New York Delicatessen

    We were worried...a little bit worried...several years ago when Cindi's New York Deli, that quintessentially Dallas landmark on North Central Expressway, began rolling out to multiple locations, everywhere from downtown to Carrollton. How do you replicate such an oddly and perfectly Dallas institution—a Jewish deli that looks and feels more like a Denny's, owned by a Vietnamese lady? And everybody—from… More >>
  • Best Cheap Sushi

    K. Tokyo - CLOSED

    The black walls and dark carpeting of this two-room restaurant explain the reputation as a hole in the wall. But don't be fooled by the drab decor. The fish is so fresh! And it's a fraction of the price compared with the raw fish served at more upscale Japanese joints, like the Blue Fish up the street. The staff bangs… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Kenichi

    Lest you think there's only so much one can do to improve a slice of raw fish, allow sushi chef Kiyomi Sano to set you straight. Yeah, there's the whole attitude thing. The place is consciously hip, to say the least. But Kenichi has thrived through Victory Park's death throes thanks to delicate fish, chef Bodhi Durant's "badass" tuna tacos… More >>
  • Best hot dog vendor

    Uncle Vinny (Sidewalk City Dogs)

    There's only one man who serves up a Chicago-style dog with a side of big Texas personality in downtown Dallas. And that's Vincent Navarro, better known as Uncle Vinny, who can be found at his cart parked somewhere along Main Street, looking out at the world through yellow-tinted shades. Vinny and his sister run the business, Sidewalk City Dogs, out… More >>
  • Best Jazz Brunch

    Brooklyn Jazz Cafe

    Jazz is music that's supposed to be felt. And brunch is a meal defined by leisure and taste. So why not marry these sensory experiences and enjoy some weekly decadence at Brooklyn Jazz Café? Every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., enjoy the soulful sounds from a full-piece jazz band while you enjoy classic eggs Benedict or a giant… More >>
  • Best Cupcakes

    Tart Pastry Boutique

    Each cupcake is a sugared jewel that's so beautiful it's almost a shame to take a bite. Until you do. And then you quickly have no problem gobbling down the rest. Try the vanilla stuffed cupcake with Key lime filling for $3.25 each (or a non-stuffed cupcake for $2.50). The 9-inch red velvet cake for $43 feeds 12 to 15… More >>
  • Best Breakfast Tacos

    The Taco Joint

    Ever since our college days in Austin, we've found Dallas severely lacking in the breakfast taco department. Sure, you can find them, but they rarely live up to the expectations one is burdened with after living in the Breakfast Taco And Live Music Capital of the World. The Taco Joint does the breakfast taco right, however, serving up eggs and… More >>
  • Best Omelet

    The Hey Ricky!! at Another Broken Egg Café

    If you've burned yourself out on Café Brazil (and let's face it, we've all done it at one time or another) the Dallas branch of this Southern chain is a more than adequate substitute, serving up everything from Southern crab stacks (a grit cake topped with homemade crab cakes, shrimp and andouille sausage cream sauce) to bananas Foster pancakes. We're… More >>
  • Best Chicken Two Ways

    Pollo Campero

    You'd be hard pressed to find better fast-food chicken than what they're serving up in the Dallas branches of this Guatemala-based chain. If you're used to KFC and Church's, the pressure-cooked fried chicken is a revelation, from the crispy, nearly greaseless batter to the juicy, tender meat within. Unlike many chicken chains, Campero also does rotisserie chicken well, with hints… More >>
  • Best Green Sauce

    New Flower Farmers Market

    Walk in, turn right toward the bakery, go to the cooler against the wall where they have prepared foods in plastic tubs. Look for the green Deli Fresh Salsa made with tomatillos, cilantro, salt, onion and garlic. This sauce is so spot-on Mexican authentic that it has caused some diligent homemade salsa cooks to stop making their own. Why bother?… More >>
  • Best Homegrown Experience

    Garden Café

    Just behind Munger Park in East Dallas' Junius Heights Historic District, fresh herbs and vegetables are served, which might not sound all that unusual until we elaborate on "fresh." At the Garden Café, fresh means it came straight from the beautiful garden in back. In addition to its unique atmosphere, the café occasionally doubles as a hotspot for book signings,… More >>
  • Best Meaty Experience

    Fogo de Chao

    Fogo de Chao is where animals voluntarily surrender to become part of a magical dining experience as opposed to the next Happy Meal. It's where meatatarians—if there was such a term—gather and rejoice that somehow their vision of what meals will be like in heaven has been realized here on Earth. Sure, there's an impressive salad bar with jumbo asparagus… More >>
  • Best Lower Greenville Eatery

    Snuffer's Restaurant & Bar

    Always among the contenders for best burger, Snuffer's has so many good ones that it's hard to pull the trigger. Do you stick with the classic? Add cheese or bacon? Or do you consider the green chili Swiss, mushroom Swiss, pizza, barbecue, blue cheese bacon, turkey or veggie burger? And if you're not in the mood for a burger, there's… More >>
  • Best Chicken Sandwich

