2012 Texas Restaurants (Zagat Survey: Texas Restaurants)

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With this in mind, now through July 4th, Zagat is hitting the road with HuffPost and livestreaming daily to from the best BBQ joints around the country. Hungry for great BBQ near you? At the end of the tour, we'll announce a People's Choice winner! Credit: Getty Images. Find the Best Places Faster with the new Zagat. Our editors carefully craft reliable reviews and lists based on diner feedback. Labels: Product announcement. Labels: survey results launch post. Mini tacos from Los Tacos No. Hot trends and food photos: Zagat reveals all in latest dining survey September 13, From trendy foods to dining deal-breakers, the survey uncovers the habits and preferences of nearly 10, avid restaurant goers across the nation, highlighting 26 U.

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Resources Zagat. The food is both timeless and current—just like Floataway itself. A California asparagus salad is stunning, served with roasted wheat, preserved lemon, Woodsman and Wife feta, and deviled egg sauce. The earthiness from hearty hunks of Purple Haze carrots is heightened with crunchy hazelnuts and a smear of Moroccan-spiced coconut. Classic pasta options—such as tortelli di Michelangelo Buonarroti, a 16th century recipe of veal, chicken, and pork ravioli in a butter-sage sauce—are the kind of thing you want to eat forever. Finish with a honey-laced yogurt showered with candied walnuts.

The regal servers deliver bygone glamour, along with a wide range of pasta and veal options. Even before Octopus Bar opens at p. By 11 p.

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The food is as unorthodox as the hours, and every bite is worth staying up late for. There is no better meal to be had in the middle of the night—and few that are better at any time of day. Or both. Under new chef Maricela Vega , 8Arm has turned over a new leaf.

A plate of oyster mushrooms, served in a beautiful jumble of brassica fleurets, pumpkin seed creme, and chimichurri, is so meaty it could make the most bloodthirsty carnivore forgo steak. Vega also brilliantly deploys heat against cold: a crisp strawberry and mint salad gets a pleasant jolt from fiery chili oil; the spicy Bangladeshi-style curry poured over whole-roasted trout is countered by cool creme fraiche raita. But with Vega in the kitchen, 8Arm feels new again.

Blink and you might miss this small storefront on a mostly residential stretch in East Lake. The dining room is short on luxury—stark spotlights, metal tables, loud rock music—but high on intrigue. Seven to eight chefs cook and then deliver plates directly to diners, who can choose to accept or reject them. She also artfully builds on culinary traditions of black Southerners—think hoisin oxtails with shallot-ginger roasted bok choy and cornflake-crusted black grouper.

Argosy is the rare restaurant that does more than it needs to—and does all of it well.

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It pulls off this juggling act in a large, easygoing nerd paradise where custom-built wooden sea creatures hang from the ceiling and analog parlor games are played in the back. The menu at this East Atlanta Village gastropub offers everything from Shaolin Wings with Tokyo mayo and purple daikon to charred octopus with fingerlings, fennel, and fried capers.

Argosy also excels in the burger department: The double-stacked Plancha and the Impossible vegan version each are at the top of their respective games. Buford Highway this is not. Feast on bao stuffed with soft-shell crab, bacon, and sambal mayo, chicken clay pot with crispy rice, and salty-crunchy lemongrass shrimp. Since , the woman-owned institution has reliably served heaping helpings of soul food: smothered pork chops, oxtails, fried chicken , collards, and cornbread dressing.

What makes it so good? That will soon be you.

A lot has changed since then, but Empire State South remains a destination restaurant in a part of Midtown that has too few of them. Among its most iconic dishes is the texturally enchanting farm egg on crispy rice with beef and mushroom sausage, shiitake, and corn. Equally seductive are the wine and cocktail programs, each among the very best in the city. The terrace overlooking a bocce court ringed by Adirondacks is a splendid gathering spot for an impromptu al fresco meal or a planned event.

In short, Empire State South, no longer trendy, is more inviting than ever. Now, you can find a sublime bowl in a glamorous space that evokes vintage Manhattan. In seven years, the General Muir has become indispensable for its upscale Jewish deli—inspired menu: If you have a hankering for piled-high pastrami on rye or chopped liver with pletzel bread, there is no better place.

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A taxidermied deer yes, with a missing ear proudly looms over the handsome bar. If or when Luda and company decide to expand the franchise beyond Hartsfield-Jackson, and members of the general public have an easier time getting hold of the short-rib mac and cheese, it will be even clearer that this food holds its own against restaurants far beyond Concourse D. For nearly two decades, La Tavola has quietly enchanted Virginia-Highlanders—who are perfectly happy keeping this underappreciated beauty all to themselves.

If only every neighborhood could be home to a high-quality Italian spot that harbors such a creative streak. The tiny bar and the various dining areas smack of Paris at its most romantic. The Federal is where to eat before heading to the Fox or any other Midtown destination. The double patty covered in American cheese and a thick slice of griddled onion, available only at lunch, might be the best burger in Midtown.

In eight years, this Ford Fry Italian spot has become an incubator for talent: Chefs who cut their teeth here have gone on to helm such innovative restaurants as Banshee and 8Arm. Roasted chicken gets a hint of sweetness from agrodolce and a hint of wood fire from the charred broccoli, which is impossible to stop eating. Clockwise from top: Jeow bong wings, laap, sticky rice and eggs, squid on a stick.

Laotian food has long been overshadowed in Atlanta by the cuisine of neighboring Thailand. Inspired by the bright flavors they encountered on a trip to their native Laos, husband and wife Vanh Sengaphone and Thip Athakhanh craft street food—inspired dishes vibrant with heat and acid, including a peerless laap a spicy and tart meat salad more commonly known by its Thai name, larb and a sinus-clearing bowl of khao poon its curry broth, rich with coconut milk, clings to long rice noodles.

