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The 50 Finest

Dallas' booming culinary scene is hallmarked by inspiring new restaurant openings, impressive chefs, dishes to die for, experiences to savor, and a spectrum of food and drink trends that take dining out to a whole new and exciting realm.

THE ROOTS
A pretty dish of local garden roots, poblano lime butter and shaved foie ($24) from Flora Street Cafe

 

10 MOST EXCITING NEW RESTAURANTS

18th & Vine
Chef Scott Gottlich is putting his “cheffy” touch on Kansas City-style barbecue and serving it in an elevated atmosphere—and we are eating it up. Get Classic ’Que, like brisket and ribs (from $13), or order from the menu’s Modern ’Que section, for which Gottlich is making pit-fired oysters ($13) and wood-kissed salmon ($20). The whole menu is available upstairs at The Roost, the cozy live music venue. Power Move You can have the house-smoked chicken fried by special request—the chef will flash-fry it for a few minutes so the skin crisps up and seals in the juices. 4100 Maple Ave., 214.443.8335

Flora Street Cafe
How many times can one reinvent Texas cuisine? Just ask Stephen Pyles, who closed the doors of his eponymous restaurant to open this new Dallas Arts District concept. The elevated, modern Texas menu offers some of Pyles’ signatures while adding dishes with a heavy Mexican influence from Chef de Cuisine Peter Barlow. Power Move Leave room for dessert. Executive Pastry Chef Ricardo “Ricchi” Sanchez, a Texas native who most recently worked at Nobu Las Vegas, is a whiz. 2330 Flora St., 214.580.7000

The Honor Bar
Dallasites love Hillstone and R&D Kitchen, and now the brain behind the two popular concepts is heading to Highland Park Village to open this new concept—a bit more relaxed than the former but swankier than the latter. Think kale chicken salads ($9), veggie burgers ($14), coleslaw ($3) and specialty cocktails. Power Move Jet-setting Dallasites are already flocking to the Beverly Hills and Montecito locations and reporting back. 25 Highland Park Village

FRUIT COCKTAIL
The ingredients in the The Theodore's fruit and herb porthole infuser change weekly.

KAI Asian Bistro
Alberto Lombardi has tapped chef Richard Chen (The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, Peninsula Chicago and Michelin-starred Wing Lei at The Wynn Las Vegas) to create a menu inspired by Southern Asian cuisine. He's serving pork and shrimp dumplings with hot mustard; roasted Peking duck and shrimp; and papaya salad. Power Move They'll still be serving boozy patio brunches on Saturday and Sunday. 4524 Cole Ave.

Mudhen Meat & Greens
Chef Jennifer “Suki” Otsuki consulted with nutritionist Mark Herrin to make nutritionally balanced plates at this Dallas Farmers Market flagship. The result is build-your-own bowls that hit all your macronutrients, plus spring rolls wrapped in collard greens ($8), whole steamed branzino ($32) and an extra juicy 44 Farms beef burger ($14). Here, you’ll finish all your veggies. Power Move Suki’s Secret Monster Bowl ($15) is off-menu and prepared specially for the CrossFit community. 900 S. Harwood St., 214.698.7000

Rebees
Tristan Simon, best known for developing successful dining concepts like The Porch and Victor Tangos, is back under a new umbrella—a company called Rebees. The man who revolutionized the Henderson dining scene has set his sights on Victory Park, where he’s assisting the neighborhood’s retail partner, Trademark Company, with its food and beverage program. This might be the most highly anticipated project he’s ever been involved in! Power Move He's developing a 6,000-square-foot restaurant concept and a dramatic second-floor patio connected to a signature restaurant.