    Al Biernat's

    We don't frequent Al Biernat's often, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the food and everything to do with sucking sound we hear from our bank account after paying the bill. With lunch entrees running up to $25 and salads topping out at $23, we only tend to stop by on special occasions. But after trying… More >>
  • Best Hot Sauce

    Gun Barrel Hot Sauce

    As it says on the label, "It's gun barrel hot," which translates to darn tasty for those who enjoy a little spice in their lives. This locally jarred goodness can be found at Whole Foods and other area grocers, so you don't have to spend a lot of dough at fancy Mexican restaurants to get your hot 'n' spicy fix.… More >>
  • Best Seafood

    Dallas Fish Market

    Who ever heard of Randy Morgan? The Dallas Fish Market chef got his start in Seattle and worked the kitchen at Oceanaire, back when it was good—but no one really mentions his name. Still, few chefs have as much respect for fresh seafood. For the downtown restaurant, he sources the best stock from wherever he can find it: Prince Edward… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Olivella's Pizza Napoletana

    OK, so it's a cram-packed little joint. So it doesn't take reservations, and there's no comfortable place to wait. And maybe Campania suits your tastes better. But there's just something about the crust at this tiny SMU destination. Owner Charlie Green supposedly plucked chef Salvatore Olivella from a New York establishment because he refused to start a pie until the… More >>
  • Best Little Death by Chocolate

    The Screamin' O at Creme de La Cookie

    Yes, of course, stop by Creme de La Cookie for the decadent OMG cookies, the "Private Reserve" cookie and the assortment of cupcakes. But while you're there, don't pass up novelties such as the cakeballs, the Nutella brownies, whoopie pies and, best of all, the screamin' O's. This little, single-bite goodie is a crazy concoction of chocolate flavors, including fudgy… More >>
  • Best Barbecue

    Off the Bone Barbeque

    For decades Dwight Harvey held down a real, corporate-type job, cooking barbecue on the weekends. He and his son eventually turned this into a casual catering venture and, finally, a full-fledged barbecue joint. The Harveys are particular about their wood, using pecan to slow-cook brisket, ribs and the other usual suspects. Their rub lends a strong, sweet-spicy character to the… More >>
  • Best Fancy Restaurant

    Five-Sixty

    When Wolfgang Puck came to Dallas, he did so in a big way—erect, throbbing with passion and...OK, he put Five-Sixty in Reunion Tower and we can't resist the phallic commentary. Whatever you think about celebrity chefs overseeing from a distance, this rotating restaurant is impressive. Sleek, modern décor? Check. Attention-grabbing view? Check. Spacious bathrooms of glazed tile? Um, no. There's… More >>
  • Best Cajun Restaurant

    Alligator Café

    What can we say? There's a lot of half-assed gumbo sold in this town, but Alligator Café ladles out a rich, reeking stew that oozes bayou. Their red beans and rice remind you that this was never meant to be an elegant dish, but something to fill working-class bellies. And, of course, there are mudbugs in season and gator meat… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Mai's Vietnamese Restaurant

    The first time you pull up to the dump that is Mai's, you think, "No way in hell I'm going in there. I'm too young to die." Oh, but once you actually risk it...Yes, there are plenty of authentic hole-in-the-wall spots in Garland serving great pho or bun mang vit. But Mai's is across-the-board wonderful, from rich noodle dishes, steaming… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Royal Thai

    You can make an argument for Asian Mint, of course, but Royal Thai takes its regal title seriously. And it's not easy to depose a king when they turn out perfectly balanced pad Thai. Look beyond the world's go-to Thai noodle dish, and you'll find odd, fierce and refreshing combinations like pla goong, full of lemongrass, mint and burning peppers.… More >>
  • Best Steak

    Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

    With some 500 seats to fill, the kitchen at Pappas Bros. has to work hard, not just to meet the demands of a dinner rush, but to create that demand, as well. They do it with cuts—slabs, rather—of prime beef they age for up to 40 days and grill to a rare perfection. That sheen of pan juices and seasoning… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Afghan Grill

    Afghanistan, as a geographic entity, was well-situated to benefit from the Mediterranean's culinary breadth, as well as the unique flavors from the mountainous areas. Spice flowed through the region as early traders traversed the land. And it all winds up here in Dallas, as densely flavored meats, exotic platters, thick and pasty servings of hummus, the beautiful variety of dumplings.… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    Cadot

    If one talented chef is good, two will be even better, right? Seems to be the theory behind this far north gem, teaming elder statesman Gaspar Stantic and young (but accomplished) Jean-Marie Cadot, late of Lavandou. The kitchen works in touches of classic French, hints of pan-European and a lot of New American into their creations, to the benefit of… More >>
  • Best Mall Food

