The Best Restaurants in Your Neighborhood

The Best Restaurants in Your Neighborhood "Neighborhood restaurant" is a difficult term to define, especially in this city of chains and suburbs. We thought hard about it. We knew these were places where people eat often. We tal

North

ADDISON

Addison Cafe. Sometimes you need to pretend you’re in another neighborhood—like Paris, for instance. That’s when Addison residents come to this unexpectedly cosmopolitan cafe for classical French cuisine in a romantic, dimly lit setting. 5290 Belt Line Rd. 972-991-8824.

Antonio’s Ristorante. Remember this restaurant for between-meal or late-night snacks. A single serving of fine pizza and a cold Moretti suit the bar’s ambience. 4985 Addison Circle. 972-458-1010.

Ferrari’s. Such a deal! Wonderful Italian entrées are served by real Italian waiters in a cozy dining room. Fans claim this is the place to find the best veal in town. 14831 Midway Rd. 972-980-9898.

Lefty’s. Shimmy up to the bar for a cold draw and delicious crawfish tostadas. This family-friendly place (named for lobsters harvested with only one claw) also serves down-home chowder and bacon-wrapped shrimp. 4021 Belt Line Rd. 972-774-9518.

Remington’s. One Addison regular swears Remington’s serves the best seafood in town. Because he’s been eating homemade seafood gumbo there for 30 years, we’re not going to argue. 4580 Belt Line Rd. 972-386-0122.

Royal Spice Thai Bistro. Stop by for oodles of seafood and noodles—shrimp, scallops, and calamari—plus plenty of other skillfully prepared nouvelle Thai creations served in an unexpectedly hip setting. 5004 Addison Circle. 972-788-2223.

ALLEN

Hibachi Rock. Think post-modern Benihana. The chefs twirl and whirl in huge red toques (some with Texas flags) and groovy Japanese kimonos. The full-meal deal includes miso soup, salad, and vegetables, with a shrimp appetizer and steamed rice included. Kids will eat these vegetables. 1223 W. McDermott Dr. 972-747-0227.

Mexi Go. Yes, the name suggests fast food. And it is. But the dining room is so cozy that we prefer to eat the good Tex-Mex in. 533 W. McDermott Dr. 972-359-0607.

Samui Thai. We would walk here for the “bags of gold,” tiny fried won ton pouches filled with yellow curried chicken and vegetables. 906 W. McDermott Rd. 972-747-7452.

CARROLLTON

Herrera’s. Here you will find the same menu as offered at the other campy locations, but, for some reason, this spot makes the best chile verde in town. 5427 Denton Dr. 214-630-2599.

Peking Duck. Their pricing is a little skewed. They charge $35 for cheap white Zinfandel but only $25 for a whole duck served true Peking-style. But that’s okay. Every dish on the menu that you point to—overcoming the language barrier—is grand. 4043 Trinity Mills Rd. 972-307-8638.

FAR NORTH DALLAS

Nicholini’s. Everyone seems to know everyone here, and before you leave, you’ll know everyone, too. Catch up on local grade-school soccer scores while devouring pan-seared Atlantic salmon. 17370 Preston Rd. 972-735-9868.

Sweet Basil. For 10 years, this friendly restaurant has survived the surrounding chain mania by serving simple seafood in a relaxed setting. The crab cakes are a must. 17610 Midway Rd. 972-733-1500.

Thai Garden. Eat in the unassuming dining room or take out Thai garlic chicken with huge heads of steamed broccoli. Don’t forget the sticky rice. It’s very nice. 6090 Campbell Rd. 972-248-8861.

FRISCO

Down Under Pub & Grub. Keep your eyes peeled for Crocodile Dundee in this Aussie-accented (in name only) menu. “Hoppy Hour” starts at 4 p.m. There’s plenty of “kangaroo crunch” for the kids and more than 40 beers and live entertainment for the mums and pops. 3231 Preston Rd. 972-668-0062.

Leonardo’s. This funky, low-key Italian joint serves huge plates for less than the cost of the groceries. It’s all made in the kitchen, and the wine comes with you. 9741 Preston Rd. 972-335-1244.

Scotty P’s Hamburgers. Scotty Pontikes takes the orders while his parents and brothers divide the rest of the chores. Try the burgers, smoked hot dogs (made by Rudolph’s in Deep Ellum), and the great “no burger” cheeseburger (griddled Texas toast filled with cheese). The shakes are worth the extra time at the gym. 4710 Preston Rd. 972-712-6556.

