In the back room of Revolver Taco Lounge, Regino Rojas’ James Beard Award-nominated restaurant, he has re-created his mother’s Michoacán kitchen, his mother included. Juanita Rojas plates an eight-course tasting menu with rabbit albondigas, sopes with huitlacoche, or carnitas with pork and quail. It all hovers between home and enchantment.
Readers’ Choice:Meso Maya
If we could, we’d spend every Saturday at Petra and the Beast, where Misti Norris applies her foraging and fermentation skills to a six-course tasting menu that exhilarates with koji-cured charcuterie and seasonal nibbles under hanging foraged flowers.
TJ’s is our mecca for fresh seafood sourced responsibly and cooked simply, whether it’s flaky halibut or buttery salmon. Succulent shrimp cocktails and hickory-and-alder-smoked salmon are favorites at this neighborhood catch-up spot. We also love the fine details, the unfussy walnut cranberry quinoa or a sauce’s hint of wasabi.
The meat is a juicy 80/20 beef blend with heartbreaking flavor from 44 Farms. The fries are slathered with salsa verde. The Ozersky keeps it simple with sautéed onions; the Pimento takes it over the top with tang and heat. Either way, droolworthy duos. We’re in love.
Readers’ Choice:Hopdoddy Burger Bar (Best French Fries)
At his modern French brasserie with a Midas touch, Bruno Davaillon crafts country pâté and ethereal gougères, while pastry chef Ricardo Sanchez’s shattering Arlette pastry mille-feuille and baba au rhum channel modernity and effortless grace. The style is as simple and elegant as a French scarf. And in this light, everyone looks good.
Dallas loves a patio, and The Henry opened wide its trendy, Uptown arms with a double-decker affair, where we nosh on fluffy salads and bowls with Marcona almond pesto. Upstairs becomes a buzzy scene at night, all sleek bar and fire pits. Downstairs, marble-topped tables welcome morning pastries and cortado.
Readers’ Choice:HG Sply Co.
Yes, other places excel at soup dumplings and hand-pulled noodles, but we’re suckers for the Peking duck at Little Kaiping. Flavorful meat under crackling, glass-pane skin comes with steamed buns. Equally impressive is the special crab fried rice with crispy garlic. Cantonese dishes are done justice here.
Readers’ Choice:Royal China Restaurant
Chef and pitmaster Jeffrey Hobbs found that if you smoke the chicken, the batter won’t stick. So he smoked the brine and created the perfect bird. A two-fry process ensures a crisp crust and juicy interior. A house-made chimichurri or sriracha sauce adds sizzle.
Readers’ Choice:Babe’s Chicken Dinner House
It was among the first in the city. Its flagship Velvet Hammer, a beloved imperial red, helped make it the 2018 U.S. Open Beer Championship’s Grand National Champion. Its founder, Michael Peticolas, helped push the beer-to-go law through the Texas Lege. Plus he always has soccer on the TVs at his fun, multilevel tasting room. We’ll drink to all that.
Readers’ Choice:Deep Ellum Brewing Company
When it’s comfort we crave, we seek out this paragon of North Indian food, where the decor matches the lavishness of sizzling tandoori platters, lush paneer simmered in rich sauces or tucked into potatoes along with caches of fruit and cashews—and, of course, sweet Kashmiri naan.
Readers’ Choice:India Palace
Donny Sirisavath started with pop-ups and now has a brick-and-mortar in Old East Dallas, where he makes soulful Laotian food, all fermentation and funk. Get familiar with khao poon, boat noodles, mee katee, and the fundamentals of sticky rice and jeow. Everything is cured, pounded, and pickled in-house.
They brought over the fluffy pancakes from Smoke, crispy outside with a lush interior, like a great dessert. Cake donuts offer more textural perfection. We dig the delicate tamale tart, filled with a roasted garlic custard; or a side order of dry-aged Spanish serrano ham. The Arts District is an ideal venue to indulge. We’re staying for another mimosa.
