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The 38 Essential Dallas Restaurants, January 2013

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It's that time once again: The Eater 38 has returned with a quarterly update. For the uninitiated, this is a map intended to help answer that age-old question, "Can you recommend a restaurant ...?"

The first 38 of 2013 has been augmented to add a worthy new spot, as well as some deserving neighborhood staples. As always, we've covered the spectrum: From barbecue and burgers to Japanese and Tex-Mex, casual lunch spots to date night destinations, from as far north as Richardson to way out in Fort Worth.

IN: Hattie's, Meddlesome Moth, Royal China, Woodshed Smokehouse
OUT: First Chinese BBQ, Oddfellows, Maxim's, Rise No. 1

Ready to thrown down the gauntlet because we omitted your favorite place? We're always up for lively discussion, so hit us up via the tipline or let us know in the comments. Perhaps we'll take your advice and include it on the next Eater 38 update. Remember: Restaurants must have been open for six months and generally shouldn't be classified as "fine dining."


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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

All Good Cafe

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If you want a chicken-fried steak and some farmers' market veggies or huevos rancheros in a casual setting that's downright Austin-esque, this is the place.

Avila's

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Tiny, family-owned Avila's is the best place to take any out-of-towner who wonders what all the fuss is about when it comes to Tex-Mex. (We recommend the chile relleno. And the brisket tacos. And, well, everything else.)

Bangkok City

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Their Tom Yum Gai (super spicy chicken) soup may actually be the cure for the common cold. Their Kiss Me! Garlic bowls are also the cure for the common make-out, but with a full belly and happy heart, you won't really mind.
Graham Dodds had a fantastic run as Bolsa's executive chef, and we're excited to see what Jeff Harris does with the organic-friendly, locally sourced Oak Cliff restaurant.

Cafe Modern

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As if the art of the Modern and the architecture of Tadao Ando didn't satisfy enough, Cafe Modern offers an equally exquisite seasonal menu that chef Dena Peterson builds from local ingredients. Don't visit the Modern without eating there too.

Cane Rosso

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The finest of Dallas' Verace Pizza Napoletana joints, Cane Rosso also boasts one of the city's best dog-friendly patios. Italian Master Pizzaiolo Dino Santonicola recently joined their staff, and we expect big things.

Company Cafe

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Lowest Greenville restaurant specializing in gluten-free and healthier fare like grass-fed beef proves to be a magnet for anyone looking to brunch like a pro.

Chicken Scratch

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The massive yard with picnic tables, a stage and hopscotch makes this a neighborhood destination for young folks and families alike. The food is homey but high-quality with inventive twists like spiced oregano honey to drizzle over crisp fried chicken and homemade popsicles.

Fearing's

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Dean Fearing's eponymous bastion of fancified Southern cuisine is (very politely, very gently) slap-yo-mama good. And the Dean of Southwestern Cuisine was recently honored by the CIA (the food one) for his contributions to the culinary landscape.

Garden Cafe

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The Woottons don't call their place the Garden Cafe for nothing: They've been growing the ingredients for their home-style cooking right out in the backyard for years and years.

Good 2 Go Taco

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From humble beginnings as a gas station taco stand, Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare grew Good2Go into a freestanding store that serves inventive, high-quality tacos filled with everything from vegetable curry to meatloaf.

Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House

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This list of burgers demands to be conquered, line by line. The beer pairings are perfection and the hipster- and neighbor-laden patio is a welcoming place come happy hour or dinnertime.

The Grape Restaurant

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Brian Luscher doesn't let the fact that he makes one of Texas' finest burgers allow him to phone it in with the rest of his classy and classic menu, featuring housemade charcuterie and a constantly changing chalkboard menu. It doesn't hurt that chef de cuisine Danyele McPherson just appeared on Top Chef, either.

Hattie's

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A Bishop Arts mainstay long before the neighborhood was the hippest dining destination in town, Hattie's has been serving Southern classics like fried chicken and shrimp 'n grits in an upscale white-tablecloth setting for 20 years.

Kalachandji's Restaurant & Palace

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Located inside a Hare Krishna palace, Kalachandji's is from-the-soul vegetarian Indian food cooked fresh daily, buffet-style. Eat in a sanctuary-like dining room or their lush outdoor garden.
Tracy Miller's hidden gem of a Deep Ellum restaurant has long been a favorite for its simple yet delicious dishes and sexy retro-modern decor.

Lockhart Smokehouse

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Lockhart Smokehouse does nothing halfway with their finely tuned, Texas-style smoked meats which require no help from such niceties as forks, making it one of the best spots in town to grab a cold beer and watch a Rangers game.
A table at Lucia is one of the toughest reservations in Dallas, not because they're saving space for snobby VIPs, but because David Uygur's homespun Italian restaurant only serves sixteen tables each night.

Maple & Motor

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Jack Perkins' burger joint serves a diverse and hungry crowd in their Medical District digs, where workers of all-colored collars come for juicy burgers, well-seasoned fries, and cold beer.

Meddlesome Moth

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Meddlesome Moth pioneered the gastropub movement in Dallas, and it remains head and shoulders above the rest, with food that's better than ever under seasoned chef David McMillan and a breathtaking beer selection.
Refined coastal Mexican cuisine, including amazing seafood dishes, served in a warm, rustic-chic setting.