McKINNEY

Bill Smith’s Cafe. For 46 years, Bill’s famous hash browns—filled with chopped ham, onions, and swirled with eggs—have caused weekend morning traffic jams. It’s worth the drive and the wait. 1500 W. University Dr. 972-542-5331.

La Salvadorena. Known for the homemade banana-leaf tamales, this mom-and-pop shop also serves delicious tacos, burritos, and gorditos. 1103 S. McDonald St. 972-562-7751.

Mama Emilia’s. An Italian restaurant with perfect small-town atmosphere, Mama Emilia’s offers a fancy menu without fancy prices. Try the veal dishes and the chicken cacciatore. 119 W. Virginia St. 972-562-1102.

PLANO

Bavarian Grill. Oh, the joys of German beer with schnitzel and sauerbraten. 221 W. Parker Rd. 972-881-0705.

Cafe de Paris. The menu features a combination of Paris (croissants and French onion soup) and Plano (club sandwich). But after a few cups of coffee and several selections from the pastry list, you’ll be ready to walk home. 2969 W. 15th St. 972-985-0003.

Covino’s Pizza and Pasta. Grab a green plastic chair and a bottle of wine, and get in line for New York-style pizza and calzones as big as your head. Save room for a slice of Michele’s cheesecake. 3265 Independence Pkwy. 972-519-0345.

El Norte Grill. It looks like an old Taco Bueno gone good. A festive, kitschy dining room with rickety tables and booths is the perfect place to chow down on giant tacos, enchiladas, and tamales under the Elvis street sign. 2205 W. Parker Rd. 972-596-6783.

Greek Isles Grille and Tavern. We’ve been devouring the great Greek food here for 25 years: stuffed grape leaves, shrimp Mykonos, baklava, and Retsina, if you’re bold. Watch out for the flaming saganaki—it may singe your eyebrows. 3309 N. Central Expwy., Ste. 370. 972-423-7778.

Haji Deli. Create your own exotic table filled with takeout from the counter tucked into this Middle Eastern grocery store. 4621 W. Park Blvd. 972-769-7669.

The Little Chef. This popular breakfast and lunch spot offers bagels and lox, feta cheese omelets, chicken-fried steak, and hummus. Don’t ask us, we’re just the messengers. Bring a copy of War and Peace for the wait. 3291 Independence Pkwy., Ste. 100. 972-867-8684.

Little Hunan. Every neighborhood needs dependable Chinese food. Here it’s a casual dining room with spicy cuisine. 909 W. Spring Creek Pkwy. 972-517-6218.

Mario’s Chiquita. One Plano party girl remembers long ago when her family took her to Chiquita’s for her 12th birthday. The staff placed a pink napkin on her head and sang “Happy Birthday.” A meal here is still a celebration. 221 W. Parker Rd. 972-423-2977.

Nakamoto. Take off your shoes and wiggle your toes in a tatami room or belly up to the sushi bar. Owners Erika and Yasuko Nakamoto serve some of the freshest sushi in town. 3309 N. Central Expwy. 972-881-0328.

Sitar. Its extensive Indian menu offers exotic dishes such rogangoshi (nuggets of lamb cooked in kashmiri sauce) and murgh malai kabob (a tandoor-roasted kabob with ginger-marinated chicken, garlic, green coriander, and almond paste). 8612 Preston Rd. 214-618-0050.

Taqueria La Paloma. Cheap, fast, and good—what else could you ask for? The ingredients in the tacos and tortas are fresh, and you can indulge in a nice menudo on the weekends. Destined for chaindom. 1601 Avenue K. 972-424-6482.

RICHARDSON

The Beanery. This offbeat, home-cooking restaurant is a little bit country and a little bit curious. Between the chicken-fried steak and the chicken pot pie, we found mango salsa and spicy salmon. After either, the desserts rule. 525 W. Arapaho Rd. 972-699-3408.

Dos Charros. This is the first location of this family-run gem with a large selection of innovative seafood entrées. All the basics—from the thin, hot chips to the excellent mole dishes to the sugary sopaipillas—are superlative. Also in Plano and Arlington. 108 University Village. 972-783-7651.

Food for Thought. Good vegetarian food is hard to find, but we’re happy to report that the Indian-inspired dishes here are a delicious bargain. 581 W. Campbell Rd. 972-889-3663.

