Dallas Tastemaker Awards 2020
Awards News

10 top neighborhood restaurants serve up Dallas at its best

10 top neighborhood restaurants serve up Dallas at its best

Parigi Dallas
Have a virtual seat at Parigi. Photo courtesy of Parigi

With the coronavirus keeping us all close to home, neighborhood restaurants seem more important than ever — ready to meet your needs, pivoting from their prior role as your local hangout to helping keep you stocked with meals and sometimes supplies.

These 10 restaurants are our nominees for 2020 Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year — part of our annual Tastemaker Awards, spotlighting the best in food and drink.

On July 30, we'll host our first-ever Virtual Edition, a novel way of celebrating Dallas' restaurant and bar scene during this challenging time. Tickets are on sale and include a Tasting Tote featuring bites, sips, and more to enjoy at home.

These are the nominees for the Best Neighborhood Restaurant in Dallas:

Family Thais Asian Bistro
Restaurant from husband-and-wife Tony Street (owner of Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse) and Jab Srikaij (formerly Toy's Cafe) is a fresh concept for its West End neighborhood, featuring Thai dishes, plus crepes, bubble waffles, and boba teas. It's a boon for all the new apartments and hotels that have gone up in the West End in the past few years but also a godsend for the greater downtown population as well.

Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House
Hugely popular eatery in East Dallas is known for its hefty burgers and even heftier selection of beer. A pioneer on the local craft beer scene, they continue to offer beers you can't always find everywhere else. They have a great patio in front, but it gets crowded fast which is no doubt why they've currently made the decision to not reopen until July 15. Once they reopen, they'll concentrate on delivery and curbside pickup.

Lakewood Smokehouse
The quaint hamlet of Lakewood got its own barbecue restaurant in 2016 when this restaurant opened in the former Ali Baba space at 1901 Abrams Rd. That address had good neighborhood juju and Lakewood, a spinoff of 3 Stacks Smoke & Tap House in Frisco, filled the niche with beer and BBQ. They're currently open for takeout from 11 am-9 pm.

Libertine Bar
Heroic bar-restaurant has weathered many changes on Greenville Avenue and clung on, continuing to pour from one of the best beer selections in the city, all with a level of service that somehow feels both attentive yet effortless. With its loooong bar, sidewalk seating, and slightly gritty ambience, the Libertine would be at home in any major city in the U.S. Dallas is lucky to have it, let's not be stupid and lose it. They're doing "the #togo thing" every afternoon with Ranch Waters, cherry whiskey Cokes, frozen margs, and all their wonderful food. Order at libertinebar.com or call 214-824-7900.

Owner Bryan Kaeser brings a little of his Greenville Avenue flair (he previously owned Dallas Beer Kitchen) to Duncanville, where he's serving a short but gourmet menu of burgers, sandwiches, fries, and onion rings, along with local beer and cocktails. Recent specials have included a bacon-wrapped Wagyu hot dog, a steal at $7. An expansive front patio helps keep people socially distanced, and for his COVID-inspired takeout program, he's currently offering quirky specials such as Jelloshots to go.

Nazca Kitchen
Fun restaurant with Latin food was an early settler on the Walnut Hill Lane scene, before the intersection of Walnut Hill and US-75 became the development hubbub it is today. Nazca has personality. It's not cookie-cutter. It has good food and an owner determined to keep the fires burning. During these harrowing times, they're open with limited seating, as well as for carryout and curbside pickup.

Norma's Cafe
This small local chain has five locations and is a friend to every neighborhood it's in, from the retro original in Oak Cliff to the brisk location in Frisco. Who doesn't appreciate having a diner nearby with affordable prices and an amazing selection of pies? They're currently available for dine in, to-go and delivery from Favor, and have introduced discounted Family Packs to feed 6 for less than $60.

Parigi Restaurant
Highly personal chef-driven restaurant in the Oak Lawn district is the neighborhood restaurant that every neighborhood wants. It summons a touch of Paris with a little soupcon of New York, as useful for ladies who lunch as it is for a lovers' rendezvous. Few other restaurants in Dallas have survived for 30 years, and definitely not as fresh and vital as Parigi. They're currently open for lunch and dinner with limited seating in the dining room and on the patio, but no bar seating; reservations are required.

RM 12:20 Bistro
The Lake Highlands neighborhood was under-supplied with good restaurants for years and places like this French-leaning bistro at the Lakeridge center at Audelia Road and Walnut Hill Lane are filling the breach. This is chef-owner Erin Willis' vision to bring a fine-dining touch with seasonal fare, cocktails, and a relaxed atmosphere. Currently, Their dining room and patio are open with limited seating for dinner service, with a set dinner menu available for dine-in and takeout.

Urban Crust
Pizzeria from chef Salvatore Gisellu is located on the cool 15th Street strip that is old downtown Plano, and it's an East Plano favorite, for sure. But Gisellu is a skilled chef and his pizza is good enough to merit a field trip. Urban Crust has a great wine list and a cozy ambience, and it's fun to walk the street after you finish your feast. They're currently doing "Takeout with Tore," a limited-edition offering of one 16-inch pizza, salad, pasta, and bottle of house red or white wine for $60.