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

EVERY SIX MONTHS, we update our D awards, the recognition we give to the restaurants we consider the most outstanding in the Metroplex. This award-designated by a large D beside the review of the restaurant-is given to those that bear a rating of 7.5 or above on a scale of 10.

Five newly opened restaurants seem to us to be among the best in the city. The standout newcomer is Chez Philippe, the chic, glossy stage for the dramatic culinary creations of chef Philippe Carre. Carre, who came to Dallas to supervise the kitchen of Jean Claude, opened his new place to lots of fanfare-all of it more than justified. His cooking has both imagination and authority, and his restaurant looks smashing, too, placing it among the top five in town.

The Verandah Club, on the grounds of. the Loews Anatole Hotel, scored a coup by hiring Dean Fearing, formerly the chef at Agnew’s, to open its second-floor restaurant. Fearing’s vibrantly original New Southwestern Cuisine features many dishes that are unsurpassed in Dallas. Despite its odd private club status, we look for this to be one of the top restaurants in town when a few kinks have been ironed out.

Among Dallas’ most popular and most pleasant places to dine is The Riviera, devoted to the cooking of the south of France. The setting is a model of casual elegance, and owner Franco Bertolasi makes every patron feel like a valued guest. The food isn’t absolutely consistent, but every meal we have had here has had at least one memorable dish.

D. Michael (with chef David Pisegna, who worked under Fearing at Agnew’s) also has innovative and distictive dishes. Game and highly refined sausages are outstanding here. We were tentative about the place on our first visits but were much more impressed when we returned a few months later.

Ristorante Valentino may not be quite the answer to our prayers for an Italian restaurant to equal the best the city can boast in other categories, but it seems to us the most outstanding. The owners, who were formerly connected with La Tosca, offer an original menu executed with flair. The decor is a trifle strange, though inoffensive, but patrons are welcomed warmly and made to feel comfortable.

Three names that appeared on the list of D awards in August 1984 are gone-two, as it happens, in Fort Worth. Escape has closed its doors, and Tours, though still an interesting place to dine with its eclectic menu and elegantly understated setting, seems to have lost some of its edge as it has become better known and more popular. In Dallas, exposure-which once seemed to us to have the potential to reach the very top rank-declined in consistency and then fell into bankruptcy.

The biggest shock in our new ratings is the fall of Jean Claude from 9.0, the highest rating we presently give, to 8.0. This restaurant has been a favorite of ours for a long time, but several meals in a row have been very mixed in quality. Each time we’ve visited, there has been some reminder of the past glories at Jean Claude but also more than one severe disappointment.

Other restaurants that have also fallen off a bit but not far enough to slip out of the D award category altogether are Newport’s and La Vieille Varsovie (The Old Warsaw). Newport’s doesn’t seem as consistent as it did when it first opened, although you can still get some first-rate seafood there. And the Old Warsaw seems to be bogging down again into the geriatric doldrums after perking up refreshingly a year or so ago.

Happily, several of our D award restaurants are better than ever. Atlantic Café is a venture of a former owner of Café Pacific. Both restaurants are turning out seafood and other continental specialties with a verve at least equal to that which Cafe Pacific embodied before the split. Neither restaurant is particularly hospitable to the casual customer-reservations must be made well in advance, and parties must arrive promptly (even then there can be a wait). Both places epitomize a sleek, sophisticated Dallas.

Kebab ’N’ Kurry also seems to us to go from strength to strength. It may be a hole in the wall, but it turns out the standard Indian restaurant dishes more capably than any other Indian restaurant we have tried in America. The prices are reasonable, and the service is much more competent and pleasant than at most ethnic restaurants.

A number of other restaurants narrowly missed being ranked among those given the D award. Han-Chu and Alessio’s are both very plausible candidates; Javier’s, Chiquita and Mario & Alberto have lots of partisans; Sonny Bryan’s has some of the greatest barbecue in the world, and those who don’t mind a bit of clutter and inconvenience might argue that it belongs in our top category. We’ll keep tabs on all these places and tell you again exactly how we think they stack up against each other in our August issue.


D’s revised dining listings have been categorized according to geographical locations, beginning with downtown Dallas and radiating outward toward the suburbs.

For those restaurants that have more than one location, the review is listed under the original location’s listing. 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 lor 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 have been rated on a 1 to 10 scale, with a rating of 10 being the highest recommendation. Restaurants receiving a rating of 7.5 and above have been designated with a bold D.


Abio. (Steak/Continental) This deluxe new downtownrestaurant has sandwiches, omelettes and daily specials for lunch, and the chicken-fried steak has goodgravy and mashed potatoes. In the evening, there’s awider selection, with steaks being the main specialty.(One Dallas Centre, Bryan at St Paul. 922-9070. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10. Closed Sun.MC, V. AE. DC. Lunch $$. dinner $$$) 6.0

Café Cancun. (Mexican) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane. (Plaza of the Americas. 650 N Pearl 969-0244. Mon-Fri 11 am-7 pm Closed Sat & Sun MC, V. AE. $$) 5.5

D Café Royal. (French/Continental) The latestgimmick at this excellent restaurant is what CaféRoyal calls its menu de degustation, whichusually means a multicourse sampling of the chefs specialties. Here, it’s really just a prix fixe dinner in which thediner has few choices, but it may be more of a bargainthan ordering a la carte (Plaza of the Americas, 650 NPearl 747-7222 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6:30-10 Closed Sun. Reservations recommendedJackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0

Ceret. (French/Continental) Francophiles continue torally around what may be the one true French bistro(translation: solid French cooking at moderate prices) intown, but we find that the haute-y air here can be stifling.Nevertheless, the food is mostly of the highest quality,and at $20 for four courses, who’s complaining? (703 McKinney in the Brewery 7200297 Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2:30, dinner: Mon-Thur 6:30-10:30, Fri & Sat6-11:30 Closed Sun. MC. V.AE. $$$) 6.5

Ceret’s Creperie. (Crêpes) Upstairs at Ceret seemspretty much like downstairs at Ceret: bare concretepillars from the brewery days, no tablecloths, somewhatfrazzled service. But crêperie prices are an original ideaImagine, in Dallas, an elegant meal for as little as $5(703 McKinney in the Brewery. 720-0297 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6:30-10:30 Closed SunMC. V. AE. $$$) 6.0

Charcuterie. (Lunch) Sanger Harris does an uncommonly good job with its in-house eatery. The croissantsare warm and flaky, and if you’re into salads of any persuasion, they’re bound to be served here. The chickenwith cheese on a croissant is particularly good. (SangerHams. 303 N Akard 749-3388 Mon-Fri 11 am-3 pm.Closed Sat & Sun AE. Sanger Harris charge. $$) 5.0

Deli Italia. (Italian/Deli) At lunch. Deli Italia serves bothdelicatessen items and Italian dishes. The deli items arethe standard sandwiches; we enjoyed a tasty (if ratherfatty) hot pastrami The Italian side of the menu is moresubstantial (2121 Main at Central Expwy. 9390666Mon-Fri 11 am-3 pm Closed Sat & Sun. All creditcards $$) 5.5

D The French Room. (French Nouvelle) Like something out of a Fragonard painting, the French Room, with its Corinthian columns and swags of drapery, offers the most lavish dining in town. The lamb cooked in a brioche-dough crust and the garlicky loup (European sea bass) topped with an eggplant puree were very impressive (Adolphus Hotel. 1321 Commerce. 742-8200. Mon-Sat 6:30-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations required. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0

Hampton’s Seafood Market. (Seafood) For a Hampton’s sampler, start with a bowl of the unusually thick,murky gumbo, redolent of bay leaves, sage and themysterious je ne sais quoi that belongs to this dish. Aftera crab or oyster cocktail, try the salad platter, whichfeatures mounds of tuna, halibut and crab with a heapof savory coleslaw. (801 S Pearl. 742-4668 Tue-Sat 8am-6:30 pm, Sun 8 am-5 pm. Closed Mon. No creditcards; personal checks accepted. $$) See PrestonRoyal. 6.5

Mason’s. (American Nouvelle) Mason’s isn’t the exciting purveyor of American nouvelle dishes it seemswhen you read the menu: The cooking doesn’t havemuch flair or authority. The fixed-price table d’hote dinner, however, is a bargain at $18.50. (Sheraton DallasHotel & Towers, Southland Center, 400 N Olive.922-8000 Mon-Sat 6 pm-midnight. Closed Sun. Allcredit cards. $$$) 4.5

D Newport’s. (Seafood) We had a less-than-happy experience here at a recent lunchmarred by high noise levels and scallops thatdidn’t taste fresh. But when we went back, we had better luck- nicely sautéed shrimp, good broiled swordfishand some of the best fried potatoes in town. (703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220 Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat5:30-11 Closed Sun. MC. V, AE, DC. $$$) 8.0

Pacific Pearl. (Chinese) All of a sudden, Dallas hasbeen deluged with luxury Chinese restaurants. PacificPearl may be the most pleasing to the eye, but the foodis decidedly ordinary-a shock among such lovely surroundings. (601 Pacific at Market. 745-1688. Mon-Thur11:15 am-10:30 pm, Fri&Sat 11:30-11:30. Sun 11:30am-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

The Palm. (Steak) Now that we’ve visited the Palm a few times, we know what to order (filet mignon) and how much (one steak for two people). We also sampled the pork chops, which were flavorful and moist. Side dishesare superb: light, crisp onion rings, bountiful salads andreal New York cheesecake. And the rowdy ebullienceon a Friday night is a true tonic at the week’s end. (701Ross. 698-0470. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Fri11:30 am-11 pm, Sat 5-11 pm, Sun 5-9:30 pm All creditcards. $$$$) 6.0

D Restaurant Silvano. (Continental) Noiseand an overly relaxed serving pace continue to plague this stylish West End eatery. Thefood this time around wasn’t quite as good as it was onour previous visit, but we still think the chef’s talent withseafood is extraordinary. (311 Market. 747-0322. Mon-Thur 6-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 6-11 pm Closed Sun Allcredit cards. $$$$) 8.0

