Just to gild the lily, you can get yours topped with a runny sous-vide egg and a side of béarnaise. WHAT: A border town legend, serving breakfast and lunch dishes that embody its unique corner of America — all while detailing your ride. This barbecue spot features big, meaty beef ribs, which they rub with salt and cracked pepper before slow-cooking them over post oak wood; pork spare ribs, which get salt-and-pepper rubbed just like the beef ribs; and their newest entrée, baby back ribs, which are dusted with a “magic” spice mix and basted with a sweet glaze. In a Thrillist article about popular grocery stores, author Dan Gentile said he was “severely disappointed that H-E-B isn't the most popular chain in Texas.” (Texas’ choice? Its made-from-scratch sauces are works of art, and its most popular taco, El Conquistador, is a perfect showcase for the house chile pasilla sauce. WHY: Wearing his unmistakable toothy smile and custom-made Lucchese boots, Dean Fearing has played a huge role in shaping the city’s culinary identity for decades. Austinites flock to Asia Café for its steamy bowls of ground beef and cilantro soup, spicy honeycomb tripe, and pan-fried shrimp with crushed peppers. Their culinary traditions — as well as their language and polka music — have endured and fused with local culture to yield pastries and plates that are distinctly Texas. On an oak-shaded patio in Austin’s South Congress, you’ll find one of the best lobster rolls in America. Anvil Bar and Refuge was one of the first bars in the United States to serve classically styled cocktails like The Brave (mezcal, tequila, amaro, Curaçao, and Angostura bitters, served at room temperature) at lower prices. Opt for the classic plain glazed for the most wonderfully simple doughnut. 13628 Gamma RoadDallas, TX(972) 805-0999 | cattleackbbq.com, WHAT: Southern comfort food in one of Dallas’s swankiest dining rooms from one of the city’s stalwart chefs. But we suggest you choose the best of both worlds and go for the campechano, which contains al pastor, carne asada, grilled onion, cilantro, and cheese, all wrapped up in a homemade flour tortilla. Don’t forget the house-made doughnut holes for dessert. WHAT: The pinnacle of Texas barbecue from 82-year-old pitmaster Tootsie Tomanetz. You might as well mix in some sauce, made from owner Robert Patillo’s grandmother’s recipe. Described by some as "dripping with Austin attitude," the Hope Farmers Market is a gathering place for everyone. They serve dinner only on Friday and Saturday nights. Named one of the best steakhouses in the United States and recognized by the Texas Cattle Feeders Association for selling top quality Texas beef, Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood is a must-stop destination for any steak-lover traveling through San Antonio. 306 Pearl ParkwaySan Antonio, TX(210) 314-3929 | curedatpearl.com. Featured on The Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Zagat, The Waffle Bus earned its spot by turning out some over-the-top waffle-inspired sandwiches. It is arguably the most avant-garde restaurant experience in Texas, but the modernistic, academic cooking also delivers ample poignancy and pleasure. Fan favorites include their signature beef brisket and pork ribs, but desserts aren’t to be overlooked either, with delicious options like peach cobbler, pecan pie, and blackberry. But then, so did dinner at Kemuri Tatsu-ya in Austin, slurping ramen enriched with smoked brisket and banana pudding topped with kokuto (crackly Japanese brown sugar) and miso caramel. In that short time, they upgraded to a brick-and-mortar, they served our last president, and Aaron Franklin took home a James Beard award. If you’re in Dallas or Houston and you find yourself in need of a perfect steak, a red leather booth, wood-paneled walls, and a wine list that boasts about 2,300 options, head over to Pappas Bros. At this shrine to beef, which has repeatedly been lauded as one of the state’s best restaurants since it opened in 1976, the meat is dry-aged in house and served bone-in or bone-out. The 90 people who show in the next half-hour wait in vain; a waitress will tell them that there's just no barbecue left. This sandwich, from Austin's Noble Sandwich Company, is a work of art. There are 110 cocktails on the menu, but the bartenders can make far more. The wine list leans obscure and funky. Asia Café was made for takeout (the space isn’t exactly super-welcoming), but that doesn’t mean that it’s not slammed most nights. Yeah, everyone knows Fred’s for killer burgers, but as any cattle drover can tell you, the CFS is the true prize. 