Best Vegetarian/Vegan 2016 | Kalachandji's | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
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

The gourmet toast movement hit Dallas hard this year, but one spot keeps things simple while simultaneously making some of the best (and most affordable) toasts in town: Local Press + Brew. The healthy Oak Cliff coffee shop and juice bar uses fresh, hearty bread from local bakery Wheat & Sour topped with quality ingredients like Full Quiver Farms cream cheese, locally produced apple butter, cultured grass-fed butter and Himalayan salt. Don't skip their avocado toast — it's made simply with organic avocado, olive oil, red chili flakes and salt on whole wheat bread, but it's the best Dallas take on this trending toast.

Readers' Pick:

Babe's Chicken Dinner House

Rachel Cleaver

Frank Sinatra once crooned of New York: "If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere." When it comes to the culinary world, making it means coming to New York to cook dinner for the James Beard House, an honor bestowed on Hutchins BBQ this year. The praise heaped on the McKinney joint (there's a second location in Frisco) is well deserved; traditional barbecue meats such as brisket, rib and sausage are standout examples of the craft, while the chicken and turkey drip with moist smoky flavor. There's not a weak link among the sides, and regulars know to save room for free peach cobbler. Recognition from the Beard Foundation for Hutchins' barbecue prowess is a high honor, but only confirms something we've known here in Dallas for some time.

Readers' Pick:

Pecan Lodge

The kind of crowd who loves cold-pressed juices are thirsty for all manner of health-conscious beverages, and Roots on Tap knows that. This new juice spot opened this year in Expo Park but offers more than just cold-pressed juices and smoothies. Roots on Tap makes their own nut milks, like cashew, almond and a blend called Almondretto (almond, coconut water, turmeric, vanilla bean and dates) and "spa waters" like the Aloe-ha Colada (aloe, pineapples, oranges) and tea/coffee smoothies. But all the healthy ingredients in the world won't interest folks unless it tastes good, and Roots on Tap has definitely hit the flavor mark. If only clean-eating always tasted this good.

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