Our 2017 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards honors the best in local food and drink. We've elected nominees in all categories of food and beverage, from best chefs to the best restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth.
But the very very best category is Best New Restaurants, and here's why: You decide who wins.
It begins with our Tastemaker tournament, powered by Whole Foods Market, where 16 new restaurants go head to head. You can vote daily for your favorite in our bracket-style elimination challenge. After four rounds, two finalists emerge. We'll announce the winner at our party on April 20.
Here are the nominees:
Dot's Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard
Craft beer, cocktails, and eats in the heart of Deep Ellum with an expansive outdoor patio and beer garden. Atmosphere is a cross between casual and classy, with gravel flooring beneath a stunning glittering chandelier.
Flora Street Cafe
Chef Stephan Pyles' latest concept, Flora Street Cafe represents a surprising pivot away from fast-casual burger joints and into fine dining, filtered through Pyles' Southwestern POV. Flora Street also dabbles in molecular gastronomy, with amusing tricks such as the seafood carpaccio starter that emits dry-ice smoke when it comes to the table. Centrally located in the Arts District, this is special-occasion dining — it's expensive.
Downtown Dallas restaurant and social club serves tall drinks and Southern food in an unusual space in the lobby of the historic LTV Towers. Menu highlights include white chocolate croissant bread pudding, chicken-fried quail and waffles, pulled chicken poutine, and mushroom-dusted baby trout. The design features white marble tabletops and natural wood floors.
Independent Bar & Kitchen
Deep Ellum restaurant-bar in the former Pepe's Ranch space comes from the team behind Club Dada, City Tavern, and Off the Record. Chef Andrew Dilda (Barter, Reata) is doing old-school European pub food such as shepherd's pie, fish and chips, and mussels with frites.
Casual-chic bar-restaurant has rock star heritage in owners Julie Doyle, singer and manager of Polyphonic Spree, and Tony Barsotti, artist, musician, and furniture designer. The subtly Southern menu consists mostly of food you can eat while you drink some of their spectacular cocktails, with plenty of snacky options such as hummus and deviled eggs. The design, somewhere between Palm Springs and a '60s airport lobby, is stunning.
Downtown Dallas restaurant located on the top floor of Forty Five Ten and across from The Joule hotel boasts 11-foot floor-to-ceiling windows and a wrap-around terrace overlooking Tony Tasset’s outdoor sculpture, Eye. Cuisine is American and executed by chef Josh Sutcliff, in collaboration with Junior Borges, executive chef of The Joule.
Pie Tap Pizza Workshop + Bar
Pizzeria concept from Mooyah co-founder Rich Hicks has the makings of a chain, and there are already two branches, one on Henderson Avenue and one in the Design District. But don't worry about that: It serves excellent pizza, pasta, beer, and wine, in a brisk, cosmopolitan setting. Everything is available on-site or via delivery to your door — meaning you can get a complete meal with wine or beer included, even a six-pack if you like, a delivery option that's unique.
Pizza concept from the owners of Mexican Sugar and Whiskey Cake does pizzas such as margherita, squash blossom, and spicy sausage, in an expansive environment. Everything can be ordered to go including not only pizza but wine and beer. The commitment to wine is big with more than 40 wines on tap and 60 wines by-the-glass.
Smoky Rose is a smokehouse in East Dallas across from the Dallas Arboretum, with a chef-driven kitchen whose menu includes smoked meat and seasonal dishes. Location includes patio and garden, cocktails, wine, and local beer.
Restaurant in the Maple Avenue Dining District from chef Julian Barsotti (Nonna, Carbone's) has pizza by the slice, done al taglio style — baked in large rectangular trays with a thick, bready crust and topped with sauce and mozzarella. There are also house-made pastas and an Italian-centric beverage program, with an all-Italian wine list, Italian beers, and Italian-style cocktails.
Deep Ellum bar-restaurant is from hospitality veterans Imran Sheikh and Asim Sheikh, who also own the Uptown bar Citizen. Menu features American classics infused with new age spices and flavors. Choices range from small plates to sophisticated entrées such as Texas quail with sage stuffing, green beans, and cranberry gastrique. Cocktails include Babe’s old fashioned with bacon fat-infused Rittenhouse Rye and chocolate liqueur.
Chef Nick Badovinus brings over-the-top opulence to the Design District with this grand steakhouse. There are $75 steaks, whole roasted fish, and a raw bar featuring oysters and seafood cocktail. Decor is a mind-blower with 64 glowing chandeliers, a fish tank, a vintage 1950s yellow submarine, a Ducati motorcycle over the bar, and a 1961 silver MG parked just outside the door.
Concept from restaurateur Mike Karns (El Fenix, Meso Maya) combines tacos, tortas, and bowls with fillers and toppings like tamarind pork and diablo shrimp. The bar list is loaded with mezcal, crafted into cocktails like the one with orange peel, bitters, and simple syrup. Former Samar/San Salvaje space has been transformed into a gritty rock-and-roll bar with chains propped over the bar and a motorcycle parked inside.
V-Eats Modern Vegan
Eclectic vegan restaurant specializes in plant-based cuisine. It's located at Trinity Groves, the restaurant incubator complex in West Dallas. Executive chef Troy Gardner is joined by chef de cuisine John Mercer and sous chef Evita Tezeno in devising a menu with vegan versions of Salisbury steak, sushi, and more. Their clever use of cruelty-free ingredients creates the texture and flavors of meat with compassion.
Seafood restaurant is part of a California-based hospitality group called King's Seafood Company. It operates six restaurant concepts, including King's Fish House which has 11 locations in California, Nevada, and Arizona; 555 East in Long Beach; Lou & Mickey's in San Diego; Pier Burger on the Santa Monica Pier; and Fish Camp in Huntington Beach.
It's chicken, biscuits, and beer here, along with fresh pies and custard. But before you think it's too casual, check out the modern vibe with the decor and try a surprisingly sophisticated cocktail from the drink menu.