Thursday, March 30, 2023 Mar 30, 2023
65° F Dallas, TX

Taste of the Town

A guide to the best restaurants in Dallas/Fort Worth
By D Magazine |


Antares. (Continental) This is the perfect spot tor a visitor to Dallas who is staying at the Hyatt Regency: It has an excellent view, good food and adequate service. The specialty here is beef-excellent aged beef, including prime rib that’s of melt-in-the-mouth quality. (300 Reunion Blvd. 741-3663. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2; dinner: daily 6-10:30; Sun brunch: 10:30-2:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$) 4.0

Café Cancun. (Mexican) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane. (Plaza of the Americas, 650 N Pearl. 969-0244. Mon-Fri 11 am-6 pm. MC. V, AE. $$) 6.0

D Café Royal. (French/Continental) At intervals during this year, Café Royal D is putting aside its regular dinner menu and playing host to distinguished chefs from famous European hotel restaurants. Call to inquire-you may find an inexpensive substitute for a jaunt to Paris, Madrid or Vienna. (Plaza of the Americas, 650 N Pearl. 747-7222. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6:30-10. Reservations recommended. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0

Ceret. (French/Continental) Francophiles continue to rally around what may be the one true French bistro (translation: solid French cooking at moderate prices) in town, but we find that the “haute-y” air here can be stifling. Nevertheless, the food is mostly of the highest quality, and for $20 for four courses, who’s complaining? (703 McKinney in the Brewery. 720-0297 Lunch; Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Fri6:30-10:30. Sat6-10:30. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$) 6.5

Charcuterie. (Lunch) Sanger Harris does an uncommonly good job with their in-house eatery. The onion-mushroom soup deliciously otters the best of two favorites. The sandwiches are intriguing, and the chicken breast with cheese on a croissant was particularly good. (Sanger Harris, 303 N Akard. 749-3990, Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3. AE, Sanger Harris charge. $$) 5.0

Ferrari’s. (Italian) Certainly the most confusing Italian restaurant in town, this new spot has been wonderful and dismal on consecutive visits. Go for the appetizers and the snapper cooked in an ivory sauce. (1713 Market. 741-5538. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner: Mon-Thur5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$) 7.0

The French Room. (French Nouvelle) With its heavy, rose-colored draperies and gilt trim, this Dis the most formal dining room in Dallas-and it’s still probably the best kitchen, too. Few restaurants combine dependability and excitement so well. We loved everything about our last meal here, from the lovely salad with goat cheese to the feuilleté of berries surrounded by hot caramel sauce. (Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce. 742-8200. Mon-Sat6:30-10:30pm. Closed Sun. Reservations required. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 7.0

Hampton’s Seafood Market. (Seafood) It’s nearly impossible to get into a conversation with a North Dallasite without being regaled with the news that Hampton’s, the Farmer’s Market mainstay, has opened a branch in Preston Royal Shopping Center. The excitement stems from the new northern accessibility of Hampton’s hot lunches, salads, sandwiches and frozen dinner entrées – not to mention the wondrous varieties of fish and seafood available for cooking at home. (801 Pearl. 742-4668. Tue-Sun 8 am-6:30 pm. Closed Mon. No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $) See Preston Royal. 7.0

La Pranzo. (Italian/Lunch) When you get right down to it, there aren’t many nice places downtown where you can enjoy a basic business lunch. Despite the good food, La Pranzo doesn’t quite fill that void. The restaurant has sparked a reputation of being too slow for anyone with hopes of returning to work with time left in the day, and on our first visit, the service was confused to the point of being comical. (SPG Building, 1530 Main, 2nd floor. 698-0493. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 pm. MC, V, AE. DC $$$) 5.0

D Newport’s. (Seafood) You cant buy fresher-tasting fish and shellfish than that served at Newport’s. The fried shrimp and oysters stand out in our memory, and the french fries were light and crisp. But the charcoal-broiled swordfish and salmon are heavenly, too. Newport’s looks very dramatic, with several airy levels of tables on rough wooden floors surrounding a huge well. (703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: Mon- Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$) 8.0

The Palm. (Steaks & seafood) This new branch of the famous New York restaurant is for big spenders. Are you ready for a lobster that costs $72 – without salad or potatoes? Our New York strip was disappointing: The meat wasn’t as butter-rich and tender as corn-fed beef should be. and it had been carelessly cooked so that it tasted of nothing but its charred exterior. Lunches are less devastating to the pocketbook, but the food is even less successful (701 Ross. 698-0470. Mon-Thurs 11:30 am-10:30pm. Fri 11:30-11. Sat 5-11 pm. Sun 5-9:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$$) 5.5

Richard’s Café Américain. (Lunch) If you’re the type of person who favors light lunchtime fare, replete with colorful patés, spiced tea. tiny muffins with strawberry butter and inventive variations on salad and sandwich themes-in short, if the word “dainty” is for you an appealing adjective-then climb high atop the Manor House to this cozy little tearoom in the sky (Manor House. 1222 Commerce, 25th floor. 761-0143 Lunch: daily 11 -2:30: tea: daily 3-5; happy hour: Mon-Fn 5-9: Sun brunch: 11-3:30. MC, V, AE. $) 5.0

D Restaurant Silvano. (Continental) For the first part of our evening here, we were about to crown this place one of the new rulers of Dallas dining. The duck paté had a piquant bite to it, the lobster soup was rich, and two varieties of fish were perfectly poached – salmon with a red pepper sauce and snapper with a leek sauce. But as the dinner progressed and the room grew more crowded, the din became overwhelming. (311 Market Street. 747-0322 Mon-Sat 6-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0

Tangerine. (Chinese) This informally elegant new Chinese restaurant is one of the best restaurants downtown. Beautiful porcelain figures and dark orange accents lend a festive air to the high-windowed rooms with dramatic views of the new skyscrapers in the neighborhood. The food is excellent, too-one senses a definite desire to avoid cliché. For now, however, Tangerine is open only for lunch. (2401 Ross. 969-1011. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30pm. MC. V, DC. $) 6.0


Adriano’s. (Italian) A pizza isn’t just a pizza anymore. The owners of Adriano’s have seen to it that just about anything-from escargots, chicken, shrimp and crab to more traditional toppings such as pepperoni and ricotta cheese-can make for a proper pizza. An excellent roast chicken and a creamy fettuccine Alfredo are also available. (The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. 871-2262. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat6-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $) 6.5

The Bronx. (Eclectic) The menu is not expansive, to say the least: Variations on the omelette theme are the mainstays. The wooden booths lining the walls make intimate conversations easy: the service is prompt and efficient. (3835 Cedar Springs. 521-5821. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-3: dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30 pm-12:30 am, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-1:30 am; Sun brunch: 11-3. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Café Rincón. (Mexican) The tenderest, most buttery tasting beef in town is served here, along with fish in all sorts of Mexican styles. The service is warm and efficient beyond compare. (2818 Harry Hines. 742-4906. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11 am-midnight, Sat noon-midnight. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.5

D Calluaud. (French) Owner/chef Guy Calluaud always keeps some old favorites (such as the lamb with tarragon sauce) on the menu, but he occasionally bursts forth with inspiration and innovation. The salad with smoked fish was brilliant with a gingery dressing, and the hazelnut soufflé dazzled as well as satisfied. (2619 McKinney. 823-5380. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat seatings at7& 9:30. Closed Sun. Reservations. Jackets and ties required. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$$) 9.0

Ciao! (Italian) The pink-and-blue neon sign in the circular window of this small restaurant hints at its high-tech interior, but inside, you’ll find the place surprisingly warm and intimate. We tried one pizza with Italian sausage and crushed red peppers and another with thinly sliced onions and black olives, and we found both to be exceptional. But our personable waitress clued us in on our favorite version: pizza topped with spinach D’s revised dining listings have been categorized according to geographical locations, beginning with downtown Dallas and radiating outward to the suburbs. For restaurants that have more than one location, the review is listed under the original location. All branch locations are listed with their respective addresses and are cross-referenced for your convenience. The parenthetical phrase immediately following the restaurant’s name indicates the culinary focus as described by that establishment.

These listings are updated and supplemented periodically. Visits by our critics are made anonymously to avoid preferential treatment. Inclusion in this directory has nothing to do with paid advertising. The pricing symbols used are categorical, not precise. They indicate a general price range.$ Generally inexpensive. Usually indicates a good value.

$$ Middle ground and very general. Usually indicates a menu with a wide price range.

$$$ Expensive. Expect to spend more than $20 for a complete meal for one (excluding wine and cocktails). $$$$ Very expensive.

“Reservations’ indicates that the restaurant will accept reservations.

Credit card notations: MC/MasterCard, V/Visa, AE/American Express, DC/Diners Club, CB/Carte Blanche. ’All credit cards” indicates that all five are accepted.

Restaurants receiving a rating of 7.5 and above have been designated with a bold D.

Fri 11 am-2:30 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. No credit cards. $) 5.5

Fuddrucker’s. (Burgers) We’ve seen several similar elements in other fancy burger places in Dallas, but none do better at living up to Fuddrucker’s boast of presenting the “world’s greatest hamburgers.” The home-baked buns are grilled to perfection, and the meat is tender and juicy. (2614 McKinney. 871-2068 Mon- Thur11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11 30 pm. Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC. V. AE. $) 6.0

Herrera. (Tex-Mex) The most outstanding characteristic of this pleasantly dumpy Tex-Mex house is its smallness. If you don’t mind a line and guaranteed tight quarters, if you’re looking for authenticity and for fresh, high-quality ingredients, and if your tongue is flameFri 11 am-2:30 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. No credit cards. $) 5.5

Fuddrucker’s. (Burgers) We’ve seen several similar elements in other fancy burger places in Dallas, but none do better at living up to Fuddrucker’s boast of presenting the “world’s greatest hamburgers.” The home-baked buns are grilled to perfection, and the meat is tender and juicy. (2614 McKinney. 871-2068 Mon- Thur11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11 30 pm. Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC. V. AE. $) 6.0

Herrera. (Tex-Mex) The most outstanding characteristic of this pleasantly dumpy Tex-Mex house is its smallness. If you don’t mind a line and guaranteed tight quarters, if you’re looking for authenticity and for fresh, high-quality ingredients, and if your tongue is flameFri 11 am-2:30 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. No credit cards. $) 5.5

Fuddrucker’s. (Burgers) We’ve seen several similar elements in other fancy burger places in Dallas, but none do better at living up to Fuddrucker’s boast of presenting the “world’s greatest hamburgers.” The home-baked buns are grilled to perfection, and the meat is tender and juicy. (2614 McKinney. 871-2068 Mon- Thur11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11 30 pm. Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC. V. AE. $) 6.0

Herrera. (Tex-Mex) The most outstanding characteristic of this pleasantly dumpy Tex-Mex house is its smallness. If you don’t mind a line and guaranteed tight quarters, if you’re looking for authenticity and for fresh, high-quality ingredients, and if your tongue is flameretardant, then head for Herrera. (3902 Maple. 526-9427. Mon. Wed & Thur 9 am-8 pm, Fri-Sun 9 am-10 pm. Closed Tue. No credit cards. $) 5.5

J. Pepe Gonzalez. (Mexican) This fancy new Mexican restaurant in the Quadrangle isn’t for purists, but there seems to be an infinitely expandable market for safe, responsibly prepared Mexican specialties The combination plates provide lots of variety-there are several with excellent sour cream chicken enchiladas as well as the ones made with beef. (The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. 871-0366. Mon-Thur 11 am-2:30 pm & 5:30-10 pm, Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5:30-11 pm. Sat 11-11. Sun noon-9 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

D Jean Claude. (Classic French) Almost everything we tried on our last visit was heavenly: a sweetbread paté with crunchy vegetables, lamb showered with fresh herbs and accompanied by a little ball of lamb stuffing, golden sea bass in a tomato and hollandaise sauce, a perfectly caramelized upside-down apple tart and a cloudlike chocolate soufflé. (2404 Cedar Springs. 748-6619 Tue-Satseatingsat6 & 9 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations required. MC, V, AE, DC $$$$)

