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.

Best Lunch Destination to Bring the Entire Family

Dallas Farmers Market

We've all been there: Your extended family is in town and you have no idea how to keep them all entertained, let alone how to feed them. Aunt Shirley is on a juice cleanse and Uncle Frank is a carnivore, plus some of your cousins tell you that they're fully gluten-free. Don't stress: Take your folks to Dallas Farmers Market. This sprawling bazaar is fun to browse and includes a vast array of cuisines. There's the always-excellent Mexican joint Taqueria La Ventana, featuring tasty handmade tacos. Pizza lovers can indulge in an authentic Neapolitan pie fresh from BellaTrino's famed wood-burning oven. And JuiceBabe's delish smoothies are perfect for sipping as you stop by some of the market's specialty shops. No matter where you eat, you can't go wrong with Dallas Farmers Market.

Courtesy of Adriana Herrera
The Flora Liquid Nitrogen Margarita at Beto & Son

The Liquid Nitrogen Margarita has been a staple at Beto & Son since it opened in 2016, and over the years, it's been a must-try for Dallas residents and visitors alike. Made with Avion reposado tequila, lime juice, agave, DeKuyper 03 and encapsulated fruit pearls, this margarita is designed to stay cold and slushy during hot temperatures. It's best slurped through a boba straw, which will allow for the pearls to travel through. The pearls provide quick bursts of sweetness to balance out the cold, boozy taste.

Andrea's Pizza first reeled us in at its Frisco location, and once it had us addicted, the place packed up its pans sometime around 2010 and left for the greener, much quieter pastures of Gunter. Never heard of it? It's a small town up north near Van Alstyne. Never heard of that either? That's OK; part of this restaurant's charm is that we have to work so hard to get what we want. The small, father-and-son operated marvel is worth the tank of gas. The pizza crust is sweet and sensuously thick, making it the perfect base to hold its velvety bed of cheese and hot, crispy-fresh veggies or whatever meaty toppings fill your carnivorous dreams. The long ride back allows visitors extra time to reflect and reminisce on the memories of the best pizza they'll probably ever have.

Lauren Drewes Daniels
queso fundido

This Deep Ellum gastro cantina represents the best of local food. It's got grit and panache. James Beard-nominated chef Gino Rojas writes his own rules here at his newest concept, which is just next door to his original taco restaurant. He offers a stunning cross section of food. Get the delicate cabrito wontons over a salsa roja reduction topped with a tiny purple flower. His aunt presses and grills tortillas, made to order. Fill those soft orbs with queso fundido loaded with shrimp for one of the best bites of your life. The blender size licuachelas — a chaotic blend of sour candy and margarita — might be dangerous, but you'll have a fantastic story to tell. And what a place to make stories.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of