Dallas Observer

We never thought we'd be this excited about salad dressing because, well, we're just not Paul Newman. But the salad dressing at Snappy Salads is an absolute miracle: It got us to crave salad. Some of us are just not into cold, leafy foods, no matter how much we understand that we should be. Snappy Salads, a growing chain of 13 locations across North Texas, offers salads with names such as "Lemon Pepper Shrimp" or "Texas Taco." We recommend building your own — your preferred lettuce, plus six extra toppings — adding tofu or your protein of choice and letting them absorb the richness of the specialty dressings, all for the price of your monthly rent. Hey, we didn't say it was cheap. The dressing flavors include chimichurri, wasabi and Mexican cream. Our hearts stopped with the sweet parsley vinaigrette dressing, but thanks to our new diet, our health will be just fine.

Angie Quebedeaux

Stepping into the vibrantly colored El Vecino reminds us of a small Mexican restaurant located in a tropical destination. Old school Tex-Mex is made daily, and if you're one of those people who like their Tex-Mex hot, then check out the complimentary salsa verde. It looks deceptively mild, made with roasted tomatillos, lime, garlic and serrano peppers, but it packs some real punch and will cure any sinus issues you might be having.

Nick Rallo

Jimmy's, of course, is more than a sandwich shop. It's a small grocery store that sells Italian wines, cheeses, snacks and olive oils that's also a full deli selling house-made sausages, sauces, pizzas, lasagnas and meatballs. There is even a wine-tasting room in the back. The freshly prepared sandwiches, such as the Italian sub, muffuletta, Calabrese and Italian beef, are unmatched in Dallas. Seating is limited, lines can be long, and parking is always a challenge, but nothing this good is easy.

Kathy Tran

Life's too short for a boring dinner every Monday. Among many other great things about TJ's three-decade presence in the Dallas restaurant scene, every Monday is lobster night, which consists of cracked lobster, clams, mussels, corn, potato and drawn butter. Not only is fresh seafood on offer throughout the menu, including a daily fresh catch, you can order from the market to take home. But why do that when you'd be hard pressed to find a place with better hospitality in the city?

For 10 years, the aptly named Dallas shop with two locations has been a well of wellness. The GEM's menu is a Goop-y, Poosh-y dream with miracle mushrooms ("miracle" not "magic"), vitamin-rich energy shots and "immuni-tea." The hours are not so great. Your post-run craving for a fruity drink will probably have to wait until after the weekend. They are closed on Sundays and after 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays. But in the small window that this place is open, we're there specifically for the Tahitian Pearl, a heaven-sent blend of cacao, dates, banana, almond butter, cashew milk, coconut butter and maca. The luxurious, creamy chocolate flavor tastes like it's not good for you at all. The all-organic, healthy part makes it better.

Angie Quebedeaux

Rise is best known for its soufflés. And while the soufflés are fantastic, the showstopper is the marshmallow soup. It's an upscale and refined tomato and carrot bisque with a drizzle of pesto topped with goat cheese soufflés that resemble marshmallows. It comes with flaky and savory cheese straws that are great for dipping. Rise sells about 100 of these soups each day, regardless of the temperature outside.

Courtesy of Dakota's, photo by Beckley Photography

We thought Dakota's had closed for good in 2020, so we weren't alone in excitement when the iconic steakhouse reopened in late 2021. Dakota's downtown underground dining room had long been a date-night gem, but a few changes were in order. The menu got a revamp, with classic steaks and chops (the beef Wellington is still a winner) listed alongside newer seafood and pasta dishes. The bar and patio also got a refresh, but the dining room still has the cozy charm that has long hosted many a Dallasite's special occasions.

Angie Quebedeaux

If you have an adventuresome spirit and enjoy trying bold and flavorful dishes, then Hawker's should be on your must-visit list. It's located in Deep Ellum, and the food and the atmosphere are equally interesting. We recommend ordering from the small plates menu so you can try different things. Favorites include the roti canai, Sichuan wontons and Korean twice-fried wings. If you're not in the mood to share, the curry laksa ramen or the steak and kimchi fried rice are great options. While this may sound strange, be sure to check out at least one of the four bathrooms.

While Pie Tap Pizza Workshop + Bar is primarily known for its Neapolitan-style pizzas, the brunch options on the weekend should be noted as well. If you have a sweet tooth, the glazed cinnamon rolls are a meal by themselves. If a brunch pizza is on your mind, then try the smoked salmon pie topped with Icelandic smoked salmon, ricotta, red onion, dill, capers, a house-cured egg yolk and lemon zest. If you prefer more traditional breakfast fare, the chicken and biscuit or the breakfast sandwich is the way to go. Whatever you do, order the roasted Calabrian potatoes with spicy ketchup.

Hank Vaughn

A quiet North Dallas restaurant in a brick-clad strip mall, Sushi Robota will feel like your own secret discovery. The sushi is delicious, with standard rolls and sashimi that amaze with their freshness and are beautiful to look at. Sushi Robota's ramen game is on point, with silky and salty broth and noodles in miso, soy or pork varieties. Service is warm and attentive, and the cozy and modern dining room adds to the enjoyment.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of