The Libertine Bar
The only thing better than the Libertine's bar food is the Libertine's bar food on Tuesdays. Each Tuesday, the Libertine hosts half-price food night, when everything on the menu (with the exception of the cheese plate) is half-priced. Chef Taylor McCreary does his best to accommodate customers who have been eating at the European-style pub for years with items like the hog wings — miniature pork shanks tossed in poblano pepper sauce served with pickled carrots and celery. He also makes sure to keep it fresh adding new items as the seasons turn. Make sure to come early to snag a spot, as it gets pretty packed. And if you make it in before 7 p.m. you'll be there in time for happy hour.

Best Use of a Remodeled Fire Station

Gloria's

Gloria's
Once tucked away on West Davis Street in Oak Cliff, the original Gloria's served up some mighty tasty, traditional El Salvadoran meals. Now, 25 years later, the tiny, family-run business has erupted into a local institution with 13 locations, in DFW and Austin. Just this year, the original Oak Cliff location at 600 West Davis St. closed its doors for good and moved its staff down the street into the historic Fire Station No. 15. Sure, the station has been renovated, but it still has plenty of fire-station charm, including a pole that splits the upstairs and downstairs dining rooms.
Mario Sabino's Mexican & Salvadoran Restaurant
Can $2 margaritas ever be a bad thing? We'd like to think not. Sure, for that price there's no guarantee that your frozen tequila beverage won't be too watery, sugary, tart or florescent green, but hey, it's $2 and for a few bucks you're guaranteed at least some kind of tequila-induced buzz. So, you can imagine our delight when we discovered a $2 margarita that was actually pretty darn great. Every Sunday and Monday after 4 p.m., Mario Sabino's Mexican & Salvadoran Restaurant on Lemmon serves $2 house margs. They offer the choice between frozen or on the rocks, and we recommend one of each. The margaritas are especially great with their complimentary chips, bean dip and salsa.

Best Place To Grab A Slice And Watch The Show

J&J's Pizza

J&J's Pizza
Simone Carter
Located in Denton right off the square, J&J's pizza has been serving up gourmet slices since 1997. For a flat rate of $5 you can load up a slice of pie (one slice is actually two slices) with as many toppings as you'd like. And if you're feeling parched, you can grab a $2 can of Schlitz. Not only does J&J's have delicious, affordable pizza and cheap beer, the basement provides an intimate venue space and hosts bands most days of the week.
Buli
This Cedar Springs coffee shop and café serves up a lot of great things, most of which come complete with LGBT double entendres. Take, for example, "A Big Girl," the shop's large 20-ounce size coffee; the 16-ounce "Butch"; and the Scream'n Queen (a red eye). The menu at Buli includes everything from grilled paninis to breakfast burritos and omelets, but what really stands out is the cafe's German chocolate cake, heaped with layers of chocolate and coconut. It's best paired with their Naughty Toddy (iced coffee). The cake, like all of Buli's cakes and breads, is made at Massimo commercial bakery. And while they don't have it every day, the cake can be made to order.
Oddfellows
Kathy Tran
Oddfellows' Buffalo chicken mac 'n' cheese is so much more than noodles and artisan cheese. Does that skew the playing field? Maybe, but this isn't a democracy. Make no mistake, this is no side dish to your Wagyu burger (which is delicious). It's an entrée. A pair of chicken tenders coated in buffalo sauce sit on a bed of macaroni, scallions and blue cheese from Dublin, Texas. Now, for those of you disposed to imbibe, here's a recommendation: Chase it with an IPA, because this stuff is spicy. Not intolerably spicy, mind you, but pleasantly so. Follow these instructions, and you've laid the foundation for a solid night of drinking.
Fearing's at the Ritz Carlton
Fearing's at the Ritz Carlton
Dean Fearing has been the — so sorry — dean of Dallas chefs for north of 20 years, but this isn't a nostalgia award. Fearing deserves renewed recognition because he truly is the city's once and future best chef. Fearing is consistency personified, as he delivers some of the nation's, let alone Big D's, most palate-popping cooking. And the thing of it is, he doesn't have to. After he cooked his last lobster taco at the Mansion, Fearing could have moseyed off in his Lucchese boots, secure in his place in the firmament of great Dallas chefs. Instead, he rose up like a fire-roasted phoenix four years ago with his eponymous restaurant, Fearing's. Since then, his has become, according to no less a snooty authority than The New York Times, one of the "top 10" tables in the entire country, which, Governor Rick Perry's secessionist dreams aside, still includes Dallas. Fearing deserves this crown because instead of resting on his considerable laurels ("Table of the Year" per Esquire, Zagat's No. 1 hotel dining spot in all of United States) his restaurant produces some of the city's few truly destination dishes: Buffalo tenderloin, marinated longer than most marriages, or a Gulf shrimp taco doing a tangy tango with pickled onion and mango. It's all enough to reaffirm Fearing's place as the country's preeminent avatar (sorry Bobby Flay) for Southwestern cuisine at its most haute.
Tried and True
Catherine Downes
Burgers, Reubens, chicken wings: We love bar food because of its familiarity. On nearly every bar menu we can expect the same classics will comfort us whether our stool is across the street or across the country. Most bars pay lip service to these classics, executing the bare minimum to turn a check and get a plate out the door, but every now and then a restaurant with a competent kitchen tries to kick things up. When they succeed, you get a memorable meal at an affordable price. NHS Tavern is just that type of bar. Take the burger, sporting beef ground in house topped with aged cheddar cheese, great bacon and a flavorful sauce. A sexy sesame studded bun doesn't hurt things either. Or try that Reuben, with corned beef cooked in house and a kraut spiced up with jalapeño. Great wings and other bar sandwiches inspired from cuisines around the world round out what makes for the best bar food in Dallas.
Dining on the cheap doesn't have to suck. Ethnic restaurants provide affordable fare that's still inspired, but sometimes the ambiance leaves a little to be desired. Want something cheap with a sleek atmosphere and top-notch service? Head to Craft for lunch service, where many menu items come in below $15. The roast chicken takes top honors, with juicy flesh and crispy skin that has staying power. The portion is not quite as big as dinner, but here's the thing. The kitchen throws in a lovely mixed green salad, gratis. Other embellishments and amuse-bouches amp up your experience as well, like a crisp fried arancini and a tiny plate of tiny cookies. The chicken is a deal on its own, but with all these freebies, Craft makes a compelling lunch offer. If you want to double down, ask your server for the wine list. You'll pay another $15 or so for a glass, but the staff will let you try a few pours to make sure you like what you drink. You just got Dallas' best roast chicken for a song. Live a little.
Gloria's
A purist might scoff, but sometimes you order a margarita with one explicit purpose. If getting tanked is your goal, then your best margarita can be found at Gloria's. Sure they use a mix, but at least they use it sparingly. The drinks arrive barely tinted with sours and almost clear with alcohol. That first sip? Rocket fuel! But things will even out soon enough. Keep drinking while you munch on free chips with salsa and black bean dip, and then order a second round. Still think this might not be the best margarita in town? Order a third, and repeat this process as necessary. Given time, and an iron stomach, eventually you'll agree.

Best Of Dallas®

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