Sam’s Bar and Grill. (Eclectic) Here’s an ambitiousnew place that courts the after-hours trade. The appetizers lean toward adequate but unexceptional thingslike seafood samplers and seafood salads. The entreestend to be expensive, but the mesquite-gnlled items,such as the Black Angus steaks and the swordfish, aredone well. (Bradford Plaza Hotel, 302 S Houston.761-9090. Daily 24 hours. All credit cards. Breakfastand lunch $$, dinner $$$) 6.0

Sfizi. (Italian) Sfizi is an unpretentious cafe with hightech decorations and plain concrete floors The food islisted on a short menu, with most of the more elaboratedishes written on a blackboard as specials of the day.One of the principal offerings is pizza – a delicious version with thick but very crisp crusts. (1718 Market.698-9390 Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11 am-4 am. Sat 6 pm-4am. Sun 6-11 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0


Adriano’s. (Italian) The delights of salmonand-goat-cheese pizza don’t seem to have caught on in Dallas theway they have in Los Angeles. Even if you don’t go forAdriano’s more exotic offerings, you can enjoy pizzawith pancetta (an Italian version of bacon), crispy brownroast chicken or any of a number of other not-too-trendyitems. (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. $$) 6.0

D Calluaud. (French) Guy Calluaud is willing tobuck French tradition if a good idea comes tohim: Where in the old country can you find a refined version of ceviche cloaked under the description”marinated seafood salad”? Our main courses wereperfectly cooked scallops and sweetbreads, both ofwhich had just the right touch of garlic. (2619 McKinney.823-5380. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat seatings at 7 & 9:30. Closed SunReservations. Jackets and ties required. All creditcards. $$$$) 9.0

Chiquita. (Mexican) A visit to Chiquita, one of Dallas’ best Mexican restaurants for many years, is always a pleasure. We find it hard not to order one of the delicious beef dishes, and on our last visit, the filete de casa. spiked with garlic and peppers and accompanied by a cheese taco and a boiled potato, was splendid. (3810Congress. 521-0721. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm,Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE.$$) 6.5

Chow To Go. (Gourmet Carryout) Caterer Mike Hearnhas opened a takeout establishment with a few tablesavailable for eating lunch on the premises. A blackboard beautifully decorated with colored-chalk drawings advertises the sandwich selections. (2404 CedarSprings at Maple. 871-7145. Mon-Fri 10am-7 pm. Sat10 am-6 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards for purchasesunder $25: MC. V.$$) 5.5

Ciao. (Italian) Although pink neon and a checkerboard-tiled floor beckoned us inside, the real welcome at Ciao was the carefully prepared (and amply proportioned) Italian offerings. We tried an appetizer of fettuccine, rich and creamy with bits of bacon, and a gourmet pizza adorned with spinach sautéed in garlic butter and pimentos. (3921 Cedar Springs. 5210110. Mon-Sat noon-midnight, Sun 3 pm-midnight. MC, V. AE. $$) 6.0

Clair de Lune. (Traditional French) Located in one corner of the Quadrangle, this handsome French restaurant offers good (though not consistently good) food at moderate prices. Our entrees were enjoyable but uneven in quality: The trout amandine was delicious, but the accompanying potatoeswere a disappointment; theroast beef sandwich wasdressed in too much cabbage, but the bread wascrunchy and fresh. (TheQuadrangle, 2800 Routh.871-2288. Mon-Wed 9 am-midnight, Thur-Sat 11 am-2am. Sun 11-11. All creditcards. $$) 4.5

D D. Michael. (Nou-velle) This temple of the New Southwestern Cuisine is settling into some fine cooking. The best dishes are now magnificent: patties of lamb sausage served over fettuccine in three colors and a walnut-and-apple cake surrounded by two sauces. We also like the autumn salad and the venison in cabernet sauce. (2917 Fairmount. 871-0123. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Tue-Sat 6:30-10:30.Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$) 7.5

Fran’s. (Southern) This is a rather uptown place to beserving home cooking-the menu is coyly posted onlittle blackboards, for instance- but the food is reassuringly old-fashioned. (3005 N Hall. 741-7589. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11 -2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 5-10. Closed Sun. Nocredit cards. $) 5.5

Herrera. (Tex-Mex) Beneath the water-stained ceilingof this tiny cafe, hungry folks crowd in for the generic butwell-prepared fare of tacos and tamales, enchiladas,rice and beans. (3902 Maple. 526-9427. Mon, Wed&Thur 9 am-8 pm, Fri-Sun 9 am-10 pm. Closed Tue. Nocredit cards. $) 5.5

D Jean Claude. (Classic French) Has Monsieur Prevot started to show signs of boredom now that he has returned to his own kitchen? The first few courses on our last visit here were well below his lofty standards. We were happy with our main courses, however, especially the luscious lobster, although the duck in a ginger sauce didn’t have quite as crisp a crust as we remembered. (2404 Cedar Springs. 748-6619. Tue-Sat seatings at 6 & 9 pm. Closed Sun& Mon. Reservations required. MC. V. AE, DC. $$$$) 8.0

D Jennivine. (Continental) Now that Jennivinehas decided to play in the big leagues by offering nouvelle cooking, the dear old girl has to bejudged by the highest standards. And she holds up verywell: The shrimp and scallops in a honey vinaigrette wasoutstanding, and the duck in ginger sauce was crisp onthe outside and pink and juicy within. (3605 McKinney.528-6010. Lunch. Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservationsrecommended. All credit cards. $$) 7.5

Jozef’s. (Seafood) This pleasant seafood restaurant, Lawry’s. (Prime Rib) There’s something reassuringabout Lawry’s unabashed adulation of thick, juicy redmeat. We like the Old World look of the neoclassicalfacade and the clubby feeling of the dining rooms. Itseems like another era. (3008 Maple. 521-7777. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon- Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat5:30-11:30, Sun 4-10. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

Le Boul’ Mich. (French) This cozy gray house acrossfrom the Quadrangle has been the favorite “little Frenchrestaurant” of Dallasites for many years. The food isbasically sound: A seafood omelette and a lunchtimequiche were definitively French and first-rate. What’smissing here is the aura of festivity so prevalent at Dallas’more popular French restaurants. (2704 Worthington.826-0660. Mon- Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11.Closed Sun. MC, V. AE. $$$) 5.5

D The Mansion on Turtle Creek. (American Nouvelle) Here you feel as if you ought to pull up in your Rolls, or at least a Jag. This is still the toniest place in Dallas. The food can be extraordinary.Specials at our last visit included grilled shrimp on a bedof pasta with horseradish sauce and filet of sole with asauce of yellow peppers. On another occasion, ourvenison with black bean polenta and our filets of salmonand halibut in a mild mustard sauce scaled the heights.(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-Thur1030 pm-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 pm-midnight. Promenade Room-breakfast: daily 7-10:30; lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2; tea: Mon-Fri 3-5:30. Reservations. All creditcards. $$$$) 8.5

Mario’s. (Italian/Continental) Red velvet walls, Watercolors of game birds and classical music give this Italian restaurant its longstanding reputation for ritziness. Perfectly prepared beef tournedos make Mario’s more than just a fine purveyor of pasta and veal. (135 Turtle Creek Village, Oak Lawn at Blackburn. 521 1135. Sun-Thur 6-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 6-11:30 pm All credit cards.$$$) 6.5

Pope’s Café. (Mexican) The gentrification of Oak Lawnhas left at least one ethnic sanctuary of unchic. The Tex-Mex is much better than average (we can’t rememberthe last time we enjoyed old-fashioned beef tacos asmuch), and the fancier dishes like fajitas and chilesrellenos are creditable. (3011 Routh. 871-9445. Mon-Fri10:30 am-2:30 pm & 5:30-10 pm, Sat 10:30 am-10 pm.Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 5.5

Ratcliffe’s. (Seafood) On our latest visit to one of Dallas’ favorite seafood restaurants, the grilled swordfish couldn’t have been sweeter or juicier, and an extravagant dish of filets of three kinds of fish sautéed and served over vegetables with a light sauce was succulent. (1901 McKinney. 748-7480. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Sun- Thur 5-10. Fri & Sat 5-11. Reser-vations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Ristorante Vincenzo. (Italian) This is a very pleasant place to try an interesting assortment of dishes from all over the Italian peninsula. The pasta selections are unusual, ranging from spaghetti with julienne eggplant to small pasta shells in a rich ricotta sauce. Main courses include a flavorful grilled swordfish steak with a sauce full of olives and garlic, chicken topped with Swiss cheese and mushrooms and classics like scampi and veal Saltimbocca. (The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh, Suite r65. 742-3872. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

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 includes exquisite preparations of every dish, starting with the muffins – flavored perhaps with squash or hickory nuts Among the choice items on the menu (which changes daily) are the flaky tart filled with wild mushrooms, the game dishes (the wild boar wasdivine-unexpectedly mild and tender), the unusualsorbets and ices and the rich, rich desserts (3005 Routhat Cedar Springs. 871-7161 Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm.Lounge: Tue- Thur 6 pm-midnight, Fri & Sat 6 pm-1:30am. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations recommended.All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0

S&D Oyster Co. (Seafood) This often crowded havenfor landlocked lovers of the bounty of the sea never failsto satisfy its large and loyal clientele. Everything isprepared perfectly here, from the seafood gumbo(chock-full of oysters) to the broiled redfish and hushpuppies that aren’t too greasy (2701 McKinney. 823-6350. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. ClosedSun. No reservations. MC, V. $$) 5.5

Szechuan. (Chinese) The spareribs here are unusually thick and juicy, and the entrees are a delight, whethersimple (sweet-and-sour chicken) or complex (moo shipork and Lake Tung Ting Shrimp). (4117 Lemmon.521-6981. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat11:30-11:30 All credit cards. $$) 5.5