2731 South WW White RoadSan Antonio, TX (210) 885-9352 | 2msmokehouse.com. But Texas is a state so immense, so full of mythology and ambition, and so populated with such compelling and culturally specific dining options, that it stands plainly as a region unto itself. Dallas is fast becoming a magnet for the country’s brightest young chefs; Head to the best restaurants in Dallas to see why One of Bon Appétit’s 50 best new restaurants of 2012, Tatsu-Ya also happened to be the first brick-and-mortar ramen shop to open in the city. Between the weather, wood, and meat, there are plenty of variables to deal with when cooking in an offset smoker, but Cattleack’s barbecue never seems to suffer. WHY: Cured’s name refers both to chef-owner Steve McHugh’s victory as a survivor of lymphoma, and also to the restaurant’s extraordinary charcuterie program. the classic plain glazed for the most wonderfully simple doughnut, during the decade she spent covering them for the Chronicle and Texas Monthly. Currently, for example, their subject is “Rediscovering the Mayan Gastronomy”; one dish, equally stunning in taste and appearance, expresses the lost empire’s trade routes by combining quinoa, fish roes, and avocado. The Village Bakery is the self-proclaimed inventor of the now-ubiquitous sausage kolaches. WHY: Chefs (and hip-hop DJs) Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya “Tako” Matsumoto run an izakaya in a former barbecue restaurant, and they take their culinary cues from their surroundings. Hugo’s opened in 2002 in a restored Latin-inspired building designed by Joseph Finger (also responsible for the art deco-style City Hall) and launched into a diverse regional approach to Mexican food. 2713 East 2nd StreetAustin, TX(512) 893-5561 | kemuri-tatsuya.com. Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and fried chicken to its best bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. Perla's chefs/owners Lawrence McGuire and Thomas Moorman Jr. ship in seafood from both coasts daily, and the lobster here comes from — where else? 408 W. 8th StreetDallas, TX(214) 948-4998 | luciadallas.com, WHAT: The taqueria with the little back room that’s a Mexican food game changer for Texas. Does it get more Texas than that? WHY: Thanks to Houston’s large Vietnamese immigrant community, pho shops specializing in Vietnam’s heady, fragrant noodle soup have become as easy to find as McDonald’s. Uygur has more fun with unfamiliar varieties like fiocco, blood salami, and two spreadable salamis, neither of which are ’nduja. But that’s not all the birthplace of such larger-than-life characters as Lyndon Johnson, Willie Nelson, George Foreman, and Beyoncé has to offer. The lively space, opened by Bobby Heugel in 2009 when he was just 24 years old, features a bar running the length of the space and a huge spirit collection. 51 Rainey StreetAustin, TX(512) 366-5530 | emmerandrye.com, WHAT: The best brisket in Texas. Instead, buttery, yeasty kolaches with authentic fillings like apricot, poppyseed, and cream cheese are displayed side by side with more obscure offerings, like sweet buchta rolls and, at Christmas, the braided bread known as vanocka. The Best Mexican Restaurant in Every State. (For more on that, read my case for Texas’s culinary superstardom.) 3002 FM 89Buffalo Gap, TX(325) 572-3339 | periniranch.com. By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. — B.A. — B.A. Mai Pham is a freelance food, wine and travel writer based in Houston. — J.E. The turkey is what presidentially pardoned birds aspire to be. We're thrilled to celebrate the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our Texas gallery here. You know, just to be certain. His newest venture, a steakhouse-barbecue hybrid called Killen’s STQ, opened in Houston proper in 2016. All photos by Bill Addison unless otherwise noted. Texas Monthly ranked their burgers as No. Then there’s the back room — the Purépecha