Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants, No. 13: Nonna

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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.

Nonna is one of those places you don't think about until something or someone pushes the restaurant into your head, and then you're forced to consider it for quite some time. Maybe it's the location that keeps Julian Barsotti's Italian aria hidden in the recesses of your mind. The strip mall across from a Whole Foods isn't exactly sexy, and the slice of Highland Park where it sits rarely plates up anything worth remembering.

When the Nonna light bulb does go off, though, reactions are bright and feverish. A craving for white pizza dotted with clams twists your insides, while another section of your being counters that the Bolognese is worthy too. And then there's that lobster ravioli -- delicate, lightly briny, sublime. Clearly you should think of Nonna more often.

Nonna opened in 2007, well before Barsotti's 30th birthday, and while youth is not often associated with measured cooking, he steadily built a reputation as a chef who embraces hand-craftsmanship and thoughtful execution. His pastas are delicate and beautiful, his salads are balanced and bright and his desserts are creative, honest and satiating.

In the nearly six years his small restaurant has stayed in business, Nonna has consistently earned the affection of Dallas' diners. It's earned the approval of both local critics and a visiting critic from The Times, too. And it's likely earned your affection if you've eaten there, or at least your interest as you read these words.

You see? Nonna is back in the front of your mind as we speak. You should probably make that reservation soon.

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

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