D Jennivine. (Continental) Heavens! Jennivine. once a bastion of excellent, rather down-home British-style cooking, has gone nouvelle on us! No more simply broiled fish, no more bowls of delicious mashed potatoes and home-style carrots. Now, poached salmon comes with an arty sauce and a spray of underdone vegetables on the side- At least we can con tent ourselves with the extraordinary plates of patés and cheeses-they’re just like the Jennivine of old (3605 McKinney- 528-6010. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2:30; din ner: Mon-Thur6-10. Fri & Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Res ervations. All credit cards. $$) 7.5

Jozef’ s. (Seafood) Jozef’s new location on Walnut Hill serves food that’s as good as that of the original, and you dont have to fight the crowds. We were impressed with the spicy ceviche (lots of lime, tomatoes, fresh pep pers and high-quality fish) and with the gumbo, al though the boiled shrimp were rather bland. (2719 McKinney. 826-5560 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat 6-11 Reservations recom mended- All credit cards. $$$) See Stemmons/Bach- man Lake. 5.5

D L’Ambiance. (French Nouvelle) We love this place so much that we’re even becoming convinced it has atmosphere. Maybe it’s the talented guitarist who plays during dinner that compensates for the crowded tables. Still, it’s the food that has us hooked. The thin slices of poached salmon in a rich green sauce, the crisp sliced duckling in raspberry sauce and the sautéed striped bass were without flaw. (2408 Cedar Springs. 748-1291. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11 30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 8.0

La Trattoria Lombardi. (Northern Italian) More than any other type of food, Italian cuisine sets a mood, and Lombardi’s hot, creamy pasta manages to warm and relax you and make life in general seem considerably more pleasant. The veal with sweetbreads and the chef’s own recipe for homemade green lasagna were the crowning glories of the evening. (2916 Hall. 823-6040; 528-7506. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon- Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

D La Vieille Varsovie (The Old Warsaw). (French/Continental) This grand old place is a Dallas tradition, with its violinist and pianist and its flamingos on the walls. Our last meal was a trifle disappointing-the pastry in our salmon feuilleté was tough, for instance – but there’s no doubt that standards are higher here than they were a few years back. (2610 Maple. 528-0032. Sun-Thur 6-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 6-11 pm. Reservations. Jackets required. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0

Lawry’s. (Prime Rib) This is the third location of a restaurant that was established in Beverly Hills in 1938 The gimmick is that it only serves one dinner entrée: prime rib (although other selections are offered at lunch). The surprise about Lawry’s is the lavishness of it all. You don’t expect valet parking, anterooms with wood-burning fireplaces and fancy decor at a meat-and-potato place. (3008 Maple. 521-7777. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11:30, Sun 4-10. All credit cards $$$) 5.5

Les Saisons. (French Country) This is a lovely place for lunch or dinner, although the building going on outside has somewhat detracted from the view from the dining rooms. The standard bistro menu is executed with aplomb, and ordering a steak will get you exquisite french fries as an accompaniment. (Turtle Creek Village. Oak Lawn at Blackburn. Suite 165. 528-1102. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-midnight. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

D The Mansion on Turtle Creek. (American Nouvelle) The miracle in the improvement of the cooking here continues. We marveled over an appetizer of red shrimp, a salad of smoked tuna and a side dish of grilled asparagus Even old favorites such as green pasta with medallions of lobster has a wonderful new taste. (2821 Turtle Creek Blvd 526-2121. Main dining room (jackets and ties required, except at brunch)~lunch: Mon-Fri noon-2 30; brunch: Sat noon-2. Sun 11-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11; supper: Mon-Thur 10:30-midnight, Fri & Sat 11-midnight. Promenade Room-breakfast: daily 7-10:30 am; brunch: Sat& Sun noon-2; lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; tea: Mon-Fri 3-5:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.5

Maple Street East. (Continental) Maple Street East is still a lovely place to dine-if you don’t get stuck in an empty room – but the food is spotty, and we can’t quite figure out why. The grilled lamb chops were skimpy and charred, but a butterflied filet sauced in red wine was hearty and satisfying. (2508 Maple. 698-0345. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur6-10:30. Fn& Sat 6-11:30; Sun brunch: 11:30-2:30. MC. V.AE. $$$) 5.0

Mario’s. (Italian/Continental) One of Dallas’ oldest and most loved fine restaurants, Mario’s falls between the Italian and continental categories. The various pasta, veal and fish dishes we’ve tried here over the years have all been competently prepared, but we have always left Mario’s feeling more comforted than excited. (Turtle Creek Village, Oak Lawn at Blackburn. Suite 135. 521-1135. Sun-Thur 6-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 6-11 prn. Reservations. Jackets required. All credit cards $$$) 6.0

Marty’s. (Gourmet Carryout) Our dream is to be able to afford to do all of our grocery shopping at this granddaddy-of-’em-all gourmet carryout shop. Marty’s is the perfect place to pick up everything- appetizers, entrées, desserts, coffee and wine- and then take it all home and pretend you made it yourself. (3316 Oak Lawn. 526-4070 Mon-Sat 10am-6:30pm. Closed Sun. MC. V, AS. Marty’s charge. $$) 7.0

Mexico. (Mexican) This Shannon Wynne creation has a wonderfully non-high-tech, eclectic style. The menu is eclectic, too, with Mexican versions of rabbit and squid. The problem here is that much of the food doesn’t taste as good as it sounds. (2911 Routh. 760-8639. Tue-Sun 11:30-11:30. Closed Mon. MC. V. AE. $$) 6.0

Moctezuma’s. (Mexican) A few blocks down from its old location, the new Moctezuma’s has lots of space and a patio out front-great for sunny days if you can stand all the dust from the nearby construction. The standard Tex-Mex, including homemade tamales, is fine, but the many specialty dishes deserve the name the restaurant gives itself: “gourmet Mexican.” (3202 McKinney. 559-3010. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30pm, Fri& Sat full menu 11 am-11:30 pm; appetizers 11:30 pm-12:30 am. Reservations tor parties of six or more. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Raphael’s. (Mexican) We had almost given up on the old locations of Raphael’s on McKinney and on Greenville, but the new place on the Addison strip seems to embody the virtues that once made Raphael’s the top Mexican restaurant in town. The food is good, from a simple plate of enchiladas to such complexities as car-nitas of beef, grilled shrimp with lots of garlic and chicken breast covered with cheese and lots of cooked fresh peppers, onions and olives. (3701 McKinney. 521-9640. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-3 pm & 5:30-10:30 pm, Sat noon-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thur only. MC, V, AE, CB. $$) See Upper Greenville North Central. Addison. 5.5

Ratcliffe’s. (Seafood) Given the airy atmosphere of this many-windowed seafood hot spot, the food here is better than it has to be. Both the esoteric entrées (such as the unforgettably pungent filet of mako shark and the abalone steak) and the humbler items (such as the fried seafood platter or the baked trout with saffron rice) deserve applause (1901 McKinney. 748-7480. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Daily 6-11. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Rocco Oyster Bar. (Seafood) Are we just getting blasé, or is the high-tech look becoming a bit dated? Luckily, the food holds up better than the decor. We like having a choice among oyster varieties, and the crab meat cocktail is generous in size, although pricey. Both broiled fish entrées we tried – redfish and salmon-were done to a turn. (2520 Cedar Springs. 747-6226 Sun-Wed 11:30-11:30, Thur-Sat 11:30 am-12:30 am. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.5

D Routh Street Café. (American Nouvelle) This is the hardest restaurant at which to get a reservation in town, and perhaps the finest as well. The new American cuisine delivers exquisite preparations of everything from wild boar to squash muffins. (3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Mon-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Lounge: Mon-Fri 4:30pm-1.30 am. Sat 6 pm-1:30 am. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0

S&D Oyster Company. (Seafood) This New Orleans-style anchor is always crowded, and unfortunately (for us at least), the peak crowd lasts from early afternoon until midevening. But if you don’t mind waiting in line, the coleslaw is spectacular, the shrimp are juicy and meaty, and everything from the red snapper filets to the fried oysters tastes fresh and is never greasy. (2701 McKinney. 823-6350. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. Closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $$) 5.5

Uptown Dell. (Gourmet Carryout) It seems that our appetite for gourmet-to-go is insatiable: Yet another chic little takeout place-cum-caterer has opened on lower McKinney. Not to sound blasé, but there are the usual oh-so-trendy salads, a quiche of the day and sandwich fare on croissants. You’ll find some novel twists as well. (2404 McKinney. 871-7120 Mon-Fri 10am-3pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.5

Via Veneto. (Northern Italian) When dining here, it’s hard to choose among the spinach ravioli in a fresh-tasting tomato purée, the tortellini In a richly colored sauce, the fettuccine with mushrooms and ham and the taglianni tossed with bits of fresh clams. The most promising entrées are those from the grill. (The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. 742-3872. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur6-10:30. Fri& Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. Reservations for dinner only. MC, V, AE. DC $$$) 6.0


D Atlantic Café. (Seafood) With its etched glass and elegant stone floors, this new seafood restaurant has a chic air and a glamorous clientele You may have to wait, but you will also have some marvelous food. Our salmon steak was perfectly broiled, and our sautéed scallops were delightfully sauced. (4546 McKinney at Knox. 559-4441. Lunch: daily 11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. MC,V,AE.$$$) 8.0

Bohemia. (Czechoslovakian) A little corner of the old country is hidden behind the unprepossessing exterior of this place. Airy lace and perpetual Mozart set the tone here, and the food can be first-rate. (2810 N Henderson. 826-6209. Sun& Tue-Thur5:30-10pm, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Reservations recommended. $$$) 6.0

Café Oceana. (Seafood) The look hasn’t changed much since Piafs became Café Oceana; we still like the spacious, airy feeling and the crisp green of the plants against white and wood tones. The specialty now is seafood. It isn’t bad, but we wish it were better (4527 Travis. 526-3730. Lunch: Mon-Thur 11-3; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-11. Fri & Sat 5-11:30. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 3.5

Chip’s. (Burgers) “The best hamburger I’ve ever had in my mouth,” mumbled one dining companion. Another praised the burger with chili, cheese and onions. Appropriately gooey, it was best eaten with a fork. (4501 N Central Expwy. 526-1092. Sun-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 4.5

Da Piccolo. (Italian) This handsome little hole in the wall is the kind of place that could have a line backed up all the way to Highland Park Cafeteria if the food were un piccolo better. The antipasto plate, however, is first-rate, and the fried seafood platter is better than a traditional fish house’s best. (4537 Cole 521-1191. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon. Wed& Thur5:30-10:30, Fri&Sat 5-11. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

D exposure. (Continental) The proprietors here will give you a friendly welcome even if you aren’t among the beautiful people who make up the regular clientele. Chef Bruce Auden’s food is wonderful, and it can be had most reasonably on the special pre-theater prix fixe dinner. (4516 McKinney. 528-0210. Mon-Sat4pm-2am. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 8.5

Highland Park Cafeteria. (Southern) Everybody in Dallas knows about the great home-style cooking at Highland Park Cafeteria, but not everyone has heard about the lavish buffet sometimes offered upstairs. Go when you’re really hungry and can eat a mountain of the salads, fried chicken, brisket, fresh broccoli and squash casserole, rolls and the always-tempting des-serts-menngue. apple and rhubarb pies, multilayered cakes and the like. (4611 Cole. 526-3801. Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm. Closed Sun. No liquor. No credit cards. $) See Addison/Richardson/Far North Dallas 6.0

Hoffbrau. (Steak) If what you want is a thick, juicy slab of beef without a lot of unnecessary frills, head for Hoffbrau. You won’t find any pseudo-English pub atmosphere here: the decor can only be loosely described as “fun Texas funk.” Salad and potatoes come with each entrée; there’s only one salad dressing offered, and the chunky potato slices are pan-fried. (3205 Knox 559-2680. Mon-Fn 11-11. Sat noon-11 pm. Sun noon- in pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Javier’s. (Mexican/Continental) The unfancy decor of stone, dark wood and plants here is shown up by the downright exotic selection of mostly beef and seafood dishes prepared with pungent marinades and topped with, for example, black pepper sauce or garlic sauce (4912Cole 521-4211. Mon-Thur5:30-10pm. Fn&Sat 5:30-11 pm. Sun 5:30-10 pm. Reservations. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

On the Border. (Mexican) They probably don’t have anything like this on the border. Not only is the food here pleasing to the palate, but the airy charm of On The Border’s “South Texas Café” decor is a definite plus (3300 Knox. 528-5900 Mon-Thur & Sun 11-11. Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. All credit cards. $$) See Las Col-inas/Mid-Cities. 5.5