Room — a reservation-only, eight-course tasting-menu space appointed to resemble the Michoacán kitchen of chef-owner Regino Rojas’s mother. Make sure you spring for the real maple syrup. Truthfully this is the only downside to shopping here. 1600 Westheimer RoadHouston, TX(713) 524-7744 | hugosrestaurant.net. WHY: Ross Coleman and James Haywood prove exceptionally adept at distilling tastes and textures into dishes that leave you invigorated. Every other day it’s open, you’ll have to settle for some of Texas’s best brisket, house-made sausages (get the green chile and cheese), and maybe the best spare ribs in … Their southern food will make you feel like you’re sitting in Grandma’s kitchen. WHAT: Extraordinary burgers in an old-world sweets shop, borne from the mind of a classically trained pastry chef. What do you get when you combine a former food editor of the Austin Chronicle with a passion for pizza? Encircle the steak with all the traditional creamy and carb-powered side dishes. — B.A. Voila! Real Texas chili can be found at Armadillo Palace in Houston, which celebrates old-school ranch-style cooking. The Best All-You-Can-Eat Deal in Every State. But many of the state’s defining restaurants also reflect the rich multiculturalism of its metropolises. The food still bears the chef’s indelible stamps — featured roles for vegetables, the twists and turns in flavor that come from fermentation, and masterful toggling between restrained subtlety and umami thunderbolts — but is now less controlled and often wonderfully weirder. The lobster is blanched before being tossed with a house-made lemon mayo and herbs, and then it’s placed into a homemade bun with some Bibb lettuce and served alongside drawn garlic butter. Read all his columns in the archive. Top 100 Restaurants in Texas, according to Yelp. And it’s Doña Juanita herself who — with the help of her family — prepares Purépecha’s menu, an ever-changing carousel of traditional Mexican ingredients presented in untraditional ways. The time has come: We’re messing with Texas. THE DAILY MEAL ® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF TRIBUNE PUBLISHING. Sure, you’ll find tons of tasty eateries in places like Houston, Austin and Dallas, but you can’t deny the special thrill of stumbling into a little-known gem in a rural Texas town. Terry Chandler — known as the Outlaw Chef for his early West Texas chuck-wagon days — took the reins of his family’s restaurant in 2005. The beautiful salad bar is so well-presented it may rival the meat service; indulge in the marinated vegetables and pretty salads like arugula with sliced mangoes. WHY: Don’t be alarmed at the tarp-like tablecloths and rolls of paper towels at the table. After the sun goes down, enjoy live music and fireworks over the water, every weekend and holiday from March to September. This local hangout has been slowly establishing a great reputation since it opened in 2011, largely thanks to its comfortable vibe and scratchmade dishes. It really is that good. — J.R.R. It’s cheesy, smoky, crunchy perfection, and you can have it wrapped up in a corn pancake instead of a bun if you prefer. If you need more dining ideas, check out our list of the best hole in the wall restaurants in Texas. Daniel Vaughn is the Barbecue Editor at Texas Monthly. — D.V. Chef Hugo Ortega, a finalist for the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest, cooks food that’s elegant, inventive, and inspiring. If the barbecue weren’t reason enough to come, being able to watch veteran pitmaster Tomanetz shovel coals, flip half chickens, and mop the pork steaks with her special mop sauce is alone worth an early wake-up call. — Robb Walsh, 2028 Postoffice StreetGalveston, TX(409) 762-3696| rudyandpaco.com. 2969 CR 422Talpa, TX(325) 636-4556 | rancholoma.com, WHAT: The best restaurant on Galveston Island — and arguably the entire Texas Gulf Coast. Today the kitchen meanders into modern whimsies like roasted oysters topped with spiced crab meat in the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. WHAT: An exceptional and luxurious foray into Catalan cuisine. New staples now include Vietnamese-Cajun crawfish boils, duck breast over mole coloradito, Italian bread dumplings with braised mustard greens, and Indian thalis (trays) filled with dishes like vinegar-tinged Goa pork and turmeric soup. More impressive is how consistently David produces it. Sure, a fancy atmosphere is nice, but it’s the quality of food that really determines an eatery’s appeal. Pay 10 bucks when you arrive, take a seat at a communal table, and you’ll be treated to a family-style feast of fried chicken (some of the best you’ll ever try), creamed corn, carrots, potatoes, mac and cheese, okra, beans, cobbler, and more, all prepared according to Lizzie’s old recipes. Start with the bread. — B.A. The restaurant’s migas, enchiladas, tacos, and tamales are made with the same care the Vasquez-Valera family has employed for three generations, served in a homey East Sixth space with an absolutely killer patio. One of the most heralded pizza spots in Texas. WHY: In a town changing so fast it’s perpetually in danger of losing its roots, Tamale House East is a welcome oasis of both continuity and evolution. He has has since opened two additional locations, but the expansion hasn’t changed his simple mission: Serve “cold-ass” beer to wash down the finest chicken-fried steak in town, smothered in a sourdough batter and cooked just till the golden crust delivers the perfect crunch. Still, there are only a handful of restaurants that deserve top honors, and Pho Dien, which gained acclaim by serving sides of raw, marinated filet mignon called tai uop, is the finest example of Houston’s nascent pho revolution. WHY: There was a time when shops specializing in barbacoa de cabeza en pozo a la leña (whole beef head cooked slowly in an underground, mesquite-fueled barbecue pit) dotted South Texas. They’re seasoned with just salt and pepper and finished with some butter. WHAT: Barbecue con ganas, made by a former La Barbecue employee and his high school best friend. — B.A. Their lasagna, layered with delicious ground beef, ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella, and red sauce is out of this world and worth a trip to check out. Its menu is small and simple, with fried fish, fried shrimp, crabcakes, fried drum fish, and fried oysters receiving a heap of praise from the locals — probably because Snoopy’s has an on-site fish house and shrimp-breading facility. Texans are just wild about their H-E-B grocery stores. View all stories in Essential Texas Restaurants. With many dining venues on-site, diners can choose from anything from the outdoor patio to the more upscale Gallery. The smoked chicken is so popular, it’s usually the first to vanish. 5. This place is adored and waits can be long; a Matcha Pain Killer laced with buckwheat shochu and tequila will tranquilize you into serenity. The Texas version of this high class dish includes black-eyed peas, corn, avocado and mango. Located in The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, Fearing’s features modern Southwestern-American cuisine with a farm-to-table approach. Texans have a famous breed of zeal and loyalty for their homeland; there will be vehement disagreements over our choices. Sure, this collection includes singular steakhouses, barbecue standard-bearers, Tex-Mex strongholds, and cafes serving outstanding burgers, breakfast tacos, and kolaches: the foods that make Texas defy trendiness. WHAT: An unholy yet wholly triumphant mashup of Japanese and Texan food cultures. — B.A. WHAT: Whole-hog barbecue done the old-fashioned way. WHY: Arturo Lopez gave San Antonio something to brag about in the 1960s when he invented what became known as the “puffy taco” — a chubby tortilla that’s fried until puffed, no longer than 45 seconds. They serve boarding house style, all-you-can-eat fried chicken and loads of sides. Grab a signature Turbo piña colada and head down to frolic in the waves and lounge in the sun. You’ve seen Franklin on TV. 4210 Roseland StreetHouston, TX(832) 834-3411 | bcnhouston.com, WHAT: A James Beard-nominated strip-mall sensation that beautifully showcases the uniquely Houston fusion of Cajun crawfish boils with Vietnamese flavors. Gino’s Deli Stop N Buy – San Antonio 3. What does “modern Southwestern-American cuisine” mean? The project builds on our city sites’ 38 lists and our annual guide to the essential restaurants in America. These days, pecan pie is a staple of Texas desserts in bakeries