D Atlantic Café. (Seafood/Continental) Sleek and snazzy with its etched glass, brass and marble, the Atlantic Cafe offers food as chic as its decor. This is one of Dallas’ premier seafood restaurants; the tender “buster” (baby soft-shell) crabs and the delicately sautéed Dover sole prove that. But it also has some fine things for those who abhor fish: The pepper steak is exemplary (4546 McKinney at Knox. 559-4441. Lunch: Mon-Fri & Sun 11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. $$$) 8.0

The Beefeater. (Steak) The Beefeater’s relaxed atmosphere is delightful after the hustle and bustle ofchain steakhouses. Sirloin, tenderloin, prime rib, hugelamb chops and baby back ribs all satisfy the carnivorous spirit, and the baked, au gratin and hashbrownpotatoes are admirable accompaniments. (3010 NHenderson at Central Expwy. 826-2333. Mon-Thur6-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 6-11:30 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V,AE. $$$) 5.0

Chip’s. (Burgers) Chip’s has all the ingredients of agreat hangout: iced-down longnecks in an old-fashioned cooler near the door, a barrel of peanuts formunching, neon beer signs on the wall and a TV. Ofcourse, there are also some great burgers, made withone-third pound of beef, sliced onions, pickles,tomatoes and assorted condiments and sauces-all ona grilled poppy-seed bun. (4501 N Central Expwy.526-1092. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Nocredit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 5.0

Da Piccolo. (Italian) This narrow, slightly unkempt Italian bistro is now open for lunch. The tortellini, stuffed with a sage-flavored filling and served in a tomato sauce with flecks of basil, had been cooked too long and was slightly gummy. The lasagna tasted of fresh tomato (but little else), and the veal Marsala suffered from a harsh and overly glutinous sauce. At lunch, Da Piccolo didn’t live up to its reputation as one of the better Italian placesin town. (4537 Cole. 521-1191. Lunch: Mon & Wed-Fri11-2; dinner: Mon, Wed & Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sal5:30-11. Closed Tue. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Hoffbrau. (Steak) If what you want is a thick, juicy slabof beef without a lot of unnecessary frills, head for Hoffbrau. There’s not a lot of choice about what will accompany your steak (a salad and potatoes come with eachentree; only one salad dressing is offered, and thechunky potato slices are pan-fried), but it doesn’t reallymatter. Everything we tried was good, especially thesteaks. The service was efficient, and gold stars mustbe given to the busboys in particular. Go early to escapethe inevitable wait. (3205 Knox. 559-2680. Mon-Fri11-11. Sal noon-11 pm, Sun noon-10 pm. All creditcards. $$) 5.0

Javier’s. (Mexican) Don’t expect to find Tex-Mex here.The menu runs more to fantasies on Mexican themes -steak and seafood with rich sauces made from exoticingredients – that can be excellent in their own right.(4912 Cole. 521-4211. Sun-Thur 5:30-10 pm. Fri & Sat5:30-11:30 pm. Reservations recommended. All creditcards. $$$) 6.5

On the Border. (Mexican) On weekends, it seems asthough everyone in town is trying to crowd into this”South Texas Café,” as it bills itself. And no wonder,since it may serve the best fajitas around. The sizzlingstrips of beef (or chicken) are meaty, tender and notoverly marinated, as they sometimes are elsewhere.(3300 Knox. 528-5900 Mon-Thur & Sun 11 am-midnight. Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am. All credit cards. $$) See LasColinas/Mid-Cities. 5.5

D Ristorante Valentino. (Northern Italian) The menu is short and imaginative, with notable successes at every stage. The fresh lasagna with scallops-lots of rich cheese, whole leaves of basiland no tomato- is sublime, and the small pasta shellswith tomato and garlic and the angel-hair pasta withlobster, cognac and tomato are not far behind. The beeftenderloin in a cream sauce with green peppercornshas an assertive flavor that we found appealing, and thered snapper with a fresh tomato sauce couldn’t havebeen fresher and lighter. (2929 N Henderson.826-7804. Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Sun6-10:30. All credit cards. $$$) 7.5

Tolbert’s Texas Chill Parlor. (Texana) The late, greatFrank Tolbert’s big, open restaurant is an easy place torelax over a beer or get rowdy while watching games onthe tube. But it’s an even better place to chow down onsome of the area’s best Texas cooking: burgers,nachos, chicken-fried anything and, of course. Tolbert’sfamous bowl of red. (4544 McKinney. 522-4340. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight, Sun noon-11 pm.MC. V, AE. $) 5.0


Alfredo Trattoria. (Northern Italian) Almost everythingwe have tried at Alfredo Trattoria has been a disappointment. The commercial noodles accompanied by atasteless cream sauce masquerading as fettuccine dellacasa, undistinguished veal in a thin Marsala sauce andoverdressed salads made mostly of iceberg lettuceseem unimspired, to say the least. A few successes keptAlfredo Trattoria from being a total culinary write-off. Thegrilled baby salmon had a delicate taste, and the vealfiorentina had an attractive lemony sauce atop its meat,spinach and crab. (5404 Lemmon. 526-3331. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat5-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Aw Shucks. (Seafood) See Lower Greenville/East Dallas. (4535 Maple 522-4498. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri &Sat 11 am-11:45 pm, Sun noon-9 pm. No credit cards;personal checks accepted. $) 6.0

The Bay Tree. (Continental) Our roasted duck wasmarvelously pink-centered and juicy, a beautiful sight inits nest of sculpted nouvelle veggies. The souffles are anethereal choice for dessert, but skip the specialty torte.(The Wyndham Hotel, 2222 Stemmons Frwy. 631 -2222,ext 4141. Daily 6-11 pm. Reservations recommended.All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Café Italia. (Italian) The menu mainly offers NorthernItalian dishes, and they are priced at the low end of thelocal scale for this sort of thing, especially at dinner(when prices are about the same as they are at lunch).Although the kitchen doesn’t make its own pasta, itcooks its noodle dishes so well that we think they are thebest bets. (5000 Maple. 521-0700. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2;dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. ClosedSun. MC. V, AE. $$) 4.5

Escondido. (Tex-Mex) The name means “hiddenaway.’ and this little Mexican place could easily beoverlooked. It’s rather bedraggled on the outside, butnicer within. The Tex-Mex is dependable and offers a lotfor the price. (2210 Butler. 631-9912. Lunch: daily 11-2;dinner: Fri & Sat 5-9. No credit cards. $) 4.0

Nana Grill. (American Nouvelle) The most beautiful view of the city may be the one from this spacious restaurant atop the new addition of the Loews AnatoleHotel. The food is “New Southwestern Cuisine”-whichin this case means that all meats and fish are grilled overmesquite and are accompanied by sauces that includea lot of cilantro. peppers and spices. (Loews AnatoleHotel, 2201 Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Lunch. Mon-Fri11-2:30; dinner: daily 6-10:30. Reservations recommended for dinner. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Ninfa’s. (Mexican) Houston’s most famous Mexicanrestaurant never fulfilled its plans of being a nationwidechain, but at the remaining local branch you can stillsample the dishes that made Ninfa Laurenzo renowned(although you can’t be assured that you’ll have them attheir best). (1515 Inwood. 638-6865. Mon-Fri 11 am-10pm, Sat noon-10 pm, Sun noon-9 pm. All credit cards.$$) 5.0

Shogun of Japan. (Japanese) The emphasis is onAmericanized combination dinners- a bit of tempura,a bit of teriyaki and the like. The tastiest of the cookeddishes is probably the ginger beef, which was slightlyundercooked and heavy on the ginger. In addition totwo rooms with tables and a small tatami room, there isa sushi bar with excellent sushi and sashimi. (5738Cedar Springs at Inwood. 351-2281. Lunch: daily11:15-1:45: dinner: daily 5:30-10:30. All credit cards.$$) 4.5

Slam Orchid. (Thai) This place continues to turn out excellent Thai food. We don’t seem to be able to eat herewithout ordering our old favorites-pork sate, springrolls and the intriguing noodle dish called pud Thai -but there are plenty of dishes on the menu to reward abit of exploration. (1730 W Mockingbird near HarryHines. 631-6505. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5-10:30 pm,Sat & Sun noon-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Sonny Bryan’s. (Barbecue) Lordy, but these folks can cook barbecue! The brisket is tender and juicy, with acrisp crust that is the essence of wood smoke; the ribsare perfection. (2202 Inwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 8am-5 pm. Sat 8 am-3 pm, Sun 11 am-2 pm. No creditcards; personal checks accepted. $)


Gennie’s Bishop Grill. (Southern) In this frill-less,cafeteria-style refuge, lunch borders on a religious experience. Aside from a potluck at First Baptist, we knowof no place where you can leave so happily stuffed forless cash. (308 N Bishop. 946-1752. Mon-Fri 11 am-2pm. Closed Sat & Sun. No credit cards; personal checksaccepted. $)

Hondo’s. (Texana) Although the sign on top of the restaurant says “Real Texas Burgers.” the boasting at Hondo’s is about its chicken-fried steak, which it claims is thebest anywhere. Unfortunately, this Texas-sized boastfalls short of the mark. The meat was tender, but the batter was bland; the gravy, tasteless. (Wheatland Plaza,450 E Wheatland, Duncanville. 298-0873. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-3; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-8, Fri 5-9, Sat 5-8:30.Closed Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $)

La Calle Doce. (Mexican) This comfortable Oak Cliff restaurant serves excellent Tex-Mex food as well as a wide range of more authentic specialties. We’ve had the best luck when we’ve ordered the beef dishes. (415 12th St. 941-4304. Mon-Thur 11 am-9:30 pm, Fri 11 am-10:30 pm. Sat 11 am-10:30 pm, Sun 11:30 am-8:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Longhorn Bar-B-Q. (Barbecue) This far South Dallas restaurant may be a bit lacking in atmosphere, but it serves outstanding beef, sausage and ribs with all the usual side dishes. (315 S Hwy 67, Cedar Hill. 299-5092. Mon-Sat 11 am-8.30 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 4.0


