Best Slice of Lunch 2008 | Pizza By Marco | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

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 slice of pizza loaded with three topping of your choice and a soda for a measly $2—yeah, you read that right. A family business since the day they served their first piping-hot pie, Marco's doesn't serve up a greasy, cheap-o slice either. Every morning, Joseph's son, Frank Nuccio gets up early to prepare the pizza sauce and dough fresh from a closely guarded family recipe. The slices are amazing, and the crust is perfectly thin and crispy, and they offer all the standard toppings to choose from plus vegan soy versions of cheese, pepperoni, sausage and hamburger. Frank has recently opened two other locations that offer a one-topping slice of pizza and drink special for $2.50, which we still think qualifies as a best deal.

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 legs folded inward like the predator at rest, sprung to pounce if need be, those panko crumbs fried into perfect spider-pelt mimicry. It's crisp but tender, moist but not slushy. The bite crushes the delicately brittle exoskeleton and in floods a gentle rush of arousing marine funk. This might be the best example of the fried soft-shell crab we've ever tasted. If it really is a crab.

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 of two years' worth of planning and prep. For the moment, we'll say only this: The sorbets are made entirely with locally grown herbs that are infused into a frozen concoction that, swear to God, tastes like something you pray for but don't dare actually expect when you hear flavors like "rosemary Chablis" or "apple mint" or "chocolate mint" or "rose geranium-raspberry," among the divine seasonal offerings now for sale at Shed 1 on weekends, till they run out. And we'll demand this: Bring your cooler.

Lauren Dewes Daniels

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 dough while you're there, so you can go home and make your own flatbread pizza. You might pick up a bottle of good Italian wine, some bitters and maybe a liter of limonata, as well. But it's that spicy Italian sausage that will stay with you the longest—in a good way.

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 hot dogs (and peanuts and Cracker Jacks) as you can cram down your maw all for $34, baseball suddenly looks very attractive. Just make sure you're not too busy putting relish on your wiener when Josh Hamilton hits his 1,000th home run.

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 trails in Oak Cliff's Bishop Arts District.

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 that dare to suggest that some fats are healthy! Developed by Dallas raw food chef Susan O'Brien, the Hail Merry line of treats—including macaroons, granola and chocolate tarts—are raw, vegan and organic and were created under the philosophy that plant-based fats are actually beneficial. Some of the treats may even help lower your cholesterol with oleic acid. So now chocolate macaroons are health food? Bring on the cookie revolution!

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 own, El Si Hay's tacos al pastor, or pork tacos, are even better than Fuel City's version. They're garnished with fresh diced onions and cilantro and presented with a generous cup of green salsa and halved key limes, which will try in vain to extinguish the jalapeño-fueled salsa fire on your tongue. At $1.30 apiece, you can stuff yourself and still have money leftover for a Mexican soda—which complements El Si Hay's tacos almost as nicely as Fuel City's overpriced beer complements its.

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 noodle is another treat—wok-tossed flat noodles with ground chicken breast, tomatoes, onions, jalapeño peppers and basil leaves. You may run into a wait for lunch, but Royal Thai provides for that with a comfortable waiting area and bar. Still, it's best to call ahead.


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.

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