We're counting the days until the climax of our first CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards, where we celebrate the movers and shakers of the local food and beverage industry.
We hope you've enjoyed getting to know the city's sharpest sommeliers, best pastry chefs, brightest rising stars, buzziest breweries and friendliest bars. We've talked shop with the best bartenders and worshipped the best chefs. We've encouraged readers to cast their votes for the best new restaurant.
All of the winners will be announced at our big event on May 6.
Now we get to one of our most favorite categories: neighborhood restaurants. These are the places that win your heart not only for the fine meal they dish out, but also for their dependability, non-judgmental mien and comforting familiarity. It's like being at home — but better.
Here are the nominees for Best Nneighborhood Restaurant:
Supremely practical Italian deli-restaurant comes from Julian Barsotti, chef-owner of Nonna, as an homage to his ancestors' sandwich shop in New York. His goal is to celebrate Italian-American food traditions and to make as many items in-house as he can. The neighbors love: spaghetti with Italian meatballs.
Dive Coastal Cuisine
Casual but upscale restaurant in Snider Plaza from Franchesca Nor fits into the neighborhood perfectly, with its fresh, healthy vibe. Menu offers turkey burgers, seafood, salads, light sandwiches and vegetarian options. The neighbors love: ahi tuna wrap.
Pioneer in Bishop Arts helped set the stage for ensuing gentrification. Refined and distinctly Southern, the restaurant does homey dishes such as shrimp and grits, mac and cheese, and chicken and waffles. The neighbors love: prosciutto-wrapped figs stuffed with walnuts and blue cheese.
Dallas' original neighborhood restaurant with impressive wine list manages to draw a clientele from beyond its Greenville Avenue address. Owners Brian and Courtney Luscher have done more than merely keep the flame alive; they make it burn brighter than ever. The neighbors love: Sunday brunch burger and mushroom soup.
Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House
With original chefs Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare no longer involved, this East Dallas burger bar is less about the food and more about the stellar beer list. But perhaps no restaurant on this list is more revered by the folks nearby. The neighbors love: Pepper bomb burger with harissa sauce and chipotle cheddar.
Transplanted bistro from New York does fancy French classics such as steak au poivre, not always well, in Travis Walk. But hello, this neighborhood's not about eating; it's about being seen on the patio. The neighbors love: fish with fennel and tomato.
Chef Nick Badovinus' mini-chain even has "neighborhood" in the name of his upscale rendition of a neighborhood restaurant. Between the glossy-yet-hip scene and robust food, Badovinus has his finger on the pulse of Dallas diners. The neighbors love: chicken liver mousse.
Little sibling of Houston's is smaller and less proper, with a streamlined California ambience and vaguely healthy menu that fits its Preston Center address to a T. Nicely lit bar serves its pretty clientele well. The neighbors love: Asian chicken and noodle salad.
Upscale pizzeria was an early settler in old downtown Plano. Good wine list, above-average pizzas and an unfussy atmosphere keep 'em coming, despite new competition such as Lockhart Smokehouse. The neighbors love: Black and Blue pizza with sirloin, caramelized onions, blue cheese and basil pesto.