Best Korean 2016 | Dal Dong Ne | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Eating at Dal Dong Ne feels like belonging to an underground club. The restaurant's signage is in Korean, with its westernized name in small letters next to the door. Nobody seems to have told the staff that Google thinks the restaurant is "permanently closed." Thankfully, Google is wrong and Dal Dong Ne is still around, serving up oyster pancakes, fried mackerel that would make a Cajun salivate and a whole host of family-style soups. There are dishes better-known to Westerners, too, like bulgogi, but this is a place to branch out and fall in love with something new.

Sara's Market & Bakery is the most comprehensive Middle Eastern grocery in the area, with a full selection of foods from the Mediterranean and Muslim worlds. Stock up on a half-dozen kinds of feta cheese; sample unusual deli meats; browse the tea and sardine aisles; grab all the ingredients to make hummus at home. Sara's also carries several lines of pastries and sweets from local bakeries, in case all those things sounded too healthy. One caveat for rookie shoppers: Middle Eastern candy bars tend to be far less sweet than the American rivals.

Just about everything you need for a great picnic can be had at Scardello. There's the case of cheese, of course, with free sampling encouraged. Grab a handful of imported sausage links and other cured meats, then look at the shelves of French jams and fig spreads. The fridge up front has a few bombers of craft beer, and Scardello's wine selection is at least as good as its range of cheeses. With everything else picked out, all you'll need to grab is a baguette and you're ready for lunch at the park.

Beth Rankin

Kalachandji's touts itself as Dallas' oldest vegetarian restaurant, which may be true, but we're calling it Dallas' best vegetarian restaurant. Tucked into residential East Dallas, this restaurant is located inside of a Hare Krishna temple. The patio is one the best kept secrets in Dallas, and eating there makes the experience somehow magical. Pay the suggested donation for the buffet, which features a rotating selection of predominately vegan dishes and always includes soup, a salad bar, freshly baked bread, a selection of veg and their signature tamarind tea. Following Ayurvedic tradition, no onion or garlic is used, but Kalachandji's doesn't let that stop them from producing incredibly delicious, satisfying food that skips the meat without missing a beat.

Readers' Pick:

Cosmic Cafe

What does a kitchen of meat experts do when their smoker is filled with sausage links, brisket, pastrami and other goodies? Put some chickens at the very bottom, of course. The Blind Butcher's chicken is smoked at the bottom of the pit, where it continually bastes in the juices of all the meats above. That explains how the ultra-juicy chicken takes on notes of other meats, pepper, sage and herbs. To top it all off, Blind Butcher adds a garlic-butter sauce. Go big or go home, and chicken doesn't get bigger-flavored than this.

Beth Rankin

We've been fans of the Slow Bone's barbecue for some time, but when we tried their fried chicken this year, it gave us a whole new reason to visit. Credit pit master Jeffery Hobbs, whose previous gig at Sissy's Southern Kitchen gave him plenty of experience when it comes to fried poultry. At Slow Bone, Hobbs has taken the smoke that Slow Bone is famous for and infused it into chicken with a perfect amount of crunch to its battered skin. The result is none too greasy and has enough smoke to enhance but not overpower the flavor of the bird. The fried chicken is great on its own, but also pairs well with Slow Bone's more traditional smoked meats for a carnivore's dream meal. A barbecue joint that turns out some of the best fried chicken in the city, you ask? Absolutely.

Chris Wolfgang

Dallas is something of deli desert. Luckily, there is one spot in far North Dallas that delivers an authentic New York deli experience. Don't be surprised if you find yourself waiting at the end of a long line at Deli News. Saturdays and Sundays typically mean this place is packed with diners eager to get their hands on bagels with cream cheese and lox and giant plates of house-made corned beef hash. Hungry for something on the sweeter side? Try the French toast, made from thick slices of challah bread, or a stack of their whisper-light pancakes. While the restaurant can feel a bit frenetic, that energy is part of the allure. It's like being in New York: all the delicious food, minus the airfare.

Readers' Pick:

Cafe Brazil


Houston Street's Cindi's, one in a DFW-spanning chain, is an unsung hero downtown. Located across from Union Station and an easy walking distance from the George Allen Courthouse, the deli does everything it should well. The bagels are some of the best you'll find in a city bereft of options and the deli sandwiches ring true to their East Coast roots. Above all, Cindi's smoked fish stands out, from the whitefish to the sable to, of course, the lox. While Cindi's lox and bagel platter is great, its version of lox and eggs is what really makes the deli worth a trip. Velvety scrambled eggs combine with plenty of rich lox and just enough onion for a Dallas breakfast that's delicious and different.

Courtesy Kumar's

Indian cuisine varies greatly across regions, with many American restaurants featuring either northern Indian dishes or colonial interpretations. It is a rare treat, therefore, to dine on southern Indian food, with its emphasis on dry or soupy curries. Kumar's offers its dishes à la carte during weekdays, letting diners pick and choose from rasam to sambar to curry and dosai. But the real treat comes on the weekends, when diners come for vaazha ilai virundu, or unlimited meals. Served by hand (not buffet-style) on a banana leaf-lined metal try, the non-vegetarian option comes with fish, goat and chicken curries, rice, vathal, pickle and veg, as well as dessert and a glass of spiced buttermilk. Skip the silverware and dig in.

Readers' Pick:

India Palace Restaurant & Bar

A Dallas mainstay for 10 years, Yutaka remains consistently excellent in the ever-growing sushi scene. While other sushi restaurants may rely on crazy rolls or elaborate presentation to distinguish themselves, chef Yutaka Yamoto keeps things simple, choosing to stand out with top-notch, fresh fish and carefully selected seasonal specials like Japanese sardine and baby snapper. Wait with the crowd on Friday or Saturday, or come for a quiet dinner on a Monday night.

Readers' Pick:

Deep Sushi

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