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About to make my 1st of many visits to the DFW/Denton area and need some help

My twin sister just moved to Denton and I'm going to visit her in a couple of weeks.
I've been reading lots of the previous posts and have a list of places to try... Babe's, Amici's, the Thai place in Denton and others. I've been cutting/pasting into a list. But, I need a little more specific help...

My sis just bought a new house. She sold most everything before moving, so we'll be doing lots of SHOPPING all over the suburbs North of DFW... Plano/Carrollton/Lewisville/etc... We need more ideas of good places for both lunch and dinner in those areas, as well as close to Denton. On this trip, I'm not really looking for upscale, though we might do that one night. We are both adventuresome eaters, both omnivores, but tend to like more fish/veg and not so much heavy meat. I really wanted to try Loft 610, but see it has closed and maybe reopened as something else?

I 'll be arriving at Love Field 7 pm on a Saturday night. We need a good place to stop for dinner on the way back to Denton. My 20-something musician nephew will be with us that night. So, we'd like something casual, but good food, relaxed/fun, not stuffy.

Ideas for us??? Bring it on! I'll be visiting the area a lot in the coming months/years.

I promise to post a recap after my trip. :-)

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Amici
1022 S Broadway St, Carrollton, TX 75006

Loft 610
5760 State Highway 121 Ste 175, Plano, TX 75024

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  1. Denton:
    Andaman is the Thai place. Note that none of the items ordered on the link below are on the menu, but you can call ahead and they'll make 'em for you (I'd especially ask for the khao soi).
    http://www.madewithair.com/?p=431

    Keiichi (sushi/Italian): My favorite sushi restaurant in the whole metroplex. In my opinion, this would be the perfect place for you and the sister to splurge on a nicer dinner.
    Before he opened this restaurant, Keiichi Nagano was a chef for Arcodoro/Pomodoro, which explains the Italian dishes on the menu. Make sure to call ahead to get reservations at the main bar, otherwise you'll be sitting at the back bar. The food's still just as good but you get minimal interaction with Kei - obviously being face to face with the sushi chef is an important part of a good sushi experience. I'm a big fan of the way the rice is prepared there and as far as I know, they are the only sushi restaurant in the area where real wasabi is the norm. Yeah that's right: all sushi items are served with fresh grated wasabi.
    http://www.madewithair.com/?p=332

    You can then bar hop around Fry Street, check out the Angry Friar for fish and chips sold out of a double decker bus. Most the bars are ok with you bringing food in. I've also heard reports there are more mobile vendors popping up around that area.

    Another good thread to reference:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678491

    In Carrollton I'd recommend:
    Colombian: El Portal is a Colombian bakery, and Casa Vieja is a good restaurant.
    Peruvian: Inca's Cafe (kickass ceviche). El Fogon is supposed to be good too but I haven't been yet.
    Guatemalan: Panaderia La Mejor is a Guatemalan bakery in Carrollton. I pop in there pretty frequently since they're so close to where I live and they are always pretty busy whenever I drop by. They do prepare hot food too.
    http://www.panlamejor.com/eabout.html
    http://www.panlamejor.com/epreparedfo...

    Chinese: First Chinese BBQ
    Dim sum: Hong Kong Royal

    Vietnamese:
    General menu: I haven't really found a solid standby for all-around Vietnamese food (think of a place like Nam Hua). Off the top of my head I'm thinking maybe Bon Mua, though I think they are stronger at Central Vietnamese foods like bun bo hue and mi quang. Other thoughts on this, anyone?

    Pho: Pho 2006 or Pho Pasteur

    Banh Mi: I typically suck it up and make the drive to Garland for La Me, but my favorite for this area is Banh Mi Ba Hue on southeast corner of Josey/Belt Line. Only 5 sandwiches on the menu, but all are solid especially banh mi thit nuong (pork bbq), dac biet (cold cut combo) and the pate. Bread's consistently crisp on the outside (not quite like La Me's though), fluffy inside, veggies are always crisp and not overtly sweet, and all in all, they are an extremely fast and convenient place for me (I have them on speed dial if I need a quick banh mi fix). Cash and takeout only.
    Here's the menu:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/j6WNPv...

    The 2nd location of Quoc Bao (which is known for their awesome bread) is across to the street to the north, in the same plaza as FCB/Pho Pasteur/Casa Vieja. I'd head there if you're interested in a wider variety of sandwiches.