Toibert’s Texas Chili Parlor. (Texana) At Tolbert’s, the chili is still tasty, and the burgers are outstanding, too. The crunchy fries, large drinks and our sweetheart of a waitress just about made up for a chicken-fried steak that was less than perfect. (4544 McKinney. 522-4340. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight, Sun noon-11 pm.MC.V.AE.$) 5.0


AW Shucks. (Seafood) See Lower Greenville. (4535 Maple 522-4498. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11:45 pm. No credit cards. $) 6.0

The Bay Tree. (Continental) The Wyndham Hotel recently changed management teams and put a new chef in its petite dining room -to the improvement of the food il not the overbearing service. There are still some rather pedestrian things here, such as the asparagus soup and the sautéed snapper with a pistachio breaking, but the comparatively moderate prices and the improved food make The Bay Tree worth considering even if you’re not staying at the Wyndham. (The Wyndham Hotel. 2222 Stemmons Frwy. 631-2222. Daily 5-11 pm Reservations recommended. All credit cards $$$) 6.5

Escondido. (Tex-Mex) Don’t despair when you see Escondido’s ramshackle white frame exterior or its late-New York subway interior. The Tex-Mex food is superior, the chips are just greasy enough, and the servings are massive considering the price. (2210 Butler. 631-9912. Lunch: daily 11-2: dinner: Mon-Sat5-9. No credit cards. $) 5.0

Gonzalez. (Tex-Mex) For a fried-chicken stop gone Tex-Mex, Gonzalez does a reliable job, although never an outstanding one. Both in atmosphere and in spice, the word is bland. (4333 Maple. 528-2960 Daily 7am-9 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Kobawoo. (Korean) The first thing you’ll notice here are the swaying songsters belting out popular Korean tunes-on the video cassette player. The next thing you’ll notice-and with good reason-is the food. Kobawoo has an ambitious menu featuring mostly Korean, Chinese and Japanese dishes. (3109 Inwood at Cedar Springs. 351-6922. Daily 11-11. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Nana Bar and Grill. (American Nouvelle) Atop the new high-rise addition to the Loews Anatole, with a magnificent view of the Dallas skyline, the Nana Bar and Grill serves the much-vaunted “New Southwestern Cuisine” -here sometimes more than a gimmick. The main dishes, by far the best things on the menu, include a thick veal chop, beautifully char-broiled salmon and juicy slices of wild turkey breast. (Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: daily 6-10:30. Reservations recommended for dinner. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Plum Blossom. (Chinese) The simplicity of the surroundings here bespeaks elegance, and the careful service contributes to the peaceful atmosphere as well. The menu offers a choice among elaborate set dinners that range in price from $20 to $27.50 (with a smattering of a la carte offerings). (Loews Anatole Hotel. 2201 Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Mon-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations required. Jackets required. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Ray’s Blue Note. (American Nouvelle) This remodeled, reopened restaurant now serves Texas nouvelle cuisine. The new menu concentrates on mesquite-grilled red meats and a bit of seafood. (5490 Denton Cutoff. 631-6199. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Fri & Sat 6-10:30. All credit cards. $$$) 4.5

Rosita’s. (Tex-Mex) This restaurant’s universal appeal comes from its longstanding success at producing simple, well-prepared Tex-Mex standards, served by an efficient and courteous staff for a reasonable price. (4906 Maple. 521-4741. Tue-Fri 7 am-10 pm. Sat & Sun 9 am-10 pm. Mon 7 am-2:30 pm. V. MC, AE. $) 5.0

Sonny Bryan’s. (Barbecue) Lordy, can these folks cook barbecue! The brisket is tender and juicy, with a crisp crust that is the essence of woodsmoke; the ribs are perfection. It’s of little consequence, we suppose, that the side dishes are nothing to speak of and that the hubbub and housekeeping are insufferable. If such things really bother you. you can do as many others do and order to go. (2202 Inwood 357-7120 Mon-Fri 7 am-5 pm. Sat 7 am-3 pm. Sun 11 am-2 pm. No reservations. No credit cards. $) 6.5


La Calle Doce. (Mexican) This comfortable Oak Cliff restaurant serves excellent Tex-Mex and a wide range of more authentic specialties. We’ve had the best luck with beef dishes. The carnitas tampiquenas, although uncharacteristically cooked with soy sauce, are delicious, as is the stewlike guiso. (415 12th St 941 -4304. Mon- Thur 11 am-9:30 pm. Fri 11 am-10 pm. Sat 11:30 am-10pm. Sun 11:30 am-8:30 pm. MC. V. AE. DC. $$) 5.5

Pies’ Barbecue. (Barbecue) In his recently converted Dairy Queen, Mr. Pies and his wife prepare delectable ribs, sliced beef and sausage, and they serve it cafeteria-style with all the trimmings: turnip greens, beans, corn on the cob, corn bread and a slab of sweet potato pie that is poetry en cro?te. (1212 W Kiest. 371-5533. Mon-Thur 11 am-8 pm. Fri & Sat 11 am-9 pm. No credit cards. $) 6.0


Alessio’s. (Northern Italian) In order to emphasize the nightly blackboard offerings, the menu here is small, although amply weighted with veal. Service, unfortunately, can be negligent. (4117Lomo Alto. 521-3585 Mon-Sat6-10:30pm, Sun6-10pm. MC. V.AE. $$) 5.5

D Au Bon Gout. (French) Although it began as a gourmet carryout enterprise, Au Bon Gout has now become one of the premier places in Dallas to eat as well. On weekend evenings, chef Christian Gerber prepares whatever he feels like cooking for no more than 30 people. The $35 prix fixe is worth every penny and more: The food is perfection. (4424 Lovers Lane. 369-3526. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. All credit cards: personal checks accepted. Reservations. Lunch $$. dinner $$$$) 8.5

Belvedere. (Austrian) This restaurant is airy, elegant and undauntedly cheerful, with lovely appointments and very helpful service. The food is pleasing without being exciting. Veal is the specialty, but the portion we were served was not quite tender and tasted a bit over-floured. (4242 Lomo Alto in the Crestpark Hotel. 528-6510. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2: dinner: 6-10:30. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

Bubba’s. (Southern) Is this the Park Cities riposte to fast foods? Or an art deco diner? Whichever, Bubba’s serves some of the best fried chicken and hot rolls anywhere. The other down-home dishes are not quite so memorable, but they’re still good. (6617 Hillcrest. 373-6527. Daily 6:30 arn-10 pm. No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $) 5.5

Café Cancun. (Mexican) We’re not so sure that this is the best Mexican restaurant in town anymore (perhaps expansion to three locations has compromised quality a bit), but Café Cancun does serve many excellent dishes, from the charming appetizer of julienne jicama (a mild-tasting root vegetable) to the rich desserts. The tampiquena steak comes with an excellent enchilada and other side dishes. (4131 Lomo Alto. 559-4011. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11. Sat 5-11 pm, Sun noon-10 pm. MC, V.AE. $$) See Downtown/West End, Upper Greenville, Mid-Cities. 6.0

Casa Rosa. (Mexican) People waiting to eat here can either stand in a small, usually crowded entrance hall or squeeze into a tiny bar. But we understand why people are willing to put up with the wait and sometimes slow service: The food is very good. (Inwood Village, In-wood at Lovers Lane. Suite 165. 350-5227 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur5-10, Fri5-11, Sat& Sun noon-10. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Celebration. (Southern) For those who are hungry (and we mean hungry) and who love home cooking, Celebration is truly something to celebrate. Three vegetables are served with each entrée (choices change daily), which include beef stroganoff and baked chicken. (4503 W Lover lane 351-5681. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Tnur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11,Sun5-10. All credit cards $$) 4.5

E wald’s. (Continental) The staeadfast Ewald is surely one of the lowest-profile chefs on the local dining scene, but he’s also one of the best. His dedicated. customers come for Ewald’s rich European dishes and his fine art of preparation (an art that can be viewed through a wide window at the rear of the restaurant). (5415 W Lovers Lane. 357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10:30 pm. Sat 6-11 pm. Reservation recommended. All credit cards, $$$) 7.0

II Sorrento. (Traditional Italian) With its showy, intricate re-creation of an Italian piazza, II Sorrento has long been a favorite Dallas dining spot. There can be crowds even on a week night and since the restaurant doesn’t take reservations on weekendds there’s almost always a wait. While the food isn’t sensational, the menu is huge, with house specialties such as shrimp Diane and vealzingara. (8616 Turtle Creek Blvd. 352-8759. Sum-Thur5:30-11:30pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-imdnight. All credit cards $$$) 5.0

Kuby’s. (German Deli) You’ll find generous plates of knackwurst. bratwurst and Polish sausage served with sauerkraut or delicious mild potato salad. Sandwiches include corned beef roast beef, panstrami, braun-schweiger-even tartar Try the fresh German pastries, especially the Black Fores, cake. (6601 Snider Plaza. 363-2231. Store hours: Mon-Sat 8am-6 pm; restaurant hours: Mon-Fri 8am-5: 30 pm, Sat 8 am-5 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards for purchases under $15; personal checks accepted. $) 5.5

La Tosca. (Northern Italian Why can’t everything here be as good as the best things? here petizer of steamed mussels on our last visit, followed by ordinary pasta and veal Still, this may well be Dallas’ best Italian restaurant (7713 Inwood. 352-8373. Tue-Sun 6-10:30 pm. Closed Mon. Reservations Tue-Thur & Sun only. All credit cards .$$$) 7.0

Le Panier. (Eclectic) By day, this small, familiar Snider Plaza restaurant is The Lunch Basket. At 6 p.m., the lights go down, and The Lunch Basket become Le Panier. The candles are lit, and the tuna salad makes way for a limited sampling of first-rate countries. (3404Rankin. 369-3241 The Lunch basker Mon-Sat 11 am-3 pm; Le Paner: Tue-Sat 6-10 pm Reservations for evenings only. MC V. $$) 6.0

Los Vaqueros. (Tex-Mex) Los Vaqueros, Highiand Park’s longtime favorite place to eat an enchilada is one of the most dependable places in townfor old-fash-ioned Tex-Mex. But we found the tacos at carbon tough, and the fileté de casita had a dispirted color that reminded us of boiled beef. (Highland park Village. Preston at Mockingbird. Suite 77 521-0892. Sun-Thur 11 am-9;30pm, Fri & Sat ll am-I0pm All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Mirabelle. (Gourmet Carryout) Located in the heart of Highland Park Village, this gourmet takeout shop is a feast for the eye-and the palate On our last visit, we sampled salmon mousse; a heavenly chicken salad crisp, delicately spiced carrots and zucchini and two kinds of prepared salads- a pasta salad and achurky potato salad. Given the quality of the food Mrabelle’s prices are very reasonable. (Highland Park Village, Preston at Mockingbird. Suite 73-74. 528-7589. Tue-

Sat 10:30 am-7pm. Sun & Mon noorh6prn.MC V, AE. $$)

Mr. Peppe. (French) This is a European’s European restaurant: not lavishly decorated, not terribly high-priced, but consistently right on target. The crab stuffed artichoke bottom, however, was one of the best cold appetizers we’ve sampled in a while The bed Wellington was superb, with a flaky crust, tender beef and a rich brown sauce (5617 W Lovers Lane 352-5976. Mon-Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun. MC V, AE DC $$$) 6.5

Ms. Betty’s. (Southern) Eating lunch at Ms. Betty’s like having a meal at your favorite aunt’s house. Although the space is limited (provisions for dining consist of six or seven old-fashioned school desks) as is the menu (two soups, five sandwiches, two beverage choices and Ms. Betty’s widely hailed desserts), our experience here was nothing less than delightful. (7011 Lomo Alto at Lovers Lane. 526-5084. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 pm. MC; personal checks accepted. $) 5.5

Pat’s Sandwich Delicatessen. (Deli) Pat’s is probably best known for its incomparable roast beef sandwiches paper-thin slices of flavorful, deep pink beef served on a buttered Kaiser roll. But Pat’s also serves one of the best corned beef sandwiches outside New York City, as well as hearty Irish stew and creamy cheesecake. (31 Highland Park Village, Preston at Mockingbird 526-5353. Mon-Thur 8 am-7pm, Fri & Sat 8 am-8 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. S) 5.0 See Addison.

