Longform

The 50 Most Interesting Restaurants in Dallas

Page 2 of 6

43. Tom's Burgers and Grill

1530 N. Cooper St., Arlington, tomsburgergrill.com

The quaint little restaurant, housed in a retro building that used to be home to a Classic Style Denny's, is likely to ruin your go-to diner pick forever. It's not just that they have a potato-chip-encrusted chicken-fried steak that will stoke your desires, it's also that they serve beer. For free. Every night.

42. Mughlai

5301 Alpha Road, mughlaidallas.com

In India the meat of choice is goat, but here in the United States lamb is a common stand-in. It's rare to find an Indian restaurant that offers goat curries, which is one of the many things that makes Mughlai special. Take one bite of the kadhai goat and you'll wonder why the meat isn't on more menus.

41. Russian Banya

2515 E. Rosemeade, Suite 401, russianbanyaofdallas.com

Meet Tony G., the owner and operator of the Russian Banya in Carrollton. His bathhouse has a reputation for having what feels like one of the hottest saunas on the planet, but the place would be better served if it were known as the best Russian restaurant in DFW.

40. Off-Site Kitchen

2226 Irving Blvd., offsitekitchen.net

Picture that dusty old burger joint your old man used to take you to way back in the day, where the burgers tasted good because of some mystical 30-year sheen of grease that's permanently bonded with the steel of the flattop grill. Off-Site Kitchen takes that same experience and upgrades the ingredients and the execution. The results are disturbingly addictive.

39. Bachman Lake Taquería

3311 W. Northwest Highway

The problem with trompo — and all vertical-spit cooking, really — is that the device has to actually spin to produce the most delicious meat. If there are no customers in line, the trompo goes idle, and so does the flavor. To find the best trompo tacos you must find the busiest trompo, which is easy since Bachman Lake Taquería is consistently mobbed. Come during lunch and the dining room is full of customers bathing in the smells of roasting pork while they douse their tacos with sturdy salsa.

38. Carbone's

4208 Oak Lawn Ave., carbonesdallas.com

Julian Barsotti got his start at Nonna serving delicate pastas decked out with lobster meat and truffles. At his second restaurant, Carbone's, the same level of craftsmanship is applied to the same spaghetti and meatballs you grew up with. Your childhood memories are in danger of ruin.

37. Babe's

Multiple locations, babeschicken.com

Fried food may never belong in your heart-healthy diet, but it also doesn't have to eat like wet cement. It's carelessness that allows ingredients to take on old canola oil like a sinking ship. This not the case at Babe's in Roanoke, where the menu forces unparalleled specialization. The cooks turn out nothing more than chicken-fried steak and fried chicken, and they've gotten very good at it. This is why your mother always told you that practice makes perfect: because she saw that the CFS at Babe's is indeed perfect.

36. Zaguan

2604 Oak Lawn Ave., zaguan.com

While tacos are commonly celebrated, the arepa, whose stuffing is placed within the masa instead of on top, deserves a lot more attention than it gets. The corn cakes are thicker and more substantial than typical tortillas, and the pocket that holds the filling makes them more portable, too. You can find great arepas at Zaguan, stuffed with chicken dressed in avocado, ham and other fillings, and there are other hard-to-find Latin foods, too.

35. Royal Sichuan

400 N. Greenville Ave., royal-sichuan.com

Sure, there's orange chicken. But why would you order it when you're dining at a restaurant with so many alternatives? A meal ordered at Royal Sichuan with an adventurous spirit is beyond interesting — it's fascinating — and will ruin you for cheap take-out for good.

34. Spoon

8220 Westchester Drive, spoonbarandkitchen.com

After a stint at The Mansion that ended abruptly but included a five-star review, John Tesar bounced around a few of Dallas' more casual kitchens, took consulting gigs and somehow earned the reputation as Dallas' most hated chef. But one dinner at Spoon will leave you with nothing but the desire to give the guy a hug. There are few other places in Dallas where such an array of high-quality ingredients is treated with such care and respect, and Tesar's cooking is good enough to change your whole day.

33. Teppo

2014 Greenville Ave., teppo.com

The sushi chefs steal glances of the ballgame over their shoulders while carefully bonding slices of fish to rectangles of rice to form perfect nigiri. Cooks turn their heads when they run ingredients and dishes out from the back kitchen. This isn't a sports bar: The volume is turned down and the atmosphere is reserved, but if you're into the game you won't be watching it alone.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz