Readers’ Choice Awards

Here’s the dish on the best restaurants in Dallas from the latest D survey.

DALLASITES KNOW RESTAURANTS, THEY SHOULD, ACCORDING TO THE RECENTLY RELEASED 1994-95 ZAGAT SURVEY, DALLAS AND FORT WORTH RESTAURANT-GOERS AVERAGED 4.3 MEALS OUT PER WEEK, WELL AHEAD OF THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. WHAT ARE THE TOP PICKS OF SOME OF THE MOST EXPERIENCED AND DISCRIMINATING DINERS IN THE COUNTRY? WE ASKED THAT QUESTION IN OUR NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER ISSUES, AND HERE ARE THE RESULTS.

BEST MEALS

BREAKFAST ON THE GO

McDonald’s, 180 locations. “In 1975, when we introduced the Egg McMuffin, we realized that our customers’ lifestyles were changing,” states Zenola Worrill, marketing manager. “We believe we were the first in the quick service arena to recognize that. As we’ve seen consumers’ lifestyles change, we’ve changed to meet their needs.”



HEALTHY BREAKFAST

The Dream Café, 2800 Routh Street, 214-954-0486. “Quality is always number one. We make everything here, and have from the beginning-almost ten years now. We try to implement customer requests into our menu planning, and we definitely take care of all those people out there with special diets,” says co-owner Grady O’Brien.



SUNDAY BRUNCH

The Grand Kempinski Hotel, 15201 Dallas Parkway, 214-386-6000. “We have definitely been the best for several years now,” says hotel manager Jean Loubat about brunch at The Grand Kempinski. “It is more difficult to maintain quality than it is to establish quality, but we love a challenge.” Highlights of the brunch selection, Loubat adds, are the caviar, smoked salmon, sushi, New York strip roast beef or beef tenderloin, and the display of pastries.



BEST LUNCH FOR THE MONEY

Good Eats Café, nine locations; 6950 Greenville Avenue, 214-691 -3287. “It’s been a long, hard row,” says owner Gene Street. But he thinks Good Eats is the best lunch for the money because “it’s convenient, fun, and good.”



Zuxu Handmade Mexican Food, 20 locations; 4866 Belt Line Road, 214-960-6900. “The success of Zuzu is due to our customers, no question about it,” says Horatio Lonsdale-Hands, CEO and chairman. “We have a fiercely loyal customer base that helps us with new customers. We cater to them, and we’ve built the business through their loyalty and word-of-mouth. They recommend us and support us, and we are really really delighted about this.”



BEST LUNCH WHEN MONEY DOESN’T MATTER

The Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, 214-559-2100. Maitre d’ hotel Wayne Broadwell states, “People closing multi-million dollar deals and contracts are not concerned with the price…It’s power dining at its finest.”



RESTAURANT FOR KIDS

McDonald’s, 180 locations. “We always try to cater to our customers’ tastes, especially children,” says Zenola Worrill, marketing manager. “This is the 15th anniversary of the Happy Meal, so we are particularly pleased about being named in this category.”



LATE NIGHT MEAL

Café Brazil, three locations; 2221 Abrams Road, 214-826-9522. “We’re a gathering place for people to come.. .at 4 o’clock in the morning. Since we don’t allow alcohol or smoking, people come here for a reprieve after they’ve been in the bars and out in the crazy environment,” explains owner Michael Tate.



BEST PLATES

SANDWICH

Jason’s Deli, 15 locations; 4021 Belt Line Road, 214-239-0074. “Our wurst is the best,” says co-owner Pete Verde. “We try our best to create the best quality and perceived value, and give our customers a sandwich they’re literally very happy to pay the dollar for.”



CHINESE

August Moon, two locations; 15030 Preston Road, 214-385-7227; (Toll Free) 817-461-1411- “Sam Tsay, the owner, is very particular about the quality of our food,” stresses Brenda Yu, the manager of the Preston Road restaurant. Our business lunch buffet draws a huge following, and our light dessert also has a fan club.”



JAPANESE

Royal Tokyo Japanese Restaurant, 7525 GreenvilleAvenue,214-368-3304.Benja-min Black, general manager, notes, “We make sure that the menu is keeping up with trends in Japan and California.” Favorites among the Japanese clientele are the mul-ticourse formal kaiseki dinners, maku-nouchi lunch boxes, and sushi. Black adds, “Our Japanese and American clientele are constantly raving that our sushi bar produces the finest sushi in the Metroplex.”



MEXICAN

Uncle Julio’s, four locations; 4125 Lemmon Avenue, 214-520-6620. “Olé!” says Tammy Peden, director of marketing and public relations, about the honor. “We focus a lot of attention on having the highest quality of food and the highest quality of service. Everything is fresh daily-processed in our restaurant every day. We don’t pinch any pennies on any product, We only want to buy the best.”