    NorthPark Center

    This is not to say that, in our lives, we haven't enjoyed our fair share of greasy slices from Sbarro and cups of Orange Julius. Just saying that, though the mall may be the quintessential high-schooler hangout, those of us who are aged do crave food slightly more sophisticated than Cinnabon (sorry, Cinnabon). NorthPark, which for so long resisted the… More >>
  • Best Noodles

    Tei An

    A couple years ago, Teiichi Sakurai did something that at the time seemed downright dimwitted. He ditched two stellar restaurants—Tei Tei and Teppo—and headed to Japan to learn about cooking. He's one hell of a student, judging by his new One Arts Plaza venture. Tei An specializes in Japanese noodles: soba and udon, but especially the former. Hand-made, nutty in… More >>
  • Best Pizza By Another Name

    Bolsa

    The Oak Cliff restaurant caught everyone's attention by offering a menu that changed daily based upon whatever a slate of farmers brought in. They also earned some notice because of their refusal to buy such conveniences as a deep fryer. But we really didn't care about any of that once we tried Bolsa's flatbreads—essentially cracker-crust pizzas, only far more expressive.… More >>
  • Best Fusion Idea

    Soley! - CLOSED

    Chef-owners Jose and Norma Vasconcelos grew up in Mexico but trained for culinary careers in France. In fact, both ended up working for Michelin star restaurants in surrender-monkey country before heading for the swagger of Dallas. In an often overlooked storefront on Henderson, they've brought birth and training together in a fusion of French and Mexican traditions. That means poblano… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    The Grape

    When you really think about it, any one of chef-owner Brian Luscher's dishes could be up for an award. Hell, Texas Monthly awarded him best burger, and that was for the entire state. So why do we focus on his french fries? Because he's one of the few chefs in the city who bothers to do them right, that's why—taking… More >>
  • Best Place You Always Forget Is There

    Salum

    There's no-man's land as in that boggy space between British and German lines along the Somme and there's the real no-man's land, that gap you speed through when going from Knox-Henderson to West Village, or vice versa. Restaurants don't live very long on this treacherous ground unless they cling stubbornly to such basics as spot-on cooking and reasonable pricing. Helps… More >>
  • Best Milkshake

    Burger Bar at Neiman Marcus

    Certainly there's something really odd in cruising past Prada and Fendi displays on your way to a burger counter. And it is that—a wraparound counter shoved into one corner of the Neiman Marcus NorthPark mall location's café...which means you may also encounter women in silly hats on their way to lunch. No matter, the jaunt is worth it, and not… More >>
  • Best Blast From The Past, People Edition

    Cobb Switch BBQ - CLOSED

    Phil and Janet Cobb you know from the Black-Eyed Pea chain (Phil's doing) and Mi Piaci (Janet), as well as some other once-famous stops. The name Chris Andrews is associated with Holy Smokes, a once well-regarded barbecue place. And then there's Dotty Griffith, former restaurant critic for The Dallas Morning News. All of these familiar names have come back to… More >>
  • Best Blast From The Past, Chef Edition

    Marc Cassel, Park - CLOSED

    First the chefs at AVA, one of whom worked at the Green Room, brought back that long-lost restaurant's mussels recipe. Then the man himself announced his return. Years ago Marc Cassel guided the little Deep Ellum bar/restaurant to greatness. His style? Collision cuisine—the happy smashing of contrasting flavors and techniques into something that worked, and magically so. In July, Dallas'… More >>
  • Best Not-Like-Anything-Else Restaurant

    Marlo's House - CLOSED

    Any place billing itself as "the finest Mennonite restaurant" in the area and handing out matchsticks labeled "Mennonite flashlight" deserves some recognition. But the fact is, this quaint mom-and-pop place stuck in a Garland strip mall serves some damn good (can we say that?) Pennsylvania Dutch/Canadian food. Yes, you read that right. The cook (the mom) is a Mennonite, originally… More >>
  • Best Not-Too-Sweet Treat

    Yogilicious

    As much as we love ice cream dripping with fudge and all manner of other artery-clogging ingredients, occasionally we just need a palate cleanser. What's that you say—fruit? Hmm, if there was only a way to combine delicious frozen treats with fruit...enter Yogilicious. Unlike some frozen yogurts, Yogilicious' brand isn't overly sweet in an attempt to imitate ice cream. Instead… More >>
  • Best Use Of Goat Since The Warren Commission

    Inca's Café

    Ah, the musty, oily, stringy character of goat meat. For some reason it hasn't caught on in, you know, the civilized world. But a sample of Inca's seco de cabrito might have you second guessing first-world values. Yeah, it's all that we said—musty, oily, stringy, with bits of bone and gristle thrown in for that extra oomph. Still, there's a… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Bar Scene

