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Feb 5, 2009 03:02 PM

best chow DFW neighborhood

Random question..... Fiance and I don't cook. Which means we sometimes go out to eat twice in one day. On those days we hit up the casual, under $40 with tip kind of everyday places that make the weekly rotation. We also do one nice $75-$125 dinner a week. We're also big fans of upscale grocery stores that have a killer take out sections. If we were to choose a DFW place to live solely based on food options, where would you guide us? Same question for all those that answer too, where would you choose to live solely based on food and why?

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  1. Plano/Richardson...they have it all!

    Central Market & Whole Foods and not to far away from Market Street

    They also have a Sprouts and NewFlower Market

    As for those of us who like ethnic food probably the best Thai in town is at Jasmine Thai, best regional Chinese at Little Sichuan, trendy Chinese that hasn't hit Dallas but will Mr. Shabu Shabu (popular in LA), and great Chinese market at Asia World all in Plano.

    Plano also has a great seafood place in SeaBreeze (casual but fresh seafood at affordable prices)

    A very good Carribean place - A Taste of the Islands run by a couple from Guyana. Great jerk chicken and even better oxtails! They also have very friendly customers who usually strike up a conversation or invite you to a game of dominoes (even if you are a newbie).

    Jorgs and Bavarian Grill will get your German and Austrian hungers taken care of. I personally like Jorg's a bit better can be pricey but it is worth it. The accordian player at Jorg's is even friendly and we chatted with him on a very packed night. He is actually Polish and gave us a recommendation for a place in Plano - For You European Cafe and Deli....never been ther but looks great to me!

    The downtown Plano has Kelly's Eastside...not my favorite place but I could have hit it on a bad night. There is also Sheik's for Lebanese.

    Also further East is Mr. Wok which has two menus....Americanized and more authentic Chinese.

    Plano is also very close to Richardson for more
    Chinese - Jeng Chi for dumplings, Kirin Court for dim sum and other authenthic Chinese fare, First Chinese BBQ for Taiwanese style BBQ meats (pork, duck and chicken)...yes Plano has one but the one in Richardson is better

    Vietnamese at Audelia and Walnut is Hong Kong Supermarket, Bistro B, and La Me (my favorite for Banh Mi (sandwiches) and Bun Cha Ha Noi - just have to try the dish) also at Plano and Walnut is Kien Giang for great salads and spicy lemongrass froglegs, and Belt Line and Jupiter for Nam Hua great seafood hotpot, banh xeo (crepe), crab rangoon freshly made, and bbq goat

    Lebanese at Afrah is awesome for a light meal that won't weigh you down.

    Taqueria El Fuego on Campbell and Plano Rd is awesome for an authentic style Mexican meal.

    I wished I lived in either so I wouldn't have to drive there all the time

    As you can see a lot of upside not a lot of downside also several large companies have had massive layoff in Plano/Richardson, not good for us...good for buyers though. I would say Lakewood/Deep Ellum/Uptown the second best...more pricey, less ethnic (on a broad scale), and a few people with a less than desirable attitude frequent these areas is why I put it second.

    6 Replies
    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

      Your extensive restaurant blows me away... I am curious, how often do you eat out!

      1. re: FlowerMoundGirl

        Once or twice per week at most.....and never over $30. Seabreeze, Jorg's and Bavarian Grill can get more expensive so I save those for special occasions.

        I try a lot of different dishes each Vietnamese/Chinese/Thai you can afford to try three dishes for $25-30 and have enough for left overs. Most serve family style. I also ask a lot of questions like: where they (restaurant waiters/owners) eat, what they have, what is good and fresh that week at their restaurant, ask them if I were in "name of country or province" what would I have that you could make here. It also helps to learn a bit of the pronunciations of dishes so you can order in the native tongue. I know most of the meats, salads, noodle dishes in Vietnamese just from going quite a bit. Same holds true for Thai and Indian.

