Emerald Mist Restaurant & Pub
Sometimes a pint of warm, thick Guinness is hard to get down without the aid of a raw egg. This is especially true in the sweat-hog thickness of Texas summer, when the sky steadfastly refuses to tinkle on our heads. But when it's simmered for hours with some beef, carrot, and potato, Guinness takes on an air of smooth exuberance. This is the kind of hearty dish that makes fall and winter more bearable. Since North Texas never gets those seasons, see if you can get a bowl to go and enjoy it in an empty morgue drawer downtown.

You've got to taste them to believe them. No mixes used. Fresh-squeezed limes, top-of-the-line booze, ample servings and reasonably priced. The food's not bad, either.

Citizen's glazed duck is nothing short of stunning, which normally is hard to do with a duck unless you dress it up in a sequined gown, fishnets, and stilettos, and watch it doze off on one foot. Instead of garters, Citizen uses a dazzling soy plum demi-glace over slices of moist duck breast tucked near a set of duck landing gear. The sauce's gentle sweetness meshed seamlessly with the meat. It's enough to make you dine duck-like by tossing your tush in the air and diving for the main course.

Café Istanbul
The entire staff is from Turkey, and Turks not only know food, they have atmosphere nailed. Unique and authentic hookahs, rugs, and wine bottles adorn the walls and shelves. There is a library feel to this place in that everything feels so well-placed and so...cultural. They have a belly dancer who entertains while you eat, and scares the hell out of your children...especially your pubescent male ones.
Tramontana
It comes paired with potato-crusted calamari. But in this case the dunking medium is better than what's dunked. The dip is robust, rich, and lively with smoothness rippled by big chunks of blanched tomato. It's so racy, you could make lingerie out of it.

Chow Thai Pacific Rim
There's a curvaceous bar with a top made of stained concrete. The sector containing the bar is separated from the dining area by a screen made of chain mail, which kind of makes you wonder what the staff does with the cutlery when the barflies get riled. Chow Thai Pacific Rim also has a natty little entrance chamber, a kind of acclimation zone to help your body transition from the stylized asphalt strip-mall wasteland into this fusion fashion. Chow Thai Pacific Rim is a mishmash of Asian influences embellished with...God knows what. Slipped in there with the Pacific Rim rolls, ahi tartar, miso soup, and Hoisin-marinated chicken are New American dishes such as grilled lamb chops and frog legs with chilies. What's surprising is the number of thrilling risks they'll take.

This is hands-down the best bowl of lime-seared seafood in Dallas. Scraps of tender, firm octopus, conch, and shrimp are crammed into a margarita glass with key lime, cilantro, diced tomato, papaya, pineapple, and mango. The flavors are prodded with vanilla and a little clump of pickled onion that adds a jagged edge of raciness. It's as sexy as it is satisfying.

The Landmark Restaurant
Want the best pancakes? You'll have to go to a four-star hotel to get them. The 92-seat, award-winning Landmark Restaurant in the Melrose Hotel serves the best stack--tall, fluffy, and never mushy, with indescribably light and aromatic fruit flavors. To those further inclined, check out the restaurant's breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, featuring foods from Asia and the Americas.

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?

Best Of Dallas®

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