Main St. Liquid Co. Folks in Richardson suffered from dry mouth until this saloon opened (membership required). It serves mostly bar food, but who cares when you can wash it down with a cold brew? 115 E. Main St. 972-231-5510.

Masami. This lovely, tranquil oasis serves stellar sushi, seafood tempura, and yakitori. 116 Richardson Heights Village. 972-783-6800.

Maxim’s. The dim sum here is a visual and gastronomic delight. Big pots of soup, pork buns, shrimp and pork balls, and many other delectable tidbits whirl around the room on trolleys. Offered daily. 310 Terrace Dr. 972-231-6371.

Sing Kee Chinese BBQ. Looking for a whole roast pig? With two to three week’s notice, you can throw a festive family celebration without breaking your piggy bank ($150 and up). 9780 Walnut St., Ste. 270. 972-889-3888.

Thai Soon. It was famous on Lower Greenville for its flavorful seafood and vegetarian dishes. But the new location fits the neighborhood, where locals have already discovered the lotus cups, tiny pastry cups filled with teeny veggies cooked in a spicy curry sauce. 101 S. Coit Rd. 972-234-6111.

South

DEEP ELLUM
 
Monica’s Aca Y Alla. It’s not just the quality of the food—it’s the half-price entrées on Tuesday nights and 50-cent margaritas on Wednesdays that keep this place a perennial hot spot. Cool never came so cheap. 2914 Main St. 214-748-7140.

Omega’s Tex-Mex Cafe. A festive hole in the wall, Omega’s serves great tortilla soup, lunch specials, and cheese enchiladas. On the weekends, you can get a jump on your potential hangover: they serve food until 4 a.m. 212 N. Crowdus St. 214-744-6842.

Sol’s Taco Lounge. Risk a fajita-smoke facial as the servers rush from the kitchen to the sidewalk to air the sizzling platter. This is the only Tex-Mex we can find with a kosher section on the menu. 2626 Commerce St. 214-651-7657.

Vern’s Place. The best way to find this popular soul food cafe is to look for the line that spills out the front door at Main and Exposition streets. Once you’re inside, every dish is smothered, fried, and divine. 3600 Main St. 214-823-0435.

DOWNTOWN

Farmer’s Grill. When you’re alone and life is making you hungry, you can almost always (Monday through Friday for breakfast and lunch) go here for the freshest vegetables in town. 807 Park Ave. 214-741-9361.

Guthrie’s. Chef William Guthrie cooks the whole gamut, from daily blue-plate specials to monthly wine dinners. His fish and chips are the best in town. Don’t miss the signature chocolate tart. 400 S. Ervay St. 214-760-7900.

Sandora’s Box. This is the place for chicken and waffles, the classic Harlem dish. Owner Sandora Cooper’s “sloppy thighs” (a.k.a. her version of smothered chicken) are soon to be famous. 1419 Commerce St. 214-651-0800.

OAK CLIFF

Chan Thai. The first Asian spot to cross the river has become a hip hangout in the Bishop Arts district. The solid Thai menu excels in noodle and curry dishes. 312 W. Seventh St. 214-948-9956.

Charco Broiler. The Oak Cliff icon Sonny the Steer rules the roof of this destination dining spot for downtowners and beef bargain hunters. 413 W. Jefferson Blvd. 214-942-6806.

City Harvest. It’s like going to Grandma’s house for dinner: King Ranch casserole, meat loaf, and homemade pie. Thursday nights are community-table night, when everyone sits together. 939 N. Edgefield Ave. 214-943-2650.

El Ranchito. In an old stone building that once housed Youngblood’s Fried Chicken (rest its pan-fried soul), this spot is the ultimate retro-kitschy Tex-Mex palace. The house specialties, including spicy goat, pork loin, and grilled meats, combined with strolling mariachis ($10 a song), make this a favorite for large family celebrations. 610 W. Jefferson Ave. 214-946-4238.

Gennie’s Bishop Grill. Gennie’s is a Dallas institution. The queen of home cooking has served classic crispy chicken-fried steak with pinto beans, greens, and baked acorn squash to generations of loyal lunch eaters. The peanut butter pie is worth a trip across the Trinity. 321 N. Bishop Ave. 214-946-1752.

Gloria’s. There are several locations, but this is the only spot we stop in for authentic Salvadorian pupusas. It doesn’t hurt that half-price happy hours last from 3 to 7 p.m. weekdays and all day Monday. 600 W. Davis St. 214-948-3672.

