In recent years, the suburbs of North Texas have been stepping up their culinary game with high-profile concepts that bring city-center creativity to those living outside of Dallas proper. There's such killer food in the 'burbs — particularly when it comes to international fare — that it's well worth the drive to try something new. Here are a few of our favorite eats and drinks in the 'burbs right now:
Sixty Vines Is a Plano Paradise of Pizza, Pasta and Pinot
Sixty Vines, 3701 Dallas Parkway, Plano
This new restaurant and wine bar upped the ante in Plano with phenomenal pizzas, stunning decor and a $17 burger that just might blow your mind, if the price doesn't blow it first. It's "smothered" in cabernet sauvignon, then topped with raclette cheese and made with Akaushi beef.
The Brisket Is a Letdown at This New Plano Barbecue Spot, But All Is Not Lost
Rap's BBQ, 3131 Custer Road, Plano
This new, unassuming strip mall barbecue joint still has some kinks to work out — especially when it comes to brisket — but there are some solid meats on this menu, particularly the pulled pork.
At Mi Dia From Scratch, Brunch Hops and Skips from Mexican to Tex-Mex to Santa Fe
Mi Dia From Scratch, 3310 Dallas Parkway, Plano; and 1295 S. Main St., Grapevine
There aren't a ton of Mexican brunch options in DFW, despite the market's saturation of Mexican food, but Mi Dia From Scratch fits the bill. The brunch menu isn't perfect, but it's worth exploring interesting dishes like the Huevos Ahogados, made with masa boats, a pupusa-like base topped with refried black beans, salty, fatty crumbles of chorizo and a poached egg.
Across from Richardson's Most Famous Chinese Restaurant, Another Gem Hides in Plain Sight
First Emperor Chinese Restaurant, 200 W. Polk St., Richardson
First Emperor’s humble exterior has probably prevented it from attracting the crowds that its best dishes deserve. It's hard to go wrong here, but don't skip the tea-smoked duck.
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Russian Culture Stands Tall in Carrollton's Banya
2515 E. Rosemeade Parkway, Suite 401, Carrollton
This Carrollton gem is equal parts spa and Russian eatery, and there's no better way to end a hot steam than with Georgian dumplings stuffed with ground beef, garlic, cilantro and butter sauce.
Bills Smith's Cafe, Where You Can Get a Mountain of Bacon and Take a Concealed Carry Class
Bill Smith's Cafe, 1510 W. University Drive, McKinney
This quirky, homey 60-year-old diner in McKinney serves a no-muss, no-fuss breakfast that will comfort even the weariest traveler.
Arlington's Best-Kept Beer Secrets — Including a Diner That Gives Beer Away For Free
With new breweries, old brewpubs and even a sweet little diner giving away beer for free, Arlington is a surprising North Texas beer hub. Who knew?
Punch Up Your Evening with Punch Service at Ida Claire
Ida Claire, 5001 Belt Line Road, Addison
Want to order drinks for your whole crew instead of just you? Head to Addison and try one of the punches at Ida Claire, which serve multiple people refreshing cocktails like the herbaceous garden punch.