Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants, No. 50: Joyce And Gigi's

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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.

There wasn't much in the way of Bolivian cooking available in Dallas before Joyce and Gigi's opened up on Hall Street last December. Gigliola Aguilera, a Bolivian native, graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and former line cook at Fearing's, partnered with her mother, Joyce Stenvall, to offer a modern twist on South American cuisine. In that regard, they're contributing something truly unique to the Dallas dining scene.

Where else can you get a brilliant escabeche of sea bass brightened with apple cider vinegar, with onions, fennel and sweet currants, alongside empanadas filled with duck or beef or a blend of cheeses?

The churrasco features a sizable cut of flap steak paired with chubby, mild chorizo the mother and daughter duo make in house, and majadito offers a rust-colored risotto with duck confit, topped with a poached egg. Plates like these would not exist anywhere in Dallas if not for Joyce and Gigi's.

There's something else unique here that's a little harder to put your finger on. Maybe it's all the fresh juices behind the bar, used to make clever takes on classic South American drinks. A caipirinha is spun anew with passion fruit, and the pisco sour you've had countless times takes on a whole new identity when sweetened with papaya. Pablo the bartender mixes up competent cocktails with a cool Latin attitude that rivals his own, and if you have one drink at his bar it will likely turn into several.

Whatever the reason, diners linger late here, and with the lively jazz that often pours from the speakers it's not that difficult to pretend you're somewhere far, far away from Dallas.

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