        Noodlepie a blog from Saigon is a great tool for Vietnamese dishes

        Enjoy Thai Food is one I used to look at dishes to see if they look appetizing (I do the same with Indian menus

        Other Thai foo blogs...some with You Tube cooking videos and links to others

        Chez Pim from San Fran is very good

        For Indian cooking videos this is a great site

        Someone kept posting this the other night...I pull up the menu and the use a separate window to look at google pics of each dish. I know most of the Indian words for what is in the dish...just from years of going.

        Nothing special just really into food and open to different cuisines. Being open leads you to expand your possibilities in the kitchen so I can recreate the dishes I have had at home.

      2. re: LewisvilleHounder

        Thanks for the tip about the Carribbean place. I was gonna also chime in with the majority of the restaurants you had mentioned. You summed up Mr. Wok pretty well too, just remember to ask for a menu with the more authentic Chinese/Japanese dishes. I love their ramen.

        A couple more to add:
        On the subject of American food, Kelly's Eastside isn't bad. I also like JC's in Plano for a burger.

        King's Noodle is one of the cheapest places to eat around Richardson. Always packed full of people and you'll walk out quite satisfied. I recommend the Zha Jieng Mein.

        1. re: LewisvilleHounder

          Would love to see this analysis for Lakewood/Deep Ellum/Uptown!

          1. re: LewisvilleHounder

            Don't forget Big Easy. My friends from NOLA say its the closest thing to home. Don't know
            if that's true, but its very good.

            There is also a large number of mid-eastern restaurants that have popped up in the
            last few years.

            Chicago Street and Chicago's Finest for good pizza. Grimaldi's is just up in Allen.

            And you have the Shops at Legacy.

          2. For Uptown/Downtown, here's what we usually hit:

            Under $40 (assuming without alcohol):

            Upscale take-out: Eatzi's. We like it better than Whole Foods, but that's an option too.

            Affordable Sushi/Vietnamese/Chinese: Oishii. Expect a long wait during prime lunch and dinner hours as this place is always crowded. Best tasting Pho soup in the area.

            Brunch/Desserts: La Duni Latin Cafe. Two locations uptown.

            Cuban: La Cubanita. Just discovered this place and was pleasantly surprised. BIG portions.

            Salvadoran/Tex Mex: Gloria's. Local popular chain. There are better choices for Tex-Mex, so I'd avoid that part of the menu.

            Vietnamese: Green Papaya for Americanized dishes. The Green Papaya salad with shrimp and pork is pretty good and almost authentic tasting. Avoid the Pho - go to Oishii instead. For authentic dishes, Vietnam Restaurant. Decent lunch buffet. Pho isn't as good as Oishii, but they have many more soups to choose from.

            Thai: Bankok City for more traditional. Manow for upscale Thai. The Mint for very Americanized Thai. Toy's cafe for more tofu and seafood options.

            Cheese: Scardello and fresh panini's for lunch.

            Indian fusion: Bengal Coast. Not authentic, but we've had some good dishes here. Really like the Mumbai Street Salad and Jungle curry. Kabobs can be hit or miss.

            South American: Zaguan. We're not huge fans, but many people love this place. The Arepas are good and don't know anywhere else to get them.

            Home Cooking: Mama's Daughter's Diner. Cheap southern down home cooking.

            BBQ: Baby Back Shak for ribs. BW's and AL's are close by and recommended on these boards but I've never been.

            Bistro: Parigi. Emphasis on locally sourced food and sustainable products.

            Vegetarian: Cosmic Cafe. Haven't been in years, but it's the only all vegetarian place around, so figured I'd mention it.

            Tex-Mex: Avila's and Mia's. Both hole in the wall places with great food.

            Pizza: Grimaldi's and Campania.

            $75+ meals:

            Japanese: Tei An. There's a lot of great press on this place if you do a search. Very unique. The only place in Dallas to get fresh buckwheat noodles. The decor is exquisite.

            Sushi: Yutaka. Most people will agree they have some the best sushi in town. If you're into Sake, Kenichi now has one of the best Sake lists in the US as well as excellent sushi.

            Italian - Nonna. Great homemade pastas.