    Bella - CLOSED

    The new-ish Quadrangle space has three key things going for it. First is location, obviously. Second is their no-reservations policy, forcing incoming guests to loiter around the bar until other diners clear out. Finally—and most important—owners Robert Petrie (not the one played by Dick Van Dyke) and Tony Porcaro, who once held sway at Nick & Sam's. Many steakhouse bar… More >>
  • Best Reason To Love/Hate Uptown

    Nick & Sam's Grill

    This is one cool layout, ya gotta admit. There are two patios, one always covered, the other in full "be seen" view of passing traffic. The building's doors swing open to allow the outside to spill in (or the inside to spill out, depending on one's perspective). This is why you live or hang around in Uptown, right? Of course,… More >>
  • Best Caesar Salad That Is Not A Caesar Salad

    Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen

    No one does a plain old Caesar salad anymore. Well, Bella does, but few others. Instead, restaurants toss on a lot of fancy stuff—lobster nuggets and such. Kent Rathbun's new place dresses up the salad right: kernels of parched corn, toasted pepitas, crumbles of Mexican cheese. Yeah, sounds like just another gussied-up Caesar, except that all the ingredients work so… More >>
  • Best New Chef

    Sarah Johannes, Five-Sixty

    She came to Dallas from Minneapolis at the behest of Wolfgang Puck. In fact, she ran the kitchen at his outpost there, so the big guy has a lot of faith in her work—as well he should, for her range is tremendous. Curry dishes show the subtle layering of flavors that first made such Indian creations popular. When asked to… More >>
  • Best Reason To Get Out Of Town

    AVA - CLOSED

    Chefs Randall Copeland and Nathan Tate go shopping almost every day. Sometimes they bring in produce from their own gardens, but always they work with local farmers committed to such concepts as "free range," "seasonal" and so forth. Of course this means dishes change constantly. One day they might plate a pork chop with grits. They next, it comes with… More >>
  • Best Use Of Butter And Cream

    Central 214

    Blythe Beck, chef at this ground-level space in the Hotel Palomar, doesn't believe in treading lightly. There's no 2 percent milk in her kitchen, no low-cal dinners on her menu. And no way in hell will she even go near I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Nope, she fries just about everything. And in her sauces—every one of them—she piles… More >>
  • Best Foie Gras

    Suze

    Some people won't touch the stuff. Cruelty to feathered things, they say. Fine—let them eat liver and the rest of us can dine luxuriously on the earthy, meaty, buttery delicacy that is foie gras. Or should be, anyway. Too often, kitchens push it too far, putting more effort into the sides and dressing than the liver itself. Or they fail… More >>
  • Best Mussels

    Neighborhood Services

    Everyone knew chef Nick Badovinus could cook. They knew it from his time with Cuba Libre and Hibiscus. But he also has—or had, rather—a penchant for going way over the top. This time, he opts for overt simplicity. He buys mussels from Blue Hill Bay in Maine and steams them in a broth based on white wine, but drawing its… More >>
  • Best Use Of Bread Scraps

    DiTerra's Urban Italian - CLOSED

    We were sitting there, staring at the menu, thinking about just what we wanted to order. But a steady stream of bartenders from nearby establishments kept walking in, ordering "mushroom toast" to go. OK, we'll bite...and damn, are we glad we did. Warm, bittersweet points of charred bread slathered in goat cheese peek through a sauce supreme laden with mushrooms.… More >>
  • Best Paella That's Not Really Paella

    Daddy Jack's

    The New England-style seafood shack has been around for a while, but they're not afraid to take chances—chances like dumping every kind of shellfish they can think of on some rice and calling it paella. Two small lobster tails, several scallops, some shrimp, mussels and clams. Geez. This is a tour of New England, the equivalent of an all-you-can-eat seafood… More >>
  • Best Home Delivery

    Yumi to Go - CLOSED

    Normally it takes 45 minutes, the guy on the phone told us, but we can get it there in 25. Pretty damn bold to make such a promise, especially considering the NYC gridlock that can build up on Lemmon and Oak Lawn. Yet the driver—piling over curbs, cutting through yards, running down children...Well, we don't know how he managed shaving… More >>
  • Best Reason To Spend Part Of Your Weekend At A Dead Shopping Center In Frisco

    Kenny's Burger Joint

    There are some downsides...besides the dead shopping center in Frisco part. You pay extra for the fries, first off. And the fries aren't that great. The burgers, on the other hand, rise far, far above Dallas-area standards. Thick, meaty, with a trace of smoke, served on quality bread—this is America on a plate. Their shakes are straightforward good stuff (and… More >>
  • Best New Face On The Scene

    Leslie Brenner

    We thought we'd miss Bill Addison, the smooth-writin', easy-going gentleman food critic. But Leslie Brenner came storming in from the West Coast (Los Angeles, to be precise) and began kicking some serious ass—as far as daily papers will allow ass to be kicked, anyway. Just look at the way she stripped The Old Warsaw of its faded glory. Sure, there… More >>
  • Best Use of a Skewer

