6601 Snider Plaza, kubys.com
There are a handful of German restaurants in Dallas, but none of them offer so many locally processed ingredients to take home. That bratwurst sitting in the case waiting to join sauerkraut and mustard on a plate? They made it. They made the chubby knackwurst and the polish sausages, too. The hot dogs sitting in the case tempting you to take them home and fire up the grill? They were made in Dallas. You're beaming with pride for local meat.
11. Sushi Sake
2150 N. Collins Blvd., Richardson, sushi-sake.com
If you offer giant clam (or uni, or sea snail, or sweet shrimp) to a novice right out of the gate, you'll likely be met with a scowling face, but anyone can learn to appreciate the textures and flavors of raw seafood. After a few basic rolls, the curious will start looking at the chalkboard menu for more interesting items and what is initially frightening turns out delicious more often or not.
10. La Banqueta
Multiple locations, tacoslabanqueta.com
At La Banqueta, it's all in the crispness. A tripas taco with soggy meat served in a soft, warm corn tortilla can be a little hard to get down. Take those same braised intestines and griddle them until they're as crisp as a tortilla chip, though, and you'll be challenged to order fewer than two.
5430 Gurley Ave., kalachandjis.com
Much of the menu comes from the standard Indian playbook, with dals and curried vegetable dishes forming the backbone of a buffet that changes daily. There are crispy papadams like Frisbee-sized crackers and deep-fried fritters called pakoras, filled with even more veg. But dishes like layered rice, tomatoes and cheese you will think is a lasagna, and other casseroles and enchiladas, don't lean as heavily on the flavors of the subcontinent. There's something here for everyone, and everyone will be all the better for indulging it.
8. Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo
6131 Lake June Place
You don't just come here for a quick and cheap meal. A trip to Raymundo Sanchez's for tacos is an event. And it's completely worth the effort. After brining them overnight, Sanchez sears huge hunks of lamb over smoldering wood. Then meat is roasted for nine hours, over a bed of chickpeas that collects the dripping juices. When he's done, the lamb is fall-apart tender, and the chickpeas have evolved into a hearty stew. Together they make for one of the most soulful meals you'll find in Dallas. And one of the cheapest.
118 W. Jefferson Blvd., mesadallas.com
Mesa has been catering to Oak Cliff locals for more than two years, and if you miss this restaurant known for its Veracruz-inspired cuisine, you'll be missing out on some of the most interesting Mexican cooking in the city.
6. Stampede 66
1717 McKinney Ave., stampede66.com
Sure, you know chicken-fried steak, but you've never had it served with a gravy injection. Cut it open to liberate a sea of Texas' favorite embellishment. The tacos are fancied up with gourmet fillings, and beans arrive in little cast-iron dishes held over smoldering coals. They're like props from a tiny country and Western movie set.
5. Crossroads Diner
8121 Walnut Hill Lane, crossroads-diner.com
Tom Fleming's Crossroads has raised the bar for diner food in Dallas, and his busy dining room proves that many diners in the area want food with some thought and care put into it — even if it's just two eggs with toast or a simple corned beef sandwich.
614 W. Davis St., bolsadallas.com
Bolsa shows how important good management is in creating a lasting restaurant. Through three chef changes since opening in 2008, it has seamlessly continued to build a reputation as a solid neighborhood restaurant built on local, high-quality ingredients. It's also a great place to grab a drink, or recover with a boozy brunch.
9191 Forest Lane, lalibeladallas.net
Not many meals come to pass at Lalibela without a visit from chef-owner Genet Mulugeta. If business is slow and you're an inquisitive diner, she may even linger at your table, answering questions about that phantom spice lingering in your lentils that you can't quite discern.
Business isn't always slow, though, and when things pick up Mulugeta spends most of her time in the kitchen — which is a good thing, because you'll enjoy her cooking twice as much as her personal attention. And you'll love her attention plenty.
Multiple locations, cuquitasrestaurants.com