Best Specialty Food Market 2016 | CiboDivino Marketplace | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Kathy Tran

You're on your way home from work and in need of a quick dinner and a decent bottle of wine. CiboDivino Marketplace can accommodate with pre-made side dishes, a wine selection that's priced competitively and 44 Farms beef in the meat case. Grab a steak and some sides or settle in for Neapolitan pizza and a bottle of wine, which you can drink in-house for retail price. Cap off your market run with Paciugo gelato or by grabbing groceries for tomorrow.

Beth Rankin

Despite lines snaking around the TV-famous bakery nearby, SusieCakes is the new Preston Center bakery that people should be excited about. The California implant specializes in classic cakes made with no artificial preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup. Don't leave without trying SusieCakes' flagship sweet: the Vanilla Celebration Cake, a six-layer vanilla cake flecked with sugar confetti. It tastes like your grandma's kitchen smelled as she baked holiday sweets.

After Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor infamously punched Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, Odor became a hero in North Texas. The meat-slingers at Heim Barbecue, ever the Rangers fans, responded by offering Odor free barbecue for life. The Texas Ranger hasn't taken Heim up on their offer, but Heim soon found themselves written up in national press for the meat offer and corresponding T-shirts, which sold out instantly. This, naturally, led to death threats from Blue Jays fans, which led to even more press. The whole thing may not have netted Odor any barbecue, but Heim made some new fans — and Canadian enemies — in the process.

Nestled in next to the Dallas Farmers Market, Mudhen Meats and Greens specializes in "food that won't kill you." Massive chalkboards at each end of the excessively bright, farm-themed restaurant alert diners as to which vegetables are currently available, and the substantial menu is vegetable-heavy but not dull. Keep it healthy with smoothies or a cup of hot bone broth, or work your way through a decent craft beer selection and cocktails accented by ingredients like rosemary, basil and red bell pepper.

Dallas has no shortage of fancy (and expensive) chocolatiers specializing in artful and delicious chocolate creations. One spot, however, has stood out even as more high-profile chocolate-makers come and go: Dude, Sweet Chocolate. Rather than rely on airbrushing and ornate construction, Dude, Sweet just makes damn fine dark chocolate creations like yerba mate truffles, "potions" (chocolate sauces) and toffee made with Deep Ellum Brewery beer-soaked cocoa nibs and Full City Rooster cold-brew.

Food trends may lean toward the fast and casual these days, but Dallas still has a long legacy of fine dining. One of the city's best is also one that doesn't take itself too seriously: FT33. Under chef Matt McCallister, the intimate and modern Design District spot creates strong modern dishes with hyper-seasonal ingredients. Take the plunge with the tasting menu, don't skip the barrel-aged cocktails and make sure to skim the humorous yet extensive wine list. Excellent service makes this spot worth the fiscal indulgence.

Alex Gonzalez
Green curry with beef

Asian Mint's Thai Tea is good enough to illicit strong reactions not usually reserved for Thai tea, an iced drink made with sweetened condensed milk and strongly brewed Ceylon tea. It's sweet, it's creamy, it's heavily caffeinated and an infusion of citrus makes Asian Mint's version particularly addictive.

Taryn Walker

Bananas and ice cream you know from banana splits and bananas Foster, but this is not that. Fried banana vanilla ice cream at Bangkok Inn is a simple, elegant and very Thai treatment of these magically complimentary flavors, cold and warm together, the perfect coda to a leisurely meal in this venerable family-operated East Dallas establishment.

Bartenders do not solely exist to crack open your cans of Lone Star and stir up your Moscow mules. They are also our "psychiatrists, comforters, wingmen, shoulders to cry on and always-waiting high five," Máté Hartai, beverage director of HG Sply and Remedy, reminded us in a Facebook post that went viral in July. Dallas had just been shaken by the killing of five police officers, but he found the words to explain what made bartenders and bars such an integral part of our lives and the healing process. "We have a city in shock, hurt, scared, angry, bleeding," he wrote. "Our greatest gift is that regardless of what happens, people come to us. In times of joy, sadness, celebration, mourning and all the shades of human emotion. They come to us." To Hartai, being a bartender is more than a job. It is a higher calling.

Readers' Pick:

Gabe Sanchez, Black Swan Saloon

It just feels wrong even telling people this, because when you step into Sprouts you feel all sanctimoniously healthy and low-fat and gluten-free just for being there, but it's a fact: Sprouts has one of the best selections of taffy anywhere – all those traditional flavors like lemon and licorice, of course, but also a rotating variety of off-beat flavors like bubblegum and watermelon, and all at pretty cheap prices. But you have to hunt for it. They keep it on this rolling bin that they move around the store, hiding it behind the produce or the candle shelf like it's their food porn section and they don't want to shock people with it. Always pinch the taffy first, by the way, to make sure it's fresh. So now you know. Shield your eyes.

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