            Home Cooking: Screen Door. There are a lot of mixed reviews on this place, but their Shrimp and Grits and Cherry Cobbler were some of the best dishes I had last year.

            Special Occasion: Lola. Everything is amazingly well prepared. Great affordable wine list.

            I love living in this area, but if I had to choose a place to live solely on food, I'd pick Garland since I'm crazy about Vietnamese food. :-)

            1. In Dallas you've got to think more about accessibility than neighborhoods. Unfortunate, but true. Uptown or just east of it really puts you in the best position to get where you will want to be. You can get to Richardson easily by 75 or DART and you're not far from Oak Cliff. .

              1. I'd probably yield to the northern burbs overall too, but Oak Cliff has a pretty good food situation going on as well. There is the Davis/Jefferson corridor with some of the better authentic Mexican food in the area. Bishop Arts/Davis St. with trendier, but also good spots like Tillman’s, Hattie’s, Kavala and Veracruz Cafe. New hot spots in the area with good fare like Bolsa and Eno's.

                Oak Cliff has some adventures too like Elaine's and Wingfield's. And you're never more than a couple of miles ($10-12 cab ride for us drinkers) from some of the nicest upscale restaurants in town; Stephan Pyles, Fearings, etc.

                Unless you cook a lot of tripe, the grocery situation is a bit of a downside, but the farmers market is very close, there is an Urban Market downtown too, and Jimmy's Italian market is five minutes away.

                I agree with kindofabigdeal about accessibility. Although the Asian is lacking within the immediate area, within a 10 minute drive you can be in the Asian, primarily Korean, area around Stemmons and Royal, which has some good BBQ places like Seoul Garden, or Vietnamese places, like Viet Nam on the eastern perimeter of downtown along Ross. Same goes for Whole Foods/Central Market.

                5 Replies
                1. re: sike101


                  Thanks for pointing out Oak Cliff to our out of towners. You really do a great job doing so. I personally like Oak Cliff a lot and if I were to move ot Dallas proper that is where I would be. The energy down there is just getting going and I think over the next few years you are going to see that become the big hot spot as the developers of Uptown and Victory Park missed the mark. I believe most of us who grew up here want to see the old buildings down in Oak Cliff revived instead of pristine ones. Oak Cliff is starting to get some interesting restaurants (I really like the idea of Bolsa, haven't been) and wish there were more, especially the asian cuisines. I like the idea of places that use local ingredients like Bolsa.

                  You did happen to also miss Sweet Georgia Browns, La Palapa Veracruzana, El Ranchito, La Calle Doce, Charco Broiler, La Hechizera and South Dallas Cafe in your mix.

                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                    Thanks for the tip on South Dallas Cafe and Sweet Georgia Browns, will have to give them a try. I've been down here for a few years now and love it; the people dispel every stereotype of Dallasites.
                    The only thing I really miss is a good Indian place nearby (tips?), but as a native Texan who lived outside Texas for a decade, I'd rather miss that than good Mexican, which in Oak Cliff probably warrants its own post.
                    I still haven't tried La Palapa (the wife has a temporary, but very excessive concern about food borne illness, so won’t stray off the beaten path), but it's on my list, Calle Doce has met my huachinango fix quite well. I guess we can claim Fuel City taqueria as well, which Texas Monthly says has the "best tacos" in Texas. I’m guessing some hounders might differ. There is a taqueria stand on Davis St called El Si Hay that consistently has large non-gringo crowds lined up in the evenings, typically a good sign, has anyone tried that?
                    Bolsa is awesome, and worth the trip. It's still little busy to make it a very frequent place for me, great for them though.
                    Only other downside is no liquor/beer sales. But as a Dallas cop told me the other day, that’s not such a bad thing.

                    1. re: sike101

                      I can't tell you how many times I sat on the patio of Bolsa only to look across at the always pacekd El Si Hay and be amazed at how packed it stays. We finally went to Oak Cliff specifically to try their tacos. I'm a Fuel City girl and absolutely love their al pastor and pica dillo tacos. But I must say that the al pastor at El Si Hay was pure heaven. They had that good citrus flavor and little cripsy bits of pork. Their salsa left my mouth on fire for a good 15 minutes. I think I have a new favorite taco stand.