    Baja Chicken

    Prepare yourself, because the next few sentences might make you grab your car keys and take a drive to Uptown. Have you ever wondered what's better than artery-clogging bacon? Artery-clogging bacon that is wrapped around chicken. What's better than artery-clogging bacon wrapped around chicken? When the chicken is stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese and jalapeños on a skewer, with sides… More >>
  • Best Hot Box

    Tiff's Treats

    Ah, the power of a warm, fresh-from-the-oven cookie. It has the ability to comfort, satisfy, inspire...and provide a sugar-boost when it's about 3 p.m. and all signs read: "We're Not Gonna Make It Until 5. Population: Everyone in the office." But the little cookie delivery company that could is here to help. Once rising to meet the needs of midnight… More >>
  • Best Marriage of Cattle and Quail

    The Dirty Love Burger at the Love Shack

    After we watched Fort Worth's Tim Love on Top Chef Masters, he truly earned our respect. He made an impressive trio of dishes—in a dorm room—with accidentally frozen ingredients. But it's away from the cameras and back in the Stockyards kitchens where Love really impresses. His flavor profiles aren't overly complex combinations that shock the palate; they're simple, thoughtful and—when… More >>
  • Best R-Rated Sandwiches

    P.D. Johnson's Dog Day Deli

    Is there anything wrong with giggling a little bit when ordering lunch? Ever tell your co-worker that he has a little sauce on his shirt from his Nooner? Frankly, it's liberating, and it's in no way actionable as long as you've ordered from, or are sitting in, P.D. Johnson's Dog Day Deli. Even though it's owned by two sisters, the… More >>
  • Best Use of Lychee

    Lumi Dumpling & Empanada Kitchen - CLOSED

    In Dallas, the lychee is quite the underrated, underused fruit. It's fragrant and sweet, tender to eat and fun to free from its bumpy red rind. Normally it's sold in Asian markets—where people are familiar with what a cool ingredient it is—and rarely lauded elsewhere as it is on the drink menu of Lumi Dumpling & Empanada Kitchen. The Lumi… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Wingfield's

    Sure, it's five miles from downtown, and, no, it's not fast food. But, man, is it worth it. A Wingfield's hamburger is one giant and extremely juicy fistful of beef on a big fluffy bun with fresh makings and that hot, right-off-the-grill taste with just a touch of singe—not frozen patties from Sam's and relish out of a can. The… More >>
  • Best Green Lunch

    The Silver Bowl Salad at State & Allen Lounge

    You know what our problem is? We can't make a decision when it comes to ordering food. We'd like some of this, some of that and a bite of what you're having, thanks. We want that salad, but could we please have a couple of dressings? Indecision is the bane of our servers' existence. And yet, at State & Allen… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian Restaurant

    Bliss Raw Café & Elixir Bar - CLOSED

    This small, mostly outdoor eatery (albeit with plastic covering and stylish décor, including crisp white tablecloths) specializes in vegetarian, raw and vegan dishes, and their salads and faux-lasagna don't disappoint. Yet the most intriguing attraction is the "elixirs," which the Web site describes as "medicinal liquid potions" complete with phytochemicals and antioxidants. We're not sure what all that means, nor… More >>
  • Best Indian Food

    Roti Grill

    This is a slightly different spin on traditional Indian food—it's order-up-front as opposed to the more formal sit-down-and-be-served atmosphere, and there's no buffet. Yet for a reasonably-priced Indian meal that's delicious and served in a modern dining room, you can't beat it. They have fantastic lunch combos complete with dessert, delicious chicken tikka masala and navrattan korma (garden veggies with… More >>
  • Best Red Velvet Cupcake

    Sprinkles

    Red velvet is the best kind of cake ever—and not because of the 1989 appearance of the armadillo-shaped groom's cake in the film Steel Magnolias. There's something about the cacao-tinged flavor and the rich sweetness of the creamy frosting that's absolutely irreplaceable. Which is why you'd expect a high-quality red velvet cupcake at a high-quality cupcakery like Sprinkles. The bakers… More >>
  • Best New 24-Hour Eatery

    BuzzBrews on Lemmon

    Sadly, there seems to be a dearth of decent restaurants in Dallas that are open around the clock. But BuzzBrews, the deliciously quirky little diner next to the Best Western on Central Expressway and Fitzhugh, has opened a new location on Lemmon Avenue. Much larger, with its own parking lot and a nice little bar with rare wines and beer… More >>
  • Best Take-Out Food

    Whole Foods on Lemmon

    The best part of shopping at this Whole Foods is that when you inevitably get hungry at the sight of all that food, all you have to do is mosey over to the bar once you've filled your cart. The salad fixings are broad and varied, from healthy greenery to hard-boiled eggs and at least three different kinds of tuna… More >>
  • Best Italian Grocery