Readers’ Choice:Maple Leaf Diner
Elizabeth Anderson recently left Da Munchies in West Dallas to open VFH in a bright blue bungalow in Oak Cliff. The diners are as colorful as the Creole-inspired comfort food, which includes fried oyster mushroom po’ boys, stuffed seitan sausage sandwiches, and a lemon cake that can’t help but make you smile.
Readers’ Choice:Cosmic Cafe
We didn’t have Maggie Huff’s confections for almost a year after the closing of FT33. At Homewood, she’s back, with desserts like smoked strawberry ice cream (she uses the hearth), a semifreddo that melds banana with rich chocolate, or a rustic galette with whey caramel from ricotta-making—sophisticated, satisfying, and never simply sweet.
At Royal Blue Grocery’s expanding realm, like our own Dean & DeLuca, you can sip Stumptown coffee, get a complimentary biscuit for your dog, and find Everett & Elaine pies and Milk & Patience yogurt. Look for a niche, local object of current obsession—it’s there. Plus: the tarragon chicken salad! 1 Highland Park Village.
At this counter-order market-slash-trattoria, you can grab a table on the patio and set the kids loose on the adjoining lawn. Order a wood-fired margherita pizza for the little ones, and then pick out a 44 Farms steak and a bottle of wine for the grown-ups. Dinner with no complaints and a Nutella pizza for dessert—now that’s divine.
Readers’ Choice:Cane Rosso
La Nueva is for the neighborhood. Which means 2 pounds of house-made corn tortillas go for $2.25. It also means the best guisado verde tacos in the city and lamb or beef cheek barbacoa. And don’t miss the breakfast tacos, which use pillowy flour tortillas instead of the thinner, chewier Sonoran style found elsewhere in town.
Chili con carne covers orange-cheese-filled enchiladas. Beef fajitas are smoke kissed and fatty, brightened with springy sautéed peppers and onions. Sour cream enchiladas exceed all competitors with moist pulled chicken. Boozy margaritas come in pint glasses. There is a reason Mia’s has survived for 39 years. It does the classics right.
Readers’ Choice: Mia’s Tex-Mex
We love Koryo Kalbi. We love the stirring of the proteins that sizzle on the grill, the marbled strips of beef, the popping and hissing of the fat. Spicy marinated galbi is a sweet, charred tangle of caramelized sugars, and grill-at-table options include duck. Accent with banchan, and you’re hooked.
Readers’ Choice: bbbop Seoul Kitchen
The glittering temple on Stults Road is a fitting backdrop for stands on Sundays that serve the city’s best Thai street food. Crowds come out for curries and skewers that change weekly and papaya salad—pounded in front of you—that more than satisfies a quest for tantalizing flavors.
Readers’ Choice:Asian Mint
Peja Krstic is making modern, refined Vietnamese food that’s layered and riveting, with a new, integrated Gallic thread and close-up-worthy plating: banh xeo crêpes served with a platter of herbs, charcoal-grilled oysters, or handmade rice noodle bundles with brown butter nuoc cham sauce and truffle petals.
Readers’ Choice: Mot Hai Ba
The husband-and-wife team of Justin and Diane Fourton has been conjuring lines for its smoked meat since 2010, and they still make us admire the work of a pitmaster. We go weak at the knees for tender brisket, melting beef rib, banana pudding, mac and cheese, and spicy coleslaw.
Readers’ Choice: Pecan Lodge
The Neapolitan pies here are simply constructed, with fresh, full-flavor ingredients on a crust as light and soft as a goodnight kiss. The Italians we know in town swear by them.
Readers’ Choice:Cane Rosso
We usually stop the pitch at the hand-pressed tortillas that bronze on the comal. You could put anything on those masa disks and it would be nirvana. Revolver just happens to have some of the best proteins in town. That octopus taco? Exactly. You know the one.
Our first source for artisanal bread is now an empire of cranberry-walnut, seeded Hippie Health, and lofty challah. Loaves like their long-fermented levain using heirloom Rouge de Bordeaux wheat from Barton Springs Mill—nutty flavor, crackling crust—remind us they still like to act like spry new kids on the block.