Sprezza
Julian Barsotti of Nonna and Carbone’s continues to bring Italy to Dallas with a seasonal menu of Roman and Southern Italian comfort food, throwing fresh ingredients like Sicilian oregano and littleneck clams on thin-crust pizza ($17). Housemade pastas ($19) , beef tongue tonnato ($13) and mozzarella-stuffed squash blossoms ($8) feel like a warm hug from your nonna. Power Move Order the off-menu Sgroppino cocktail, a vodka and lemon sorbet whipped together and topped with Champagne and mint. 4010 Maple Ave., 972.807.9388

The Theodore
Tim Byres and his gang of friendly foodie rabble-rousers have done it again with their new NorthPark Center concept. Executive Chef Scott Romano makes Americana fare like roasted pheasant salad ($14), beef Wellington ($19) and pot pie ($18). Power Move The in-house bakery is churning out croissants, sourdough, pickle juice rye, ciabatta rolls and more to satiate those gluten cravings. 8687 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 1804, 469.232.9771

Town Hearth
This latest and greatest from chef-owner Nick Badovinus is true to its name. The Design District restaurant will feature open-hearth cooking in the form of two wood-burning grills—one for seafood dishes inspired by the Pacific and East Coasts and South Carolina, and one for good old land-based meat. Power Move We hear cell phone snapping is frowned upon—this is a chef that wants you to put away the phone and enjoy the experience. Amen! 1617 Irving Blvd.

Wayward Sons
Chef Graham Dodds champions the farm-to-table movement at his latest veggie-heavy spot. Don’t miss unexpected winners like the vegan garden “charcuterie,” ($22) featuring a faux foie gras even omnivores will love, or the best-selling lamb brisket ($25), braised and crisped to perfection. Power Move Beekeeping enthusiast Dodds serves jalapeno cornbread ($10) with local Texas honey; feel free to taste the honeycomb—it’s edible! 3525 Greenville Ave., 214.828.2888

6 BEST BRUNCH SPOTS

Armoury D.E.
This eclectic eatery is known for a Hungarian-tinged menu and an impressive array of whiskey sips at night, but come Saturday and Sunday, it’s bringing the brunch crowd to Deep Ellum. The much-talked-about Damn Burger ($11) is still on the menu, but it's the tongue-in-cheek fare like the Count Chocula French toast ($8) and Cookie Crisp cocktail ($13.50) that bring on the childlike glee. 2714 Elm St., 972.803.5151

Hash House a Go Go
Known around the nation for its Twisted Farm Food, Hash House a Go Go has finally opened a location in the Dallas area with a brunch menu that's served all day and all night. Homestyle favorites like farm scrambles ($12), flapjacks ($8) and red-velvet waffles ($9) make this award-winning chain a must-try. Don’t forget to try one of the signature BLT bloody marys ($11). 1900 Preston Road, Ste. 343, Plano, 972.867.4646

Henry's Majestic
The local brunch hot spot has a seemingly endless number of reasons to visit—and for good reason. The Sparkling Bar, where you can craft a personalized mimosa from a selection of Champagnes and juices, along with other brunch cocktail options like the Coco Puff Milk Punch ($10) and the Golden Dawn ($10), pairs perfectly with items from the brunch menu like avocado toast ($8), chicken and waffles ($14), or the Majestic Breakfast ($11). 4900 McKinney Ave., 469.893.9400

Le Bilboquet
Kick off your weekend with a bang and join the Bilbouqet Brunch Club. One Saturday a month, the French eatery hosts a DJ Brunch for its loyal patrons who want to keep the party going all day long. Munch on the cuisine that has made Le Bilboquet a household name, like brioche French toast ($12) or eggs Florentine ($12), while sipping a Bellini ($3) and welcoming the weekend the best way possible. 4514 Travis St., Ste. 124, 469.730.2937

Nova
The North Oak Cliff gastropub is known for its eclectic eats, ever-changing nightly chef, and a brunch menu that includes everything from shrimp and grits ($15) to breakfast pizza with egg and applewood-smoked bacon ($14). Sit back in the cool, comfortable atmosphere and enjoy a Novamosa ($4.50) with friends this weekend. 1417 W. Davis St., 214.484.7123