    For your dinner heading up to Denton, you could go with any of the Carrollton options which really wouldn't take you too far off course. There's also a big variety of Korean options along that route as well:
    Koreatown (off Royal/35): Namoo is my personal fave Korean place; order haemul pajeon - seafood/scallion pancake
    A couple other places here:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740390

    Or eat at one of the restaurants in/around Super H-Mart:
    Todamgol - which is particularly noted as a specialist in soondubu (tofu soups). They do one of the better renditions of dolsot bibimbap in town, and have solid banchan
    http://www.dmagazine.com/Home/2009/06...

    Omi if you are feeling like feasting on a ton of Korean BBQ (buffet is a real bargain there), or just wander the food court. Also, I would NOT recommend the Vietnamese place in that complex.
    Good reference thread here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/586631

    Al Markaz is also nearby if you're wanting Indian/Pakistani food.

    If you happen to like craft beer:
    Best for selections for this area would be Holy Grail and Gingerman, in that order. Great food at Holy Grail too.
    In Denton, you have Lucky Lou's off Fry Street and Hailey's, which (as far as I know) is the only concert venue in North Texas that has a good beer selection. Unfortunately, I haven't seen a show there in a while, and I've heard rumors the selection may have weakened.

    I'm certain others will chime in with some other great recs... enjoy.

    -----
    Keiichi
    500 N Elm St, Denton, TX 76201

    1. Coming into Love puts you near Maple, so if you're adventurous there are plenty of decent places to eat there, La Hechizera, Maple and Motor, Avila's, etc. Not the most well to do area of town though so if you're put off by empty streets and people speaking Spanish, you may want to go somewhere else. If your shopping takes you near old downtown (east) Plano, check out Urban Crust pizza. You may want to check out Pappadeux some time if you're unfamiliar with Cajun/Creole food.

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      Urban Crust
      1006 E 15th St, Plano, TX 75074

      3 Replies
      1. re: luniz

        I had a very bad experience with Urban Crust, bad enough that they're one of the places I'd never recommend or go back to. I hear good things about Zanata and I'd be interested in checking that out sometime.

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        Urban Crust
        1006 E 15th St, Plano, TX 75074

        Zanata
        202 E Rusk St, Rockwall, TX 75087

        1. re: air

          Zananmata kicks it and is a stones throw from UC in Plano. I put Zanata's Rockwall on the pizza tour.

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          Zanata
          202 E Rusk St, Rockwall, TX 75087

        2. re: luniz

          I second Urban Crust - cute little place and decent (but not stellar) food.

          And and air mentions: Keiichi is well worth a visit.

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          Keiichi
          500 N Elm St, Denton, TX 76201

          Urban Crust
          1006 E 15th St, Plano, TX 75074

        3. To piggy back off Air a bit,

          I first want to say I am not a native of Denton but in my years at UNT I came to know Denton pretty intimately. It is not a hard town to get around and you most likely will not get lost. Since I am not sure your background or where you are from I want to keep it pretty general for now.
          These recommendations are for Denton and areas within 10 miles of Denton.
          Here is a nifty guide from the city of Denton that has all the restaurants listed:
          http://www.discoverdenton.com/eat.cfm...

          Ice Cream/Snow Cones:
          Texas gets hot during the summer time and you will need relief. You will want to hit up Beth Marie's Old Fashioned Ice Cream on the Square in downtown Denton. If you hit up the bars next door you can sample some of their adult versions of their ice cream, think Jameson and Guinness. Favorite flavors are the Country Coconut and Apple Pie. Most flavors are seasonal and you can try any that sound interesting. If you are into sodas and egg creams this is the only place locally that still serves those classic beverages.
          I believe there are several snow cone places maybe more in Denton; Bahama Bucks (chain), supposedly a New Orleans Style snow cone place (Zach’s) (unverified), Goody Goody Sno-Cones on University, Eskimo Hut (which has some adult flavors and more like daiquiris), and then there is Snappy Snow in Argyle. I have a personal connection to the owner at Snappy Snow so I usually end up there.
          http://www.bethmaries.com/welcome.html
          http://www.eskimohut.com/home/
          www.facebook.com/SnappySnow
          http://bahamabucks.com/

          Beer/German Food:
          If you are in the mood for beer and don't want to make the trek to Lake Dallas or Highland Village for liquor then I would suggest the Meltzer’s on Londonderry for their beer selection it is well stocked and they usually have some hard to find beers. They also have a nice partnership with Fischer’s and Bayer’s in Muenster for German style sausages and baked goods. Metzlers will have a hot German plate on their menu that features the Fischer’s sausages. If you are lucky enough you can score a Bayer's strudel and feast on that for several days. They have a good variety of flavors.
          http://www.metzlersfoodandbeverage.com/
          http://www.fischersmeatmarket.com/
          http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant...

