Filter By:

Filter by Neighborhood
Filter by Neighborhood
Filter by Cuisine
Filter by Cuisine
December 6, 2022

Our 100 Favorite DFW Restaurants for 2023.

The breadth of skill and creativity in Dallas' dining scene never ceases to thrill us, and we're not alone. Publications like The New York Times and Bon Appetit have highlighted local restaurants frequently, which only reinforces Dallas' status as a great dining city.

As we head into a new year, there are still challenges ahead for the industry. Inflation and a tight labor market continue to weigh heavily on restaurants. While diners are being smarter with their spending, there are still plenty of faces to feed, and Dallas' restaurant scene stands ready with old favorites and innovative new concepts to cater to the masses.

This year, our Top 100 Restaurants list welcomes a dozen new establishments as we do our part to shine a light on the locally owned spots serving a wide range of flavors and cuisines. Exploring the city's foodways with you will always be our passion, and we can't wait to see what the new year brings. - Chris Wolfgang

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Niwa Japanese BBQ

Niwa Japanese BBQ
Nick Rallo
Niwa gives Deep Ellum a proper Japanese grill-it-yourself experience, with excellent meat cuts (grab the hanger steak and short ribs), solid noodle bowl appetizers and a plentitude of dipping sauces. Your platter of meats comes with handy labels for each type. ($$$)
2939 Main St., Dallas, 75266

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Al Markaz

Al Markaz
Alison McLean
Chicken Karahi
For more than two decades years, Al Markaz has been an institution in the Dallas-area Indian and Pakistani communities. Some of the original employees are still here, and the lunch combo is still an outrageously good deal. That long history, and those low prices, are still a big part of the restaurant’s appeal, but there are plenty of good dishes coming out of the kitchen, including lentil stews and probably the best butter chicken within a dozen miles. It’s especially fun to visit in the evening during Ramadan and watch dozens of families arrive simultaneously to order mountainous, fast-breaking meals.

Top pick: The lunch combo includes a piece of naan and appetizer portions of three different main courses. You choose the mains; we recommend the nihari and dal palak (spinach and lentils).

Fun fact: The attached grocery store is excellent, with a wide range of South Asian foods, teas, sodas and English biscuits. ($)
1205 W. Trinity Mills Rd. #112, Carrollton, 75006

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

AllGood Cafe

AllGood Cafe
Nick Rallo
If you designed the diner of your dreams, and you happened to be from south-central Texas rather than, say, New York or the Midwest, the result would look a lot like AllGood Cafe. The food here adds gentle Texan touches to American classics, like the fat slices of roasted poblano pepper in the terrific grilled cheese sandwich, or the fact that all sandwiches come with a side of tortilla chips rather than fries. The chicken-fried steak, with enormous, crisp batter that sprawls across a whole takeout container, is advertised as the “world’s best.” We don’t know if that’s true, but to find better, you’d probably have to drive to some tiny town in the Hill Country.

Top pick: Either the fabulous chicken club sandwich, with crisp, peppery bacon and avocado, or literally any dish that comes with the restaurant’s smooth mashed potatoes and ultra-peppery gravy. Come to think of it, all our favorite dishes at AllGood have huge quantities of black pepper.

Fun fact: The restaurant’s atmosphere, eclecticism and charm are best described by the slogan emblazoned across its website: “It’s like going to Austin, without having to go through Waco.” ($)
2934 Main St., Dallas, 75226

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Anise

Anise
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Located in the Drey Hotel, Anise snagged Rene De Leon Jr. earlier in 2022. He's a chef whose resume includes the lauded Alinea in Chicago, French Laundry, Noma and the now-closed Bullion closer to home. Chef De Leon added pan-Meditteranean dishes to the menu such as light bacalao fritters (the dried and salted cod are popular market fare in Spain) with a sunny touch of citrus, and ever-so-slightly fried octopus over gigante beans. The whipped ricotta topped with grilled fruit is beautiful. The space is equally sharp. A gaggle of rattan lampshades hangs over an impeccably designed dining room. The bar and patio on the front side of the restaurant offer a more casual experience, but in the back is one of the prettiest dining rooms in Dallas. We'd be remiss not to mention house sommelier Amelia Henderson, who has crafted a Mediterranean-focused wine selection.

Top Pick: A lamb pressé was a dish we just couldn't forget. De Leon got a taste of a muhammara while working in Dubai. Here it's served as a sweet and smoky sauce alongside a braised lamb shoulder. The fall-apart tender block of protein is stacked with Moroccan carrots and thin shards of fried okra. ($$$)
5630 Village Glen Dr., Dallas, 75206

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Armoury D.E.

