Best Pizza Buffet 2016 | Stonedeck Pizza Pub | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Kathy Tran

Step aside, mediocre national pizza buffet chains — Stonedeck Pizza in Deep Ellum has reinvented the pizza buffet with one that, well, is actually good. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, $8.99 will net you all the thin-crust pizza and sides you want, and there's plenty to choose from. Turkey sandwiches, cold soba noodle salad, chili-flecked marinated cucumbers — this is the pizza buffet that grew up, got a bachelor's degree but still throws down hard on Friday nights. And did we mention Stonedeck sells beer?

Eating a dumpling at Fortune House feels like a delicious ceremony. As soon as the server pulls away the lid to the bamboo basket, steam fills the air and perfect little pouches of magic await. The Irving eatery does well with Americanized dishes like General Tso's chicken, but real treasures await on the "Shanghai flavor" menu, where you'll find impeccable xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and impossibly flavorful pan-fried pork buns. If half your table is in the mood for American Chinese food and the other half is looking for adventure, this is the place to go.

Readers' Pick:

Royal China

Brian Luscher wields his cheeseburger with the preciseness of a samurai swordsman. We believe this is the best burger in Dallas because of the way it's built: From the ground up, it's crafted to bring heartfelt, home-infused joy to the lover of the burger. The mayo is homemade. So is the mustard, for meat's sake. Hugged by a wind-soft seeded bun, the two Local Yocal waygu beef patties, thin, but not too thin, are indulged with the meltiest of melted double American cheese slices (you'll be able to pull stretchy pieces from the wrapper), pickles and caramelized-to-buttery onions. Adding peppered bacon will cut you in half, gleefully. It's a not a sandwich — it's a Hattori Hanzo sword.

Readers' Pick:

Twisted Root Burger Co.

Taylor Adams

On a trending corner of East Dallas, the folks from Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House brought a little something new to the neighborhood with Goodfriend Package, a sandwich spot and bottle shop that also boasts a Cultivar Coffee stand and vinyl hand-picked from Good Records. Goodfriend's sandwiches are simple and straightforward but made with attention to detail: bacon-fat mayo on a BLT made with house-cured bacon, house-made sauerkraut on the Reuben and inventive touches like the mushroom pastrami sandwich. Pop in for a breakfast sandwich on the go or hang around and browse the hundreds of craft beer bottles in their coolers.

Readers' Pick:

Jimmy's Food Store

With 40 draft beers and more than 80 bottles of craft beer on hand, Meddlesome Moth has an expansive beer selection, but it's also one of the most thoughtful beer lists in town. "Chances are if you've seen it in a commercial, we don't serve it," according to Moth's website. Even still, Meddlesome Moth's staff shies away from pretension and, instead, displays a wealth of knowledge when helping you pick a beer. From rare Belgian lambics to local IPAs and everything in between, Meddlesome Moth is a spot where even the staunchest beer nerd can find something they've never had before.

Readers' Pick:

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Whether you're sweating it out on a hot patio in August, throwing down on a spicy batch of crawfish in February or just looking for a beer with a little punch, Peticolas' Velvet Hammer is a solid choice. A 9 percent ABV imperial red ale with no shortage of hops, it's got it all: a malty, caramel base with just enough hoppy bite. It's hard to find a beer that goes down smooth in both winter weather and surface-of-the-sun heat, but Peticolas nailed it with Velvet Hammer.

Readers' Pick:

Revolver's Blood and Honey

The empanada may be the world's perfect food. It's cheap, filling and, considering that it's a tiny dough pouch filled with ingredients, perfect to eat on the run. Out in Irving, Empa Mundo has developed a well deserved reputation for making the freshest, most flavorful empanadas in the area. Along with the classic Argentine empanadas, don't skip the brisket and cheesesteak empanadas, for obvious reasons.

Kathy Tran

Small Brewpub does many things well, but the charcuterie program is where chef Misti Norris really gets to stretch. Norris has extensive training in butchery and charcuterie from her time at Nonna, Lucia and FT33, and at Small, she works with local farms to obtain whole hogs for the Oak Cliff restaurant's charcuterie program. By breaking down the animal herself, Norris can experiment wildly with the ever-changing board — beef lardo, pork liver terrine and hot pancetta with fennel have all been featured on the board recently. No matter how many times you order this charcuterie board, you're guaranteed to always experience something new and interesting.

FlavorHook Restaurant Group

A cozy Pacific Northwest-themed eatery in Preston Center has become one of the city's most popular seafood spots. Restaurateur Nick Badovinus opened Montlake Cut in the space that used to belong to Spoon late last year, and the restaurant specializes in pricey but well sourced oysters, simple but delightful raw bar dishes and straightforward main courses that focus more on the quality seafood than on fancy kitchen tricks. There's a touch of whimsy to this spot, but this seafood doesn't mess around.

Readers' Pick:

TJ's Seafood Market

Tacos Mariachi proves that serious tacos don't need to take themselves too seriously. The colorful Tijuana-style taqueria just down the street from Trinity Groves breaks down their playful menu into three main categories: Funky, gourmet and traditional. Classic taco purists can enjoy carnitas and barbacoa while the more adventurous go for "funky" tacos like the pulpo (grilled marinated octopus, avocado, asadero cheese) or a "gourmet" taco like the smoked salmon (asadero cheese, avocado, crema fresca and a fat smoked salmon filet on a corn tortilla). Stop by on Taco Tuesday for fish tacos made with crumbled chicharron-breaded mahi mahi with avocado mousse and crema fresca.

Readers' pick:

Fuel City

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