S&D Oyster Co.
Nothing fancy here, just basic ocean livestock. It's fast, simple, and indelicate. But it's the best fast, simple, and indelicate you'll find. The oysters--at just $6.95 a dozen--are clean and firm. Servers whip up a sauce right at your table with ketchup, horseradish, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, and a squeeze of lemon. If we tried that, we'd end up with a batch of Braveheart special effects. Peel-and-eat shrimp are succulently lush. Broiled fish is extraordinary: fresh, moist, and well seasoned. Plus, they have gumbo and oyster loaf sandwiches. Tip: Mix in a little tartar sauce and Tabasco with that oyster loaf, and you've got a swell hair gel.

The best thing about a wrap is that they are healthy (or so goes the perception). Bread has somehow become the enemy for dieters, and the flour or spinach wrap has taken its place as the vehicle for sandwiches. No one makes wraps as tasty (and, if you like, unhealthy) as Wall Street Deli, which boasts a dozen stores in the metroplex. Some staffers call the wraps "belly-busters," and with good reason. The chicken caesar features meaty chunks of processed fowl cubes resting in a soupy bed of ranch dressing and feta and mozzarella cheeses. A roasted veggie wrap is a healthier, but not smaller, option. Of course, Mexican food has dominated the wrap world for centuries. Fajitas and burritos cornered the gastronomical market until people renamed tortillas "wraps." But why complain? Since when has wrap been limited to one language?

In most places they come out like little gum grommets--or transaxle grease curds. But at Mangia e Bevi, they look like green little scallops (they're drenched in pesto). These potato dumplings are tender, fluffy, and consistent--like a brood of cloud puffs. Plus, they're safe for most dental work.

Dallas Farmers Market
The city keeps meddling with its venerable Farmers Market, trying to figure out ways to fix something that ain't broke, but those trusty farmers from East Texas and South Texas and Oklahoma just keep on truckin' in, bringing those great tomatoes, fresh-shelled pintos, pattypan squash, peaches, and watermelon. Shop there often enough, and you'll get good at picking out the choicest stuff. Prices are often good to great. You may forget what vegetables ripened under a chemical spray in the refrigerated trailer of an 18-wheeler taste like.

As if to prove all the skeptics wrong, Dallas-based Internet food retailer Grocerworks.com apparently insists on making sure its customers get produce from the Web as high-quality as if they squeezed the little peaches and plums themselves at the store. The first time you place an order with Groceryworks.com, you get a bag of produce gratis. And after that they only deliver fresh, plump, and ripe vegetables and fruits. Go ahead, try it, the delivery staff won't even accept gratuities. "We aren't allowed to accept tips," they'll explain. "Our company doesn't want buying from us to cost any more than the grocery store."

This restaurant serves inspired saj (a thin, flaky tortilla-like bread), smooth hummus, refreshing tabbouleh, and tangy labni. Plus there's the "tent room," where you can sit on a low couch and stuff yourself with kabobs or maybe some sauted lambs brains. Think about that.

Chipotle Mexican Grill
Now that we think about it, it might not be fair to call what Chipotle Mexican Grill serves as "burritos." It just seems to diminish the restaurant's bigger-than-a-baby's-leg concoctions, full Mexican dinners wrapped in a flour tortilla. Too-big portions of rice, black beans, steak or chicken, guacamole, sour cream, and hot sauce that's actually hot--all assembled in a few seconds while you watch. We're getting hungry just thinking about it.

In Dallas, restaurant patios are usually the places where the natives go to watch Michelins kiss parking-lot abutments. You can do that at Patrizio's too, if you squint. Furnished with marble-topped tables and padded wrought-iron chairs, Patrizio's patio is more inviting than the typical cement slab. It's cordoned with an iron gate tangled with ivy. A big tree grows from the center of the space to create shade and target-practice perches for birds. It's well-equipped with heaters in the cool months, fans in hotter months, and other little details that make you feel like you're someplace else, yet enough Highland Park Village energy seeps through to keep things interesting.

Caravelle Chinese & Vietnamese
That ubiquitous brown goo that's found on most of what passes for Chinese food is not welcome at Caravelle. Vietnamese firepots, whole baked fish, and beautiful spring rolls, all freshly prepared and served by the gracious staff, are what you'll find. Great for large groups, and when the kids get bored, they can hang around the huge fish tank.

For those who like their ethnic food authentic, Tong's House is where you want to go for Chinese cuisine. Check out their delicious hi sang su jin soup, which combines pork with seafood and vegetables. The gung sow sha sweet-and-sour shrimp was also tangy and delicious. Since many of the Chinese nationals who reside in Dallas bring their friends to this restaurant, we believe that it has earned the highest seal of approval.

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Tracy++Powell
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The thing you want to do most when nibbling late into the night is look. And here, there is a much look at, from the stylish nocturnal nuzzlers linking and languishing in lust at the bar, to the big red doors at the entrance, to the row of TV monitors rolling Japanese movies. (OK, maybe we don't want to read subtitles past midnight when our brains are marinating in stuff served with little umbrellas.) Fishbowl is a good place to gaze into the wee hours. Plus, this retro Asian lounge has great munchies such as sushi, mu shu pork tacos, and Szechwan shrimp stir-fry. Wash it all down with drinks called blazing Bangkok punch and chocolate Monchichi monkey, so even if you're sober, you won't sound that way ordering a nightcap.

It's big, smoky, voluptuous, and colorful--too pretty to be a cowboy. It's filled with typical stuff like egg and lettuce, but it also has roasted peppers, charred tomatoes, and bright, clean, creamy avocado. The whole thing is smoked and spiked with bacon, smoked chicken, and jalapeño jack cheese before it's stiffened with some tortilla strips. It's an articulate confluence of flavors and tastefulness, despite a color scheme worthy of a punk golfer.

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