Alessio’s. (Northern Italian) The daily specials in this intimate (and often crowded) place are so appealing thatyou may never look at the menu. The salad of freshmozzarella and tomato was worth the stiff price, and theentrees of veal Toscana (with artichokes and mushrooms) and grilled swordfish can’t be beat in Dallas.(4117 Lomo Alto. 521-3585. Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Sun& Mon 6-10 pm. MC. V, AE. $$$) 7.0

D Au Bon Gout. (French) We’ve been listing thisenterprise as a gourmet carryout business forseveral months, but now it has become one ofthe premier places to dine in Dallas as well. On Fridayand Saturday evenings, chef Christian Gerber prepareswhatever 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 E Lovers Lane. 369-3526.Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner. Fri & Sat 7-10 pm.Takeout hours: Tue-Sat 10 am-6 pm. Closed Sun &Mon. Reservations. All credit cards; personal checksaccepted. Lunch $$, dinner $$$$) 8.5

Café Cancun. (Mexican) This Mexico City-style restaurant, it’s fair to say, has become part of the Old Guard.While the staples remain excellent, some of the polishand all-around quality has faded. (4131 Lomo Alto.559-4011. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat 5-11pm. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE. $$) See Downtown/WestEnd, Upper Greenville/North Central, Las Colinas/Mid-Cities. 5.5

D Café Pacific. (Seafood) On our most recent visit here, we found perfect seafood: huge shrimp with a remoulade sauce that needed only a bit more spice to be authentic New Orleans; light,crisp fried calamari; and seafood Pacific, a bounteousmixture of lobster, crab meat, scallops and fish in adelicate cream sauce. (Highland Park Village. Prestonat Mockingbird, Suite 24. 526-1170. Lunch: Mon-Fri11 30-2:30, Sat & Sun 11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5 30-11 MC, V. AE. $$$) 8.5

Casa Rosa. (Mexican) The food is obviously carefullycooked: The tamales taste homemade, and the enchiladas are rolled to order. But it all seems a little tooprim for the robust pleasures of Tex-Mex And we don’tthink chicken fajitas should come with melted cheese ontop. (Inwood at Lovers Lane. Suite 165. 350-5227. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-2 pm & 5-10 pm. Fri 11:30 am-2 pm &5-11 pm. Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Sun 11:30 am-10 pm. Allcredit cards. $$) 4.5

Celebration. (Southern) Celebration, one of Dallas’ most popular dining spots for all sorts of people, is bigger than it used to be, but it still feels intimate because of all the small dining rooms and booths with copper tables separated by earth-toned Indian blankets. The home-style food is appetizing, though the portions are smaller than we remembered. (4503 W Lovers Lane. 351 -5681. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10. Fri &Sat 5:30-11. Sun5-10. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

D Chez Philippe. (French Nouvelle) At Chez Philippe, the cooking is serenely selfassured and accomplished. The many interesting innovations are well within the framework of classic cuisine, and the results are delectable. The lobster we tried, served dramatically in the hollowed-out shell, had a subtle saffron sauce; the venison had a sauce sparked with raspberry vinegar. (5027 W Lovers Lane. 353-9444. Tue-Sat seatings at 6 & 9 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0

Ewald’s. (Continental) There’s nothing trendy about Ewald’s. but it’s highly dependable. The specialties are veal and beef, cooked authoritatively and smothered in heavy sauces. (5415 W Lovers Lane 357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10:30 pm. Sat 6-11 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

Kuby’s. (German Deli) A visit to this German delicatessen/restaurant is truly a European experience. Thelunch menu includes a variety of sandwiches, both German and Americanized, as well as soups (a differentone each day of the week) and plates of Polish sausage,knackwurst or bratwurst. (6601 Snider Plaza. 363-2231.Store hours: Mon-Sat 8 am-6 pm: restaurant hours:Mon-Fri 8 am-5:30 pm, Sat 8 am-5 pm Closed Sun. Nocredit cards tor purchases under $ 15; MC, V: personalchecks accepted. $) 5.5

Le Panier. (Eclectic) At lunch, this place serves sandwiches and other light meals and calls itself the LunchBasket. In the evening, it becomes a bit more formal,raises the prices (although they’re still reasonable) andbecomes Le Panier. (3404 Rankin. 369-3241. TheLunch Basket: Mon-Sat 11 am-3 pm; Le Panier: Tue-Sat6-10 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations lor evenings onlyMC. V. DC. CB $$) 6.0

Mr. Peppe. (French) This little restaurant has kept itscharm and its personal touch through the many yearsit has been in business. The food is obviously cookedwith love and is most reasonably priced, but we fear it’sbeginning to seem a trifle too old-fashioned. (5617 WLovers Lane. 352-5976. Mon-Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun.MC. V. AE. DC. $$$) 5.5

Peggy’s Beef Bar. (Barbecue) The most surprising thing about Peggy’s is the funky, old-timebarbecue-jomt atmosphere in the middle of the Park Cities. The barbecue is good, if unremarkable, and the portions are not overwhelmingly large. (6600 Snider Plaza. 368. 9422. Mon-Fri 7 am-6 pm. Sat 10 am-4 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards: personal checks accepted $) 4.5

The Ribshack. (Barbecue) The sugar-cured, smokecooked ribs (beef or pork) are drier and less crusty thanregulation barbecue, and the smoked beef is like verylean roast beef. We prefer the juicier smoked chickenand the chili, not to mention the delicious side dishes.(4615 W Lovers Lane. 351-3400. Sun-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. No credit cards; personal checksaccepted. $$) See White Rock, Addison/Richard-son/Far North Dallas. 6.0

D The Riviera. (French Provencal) Host FrancoBertolasi remembers your face after the first visitand gives you a warm welcome here. Thebright blond interior is cheery, and the food seldomdisappoints. The specialty is the cooking of the south ofFrance, reproduced lovingly if not exactly. (7709 Inwood. 351-0094. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 6:30-11. Closed Sun. Allcredit cards. $$$$) 8.0

Szechuan Pavilion. (Chinese) Some restaurants soarand flame like comets, then are gone. And some, likethis one, continue with reliable excellence through theyears. All of our entrees, especially the masterfully prepared Prime Minister’s Chicken, were subtly layeredwith delicate, unexpected tastes. (8409 Preston.368-4303. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-2:30 pm & 4:30-10 pm,Fri 11:30 am-2:30 pm & 4:30-10:30 pm, Sat noon-10:30pm, Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.5


Aw Shucks. (Seafood) Although we were slightly shell-shocked at the diminutive oysters that we were servedat this small seafood establishment, our feathers weresmoothed and our palates delighted by the rich Louisiana gumbo, the crunchy fried scallops and theglasses of ice-cold beer. (3601 Greenville. 821-9449.Mon-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11:45pm, Sun noon-9 pm. No credit cards. $) See MarketCenter. 6.0

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 to enjoying 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

DiPalma’s. (Italian) This crowded combination deli/ wine store/pastry shop/restaurant can be the most exciting, lively Italian restaurant in Dallas, but it is hardly the most consistent. Our most recent meal had everything from a glorious shellfish soup with succulent scallops and shrimp in a garlicky broth to inediby underdone veal grilled on a skewer with chicken and sausage. (1520 Greenville. 824-4500. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. $$) 7.0

El Gallito. (Mexican) The grilled steak and the chicken breast basted with garlic butter are both extremely wellprepared-fresh, smoky-tasting and tender. The gua-camole is unequivocally our favorite version in Dallas:It’s properly thinned and acidified by plenty of tomatoand onion. (4202 Ross. 826-6681. Mon-Wed 11:30am-10 pm; Thur 11:30 am-midnight: Fri & Sat 11:30am-3:30 am. Sun 5-10 pm. AE. $$) 4.5

D L’Ancestral. (Country French) We’re temptedto say that L’Ancestral presents home cooking,French style. But we don’t know many homesin which you can get such feather-light creations as thequenelles of red snapper or the Floating Island with asauce of cassis and crème anglaise. (5631 Alta.826-0006. Tue-Sun 6:30 pm-1 am. Closed Mon. Allcredit cards. $$$) 7.5

La Botica. (Mexican) The food here is standard, adequately cooked Tex-Mex, along with some more authentic and original dishes. We like both the porkcooked with chipotle chiles and the pork Yolanda, witha milder red sauce. (1900 N Haskell. 824-2005. Lunch:Tue-Fri 11-2; dinner: Tue-Sat 5-11. Closed Sun & MonNo credit cards. $$) 5.0

La Pagoda. (French/Vietnamese) Situated on the border of Deep Ellum, this restaurant hasn’t drawn thecrowds it deserves. We enjoyed the Banh Xeo, LaPagode’s special crêpe, which is filled with a choice ofchicken, pork or shrimp and bean sprouts. (4302 Bryan.821-4542. Mon-Thur 11 am-9 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10pm. Sun 10 am-9 pm. MC. V. DC. $$) 5.0

Las Cazuelas. (Mexican) This interesting restaurantway down on Greenville has unusual Mexican specialties such as guisado de lengua (stewed beeftongue), which has a surprisingly tender, gelatinous texture. For the fainter of heart, there are grilled chickenand fajitas. (2001 Greenville. 821-0924. Mon & Wed-Fri5-10 pm. Sat & Sun 9 am-10 pm. Closed Tue. No creditcards. $$) 4.0

Little Gus’. (Greek/Eclectic) Thank goodness for LittleGus. He makes his Greek specialties live up to their heritage. The moussaka is at once sharp, sweet andcreamy, with layers of beef and spicy eggplant. (1916Greenville. 826-4910. Mon-Thur 7:30 am-4 pm & 6-9 pm.Fri & Sat 7:30 am-4 pm & 6-10 pm. Sun 9 am-1:45 pm.No credit cards; personal checks accepted $$) 6.0

