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.
When you first pull up to La Pasadita you will feel let down. Of course the very best ethnic flavors come from the most ramshackle operations, but this tiny restaurant on Carroll Avenue in East Dallas seems to take the charade a bit far. To even call this place a restaurant seems unnecessarily kind; It's a food cart crammed into the back of a rundown convenience store.
But then the line of waiting and hungry reassure you, at the same time the smells of browning pork and melting cheese appeal to your Pavlovian senses. Please, wipe your chin -- owner Ana Ortiz pats out hundreds of pupusas a day and you'll have your own in just a few minutes.
When you get that glorious Styrofoam container, you should eat it as quickly as you can while the edges are still crisp, and since there are no tables here, you'll need to look to your car for seating. Don't forget to grab a few extra napkins on the way out the door -- you're really going to need them.
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It's not just the pork, from which Ortiz is able to coax unprecedented flavor despite a very simple recipe, but the curtido is bright and crunchy here, too. Heap the lightly fermented cabbage on your pupusa and then douse it with the runny salsa that will make you wish you'd grabbed a second Topo Chico from the reach in.
Melting cheese, salty pork, crunchy cabbage and spicy salsa... suddenly you feel conflicted about your favorite taqueria.
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