                      1. re: shooper73

                        second your remarks on El Si Hay....awesome tacos. The Oak Cliff merchant who touted me on the place said they were the best tacos ever, and I'm so glad she gave me such a strong recommendation. It is a very humble place, but I stopped because she seemed so committed to the place. Awesome tacos.

                    2. re: LewisvilleHounder

                      Agreed. Even though it's close by, we always forget about Oak Cliff. :-(

                      We've tried Bolsa and overall thought it was pretty good. Only downside was my requested rare steak came out medium well and they mistakenly (many times) told me that grass-fed beef can't be cooked rare. Another person at the table had them redo his steak and it came out perfectly rare. It was Amazingly crowded when we went, so I think that was part of the problem.

                  2. I'm not leaving Richardson as long as we live in DFW! because of all the ethnic restaurants in the area.

                    In addition to the restaurants Lewisvillehounder mentioned and BigEasy, we routinely go to
                    -Addis Abeba (Ethiopian) --75/Beltline
                    -Betchee's Brazil, formerly Brazil Brasliero (Brazilian)--75/Arapaho

                    -Ali Baba (Arabic)--75/Campbell
                    -Umeko (Taiwanese)--75/Legacy

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: kuidaore

                      But this is coming from someone who packs a bag to go to Plano

                      1. re: kindofabigdeal

                        You have a good memory! I go beyond Parker now, though, for Umeko. Also, ASII is worth a once-a-month visit! I haven't heard of a good restaurant in So. OK ;-)

                        1. re: kuidaore

                          ASII is now Super G Mart.....haven't been in over a month...slacker!

                          1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                            I was there last month (about a month ago)! It was still ASII then, I thought.

                            1. re: kuidaore

                              It's still owned or whatever by Assi because they still sell kimchee and such under the Assi label, but the name is "Super G" now for whatever reason. Honestly I think they are losing out bad to Asia World because that place is more and more packed every time I go and Assi/Super G is never crowded, even on Saturdays. They just don't have great selection or prices and while some of their produce is good, not all of it is so you wind up short on one or two items sometimes.

                              PS to the OP, I agree with Oak Cliff and Plano/Richardson...imo Uptown and Addison are vastly overrated.

                              1. re: luniz

                                I have to agree with Kuidaor, Richardson is pretty dang good. I'm lucky enought to live downtown and work in E. Richardson. I frequent: Pho Bac (Beltline/Plano Rd.), Afrah, King Noodle, El Fuego,Chemeli, 1st Chinese BBQ, Sushi Sake, Cuquita (now that the one on Henderson is gone), Bistro B, Ali Baba,Kabob and Kurry, Chemeli, 14st. Liquid Co for a good cheesburger in a real bar.

                                1. re: J.R.

                                  We've got to try Chameli. We always wondered about that place.
                                  Don't you think something happened to 1st Chinese in Richardson? We hadn't been there for months (because Umeko is THE Chinese place for us now) and went back this week. Our favorite dishes (Young Chow Fried Rice and BBQ Pork soft noodle) aren't the same anymore. We aren't going back there anymore.

                                  1. re: kuidaore


                                    Go across the street to Kings (nothing over $6.75 on the menu) and plentiful. My wife and I tried the Za Jiang Mein and the noodle soup with pork sauce and boiled peanuts.
                                    Za Jiang - yes - probably will become a crave dish. pork and bean curd stir fried without being overly oily with an addictive sauce
                                    Noodle soup - emphatic no (very bland pork broth and no salt...maybe how it is supposed to be?)
                                    Peanuts - yes (taste more like beans with a slight hint of Chinese 5 spice in the background)

                                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                      David loves King's Noodle. He likes the cucumber dish. We tried most of the appetizers(?) there. I like the dry noodle, which is very similar to the noodle I had in Taipei a long time ago.
                                      That night we debated between FCB and King's and we went for Young Chow Fried Rice. A mistake!