The Rib. (Barbecue) Relax with the appetizer of grilled sausage, then dive into short, sweet pieces of the ribs for which the place is named. Don’t overlook the barbecued shrimp, which are juicy and taste of real smoke. (5741 W Lovers Lane. 357-8139. Daily 5-11 pm. Carryout available daily 4-10 pm. All credit cards $$) 5.0

The Rlbshack. (Barbecue) Good mental health demands at least occasional barbecued ribs: Tearing at tender, juicy columns of meat and allowing streams of thick red sauce to drip down one’s chin satisfies the primal spirit and makes a tough impression at a power lunch. And the chili rice is out of this world. (4615 W Lovers Lane. 351-3400. Mon-Thur 11am-10pm, Frii & Sat 11-11, Sun 11 am-9 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$) See White Bock. 5.5

Szechuan Pavilion. (Chinese) The prices and preten sions are relatively modest here, and the food is very tasty, although not particularly memorable. The orange beef and the shrimp in garlic sauce were both plenty spicy for all but the most masochistic hot-pepper lovers (8409 Preston Rd at Northwest Hwy. 368-4303. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-2:30 pm & 4:30-10 pm. Fri 11:30 am-2:30pm i 4:30-10:30 pm, Sat noon-10:30 pm Sum noon-10 pm. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 5.0


Aw Shucks. (Seafood) You can enjoy open-air dining on the shucks or squeeze into this tiny oyster bar and stand-up eatery for large fantail shrimp, authentic gum-bo and fried oysters that are tasty but small.(3601 Greenville. B21-9449. Mon-Thur 11:30am-llpm, Fri &

Sat 11:30 am-11:45 pm. Sun noon-9 pm. No credit cards. $) See Market Center. 6.0

Banno Brothers. (Seafood) Like so many good, moderately priced seafood restaurants. Banno Brothers is cool and dimly lit. with a garish decor no doubt salvaged from a close-out sale in Davy Jones’ Locker. The menu can be trusted from top to bottom, from oysters on the half shell (shucked on location) to large, meaty fantail shrimp drenched in butter. (1516 Greenville. 821-1321. Mon-Thur11am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat5-11 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V. $$) 4.5

Campisi’s. (Italian) The legend of this dimly lit Mockingbird landmark is one of the first ones that a Dallas newcomer hears. It is the story of hot. floury-crusted, four-star pizza loaded with ingredients and cut into rectangular slices. But save for an occasional delicious artichoke heart, we’ve found it wise to stick with Campisi’s pizza and reputation – the rest of the menu would best be forgotten. (5610 E Mockingbird. 827-0355, 827-7711. Mon-Fri 11 am-midnight, Sat 11 am-1 am, Sun noon-midnight. Reservations for six or more. No credit cards, personal checks accepted. $$) 4.5

Chickeria. (Texana) Chickena’s specialty is barbecued chicken grilled over a mesquite fire, and it’s just what it’s supposed to be: juicy inside and smoky outside. Other choices from the grill include ribs and shrimp, and all are offered with tasty homemade vegetables such as corn on the cob, baked beans and mashed potatoes (mashed with the skin on). (601 N Haskell. 821-9072. Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. V, AE. $) 6.5

DiPalma’s. (Northern Italian) Dallas boasts a taste of Little Italy in the form of DiPalma’s, the gourmet food store/restaurant on Lowest Greenville. The antipasto di Giorno is a scrumptious sampler of fresh fruits and good-sized cheese selections, and the DiPalma garlic bread makes a nice accompaniment. Try as we might, we couldn’t resist the tempting array of displayed pastries-mama mia, they’re wonderful! (1520 Greenville. 824-4500. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3, Sat 11-3; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-10:30, Fri & Sat 5-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.0

Genaro’s Tropical. (Mexican) The ambiance is magically out of a Thirties movie, and the swordfish kebab is to die for. But a lot of the other dishes, including the much-touted ones based on seafood, can be pretty ordinary. And why wont these folks put up a sign outside? (5815 Live Oak. 827-9590. Mon-Thur 11-11; Fri-Sun 11 am-midnight. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Guadalajara. (Tex-Mex) Amazingly, Guadalajara has backslid quite a bit. First, the service was not mildly deficient, not bad, but awful. But. we told ourselves, this is Guadalajara; surely the food would redeem this disaster. It did, but only in part. The chicken enchiladas with sour cream were as flavorful as ever, and the flour tortillas are still the best in the city. But the meat in the bur-rito was barely cooked and of a suspicious hue. and the rice was only so-so. (3308 Ross at Hall. 823-9340. Tue-Sun 11 am-3:30 am. Closed Mon. MC, V. $) 3.5

The Grape. (Continental) We’re ever loyal to The Grape. The hot, soft bread, classical music, interesting wines by the glass and the best mushroom soup in town are enough to keep us true. But we’re also impressed with the grace and imagination evident in other items served here. (2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 823-0133. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat 6 pm-midnight. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.0

Kirby’s. (Steak) Dallas’ oldest steakhouse is a time machine back to the Fifties. The decor is homey, the waitresses call you “honey,’’ and the prices are reasonable The steaks are good rather than great, but they are something you can count on, along with the flaky baked potatoes and the finely chopped salads served with bowls of dressing at each table. (3716 Greenville. 823-7296. Sun & Tue-Thur 5:30-10 pm. Fri & Sat 5:30 11 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

D L’Ancestral. (French Country) We still find this dignified bistro just as charming as we did when it opened a year ago The lentil salad, served warm, is a pleasurable surprise, and the potato-and-leek soup is very French and very satisfying. The roast veal and filet of sole are cooked to perfection. (5631 Alta. 826-0006. Tue-Sun6:30pm-1 am. Closed Mon. MC. V, AE. $$$) 7.5

La Pagode. (Vietnamese) Even for those who are familiar with Oriental cooking, the cuisine at this new Vietnamese restaurant will seem exotic indeed. The most interesting things here come in mysterious edible packages: There are the imperial rolls, the excellent won ton found in some of the soups, the wonderful Vietnamese crepes and “pressed rice.” a soft, pancakelike doily in which meat and vegetables are wrapped. (4302 Bryan. 821-4542. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Closed Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted $) 5.0

Little Gus’. (Greek/Eclectic) By now, most of us know that Little Gus’ is really two restaurants-hamburger heaven at noon. Greek delight at night. Somehow, the Greek cuisine here just keeps getting better. (1916 Greenville. 826-4910. Mon-Thur 6-9 pm, Fri & Sat 6-10 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.0

The New Big Wong. (Chinese) Let’s not belabor the obvious. If you’re looking for pleasant, quick service; cheap, hefty lunches; a voluminous dinner menu that both challenges and delights; crunchy, colorful vegetables; interesting decor; tanks full of eels and turtles (talk about fresh); and baffling music that changes daily, you’ll find it here. (2121 S Greenville. 821-4199. Daily 11 am-3 am. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Panteli’s. (Greek) This wine bar with mostly Greek food is a delightful place for an after-theater supper. The appetizer plate is bountiful, and the skewered lamb is exceptional. (1928 Greenville. 823-8711. Mon-Thur 11 am-1 am. Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun 5-11. MC, V. AE. $$) 5.5

Pietro’s. (Southern Italian) For an unpretentious Italian dinner at unpretentious prices, you cant improve on Pietro’s. The basic pastas are reliable, and the salad is crisp and nicely enhanced by green peppers. The specials are usually pleasant, and the garlic bread is so temptingly loaded with butter, garlic and parsley that ifs hard to stick to just one big slice of it. (5722 Richmond. 824-9403. Tue-Thur 5:30-10pm. Fri & Sat 5:30-11 pm. MC. V. $$) 5.5

The Prospeci Grill. (Eclectic) Service is generally good, but it tends to be haphazard. The good news is that the food is extremely well-prepared If you’re in the mood for something grilled, go for the vegetable or fresh seafood brochette. (2100 Greenville. 828-2131. Daily 11 am-2 am. AE. $$) 5.0

Three Vikings. (Swedish) Valkommen to Fjord Country. We can’t swear that this place is authentic, but we can promise that it has character, from the potato pancakes to the maps of Scandinavia taped to the rough wood walls. Lovingly tended by its owners, Three Vikings has a bustling, neighborhood feel. The food is just as diverse and. generally, is very good. (2831 Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770. Mon-Thur 6-10 pm. Fri& Sat 6-11 pm. Sun 5:30-10 pm. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0


Arthur’s. (Continental) The atmosphere, food and service here almost always provide a pleasant dining experience. The entrées include a tremendous stuffed beef filet chock-full of crab meat, covered in a beefy sauce and served over wild rice. (Campbell Centre. 8350 N Central Expwy. 361-8833. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11.30-2:30: dinner: Sun-Fn6-11,Sat6 pm-midnight. All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

Café Cancun. (Mexican) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane. (Caruth Plaza, Park Lane at Central Expwy. 369-3712. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Sun 10am-10 pm MC V. AE. $$) 6.0

The Chimney. (Austrian) Small wonder that the Chimney continues to comfort its clientele- it radiates warmth like the coziest tire in winter. The food has always been prepared according to exacting standards, with veal dishes of every description at the top of the list. (Willow Creek Shopping Center. 9739 N Central Expwy at Walnut Hill Lane. 369-6466. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Cindy’s. (American/Breakfast) From early Saturday morning until lunchtime, when most restaurants shut down for lack of business, Cindy’s is hopping with sporty types just off the tennis court or the jogging path as well as with families and little old ladies. And Sunday mornings are even busier. We’re not sure that we’ve figured out the appeal of this place – it may just be that there’s something for everybody here. (11111 N Central Expwy, 739-0182. Sun-Thur 6 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 6 am-midnight. MC. V. $) See Addison/Richardson/Far North Dallas. 4.0

Cunze’s. (Southern Italian) This place has the feel of a cozy neighborhood restaurant – even if you don’t happen to live in the area. The pasta here is good, although the accompanying sauces are rather predictable. (6101 Greenville. 369-5747. Daily 5-11 pm. Reservations. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

Deacon’s Steak House. (Steak) Deacon’s offers virtually every type of popular steak at a reasonable price and is a one-of-a-kind operation on Greenville Avenue We found the T-bone praiseworthy, but the top sirloin was a bit sinewy. (4820 Greenville. 361-2924. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm. Fri 11:30 am-11 pm, Sat 4:30-11 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 5.0

Fangti China 1. (Chinese) We knew when we saw the red neon signs in the window that dining at Fangti was going to be fun. The entrées we finally chose included moo shu chicken, a delightful variation of the standard pork dish, complete with pancakes. The clientele is wonderfully diverse. (Twin Bridge Shopping Center. 6752 Shady Brook. 987-3877. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-4 am, Fri 11:30am-6am. Sat5pm-6am, Sun5pm-4am. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

La Tartine. (French Deli) This place on the eastern (less pretentious) end of NorthPark Center serves lovely lunches. Soups include French onion and daily specials such as spicy, thick tomato. Sandwiches, made with the crusty French bread that’s baked in-house, range from roast beef to an informal bread pizza. (919 NorthPark Center. 692-8498. Mon-Sat 9:30 am-9 pm. MC, V. $$) See Stemmons/Bachman Lake. 5.5

Le Louvre. (French Continental) Now under new management and with a new chef, this place is pretty much what it has always been: a good, solid, unremarkable continental restaurant. (The Corner Shopping Center, 9840 N Central Expwy. 691-1177. Mon-Thur 6-11 pm, Fri & Sat 6-11:30 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Lenotre. (French Sweets) Customers can eat in or take out the chefs creations at the NorthPark location; at Sakowitz Village, no meals are served, and the selection is more limited. The ice cream may be the tastiest in town; the cakes are ornate and unusual; the pastries, rich beyond imagination. (NorthPark Center, 369-4988. Mon-Sat 10am-6 pm; tearoom closes at 5:30 pm. AE. $$) See Addison/Richardson/Far North Dallas. 6.0