La Calle Doce. Every meal has a party feel in this festive old house. Seafood reigns: the flavorful soup loaded with chunks of cod in a rich broth and the thick strips of fried calamari are great starters. 415 W. 12th St. 214-941-4304.

Taqueria Sapostitlan. Under the funky Mexican murals, you better watch your tongue. The salsa made tableside with roasted habañero peppers, tomatoes, and bell peppers is beyond hot. Brush up on your Spanish if you want more details on the delicious specialties. 2433 W. Davis St. 214-943-3441.

Tillman’s Corner. The eclectic New American menu created by the late, great Ricky Tillman still pulls in loyal crowds. And its casual bar has made it a Cliff mainstay. 324 W. Seventh St. 214-942-0988.

SOUTH DALLAS

Casa del Lago. The old home converted to a sassy, New American/Southwest, white-tablecloth restaurant is a local favorite worth the jaunt even for those outside the ’hood. 213 W. Belt Line Rd. 972-291-9799.

China Blossom. Pink tablecloths and all the shrimp dishes shine in this South Dallas favorite. 3107 Camp Wisdom Rd. 214-330-4303.

Elaine’s Kitchen. Day-o. Daylight comes and we want to go to Elaine’s for Caribbean jerk chicken with all the fixings. 1912 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 214-565-1008.

South Dallas Cafe. Gorge on all-you-can-eat soul food, including generous servings of greens and cabbage, for $8.95—which is less than the price of a can of Crisco. Regulars say there is nothing better than the turkey wings and hot-water cornbread. 3126 Grand Ave. 214-428-8856.

Sweet Georgia Brown. This is diet-busting barbeque and soul food piled high on dinner plates. If you’re a fried-chicken aficionado, you may find your Holy Grail here. 2840 E. Ledbetter Ave. 214-375-2020.

East

CASA LINDA

Barbec’s. Beer biscuits for breakfast at Barbec’s—an institution. 8949 Garland Rd. 214-321-5597.

Casa Linda Cafeteria. Our favorite Highland Park Cafeteria recipes dot the buffet with infamous squash casserole, chicken and dumplings, and carrot-raisin salad. Oh, and the perfect chocolate cake. 1200 N. Buckner Blvd. 214-324-5000.

Franki’s L’il Europe. Chef/owner Frank Kovacik and his wife Gabriela serve up German and Eastern European cuisine with a smile. Choose from house-made bratwurst and cabbage rolls, or go all out with Franki’s Schnitzel, a thick pork cutlet sautéed in a lemon sauce and spiced with caraway and capers. 362 Casa Linda Plaza. 214-320-0426.

EAST DALLAS

Andrea’s. Here you’ll find an ambitious mix of Italian and Mexican dishes. Start with the Mexican seafood soup filled with calamari, mussels, and shrimp, then move to house-made gnocchi served with basil marinara. Don’t forget “2 for 1 Tuesdays” dinner specials: buy one entrée and the second is free. 4816 Gaston Ave. 214-823-3100.

Bangkok City. This is a charming dining room with gracious service and bargain lunch specials. The corn patties and coconut chicken soup are superb starters, and the fried whole fish with ginger is perfection on a plate. 4301 Bryan St. 214-824-6200.

Big Shucks. The fried catfish served with mix-your-own cocktail sauce is hard to beat. 6232 E. Mockingbird Ln. 214-887-6353.

Brother’s Fried Chicken. Rumor has it that the owners copped the chicken recipe from the infamous Leslie’s in Waco. We don’t care where they got it. We’re grateful to find more deep-fried goodness. 4839 Gaston Ave. 214-370-0800.

Cafe Venezuela. It’s mostly takeout (the Venezuelan tamales are top-notch), but they do have a few booths where you can test-drive a shredded beef and fried plantain empanada. 11406 Audelia Rd. 214-342-0393.

Cuquitas. “Authentic Mexican food” is often a euphemism for “innards.” So Cuquitas is authentic. The liver and onions rolled in homemade flour tortillas is irresistible. A bowl of posole soup filled with hominy and pork will cure any ailment. 2326 N. Henderson Ave. 214-823-1859.

Kalachandji’s. This small dining room in a Hare Krishna temple draws vegans from all over town. The all-vegetarian fare can be hit or miss, but the setting is, well, sublime. 5430 Gurley Ave. 214-821-1048.

