Best Bartender 2019 | Gabe Sanchez, Black Swan Saloon | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Aaren Prody

Sometimes all you want is a cold beer and a shot at a quiet bar. But for those nights when you want a real bar experience, seek out veteran barman and owner of Deep Ellum's Black Swan Saloon, Gabe Sanchez. If his perfectly shaken daiquiri doesn't get you, his bar skills and ridiculously quick wit will. Take a quick taste of the infusions he makes fresh in-house, and you'll be even more impressed that he somehow makes these delicious tipples and doesn't even drink.

Kathy Tran
Donny Sirisavath, Khao Noodle Shop

Hang around Khao Noodle Shop long enough, and Donny Sirisavath will start telling you unbelievable things. Things like secrets of how this tiny kitchen makes its own tapioca-flour dumplings, or a confession that not one of his cooks had ever worked in a restaurant until they started at Khao. Sirisavath, a first-time executive chef himself, walks the fine line between loving tribute to his half-Lao, half-French mother's recipes and tweaks from his fine-dining education. He's also helped shepherd a team of rookies as they produce probably the best Lao food in Texas, at one of the most exciting restaurants in Dallas.

Lauren Drewes Daniels
Ashley Davis Photograpy

A Colorado import, Snooze has breakfast down to a science. While their food is first-class, their morning cocktails are worth the trip alone. From the Boss Hog featuring bacon-infused bourbon to the Bangkok, which comes with out-of-the-box accoutrements like basil and fish sauce, the bloody mary menu has something to satisfy every taste bud. Practically a meal on its own, the Horse & Sidecar is a local favorite. It consists of a classic bloody served with tender belly ham, smoked cheddar cheese, a green olive, a pickle and a can of local beer.

Kathy Tran

Yes, there's typically a wait. And yes, it can be hours long. But my, is it worth it. A Bishop Arts District staple, Oddfellows' breakfast fare is all but legendary. For those seeking something sweet, the Fried Chicken and Waffle is a home run. Feeling savory? Huevos Rancheros is the way to go. Whatever you decide, you must complement your meal with a cup of coffee. And because not just any java will do, you'll have your choice of three craft-brewing methods. Pro tip: Oddfellows doesn't accept reservations during weekend brunch. It's a bummer, we know.

When a bowl of old-fashioned vanilla feels too — well, vanilla — there's Milk & Cream. Since opening on Greenville Avenue three years ago, the California-based sweet shop has introduced sugar-hungry Dallasites to the delicacy that is a milky bun. As delicious as it is Instagrammable, Milk & Cream's milky bun is essentially a next-level ice cream sandwich. The bun, which is best described as an oversize doughnut, is warmed, filled with a scoop of ice cream and topped with your choice of candy or cereal. The result is a decadent concoction that becomes even more delicious as the ice cream melts.

courtesy Botolino

Botolino Gelato Artignale is home to scratch-made gelato with an emphasis on using natural, raw ingredients. Owner Carlo Gattini grew up in Tuscany and learned to make gelato from his grandmother, who owned a gelato shop. Unlike most ice cream shops, Botolino does not keep its product in glass display cases; it is stored in silver containers called pozzetti, or "little wells." The pozzetti keep the gelato at a stable temperature and away from light. Botolino's flavors include mango, berries and lavender, hazelnut, white coffee and crema, which is made with Madagascar bourbon-vanilla beans. All of the sorbettos are dairy-free.

This New York-inspired restaurant is bringing the heat when it comes to burgers, but their shakes are just as popular and delicious. Choose from the handshakes, with flavors like vanilla bean, strawberry, chocolate or Nutella. Feeling adventurous? Try a megashake, which boasts flavors such as cookies and cream and candy crush, dressed to the nines. The sweeter the better.

Beth Rankin

Pecan Lodge is nationally known for its barbecue, and rightfully so. But one of their best-kept secrets is their Southern fried chicken. With the perfect blend of crispy and juicy, Pecan Lodge is serving up hand-battered greatness that — much like their brisket — is well worth the wait.

Kathy Tran

Here's how our logic worked when we made this choice: The best breakfast in Texas is a breakfast taco, and the best breakfast tacos in Dallas come from Tia Dora's Bakery. Served on big, fluffy flour tortillas made from scratch, these tacos feature consistently strong fillings; opt for eggs and chorizo, maybe, but don't miss the machacado. It doesn't hurt that they're among the biggest breakfast tacos in town, either. You'll want seven or eight, but you only need two, especially since Tia Dora's also has shelf after shelf of pan dulce just begging to come with you in a to-go bag.

Beth Rankin

The only thing better than a small, dense rock is a larger, thinner one with more eggs in it. Fresh crêpes are immeasurably better than Grandma's pancakes from a box, and Whisk Crêpes at Sylvan Thirty makes the best crêpes in town. In the cozy faux-provincial restaurant, Whisk's French impersonators crank out crêpes in many varieties, savory and sweet. You could order sweet and pretend it's OK to eat dessert at 2 p.m. — perhaps with butter and strawberries, even chocolate syrup — or try savory with chicken, mozzarella and pesto. Either way, it's up to you to build your crêpe from their expansive list of ingredients, and in just a few minutes, a hot, neatly folded treat will find itself at your table and in your mouth.

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