Mariano’s. (Mexican) This is neither hole-in-the-wall Tex-Mex nor “gourmet” Mexican, but something all its own. Enjoy the unpretentious but gracious surroundings and the polished service as you run the gamut from an unusually well-stuffed chile relleno to steak Milanesa and pechuga a la parilla. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville at Lovers Lane. 691-3888. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-midnight. Sun 10:30 am-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Peking China. (Chinese) This is a very creditable and friendly neighborhood restaurant. The Mandarin Beef we sampled had an interesting crinkled texture, with tons of black and red hot peppers and a hint of vinegar in the sauce. The braised shrimp in a gingery sauce were marvelously soft- the texture that the Chinese call “live.” (7001 Fair Oaks. 369-2737. Daily 11:30 am-3 am. V, MC. $$) 5.5

Prego Pasta House. (Italian) This Greenville Avenue spot owes much of its popularity to its pleasant atmosphere, which is stylish but unpretentious enough that even families with kids feel comfortable. The pizza is of crust variety. The lasagna is basic-good, filling and inexpensive. (4930 Greenville. 363-9204. Mon-Thur 11-11.Fri11 am-mldnight. Sat 5 pm-midnight, Sun noon-11 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Raphael’s. (Mexican) See McKinney/Oak Lawn. (6782 Greenville. 692-8431. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-3 pm & 5:30-10 pm, Fri 11:30 am-3 pm & 5:30 pm-10:30 pm, Satnoon-11 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thur only. mc, V, AE. CB. $$) 5.5

Rio Grande Grill. (Mexican) This is the south-of-the-border branch of the Bennigan’s school. Flautas. fa-jitas and chimichangas are made with fresh beef and chicken, and good service isn’t in short supply. But, as with any restaurant whose menu begins with nachos and ends seven pages later with ice cream drinks, nothing is extraordinary (5111 Greenville. 692-9777 Sun-Thur 11-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

D Rolfs. (German/Continental) The tone is formal without being forbidding, and the food is sophisticated and delicate without betraying its hearty German roots. Few restaurants treat pork as royally as Rolfs, with its rolled roast stuffed with sauerkraut and herbs. (Caruth Plaza, 9100 N Central Expwy, Suite 117. 696-1933. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 5:30-1:30 am. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 8.0

Royal Panda. (Chinese) This new Chinese restaurant in the location of the defunct Hunan Pavilion offers excellent renditions of the Mandarin and Szechuan dishes that have become standard on menus all over town. The service is unusually friendly and helpful, placing Royal Panda above most of its competition. (The Corner Shopping Center, 8021 Walnut Hill at Central Expwy. 363-3858 Daily 11 am-4 am. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

D Ruth’s Chris Steak House. (Steak) Still the queen of Dallas steakhouses, this place packs the customers in at all hours in the quest for the ultimate in meat. The huge hunks of USDA prime beef, perfectly cooked and drizzled with butter and parsley, look as though no one could ever finish them, but somehow we polished them all off. (6940 Greenville. 691-6940. Mon-Fri 11:30-11:30, Sat & Sun 5-11:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 7.5

Sahib. (Indian) This is a warmer, friendlier restaurant than it once was. It was always the most attractive Indian restaurant in town, and now the service adds to the charm rather than detracting. The food, though no longer extraordinary, is still very good. (Caruth Plaza, 9100 N Central Expwy. 987-2301. Lunch: daily 11:30-2:30; dinner: daily 5:30-11. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

Sakura. (Japanese) Until recently, Sakura also offered Chinese and Korean dishes; now the restaurant apparently is concentrating on what it knows best. The highlight of our meal was the Yose Nabe: fish, shrimp and octopus cooked with vegetables and tofu in broth. Also noteworthy was the chicken teriyaki, which had just the right touch of sweetness. (7402 Greenville. 361-9282. Mon-Thur & Sun 5:30-11 pm, Fri&Sat5:30 pm-midnight. Reservations recommended on weekends. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Sawatdee. (Thai) You can definitely Thai one on at this place, one of Dallas’ most attractive Asian restaurants. The Sawatdee Oyster contrasts the crunch of the lacy batter around the oysters with the crunch of bean sprouts, and the Panang Beef is served in a sauce heady with the flavor of lime leaves. (4503 Greenville at Yale. 373-6138. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: daily 5-11. All credit cards. $$) 6.5

Taiwan. (Chinese) The eye is always charmed at Taiwan- a whole fish cooked Hunan style may be garnished by a net carved miraculously from a single carrot. The caring service makes the food taste even better. (6111 Greenville Ave. 369-8902. Mon-Fri 11 am-3 am, Sat 10 am-3 am, Sun 10 am-10:30 pm. Reservations recommended. MC, V, AE. $$) See Addison. 7.0

Tea Pot Inn. (Chinese) The striking thing about Tea Pot Inn (aside from its subtle, tasteful decor) is just how well the chef executes the old standbys. When was the last time you had a perfectly cooked egg roll with a light, crisp shell and a meaty filling that wasn’t mostly stalelasting cabbage? The chef at the Tea Pot Inn is Cantonese, but unlike a lot of chefs from South China, he really knows how to cook the spicy Szechuan dishes, too, (11343 N Central Expwy. 369-6268. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards $$) 5.5


Alfonso. (Italian) This is a true old-style family pizzeria and Southern Italian restaurant, with Formica table tops and Top 40 music. Veal parmigiana was heavy on the cheese and light on the veal and was smothered in a slightly sweet, chunky tomato sauce. Pizzas here are lavish and so big that they’re served on a tray set up next to your table. (Casa Linda Plaza, Buckner at Garland, Suite 328. 327-7777. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30: dinner: Mon-Thur5-9:30, Fri & Sat 5-10:30. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE. $) 4.5

China Inn. (Chinese) From the road, China Inn doesn’t look any classier than the Keller’s Drive-In or the taco fast-food joint nearby. But step inside this cracker box, and you’ll discover good food in a quiet, pleasant atmosphere. (6521 E Northwest Hwy. 369-7733 Sun-Thur 11-11.Fri&SatH am-1 am. MC, V, AE. $) 5.0

Circle Grill. (American/Breakfast) Question: “Where can I take my friends from back east to show them what real Texas is all about and to feed them breakfast in the tradition of all great Texas truckers, ranchers and bidnessmen?” Answer: the Circle Grill. (440 E 1-30 at Buckner. 226-7745. Daily 5:30 am-11 pm. No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $) 5.0

The Ribshack. (Barbecue) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane. (2221 Abrams. 821-8100. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11 Sun 11 am-9 pm. No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $) 5.5

Southern Kitchen. (Southern) These two restaurants are old favorites of many Dallasites, especially those who like to consume mass quantities of food. Dinners come in two principal courses. The first brings all the shrimp, crab meat and oysters you can eat. The second round brings on platters of fried and barbecued chicken, fish and delectable homemade biscuits and cinnamon rolls. (6615 E Northwest Hwy. 368-1658. Mon-Sat 5:30-10 pm, Sun 5-9:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$) See Stemmons/Bachman Lake. 4.0


Frenchy Café. (French Deli) The surroundings are very informal in this delicatessen/lunch spot, and the food can be very good. We tried the lasagna and found it rich and slightly sweet. A selection of patés can also make a satisfying meal. (5940 Royal Lane. 369-1235. Mon 11 am-3 pm, Tue-Fri 11 am-7pm. Sat 11 am-5pm. Closed Sun. MC, V. $$) 5.5

Hampton’s Seafood Market. See Downtown/West End. <I>(Preston Royal Shopping Center, Preston at Royal Lane, Suite 113. 696-5400. Mon-Sat 10 am-6:30 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $) 7.0

The Hungry Jockey. (American/Breakfast) The Hungry Jockey is a North Dallas institution – a haven for high-powered business breakfasters and genuine Levi’s-clad cowboys. The blueberry pancakes and the Canadian bacon are top-notch. (1417 Preston Forest Square. Preston at Forest Lane. 661-0134. Tue-Sat 6:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. No credit cards. $) 4.0

Manhattan. (Continental) The food here, fortunately, is better than the decor. The menu is extensive; the veal and shrimp are especially good, and the vegetables seem to be fresh and well-cooked. (1482 Preston Forest Square, Preston at Forest Lane. 385-8221. Lunch: Mon-Fri, Sun 11 -3:30: dinner: daily 5:30-11. All credit cards. $$$) 5.0

Royal China. (Chinese) This cozy neighborhood restaurant offers good food at reasonable prices and a genial host, Buck Kao. who will greet you by name after one or two visits. For a mouthwatering beginning, try the fried meat dumplings with ginger sauce. For entrees, you cant improve upon dry stirred beef, but if you want to go the chicken or fish route, kung po chicken and royal prawns are reliable choices. (Preston Royal Shopping Center. Preston at Royal Lane, Suite 201. 361-1771. Lunch: daily 11:30-2:30; dinner: daily 5:30-10. V. MC. AE, DC $$) 5.5


Bachman Café. (Seafood) This place advertises itself as a “Louisiana-style seafood restaurant.’ It’s promising, although it has some way to go to fulfill that promise. The catfish filets on the seafood platter were possibly the best in town, but the other components (except for the excellent homemade french fries) were only so-so. (3049 Northwest Hwy. 351-0959. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm&5-11 pm. Sun5-12. MC. V. AE. $$) 4.5

Bugatti. (Northern Italian) Bugatti has retained the old chef, the menu, the location, the works-but something is missing. Maybe it’s the frantic pace of the service, or the fact that the fettuccine della casa comes already heaped with grated cheese. Worse, the veal was mealy and tough, and the gamberoni shrimp were so overrun with a cloying sherry cream sauce as to be almost inedible (2574 Walnut Hill Lane. 350-2470. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur5:30-10:30. Fri& Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. $$$) 4.0

Café Moustache. (Russian/Indonesian) This cafeteria-style lunchroom serves a hearty, home-cooked Russian lunch from a menu that typically features three or four selections. We tried the marinated briskette with mushrooms and the ginger chicken with vegetables, although the chicken-stuffed cabbage rolls looked great (9454 Marsh Lane. 350-9314. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2- dinner: Fri & Sat 5-10. MC. V, AE. $$) 5.0

Don’s Seafood and Steakhouse. (Seafood & steak) We mean it in the best of ways when we say that Don’s is the Sears of seafood. This sprawling emporium is a far cry from fancy, but the long menu of mostly fried fish and Cajun specialties offers a sound value for fish lovers. (2361 W Northwest Hwy 350-3667. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

Joy Inn. (Chinese) Possibly the most popular Chinese restaurant in Dallas, this place can seat a regiment and still serve a meal in record time if you say you’re in a hurry. Don’t stray too far from the Cantonese standbys when you order main courses, since the so-called Hunan dishes are hardly recognizable imitations. (9404 Ovella at Northwest Hwy. 352-1088. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. All credit cards $$) 4.5

Jozef’s. (Seafood) See McKinney/Oak Lawn. (2460 Walnut Hill Lane. 351-5365. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

D Kebab ’N’ Kurry. (Indian) See Addison/Rich-ardson/Far North Dallas. (2620 Walnut Hill Lane. 350-6466. Lunch: daily 11-2: dinner: y-Thur5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30; brunch: Sat & Sun 1130-2:30. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC $) 7.5

Kosta’s. (Greek) We still swear by the juicy souflaki and the creamy, aromatic moussaka, which may be that mysterious ambrosia so loved by the Greek gods. But we still swear at the service, which on our last visit fell to new lows Such disorganization is Greek to us. but you can be! your last dolma that we’ll be back for more. (2755 Bachman. 351-4592. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2 pm; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

La Tartine. See Upper Greenville/North Central. (4343 Northwest Hwy, Suite 360. 351-4408. Mon-Sat 8:45-8 pm V. MC. AE. $$) 5.5

The Mecca. (Southern/Breakfast) Welcome back to the land of marbled Formica, orange vinyl booths and-if you ask for it-speed-of-light service with a smile. The price of two eggs, hashbrowns or grits, bacon or sausage and biscuits hasn’t changed in years, and the heaping portions and heavenly taste can’t be topped. (10422 Harry Hines. 352-0051. Mon-Fn5:30am-3pm, Sat 5:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $) 5.0

Mercado Juarez. (Mexican) This place has an authentic Mexican atmosphere, from the loads of curios on sale to the family of singing musicians. The braziers that were brought to our table laden with roasted meats were authentic, too. as were the beef and cabrito they bore. But the attempts at more complicated Mexican cuisine here weren’t very successful. (1901 W Northwest Hwy. 556-0796 Mon-Thur 77 am-70 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10 pm. MC. V, AE. $$) See Mid-Cities. 5.0

