Elizabeth Lavin

Chef Olivia Lopez knows a thing or two when it comes to tamales and tortillas. She makes them from nixtamalized heirloom corn that she sources directly from several small communities in Mexico. She sells her products via her Instagram account (@molino_oloyo) and operates out of a commercial kitchen in the Design District. She has also started doing pop-ups at various breweries throughout the city. Her goal is to open a brick-and-mortar where she will be able to serve these tamale and tortilla creations to a broader audience. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and send her a message via Instagram to place your pickup order and experience the magic that she is bringing to the Dallas food scene.

Brian Reinhart

This Tijuana-inspired taco stand, which previously did business as Tacos Mariachi, in Trinity Groves, serves a seafood-heavy menu of tacos, but the costra de salmon — smoked salmon wrapped and toasted in asadero cheese — is a show-stopper. Someone should put one in a vault to be preserved. It's Dallas' Luka of tacos. Also try the mole fries topped with crema fresca and carne asada. Or put a big pink heart on every Wednesday on your wall calendar to remind you of the Wednesday brisket taco special, a carryover from the original location that was finally revived this summer.

Hank Vaughn

DL Mack's is a slightly upscale eatery that likes to think of itself as a Chicago tavern, but unlike a tavern, reservations are usually required. They do, however, nail the thin-crust tavern-style Chicago pizza that has been the true pizza of choice for Chicagoans and ex-pats alike. Their version comes in only one size and is a bit pricy, but it hits all the marks in ingredient size and amount, sauce flavor and thinness and crispiness of crust.

Cindy Ju Vaughn

Tea at TASCHEN, located in The Joule, is an experience and an event, with seatings at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Joule even provides complimentary valet parking, and as a gift you get a TASCHEN art book to take home. Several varieties of teas are provided, including occasionally a Texas chile chai, along with a bevy of savory and sweet nibbles such as avocado toast, smoked salmon rillette, the de rigueur cucumber sandwich and sundry cakes, shortbreads, macarons and scones. Sign up for the newsletter to be informed when the next installment will take place.

Alison McLean

Odelay opened earlier this year, and diners are already coming to it in droves. Maybe they come for the Tex-Mex classics prepared with high-quality ingredients like Berkshire pork and Rosewood Ranch beef. Maybe they come for the atmosphere, with a lively bar stocked with plenty of tequila and a hacienda-style dining room that's vibrant and fun. Whatever the reason, Odelay proves that our love of cheese-soaked Tex-Mex knows no bounds.

Hank Vaughn

Thai restaurants are plentiful in Dallas and can seem pretty similar to one another, but Thai Spice shines in its consistency and customer service. The tom kha soup is spot on, and curry dishes such as the ocean curry are flavorful and presented well. The best offerings might be the Thai fried rice, which is offered with many protein choices as well as styles such as krapow, yellow curry or pineapple cashew, but we keep coming back to the delectable crab fried rice.

Angie Quebedeaux
Spicy fish soup

Even your most adventurous foodie friends might turn their nose up at the thought of eating "sour fish soup." If they do, they will be missing out. The "sour" comes from pickled mustard greens, and this rich, sour, oily, velvety and spicy dish is nothing short of spectacular. The broth is full of ribbons of pickled mustard greens, ginger, dried chiles and Szechuan peppercorns. Delicious fresh chunks of fish (flown in live each morning from a farm in Iowa) or beef rise to the top of the broth. To order, choose the flavor of the soup: classic, spicy or vine pepper numb. Next, choose the size (S, M, L) and your main ingredient: tilapia, largemouth bass, wagyu beef or a combination of tilapia and beef. Then pick the add-ons, which include options like tofu, potato slices, enoki mushrooms, lotus root, rice noodles, luncheon meat, bean curd sticks or chewy cellophane noodles. The bowl arrives with a side of rice and you spoon the soup on top of the rice and get ready for the party to start in your mouth.

Amanda Albee

From birria tacos to chicken burritos to beefy nachos, Nuno's seems to have all the staple Mexican foods you can think of, just without the meat and dairy. Nuno Arias Jr. opened his fully vegan Mexican grill after drawing inspiration from his parents' thriving vegan taco joint, El Palote Panadería. If you're not sure where to start, order the jackfruit nachos, a classic nachos dish topped with marinated and grilled jackfruit. Move on to the huitlacoche quesadillas or the Buffalo chicken crunchwrap for your main meal. End with the vegan sopapillas, flaky deep-fried cinnamon pastries drizzled in caramel sauce. While takeout is Nuno's primary business model, you can call ahead if you'd like your food served to you. The food here tastes just as good either way.

Taylor Adams

La Me is a cafe in northeast Dallas with authentic Vietnamese fare, coffee and ambiance that offers traditional dishes such as pho and bun bo hue but also some unique options. The star of their menu is mi quang, a bowl of turmeric yellow rice noodles that are loaded with shrimp, peanuts, herbs and a hard-boiled egg sliced in half. Another popular dish is the mi dac biet, their house special dried noodles served with the soup on the side and an assortment of protein. The make-your-own spring rolls are a fun dish served with shrimp patties, grilled shrimp, grilled pork, grilled meat paste and egg rolls. They give you the dried rice paper and a bowl of hot water to soften it, then you create your own combination with noodles and veggies.

Courtesy Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse

This place is an all-time lunch classic, perfect for bringing your family or meeting work colleagues. Located in downtown Dallas' West End, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse has lunch options that hit on all cylinders. Its dining room boasts an upscale Texas ambience, but the menu's prices won't destroy your pocketbook. Y.O.'s burgers and sandwiches are as good as they come, and their salads are perfect for those who are watching their waistline but don't want to sacrifice on taste. Go big and select a top-tier cut of steak and cap it all off with a Texas-brewed beer for an afternoon treat. Thanks for making the workweek way better, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse.

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