Mai’s Vietnamese Restaurant. Expect a low tab for high-quality Vietnamese food in a charm-free setting. Find heaven at the bottom of a Number 64: colorful sprigs of cilantro, bean sprouts, and lettuce lurk under the bland-looking noodles with fish sauce. 4312 Bryan St. 214-825-9887.

York St. The menu changes daily because Chef Sharon Hage picks what’s fresh and gets creative. You don’t usually think to make reservations at a neighborhood spot, but there are only 42 seats, and they fill up fast. 6047 Lewis St. 214-826-0968.

Z Cafe. From Greek specialties to the Z burger topped with feta and jalapeños, this tiny place hits the spot. It also serves breakfast until 2 p.m. every day. 1924 Henderson Ave. 214-821-0991.

GARLAND

Arc-En-Ciel. If you’re looking for ambience, head to the French Room. If you want some of the best Vietnamese food in town, come here: rare beef with lime, shrimp on sugar cane, and make-your-own rice-paper tacos with sprouts, mint, and cucumbers. It’s great for people-watching and blaring Chinese rock and roll. 3555 W. Walnut St. 972-272-2188.

Country Skillet. This is a longtime breakfast and lunch favorite with family-friendly prices. 2515 Forest Ln. 972-487-9301.

Ernesto’s. Either Ernesto or his wife greets you at the door and—imagine this—shakes your hand when you leave. Meanwhile, you can pop the top of your own six-pack and nibble on chunky guacamole and huge portions of tender beef braised in tomato sauce with fresh cilantro. 1202 Northwest Hwy. 972-681-8112.

GREENVILLE AVENUE

Ali Baba. Serious Lebanese fare at a seriously low price. The homemade tabbouleh is the best around. 1905 Greenville Ave. 214-823-8235.

New Big Wong. Maybe it’s the low lighting and the late hours (until 3 a.m. on weekends) that make this such a popular spot, but the Chinese classics that come from the kitchen and the fish tanks are the reasons for our return. 2121 Greenville Ave. 214-821-4198.

Pietro’s. Italian food just like Mama makes—if your mom is Italian. It’s all about red and white tablecloths, Chianti, and family-friendly service. 5722 Richmond Ave. 214-824-9403.

Sumo Sushi. The best weekday sushi lunch deal in this part of town. For $10.50, you can pick from well-presented, freshly prepared basics such as yellowtail salmon tuna, tempura shrimp, and California rolls. Get the same for dinner for $16.50. 7402 Greenville Ave. 214-987-2333.

Terilli’s. Yes, the menu offers Italian fare, but the bartenders put on a show that draws sports celebrities, media types, and faithful followers.  2815 Greenville Ave. 214-827-3993.

LAKE HIGHLANDS

Alfonso’s. Basic Italian favorites cooked the old-fashioned way—heavy on the butter and garlic and just the way we like it! 718 N. Buckner Blvd. 214-327-7777.

ST Cafe. Hint: start with dessert. Chocoholics will faint at the temptations. Oh, and they also serve nice soups, salads, and quiches if you eat your cake and still have room for those, too. 9090 Skillman St. 214-503-6007.

LAKEWOOD

Angelo’s Italian Grill. Owner Bernadette Teresa Maria Fantinucci—yes, that’s her real name—presides over the enormous portions served at this quaint cafe. The big-as-your-fist garlic rolls should be worshipped as a gastronomic god. 6341 La Vista Dr. 214-823-5566.

Dixie House. Highchairs and booster seats for everyone at this Lakewood family favorite that serves dependable pot roast, chicken-fried steak, fresh veggies, and tasty yeast rolls. 6400 Gaston Ave. 214-826-2412.

Legal Grounds. Once a coffeehouse where legal advice was offered with your latté, Legal Grounds’ expanded menu now includes huge weekend brunches. Jog in (everyone else does) for a 6-inch pile of granola pancakes. 2015 Abrams Rd. 214-823-7001.

Matt’s No Place. Matt Martinez’s once-secret hideaway is an “in” spot for locals. The bar is always full, as are the tables where an eclectic mix of celebrities, lawyers, and couples dine on exotic, smoked quail, chicken-fried venison, and an occasional kangaroo. 6326 La Vista Dr. 214-823-9077.

