50 Most Interesting Restaurants

Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants, No. 8: Mesa

Leading up to our annual Best of Dallas® issue, we're counting down the 50 most interesting restaurants in Dallas. These spots bring something unique or compelling to the city's dining scene, feeding both your appetite and soul. Find more interesting places on our all-new Best Of app for iTunes or Android.

While there are some who think everything worthwhile that Oak Cliff has to offer ends at the edge of the Bishop Arts District, those who push farther south are exposed to spirited sections of the neighborhood with rich and vibrant culture.

On Jefferson Boulevard, Mesa has been catering to neighborhood locals for more than two years, and if you miss this restaurant known for its Veracruz inspired cuisine, you'll be missing out on some of the best Mexican cooking in the entire city.

Raul Reyes built the restaurant with his own hands, and his wife Olga helps him plate up dishes that have earned a reputation for robust flavors that capture the spirit of coastal Mexico. Ceviches join stews filled with shellfish and seafood, and a snapper filet is plated with sauteed capers, onions, olives and jalepeños. Duck mole and slow roasted pork seasoned with achiote mark two of dishes from the land if you're not into seafood. The menu is just large enough to keep you interested, without becoming an overwhelming tome you might find yourself lost it.

But it's the service that brings everything together in a way that will form a memory that sticks. Sit at the bar and get to know the employees, some of whom are in the Reyes family. They're warm, will walk you through the menu, and also talk you through a sizable drink selection built on the infused spirits that sit behind the bar.

Now you're all warm and fuzzy aren't you? It's not just the alcohol in the house margarita that's making you feel hot. The tequila is infused with chilies and packs a whole new type of burn. Consider yourself warned.

No. 50: Joyce and Gigi's No. 49: East Hampton Sandwich Co. No. 48: 20 Feet Seafood Joint No. 47: Taj Chaat House No. 46: Mot Hai Ba No. 45: La Nueva Fresh and Hot No. 44: Pera Turkish Kitchen No. 43: Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 42: Mughlai No. 41: Russian Banya No. 40: Off-Site Kitchen No. 39: Bachman Lake Taqueria No. 38: Carbone's No. 37: Babe's No. 36: Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo No. 35: Zaguan No. 34: Royal Sichuan No. 33: Spoon No. 32: Bambu No. 31: Pecan Lodge No. 30: FT33 No. 29: Keller's Drive-In No. 28: La Pasadita No. 27: Ten Bells Tavern No. 26: El Ranchito No. 25: Cafe Urbano No. 24: Nova No. 23: Jeng Chi No. 22: Omi No. 21: Tei-An No. 20: Jonathon's Oak Cliff No. 19: Yutaka and Sharaku No. 18: Local No. 17: Ibex No. 16: Pakpao No. 15: Chennai Cafe No. 14: Smoke No. 13: Nonna No. 12: Kuby's No. 11: Sushi Sake No. 10: La Banqueta No. 9: Kalachandji's