The New Big Wong. (Chinese) Let’s not belabor theobvious. If you’re looking for pleasant, quick service,cheap, hefty lunches; a voluminous dinner menu thatboth 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-4 am. MC. V, AE. $$) 5.0

Panteli’s. (Greek) This wine bar with mostly Greek foodis a delightful place for an after-theater supper. The appetizer plate is bountiful, with dolmas and lots ofvegetables and hunks of cheese. The skewered lambis exceptional – tender and full of flavor. (1928 Greenville 823-8711. Mon-Thur 11 am-12:30 am. Fri & Sat 11am-1:30 am, Sun 4:30-11 pm. MC, V. AE. $$) 5.5

Pietro’s. (Southern Italian) For an unpretentious Italiandinner at unpretentious prices, you cant improve onPietro’s The specials are usually pleasant, and the garlicbread is so temptingly loaded with butter, garlic andparsley that it’s hard to stick to |ust one big slice of it.(5722 Richmond 824-9403. Tue-Thur 5:30-10 pm. Fri&Sat 5:30-11 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. MC, V. $$) 5.5

Snuffer’s. (Eclectic) This small, casual restaurant nextto the Granada Theater is one of those rare placeswhere you feel at home immediately. Snuffer’s has alimited but somewhat varied menu (burgers, chip-and-dip combinations, salads-even peel-and-eat shrimp).(3526 Greenville. 826-6850. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sunnoon-2 am. All credit cards. $) 5.5

St. Martin’s. (Wine Bistro) Sometimes a wine bistro isn’tjust a wine bistro. Granted, this is an ideal nightspot fora romantic interlude. But it also has a small yet variedmenu ranging from roast beef and veal to pasta andswordfish. (3020 Greenville. 8260940. Mon-Thur 11am-3 pm & 5-11 pm. Fri 11 am-3 pm&5 pm-1 am. Sat11 am-1 am. Sun 5-11 pm; Sun brunch: 11-3. All creditcards. $$) 6.0

Three Vikings. (Swedish) The Scandinavian fare isgood, if not memorable, and the family-style service iswarm and charming. Particularly good dishes includethe marinated cucumber salad, the roast duck with almond sauce and the very tender lamb chops with wild mushrooms. (2831 Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770.Mon-Thur 6-10 pm. Fri & Sat 6-11 pm. Closed Sun.Reservations recommended on weekends. All creditcards. $$) 6.0


Arthur’s. (Continental) Once considered one of thepremier places in Dallas and still a favorite of thebusiness crowd, Arthur’s (judging from our most recentvisit) needs to expend more care in the kitchen if itsreputation is to be maintained. There can be no excusefor food of less than first quality at these elevated prices.(Campbell Centre, 8350 N Central Expwy. 361-8833.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Sun-Fri 6-11, Sat 6pm-midnight. All credit cards. $$$) 5.0

Bobbi. (Eclectic) Bobbi is as much a bar as a place toeat. The menu is as trendy as the clientele – one mightbe tempted to call it short-order nouvelle. There areseparate sections for pizza, pasta and sandwiches evenon the short dinner menu, and New-Wave touches arefound throughout. (NorthPark East. 8854 N CentralExpwy. 691-5833. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-midnight. Fri& Sat 11:30 am-4 am. Closed Sun. All credit cards.$$$) 5.5

Baja Louie’s Grill & Cantina. (Tex-Mex) A better-than-average union of fernsand fiesta, this singles spotoffers respectable chips andpredictable but pleasantTex-Mex combinations. (TheCorner Shopping Center,8021 Walnut Hill at CentralExpwy. 361-5192. Mon-Thur11 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11 am-11:30 pm. Sat 11:30-11:30,Sun 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Allcredit cards. $) 5.5

Bourbon Street Oyster Co. (Seafood) The dishes that try most to copy New Orleans (such as oysters Rockefeller and gumbo) don’t taste much like the real thing. There is some good seafood here, however, such as the fried seafood platters and the daily broiled specials. (Caruth Plaza, 9100 N Central Expwy. 363-2333. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm. Fri &Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. MC.V. AE. DC. $$) 5.0

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 noon-10pm. MC, V. AE. $$) 5.5

Fangti China 1. (Chinese) The two things everybodyknows about Fangti China are that it was the firstChinese restaurant in town to stay open until the weehours (things really start hopping around 2 a.m.) andthat it was the first to have a woman chef running thekitchen. Both the Cantonese and the spicier Chinesedishes will satisfy, if not excite. (Twin Bridge ShoppingCenter. 6752 Shady Brook. 987-3877. Mon-Thur 11:30am-4 am. Fri 11:30 am-6 am. Sat 5 pm-6 am, Sun 5pm-4 am. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Han-Chu. (Chinese) The most sophisticated-looking Chinese restaurant in town, with black mirror tiles and hand-painted murals, offers some of the best food. Dishes that are ordinary elsewhere, such as spring rolls and hot-and-sour soup, take on real elegance here. The menu has lots of innovative dishes, but not all are cooked with the finesse one might expect. (Caruth Plaza. 9100 N Central Expwy at Park Lane, Suite 191. 691-0900. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30-11:30. Sun 5-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 7.0

Le Louvre. (French/Continental) The fine food and attentive service that this elegant restaurant is known for in the evening has been successfully carried over into its new lunchtime effort. The veal piccata was very good, though not especially tart and lemony, and the caramel custard dessert was adequate. (The Corner Shopping Center. 9840 N Central Expwy. 691-1177. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6 pm-midnight. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All creditcards. $$$) 6.0

D Rolf’s. (German) Authentic German dishes andthose in a more international style divide themenu here, and the quality is high either wayyou choose. The Rinds Roulade (beef rolled aroundsauerkraut and pickles and braised) showed that ahearty dish can be refined. The Baden Baden plate settender medallions of beef and veal alongside eachother, both topped with rich sauces. (Caruth Plaza,9100 N Central Expwy. Suite 117. 696-1933. Lunch:Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri& Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 8.0

Royal Panda. (Chinese) The name of one of our entrees, Three Delights, set the tone for a delightfulmeal. That dish-shrimp, scallops and crab meat withchopped vegetables in a white sauce-was almostmatched by the moo shu chicken, with its tangy sauceand Chinese pancakes cut wonderfully thin. (8021 Walnut Hill Lane. 363-3858. Sun-Thur 11 am-4 am. Fri& Sat 11 am-6 am. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Royal Tokyo. (Japanese) Royal Tokyo has somethingfor everybody: tatami rooms for those who preferauthenticity, hibachi tables for those who want a show,a sushi bar for those who crave raw fish and a piano bar for those who |ust want a drink. The sushi bar turns out the best food. (7525 Greenville. 368-3304. Lunch: Sun-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11. Fri & Sat 5:30-11:30, Sun 5:30-10:30. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

D Ruth’s Chris Steak House. (Steak) Just as an experiment, we ordered one each of the three basic steaks Ruth’s Chris offers (sirloin, tenderloin and rib-eye), each at a different level of doneness. Each of the great hunks of beef was cooked to order, if a little on the rare side. The accompanying potatoes-fried in two different styles and baked – were excellent. (6940 Greenville. 691-6940. Mon-Fri 11:30-11:30, Sat & Sun 5-11:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 7.5

Sakura. (Japanese) Sakura. the loveliest of Dallas’ Japanese restaurants, offers something for everyone with its multilevel array of dining rooms: tatami mats where traditional meals can be eaten on low tables, a sushi bar with Western-style tables surrounding it, teppan-yaki rooms where (on Friday and Saturday evenings only) samurai chefs wield their knives around big grills. (7402 Greenville. 361-9282. Mon-Thurs Sun 5:30-11 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. Reservations recommendedon weekends. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Sawatdee. (Thai) To a newcomer, most of Sawatdee’sdishes have unpronounceable names and unlikely-sounding descriptions. But a little sampling will usuallyallay any misgivings. Thai cuisine has influences fromall over and offers something to please everyone. (4503Greenville at Yale. 373-6138. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-230; dinner: daily 5-10:30. All credit cards. $$) 6.0


Alfonso’s. (Italian) This 2-year-old family-owned restaurant is fun (though dry) and dependable, and families are welcome. We found good pizza, enormous helpingsof cheesy lasagna and patiently accommodating service. (328 Casa Linda Plaza. Buckner at Garland. 327-7777 Mon-Thur & Sat 11 am-9:30 pm. Fri 11 am-10:30pm. Sun noon-9:30 pm. MC. V. AE. $$) 4.0

Casa Cavazos. (Mexican) This is a Mexican restaurantwith decor in the tradition of El Fenix. Inside, the pricesare low. and the food can stand up to a trendy hole inthe wall any day of the week. Although it’s not superb,it’s well-equipped to stave oft cravings for beans andrice (5409 Jim Miller Rd. 388-2292. Mon-Sat 11 am-9pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$) 3.5

The Ribshack. (Barbecue) See Park Cities/LoversLane. (2221 Abrams. 821-8100. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm.No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 6.0

Hong Kong. (Chinese) On countless treks up anddown Garland Road, we noticed the crowded parkinglot in front of this storefront Chinese restaurant. Once inside and well into a heaping plate of moo goo gai pan,we found that the food well deserves praise. (9055 Garland Rd. 328-2320. Mon 11:30 am-6 pm. Tue-Fri 11:30am-2:30 pm & 5-9:30 pm. Sat & Sun 11:30 am-10 pm.MC. V. AE. $) 6.5

Michelino’s. (Italian) This neighborhood Italian joint is a happy, raucous find where pasta is served piping hot and peppery, garlic bread arrives in generous portions (on request), and waiters are friendly to a fault. (6312 LaVista. 826-2662. Tue-Sat 5-11 pm. Sun 5-10 pm. ClosedMon. MC. V. AE. $$) 5.0