Matt’s Rancho Martinez. It’s hard to tell which Tex-Mex place rules in this offbeat neighborhood. On the one hand, Matt’s has a clientele loyal to his Bob Armstrong dip and chiles rellenos, but down the street, the original El Chico is always packed. According to one diner in El Chico, “There aren’t many of us who cross over.” Tough neighborhood. Matt’s, 6332 La Vista Dr. 214-823-5517. El Chico, 2031 Abrams Rd. 214-821-5785.

M STREETS

Cafe Izmir. Once you choose “vegetarian” or “meat,” the marvelous Middle Eastern fare rolls nonstop. It is one of Dallas’ most charming restaurants. 3711 Greenville Ave. 214-826-7788.

The Grape. Four years ago, a D staffer proposed to his wife here. If you knew this fellow, you’d understand just how powerfully romantic Dallas’ “original wine bistro” is if she bought his line. 2808 Greenville Ave. 214-828-1981.

John’s Cafe. At this Saturday morning breakfast spot, the communal table is filled with an always interesting mix of musicians and exotic dancers having dinner at 10 a.m., while the Beaver Cleaver families get their honey-do days off to a perfect start. 2724 Greenville Ave. 214-827-4610.

Snuffer’s. Cheeseburgers, cheese fries, and beer—oh my! 3526 Greenville Ave. 214-826-6850.

West

COLLEYVILLE

Sunset Boulevard. This is Colleyville’s answer to Pacific Rim cuisine. But if you start with sushi, you may never have room for the tasty teriyaki entrées. 1101 Cheek Sparger Rd. 972-817-498-2661.

COPPELL

Coppell Deli. Expect great, greasy hamburgers, but the breakfast of the pro champions that live in this area is the sausage biscuit filled with bacon, fried egg, and cheese. 449 W. Bethel Rd. 972-462-0101.

Gloria’s Pizza. Originally Salerno’s Pizza, but Gloria got it in her divorce from Morris Salerno and slapped her name on the popular pizza hangout. 1086 Sandy Lake Rd. 972-462-1713.

Ole’s. Our Coppell-born and -bred source, once a fan of Anamia’s (“Now they’re too snobby”), has switched her loyalties to the friendly confines of Ole’s for her Tex-Mex fix. 185 Sandy Lake Rd. 972-393-7510.

Sienna Pasta and Pizza. Huge, thick-crust pizzas and strombolis make this a great post-soccer-game stop. 780 S. MacArthur Blvd., Ste. 100. 972-462-0499.

FLOWER MOUND

The Grotto. White tablecloths, heavy Sinatra, and upscale Sicilian-style Italian presented nicely by the Salerno family. 2300 Highland Village Rd., Highland Village. 972-318-0515.

Salerno’s. Cousins Mike and Morris Salerno are the self-described “Campisi’s of Denton County.” They’ve gained fame by serving Grandma’s recipes for 17 years. If you want good Italian in these parts, you gotta go through these guys. 3407 Long Prairie Rd. 972-539-9534.

GRAPEVINE

Lucy’s. Tucked into a dingy strip mall just a few blocks from town center, this funky Tex-Mex joint serves all the basics that are worth every calorie. 451 N.E. Hwy. 817-329-4957.

Osami. This might be a little on the pricey side for regular visits, but the seafood udon soup is worth every slurp. 2100 W. Northwest Hwy. 817-251-1860.

IRVING/LAS COLINAS

Ichijo’s. This is a Japanese friend’s favorite Japanese restaurant. Asian chicken-fried steak? You bet. Along with great curry dishes and an impressive sushi list. 3045 N. Belt Line Rd. 972-255-0116.

I Fratelli. The thin-crust pizza is the best west of I-35 East. On Sundays, you’ll also get a fresh buffet, stuffed shells, and an excellent lasagna. 7750 N. MacArthur Blvd. 972-501-9700.

Mustang Cafe. Follow the galloping bronze studs to the hopping bar scene that spills over into the Southwestern-inspired cuisine. ’Bout the best vittles in this west 40. 5205 N. O’Connor Blvd., Ste. 100. 972-869-9942.

Pad Thai. One locally respected gourmand adores the lunch buffet that includes soup, salad, chicken and beef curries, squid, fried rice, and stir-fried veggies in a tamarind sauce. But we know she really goes for what she thinks is the best fried chicken in town. 3311 W. Walnut Hill Ln. 972-252-1718.

