Hank Vaughn

The original Montes Burritos is a full-service restaurant in Whitney, but if you're out and about in the farthest reaches of North Dallas and need fuel for both your car and your stomach, drop into this Shell station and grab a couple or three of their inexpensive and satisfying freshly made burritos. Barbacoa, chorizo and breakfast selections await you.

Hank Vaughn

Hidden in a small business park near Love Field, this Persian restaurant is perhaps one of the best hidden gems in Dallas. Samad greets everyone and has developed relationships with many regulars during the 30-plus years he's been in operation. There are kebabs of ground beef and chicken grilled to order, served with rice and grilled tomatoes, but the lamb shank is what brings folks back. It's served in a bowl filled with the natural juice of tenderly braised meat, which falls off the bone revealing moist and delectable lamb goodness with aromas to match.

Joseph Woodley

When the Nashville hot chicken trend rolled into Dallas several years ago, we scoffed. Tennessee is the Volunteer State, not the Muy Caliente State, and this is Texas, the eternal home of pepper bellies. So we headed off to one of the new "hot" joints and ordered the hottest they had, looking smug. After we woke up and could see again, we understood: What those Tennessee folks are volunteering for are medical experiments involving pain tolerance. So, they know hot, and they damn sure know how to fry up a chicken. Hattie B's nails it with a crunchy crust that doesn't overwhelm the bird with breading. It's moist but not greasy, the non-lethal spices bring out the flavor of the meat and the pieces are plump. They offer bone-in and tenders along with a chicken sandwich and Southern-style sides including greens, baked beans and black-eyed pea salad. We can't tell you about the hottest of their six heat levels ... because we're cowards. Apparently it's a religious experience, as we've seen people at other tables jump up and say the Lord's name.

Courtesy of Urban Tadka

A sign on the front of the building says "A Tradition From India," and Urban Tadka delivers. The inconspicuous restaurant in Irving specializes in Punjabi food, which encompasses a wide variety of breads, curries and rice-based dishes. Try the specialty saag paneer, a dish that comes with marinated cheese cubes dunked in a spinach-garlic paste, or the goat curry, a rich tomato-based gravy mixed with goat meat. There's no doubt that your palate will experience the full traditional Indian experience here. It might be a blessing that the restaurant no longer offers a lunch buffet; it's hard to stop eating once you've started.

Alison McLean

It's been a good year for Italian food in Dallas. A number of big-name places have opened, but at the end of the day, you can't go wrong with this cozy and charming corner spot downtown with Neapolitan pizzas from the owner-chef who is a Naples native. Also, don't miss the from-scratch pastas, including the lasagna Napoletana. It's made with smoked mozzarella, meatballs and ricotta and is available only on Friday and Saturday. Or go for the ziti alla Genovese, a quintessential Neapolitan pasta dish. Try to snag a seat so that you can watch the massive pizza oven.

Kathy Tran

Tei-An is chef Teiichi Sakurai's Japanese soba house located in the Arts District. While perhaps best known for his omakase, the chef and premium versions of this "chef's choice" multi-course service requiring three days advance notice, Tei-An also excels in freshly made noodles, both soba (hot or cold with dipping sauces) and udon, as well as sushi, sashimi, ramen, umi, several small plates, daily fish collars, craft cocktails and an extensive Japanese whisky selection. Oh, and the bone marrow isn't bad, either. It's elegant dining at its finest.

Courtesy of The Stix Icehouse

Finding a place where you can relax with a cold beer, have good adult conversation and entertain your kids without the use of any electronic devices is like searching for a unicorn. But if you're willing to drive to McKinney, you'll find this magical beast. The Stix Icehouse offers fun for kids and adults, with activities such as cornhole, Wiffle ball, swings, a nine-hole disc golf course, sand volleyball courts, soccer fields, ping pong, arcade games, pool tables and a tree house. On top of that, the food is pretty darn good. From burgers to chicken-fried steak, you won't be disappointed. Your kids will especially love the Krispy Dream (warm glazed doughnut stuffed with homemade vanilla ice cream) or the Cookie Monster (two warm chocolate chip cookies topped like a sundae).

Cindy Ju Vaughn

The Village Baking Company is a boulangerie that serves sandwiches and coffee, but its raison d'être is the freshly baked goods it provides, such as savory baguettes and other loaves of bread, as well as croissants of all flavors and fillings. For us, the queen of the prom would be the kouign-amann, that wonderful export of Brittany, France, created with salted caramel, vanilla, chocolate and seasonal fruit. The multilayered laminated dough is baked to a caramelized perfection full of buttery, crunchy goodness. Who needs the cronut when this exists?

Courtesy of Shug's Bagels

Looking for a place to get your late-night food fix? Open until 2 a.m. Thursday – Saturday, Shug's Bagels is serving some killer bagel sandwiches, wraps and even breakfast after dark. All food is to go as their main dining space is closed at night, a few patio tables are available if you choose to eat there. Some standout menu items include the pesto chicken cutlet, Reuben and spicy Shug sandwiches. The loaded fries are great for soaking up the booze you likely consumed before your late-night binge. And if the party is continuing into the wee hours of the morning, you can buy beer, hard seltzer and prosecco to go.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

Four Corners' Heart o' Texas red ale isn't the most showy beer in town, but this just-sweet-enough amber has a nice malty underbelly and a touch of citrus. Try it at a Stars hockey game, as a few concessionaires at the American Airlines Center have it on draft. For some reason the 6% ABV goes perfect with the chill air, but it's not so heavy that it weighs you down.

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