Peking Szechuan. (Chinese) The food and service here more than make up for the odd location and lack of decor. The hospitable, knowledgeable waitresses push several of the house specialities- and they clearly know what the kitchen does well. (2560 W Northwest Hwy. 353-0129. Mon-Fri 11 -71, Sat & Sun noon-11 pm. MC, V, AE, DC. $$). 6.0

Piccolo Mondo. (Northern Italian) This restaurant delivers tasty versions of standard dishes, including fine tortellini and fettuccine. Fish and shellfish get a particularly nice treatment. (9507 Overtake Drive. 357-2983. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: daily 5-11. All credit cards. $$$) 5.0

Pop Bailey’s. (Seafood) This unpretentious place does simple things well. The large Louisiana oysters are bracing, and, for once, the plain boiled shrimp had plenty of taste. Pop Bailey’s does a creditable job of frying; perhaps more surprisingly, the restaurant also broils fish well. (3750 W Northwest Hwy. 350-9748. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11. Sat 4-11 pm. Sun 4-9:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Southern Kitchen. (Southern) See White Rock. (2356 W Northwest Hwy. 352-5220. Mon-Sat 5:30-10 pm, Sun 5-9:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 4.0

Turtle Cove. (Seafood) Our most recent visit here restored our confidence in the place that set the trend in Dallas of broiling seafood over mesquite. Salmon was perfectly cooked over the coals, and the kitchen showed it could manage other techniques, too, by frying up some snapper perfectly. (2737 W Northwest Hwy. 350-9034. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. MC,V,AE.$$$) 6.5


Agnew’s at the Promenade. (Continental) The chef tends to prepare lots of puff pastry for the appetizers, and the sauces for such things as the escargots with cheese and ham are heavy and creamy. The blackened red snapper (blackening fish is all the rage in New Orleans restaurants these days) is superb, and the desserts are very rich, sweet and luxurious. (2500 Promenade Center, Coit Road between Belt Line and Arap-aho. 437-0133. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, $$$) 7.0

August Moon. (Chinese) Every time we go back to this Far North Dallas favorite we are more impressed. August Moon offers a variety of really unusual dishes. Among the appetizers are Ming shrimp in Chinese pancakes and beef-stuffed dumplings that are the tastiest in town. But August Moon does equally well with stand-bys such as egg rolls and sweet-and-sour pork. (15030 Preston at Belt Line 385-7227. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri 11-11. Sat 10:30am-11 pm, Sun 10:30-10:30. Dim sum served daily. Reservations for four or more or for special banquets. Bar by membership. All credit cards $$) 7.0

Bamboo Pavilion. (Chinese) This northern outpost of Szechuan Pavilion drew raves when it opened, and some of the chefs specialties are very appealing. Panda’s Prawns, for instance, is an unusual treatment of huge, breaded, deep-fried shrimp tossed with julienne vegetables in a delicately sweet sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds. But the items on the back pages of the menu don’t seem to receive as much care. (Prom- enade Center, Belt Line at Coit, Suite 1790, Richardson 680-0599 Mon-Thur 11:30am-10:30pm, Fr 11:30 am-11 pm. Sat noon-11 pm, Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC. V. AE. DC $$) 5.5

D BIom’s. (French Nouvelle) Dinner at Blom’s is an elegant experience. The inspired menu here is in perpetual flux: The left side changes seasonally, the right side nightly The constant is a sense of adventure that blends the methods and some of the style of nouvelle cuisine with the complexity and fantasy of more classic French cooking, (Westin Hotel. 13340 Dallas Pkwy. 934-9494. Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30: Sun brunch: 10:30-2:30. Reservations recommended. All credit cards $$$$) 8.5

Boston Sea Party. (Seafood) Quantity rather than quality is what you pay your hefty $22.95 (fixed price) for here. Several of the dozens of mostly seafood items on the all-you-can-eat buffet tables are good enough to devour en masse – we were especially fond of the king crab legs and the hot popovers There’s even a decent (and again, hefty) cooked-to-order course of lobster salmon or steak. (13444 Preston. 239-7061. Mon-Thur 5:30-9 pm. Fri & Sat 5-9:30 pm. Sun 4:30-8:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$$) 3.0

Café America. (Eclectic) After a long wait and a struggle to squeeze into the tiny space allotted for our miniature table, we didn’t think we were going to be very fond of Café America. But our waitress was so cordial and savvy that we were soon appeased, and the food turned out to be mostly excellent- (Bloomingdale’s. Vailey View Center, LB J Frwy at Preston. 450-2300. Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm. AE. Bloomingdale’s: personal checks accepted. $$) 5.5

Café Capri. (Continental) In this small, softly lit haven, we chose entrées of lamb chops and a veal dish with scallops. But the crowning glory of our evening came after dinner in the form of a very light but rich chocolate soufflé sprinkled with powdered sugar and a flaming liqueur concoction deftly prepared by our charming waiter. (15107 Addison Road near Belt Line. 960-8686. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Cantu’s. (Tex-Mex) This old North Dallas standby has moved much farther north and, judging from the crowd the night we went, has taken its loyal clientele with it Cantu’s offers food with no surprises; it’s rather bland for some tastes, but dependable. (5290 Belt Line, Suite 132, Addison. 991-9105. Tue-Thur11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 5-10 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$) 3.5

Charley’s Seafood Grill. (Seafood) Charley’s capitalizes on the city’s new-found love affair with fresh fish and shellfish, which is served either mesquite-grilled, lightly fried or sautéed We tried a temperately spiced brochette of shrimp and scallops (very good) and a portion of fried catfish (tasty and without a trace of grease). (5348 Belt Line. Addison. 934-8501. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Sunnoon-10. MC. V. AE. $$) See Las Colinas/Mid-Cities. 5.0

China North. (Chinese) The novelty of this new spot on the west end of the Addison strip is its Mongolian fire pit. A long buffet presents thinly sliced raw meats, vegetables and sauces. The diner heaps these in a bowl and takes them to a window, behind which a chef quickly cooks them on a massive cast-iron griddle. This is also one of the few restaurants in town that will serve Peking duck on request. (4021 Belt Line. Suite 101. Addison. 788-1811 Mon-Thur 11 am- 10pm. Fri 11-11. Sat5-11 pm. Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Chu’s. (Chinese) Friends told us that Chu’s, one of the first restaurants to open on the Addison strip some years ago, is now serving some of the best Canton-style Chinese food in town. They were right Chu’s soups had a rich, homemade taste, and the chicken with pecans had a subtlety and depth that no one could ever call bland. (15080 Beltway. Addison. 387-1776 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Sat5-10. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Cindy’s. (American/Breakfast) See Upper Greenville/North Central. (Dai-Rich Village. Coit at Belt Line. Suite 385 Richardson. 231-3660. Sun-Thur 6 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 6 am-midnight. MC, V. $) 4.0

Dalt’s. (Eclectic) Dalt’s tries to reincarnate an old-fashioned soda fountain, but the Sweet Shoppes of hallowed memory were never this bustling or this funky. The catalog-sized menus make a good meal a matter of luck-nobody could cook so many things equally well. But the chicken-fried steaks and salads are huge. and the burgers are meaty. (Sakowitz Village. 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. Suite 410. 385-8606. Daily 11 am-2 am. All credit cards. $) 4.0

Dovie’s. (Southern) Soldier/actor Audie Murphy’s house used to be out in the country. Now it’s in the middle of booming Addison, and its comfortable and elegant rooms are a good place to eat down-home cooking. (14671 Midway. 233-9846. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30: dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-9:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-10, Sun 5:30-9: Sun brunch: 11-2:30. MC. V. AE, DC. $$) 5.5

Forbidden City. (Chinese) The waiters and even the manager line the walls of this ambitious Far North Dallas restaurant, making sure that no empty plate lingers on the table and that no glass goes unfilled. But we do wish that they’d relax and smile occasionally and that the food lived up to all the effort. This is good, standard North Chinese stuff-chicken with cashews, beef with snow peas, shrimp with two sauces- and all is unexceptionable but unexceptional. (5290 Belt Line, Suite 144. 960-2999. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-3 am, Sun noon-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Fuji-Ya. (Japanese) At first glance, this place seems less traditional than other Japanese restaurants in town. There is no tatami seating, for example, and waitresses are more often dressed in jeans than kimonos. The food, though, is both traditional and excellent. (13050 Coit. 690-8396. Tue & Wed 10 am-10 pm, Thur-Sat 10-11, Sun 5-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 4.5

Galle. (French Continental) The burgundy velvet banquettes and etched glass partitions of this roomy hotel restaurant contrast oddly with the sounds of honky-tonk piano from the bar outside, and on a slow night, the place can seem deserted. But the food is prepared expertly, if not always memorably. (Lincoln Hotel, Lincoln Center, 5410 LBJ Frwy. 934-8400. Mon-Fri 6-11 pm. Sat 6-11:30 pm. Reservations requested. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 6.5

Golden Chopsticks. (Chinese) This new Chinese restaurant is attractive enough without being fancy, and it has some excellent dishes, especially in the spicy (though not very hot) Hunan and Szechuan styles. The most impressive one we tried was General Chios Spicy Chicken: large chunks of chicken breast fried and then stir-fried. flavored with lots of sweet pepper and fresh ginger. (16601 Addison Rd, Addison. 931-6868 Sun-Thur 11-10:30. Fri&Sat 11-11. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Highland Park Cafeteria. (Southern) See Knox/Henderson. (Sakowitz Village. 5100 Belt Une at Dallas Pkwy. Suite 600 934-8025 Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 prn & 5 30-8 pm. Sat 11 am-8 pm, Sun 10:45 am-3 pm No liquor. No credit cards. $) 6.0<

Jasons. (Steak & seafood) This steak and seafood restaurant in Sakowitz Village has a lot going for it: aged beef cut to order and well-grilled, a sophisticated setting and a selection of good wines available by the glass. None of the seafood we tried was impressive. (sakowitz Village. 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy, Suite 502 960-2877. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11 30. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 4.5

Joe T. Gardas. (Tex-Mex) None of your fancy, exotic or newfangled dishes here. Just homemade tacos fried right in the shell, cheesy-gooey enchiladas, flavorful rice and rich-tasting beans. But we do wish that Joe T. would do something about the unpleasant smell of cooking oil that pervades the room and lessens the pleasure of the fresh-from-the-stove tostadas. (4440 Belt Line. Addison. 458-7373. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30pm & 5-11 pm. Sat 11-11. Sun 11:30 am-10 pm. MC. V. AE. $$) 4.5

D Kebab ’N’ Kurry. (Indian) You can’t buy better Indian food than the last dinner we had here. The main dishes balanced beautifully. We tried boti kebab (lamb) that was fork-tender, korma (chicken) drenched in cream and fresh coriander, eggplant and potatoes in a mild curry sauce. This place is a leading candidate tor the best bargain in the city. (401 N Cen-tral Expwy, Suite 300. Richardson. 231-5556 Luna, daily 11-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30: brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30. Reserve tions. MC. V. AE. DC. S) See Stemmons/Bachma Lake. 7.5

Kobe Steaks. (Japanese) Kobe Steaks has agar, served us a scrumptious feast of unbelievably tender beef, chicken and succulent shrimp, fresh vegetables and hot soup. Best of all. it was done in the Japanese tradition, without ail the theatrics of Benihana. (The Quorum. 5000 Belt Line. Suite 600. 934-8150 Sun-Thur 5-11 pm. Fri & Sat 5 pm-midnight All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Korea House. (Korean) The most famous Korean dish bulgoki (a kind of barbecued shredded beef), is always good here, and the side dishes of cold vegetables are wonderful: marinated cucumbers, spinach with sesame seeds and the spicy fermented cabbage called kim-chee The waitresses, in their long, silk Korean gowns try hard to please. (Promenade Center. Colt at Beit Line, Suite 610. Richardson. 231-1379. Daily 11:30 am-2:30 pm S 5-10:30 pm. MC. V. AE. $$) 4.5