Since Jonathan Meadows and Nathan Shelton founded Cultivar a decade ago, the shop-slash-roaster has fixated on bringing the finest single-origin coffees to Dallas, most of them Central American. A block away from its East Dallas spot, Cultivar roasts on a world-renowned Probat. And its Oak Cliff location, bright with floor-to-ceiling windows, is ideal for catching up with friends. Order the cortado or local honey latte and savor a La Casita Bakeshop pastry.
Readers’ Choice: Ascension Coffee
The richness from the Porchetta—a roll of pork belly and collar, with a brine heavy on coriander and fennel, roasted for three hours and sliced thin—meets bitter, charred rapini and a slather of spicy, bright Calabrian chili aioli. House-made ciabatta crackles on the outside but is cotton ball soft inside.
Readers’ Choice:Jimmy’s Food Store
We’re in love with the textures at Melt, newly landed in Bishop Arts. You’ll find classic creaminess in flavors like salted caramel, blueberry pie with cornmeal crumbles, or house-made buttered popcorn. Seasonal toppings like Meyer lemon marmalade, thyme butterscotch, or coconut meringue pile into sundaes or house waffle cones.
Readers’ Choice:Azucar Ice Cream Company
Nathan Abeyta processes animals from snout to tail, makes his own whole-muscle pork shoulder sausages, and carries European cheeses and accoutrements for the perfect charcuterie board. Don’t miss the daily lunch specials, which include a Friday Philly cheesesteak made with wagyu beef.
The eggs are laid by heritage chickens in the coop out back, the red peppers for the hash gravy are grown in the garden just beyond the patio, and the breakfast sausage comes from Mangalitsa pigs raised down the road. The honey butter on your biscuit? From that buzzing hive.
Readers’ Choice:Dream Cafe
It’s not just the best selection of cheese in the city (nearly 150 to choose from) that keeps us returning. We also dig the classes, hosted by some of the city’s best cheese mongers, and the curated selection of wine and beers.
Pappas has the perfect steakhouse experience down pat, with its fleet of sommeliers and rib-eyes that practically ripple with flavor. Servers deliver turtle soup and sweep crumbs from the table into a serviette. The dreamy New York cheesecake is de rigueur.
Readers’ Choice:Al Biernat’s
This Korean restaurant in the Asian Trade District is unassuming, but the food is excellent. You’ll find pajeon pancakes filled with kimchee and one of the best varieties of banchan. Dine until 2 am Tuesday through Saturday and until midnight on Sunday. It’s closed on Monday. Sorry.
Readers’ Choice:Velvet Taco
Tei-An delivers the purest expressions of Japanese food’s delicacy and refinement, from the silky sashimi to the soba ice cream with buckwheat honey. Teiichi Sakurai’s noodle-crafting skill, honed at the Tsukiji Soba Academy in Tokyo, means we make slurping his soba a ritual.
Readers’ Choice: Tei-An
Since opening in 2015, Uchi has been the go-to spot for sushi in Dallas. Chef Tyson Cole’s dishes range from traditional sashimi to elaborate masterpieces like the machi cure with smoked yellowtail, Marcona almonds, and yuca crisps. The happy hour is one of the best in Dallas.
Readers’ Choice: Uchi
Jennifer and David Uygur’s tiny restaurant is our wistful Italian date-night spot, where the wine list is expertly and lovingly curated, pastas and salumi are handmade, and care goes into the tastes of the season that end up on your plate—every detail attended to, with ambience to spare.
Readers’ Choice: Campisi’s
The agave selection at this Expo Park bar is expansive. And while the mezcal and tequila flights are fun and educational, we go for the house margarita. The blend of Arette Blanco Tequila, Naranja Orange Liqueur, and fresh lime juice—shaken and served over ice, garnished with a dehydrated lime wheel—is perfect.
Readers’ Choice:Mi Cocina
This is the cleanest way to live a liquor-filled life. Everything on the shelves is organic, and many of the wines are biodynamic. Staff is helpful with options, and surprising bargains abound. Pick up a hostess gift of a succulent along with a sparkling pét-nat, and you’ll always be invited back.