and even over Thanksgiving, sometimes taking pumpkin’s place. As you can see, there’s no shortage of incredible Tex Mex restaurants in Texas. Yes, you can find these comfort foods in Mexican restaurants across the nation, but they originated right here in the Lonestar state. He’s since claimed the James Beard Foundation’s America’s Classics award and is the Beard House’s most frequently featured Texan. WHY: The fishing boats are docked a few blocks away and the specialty is Gulf red snapper — called “pargo” here, as it is in Nicaragua, homeland of Francisco “Paco” Vargas (there are also baskets of plantain chips on every table). The color comes from the high-quality eggs that are used in the dough, and the “rustic” appearance is a result of using the same recipe since the 1920s. One of the finest candy shops in Texas, Jefferson Fudge, which opened in 1979, sells more than 20 different varieties of fudge today from a counter that’s more than 30 feet long. Open “24/8,” the diner is renowned for its queso, gingerbread pancakes, and burgers, but is perhaps best known for its Tex-Mex breakfasts, especially the Love Migas — eggs scrambled in garlic-serrano butter with tomato, onion, bell pepper, tortilla chips, and Jack cheese. A Fort Worth resident, she wanders the state in search of her next favorite dish. The original tonkotsu is the best way to first experience the restaurant, with chashu, egg, mushrooms, and scallions, but shoyu, spicy, and veggie varieties are also available, along with tsukemen, or dipping ramen. But the fajita steak — smoky and tender-chewy, the ideal star ingredient to bundle into fragrant handmade tortillas — is the stuff of bucket lists and special detours. Pecan Lodge's 'cue is so good that Texas Monthly named it one of the top BBQ joints in the state, and Food Network's Guy Fieri featured it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. 10, 2018. Considered one of the absolute best dives in the nation, Ginny's Little Longhorn Saloon in Austin is iconic. It may not be a massive breakfast menu, but everything on it is just about perfect. You can blame it on us; we won’t mind. WHY: Tei-An’s menu winds through broad territory: tempura, udon, ramen, sashimi, curry rice, and dishes like braised beef tongue and okonomiyaki. 4601 Washington AvenueHouston, TX(713) 842-7114 | kitchen713.com, WHAT: Authentic Vietnamese pho house in Houston’s Chinatown area. He’s run delis in both New York and Los Angeles, but today he calls Houston — and Kenny & Ziggy’s — home. Heugel is also one of the bar owners behind OKRA Charity Saloon, a not-for-profit bar. 5251 McCullough AvenueSan Antonio, TX(210) 338-0746 | restaurantmixtli.com, WHAT: The home of the puffy taco. Roger builds upon these standards with more outre dishes, like sauteed sea cucumber with lobster rice and an improbable but smashing entree of duck breast with quince, Idiazábal cheese sauce, pine nuts, and balsamic reduction. The challenge is said to go back to the restaurant's early days in the 1960s when its owner held contests among local cowboys to see who could eat the most. From rare to well-done, T-bone to sirloin, from the tip of West Texas to the Louisiana border, we take pride in our expertise in preparing thick, juicy cuts of beef. No rice, no beans, no problem. It is a lot less expensive than actual caviar, and it's great with tortilla chips. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas — B.A. Though there are others that can replicate that magic — Los Barrios, Teka Molino, Henry’s Puffy Tacos — Ray’s Drive Inn, with its throwback Spurs signage, virgen shrine, and “Budweiser y Tacos” neon, is a living time capsule of old-school San Antonio. Yum!" WHY: Owner and executive chef Kevin Fink has made a calling card out of milling his own wheat for pastas like White Sonora agnolotti filled with smoked potato and the gratifyingly chewy Blue Beard Durum spaghetti for his signature cacio e pepe. Hugo’s menu, on the other hand, is a national survey of the country’s most legendary dishes; Ortega’s genius for employing spice and intensifying meaty flavors creates the through-line between them. Top-ranked colleges offer outstanding on-campus dining—students can easily access healthy, quality food across a wide range of cuisines and