Laurel’s. (American Nouvelle) The view is breathtaking, the decor is elegant, and the presentation of each dish is elaborately imaginative. The nouvelle cuisine may not taste quite as good as it looks, but it is excellent nonetheless. (Sheraton Park Central Hotel, 12720 Merit 385-3000. Mon-Sat 7-11 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Lenotre. (French Sweets) See Upper Greenville/North Central. (Sakowitz Village. 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. 934-8300, ext. 210 Mon-Sat 10am-6pm: tearoom closes a! 5:30 pm. AE. $$) 6.0

Le Train Bleu. (Continental) In this authentic recreation of an old-fashioned French dining car, crisp white linen tablecloths grace the tables and emerald-green plush greets the eye. In keeping with the rather elegant atmosphere, the food is mostly French and of a very respectable quality. Grilled dishes such as steak or lamb come off well, and even more elaborate creations such as scallops in a rich sauce succeed here. (Bloomingdale’s, Valley View Center, 13320 Montfort. 450-2290. Lunch: Mon-Sat noon-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-8. Jackets required at dinner. AE, Bloomingdale’s: personal checks accepted. $$$) 5.5

Mario & Alberto. (Mexican) This is a peach of a place in which to sample non-traditional Mexican cuisine in enchantingly pastel surroundings. New additions to Mario & Alberto’s menu include Polio Ranchero, a delicious dish of diced chicken and sautéed vegetables, and Shrimp al Ajillo, a serving of meaty shrimp cooked and served in half shells. (Preston Valley Shopping Center, LBJ Frwy at Preston, Suite 425. 980-7296. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun. Drinks with $5.50 membership charge. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.5

Mother Shuckers. (Seafood) Here, you order at a counter and take away freshly shucked oysters and boiled shrimp yourself; servers bring cooked items to you when they are ready. The menu consists mostly of fried things, but, for the most part, they are done well. (3957 Belt Line between Midway and Marsh. 788-2772. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. Closed Sun. MC, V. AE $$) 5.0

Mr. Sushi. (Japanese) Dallas’ newest Japanese restaurant, Mr. Sushi, offers an authentic sushi bar: a counter behind which several formidable Japanese men wield vicious-looking knives to slice hunks, cubes and slivers of raw fish. Mr. Sushi also does a very good job with the standard cooked Japanese items. (The Quorum, 4860 Belt Line. Addison. 385-0168. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Sun 530-10. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Oysters. (Seafood) They cook fish so well here; why can’t they get everything else right? The daily fish special we tasted was broiled with as much authority as any seafood restaurant around, but none of the extras (slaw, fries, hush puppies) were better than passable. (4580 Belt Line 386-0122. Mon-Thur 11:30am-10pm, Fri& Sat 11:30am-11 pm. Sun5-10pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Pat’s Sandwich Delicatessen. See Park Cities/Lovers Lane. (Prestonwood Town Center. Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. 991-6161. Mon-Sat 10am-9pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 5.0

Purdy’s (Burgers) This is the home of the high-tech-and high-pnced-hamburger. Under the exposed heating ducts and amid the yards of bent neon (an America flag m addition to a myriad of beer logos), you belly up to the counter to order huge burgers on Homemade buns. (The Quorum, 4812 Belt Line 960-2494 Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Salt11 am-midnight. Sun noon-10 pm. MC. V. $) 4.5

Raphael’s. (Mexican) See McKinney/Oak Lawn. (The Quorum. 4900 Bell Line. 991-3610. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-3 pm & 5-30-10 pm. Fri 11:30 am-3 pm & 5:30 pm-10:30 pm, Sat noon- 11 pm, sun 11:30-9. Reserva. tions Mon-Thur only. MC, V, AE, CB $$) 5.5

Rheun Thai. (Thai) You can’t go wrong with any of the standard favorites-the spring rolls, the pork satay, the Pud Thai noodles-and there are also unusual items, such as the Thai sausage. (Keystone Park. 13929 N Central Expwy. Suite 400. Richardson. 437-2484. Mon-Thur 11 am-I0 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Sun5-10pm. All credit cards. $$) 6.5

Ristorante La Bella. (Northern Italian) At first, we were overwhelmed by La Bella’s enormous menu, but except for some rather commonplace desserts and a measly serving of veal, everything we tried was better than average La Bella’s hot antipasto tray, a kaleidoscopic collection of meaty mushrooms, artichoke hearts and other things valuable, is particularly noteworthy The pasta was hot and well-spiced; the wine list, though not ambitious, was nevertheless complete. (6757 Arapaho, Suite 721. Richardson. 991-2828 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner: Mon-Sat5-10. MC. V. AE. DC. $$$) 4.5

Ristorante Lombardi. (Northern Italian) The tile floors and Italian-accented (and occasionally condescending) waiters lend this place a certain cachet. The food is mostly the real thing, too, although it’s executed with varying levels of perfection. At these prices, we would expect a meal to consistently deliver at the higher end of the quality scale. (Adelstein Plaza. 15501 Dallas Pkwy at Arapaho. 458-8822. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

Shangri-La. (Chinese) Despite the name, this is no newly discovered hidden paradise, but a very pleasant (if unremarkable) new restaurant in far Fat North Dallas that extends the possibility of good Oriental food farther north of town than ever before. (17194 Preston at Campbell, Suite 115.380-1988. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri 11-11, Satnoon-11 pm, Sunnoon-10:30pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Salih’s Bar-B-Que. (Barbecue) Salih’s offers plates of mild barbecued beef, pork, chicken or sausage, as well as sandwiches. Both types of entrées are served with surprisingly good vegetables (including green beans, trench fries, cabbage, pinto beans and – our favorite -potato salad), all served buffet-style. (4801 Belt Line, Addison. 387-2900. Mon-Sat 11 am-8:30pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 4.0

Sergio & Luciano. (Italian/Continental) Our last several visits have shown Sergio & Luciano to be in top form -and that is formidable. The pastas, in particular, have been expertly prepared. Among the other dishes, the shrimp in champagne sauce is a standout. (The Quorum, 4900 Belt Line. Suite250. 387-4441. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: Mon-Thur6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11, Sun 6-10. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Stetson’s. (Steaks & seafood) Stetson’s is a steak place-there’s no doubt about that-but the furnishings are different from what we’ve seen in most places that serve 2-inch-thick steaks with all the trimmings: The dining room looks downright nice. (The Registry Hotel. 15201 Dallas Pkwy. 386-6000. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-3 pm & 5:30-11 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Reservations recommended. $$$) 7.0

Taiwan. (Chinese) See Upper Greenville/North Central. (4980 Belt Line. Addison. 387-2333. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30-11:30. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$) 7.0

Tanjore. (Indian) Indian food is still an adventure for most Dallas folks, and a meal here is a delight. Beef magulai, murg mussalam and shrimp masala are three entrées that show off the breadth of the unfamiliar and the variety of combinations of curry, coriander and other Eastern spices that our culture neglects. (Prestonwood Creek Shopping Center. 5409 Belt Une 91 0070. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: daily 6-10; brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30-3. Bar membership available All credit cards. $$) 5.5

D Uncle Tal’s Hunan Yuan. (Chinese) As Dallas best Chinese restaurant matures its staff seems to be getting more hospitable – and the food, as always, is stellar. The spicy Hunan dishes can be complemented with still robust offerings like beef with snow peas or chicken with walnuts- (The Galleria 13350 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 3370. 934-9998 Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri& Sat 11 am-10:30pm. Closed Sun Jackets required for dinner. All credit cards. $$$) 8.5


Albert’s Delicatessen and Catering. (Deli) Much of the charm here comes from Big AI himself: The aggressively friendly proprietor sets the tone of the place The menu here features lots of sandwiches, including good hamburgers and deli items such as basturma. a garlicky dried beef. (1416 Avenue J. Piano. 424-4534. Mon-Fri 7 am-8 pm. Sat 7 am-4 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $) 3.5

Bob Willy’s. (Barbecue) This antique shop on the West Piano plains offers excellent barbecue and side dishes. The ribs are wonderfully meaty and tender, and the brisket is succulent. The sausage and ham are also good. (1933 Preston. Piano. 985-0624 Breakfast: daily 6-11; lunch: daily 11 -2:30; dinner: Thur-Sat 5:30-8:30. No credit cards. $$) 5.5

Fishmonger’s Market Seafood Café. (Seafood) At this tiny Piano fishmarket, which doubles as a restaurant and takeout shop, both fried and broiled seafood come off admirably. (1915 N Central Expwy, Suite600. Piano. 423-3699. Mon-Thur 11 am-9 pm, Fri 11 am-10pm, Sat noon-10 pm, Sun noon-9 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Sarducci’s. (Northern Italian) We found the vitello ton-nato appetizer served at this Piano restaurant to be far and away the best version around, with paper-thin slices of veal roll floating on a lemony tuna sauce. The best entrées were the river trout (crusty and served with a green sauce on the side) and the soothingly creamy chicken Delfino. (Harvey House Hotel, 1600NCentral Expwy at 16th, Piano. 578-8555. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: daily 5-11. All credit cards. Lunch $$, dinner $$$) 5.5


Bruni’s. (Italian) There’s something to be said for cheap Italian restaurants like Bruni’s, located in a Bedford strip shopping center-especially if “cheap” means solid, reasonably priced meals in clean, modest surroundings. (2855 Central Dr., Bedford. (817)283-4380. Mon-SatS-10. Closed Sun. Reservations. MC. V, AE. $$) 4.0

Café Cancun. (Mexican) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane. (Lincoln Square Shopping Center, Arlington. 792-3388 Sun-Thur 10am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. MC. V, AE. $$) 6.0

Charley’s Seafood Grill. (Seafood) See Addison/Rich-ardson/Far North Dallas. (O’Connor Blvd at Hwy 114, Las Colinas. 659-9751. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat5-11 pm, SunS-10pm. MC, V. AE. $$) 5.0

The China Rose. (Chinese) This Arlington restaurant, which serves Hong Kong-style Chinese food, has had its ups and downs. This time, we’re happy to report that both food and service are on the upswing. We fared best with the chicken and pork dishes; the seafood, in comparison, was bland. (1401 N Collins, Arlington. (817)277-5888. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fn&Sat 11-11. MC, V, AE. $$) 4.0

Emiliano’s. (Mexican) Emiliano’s long menu includes a number of dishes seldom found around here, such as cabrito (young goat that’s been parboiled and then roasted-it’s tender and mild-tasting) and crab meat burritos. We can’t recall another Mexican place with a salad bar, either. (1212 N Collins. Arlington. (817) 277-9163. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V, AE. $$) 3.5

Empress of China. (Chinese) Despite the garish red-and-yellow sign outside, the Empress is almost regal: spare, white and subtly elegant. The food is mostly middle-of-the-road Chinese – better than adequate but less than outstanding. One dish to try: the Shrimp (or Seafood) Wor Bar. (2648 N Belt Line, Irving. 252-7677. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10 pm. Reservations. MC, V. AE. DC. $$) 4.0

D Enjolie. (French Nouvelle) If you want to be pampered with some of the best cuisine in town in relaxed but elegant surroundings, try Enjolie. The pheasant mousse in blueberry sauce, the fish in three sauces and all the desserts are spectacular examples of French cooking. (Mandalay Four Seasons Hotel. 221 S Las Colinas Blvd. Irving. 556-0800. ext. 3155. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0

Gaylen’s Bar-B-Q. (Barbecue) Dine here in good ol’ boy splendor among a forest of antlers and stuffed deer heads. The good ol’ boys get stuffed, too. mainly on some of the best barbecued ribs in North Texas. The french fries are also outstanding. And since Arlington is wet, the beef and fixin’s can be washed down with a cold beer. (826 N Collins. Arlington. (817) 277-1945. Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun No credit cards. $) 5.0

Grapevine Steakhouse. (Steaks) It’s worth a 30-min-ute drive from Dallas to Grapevine just to see the yaks’ heads on the walls and the real-live urban cowboys down below. You can also bite into a 1’/2-inch-thick T-bone here. (909 Bushong. Grapevine. (817)481 -4300. Sun. Tue& Wed 5:30-10 pm. Thur-Sat 5:30 pm-12:30 am. Closed Mon. MC. V, AE. $$) 5.0

II Nonno’s. (Northern Italian) This upscale Italian restaurant in the East Tower of the Amfac Hotel at D/FW airport is one of the best-kept secrets in the Metroplex. The food is hearty and delicious, and the portions are generous enough to daunt all but the biggest eaters. (East Tower. Amfac Hotel. D/FW airport. 453-8400. Daily 6-11 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