    Jimmy's Food Store

    Whether the purpose of your visit is a picnic, dinner party or just an excuse to try a new bottle of wine, Jimmy's selection of Italian wine, cheese, meat and olives is like a veritable trip to the streets of Rome, or at least to Little Italy in New York. The family-owned store has been at its present location since… More >>
  • Best Reason To Live Downtown

    Metropolitan Café

    It's a testament to the obsessive persistence of owner Michael Vouras that he could plant his culinary flag on the iffy eastern landscape of downtown Dallas nearly nine years ago and grow his small mom and pop (and grandma) shop into a destination restaurant for so many downtown lunchers. Then again, the food didn't hurt either. Vouras dishes out family… More >>
  • Best Popsicle

    La Princesa Paletas

    Behind a high white fence in a leafy little corner of East Dallas is the immaculate freezer plant where the city's best popsicles are made. Sold only from handcarts at a buck apiece by guys who rarely speak English, La Princesa's popsicles are made from fresh fruit and natural flavors only. In fact, if you drop in on the plant… More >>
  • Best Bathroom Surprise

    Cowboy Chow - CLOSED

    Generally, when you see two restroom doors in a restaurant, they lead into two different restrooms—you know, boys and girls, cowpokes and cowgirls, damas y caballeros, etc. Not so at Cowboy Chow, however, where both doors lead into the same communal restroom. Sure, everyone gets their own individual walled-off stall with a full door, but it's still awkward when you… More >>
  • Best Italian Food

    Villa-O

    It's not like we have some kind of Little Italy around these parts, from whose neighborhood confines an indigenous Italian restaurant might spring up. So we have to take our Italian food as we do much of our ethnic fares, one restaurant at a time. This time, we bestow the honor of Best Italian Food on Villo-O, a trendy, Travis… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Bread Winners Café and Bakery

    Sure, you could argue it's a bit pricey for these trying times, but there is value in them there eggs—especially the way Bread Winners serves 'em. You got your three-egg "scrambles" like the Southwest migas and the healthful veggie. There is a to-die-for egg sandwich, three kinds of eggs Benedict and several egg dishes with Tex-Mex accents (burritos, enchiladas and… More >>
  • Best Guilt-Free Dessert

    I Heart Yogurt

    Maybe you haven't noticed, but there's been a fro-yo explosion going on around town. No, it's not some '80s frozen yogurt redo of your dad's TCYB—it's something a hell of a lot tastier, and it's good for you too. It's kinda California, kinda New York and plenty delish. We had a hard time choosing, what with devotees dedicated to Yogurtland… More >>
  • Best Sliders

    The Porch

    No doubt there is something magical about the number 3: In rhetorical flourishes (life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness), in religion (the Holy Trinity, the Three Patriarchs, the Three Holy Cities of Islam), in nuclear accidents (Three Mile Island). Now that same magic has spread to the culinary rage known as the slider, which is most often served in… More >>
  • Best Late-Night North Dallas Nosh

    Zinsky's Deli - CLOSED

    So you live in North Dallas, and it's the weekend, and the Houston's in Preston Center is slammed with Highland Parkies, and the sidewalks seem to roll up before you can say, "Hell no, not again" to the late-night Wendy's drive-through. Well, there is a new choice in town, a future contender for Best Deli if it weren't so new… More >>
  • Best Greasy Spoon

    Angry Dog

    Please don't get mad, Angry Dog, if we call you a greasy spoon. We mean that in the best possible way. Oh, sure, we haven't stopped by as much as we used to—about three times a week—since the Observer's office moved away from downtown, but we still love you and your chili-smothered Angry Dogs, your hamburgers that taste like beef,… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch

    The Grape

    The Grape is the kind of place you want to huddle in on a Sunday: low-key, casual atmosphere with great food...and unlike Denny's, it's dark enough inside no one can see your bloodshot eyes. But really, it's all about the food. You can go meaty, with steak frites. Need something old-fashioned and hearty? They serve oxtail hash. If you're in… More >>
  • Best Soup

    Pho at Green Papaya

    Note we didn't say most authentic—'cause in this case we don't much care about authenticity. Green Papaya's version of the Vietnamese staple is big (as Texas) and hearty (as a motherf...never mind). There are fancier soups out there too. But the Oak Lawn restaurant's pho is simple and satisfying, which is all you really want. The broth itself sends warm… More >>
  • Best Appetizer

    Piquillo Peppers at Cava - CLOSED

    Long before tapas, small plates and shared plates became trendy, the Spanish grabbed simple bites at the bar to tide them over until 10 or 11 p.m., when dinner is served. Cava's piquillo peppers appetizer is like an homage to that simple tradition. They merely sauté the peppers in olive oil (a lot of olive oil) with some garlic. That's… More >>
  • Best Honey