dietary preferences. WHAT: Austin casual with sophisticated execution. There is a small food menu of nibbles like cheese, charcuterie, and snacks. Founded in 1987 by Juan Francisco Ochoa, Taco Palenque’s 20-plus locations serve a quality, affordable version of the state’s border cuisine — including its iconic pirata taco, made with beans, cheese, and fajita meat, that’s beloved in Laredo and beyond. WHAT: A rambling, glitzy, big-hearted chophouse that couldn’t — and wouldn’t — exist anywhere but Texas. Bill Addison is Eater's national critic, roving the country uncovering America’s essential restaurants. Dressed in traditional Texas fashion with mustard, lettuce, red onion, and dill pickle. Go forth, and feast at Dallas’s most worthy dining destinations, boasting everything from incredible vegan tacos to excellent nigiri and stunning lacquered quail. Overnight stays include breakfasts (maybe grits and eggs scattered with bacon lardons) made with the same city-meets-country finesse. If there’s one thing we do better in Texas, it’s meat. But Big D’s burgerphiles will tell you it’s worth braving the fray, and hey, you don’t mess with Texas, right? Ask for them by the bakery’s trademarked name, klobasniki. Teiichi is a master of soba noodles, which he makes by hand and serves both cold and hot, and it’s best enjoyed at the end of a seven-course omakase, which you need to call ahead to request. It all sounds so bizarre, and it all comes together so seamlessly and pleasurably. As we all know, some of the best Texas restaurants are located off the beaten path. Order the much-heralded lamb barbacoa braised in garlic and chiles then slow-roasted in agave, and, for the name alone, the manchamanteles, described on the menu as the “tablecloth stainer,” a sweet mole stewed pork and chicken dish. WHAT: Hugo Ortega and Tracy Vaught’s gracious, 16-year-old lodestar of hospitality, whose success presaged this moment of upscale Mexican dining in the United States. I’m fondest of Killen’s firstborn. Their biscuits and Southern “Sweet Cream” waffles and pancakes are made with proprietary mixes that you can buy online. WHAT: A tasting-menu restaurant in middle-of-nowhere West Texas that actually lives up to the romantic fantasy of such diversions. This bright and spacious culinary gem is filled with light during the day, and at night, the gray walls, light woods, and modern lighting combine for irresistible romantic appeal, complemented by classic French dishes like gougères, French onion soup, steak frites, and caramelized cheese soufflé. Finally, the top slice of bread. Serving Texas beef is rarer in Lone Star steakhouses than you might expect, which makes the gorgeously marbled wagyu ribeye raised by local farmstead Marble Ranch a double treat. If you’re dining chef-side in Dean’s Kitchen, or at the Chef’s Table, look for the ebullient chef; he’s almost always present. Their wine list covers many regions — Chile, France, Brazil, Italy, Argentina, Australia, and the U.S. — complimenting the varied food selections. Start a meal in this bright, luxe-casual dining room with Fearing’s iconic, smoky, and creamy tortilla soup, then feast on Granny’s fried chicken, shaken with flour and spices before being fried to perfection in cast iron. She was right, of course. WHY: Last year Yu reinvented his tasting-menu innovator Oxheart into Theodore Rex, a more laid-back restaurant with an a la carte menu. The award-winning menu is a favorite of Irish expats, and of course, it being Austin and all, there’s great music as well. Robb Walsh is a the three-time James Beard Award winner who divides his time between Galveston Bay, Texas, and Galway Bay, Ireland. 1302 Nance StreetHouston, TX(832) 830-8592 | trexhouston.com. The brunch menu at Little Red Wasp is a whole lot of fun, and is also chock-full of fun plays on Texas classics. In addition to the businesses listed above, Matt’s El Rancho is a wonderful place to indulge a little. 