Shrimper’s Seafood Cafe. (Seafood) Dallas has so many new seafood places of all sorts that there hardly seems room for another, but Shrimper’s seems more than able to hold its own among the less pretentious ones. The oysters on the half shell were small and sweet and very cold; the boiled shrimp, tasty; the shrimp salad, not too gooey. All the fried seafood we sampled was excellent, especially the oysters. (4040 Abrams. 827-5955. Daily 11 am-10 pm MC, V. AE. DC. $$) 5.0


Frenchy Café. (French Deli) The neighborhood deli isalive and well in Preston Royal. Step into Frenchy’s, andyou step into a world that’s immediately intimate andfamiliar. We enjoyed a hot croissant drizzled with babySwiss cheese and a good truffle patê before biting intoour lunch entrées. (5940 Royal Lane. 369-1235. Mon 11am-3 pm, Tue-Fri 11 am-7pm, Sat 11 am-5 pm. ClosedSun. MC, V; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.5

Hampton’s Seafood Market. (Seafood) See Downtown/West End. (Preston Royal Shopping Center,Preston at Royal. Suite 113. 696-5400. Mon-Sat 10am-6:30 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards, personalchecks accepted. $) 6.5

Jean Paul. (French) This small Preston Royal restaurant seems to have an older, more loyal crowd than some of the newer, snazzier French places around town. The lamb chops topped with blue cheese were well worth sampling, though too rich to finish. (5934 Royal Lane. 692-9515. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30. dinner. Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. MC. V.AE. $$$) 5.5

Royal China. (Chinese) Two appetizer platters are offered here, and the one with shrimp toast, beef stripsand egg rolls may be the best in town. Everything is lightand fresh-tasting. The Royal Prawns are a lovely versionof shrimp in chili sauce; they’re hot, sweet and pungentwith ginger. (Preston Royal Shopping Center, Prestonat Royal. Suite201. 361-1771. Lunch: daily 11:30-2:30:dinner: daily 5:30-10. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 5.5


Joy Inn. (Chinese) It’s too bad, but this middle-agedChinese restaurant seems to be in decline. “Okay” sumsup the food; A dinky appetizer plate featured okay ribs(make that “rib,” singular), a smidgen of foil-wrappedchicken and some good beef strips. Our Madras Currywas the best thing on the table-just hot enough (theBombay is fiery) and generously laden with shrimp,beef and chicken. (9404 Ovella at Northwest Hwy.352-1088. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30am-11 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

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. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

D Kebab ’N’ Kurry. (Indian) See Addi-son/Richardson/Far North Dallas. (2620 Walnut Hill Lane. 350-6466. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30; brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30. Reservations. MC. V, AE, DC. $) 7.5

Kosta’s. (Greek) This Greek restaurant has a lovely view of old live oaks and Bach-man Lake, with a patio where you can dine if the weather is right. You can get fantastic grilled shrimp, a creamy moussaka and rich desserts. (2755 Bachman. 351-4592. Mon-Sat 11 am- midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

The Mecca. (Southern/Breakfast) Outside, it’s a two-story house with cars crammed into the parking lot, seton the busiest commercial tract of Harry Hines. Inside,it’s a diner of the old school, swamped by folks of everysort, from politicos to truckers. Best noted for its whopping breakfasts, the Mecca also puts a hearty lunch onthe table. (10422 Harry Hines. 352-0051. Mon-Fri 5:30am-3 pm. Sat 5:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun. All creditcards. $) 4.5

Mercado Juarez. (Mexican) The south-of-the-borderspecialties here aren’t prepared as deftly as the more-requested standard Tex-Mex dishes. But we don’t hesitateto recommend the pork fajitas; they are marinated andbroiled to perfection. (1901 W Northwest Hwy. 556-0796. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sunnoon-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) See Las Colinas/Mid-Cities,Fort Worth. 5.0

Peking Szechuan. (Chinese) Peking Szechuan doesn’tseem very prepossessing, but it serves some of the bestChinese food in Dallas. Among the chefs suggestions,the shredded duck is most unusual – stir-fried in a spicysauce and rolled in delicate Chinese pancakes. Theorange flavor steak packs plenty of punch, and theshrimp with black beans is exemplary. (2560 W Northwest Hwy. 353-0129. Mon-Fri 11 -11, Sat & Sun noon-11pm. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Pop Bailey’s. (Seafood) At Pop’s, the fish is fantastic!Both the char-broiled red snapper and cornmeal-wrapped fried catfish filets are plump, juicy and flavorful. (3750 W Northwest Hwy. 350-9748. Mon-Thur 11am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11,Sun noon-9:30 pm. All creditcards. $$) 5.0

Turtle Cove. (Seafood) The salmon we tried at this place was perfectly cooked over the coals, and the kitchen showed it could manage other techniques byfrying up some snapper perfectly. (2731 W NorthwestHwy. 350-9034. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11.MC. V. AE. $$$) 6.5


Agnew’s at the Promenade. (Continental) Tom Ag-new’s new restaurant, tucked away in a hard-to-findcranny of the Promenade shopping center, looks nicewith its burgundy and brown appointments. A lewdishes, such as the blackened fish, stand out Others,such as the salmon in red pepper sauce and the duckChinese style, just seem ordinary. (2500 PromenadeCenter, Coit Road between Belt Line and Arapaho.437-0133. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: Mon-Sat6-10:30. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

August Moon. (Chinese) We don’t know how AugustMoon manages to keep the quality so high with itsawesomely complete menu, the huge volume of itscustomers and the very moderate prices it charges. Butwe have never had a better crispy fish Hunan-style.Everything we tried was outstanding, from the unusualjalapeno pork to the oldest dish in the book, moo googai pan. (15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11 Reservations lorlour or more or for special banquets. Bar by membership. All credit cards. $$) 7.0

D BIom’s. (French Nouvelle) Dallas is blessedwith hotel restaurants that transcend the category, and Blom’s is one of the finest. The chefis magnificently inventive, offering a dozen new dishesnightly and a whole new menu every season. On ourlast visit, we were impressed by the luxurious taste ofsmoked shrimp in a salad with watercress, anothersalad of lightly sautéed vegetables, tender slices of beefin a sauce made from pickled walnuts and a dessertcrepe filled with hazelnuts. (Westin Hotel. Galleria.13340 Dallas Pkwy. 934-9494. Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30: Sun brunch: 10:30-2:30. Reservations recommended. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$) 8.5

Café America. (Eclectic) What a disappointment! Maybe we expected too much from this typical department-store lunch spot because it’s housed inside trendyBloomingdale’s. We tried a well-seasoned but lukewarmvegetable lasagna and a nicely flavored, spicy Orientalbeef dish ladled over crunchy noodles. (Blooming-dale’s, Valley View Center, LBJ Frwy at Preston. 450-2300 Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm. Closed Sun. AE, Bloomingdale’s charge; personal checks accepted. $$) 3.5

Café Capri.(Continental) The decor is posh withoutbreaking any new ground, and the service is surprisingly warm. The food isn’t revolutionary, either, but thestandard dishes, from paté and shrimp cocktail tocrème caramel and chocolate mousse, are executedreliably. (15107 Addison Rd near Belt Line. 960-8686.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Catfish Charlie’s. (Seafood) We have learned ourlesson. To wit: If a restaurant has the word “catfish” in itsname, stick to catfish. The fried catfish filets and the accompanying fries and cole slaw were really quite goodhere, but the other offerings were inconsequential.(14865 Inwood. Addison. 392-9402. Mon-Fri 11 am-10pm, Sat noon-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. MC. V, AE. $$) 4.5

Chu’s. (Chinese) From the robust pu-pu platter (withstandout shrimp toast) to the plump mushrooms thatadorn the General’s Chicken, from the beautifully ornatedishes and colorful Japanese lanterns to the courteous,smiling waitress, our dining experience here was memorable. Just one flaw: The boneless braised duck, whiledreamily tender, is not entirely boneless. (15080Beltway, Addison. 387-1776. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30;dinner: Mon-Thur 4:30-10. Fri & Sat 4:30-10:30. ClosedSun. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Chuck’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers. (Burgers)Chuck’s doesn’t serve those newfangled burgers thatare as big as your fist, but it does offer good versions ofthe near-vanished kind that have thinnish (though stillone-third pound) patties. (502 Spanish Village ShoppingCenter, Coit at Arapaho. 386-7752. Mon-Thur & Sun 11am-9 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. No credit cards; personalchecks accepted. $) 4.5

Dynasty. (Chinese) A huge, round entranceway leadsto a courtyard, which leads to the enameled and bedizened facade of the Dynasty Chinese Restaurant. Themenu is almost intimidating, with a choice of expensivecomplete dinners and a smattering of a la carte selections. The dishes sound very exciting, but our experience here has rarely matched our anticipation. (GardenInn, 4101 Belt Line, Addison. 385-7888. Mon-Thur &Sun 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11:30 pm. Jackets required after 6 pm. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$) 4.5

Enclave Spectrum. (Nouvelle) After an initial displayof independence, this new restaurant in the building atthe hub of all the development in the Addison area nowshows an increasing resemblance to its namesake onWalnut Hill. Some of the more adventuresome dishesare still around, but other things on the a la carte menuare in the more old-fashioned continental style of theoriginal Enclave. (5080 Spectrum Dr, Suite 115E.661-3390. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat 6-11:30. Closed Sun. All creditcards. $$$) 6.0

Hamburger Hut. (Burgers & Argentinian) You couldn’tguess from the name or the very plain storefront exteriorthat this is perhaps the only Argentinian restaurant in theMetroplex. The delightful family that runs the placeserves first-rate charcoal-broiled hamburgers andcheap steaks-which shouldn’t be too surprising, sincethe land of the gauchos also happens to be cattle country. (30 Arapaho Village, Arapaho at West Shore, Richardson. 235-5387. Sun-Tue 10 am-8 pm, Wed-Sat10-10. MC. V. $$) 4.0

