Best Seafood Restaurant
Kathy Tran

Rising from the ashes of John Tesar's Spoon, another high-end seafood restaurant, acclaimed chef and restaurateur Nick Badovinus opened Montlake Cut in 2015. It's the place you want to go to for seafood flown fresh to Dallas. The best way to start an outing at Montlake Cut is with a set of East Coast oysters from the restaurant's "raw bar." By the time you're done with those, you'll likely be feeling like royalty, so order the king crab. Wash it down with a cocktail and a couple sides of crispy beef tacos. It'll leave you left with a level of happiness that won't be repeated till the next time you're back at Montlake Cut.

The Mint

Nikky Phinyawatana's Asian fusion restaurant Asian Mint has been serving Dallas mouthwatering Thai food since 2004. Phinyawatana strives to feed your soul with the perfect dish when you set foot in Asian Mint. The green curry, a mix of coconut milk, purple Japanese eggplant, bamboo shoot, Thai basil and red bell pepper, is just one of many perfect dishes you'll find at Asian Mint.

Move over, Whiteclaw, there's a new, far more delicious hard seltzer in town. Owned and produced by Denton's excellent Armadillo Brewing Co., Río Fresco is the perfect antidote to Texas' insane heat index. These bad boys are brewed with agave and come in four fantastic flavors: watermelon límon, pineapple mango, agave lime and blood orange hibiscus. Clean taste isn't the only thing that sets Río Fresco apart, though; on top of being gluten-free and vegan, they're just 100 calories.

Best Local Beer
Christopher Durbin

This stellar IPA from Community Beer Co. is hop to trot. Medical Grade Haze is dank as all get-out, but it doesn't have that uber-bitter aftertaste of a super-intense IPA. It boasts tropical and citrus flavors and goes down dangerously smoothly. Plus, its 7.7% ABV will have you feelin' fine in no time. Don't just take our word for it, though: With a score of 91, Medical Grade Haze earned an "outstanding" rating on the online beer hub Beer Advocate. Bust out a six-pack at your next outdoor hang so that your buds can sip on a brew they'll actually enjoy.

You know those local gems that are so great you can't stop telling everyone you know about 'em? Father and son-run Greek food truck Feta's is one of those places. When out on the town in Denton, catch them parked outside the ever-excellent Oak St. Drafthouse. Their signature feta fries are so memorable that you'll dream about them for days, and their mouth-watering classic gyros never cease to amaze with their bold, authentic flavors. Whether you pair your meal with a brew or swing by solely for the fantastic food, Feta's is the perfect pit-stop.

The Metropolitan Cafe

This quaint cafe in Downtown Dallas is a timeless classic. Famished 9 to 5-ers will find comfort in Metropolitan Cafe's down-home menu and nostalgia-laced ambience. Whether you're there to grab a quick cup of coffee or staying for a leisurely bite, Metropolitan has you covered. In-the-know diners gravitate toward the spot's decked-out paninis and breakfast croissants, and their decadent desserts and on-point specials never fail to please. On top of everything else, Metropolitan Cafe happens to have the perfect location: right next door to the Dallas Observer's headquarters. Thanks for always making our stomachs happy, neighbor.

Best Brunch
Courtesy of Alamo Club

If you haven't brunched on the Alamo Club's badass patio, you've been doing it wrong. This Lower Greenville treasure will cure even the meanest hangover lickety-split. Be sure to share some excellent appetizers with your closest buds — the decadent deviled eggs are an absolute must. With brilliant twists on brunch classics, Alamo Club's comfort food will have your tastebuds firing on all cylinders. Wash everything down with a carafe of blood orange mimosas, which are so dang effervescent that you'll probably cry a few tears of unbridled joy. You'll have no trouble remembering the Alamo Club.

Best Vegan Restaurant
Amanda Albee

Opened by famed tattoo artist Oliver Peck, Tiki Loco Deep Ellum is a godsend for health food fans and coffee lovers alike. With a 100% plant-based kitchen offering badass tacos, this Tex-Mex and Hawaiian-themed casual spot turns tired vegan stereotypes on their head. When it's hot out and you're in serious need of a vacation, treat yourself to a Blue Hawaiian shaved ice inside Tiki Loco's colorful dining room. And morning commuters can stop by to relieve their red eyes at White Rock Coffee's first franchise, serving up some of the best beans out there.

Best Bakery
Kathy Tran

Straight outta St. Tropez, this small bakery in downtown adjacent to The Joule opened in 2020 and is pushing out some of the most delectable from-scratch pastries in the city. Originally founded in 1955 on the French Riviera, the spot was discovered and made famous by Brigitte Bardot while filming And God Created Woman. This Dallas outpost is the first and only LTT outside of France. Their signature pastry — a brioche-style bread filled with a light pastry cream — sits like a crown in their downtown storefront window. The many options are light and bright. They also have European-style sandwiches for a grab-and-go lunch and a full coffee bar.

Midnight Rambler

The past year and a half hasn't been the easiest for bartenders. Especially for Gabe Sanchez, who shuttered his own beloved bar, The Black Swan, in 2020. But, a pandemic can't keep a good barkeep down. Sanchez was swooped up by The Midnight Rambler, where he quickly found his sea legs and re-energized the bar program inside their swank subterranean speakeasy. To sample his art, look no further than the Rambler House Old Fashioned made with a 70/30 bonded bourbon and rye blend, sugar and topped off with a house bitters blend. Years ago Sanchez told us that the bar industry is all about how you treat people; he's living up to it, which is why we're still writing about him a decade later.

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