          Bakery:
          I am surprised that air left off Ravelin bakery on Elm just south of the Square. Ravelin has consistently great croissants. My wife clambers for the Chocolate Almond and I like the savory (Ham and Cheese) ones. I bet air wanted to keep those to his self!
          http://mushroomflavor.com/ravelin/

          Music:
          If in Denton you will have a great local music scene much like Austin. It will be a bit smaller but just as good. Look for bars like Hailey's, Rubber Gloves, Dan's Silverleaf and Andy’s Basement. Also don’t rule out the great music from the University of North Texas. Look for specials on tickets at the Murchison Performing Arts Center on the campus just off 35. If you like jazz then you will want to watch for the One O’Clock Lab Band. I saw one of the last concerts that Dave Brubeck himself had as he is a friend of much of the faculty.
          http://www.dentonlivemusic.com/
          http://www.danssilverleaf.com/
          http://rubberglovesdentontx.com/
          http://www.haileysclub.com/
          www.myspace.com/andysbar
          http://music.unt.edu/performances

          Steakhouse:
          If you are concerned with supporting local eateries instead of chains there are two good steakhouses in the Denton area.
          http://www.trailduststeaks.net/
          My personal favorite is Ranchman/Ponder Steakhouse out in Ponder. If going on a Friday or Saturday you might call ahead for a table. It is small and everyone know everyone else but they have good steaks for cheap.
          http://www.ranchman.com/

          Thai:
          For the size of Denton I am surprised it has three Thai restaurants. Andaman is my favorite of the three, then Siam and then Thai Ocha.
          http://www.andamanthairestaurant.com/...
          http://www.siamoffthesquare.com/ - right close to Beth Maries on the square but one block off the square, hence the name. The mom’s curry is usually better after the owner gets home from Thailand as she smuggles back some curry.
          I have had less than memorable meals at Thai Ocha. Some like it, I am one who doesn’t.

          Fish and Chips:
          Air was right the owner, Dave Wilson and his wife serve some of the best Fish and chips in the DFW metroplex and it is cheap for what you get. On my visit I wasn’t too fond of the chips but I would suggest the curry sauce (more like curry brown gravy) with the fish, which was cooked perfectly and a generous portion.
          www.facebook.com/pages/The-Angry-Friar
          http://www.dentonrc.com/sharedcontent...

          Deli
          Weinbergers Deli from Grapevine just recently opened a second location in Denton. Not sure where you are from but they specialize in Chicago style sandwiches, Italian Roast Beef, Italian Sausage, Chicago Dogs, etc. Not saying it is the best but it is different.
          http://www.dentonrc.com/sharedcontent...

          -----
          Thai Ocha
          1509 Malone St, Denton, TX 76201

          1. Thanks to all for the great info so far!!!
            We are originally from the Missouri Ozarks. I now live in far South GA (almost on the FL line). My sis just moved to Denton from Lubbock. She teaches at TWU. My nephew is a jazz musician and teacher. We love all sorts of food (though none of us are fond of sushi).

            On this trip, my sis and I will be foraying all over the Northern burbs, in search of stuff for the house she just bought. So, we're looking for ideas all over the area, not just in Denton. I'll be going back often, so will start to build a list of places to try and will watch this board for other posts on the area.

            We've sorta hit on Tierney's in Lewisville for the Saturday night I arrive. Is that a good choice? I got it from another Chow topic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: onrushpam

              Tierney's is great! I forgot about it in my post to you.

            2. I have lived in Denton County for almost 15 years and I think I have eaten everywhere. The best Italian food is at a dive in Denton called Bagheri's. It is BYOB and they do not charge a corkage fee. Real deal home cooked Italian. I have eaten Italian in a lot of places and this one really is the best, if you like red sauce home style italian.

              In Lewisville:
              Pho Que Huong for Vietnemese/Asian/Pho. Cheap and delicious.
              Corinne's Catfish and Pies. There is one location on the highway, but go to the sit down location on Main St in Lewisville. Just trust me. Do not look back. Go to this place.

              In Highland Village:
              Vito's Pizza
              Sushi Fugu

              Flower Mound:
              Rouge Moderne Bistro
              Walt Garrison's
              Agave Azul

              1. Many thanks to all of you for the info!!!
                It was a fun, hectic week and food was not the focus. But, did manage to hit some high spots.

                Tierny's in Lewisville was great for atmosphere and service. Food was okay. Went there from the airport and then again on St. Patty's. (My St. Pat's CFS was covered in green gravy with green mashers! weird, but tasty.)

                Ruby's Diner in Denton was great for breakfast! I can't eat huge portions and really appreciated their menu. Absolutely PERFECT hashbrowns and a perfect soft egg.