Armoury D.E.
Kathy Tran
When the Armoury D.E. opened its doors in 2015, its mission was to offer some of the best cocktails, food and live music Deep Ellum had seen in years. The Armoury has stuck to what it knows best, offering a casual dining experience with a diverse selection of Hungarian comfort foods and other good stuff that doesn’t quite fit anywhere else. Be sure to ask about the burger of the week while you’re there. Also, venture out back to catch one of their free live shows, curated with a music taste as refined as the bar’s choice in booze. ($$)
2714 Elm St., Dallas, 75226

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Baby Back Shak

Baby Back Shak
Observer file photo
A half slab at this barbecue joint means seven baby back ribs kissed with smoke, spiced with pepper and just-right tender: The meat doesn’t fall off the bone, but pulls off with the gentlest of tugs. It just narrowly beats out the boudin plate as our favorite order, but the boudin (here spelled boudain) is top-notch, too, especially dunked in a cup of sauce. The small dining room pays loving tribute to great blues musicians and displays two decades’ worth of media praise.

Top pick: We love two meaty sides: excellent, peppery, lick-the-takeout-container baked beans and the boudin links. (Yes, boudin can be ordered as a side dish with a rack of ribs to make the ultimate meat plate.) ($$)
1800 S. Akard St., Dallas, 75215-1901

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

BBQ King

BBQ King
Alison McLean
One of the best Pakistani restaurants in the Dallas area is this spot, which started in Richardson before moving to Garland in 2018. BBQ King serves some great naan — try it stuffed with spiced potatoes or topped with a showering of sesame seeds and cilantro. They’re accompaniments to dishes such as haleem, the porridge-like soul food of lentils, wheat, ground meat, ghee, ginger and fried onion.

Top pick: Try a stew-like kunna gosht, made with goat leg, or beef karahi, which sets tomato sweetness against a balanced lineup of spices.

Fun fact: If you’re into paan, the leaf-and-nut chewing stimulant common in Pakistan, BBQ King has what most diners agree is the best paan counter in the area. (We haven’t indulged.) ($$)
3112 N. Jupiter Rd., Garland, 75044

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Bilad Bakery & Restaurant

Bilad Bakery & Restaurant
Kathy Tran
Some of Richardson’s other Iraqi restaurants have shut down in recent years — we still miss the kebabs at Chai Khanah — but Bilad, the original and perhaps best of them all, remains a neighborhood institution. The superb bakery got its start turning out excellent samoon bread from Iraq and trays of delightful desserts like pistachio puffs and baklava. Bilad has also had an excellent kitchen serving Iraqi specialties, including some of the region’s better shawarma and falafel, zhug (an acidic hot pepper sauce), fresh tabbouleh and garlicky hummus. Kebab meat may look charred on the outside, but the interior is still perfectly tender. Grab a bag of that samoon bread as you leave, or visit the small grocery next door.

Top pick: The shawarma sandwiches, served on loaves of fresh Iraqi bread with fluffy soft interiors, are no-doubt, unanimous-vote choices for the Texas Sandwich Hall of Fame, especially if you ask that your sandwich be made spicy.

Fun fact: Bilad makes a point of providing food to penniless customers or people experiencing homelessness free of charge. ($$)
850 S. Greenville Ave., Richardson, 75081

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Billy Can Can

Billy Can Can
Kathy Tran
For a certain kind of tourist or visiting family member, this fancified, all-frills saloon in Victory Park is a guaranteed hit. It presents a dressed-up, Wild West atmosphere that verges on kitsch (and, in the name, crosses that verge), while serving up food and drink vastly better than the gimmick might suggest. An adventurous, affordable selection of wines and cocktails backs up pretty killer renditions of skillet cornbread, Texas red chili, hot fried quail and summer okra succotash. Some of the mains, such as the big-boned pork chop, are over-the-top in a good way. Alongside Knife and Town Hearth, this is one of the best places to take out-of-town guests who ask for a stereotypically Dallas experience but still care about the food being good.

Top pick: The crispy oyster sliders with comeback sauce make a pretty flawless appetizer, and the burger is a meaty dream bathed in Longhorn cheddar. ($$$)
2386 Victory Park Lane, Dallas, 75219

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Bombay Chowpatty

Bombay Chowpatty
Kathy Tran
One of Irving’s top places for chaat is Bombay Chowpatty, named after a beach lined with street food vendors. The dining room showcases some of that airy atmosphere, with seats arranged food-hall style around a central open kitchen and many of the walls plastered with beach photos and Bollywood posters. Pav bhaji is a superb order here, as are the bit-of-everything lunch combos. If you just need a snack, go for sabudana vada, deep-fried patties of sago pearls, whole-seed spices and chives; they have the crisp bubbly texture of good tater tots. The fusion items, like a pizza dosa and pineapple-chocolate-cheese sandwich, are just as wild as they sound, so order with caution.