Los Canarios. (Mexican) The steak for the carne asada is marinated in orange juice and brushed with butter while on the grill, creating an enticing beef dish. The crab chimichangas (crunchy fried burritos) are unusual and satisfying. The standard mixed platters are good, but they’re not quite what we Texans are used to-the restaurant’s owners hail from Mexico and Southeast Asia, and Tex-Mex is not a native cuisine to them. (Hwy 10 at Raider. Euless. (817) 283-4691. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner: Mon-Thur5-10. Fri&Sat 5-11. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. $$) 4.5

Man Wah. (Chinese) This Arlington restaurant offers what is surely one of the most elaborate appetizer trays in the area. If your appetite holds up past the appetizer, Mah Wah does a decent job with its standard Chinese menu. (1725 E Division, Arlington. (817) 277-8192. Sun-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

Mercado Jaurez. (Mexican) See Stemmons/Bachman Lake. (2220 Miller Rd. (817) 649-3324. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

On the Border. (Mexican) See Knox/Henderson. (2011 Copeland Rd. E. 261-3598. Mon-Thur & Sun 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. All credit cards. $$) 5.5


Angelo’s. (Barbecue) For a real slice of Texas barbecue, the place to go, as far as most residents of Fort Worth are concerned, is still Angelo’s. You order cafeteria-style from a menu above the counter. A paper plate is heaped with a choice of ribs (served after 5 pm only) or barbecued beef, potato salad, coleslaw, pickle, onion, sauce and bread. (2533 White Settlement Rd. (817)332-0357. Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 7.0

Aventino’s. (Northern Italian) A pleasant surprise awaited us at this intimate Italian strip-shopping-center restaurant in Fort Worth. Although the restaurant is barely more than a hole in the wall, patrons are treated to a showroom production of Paraguayan harp and classical guitar music every Friday night. Our meal was on an even par with the entertainment. An appetizer of soft melted cheese (served with fresh bread for dunking) was a delicious starter. Among the entrées, veal (lightly breaded with fresh lemon) and spinach fettuc-cine were recommended, and they proved to be wise choices: satisfying, yet light enough to leave room for cheesecake and espresso. (3206 Winthrop Ave. (817) 731-0711. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-10 Fri & Sat 5-11, Sun 5-9. MC. V. AE. $) 5.0

The Balcony. (Continental) The unhurried pace of the service, the flickering candlelight and the distant tinkling of a piano lent a romantic air to our evening, which also featured excellent lamb chops and lobster. (6700 Camp Bowie. (817) 731-3719. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10. Ail credit cards.) 5.5

Benito’s. (Tex-Mex) For a taste of excellent Tex-Mex, this is the place to go. The chile rellenos we tried were stuffed full of cheese, and the fajitas came to our table still sizzling. (1450 W Magnolia. (817)332-8633 Sun-Thur 10-10. Fri & Sat 10 am-3 am. No credit cards. $) 6.0

Calamity’s. (Eclectic) The interior of this novelty restaurant/bar is upgraded mine-shaft, and the food is average at best. But the salad bar is well-stocked, and the view of the downtown skyline of Fort Worth is impressive. (1900BenSt. (817)534-4908. Sun-Thur5-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm; Sun brunch; 10:30-2. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 4.0

Calhoun Street Oyster Company. (Seafood) Within easy walking distance of the Tarrant County Convention Center and Theater, this New Orleans-style restaurant is an ideal place to grab a bite to eat before a play or concert. As the name implies, oysters are the featured fare, but a blackboard menu (offering fresh fish such as New England scrod and Gulf pompano) changes daily. (210 E Eighth St at Calhoun. (817) 332-5932. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri&Sat11-11, Sun 5-9:30 pm. MC, V. AE. $$) 4.5

The Carriage House. (Continental) It’s a bit overpriced, perhaps, but Fort Worth patrons seem to be stuck on this genteel Old Guard establishment. Nothing is rushed here, especially service, which can be annoying if you’re anxious to catch a show. (5136 Camp Bowie. (817) 732-2873. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11, Sun 6-10; Sun brunch: 11-2. MC, V, AE. DC. $$$) 6.5

Cattlemen’s Steak House. (Steaks) The secret of getting into this legendary steakhouse on weekends is to arrive before the crowds start descending. This means 5:30 or 6 p.m. That may be a bit too early for some diners, but otherwise the wait sometimes exceeds an hour. But the steaks are, indeed, worth waiting for: huge, tender and cooked as ordered. (2458 N Mam. (817) 624-3945. Mon-Fri 11 am-10:30 pm, Sat 4:30-10:30 pm, Sun 4-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Crystal Cactus Restaurant. (Continental) Ifs refreshing to find a hotel restaurant that tries as hard as this one. An unusual appetizer of escargots came wrapped in a crisp pastry for dunking in a creamy lemon-butter sauce; it was accompanied by plump, juicy oysters Rockefeller. And the chicken Oscar was expertly prepared, with a light hollandaise sauce and scampi covering lightly breaded chicken breasts. (Hyatt Regency Hotel, Eighth & Commerce. (817) 870-1234. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11; Sat & Sun brunch: 10:30-2 30. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Edelweiss. (German) The crowds at this cavernous German-style restaurant attest to its continuing popularity. The food is generally of high quality: The heaping sauerbraten plates continue to please, and we found the ribs (both pork and beef) to be delectable. (3801-A Southwest Blvd. (817) 738-5934. Mon-Thur 5-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

El Rancho Grande. (Tex-Mex) Although this restaurant is fairly new, it’s steadily challenging its older competitors m the area (Jimenez and Joe T.’s). The chicken enchiladas are smothered in sour cream, and the tacos al carbon are thick with generous portions of steak. (1400 N Main. (817) 624-9206 Mon-Thur 11 am-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

D Escape. (French/Continental) This restaurant is housed in an obscure white house that looks like any of the other quiet residences on this street, except that valet parking attendants line the tiny parking area with Cadillacs and BMWs. But it’s a wonderful escape-a seven-course evening that comes mighty close to rivaling the five-star offering at Michel. (3416 Pelham. (817) 738-9704. Lunch: Sun-Fri 11-2; dinner; Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri S Sat 6-11. All credit cards. $$$) 7.5

D Hilary’s- (Lebanese) For the first time, we en-countered a line at Hedary’s, the fine West Side Lebanese restaurant. But we endured the wait, because we knew that the meal would indeed satisfy our cravings for lamb shish kebab and various spicy sausage and beef dishes, all served in a piping-hot fold of Lebanese bread. (3308 Fairfield at Camp Bow,e. (817) 731-6961 Tue-Thur5-10pm. Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. Sun 5-1Opm Closed Mon. No reservations. All credit cards. $$) 7.5

J ’a Oyster Bar. (Seafood) At J.J.’s. you can have your seafood any way you like it – as long as you like it Sort Purists can feast on orders of raw oysters. (929 University (817) 335-2756. Mon-Thur 11-11.Fn& Sat 11-midnight. Sunnoon-9pm. No credit cards. $) 5.5

Joe T. Garcia’s. (Tex-Mex) In combing the Southwest in search of the perfect margarita, our tequila elixir was found next to a plate of enchiladas, beans and rice in this celebrated family-style restaurant. The food-the standard dinner plus a few choices such as steak a la Mexicana – was. as always, great. (2201 N Commerce. (817)626-4356. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30pm&5-10:30pm. Sat 11-11. Sun 2-10 pm. No credit cards. $$) 6.5

Kincaid’s. (Burgers) Kincaid’s famous burgers are thick flavorful and stuffed with such tried-and-true additions as lettuce, tomato, onions and mustard. You’ll be in such a hurry to eat it that you probably won’t even notice that you can’t sit down-just stand at one of the shelf-top counters and munch contentedly while you peruse one of the nearby magazines. (4901 Camp Bowie Blvd. (817) 732-2881. Mon-Sat 10 am-6:15pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 6.5

Le Café Bowie. (Continental) This restaurant is one of the best in Fort Worth for dinner. Sadly, the nighttime sparkle of this unpretentious spot fades when the sun’s up. At a recent brunch, the Eggs Louis IX (described as scrambled with shrimp) had the texture and taste of pureed eggs. (4930 Camp Bowie. (817) 735-1521. Lunch: Wed-Fri 11:30-2, dinner: Sun-Thur5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11: Sun brunch: noon-2. All credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$$) 6.5

D Michel. (Classic French) Michel’s fixed-price menu has climbed to $34.50 from the previous $29.50, but even though the price has gone up, the portions of our latest four-course meal seemed to be on the lean side. Michel’s dedication to quality, however, remains unchanged. The sea scallops were tender and juicy; the escargots, rich with butter and garlic- the entrées of lobster and lamb, deftly prepared. (3851Camp Bowie. (817) 732-1231. Tue-Thur6-10, Fri & Sat seatings at6&9. All credit cards. $$$$) 7.5

The Original Mexican Food Café. (Tex-Mex) The long lines at this popular Mexican food restaurant are due more to tradition than to outstanding food. Oh, the combination plates are okay, and the service is quick and efficient, but overall, the food isn’t really exceptional. But the place looks like the real thing: concrete walls, cracking linoleum floors and bustling waiters and waitresses. (4713 Camp Bowie. (817) 738-6226. Sun-Thur 11 am-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Tue. All credit cards. $) 5.5

Reflections. (French/Continental) This restaurant’s subdued, peachy pastels work well with the black trim, and the quality of the food is superb. The New York sirloin with Bercy sauce is overpriced at $18.50, but the cut is as tender as butter; and the Ginger Duck is delightful, with a perfectly sweetened sauce that enhances but doesn’t overpower. (200 Main. (817) 870-9894. Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30 pm, Sat 6:30-11 pm. MC, V, AE. $$$) 6.5

Ristorante Lombardi. (Northern Italian) Old-World charm characterizes the new Fort Worth Lombardi’s in Sundance Square. Inside, the aroma of pasta and sautéed seafood mingles with the scurry of bustling waiters. (Sundance Square, 300 Main. (817) 877-1729. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Reservations. All credit cards’. $$$) 7.0

Sardine’s. (Italian) The name of this restaurant corresponds to the manner in which guests are seated, but the crowding merely attests to the continuing popularity of this Italian inn. Aside from the close quarters, we were delighted with the hustle and bustle of the restaurant. The chicken with scampi and the lasagna were equally good (3410 Camp Bowie. (817)332-9937. Sun-Thur 5.30 pm-midnight. Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-1 am. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Szechuan. (Chinese) The chef here has an authentically heavy hand with the hot peppers. Once we learned our lesson and steered clear of the ominous starred offerings, we were delighted with pleasing portions of pork with garlic (spicy but not overwhelming), tangy beef with green pepper and diced chicken with almonds. (5712 Locke off Camp Bowie. (817) 738- 7300. Mon-Thur 11 30am-10pm. Fri&Sat 11:30am-11 pm. Sun 5-Wpm. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

D Tours. (Continental) This place reminds us less of Fort Worth than any other restaurant in town; we spied nary a cowboy hat and didn’t hear even a trace of a Texas drawl the entire evening. The salmon was fresh, with a light hollandaise sauce that was neither too strong nor too lemony. The veal, likewise, was cooked simply but well. (3429B W Seventh St. (817) 870-1672. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2: dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations recommended on weekends. MC. V. AE. $$$) 7.5

Tuscany. (Northern Italian) This elegant restaurant features the cuisine of Tuscany, the heartland of Italy. Although our pasta dish (tortellini alla panna) was far above average, the real highlight of our meal was zup-pa di pesce. a bouillabaisse-type dish featuring different kinds of squid, shrimp and mussels in a spicy sauce (4255 Camp Bowie. (817) 737-2971. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30. dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Sun 5-10. All credit cards $$) 6.0

The Wine Seller. (Continental) This place is for people who enjoy a leisurely dinner, complete with a cheese and paté board and at least one bottle of wine. Wine aficionados may explore the restaurants wine vault to select the proper bottle for their meal. (6120 Camp Bowie. (817) 737-2323 Mon-Thur 11:30am-10pm, Fri&Sat 11:30am-midnight. Closed Sun. MC. V. $$) 6.5