TJ's Seafood Market
Dallas’ favorite spot for seafood is also a go-to spot for all things brunch. Whether it’s the Morning in Malibu ($11, egg whites with spinach, red peppers, avocado and arugula), the Hawaiian ahi tuna and shrimp poke ($17) or the honey butter Maine lobster fritters ($25), there’s something coastal-inspired for everyone. Choose from classic lobster rolls ($26) to Lake Austin-influenced entrees at either the Oak Lawn or Preston Royal location for a brunch experience unlike any other. 6025 Royal Lane, 214.691.2369; 4212 Oak Lawn, 214.219.3474

6 BEST NEW SOUTHERN RESTAURANTS

Filament
An illuminating counterpart to FT33’s avant-garde fine dining, Matt McCallister’s casual kitchen in a converted Deep Ellum ’20s-era machine shop lights up edgy Deep Ellum with catfish spiked Nashville-style, wood-grilled meats and late night limited-edition burgers in laid-back rustic digs with a hopping bar scene. 2626 Main St., 214.760.1080

Ida Claire
In your best drawl, pronounce it, “I declare!” The play-on-words moniker hints at the spirit of fun at this lively, spacious bar and restaurant in Addison festooned with whimsical vintage bric-a-brac—a colorful backdrop for low-country cooking laced with exotic international touches. Not to be missed is the beverage program featuring a plethora of draught beers and clever cocktails. (Artillery Punch, anyone?) 5001 Belt Line Road, 214.377.8227

Pink Magnolia
Sassy celebrity chef Blythe Becks exudes a warm welcome to guests with liberal use of bacon, butter and booze in down-home dishes like chicken-fried rib-eye, Gulf Coast snapper, and pimento mac and cheese delivered in a modern space with the air of an old house in Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District. 642 W. Davis St., 469.320.9220

Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine
Refined traditional cuisine is the emphasis at this warm, brick Plano venue named for family matriarchs who set the gold standard for Southern cooking. Under the oversight of Tre Wilcox (of Top Chef, Abacus and Marquee Grill fame), Jermaine Brown (a Rising Star awardee himself) turns out fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and gumbo that would make any mama proud. There’s also a smokin’ brunch. 2301 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 195, Plano, 972.422.1519

Rapscallion
The mischief-making at this Lower Greenville Avenue collaboration between Boulevardier proprietors Brooks and Bradley Anderson, and chef-partner Nathan Tate is the oh-so-tempting menu of wood-grilled Southern fare amped by global elements (spit-roasted chicken, fermented collard greens, skillet cornbread with duck confit and sorghum syrup, for example), and backed by an all-American wine list and creative craft cocktails. 2023 Greenville Ave., 469.291.5660

Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen
A standout, even in McKinney’s elevated food scene, is homespun Sugarbacon Proper Kitchen, a Southern-accented farm-to-table leader among locavore first-liners. What’s not to love in a menu that starts with tater tots enhanced by pulled pork, pimento cheese and barbecue aioli? Enough said. Sojourn north for some serious, soulful Southern vittles. 216 W. Virginia St., Ste. 100, McKinney, 469,952.5150

3 BEST UNDERGROUND DINNERS
We adore the insider aspect of these here-today-gone-tomorrow culinary experiences showcasing innovative chefs and rare ingredients in novel settings. Here’s where to snag a coveted spot.

Frank Underground
Fox’s MasterChef finalists Jennie Kellie and Ben Starr team up to produce this monthly downtown-area dinner party, which has become so popular tickets are awarded by lottery. Adventurers need only apply; the menu revolves around locally sourced ingredients often foraged from the wild and is not disclosed in advance. Nor is the venue—secrecy is part of the charm. $150 per person, sign up for the invitation list by visiting the website

FT33 Guest-Chef Dinners
Lauded nationally for artful modern cuisine at FT33, chef Matt McCallister taps like-minded progressives (think James Beard Foundation, Bon Appétit and Food & Wine awardees) to collaborate in once-per-month prix fixe dinners offering locals the opportunity to experience the handiwork of creative toques from across the country. $105 per person, optional wine pairing $55, reservations required, 1617 Hi Line Drive, Ste. 250, 214.741.2629