Top pick: If you’re in the mood for a sandwich, skip the European-style sandwiches on white bread and order a frankie, a rolled-up paratha filled with chopped veggies and spices. The paneer frankie here is a reliable and filling vegetarian lunch.

Fun fact: Bombay Chowpatty is one of the few restaurants in the Dallas area with a Jain menu. Because Jain people believe in total nonviolence to all living creatures, their vegetarianism excludes foods grown underground, like onions, to avoid harming small insects by harvesting roots or tubers. ($)
825 W. Royal Lane, Irving, 75039

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Boulevardier

Boulevardier
Kathryn DeBruler
This quaint French bistro in the Bishop Arts District has one of the best brunches in the city, a celebrated wine list, phenomenal French cuisine and a stellar oyster program. It almost feels arrogant of them to also have one of the best bars in the city. And, yet, here we are. Every Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., get half-off of every bottle of wine on their list and discounted oysters. Watch the chalkboard for the best picks. Not a wine-drinker? No problem. Their hand-crafted classic cocktails will get you wherever you need to go. ($$$)
408 N. Bishop Ave., #108, Dallas, 75208

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Cabritos Los Cavazos

Cabritos Los Cavazos
Cabrito is the star at the only full-on Monterrey-style, goat-grilling specialist in the Dallas area. Stare through the glass kitchen wall at the massive pit, above which goat legs, shoulders and ribcages stand like planted flags, then feast on one of the cuts alongside charro beans and the restaurant’s excellent salsas. Few make-your-own-taco experiences in Dallas get as good as this. One portion of cabrito, with all the fixings that come with it, is enough to make one person full or to satisfy two people who’ve also shared an appetizer.

Top pick: Splurge on the whole goat for $235. If that’s a little too much food for your household, consider the spectacularly rich machitos — rolls of goat meat, fat and organs stuffed into the animal’s digestive tract and grilled until crispy.

Fun fact: If you’re wondering why the dining room is a little strange, and why the kitchen has a glass wall partition, it’s because this space used to be a liquor store. ($$)
10240 N. Walton Walker Blvd., Dallas, 75220

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Cafe Momentum

Cafe Momentum
Stanton Stephens
Cafe Momentum is a nonprofit venture that employs juvenile offenders and pays them fair, living wages to help teach them life skills, leadership and, of course, how to work in a restaurant. Because of the employees’ fair wages, any tips left behind are considered donations to the mission. As such, it’s easy to praise the restaurant without ever mentioning food, just by dwelling on the life-changing effects it has on young people who deserve this chance to work and grow. But here’s the thing: Cafe Momentum is a genuinely good restaurant, one that consistently manages to stand out from the glut of Southern kitchens around town.

Top pick: Menu items rotate along with the interns and the professionals who teach them, but look for market-fresh fish with seasonal sides, savory crawfish beignets or an excellent plate of shrimp and grits. ($$$)
1510 Pacific Ave., Dallas, 75201

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Cafemandu Flavors of Nepal

Cafemandu Flavors of Nepal
Alison McLean
Of Irving’s top Nepalese restaurants, Cafemandu boasts the biggest and deepest list of momos, the country’s beloved pleated dumplings. Cafemandu even has dessert momos, but it’s probably best to start with the classic steamed variety to admire the thin, nearly translucent dough around the plump filling then work your way through spicy chili momos covered in hot sauce and sautéed with peppers, jhol momos, served in a bowl of mildly spiced broth, and even dumplings bathed in cheese.

Top pick: One you best bets is sekuwa, the Nepalese grilled skewers of seasoned meat similar to kebabs; try the ultra-flavorful goat.

($$)
3711 N. Belt Line Rd., Irving, 75038

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Cattleack Barbeque

Cattleack Barbeque
Chris Wolfgang
In an industrial park in Farmers Branch, Cattleack Barbeque lives up to every bit of hype it’s received. Fabulous fatty brisket and extraordinary pulled whole hog are the stars of the show, as is a vinegar-based coleslaw made from pitmaster Todd David’s mother’s recipe. Grab another bite of slaw and you’ll be prepared to tackle that next slice of Texas hot link.

Top pick: Some weeks, the Cattleack crew smoke beef ribs rubbed with a pastrami spice mix. The ribs are jaw-dropping; order an extra, take it home and throw it in a pot of beans the next day. In fact, order extra of everything in general, and you’ll be cooking the best beans of your life. ($$)
13628 Gamma Rd., Farmers Branch, 75244

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

The Charles

The Charles
Alison McLean
Across the street from Town Hearth, The Charles is nearly as over-the-top a place to see and be seen, even on Monday nights. It’s all about the spectacle here — including cheetah-print booths and a memorably wallpapered bathroom. The menu here is unlike any other Italian joint in town, thanks to chef J. Chastain’s constant, creative tinkering with classics. You may not find spaghetti with meatballs, but you’ll find something interesting, and even inspired, among either your takeout containers or the sheer sensory overload of this deliciously overdecorated dining room.