SOUTHWESTERN

Sam’s Café, two locations; 100 Crescent Court, 214-855-2233; 8411 Preston Road, 214-739-2288. “Sam’s Cafe is more than just another restaurant drawing its roots from the American Southwest,” says Jack Baum, owner. “It is the soul of the Southwest, right in the heart of Dallas. From our diverse menu to the superior service, Sam’s Cafe consistently delivers excitement, entertainment, and mouth-watering cuisine at a moderate price.”



THAI

Thai Taste, 4501 Cole Avenue, 214-521-3158. Assistant manager Viroj Prasop-noparat notes, “We try to select good quality food, and our customers appreciate our authentic Thai food. We also have good appetizers and desserts, good service, and a nice atmosphere.”



PIZZA

Campisi’s Restaurant, four locations; 5610 Mockingbird Lane, 214-827-0355. “We’ve been in business since 1946,” says owner David Campisi, “and we take a lot of pride in our pizzas.” Poised for an expansion in the Metroplex, Campisi assures customers that they’ll get the same pizza regardless of which location they choose. Family members will oversee each location to maintain quality of the product. “It took us almost 50 years to get where we are now, and it was the product that got us there. But, he adds, “if you want the atmosphere of the Mockingbird Lane restaurant, you’ll have to get it there.”



BARBECUE

Sonny Bryan’s, six locations; 4701 Frank-ford Road, 214-447-0102. “Sonny opened his restaurant in 1958, and grew his reputation into a Texas institution,” says president Mike Meehan. “Especially in the 70s and ’80s, his reputation grew nationally and even internationally, as Sonny Bryan’s became known as the best place for barbecue in Dallas.” Meehan attributes Sonny’s success with the product to Sonny’s recipes-especially the sauce on the brisket and ribs, the ambience (or lack thereof), and the twist he used that people need to come early, because when they run out, that’s when they close.



SALADS

Houston’s Restaurant, two locations; 5318BeltLineRoad,214-960-1752;8141 Walnut Hill Lane, 214-691-8991. Angela Richardson, service manager, comments, “Our grilled chicken salad has been a hit for four or five years with our Dallas lunch crowd. The honey lime vinaigrette dressing topped with peanut sauce is unique. People also love the club salad. We always get compliments on our salads.”



HAMBURGERS

Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar, two locations; 3526 Greenville, 214-826-6850; 14910Midway, 214-991-8811.”They lie!” owner Pat Snuffer exclaims upon hearing that Snuffer’s had been voted as having the best hamburgers in Dallas. “Actually, that’s very flattering,” he confirms. “It’s great when you get to do something you love and people appreciate it. We take a great deal of pride in our work and use only the freshest meat and special blend of seasoning in our hamburgers.”



SEAFOOD

Café Pacific, 24 Highland Park Village, 214-526-1170. Owner Jack Knox notes, “Freshness and simplicity are our hallmarks. We fly in most of our seafood on a daily basis from brokers on both coasts. This is our 15th year, and we won this distinction in the last D restaurant survey.”



PASTA

Patrizlo, two locations; 25 Highland Park Village, Mockingbird at Preston, 214-522-7878.1900 Preston Park Boulevard, Suite 343, 214-964-2200. “We hear constantly that Patrizio is fun, fast, good people-watching, and a great value,” says owner Jack Knox.



STEAKHOUSE

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, 5251 Spring Valley, 214-526-9811. Steak-house owner, Del Frisco, says, “I’m living proof that somebody up there looks out for fools. Also, I’m blessed with the best front-of-the-house person in America, my partner, Dee Lincoln. This is an honor.”



HOME COOKING

Celebration Restaurant, 4503 West Lovers Lane, 214-351-5681. “…We use fresh products, and fresh herbs; we make everything from scratch. We work really hard every day to improve our product,” informs owner, Ed Lowe.



CAJUN

Pappadeaux Seafood, four locations; 1304 East Copeland Road, 241-235-1181. General manager Mike Connelly says, “We try and stick with the basics and serve the fresh’ est seafood, which is flown in daily. We serve a traditional style, but try to be innovative, too. Plus we have large portions. We hope nobody ever leaves here hungry.”



VEGETARIAN PLATES

Black-eyed Pea Restaurant, 24 locations; 5601 Greenville Avenue, 214- 361-5979. Vegetarians flock here for the All-Star Plate, which includes squash casserole, steamed broccoli, mashed potatoes, and, of course, the black-eyed-peas.



DESSERTS

The Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, 214-559-2100. “There is a time and a place for everything,” says Rick Griggs, pastry chef. “But I haven’t decided when it wouldn’t be a good time for The Mansion’s Crème Brulée.”



BREAD

La Madeleine French Bakery and Cafe, six locations; 3072 Mockingbird Lane, 214-696-6960. Owner Patrick Esquerre makes successful breads because he loves the bread business. “Like everything in life, if we like what we’re doing, love what we’re eating [it shows].” He states that his quality is consistent, although the volume of bread he produces is great. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be a missionary; now I feel like I’m a bread missionary.”



BEST BEVERAGES

BEST BAR

The Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, 214-559-2100. According to Kent Ingram, senior associate manager, “With our emphasis on entertainment and the addition of Mark Carroll at the piano, the atmosphere and energy are electric.”



