La Palapa Veracruzana

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 local seafood stew and assorted uses of octopus (including the playful octopus cocktail). Most of it is very authentic. Oh, they break from tradition from time to time, but the heart of this casual spot is in Veracruz.

Best Place to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Without the Guilt

Sugarless DeLite

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 a sanctuary for those avoiding fats and sugar, and people have proved willing to pay a little extra for chocolate, cheesecake and yogurt without the guilt that comes with it. Yup, nearly everything baked and sold at Sugarless DeLite has no sugar and no fat, including the margarita mixes. As Merlin says, "We're the store where your friend who lost 30 pounds shops."

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, either—the piña colada's our personal fave, but they've got all the wedding cake, root beer, pink lady and cherry you can handle too. (Not to mention the fact that nearby White Rock Lake is the perfect place to enjoy a snow cone on a hot summer day.) Just bring cash, as they don't take credit cards. And if possible, wear a bib.

Tacos La Banqueta

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 par too. The more adventurous taco connoisseurs can opt for the tongue or intestines, and as convenience would have it, there's a liquor store next door where you can grab a Corona or Negra Modelo to wash it all down.

Dali Wine Bar & Restaurant

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 drinking professionals in the city, starting with owner Paul Pinnell. Expertise in pairing to food and personal taste matters, after all. As an added bonus, they have a retail sales outlet—the Cellar—offering some interesting and hard-to-find labels.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of