Top pick: The Charles has a charming habit of grilling vegetables hard, so if you like charcoal and sear marks on your greens, you can choose (seasonally) from grilled okra, broccoli or even kale. ($$$)
1632 Market Center Blvd., Dallas, 75207

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Chilangos Tacos

Chilangos Tacos
courtesy of Chilangos
Deep in the maze of warehouses, industrial plants and nightclubs along Harry Hines Boulevard, Chilangos serves a short menu of tacos along with spicy elote cups and horchata. The interior is a chic tribute to Mexico City, with the ordering counter made to resemble a street or market stall, Topo Chico bottles converted into flower holders on each table and words of culinary wisdom painted on the walls. There aren’t a lot of taco choices here, but every single one can be made costra-style — that is, with the fillings of your choice wrapped in a golden-brown blanket of crisp molten cheese. That cheese pocket is then placed on a flour tortilla that can barely stretch to hold it.

Top pick: The traditional and best order to fold into a cheesy sheath is Chilangos’ excellent pastor-marinated pork. Just be sure to add lots of chopped onions and salsa verde to offset the cheese’s richness. ($)
10777 Harry Hines Blvd. #130, Dallas, 75220

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Cosmo’s Bar & Lounge

Cosmo’s Bar & Lounge
Taylor Adams
Dumplings in broth
Tucked away at the corner of Skillman and Live Oak since 2000 is Cosmo’s, a restaurant and bar boasting no nonsense, one of a kind hospitality. With a ‘60s lounge vibe, specialty cocktails and an eclectic menu with everything from gourmet pizzas to Vietnamese dishes, Cosmo’s has something for everyone. When you’re there, browse through their extensive VHS collection and make a request or step outside to their patio, which feels like a little oasis outside the noise of the city.
1212 Skillman St., Dallas, 75206

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Cris and John

Cris and John
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Cristina Mendez and John Pham opened Cris and John in 2017 in a North Dallas strip mall — bookended by a 7-Eleven and a laundromat — and have stood out with a creative blend of Vietnamese and Mexican street fare. The center of Cris and John’s menu is the phoritto, which piles all the goodness of a bowl of pho into a warm and crispy tortilla. From there, the menu expands to bao, tacos or banh mi with a variety of fillings, or more traditional pho and ramen. Want loaded fries and spicy wings too? Cris and John’s has you covered, blending cuisines like few others in the city.

Top pick: Each week, Cris and John creates a $30 special tray filled with some of its most popular items, like Angry Pho, birria tacos, chicken wings or spring rolls. The tray offerings change each week, so there's always something new to try. If you see the option to add short rib to pho for a small up-charge, do it.
5555 Preston Oaks Rd., Dallas, 75254

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Cry Wolf

Cry Wolf
Hank Vaughn
Sweet bread
At the end of a modest strip mall on Gaston Avenue sits Cry Wolf, where the fare is anything but unassuming. Chef Ross Demers’ technical skill and finesse are on full display here, with a menu that changes depending on what Demers, sous chef Liam Byres and team can get in that week. Think of the menu sequentially from smaller dishes to larger, with the freedom to order as little or as much as you like. Cry Wolf is intimate and creative, casual while elegant, and a shining example of one of the best culinary experiences that Dallas has to offer. For example, on our most recent visit, we tried a braised leg of lamb served on a bed of tagliatelle pasta that was a sonnet.

Top pick: With a menu that changes so often, no two visits will ever be the same. For the prime experience, try to make a reservation at the chef’s table, the last four seats at the bar in front of the wood-fired grill, where you have a front-row seat as Demers and Byres make the magic happen. ($$$)
4422 Gaston Ave., Dallas, 75246

Dig in! Our Top 100 Restaurants for 2023

Dal Dong Nae

Dal Dong Nae
If your parents were Korean and supported your drinking habit by cooking enormous meals for your returns home from long nights out, your house would probably look a lot like Dal Dong Nae. This late-night staple of Dallas Korea Town serves enormous, family-style platters of pork, bowls of raw oyster kimchi, huge simmering pans of stew, fried kimchi pancakes and other excellent ways to blunt the effects of the restaurant’s $12 soju and $4 beer.

Top pick: The seafood pancakes are very good here, as is the bit-of-everything budae jjijae (army stew) served bubbling hot.

Fun fact: Dal Dong Nae is open, and bustling, until 2 a.m. every night but Monday. ($$)
11445 Emerald St., Dallas, 75229-2044