Jasons. (Steak & Seafood) It had been awhile since wevisited this cozy, elegant restaurant, after we discoveredthat its lobster special wasn’t. Unfortunately, the onlything memorable about our latest visit was the check. Itdidn’t reflect the skimpy appetizers of steamed clams,crab-stuffed mushroom caps or baked oysters, all ofwhich were flavorful except the bacon-laden oysters.(Sakowitz Village, 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy.960-2877. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. All creditcards. $$$) 4.5

Joe T. Garcia’s. (Tex-Mex) The smell of cooking oil pervades this place every time we come here-it evenreaches out into the parking lot. It’s too bad that the oiland everything fried in it is so unpleasant, since there’ssome very good cooking going on at the Addisonbranch of the famous Fort Worth landmark. (4400 BeltLine. Addison. 458-7373. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm &5-11 pm. Sat 11-11, Sun 11 am-10 pm; Sun brunch:11:30-3. MC.V. AE. $$) 4.0

D Kebab ’N’ Kurry. (Indian) At noon, the shrimpmasala, served in a rich red sauce, comes withsoup, rice and curried vegetables. In the evening, it can be part of a repast that might include someof the juicy meats grilled in the tandoor (a clay oven), afrighteningly spicy beef vindaloo and a dish of homemade cheese cubes in a thick spinach puree. (401 NCentral Expwy. Suite 300, Richardson. 231-5556.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri&Sat5:30-10:30; brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $) See Stemmons/BachmanLake. 7.5

La Bella. (Italian) This cozy neighborhood restauranthas a lot of potential. We say that because the en-trees-except for veal dishes- are superb, but the soup(with canned veggies) and salad (of white iceberg lettuce) are dismal in comparison. We tried the linguini withwhite clam sauce, the fresh red snapper and a spicysautéed chicken that was the special of the evening.Each was extremely fresh, and there was no skimpingon the garlic and fresh spices. (6757 Arapaho, Suite721. 991-2828. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri 5:30-11, Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. Allcredit cards. $$) 4.5

Laurel’s. (American Nouvelle) The dishes here look asif they had been lifted off the pages of “Better Homesand Gardens”: too pretty to eat and almost too pretty tobe appetizing. Everything here, such as the beef andthe salmon we tried last time, is cooked competently,but the sauces lack depth and flair. The view high abovethe lights of the city is one of the loveliest in town.(Sheraton Park Central Hotel, 12720 Merit. 385-3000.Mon-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards.$$$$) 6.0

Le Train Bleu. (Continental) It’s not easy to imagine anair of seclusion in the middle of Bloomingdale’s. butonce you board Le Train Bleu, you are indeed in another world. The offerings here are ambitious (extraordinarily so when you consider that you’re sampling department-store fare) and, for the most part, successful.(Bloomingdale’s, Valley View Center, 13320 Montfort.450-2290. Lunch: Mon-Sat noon-2:30. Closed Sun. AE,Bloomingdale’s; personal checks accepted. $$$) 5.5

Mario & Alberto. (Mexican) Probably the best Mexicanrestaurant in Dallas, this popular place distinguishesitself by constant innovation. Among the new offeringson our last visit were the delightful flautitas (tiny, delicate,crisp fried flutes of chicken-stuffed tortillas) and the porkin a peppery red sauce. (Preston Valley ShoppingCenter, 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

Mr. Sushi. (Japanese) This cozy but stylish nook is farand away our favorite Japanese restaurant. The sushibar boasts a vast variety of fish and shellfish, andeverything we’ve tried has been impeccably fresh andflavorful. At the tables, the service is warm and efficient,and standard Japanese dishes such as tempura, chicken teriyaki and kara age (fried marinated chickenchunks) receive careful treatment. (The Quorum, 4860Belt Line, Addison. 385-0168. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2;dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11, Sun5:30-10. All credit cards. $$) 6.5

Oysters. (Seafood) We have nothing but complimentsfor the redfish, broiled with butter and a touch of lemonjuice, and the deep sea scallops, served in a light butter sauce. But the french fries didn’t taste fresh, the coleslaw was watery, and the hush puppies were flavorless.(4580 Belt Line. 386-0122. Mon- Thur 11:30 am-10 pm,Fri& Sat 11:30 am-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$)See Piano, Las Colinas/Mid-Cities. 5.0

Pizzeria Uno. (Pizza) This is the Dallas franchise of theoriginal Chicago deep-dish pizza establishment. Thepizza is unlike any other we’ve ever had. The crust is atonce doughy and crisp-we can’t recall ever fighting forthe outside crusts of a pizza before, but we did overthese, they’re so crisp and buttery. (4002 Belt Line.991-8181. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11 am-1am. Sun noon-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

The Ribshack. (Barbecue) See Park Cities/LoversLane. (913 Canyon Creek Center, Custer at Lookout,Richardson. 644-7427. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Frii Sat 11-11. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$) 6.0

Ristorante Lombardi. (Northern Italian) We returnedto one of our favorite Italian restaurants anticipating theusual warm ambiance, charming service and delectable food. Our tried-and-true favorite pasta, tortellini diparma, wasn’t as creamy as we remembered, thoughit was just as flavorful. And the grilled shrimp in garlic butter was dry and flavorless. (Adelstein Plaza, 15501Dallas Pkwy at Arapaho. 458-8822. Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:45-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:45-11.Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Rusty Pelican. (Seafood) If Fantasy Island has aseafood restaurant, it’s probably an outpost of thisCalifornia-based chain. In general, the quality is good,but on return visits we have had some disappointments.(14655 Dallas Pkwy, Addison. 980-8950. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11 -3; dinner: Mon- Thur 5-11. Fri 5 pm-midnight. Sat4:30 pm-midnight. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 6.0

Sergio & Luciano. (Italian/Continental) Our last several visits have shown Sergio & Luciano to be at top form, and that is formidable. The pastas, in particular, have been expertly prepared. Our favorites among the regular menu offerings are the tortellini stuffed with chicken and the panieri dello chef (a pastry shell with seafood in a cream sauce, served on a leaf of radicchio). (The Quorum, 4900 Belt Line, Suite 250. 387-4441. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat6-11, Sun 6-10. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Stetson’s. (Steak & Seafood) This is a surprisingly goodspot for the new generation of board-room Texans(rather than the barroom variety). Stetson’s is a steakplace – there’s no doubt about that – but the furnishingsare different from what we’ve seen in most places thatserve 2-inch-thick steaks with all the trimmings. (The Registry Hotel, 15201 Dallas Pkwy, 386-6000. Mon-Fri11:30 am-11 pm, Sat 3-11 pm. Sun 2-10 pm. All creditcards. Reservations recommended. $$$) 7.0

The String Bean. (Southern) Suburban families flockto eat the home cooking at the String Bean. The meatsinclude tender barbecued chicken and crisp chickenfingers along with rather stringy pot roast and a goodversion of the ubiquitous chicken-fried steak. It may behard to entice kids to eat the accompanying vegetables,since the string beans are highly seasoned with pepper.(8846 Spring Valley. Richardson. 783-9947. Mon-Sat10:30 am-10 pm. Sun 11-3. All credit cards $) 4.5

Tanjore. (Indian) Indian food is still an adventure formost Dallas folks, and a meal here is a delight. Beefmagulai, murg mussalam and shrimp masala are threeentrees that show off the breadth of the unfamiliar andthe variety of combinations of curry, coriander and otherEastern spices that our culture neglects. (PrestonwoodCreek Shopping Center, 5409 Belt Line. 960-0070.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:brunch: Sat 11:30-3, Sun 11-4. Bar membershipavailable. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Tong’s House. (Chinese) On weekends especially,there are marvelous seafood specials. Most of thespecialties at Tong’s House are spicy, such as theoutstanding eggplant with garlic sauce and the beefwith orange peel, but there are other fine dishes (theSzechuan soup with bacon and the white radish soup)that are easy on the tongue. (1910 Promenade Center,Richardson. 231-8858. Tue-Sun 11 am-9:30 pm.Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

D Uncle Tars Hunan Yuan. (Chinese) This is agreat restaurant if you know your way aroundthe menu, but there are some ordinary thingshere. Among the best appetizers are the Two DeliciousPlatter (shrimp with peppercorns and hacked chicken)and the Chicken Packets. The spicy dishes on the list ofspecialties generally stand out. (Galleha, 13350 DallasPkwy, Suite3370. 934-9998. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm,Fri & Sat 11 am-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. Jackets requiredfor dinner. All credit cards. $$$) 8.5


Albert’s Delicatessen. (Deli) Part of the attraction ofthis old-fashioned-looking place in downtown Piano isits owner. There are also some excellent sandwiches, including juicy hamburgers. (1416 Avenue J, Piano. 424-4534 Mon-Fri 7 am-8 pm, Sat 7 am-2 pm. Closed Sun.No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $) 4.0

Bob Willy’s. (Barbecue) Attached to a homey antiquesstore, this restaurant is the picture of a country diningroom, and it overlooks a grove of willow trees and openfields. The barbecue is good, if not outstanding-everything comes doused in a sweetish, slightly spicy sauce.(1933 Preston. Piano 985-0624 Breakfast: daily 6-11:lunch: daily 11-2:30: dinner: Thur-Sun 5:30-9. No creditcards; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.5

Duck Inn. (Catfish) We ducked in and had to waddleout of this Lake Dallas establishment, just like the signby the cash register said we would. For $7 95. we ateall the hush puppies and fresh fried cattish we couldhold. (503 Main, Lake Dallas. Take I-35E north to theLake Dallas exit. (817) 497-2412. Tue-Sat 5-9:30 pm,Sun 11 am-9 pm. Closed Mon. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.0

