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The 38 Essential Dallas Restaurants, October 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 latest incarnation of the 38 brings the additions of a legendary chili destination and a couple Park Cities staples. As always, we've covered the spectrum: From barbecue and burgers to Japanese and Tex-Mex, from casual lunch spots to date night destinations.

Ready to throw 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 to qualify.



2013 Map History

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

April:
Added: Jimmy's Food Store, Lanny's Alta Cocina, Tacos La Banqueta
Removed: All Good Cafe, Saint Emilion, Taqueria El Si Hay

July:
Added: Babe's Chicken Dinner House, S&D Oyster Company, Stampede 66
Removed: Company Cafe, Pho Bang, Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar

October:
Added: Highland Park Pharmacy, Neighborhood Services, Tolbert's
Removed: Meddlesome Moth, Oak, Tacos La Banqueta

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 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.)

2. Babe's Chicken Dinner House

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104 N Oak St
Roanoke, TX 76262
(817) 491-2900
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Babe's has several locations, but this is the one that started it all. Some of the city's finest fried chicken is served up family-style (meaning, you can eat as much as your stomach will hold) alongside down-home sides like mashed potatoes, corn and salad. [Photo: Emily C./Yelp]

3. Bangkok City

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4301 Bryan Street
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 824-6200
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This small, unassuming East Dallas staple serves up some of the finest Thai in town, from tom kha gai and pad Thai to many curry varieties and perfect sticky rice. Consider yourself lucky if you live within their delivery radius.

4. Bolsa

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614 W. Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 367-9367
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Farm-to-table pioneer Bolsa burst onto the scene in 2008, and the Oak Cliff dining scene hasn't been the same since. A relaxed dining room, a constantly evolving menu by chef Jeff Harris, and a great covered patio keep folks from the neighborhood (and beyond) coming back night after night.

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, Deep Ellum's Cane Rosso also boasts one of the city's best dog-friendly patios. Besides amazing pizzas like the Delia with housemade bacon marmalade, there's also excellent sandwiches and pasta dishes.

7. 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.

8. 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. Dishes like filet mignon with chicken-fried lobster tail and Dr. Pepper-braised short ribs are the epitome of Texan food.

9. 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, making Garden Cafe a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. Jimmy's Food Store

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4901 Bryan St.
Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 823-6180
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Besides being an amazing Italian market and deli, Jimmy's is home to some of the best damn sandwiches this city has to offer. Order up an Italian Stallion or a Cuban and an espresso shot (or a glass of red wine) and kick back at one of the tiny tables.

15. Highland Park Pharmacy

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3229 Knox St
Dallas, TX 75205
(214) 521-2126
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Haute cuisine it is not, but for a little taste of nostalgia, grab a stool at this old-school pharmacy's soda fountain counter and order up a chocolate malt and grilled cheese sandwich (or an orange sherbet freeze and tuna salad on white). There's a reason it's been going strong for 100 years.

16. 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.

17. Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana

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3405 W. 7th St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 850-9996
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Lanny P. Lancarte has been serving up his unique Mexican with a Mediterranean flair at this high-end Fort Worth spot since 2005. The grandson of Joe T. Garcia, the food here couldn't be more different from the typical Tex-Mex at that other Fort Worth institution.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. 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.

23. Neighborhood Services

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5027 W Lovers Ln
Dallas, TX 75209
(214) 350-5027
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Nick Badovinus' O.G. NHS on Lovers Lane is without a doubt a neighborhood staple: Just try and get a table on a Thursday night during prime dinner time without a reservation, we dare you. No matter -- it's worth the wait for creative, always well-executed fare like green chile crab dip, what might be the best wedge salad in town, or a killer flat iron with impeccable French fries, all in a cozy, dimly lit setting where the service is always top-notch. [Photo: Donald P./Foursquare]

24. 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.

25. 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.)

26. 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.

27. 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.

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. S & D Oyster Company

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2701 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75204
(214) 880-0111
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Open since 1976, this quaint Uptown seafood joint is a bastion of professional service and great oysters, not to mention the New Orleans-style barbecue shrimp, hush puppies, and po'boys.

30. 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.

31. 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?

32. Stampede 66

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1717 McKinney Ave, Ste 100
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 550-6966
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If you've got family visiting from out of state or just want an undeniably Texan dining experience, head to Stephan Pyles' newest restaurant for honey fried chicken, a bone-in cowboy ribeye, or tacos with housemade tortillas.

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. 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).

35. Tolbert's

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423 S Main St
Grapevine, TX 76051
(817) 421-4888
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If you consider yourself a chili enthusiast, you damn well better have eaten at Tolbert's -- no excuses. Dallas journalist Frank X. Tolbert was what you might call chili-obsessed, even writing a book called A Bowl of Red before opening Tolbert's in 1976. The restaurant has since moved to downtown Grapevine, but the legendary chili lives on.

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. 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

2. Babe's Chicken Dinner House

104 N Oak St, Roanoke, TX 76262
Babe's has several locations, but this is the one that started it all. Some of the city's finest fried chicken is served up family-style (meaning, you can eat as much as your stomach will hold) alongside down-home sides like mashed potatoes, corn and salad. [Photo: Emily C./Yelp]
104 N Oak St
Roanoke, TX 76262

3. Bangkok City

4301 Bryan Street, Dallas, TX 75204
This small, unassuming East Dallas staple serves up some of the finest Thai in town, from tom kha gai and pad Thai to many curry varieties and perfect sticky rice. Consider yourself lucky if you live within their delivery radius.
4301 Bryan Street
Dallas, TX 75204

4. Bolsa

614 W. Davis St., Dallas, TX 75208
Farm-to-table pioneer Bolsa burst onto the scene in 2008, and the Oak Cliff dining scene hasn't been the same since. A relaxed dining room, a constantly evolving menu by chef Jeff Harris, and a great covered patio keep folks from the neighborhood (and beyond) coming back night after night.
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, Deep Ellum's Cane Rosso also boasts one of the city's best dog-friendly patios. Besides amazing pizzas like the Delia with housemade bacon marmalade, there's also excellent sandwiches and pasta dishes.
2612 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226

7. 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

8. 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. Dishes like filet mignon with chicken-fried lobster tail and Dr. Pepper-braised short ribs are the epitome of Texan food.
2121 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75201

9. Garden Cafe

5310 Junius Street, Dallas, TX 75214
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, making Garden Cafe a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
5310 Junius Street
Dallas, TX 75214

10. Good 2 Go Taco

1146 Peavy Rd., Dallas, TX 75218