MARTINIS

Terilli’s, 2815 Greenville Avenue, 214-827-3993. “Our martinis take eight or nine minutes to make,” advises Bill Semon, bar manager. “We let them chill on ice to reduce bruising- We have a loyal following of professional people who’ve been coming here for ten years.”



MARGARITAS

Uncle Julio’s, four locations. “We listened to our guests’ needs and wants,” says Tammy Peden, director of marketing and public relations. A favorite with guests is the “swirl;” it is literally a swirl of frozen mar-garita and homemade frozen sangria.



BLOODY MARYS

Houston’s Restaurant, two locations; 5318 Belt Line Road, 214-960-1752; 8141 Walnut Hill Lane, 214-691-8991. “We use premium vodka and Bloody Mary mix,” says Dawn Hogue, who has been a bartender for eight years. “Young professionals seem to really like our Bloody Marys.”



FROZEN CONCOCTIONS

Sfuzzi, three locations; 15101 Addison Road, 214-960-2606. “The Frozen Sfuzzi is our signature drink,” says Rod Allen, vice president of marketing. “It was created by the four partners Robert and Patrick Colombo, Brian Galligan, and David Palmer for our first restaurant that opened in Dallas on McKinney Avenue, and it’s now popular in all of our 22 locations.”



WINE LIST

Wine Press Bar and Bistro, 4217 Oak Lawn Avenue, 214-522-8720. Owner Gene Street says, “We’ve got it down after thirteen years in the same spot experimenting with different wines with many eclectic customers.”



The Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, 214-559-2100. Pierre Beloeil, sommelier, says “…providing the best wines has been an important part of its overall success. We constantly look for opportunities to provide exciting experiences and exceptional values.”



COLD BEER

Yegua Creek Brewing Company, 2920 North Henderson, 214-824-3015. “When you drink cold beer, it doesn’t matter how cold it is anyhow,” informs owner Toby O’Brien- “It just tastes good.”



BEER SELECTION

The Gingerman, 2718 Boll Street, 214-754-8771. With 67 beers on tap and 100 or so bottled beers, manager John Mitchell has a beer for all. “We’re a very casual American pub in an old house. It’s a warm setting in the winter, and we have a big back yard with bands on Sundays in the summer.” Tastings of seasonal beers, wines, and cigars are held on Mondays. The Gingerman is named after a 1950s cult classic by J.P. Donleavy in which Guinness plays a key role. Mitchell adds, “We never run out of Guinness. It’s served on tap at the perfect temperature and poured perfectly.”



CUP OF COFFEE

Café Brazil, three locations; 221 Abrams Road, 214-826-9522. Owner Michael Tate says, “We have the best coffees in town-100 different blends-and the most reasonably priced. Our espresso is 99 cents and our cappucino is $1.50. At other places, the espresso is $2.50 and the cappucino is $3.50. We keep our prices down and pass on the savings to our customers.”

BEST OVERALL

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Star Canyon, 3102 Oak Lawn Avenue #144, 214-520-7827. “We were thrilled with this response,” exclaims Tony Stevers, dining room floor manager. “Dallas patrons are very savvy and recognize quality and uniqueness.”



BEST HOTEL DINING ROOM

The Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, 214-559-2100. “How can you lose when you start with the best ingredients, a great staff and a management that encourages you to be creative?” questions Dean Fearing, executive chef of this elaborate Dallas attraction.



BEST DESIGN

Star Canyon, 3102 Oak Lawn Avenue, 214-520-7827. “People are immediately absorbed by the warmth and comfort of our restaurant,” notes Tony Stevers, dining room floor manager. “Customers comment to us that it’s classy. All the artwork is commissioned by Texas artists and craftsmen.”



BEST SERVICE

The Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2821 Turtle Creek Boulevard, 214-559-2100. “Consistency and attention to detail is the key. We take great time and energy to have our staff focus on the smallest details,” says Angus MacKay, resident manager.



BEST ATMOSPHERE

The Mansion on Turtle Creek, 2321 Turtle Creek Boulevard, 214-559-2100. “The character of the renovated Sheppard King Mansion allows us to offer a cozy residential ambiance. From the intimacy of the Library to the ’Pure Dallas’ excitement and synergy of the main dining room, we are fortunate to have such a lovely home in which to entertain our guests,” states Jeffrey M. Trigger, managing director. The atmosphere, service, and desserts collaborate to create an outstanding restaurant.



THE BEST RESTAURANT IN DALLAS

The Riviera, 7709 Inwood Road, 214-351-0094. Executive chef David Holben, who has been with The Riviera since it opened, says, “For ten years, we’ve been giving Dallas people what they want. You have to listen. We’ve responded to the changing needs over the past decade without lowering our standards. Our niche is full-flavored foods from the heart. Our approach is very personalized.” Undoubtedly, curtomers are enticed by the hospitality of The Riviera, as well as its commendable entrees.

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