Best Salsa 2019 | Mango habanero salsa at Tacos Mariachi | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

First things first: It's not that spicy. If your idea of the best salsa is a flame war, look elsewhere, like the salsa at El Taxqueno, or the peanut and chile de arbol salsa at La Salsa Verde. The purpose of Tacos Mariachi's mango habanero salsa is different. This two-store chain specializes in seafood tacos, and the fruitiness of both mango and the habanero pepper are a perfect pairing with the octopus, shrimp and fish that feature here. Almost every one of the tacos at Tacos Mariachi is better with a squirt of tropical fruit and heat imparted by this salsa. It's the perfect marriage of condiment and taco.

Unleavened is a fast-casual restaurant with four locations in the area serving healthy takes on classics. Much of their menu is dedicated to wraps and salads packed with vegetables and high-quality proteins, like house-roasted turkey, tuna, bourbon-glazed pulled pork and grilled fajita steak. Unleavened serves breakfast wraps, hashes and smoothies as well. They also recently started serving warm bowls: lemon pesto, mole verde and cashew sesame.

The pizzas at Social Pie are served on thin, flavorful crust. If you choose a pie loaded with toppings, you might want to grab a fork to dig in. Build your own or choose from one of 10 flavors, like sausage and arugula, barbecue chicken, wild mushroom or the Tony, with garlic oil, chicken, spinach, Kalamata olives, goat cheese and pickled jalapeño. You can also order a few flavors by the slice, but beware — a slice here is more like a quarter of a pizza.

Manna Juice Bar is a family-owned shop in Mansfield run by Kristi and Dominick Andrew. When the couple, made up of a former athlete and pharmacist, noticed there was no cold-pressed juice near their home, they decided to create one. From juices to cleanses to shots, Manna Juice Bar is bringing healthy options to the area, while educating customers in the process.

While LUCK — an acronym for "local urban craft kitchen" — may not have the biggest beer selection, it certainly has the best. The Trinity Groves restaurant only carries beers brewed within a 75-mile radius to ensure every pour is fresh as can be. Look for a curated selection from local breweries including Peticolas, Revolver and Lakewood, and a complementary menu of upscale bar bites created to pair with craft beer, and in many cases, created with craft beer as an ingredient.

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.

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