Longform

The 50 Most Interesting Restaurants in Dallas

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Besides the chefs, the customers who come to Teppo hail from the neighborhood, and it's likely that anyone sitting next to you at the bar has put in significant time there. The chefs recognize the faces of their customers as readily as their favorite players, and that familiarity stokes a desire to return more than once. Come to Teppo once if you're looking for great sushi and you'll find it. But this is the sort of restaurant you should get to know over time.

32. Bambu

1930 N. Coit Road, bambuasiancuisine.com

An adventurous Thai eater will be just as at home here as a takeout veteran who wants nothing more than a bowl of tom ka gai and a green curry with chicken. These dishes are delicious for sure, but life is short and there are many tastes and textures to be experienced. Bambu is a great place to expand your palate, which is by far the most exciting way to expand your waistline.

31. Pecan Lodge

1010 S. Pearl Expressway, pecanlodge.com

Come late and the favorites will long be decimated, and you'll be left with an order of fried chicken. This is the price you pay when your favorite local barbecue joint earns national recognition: Pecan Lodge is a barbecue landmark now, revered alongside legends like Snow's and Mueller's.

30. Keller's Drive-In

Multiple locations

Make sure you hit the one on Northwest Highway, just east of Abrams Road. On the weekends classic cars and hot rods fill one side of the lot, and on the other side bikers congregate. Find a spot under the metal awnings that surround the cookhouse in the center and get ready — this is how Dallas does burgers.

29. La Pasadita

205 N. Carroll Ave.

When you get that glorious, papusa-stuffed 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 going to need them.

28. Ten Bells Tavern

232 W. 7th St., tenbellstavern.com

Think past fish and chips. Even though there's a great version here, the menu delves much deeper. There are wings doused in a sweet and smoky sauce and served with blue cheese dressing you actually want to eat, and the Ten Bells Butty, which is nothing more than a french fry sandwich with mustard and cheese.

27. El Ranchito

610 W. Jefferson Blvd., elranchito-dallas.com

El Ranchito is one of those rare restaurants that straddles multiple cuisines and ends up doing it well. If your friends come to town demanding Tex-Mex, you can take them to El Ranchito and point to the proper section of the menu and say, "Look, there it is!" before finding more interesting dishes for yourself.

26. Cafe Urbano

1410 N. Fitzhugh Ave., urbanodallas.com

Urbano's Italian roots are just the start. The menu takes you on a wild ride of world flavors with a distinct slant toward Asian ingredients. The results are an "Italian" meal that's completely original, and judging by the dining room, the locals are into it. Almost too into it. You did make that reservation, right?

25. Nova

1417 W. Davis St., novadallas.com

Nestle into one of the booths that run the length of the restaurant if you're on a date. The lighting is low here, and it's easy to talk. Or pony up to the bar if you've come in alone or are feeling more social. Nova is one of those neighborhood hangouts where the beer-swillers are always ready to engage.

24. Jeng Chi

400 N. Greenville Ave., No. 11, jengchirestaurant.com

It's the soup, or "juicy," dumplings that will keep you coming back to Richardson. They explode in your mouth with warm broth and a tiny meatball. There are vegetable dumplings filled with mung bean noodles, cabbage and tofu, pork dumplings, fish dumplings and chicken dumplings, too. There are lobster dumplings, which will set you back $12, but most run just $6, making Jeng Chi a decent way to dine on a budget. Actually, it's a great place to dine, period.

23. Omi

2625 Old Denton Road, Suite 326, omikoreangrill.com

Try the salted, grilled mackerel. It's not salty at all and it's grilled to a crisp, with tender flesh that's fun to pick apart with your chopsticks. Give the whole thing a shower of lime juice and dig in — now that pork belly is looking bland. There's also so won gal-bi, or beef short ribs, that have significantly more flavor than the brisket that comes with the all-you-can-eat-meat option. Spend some time with the menu before you commit.

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Scott Reitz
Contact: Scott Reitz