                The Greenhouse in Denton was nice for snackies and drinks. Food is so-so, but it's a nice place.

                Frilly's on Denison St. was AWESOME! The best seafood bisque I've ever had. Great crab cakes. Just a nice, laid-back and hang out kind of place. They remembered us when we came back the 2nd time and were just incredibly gracious. My kind of place.
                We learned this Frilly's has nothing to do with the other two... so, don't go by the name. Go to this location.

                Andaman
                Wonderful thai food. I just wish we had more people to join us so we could have tasted more. Food and service were both first class. Our server was very helpful as we dithered over the menu. We wound up splitting orders of fresh rolls and veggie drunken noodles. Wanted to try a lot of other items. My sister asked about a Thai dish she particularly loves and he said they'd make it for her if she calls a day or so ahead. This is a gem of a restaurant!

                Bethmaries Ice Cream -- I think I have the name right. What a fun place on a Saturday night! Good ice cream and a really, really fun vibe. We took ours to go and strolled around the square on a beautiful night.

                Kolache Haven
                My first experience with Koloaches and I want more!!! On the way to the airport at o-dark-thirty this morning. We hit them just as they opened. Yum, yum and more yum! I got one savory (German sausage) and one sweet (cream cheese that was flavored with lemon). I wish I'd bought a box to bring home, bug couldn't juggle it with bags and such.

                Thanks to advice from Chowhounders, I had a good food trip, despite the fact most time was spent on other things.

                3 Replies
                1. re: onrushpam

                  I was leary about recommending Tierneys in Lewisville and I live there. It does have decent food but Lewisville is full fo chains so it is better than that.

                  If you let me know when you guys will be in town I can arrange a small group of people to join you at Andaman. We all know Achava, the chef, as he has made us several dishes in the past. Some highlights from there are the Nam Prik Ong (Northern Thai Dip), get that thai spicy, the Thai Spices Center both are not a bad dishes. If you are into curries and not into coconut milk try out the Souther Style Geang Som....it is typically made with fermented bamboo shoot and a fish of some sorts. Achava's versions still has the flavors with being a little more American palate friendly. If you want a dish off menu to ask for get the Jackfruit Curry with Chicken.....look up when jackfruit is in season and it will be a bit cheaper for the ingredients. Also ask him to make his version of Khao Soi, awesome.

                  Kolache Haven probably has the best kolache in the metroplex, this is coming from a Czech who grew up on them. Are they better than mom's relatives, no and not as a good as Zamykal in Calvert in Central Texas, but they are bteer than Kolache Kitchen and any other rec you will hear about. Don't waste your time with the others. I have heard a faint mummur about a lady who caters for the SPJST, a Czech fraternity, near downtown Dallas. I have still yet to track her down. The Kolaches at Kolache Haven have two options of sausage and both are made fairly locally. The first if the Syracuse sausage, which is made out in Ponder and the second and my personal favorite, Fischers from Muenster almost to the Oklahoma border. Ask the folks behind the counter which one has which. Methinks you had the Fischers sausage. The variety of fruit and cream cheese fillings are all very good.

                  I was always curious why there was two Frilly's in the city of Denton. It is not like Denton is big. I have yet to try the Frilly's out. It is hard to pass by Andaman and Keiichi. I will give Frilly's a go when I get back into town. Here is what I had in Austin

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/767989

                  Glad you had a great trip and I will write up some more recs starting in Carrollton, Plano, Frisco and NE Tarrant county.

                  -----
                  Keiichi
                  500 N Elm St, Denton, TX 76201

                  1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                    LewisvilleHounder - The Frilly's off Denison Street and University Drive in Denton is the original location open since 2000 or so. It had two primary owners who apparently parted ways early on and there is also a Frilly's in Decatur, TX. The owner of the Denton location decided to open an upscale steak and seafood restaurant across town from it around 6 years ago called "Three Fins". It was successful for a while but he eventually converted it to a second Frilly's location. About a year after that he sold the newer one, so now the two are independently owned and unaffiliated whatsoever. "Frilly's South" (as it is now called) which is off Loop 288 and I-35 E seems to have purposely deviated from the original as far as overall atmosphere and even recipes. It's still confusing to Denton locals who have no reason not to believe the two are the same restaurant. Although I haven't tried Frilly's South, from what I hear I wouldn't stray from the Original. Hope that clears things up!

                    1. re: swarly

                      It sure did swarly and thank you very much for the details. I like to know the history behind a place. I would have gone to the original anyway if I were to go for sure fact that I like avoiding crowds and boisterous restaurants. The one off University seem to fit the bill.