Dallas Supper Club
Sophisticated rustic fare by Misti Norris (of Small Brewpub) and New York-esque fine cuisine by Nilton Borges Jr. (Uchi, The Joule) have been among the featured draws at this venture founded by tech sales consultant Sean Granfield to connect fellow food lovers with cutting-edge chefs and purveyors. But be quick: First come, first served tickets routinely sell out within minutes of pre-announced times. $150 per person, register for details and the password by visiting the website

3 PLACES TO SEE AND BE SEEN

Madrina
The dinner rush at this French-Mexican restaurant is like a page torn straight from the society pages. You’ll spot a Hunt, a Ginsburg, some Crows, and a Jones or two. Troy Aikman has been seen here, as well as prominent industry people, like the Donohoe Brothers (who just helped open Sprezza) and chef Bruno Davaillon, who dines here regularly. If you can’t trust these names, who can you trust? 4216 Oak Lawn Ave., 469.513.2505

Montlake Cut
Dallas’ new weekday power-lunch resto is serving Gulf shrimp and chopped salads to some serious bigwigs—we’ve spotted financier T. Boone Pickens; owner of the Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones; business tycoon Ross Perot; and Captain America himself, Roger Staubach. It’s a tough reservation to score, but we’d say go ahead and try sitting at the bar—maybe some of that success will rub off on you. 8220 Westchester Drive, 214.739.8220

Nick & Sam’s Steakhouse
Around since 1999, this steakhouse has proven itself to be a Dallas staple for everyone from business men to the young and fabulous. But those who seem to love it most? A-list athletes! You’ll often see a Maverick or Cowboy and his entourage in one of those big booth banquettes—Tony Romo and the Dallas Stars’ Tyler Seguin are regulars. Even out-of-town sports stars make a pit stop—rumor is, A-Rod was just in sharing a steak! 3008 Maple Ave., 214.871.7444

3 BEST LATE NIGHT DINING SPOTS
Late night dining doesn’t have to mean swinging by a drive-thru window. These three foodie favorites keep their doors open into the early morning hours so you can end your night as stylishly as it began.

Gemma
Crispy veal sweetbreads ($15.50), grass-fed beef tartare ($16.75), smoked trout ($14), mussels ($14)—this is not your average after-hours menu. But from 10:30pm to 1:00am at Gemma, chef-owner Stephen Rogers offers a reverse happy hour and slinging plates of Dallas’ best dishes to a mix of restaurant industry folks and discerning foodies with a later bedtime. You’ll often spot art patrons and prominent partiers here after they’ve been photographed at the "it" party of the night. And, yes, you can find French fries, but they’re made with Kennebec potatoes and tossed with herbs ($8). Très chic. 2323 N. Henderson Ave., 214.370.9426

Velvet Taco
Tacos are a Texas tradition, and relaying the events of the evening over tacos even more so. Pull up a stool or carry out at this Dallas-born (and ever-expanding) minichain until 4am every day for corn- and flour-wrapped delights far from your usual Tex-Mex. Think crispy tofu, Cuban pork, grilled flank steak, ahi poke and red curry coconut queso (from $3.50). Tortillas are made fresh daily, and don’t forget the frozen margaritas—they’re made with fresh fruit and sorbet! 3012 N. Henderson Ave., 214.823.8358

Yama Sushi
Those in the know, know about this funky little Forest Lane Japanese eatery. Restaurant vets and late night revelers flock here for both the 2am closing time and the sushi. And the mouth-melting simmered pork belly ($6.75). And the Yellowtail collar ($14.95). And the fried chicken liver skewers ($3.75). Oh, and do not pass on the ramen (from $7.95)! Did we mention this adorable little neighborhood spot has some of the best Japanese food in town? Not your average diner food, huh? 8989 Forest Lane, 972.234.3474

TOP 3 BEST WINE LISTS
Fine dining isn’t just about food—wine is a component that enhances the experience. Here’s a look at the best restaurant wine programs in and around town.

