Dallas’ best red-sauce Italian joint serves classics like spaghetti with meatballs, fried calamari and veal Parmesan and does them right. Save room if possible, because the tiramisu (made with espresso) and cinnamon-cream-filled cannoli are as close to perfection as you’ll find west of New York. Carbone’s is a more casual alternative to owner Julian Barsotti’s two fine-dining establishments, Nonna and Fachini, and it even includes a retail section that sells wines, frozen ravioli and one-pound tubs of Sunday gravy to go. Those retail offerings have helped the restaurant weather the coronavirus pandemic, with frozen lasagnas and discounted wines leading the charge.
Top pick: The big, beautiful slab of lasagna bolognese, with its perfect, slightly burnt cheesy edges, can cause years-long cravings. But the pasta with Sunday gravy, a half-day-simmered sauce with a mixture of beef, pork, veal and sausage, might be even better.
Fun fact: Like a wine from the list? Buy a bottle to go for 45% off the menu price. (No, Carbone’s is not BYOB, so you cannot create a loophole by buying wine “to go” and then opening it in the dining room.)