    Zip Code Honey

    Brandon and Susan Pollard have bee hives in places you might never suspect—the roof of Bolsa, the trendy Oak Cliff eatery, for example, or maybe in your next-door neighbor's back yard. Their bees are marching out across the city, relentlessly, like a Japanese horror movie only not horrible. In fact, the honey their hives produce is wonderful, flavored by local… More >>
  • Best Martini

    Sevy's Grill

    So everybody in Dallas orders vodka instead of gin. And the shaken or stirred question never comes up. At least Sevy's understands that, when you deign to order a real (gin) martini, the proper end result requires a balance of spirit and vermouth. And they don't let you get away with uneducated calls. Say "Bombay" and they're likely to ask… More >>
  • Best Waitstaff

    Coast Global Seafood - CLOSED

    It's one thing when servers show proper deference and reach in from the correct side. What sets the staff at Coast apart has little to do with such mannerisms. Although they are tidy, there's nothing special in their approach. But when we asked about a dish, these guys knew the details. When called upon to repeat specials, they did so… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    Shanghai Restaurant

    If you like Shanghai cuisine (a little richer and more complex than other Chinese food), you will find what you're looking for at Shanghai Restaurant. Try the preserved duck, jellyfish with radishes, yellowfish soup or seafood in beer sauce casserole. Everything here is good, and a lot of the fare is excellent. This restaurant on the edge of the vast… More >>
  • Best Cup of Coffee

    The Bolsa Blend

    Don't tell food critic Dave, but we stole the bag of Bolsa Blend that landed on his desk a few weeks back. Because, see, we finished ours in a week—should have gone much longer, damn our addictions! And, truth told, we'll drink any of the blends poured by Shannon and Jenni Neffendorf; we've had them all, in no small part… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Restaurant

    Lakewood Landing

    We're gonna be honest. There's really just one reason why we're naming the Landing for late-night grubbage. And, truly, while the Landing's regular menu rocks, if you've had the late-night corndogs, you really only need one reason. Every night, from 11 p.m. to last call, magical sticked and battered dogs become fair game for the hungry. And they're not your… More >>
  • Best Nachos

    Angry Dog

    When we lunch at Angry Dog, we hardly ever move past the appetizers page of the menu. After all, why mess with perfection? Get the Angry Dog nachos—and don't mess around with the half-order; you're gonna want the platter-size full order. When they bring out this massive plate, you'll notice that the chips get a little toasted around the edges,… More >>
  • Best Red Velvet Cupcake

    Sprinkles

    Red velvet is the best kind of cake ever—and not because of the 1989 appearance of the armadillo-shaped groom's cake in the film Steel Magnolias. There's something about the cacao-tinged flavor and the rich sweetness of the creamy frosting that's absolutely irreplaceable. Which is why you'd expect a high-quality red velvet cupcake at a high-quality cupcakery like Sprinkles. The bakers… More >>
  • Best Use of Eggs, Frogs and Bottles

    Rise No. 1

    The days of sneaking around the kitchen while grandma makes her special soufflé are over. Oh, the soufflés can still be had, but thanks to Hedda Gioia’s Rise No. 1, the mood has definitely lightened. The bustling eatery with its browse-able shelves of recycled wine-bottle glasses (short from the white bottles, tall from the red), Torchon (French-made, embroidered towels), books… More >>
  • Best Casual Food

    Jason’s Deli

    These days it can be painful to spend more than $12 on lunch, but driving through Wendy’s and scarfing down a double cheeseburger in your car is often equally unappealing. Such times call for a place like Jason’s Deli, where you can find healthy lunch fare and at the same time be economical with your time and dime. There are… More >>
  • Other Winning Food Suggestions From Our Readers

    Best Lunch Deal Local Diner 8305 N. Belt Line Road, Irving 972-929-2200 Best Home-Style Restaurant Celebration 4503 W. Lovers Lane 214-351-5681 Best Desserts Tiff’s Treats 1001 Ross Ave. 214-720-0500 Best Fried Chicken Babe’s Chicken Dinner House 1456 Belt Line Road, No. 171, Garland 972-496-1041 Best Calamari The Grape 2808 Greenville Ave. 214-828-1981 Best Ice Cream Paciugo Various locations Best Wings Wingstop Various locations… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Sugar Fix

    Peppermint Shake at Braum's

    Who wants ice cream in the middle of winter? We want it when it's 100-plus degrees, when our thighs stick to the patio chairs and nothing sounds better than cold refreshment. And yet, it's nigh impossible to get peppermint ice cream anytime other than the Christmas holidays. Except, of course, at the strange chain of restaurant/convenience stores called Braum's. Sure… More >>
  • Best Shaved Ice