Nonna Tata

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The Northern Italian food that comes out of this kitchen tastes like its cooked by someone's grandmother, because it is. The tiny space doesn't take reservations, but it is BYOB.
Oak has been the talk of the city since it opened, and for good reason: Jason Maddy's plates are works of art, served in a comfortably luxe setting without a hint of pretension.

Off-Site Kitchen

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People in the know go to Off-Site Kitchen for dirt-cheap, delicious lunches. The burgers have been the subject of much praise since it opened, and the 48-hour cracked pepper brisket sandwich is the stuff dreams are made of. (Plus, they have Kool-Aid and candy bars in the fridge.)

Pecan Lodge

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Inside the Dallas Farmers Market is arguably Dallas' finest barbecue joint. Don't miss the juicy pulled pork, crusty, smoky brisket and that fabulous mac and cheese.

Pepe's & Mito's Mexican Cafe

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This long-standing Deep Ellum Tex-Mex institution continues to pack in crowds nightly for home-style dishes like albondigas, combo plates and enchiladas.

Pho Bang Restaurant

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At the aptly named Pho Bang, the pho is bangin', a textbook perfect example of the brothy Vietnamese soup ready for customization with herbs, sriracha, and lime.

Royal China

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A Dallas mainstay for over 20 years, Royal China continues to wow loyal diners with xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and hand-pulled noodles.

Saint Emilion

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Proclaimed the best restaurant in DFW by the hallowed Zagat guide, Saint Emilion has been serving classic French cuisine in Cowtown for 25 years.

Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

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Eating at Sissy's is like eating at your great-aunt's house, if your aunt had impeccable taste in china and a personal chef. Flawless fried chicken and fresh updated versions of classic Southern sides like layered salad make Sissy's an ideal destination when you want to impress without intimidating.
The historic Belmont Hotel's Smoke restaurant is the barbecue baby of Tim Byres, who traveled the U.S. learning from meat masters, bringing his knowledge back to Dallas at one of the city's best-received and best-executed restaurants.

Spiral Diner & Bakery

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Fresh salads, hangover-curing migas and pancakes, juicy burgers, and fantastic milkshakes and baked goods; oh, and did we mention it's 100 percent vegan?
A minimalist shrine to fresh, impeccable Japanese food, Tei-An is perfect for a fancy dinner or a casual lunch of ramen.

Taqueria El Si Hay

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The elotes man in front of El Si Hay serves up one of the best versions in town, cutting the corn off the cob to order; it's a great precursor to lengua or barbacoa tacos.

Teppo Yakitori & Sushi Bar

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A Lower Greenville mainstay, Teppo offers incredibly fresh sushi and rotating offerings of tasty bivalves like razor clams and oysters in a sleek but cozy atmosphere. Don't miss the yakitori, grilled skewers of chicken or more exotic choices like beef hearts (or the fancy Japanese toilet).

Urbano Cafe

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The epitome of a neighborhood restaurant, Urbano offers inspired and fresh nightly chalkboard specials with locally sourced ingredients in a tiny, cozy setting. The BYOB policy makes it an affordable weeknight choice

Wingfield's

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Don't try to go back to work after a Wingfield's burger. Just don't--they're absolutely massive and greasy in the best possible way. Word to the wise: call in your order first, because there's not much standing room available.

Woodshed Smokehouse

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Tim Love's shrine to smoked foods on the banks of the Trinity River is a must-visit for out-of-towners; don't miss the camp bread with "pit master fat" or the brisket-stuffed piquillo peppers.

All Good Cafe

If you want a chicken-fried steak and some farmers' market veggies or huevos rancheros in a casual setting that's downright Austin-esque, this is the place.

Avila's

Tiny, family-owned Avila's is the best place to take any out-of-towner who wonders what all the fuss is about when it comes to Tex-Mex. (We recommend the chile relleno. And the brisket tacos. And, well, everything else.)

Bangkok City

Their Tom Yum Gai (super spicy chicken) soup may actually be the cure for the common cold. Their Kiss Me! Garlic bowls are also the cure for the common make-out, but with a full belly and happy heart, you won't really mind.

Bolsa

Graham Dodds had a fantastic run as Bolsa's executive chef, and we're excited to see what Jeff Harris does with the organic-friendly, locally sourced Oak Cliff restaurant.

Cafe Modern

As if the art of the Modern and the architecture of Tadao Ando didn't satisfy enough, Cafe Modern offers an equally exquisite seasonal menu that chef Dena Peterson builds from local ingredients. Don't visit the Modern without eating there too.

Cane Rosso

The finest of Dallas' Verace Pizza Napoletana joints, Cane Rosso also boasts one of the city's best dog-friendly patios. Italian Master Pizzaiolo Dino Santonicola recently joined their staff, and we expect big things.

Company Cafe

Lowest Greenville restaurant specializing in gluten-free and healthier fare like grass-fed beef proves to be a magnet for anyone looking to brunch like a pro.

Chicken Scratch

The massive yard with picnic tables, a stage and hopscotch makes this a neighborhood destination for young folks and families alike. The food is homey but high-quality with inventive twists like spiced oregano honey to drizzle over crisp fried chicken and homemade popsicles.

Fearing's

Dean Fearing's eponymous bastion of fancified Southern cuisine is (very politely, very gently) slap-yo-mama good. And the Dean of Southwestern Cuisine was recently honored by the CIA (the food one) for his contributions to the culinary landscape.