Now that we've successfully slogged through the first half of 2018 — a year filled with more Lime Bikes and Tide Pods than common sense, it seems — it's time to look back and assess. OK, so maybe Dallas still hasn't solved the affordable housing crisis or homelessness or that busted-ass bridge, but we've got a few decent new restaurants, so it's not all bad. Right?
Don't answer that. Let's just focus on the good, and in the Dallas dining scene, good things are happening. Here are the best new restaurants of 2018 so far:
287 N. Bishop Ave. (Bishop Arts)
For the Dallas Observer team, there's no question when it comes to the best new restaurant of the year to date. Macellaio (pronounced mah-chell-lie-oh) comes via the team at Lucia, widely hailed (especially by us) as one of the best restaurants in Dallas. Just a couple blocks from the tiny Bishop Arts Italian restaurant, you'll find Macellaio serving phenomenal house-made salumi and stellar cocktails. We suggest starting with a negroni slushie and the chef's choice salumi misti board ($29), followed by a cheesy deep-dive into one of the restaurant's most popular dishes: the white bean aligote ($12). Traditional aligot is made with potatoes and cheese, but Macellaio's white bean aligot is made with shell beans, garlic and herbs beneath a bed of melty Gruyere cheese.
1326 S. Lamar St. (The Cedars)
Cedars cocktail spot Cedars Social has long struggled to find its identity — and its crowd — but when it re-launched on Valentine's Day as the Cedars Socíal, under the direction of industry vets like Leann Berry, owner Monica Greene and chef Anastacia Quinones, this place seemed to finally find itself. Now a modern Mexican restaurant serving inventive but approachable fare, Cedars Socíal is full of pleasant surprises and even sports a fun lunchtime taco stand in the backyard.
Petra & the Beast
601 N. Haskell Ave. (Old East Dallas)
Dallas chef Misti Norris has a reputation for pushing the envelope, especially when it comes to cured meats, foraging and preserving, and her East Dallas pop-up restaurant Petra & the Beast is a beautiful exploration of Norris' way of thinking. Living at the intersection of fine-dining and uber-casual, this restaurant in a former filling station is BYOB and offers weekly prix fixe dinners on Saturday night. For charcuterie fans, Petra & the Beast is a must. Pack a bottle of wine and leave the decisions up to Norris for a particularly memorable meal.
2901 N. Central Expressway, Plano
This newcomer to Plano's Sichuan food scene makes some of the best Sichuan fish in Texas, and the house specialty “rice crust” are fun, dramatic bites that make you feel a world away from Plano. Whether you're sampling sizzling pig brains or ma po tofu, Tasty House is perfect for anyone seeking the spicy bite of Sichuan cuisine.
500 Crescent Court (Uptown)
Sixty Vines isn't new to DFW — we fell in love with the California-vibed wine-centric Italian restaurant concept when it opened in Plano two years ago. But when Sixty Vines opened a bright, airy location at the Crescent late this spring, we fell even more in love. If you don't have a reservation, be prepared to wait — it took us two hours to get a table for three on a recent Saturday night — but you've got plenty of reason to stay awhile with 40 wines on tap, knowledgeable and friendly staff and phenomenal pizzas and pasta.
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Cabritos Los Cavazos
10240 N. Walton Walker Blvd. (Northwest Dallas)
This Northwest Dallas restaurant is the first in the area dedicated to cabrito al pastor as it's cooked and served in Monterrey, Nuevo León, and the border towns of the Rio Grande Valley. Whole goat is roasted over a pit in the restaurant, resulting in beautifully flavorful and tender goat with cuts like paleta (shoulder), pierna (leg) or riñonada (the kidneys and their surroundings).
1914 Commerce St. (downtown)
The Statler has opened a lot in the last year, but chef Angela Hernandez really gets a chance to shine with Fine China, an American-Chinese restaurant where diners rave about the chilled dan dan noodles, Cantonese roast duck and assorted dim sum. Step outside during lunch or late-night on weekends to check out R&B, the Statler's new fast casual ramen and bao spot.