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.
El Ranchito remains one of my favorite Dallas restaurants. It's loud, brash and filled to the roofline with the smells of searing meat, savory stews and toasting cumin. The scent spills out onto Jefferson Boulevard and tempts anyone whose car windows aren't rolled up tightly.
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Back inside, El Ranchito is an all out party — a celebration of Mexican cooking intertwined with locally inspired Tex-Mex. Enchiladas and fajitas abound, and frozen margaritas, too, but for those that are ready to take the training wheels off, recipes from north Mexico, comida norteño, wait to impress you.
Don’t miss the cabrito — a dish you should try even if you think you don’t like goat. Forget the tough stringy meat associated with old, worn-out animals; the goat here is young, tender and mildly flavored. Fold a pinch inside a freshly made tortilla adorned with your choice of salsa, and you’ll melt a little in your chair.
On the weekends, live mariachi music plays at punk rock volumes. Your ears will ring, your belly will expand and you will become very certain that all is right in the world.
Your opinion matters! Be sure to weigh in on our Best Of Dallas Readers' Choice poll. Voting ends September 6.