6652 Southwest FreewayHouston, TX(713) 532-2837 | himalayarestauranthouston.com. WHY: The restaurant from James Beard Award-nominated chef Bryce Gilmore epitomizes contemporary Austin cuisine. David Uygur’s homage to the pig is a stunning array of standard favorites like salami, coppa, and thinly sliced lardo that wilts to translucence under the heat of the warm bread it sits upon. The best Tex-Mex in Texas could be right in your neighborhood! WHY: Lifelong cattle rancher and chuck-wagon cook Tom Perini turned an old barn into Texas’s most popular steak destination 35 years ago. WHAT: A Tex-Mex landmark whose timeless signature — skirt steak fajitas — defies and transcends chain-restaurant bastardization. The restaurant, and Laurenzo’s fajitas, became an oft-imitated (and, for a time, franchised) sensation. Carmen Valera, one of the five siblings who own the restaurant, says a third of their menu is identical to what her grandparents served at their now-shuttered restaurant in the ’60s, a third is straight from her mother’s now-shuttered restaurant from the ’80s and ’90s, and a third is all-new. Ratcliffe BBQ News Roundup: … What’s an unassuming Downtown Fort Worth restaurant and beer bar during the week becomes a showstopping brunch destination on the weekends. The pargo elegante, topped with avocado and crabmeat, is stunning. For their savory selection, The Waffle Bus offers a fried chicken and waffle sandwich which can be topped with spicy mayo or ancho chile honey. I still love the trailer. Dubious at how many separate items I was ordering, the server stopped me and said, “If you want to know our food, order the deluxe plate.” A gushing chile relleno anchored the feast. Take the “Carolina Pork It,” for example: a 100 percent Vienna beef hot dog, stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, deep-fried and topped with grilled horseradish coleslaw and house-made pimento cheese. Smoky brisket, breakfast tacos, chile con carne, and 200,000 square miles of belt-busting beauty. The Lower Southeast shop entices barbecue zealots with buttery brisket, sausage links stuffed with Oaxaca cheese and spicy serranos, and, on the first Sunday of every month, barbacoa — a south Texas staple. Along the turquoise Formica counter, regulars and visitors gather for diner food with a dynamic sense of place. The Lemon Lusty cupcake — made with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon curd, topped with lemon buttercream — is the perfect way to celebrate spring. Its soups are made in-house daily, and the must-order is the broccoli beer cheese soup, with chunks of fresh broccoli, several types of cheese, and Shiner Bock, served in a bread bowl. Amy McCarthy is the editor of Eater Dallas and Eater Houston. Service is uniformly dashing. — B.A. Service is old-school elegant — the waitstaff lifts the silver domes over your entrees in unison. Resha gosht, hailing from the southwestern province of Balochistan, pairs steamed and shredded beef with a brightly herbed tomato sauce. WHAT: A handmade-pasta shop whose impeccable noodles are second only to the salumi. Then the real star of the show is added: house-cured ham, rubbed in ancho chile, dried chile flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper and brined for six days before being baked and sliced paper thin. And regulars will tell you that the true star of the breakfast menu is the pancakes. June Naylor is a sixth-generation Texan working as a food/travel journalist for 25-plus years. These 25 Restaurants Serve the Best Chili in America. WHY: Todd David at Cattleack is the only pitmaster in Texas serving whole-hog barbecue on a regular schedule, and that’s still just on the first Saturday of every month. WHAT: A celebration of Pakistani cooking from the skilled hands and elastic mind of chef-owner Kaiser Lashkari. She took special pride in her version of tacos al carbon, skirt steak served on a hot comal with caramelized onions and a stack of fresh flour tortillas. — B.A. Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin. A byproduct of being great is that you are also popular.”. The second largest state in the U.S. by land area is the originator of Tex-Mex cuisine, is at the forefront of food truck technology and mobile culinary acumen, and is home to some incredible steak. The brisket, with its peppery exterior, falls apart as you pick it up. From small towns to major metros, our *data scientists compiled a list of the all-time top 100 restaurants that shine big and bright deep in the heart of Texas – and Yelp! 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