LAW
For five years since 2011, the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas’ restaurant has been the sole Texas nominee for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program. Chalk that up to Master Sommelier James Tidwell’s sourcing and wine pairing acumen. Following the restaurant’s relaunch as LAW this spring, the talented Tidwell revamped the wine list to suit the menu’s modern Texas leanings. His 300 selections cover lots of ground, geographically and stylistically: cutting-edge wines to woo foodies; prominent labels; steakworthy, older vintages; and the best Texas wines. Save room for dessert wines like Madeira. 4150 MacArthur Blvd., 972.717.2420

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
The Dallas and Houston locations are the only Texas restaurants to receive Wine Spectator’s most prestigious Grand Award—for five straight years. Managing the wine program is Barbara Werley, one of the few master sommeliers in the country who works the floor nightly. Showing breadth and depth, the 3,000-label wine program features the world’s top producers, mature vintages, rare wines and exciting selections. 10477 Lombardy Lane, 214.366.2000

FT33
It takes some sleuthing to craft a wine program that’s cozy with Matt McCallister’s cutting-edge dishes. Wine Director and General Manager Jeff Gregory’s list of 180 wines includes unusual selections from small producers that may broaden your horizons. Although there are many classical wines on the list too, trying lesser-known, esoteric wines is part of the culinary adventure at FT33. The well-curated list earned the 74-seat restaurant a spot on Wine Enthusiast’s Best 100 Wine Restaurants in America for the past two years. 1617 Hi Line Drive, 214.741.2629

6 BEST DESSERTS

The Hospitality Sweet
Remember those orange sherbet Push Pops that ruled your childhood? These ingenious bakers have managed to stir up some sweet nostalgia with their hybrid cupcake-turned-push pops. They function just like the old treat, but they’re filled with layers of lime-margarita cake with butter cream, yellow butter cake with cookie dough filling and more. $4.50 each, 400 N Ervay St., 214.999.6704

Earnest Donuts
A dozen glazed? Too easy. You’ve gotta see these doughnuts to believe them. Try inventive flavors like matcha, s’mores, creme brulee, or Butterfinger, or order up a batch of custom doughnuts that can be made to look like anything from sushi to letters. Perfect for birthdays, special occasions and putting a smile on everyone’s face. Up to $3.50 per doughnut, 4740 State Highway 121, 214.469.1177

Society Bakery
These cupcakes (once voted top 10 in the nation by Ellen DeGeneres!) are moist, light and covered in a floral swirl of (shortening-free) icing—they are truly decadent. Chocolate salted caramel with caramel filling and red velvet with vanilla cream cheese icing are popular, but don’t hesitate to indulge in fun flavors like the PBJ or the Pink Champagne for a bubbly treat. $38 per dozen, 3610 Greenville Ave., 214.827.1411

Bisous Bisous
Macarons have had their moment in the sun (or temperature-controlled oven) for a while... so how to keep them exciting? Just ask this little patisserie, where they’re coming up with seasonal flavors, like August’s Ice Cream Social theme. Order the mint chocolate chip, cookies ’n’ cream and Neopolitan macarons, and skip the scoop. $2.25 per macaron, 3700 McKinney Ave., 214.613.3570

Susie Cakes
Old-fashioned layer cakes minus the mixes, artificial preservatives, high-fructose corn syrups or trans fats. These sentimental sweets are baked entirely from scratch with the finest ingredients, like slow-churned European-style butter and Guittard chocolate. Try our absolute favorite: the Vanilla Celebration with colorful sugar funfetti and signature retro-blue frosting. From $36, 6100 Luther Lane, 214.983.2253

Kessler Pie Co.
Though these pies taste traditional, they’re anything but. This Oak Cliff bakery makes its cutie pies in little jars so you can throw them right into your purse, pocket or picnic basket. I bet you never thought you’d need a pie on the go, but with flavors like Peachy Queen with peach schnapps-infused peaches, you’ll want one on you at all times. Plus, this month Kessler’s opening the doors to its new location, so fans can finally pick them up on a whim. From $5, 416 N. Tyler St., 469.877.6800

3 FEMALE CHEFS OF THE MOMENT
In a historically male-dominated industry, these three women are making headlines and bringing on the heat in Dallas kitchens... and their food is seriously sizzling! Move over, boys.

