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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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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. All Good Cafe

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2934 Main St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 742-5362
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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.

2. Avila's

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4714 Maple Av
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 520-2700
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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.)

3. Bangkok City

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4301 Bryan Street
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 824-6200
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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.

4. Bolsa

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614 W. Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 367-9367
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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.

5. Cafe Modern

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3200 Darnell St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
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.

6. Cane Rosso

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2612 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 741-1188
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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.

7. Company Cafe

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2217 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 827-2233
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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.

8. Chicken Scratch

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2303 Pittman St.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 749-1112
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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.

9. Fearing's

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2121 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 922-4848
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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.

10. Garden Cafe

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5310 Junius Street
Dallas, TX 75214
(214) 887-8330
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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.

11. Good 2 Go Taco

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1146 Peavy Rd.
Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 668-0831
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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.

12. Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House

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1154 Peavy Rd
Dallas, TX 75218
(214) 324-3335
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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.

13. The Grape Restaurant

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2808 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 828-1981
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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.

14. Hattie's

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418 N. Bishop Ave.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 942-7400
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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.

15. Kalachandji's Restaurant & Palace

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5430 Gurley Ave.
Dallas, TX 75223
(214) 821-1048
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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.

16. Local

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2936 Elm Street
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 752-7500
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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.

17. Lockhart Smokehouse

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400 W Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 944-5521
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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.

18. Lucia

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408 W. 8th St.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 948-4998
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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.

19. Maple & Motor

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4810 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 522-4400
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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.

20. Meddlesome Moth

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1621 Oak Lawn Ave.
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 628-7900
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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.

21. Mesa

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118 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 941-4246
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Refined coastal Mexican cuisine, including amazing seafood dishes, served in a warm, rustic-chic setting.

22. Nonna Tata

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1400 W. Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104
(817) 332-0250
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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.

23. Oak

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1628 Oak Lawn Avenue
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 712-7400
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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.

24. Off-Site Kitchen

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2226 Irving Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 741-2226
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.)

25. Pecan Lodge

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1010 S Pearl Expy
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 748-8900
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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.

26. Pepe's & Mito's Mexican Cafe

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2911 Elm St
Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 741-1901
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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.

27. Pho Bang Restaurant

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3565 W Walnut Ste A
Dallas, TX 75042
(972) 487-6666
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.

28. Royal China

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6025 Royal Ln Ste 201
Dallas, TX 75230
(214) 361-1771
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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.

29. Saint Emilion

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3617 W. 7th St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 737-2781
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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.

30. Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

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2929 N Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 827-9900
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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.

31. Smoke

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901 Fort Worth Ave.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 393-4141
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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.

32. Spiral Diner & Bakery

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1101 N. Beckley Ave.
Dallas, TX 75203
(214) 948-4747
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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?

33. Tei-An

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1722 Routh St., Suite 110
Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 220-2828
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A minimalist shrine to fresh, impeccable Japanese food, Tei-An is perfect for a fancy dinner or a casual lunch of ramen.

34. Taqueria El Si Hay

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601 W. Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 941-4042
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.

35. Teppo Yakitori & Sushi Bar

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2014 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 826-8989
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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).

36. Urbano Cafe

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1419 N Fitzhugh Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 823-8550
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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

37. Wingfield's

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2615 S. Beckley Ave.
Dallas, TX 75224
(214) 943-5214
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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.

38. Woodshed Smokehouse

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3201 Riverfront Dr.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 740-8835
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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.

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1. All Good Cafe

2934 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226
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.
2934 Main St
Dallas, TX 75226

2. Avila's

4714 Maple Av, Dallas, TX 75219
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.)
4714 Maple Av
Dallas, TX 75219

3. Bangkok City

4301 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75204
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.
4301 Bryan Street
Dallas, TX 75204

4. Bolsa

614 W. Davis St., Dallas, TX 75208
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.
614 W. Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208

5. Cafe Modern

3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, TX 76107
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.
3200 Darnell St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107

6. Cane Rosso

2612 Commerce St., Dallas, TX 75226
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.
2612 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226

7. Company Cafe

2217 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX 75206
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.
2217 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206

8. Chicken Scratch

2303 Pittman St., Dallas, TX 75208
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.
2303 Pittman St.
Dallas, TX 75208

9. Fearing's

2121 McKinney Ave., Dallas, TX 75201
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.
2121 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75201

10. Garden Cafe

5310 Junius Street, Dallas, TX 75214