Pasand. This is a local favorite that features a lunch buffet stocked with standout southern and northern Indian dishes. It’s also a lovely spot to BYOB at night. 2600 Belt Line Rd. 972-594-0693.

Via Real. Come here for a Southwestern menu in a classy setting. It’s popular with families as well as expense-account diners. 4020 MacArthur Blvd. 972-650-9001.

LEWISVILLE

Bari’s Pizza & Pasta. Get over the strip-mall exterior and tune out the occasional behind-the-counter family squabbles. Focus instead on the Italian hand-painted mural inside and the huge, thick-crust pizza. BYOB. 2704 Cross Timbers Rd. 972-539-7091.

Ham ’n’ Eggs. Locals refer to the doorman who controls the 45-minute wait as the Pancake Nazi. He’ll oust you if your Frisbee-sized flapjacks are gone and you’re lingering over that last cup of coffee. It’s a great place to spot a carbo-loading Dallas Cowboy. 297 W. Round Grove Rd. 972-315-1155.

Mama’s Pizza. We didn’t see a mama when we were there, but we did find a great buttery crusted pizza buffet with a salad bar. 297 W. Round Grove Rd. 972-315-8483.

NORTHWEST DALLAS

Casa Navarro. Plenty of changes at Casa Navarro, and they’re all for the best. They’ve added space, a full bar (margaritas are only $4), and lengthened their specialties menu to include pork chop rancheros. Complimentary spicy bean soup is the best in town. 11742-A Marsh Ln. 214-357-0141.

Chosun Kalbi. This joint shares a corner bustling with great Asian eateries. But Chosun Kalbi is our new favorite, tucked behind a perfume discount store. Come here for great Korean barbeque that you cook at the table. 2560 Royal Ln. 972-406-0087.

Club Schmitz. Don’t cringe if your feet stick to the floor when you pick up griddled, thin-patty burgers, sandwiches, and great chili. Club Schmitz has been around longer than your grandma. 9661 Denton Dr. 214-350-3607.

Henry Chen’s. Their extensive menu emphasizes low-fat, low-cholesterol, and vegetarian offerings. We recommend the pork Peking (shredded pork with bamboo shoots in Peking sauce) and lobster (out of the shell) in a black bean sauce. 3701 W. Northwest Hwy. 214-956-9560.

Royal Sushi. The menu features mostly Korean specialties, including an interesting “Korean-style pizza,” a pancake filled with seafood and accompanied by a soy-sesame dipping sauce. 11407 Emerald St. 972-241-9911.

San Jang. If you drive too fast down Harry Hines, you’ll miss the small, green building framed with bamboo. Once inside, steel yourself for the real thing: beef intestines, tripe noodles, and vegetables in spicy sauce. The beverage list reads: Crown Royal, Chivas, Johnny Walker Red, soft drinks, and iced tea. 11276 Harry Hines Blvd. 972-241-9006.

Seoul Garden. Bring a group and start your adventure by ordering the deluxe jeong sik. Then sit back as almost 30 small plates of Korean delicacies blow your mind. 2502 Royal Ln. 972-484-6090.

Thai Rose. Our favorites here are the splendid glass noodles tossed with chili, mint, lime juice, and vegetables and a killer plate of flat noodles stir-fried with yellow curry, onion, and carrots. 3797 Forest Ln., Ste. 107A. 972-481-1230.

ROANOKE

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. This popular lunchtime spot is rustic, kitschy, and limited. In fact, you only get two choices: fried chicken or chicken-fried steak. That’s it. But it’s the best you’ve ever had, and the mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and homemade biscuits are all served family-style. 104 N. Oak St. 817-491-2900.

SOUTHLAKE

Anamia’s. This mini-chain started in Coppell, but we mention it here because it stands out in this community burdened with big chain restaurants. The spiffy interior is a nice backdrop for traditional plates and Tex-Mex specialties. 2980 E. Southlake Blvd. 817-748-0100.

Armend’s. Here you’ll find a family-friendly spot with great pizza for the kids and above-average Italian specialties for Mom and Dad. BYOB. 2315 E. Southlake Blvd. 817-251-0270.

Classic Cafe. This restaurant now has two popular locations serving classic New American dishes such as quail, spicy sweet potato soup, and bone-in rib-eye, with an imaginative wine list. Terrific meal-sized salads in every trendy blend: Caesar, wedge-style Greek, and blue cheese and apple. 621 E. Southlake Blvd. 817-410-9001.

Thai Chili. Nestled in the

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