Fishmonger’s Oyster Bar. (Seafood) The food isLouisiana-style, and it compares favorably with some ofthe middle-rank New Orleans places. We’re crazy aboutthe grilled redfish special and the odd but satisfying solestuffed with whole shrimp, crab and cheese. The friedseafood is fine-though, like the gumbo and even thefries, it can be overly spicy – and the bread pudding isgreat. (1915 N Central Expwy, Suite 600, Piano. 423-3699 Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Satnoon-10pm. Sun noon-9 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

French Bakery/Cafe de France. (Bakery/French Deli) This delightful Piano bakery has tables outside and inand serves omelettes for breakfast and sandwiches (onsplit croissants) for lunch. The croissants aren’t theflakiest we’ve ever had, but the cheese danish pastriesare the best around. (2969 W 15th, Piano. 985-0003.Mon-Thur 7:30 am-8 pm, Sun 7:30 am-5:30 pm. Allcredit cards. $) 4.5

Hearthstone Manor. (Southern) This Victorian manorwas built in 1885, and much of the charm of that agehas been retained through the use of ornate wallpaper,elegant chandeliers and an airy veranda. But this pleasant alternative to high-tech and gimmicky eating spotsdisappointed our palates. (201 E Main, Lewisville.221-4515. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Tue-Sat 5-10,Sat 5:30-10. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 4.0

Jimanny’s. (Steak & Seafood) The best thing aboutJimanny’s is that it isn’t an outpost of some chain. Thereis a bar, and the lighting is dim, but it feels more like anunpretentious smalltown restaurant than one of thoseslick places from the TV ads that keeps assuring youwhat a good time you’re going to have. The beef isserved in large portions (especially the Jimanny’s cut ofprime rib). (2109 W Parker, Piano. 985-1339 Mon-Fri11:30 am-midnight. Sat 5 pm-1 am. Closed Sun. Allcredit cards. $$) 4.0

Oysters. (Seafood) See Addison/Richardson/Far NorthDallas. (2901 N Central Expwy at Parker. 422-2469.Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm,Sun 5-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0


Café Maria. (Mexican) The menu is so long that not everything could be cooked well, let alone authentically.The ordinary Tex-Mex isn’t bad here, but it’s hard to adjust one’s expectations, aroused by the appealing-sounding dishes on the menu, to the prosaic realities onthe table. (6541 Duck Creek, Garland. 271-8456. Mon-Thur 11 am-9pm, Fri&Sat 11 am-10pm, Sun 11 am-3pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Chuggs. (Burgers) The motto of this unique Garlandsandwich shop is “Love at first bite,” and truer wordswere never advertised. The sautéburger we tried, withsautéed mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and real Cheddar, was unequaled by any hamburger in our previousexperience. The Reuben was also a definitive sandwich. (730 W Centerville, Garland. 686-1500. Mon-Thur11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10 pm. Nocredit cards: personal checks accepted. $) 6.5

Culpepper Cattle Company. (Steak & Barbecue) This is the place to take out-of-state visitors if you want to show them the Texas they came to see: It’s theatrically Western in decor and serves beef cooked all kinds of ways. We prefer the steaks-which are of high quality and cooked to order-to the barbecue. (309 E 1-30, Rockwall. (214) 722-1001. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Satnoon-11 pm. Sun. noon-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.5


The Brussels. (Belgian) We don’t know of any otherplace where you can get a meat course and threevegetables for as little as $4.25-that’s all the broiledchicken will set you back. The beef and fish entrees arehigher but are still a good bargain. (1300 Copelandnear the 1-30/Hwy 157 interchange, Arlington. (817)861-4488. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-10 pm, Sat& Sun5-11 pm.All credit cards. $$) 5.0

The Café. (American) The Cafe may be the Metroplex’sgreat American restaurant -if the term “American”means the food that people around here have eaten forages. There are fried mushrooms, zucchini and dillpickle slices as appetizers, a heavenly chicken-fried rib-eye and fried strawberries for dessert. (715A RyanPlaza Dr, Arlington. Metro 261-1000. Mon-Thur11:30-11:30, Fri&Sat 11:30 am-midnight, Sun 11-11.MC. V, AE. $$) 6.5

Café Cancun. (Mexican) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane.(Lincoln Square Shopping Center, Arlington. 792-3388 Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. ClosedSun. MC. V, AE. $$) 5.5

Café Cipriani. (Italian) Café Cipriani, across the street from the Mandalay Four Seasons Hotel in Las Colinas, is the sleekest of the Lombardi restaurants to date and offers the most interesting menu. The food is an intriguing mixture of cucina nouva (the Italian answer tonouvelle cuisine) and a more internationalized, Italian/continental style. (220 E Las Colinas Blvd, Irving.869-0713. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur5-10:30, Fri & Sal 5-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards.$$$) 7.0

D En|olle. (Nouvelle) The new chef has institutedan alternative menu -low in calories but stilldelicious. We tried the bourbon shrimp, thetomato and mushroom salad and the Dover sole rolledup into pinwheels with salmon mousse and spinach andfound it hard to believe that a meal so delicious couldbe good for us. (Mandalay Four Seasons Hotel, 221 SLas Colinas Blvd, Irving. 556-0800, ext. 3155. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. ClosedSun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards.$$$$) 9.0

Mercado Juarez. (Mexican) See Stemmons/Bachman Lake. (2220 Miller Rd, Arlington. (817) 649-3324. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 11:30am-10pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Milano’s. (Northern Italian) The dimly lit, paneled dining room, with its intimate booths and deep cushions,spells romance. This Italian restaurant is a place forlovers-if they have hearty appetites. The expansivemenu offers several attractive selections in the veal,seafood, beef, chicken and pasta categories. (815 NCollins, Arlington. (817) 261-2216. Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2: dinner: daily 5:30-10:30. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

On the Border. (Mexican) See Knox/Henderson. (2011Copeland. Arlington. (817)460-8000. Sun-Thur 11-11,Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Oysters. (Seafood) See Addison/Richardson/FarNorth Dallas. (8206 Bedford-Euless Rd, N RichlandHills. Metro 498-5511. Sun- Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri &Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. MC. V, AE. $$) 5.0


Angelo’s. (Barbecue) It’s difficult to say anything critical about a place that’s become a Fort Worth institution. No one makes better barbecued ribs than Angelo His sliced beef plates and ribs make it worth putting up with distressed waitresses and virtually non-existent service. (2533 White Settlement Rd. (817) 332-0357 Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $$) 7.0

Cattlemen’s Steak House. (Steaks) The filet mignon was cooked as ordered and was tender and juicy; the ribs, accented with a spicy barbecue sauce, were equally good Cattlemen’s is the only place we know where the waitress fluffs your baked potato and fusses over customers with motherly sincerity. (2458 N Main. (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) From saladto dessert, the food was even better than on our lastvisit. The appetizer of salmon wrapped around rata-touille sparkled, and so did our veal Diane, with a saucethat was both piquant and delicate. (Hyatt RegencyHotel, Eighth & Commerce. (817) 870-1234. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11; Sun brunch:10:30-2. All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

D Hedary’s. (Lebanese) This restaurant manages to keep prices low and servings generous. Come hungry, since the best way to startdinner is with the seven-sampling salad course that canbe a meal in itself (3308 Fairfield at Camp Bowie. (817)731-6961. Tue-Thur & Sun 5-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm.Closed Mon. No reservations. All credit cards. $$) 7.5

Joe T. Garcia’s. (Tex-Mex) In combing the Southwestin search of the perfect margarita, our tequila elixir wasfound next to a plate of enchiladas, beans and rice inthis celebrated family-style restaurant. This margaritapacks a wallop. The food -the standard dinner plus afew choices such as steak a la Mexicana-was, asalways, great. (2201 N Commerce. (817) 626-4356.Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5-10:30 pm. Sat 11-11, Sun2-10 pm. No credit cards. $$) 6.5

Kincaid’s. (Burgers) This old-time grocery store with thegrill in the back is a comforting slice of the old days. AndKincaid’s famous burgers are the best part: They’rethick, flavorful and stuffed with such tried-and-true additions as lettuce, tomato, onions and mustard. (4901Camp Bowie(817)732-2881 Mon-Sat 10 am-6:15 pm.Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 6.5

Mercado Juarez. (Mexican) 1651 E Northside Dr.Sun-Thur 11 am-1 am, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am MC. V,AE. $$) 5.0D Michel. (Classic French) In a stately oldhouse that’s been nicely redecorated, theowner/chef offers a fixed-price dinner with fivecourses It takes a photographic memory to recall all thedishes the waiter describes. We settled on sweetbreadsand red snapper, and both were done to a turn (3851Camp Bowie (817) 732-1231 Tue- Thur 6-10 pm. Fri &Sat 6 pm-midnight. All credit cards. $$$$) 7.5

Reflections. (French/Continental) Tall columns shapedlike lotuses grow out of the tiny reflecting pool that flowsthrough this sophisticated hotel restaurant. The food invites meditation, too: We found the lobster bisque andthe lamb served with lamb sausage especially worthy.(200 Main. (817)870-9894. Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30 pm, Sat6:30-11 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. $$$) 7.0

Ristorante Lombardi. (Northern Italian) The cobblestone, brick and wrought-iron entryway, subdued lighting, fragrant aromas and bustling waiters and busboysall combine to make this among the most romantic dinner spots in town. Lombardi’s offers several seafood selections, and the seafood brochette (with shrimp andscallops) offered ample portions of two of them. Theveal piccata, served in a light wine sauce, didn’t overwhelm our senses with citrus. (300 Main in SundanceSquare. (817)877-1729. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11 ClosedSun Reservations Ail credit cards. $$$) 7.0

Szechuan. (Chinese) We wish we could find another Chinese restaurant in Fort Worth that can match this one. What Szechuan lacks in atmosphere, it more than makes up for in heaping portions and helpful, good-natured service. (5712 Locke off Camp Bowie. (817) 738-7300 Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Sun 5-10 pm. All credit cards $$) 6.0