    TC Shaved Ice

    We make the drive out Garland Road for TC Shaved Ice more than a few times every summer. And some of us live in Oak Cliff. But it's worth the trip, as TC's serves the finest, smoothest snow in all of Dallas, along with neglected flavors like amaretto, blackberry, margarita and nectar. You can't go wrong with the classics here,… More >>
  • Best Gelato

    Talenti

    For anyone who's tasted the gelato in Italy, coming back to the United States and settling for the gelato here feels like cruel and unusual punishment. That is until we found a gelato in the States that we actually liked, and it turns out it's made right here in Big D. Talenti, which can be found at Whole Foods, Sprouts,… More >>
  • Best Place to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Without the Guilt

    Sugarless DeLite

    After 20 years in business, owner Rick Merlin explains that one of his keys to success is staying open 362 days a year—only closing for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. "If sun's up, we're open," he says. Merlin admits that Sugarless DeLite is hardly a discount store, with items like $10 barbecue sauce on the shelf, but he provides… More >>
  • Best Gas Station Eats

    7-Eleven

    OK, let's get this out of the way: Gas station food scares us. It just seems like food preparation is the last thing the guy behind the counter is concerned about, which is why we generally stick to buying packaged snacks. So when 7-Eleven last year introduced a menu of hot foods including pizza, chicken wings and chicken tenders, we… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    La Palapa Veracruzana - CLOSED

    This Oak Cliff restaurant is little known outside the neighborhood and the city's core of gourmands willing to travel for a good meal. It's a family-type place, and all they do is recreate the smells and flavors the chef and owner knew from Mexico's Veracruz region—which means a long list of seafood plates: spicy diabla shrimp, fried red snapper, a… More >>
  • Best Greek Restaurant

    Kavala Mediterranean Grill - CLOSED

    This Bishop Arts District restaurant put everyone interested in Greek food through a scare earlier this year when they abruptly shut down. Fortunately, chef Kelly Hightower reopened his café a few days later. Times are tough, especially for chef-run joints. But one taste of his spanakopita or souvlaki or juicy strips of gyro meat and you'll wonder why the place… More >>
  • Best Blast From The Past, Concept Edition

    Blue plate specials at Blue Collar Bar - CLOSED

    From the '20s to the '50s—a golden age if you ignore depression, war, racism and gray flannel suits—traveling businessmen lived on the blue plate special, a diner's issue of a meat and two sides for one low price. The institution died out, thanks to the proliferation of even cheaper fast-food stands...that is until economic tides turned and guys like David… More >>
  • Best Fried Oysters

    Cadillac Ranch

    Chefs sometimes try too hard with these little critters. The trick, however, is to let the flavor of the oysters course through everything else—the crust, the dipping sauce, even through the beer you wash it down with. Hence the genius of the fried oysters at this massive Las Colinas shed. The shell releases a crispy-sweet background and the sauce...oh, the… More >>
  • Best Buncha Basil

    East Dallas Community ("Asian") Garden

    For 21 years the garden on Fitzhugh has been a key element in the very soul of East Dallas—three-quarters of an acre of raised beds cultivated by people who came here in the 1980s as refugees from war and pogrom in Southeast Asia. Even now on any Saturday morning after 9 a.m. you can wander in through the front gate… More >>
  • Best Taco Stand

    Tacos El Guero - CLOSED

    If you've been searching for an authentic taco stand with tasty morsels that rival those served up at Fuel City but do so in a more authentic atmosphere that conjures rural Mexico, this is your place. The tacos al pastor boast just the right amount of spice and generous amounts of cilantro, and the beef and chorizo are up to… More >>
  • Best Margarita

    Masaryk - CLOSED

    We've sorta given up on teaching Dallas the difference between a cocktail and a mixed drink. Simply put, for a real, manly margarita you have to special order at Javier's or Monica's. The great thing about Masaryk's version is this: While it may not carry the same tart, bittersweet, husky punch, you can just say "I want a margarita" and… More >>
  • Best Wine List

    Dali Wine Bar &Cellar - CLOSED

    Yeah, yeah—cheating a bit. Dali doesn't have the largest cellar, and they are a wine bar as much as a restaurant. But Joel Harloff is one of the most accomplished chefs in Dallas. People visit the place for his cooking as much as for the wine selection. And the One Arts Plaza establishment has accumulated some of the most knowledgeable… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Goody Goody

    Sure, all the Goody Goody stores are good. For selection and especially price, they outrank every other shop in the metro area. What costs $25 at, say, Pogo's runs in the $19 region at Goody Goody. We like the Addison location because it is expansive. And that means large. And that means they stock more than some of the other… More >>
  • Best Bagel

    Central Market

    Our Yiddish mama told us we'd never get a good bagel in Dallas—not until H&H moved down here from NYC, hah! But a few months back we stumbled across the most extraordinary thing: a hot everything bagel straight from the Central Market ovens. It was a revelation—not because it was H&H awesome (someone once wrote of those offerings that they… More >>

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