Angela Hernandez, Top Knot
The chef at Uchi’s laid-back lil’ sis upstairs is taking Asian fusion to a new level with influences from the Mediterranean to Latin America. Ditch your chopsticks and use your hands for items like crispy yucca chips dipped in edamame hummus, buttermilk-marinated and fried chicken, head-on Carta Fata shellfish—and enough Japanese whiskey and mezcal to knock you off your feet. Let's just call her—and Top Knot—the fun sibling. 2817 Maple Ave., 214.855.1354

Danyele McPherson, HG Sply Co. and Remedy
Don’t let the words "corporate chef" fool you: This hands-on cook is manning the kitchen at two restaurants. At Remedy, she’s whipping up wildly inventive dishes like griddled house "Spam" with sunny side fried eggs. At HG Sply, she’s overhauled the paleo menu for something more plant-based for the city’s vegetarians. Remedy, 2010 Greenville Ave., 469.294.4012; HG Sply Co., 2008 Greenville Ave., 469.334.0896

Gabriela McCormick, Fearing’s
Does Dean Fearing’s menu seem to have a more feminine touch? Look to the newly appointed, Texas-bred sous-chef who's found herself at the head of the line after six years with the team. A graduate of the Fearing’s school of Southwestern cooking, McCormick will play a big role in launching new menus and heading the new guest-chef program, so keep an eye on this gal. 2121 McKinney Ave., 214.922.4848

7 BEST MIXOLOGISTS

Bowen House, Reid Lewis
Served in a pretty brass pineapple tumbler the Tiger Millionaire is as delicious as it is beautiful. Reid Lewis' off-the-menu drink pairs gin, yellow chartreuse, canton and lemon juice shaken with sage and house made bitters for a transportive warm-weather cocktail. $11, 2614 Boll St., 214.484.1385

Cedar Grove, Trevor Landry
Try this new restaurant's vodka-based Flower Power. It's sweet and bubbly with a touch of house hibiscus syrup, lemon, orange flower water and prosecco. Bottoms up! $8, 4123 Cedar Springs Road, 214.522.3474

FT33, Jeff Gregory
This James Beard-recognized restaurant has a cocktail program that's as exciting as the food. We suggest Ellie Hought's refreshing Final Say, made with barrel-aged gin, oaked Chartreuse and lime. Its crisp flavor goes down easily on a sweltering Dallas day. $14, 1617 Hi Line Drive, 214.741.2629

Henry's Majestic, Alex Fletcher
Henry's Majestic Beverage Director Alex Fletcher rotates out its version of the Old Fashioned seasonally. This summer, try the traditional cocktail, which uses sake rice wine reduction as the sugar element. With High West double rye plus citrus oils, a touch of orange and angostura bitters, you've got a riff that's worth every last sip. $10, 4900 McKinney Ave., 469.893.9400

Drugstore Cowboy, Toby Wright
The name says it all. Order a Corpse Reviver to get you back on your feet. Sweet elements such as apple-flavored Calvados, botanical gin, almond- and ginger-tinged simple syrup, and falernum, paired with rich cognac, makes it a drink with depth. $10, 2721 Main St., 972.200.5635

Mansion Bar, Danny Caffell
Bartender Danny Caffell elevates the house gin and tonic by making the tonic in-house. He starts by soaking quinine-enriched cinchona bark, then builds the flavor with botanicals such as cardamon, coriander, all-spice, clove and anise. When paired with London dry gin, the result is heavenly. $16, 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., 214.559.2100

Quill Lounge, James Slater
To fit the sexy vibe of the surroundings, order the Senya Many Nights. Bartender James Slater mixes Pisco Portón, sake, yuzu juice and French tarragon syrup, and serves it up in a highball topped with a fresh strawberry. $13, 1628 Oak Lawn Ave., 214.484.8702