A second location is heading to the Battery this year. Heirloom is a love story—between its co-owners, wife and husband Jiyeon Lee and Cody Taylor , and between the homestyle Korean cooking of her childhood and the homestyle Texan cooking of his. The restaurant did not start out as an intentional crosscultural melange of cuisines. As with all great love stories, the passion between miso paste and collard greens or kimchi and coleslaw was almost accidental at first, but these pairings were clearly meant to be. Our only gripe is that the mostly takeout operation offers just a few standing tables; this food is too good to rush through while on your feet and too tempting to drive all the way home with.

Kudos to Meherwan Irani , who sticks to his spicy Indian roots in his six-restaurant mini empire.

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Dave Roberts left fine dining in the mid-aughts to study the finer points of barbecue. Louis ribs, and ridiculously rich and creamy three-cheese mac and cheese. You may want to mix the vinegar-based sauce into the tomato and molasses one—but, as is true of the best barbecue joints, these meats are tasty enough to eschew the sauces entirely. Want to learn how Hernandez does it?

When Hudson Rouse , formerly of Home Grown, and his wife, Kathryn Fitzgerald Rouse, opened this creative meat-and-three for breakfast and lunch in , the crowds flocked. They came to the adorable Avondale Estates storefront for fried trout with cheese grits and for vegetables—collards, kale, sweet potatoes—that Hudson grows himself. The restaurant now offers dinner think pecan-crusted trout with creamed potatoes, green beans, and orange butter and cocktails. Growing up, Lis Hernandez spent countless days with her mother in the kitchen making arepas— stuffed cornmeal patties, crunchy from a hot grill —that they sold on the streets in their native Venezuela.

This is the Venezuelan food that Atlanta was missing. Blond wood picnic benches, brown tile, and burnt-orange walls are what you get. The whiteboard menu offers a basic breakdown of the fantastic Mexican food for which the small restaurant is locally renowned. Desta is one of three Ethiopian restaurants at the corner of Briarcliff and Clairmont roads—including the stylish and formidable newcomer Feedel Bistro.

Located inside the opulent St. The room itself is magnificent and hushed, a cathedral worthy of the works of art on the walls and on the plate. Chef Christopher Grossman previously worked at the French Laundry, and most of his food is simultaneously light in an ethereal way and decadent given his deft use of luxe ingredients. Pillowy mushroom agnolotti is made heavenly with foie gras-enhanced jus and Australian black truffles, and an entree of hot smoked trout with potato mousse, green apples, and celery threads is elevated by a genius stroke of smoked caviar cream.

Whether the date night in question is prom, an anniversary, an engagement, or some less monumental event, Aria is up to the occasion. The pewter-walled room is dim and columned and draped , a modern evocation of ancient Rome. The food similarly updates the classics.

The kind of romance Aria delivers never goes out of style. Your faux-makase could include slivers of superfresh sashimi shimmering in a shallow pool of yuzu ponzu and extra-virgin olive oil and a simple slice of miso-marinated, broiled black cod. A late winter dish of local squab got its mineral depth from pan-roasted duck liver, its earthiness from Harukei turnip, its sweet-tart pungency from dried cherries, and its fragrant surprise in the form of lavender.

A more recent dish of Grateful Pastures chicken, confit kohlrabi with its flowers, and late-season Mandarin was the edible embodiment of spring. Eugene is a restaurant for all seasons. The ounce porterhouse is as well-aged as the servers, 10 of whom have been on staff for at least a decade.


Start with lump-crab cocktail or lobster bisque or a wedge salad, and pair your steak or chop with a loaded baked potato and grilled asparagus. These dishes are but a few of the many reasons Mamak has a rabid following. Grandma makes nearly every item at this Buford Highway homestyle Korean restaurant from scratch. There are tons of other worthy things to eat at El Rey, including sizzled meats a la plancha and more than three dozen seafood dishes. Also: pitchers of margaritas. The menu looks like a highly stylized food magazine and is about as long.

The space calls to mind a hip food hall with neon lights and yellow-coated, industrial metal stools. And the well-oiled kitchen cranks out clever takes on Malaysian food , a mix of Chinese, Indian, Singaporean, and Thai flavors. This humble hideaway just off Buford Highway offers homestyle Korean food at its most comforting: kimchi pancakes, steamed chicken and rice, and bubbling kimchi stew with pork.

Most of the regular clientele is more interested in drinking tea than soju, though there are plenty of premium bottles on offer. And for non-Korean speakers, the menu became easier to navigate last year when it was overhauled with both photos and categories translated to English. Oaxaca is considered one of the culinary capitals of Mexico, and the Oaxacan specialty that eaters have raved about for years at this Jonesboro gem is the tlayuda: a large, grilled tortilla covered pizzalike with refritos, string cheese, avocado, lettuce, and your choice of meat pork sluiced in chili is tops.

Chicken tamales, flavored either with mole or salsa verde, have a surprisingly delicate texture.

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Huaraches, the sandal-shaped boats of masa dough, are loaded with rich meat. Staged against a turquoise-tiled open kitchen, the dining room is a glamorous setting for grazing on kashk badenjoon fried eggplant, cream of whey, crispy onion, mint and charred lamb kebabs perfumed with citrus and saffron. To accompany the main courses, opt for buttery basmati rice flecked with orange zest and pistachios.

Since the day it opened in , the restaurant has been swamped. A second location, which opened at Avalon in , has done little to ease the crowds. Korean barbecue is the sum of its parts. At — the flagship of a growing mini-empire , including the almost-as-good D92 in Decatur—each part is a cut above: a rainbow of daily changing side dishes banchan like pickled radishes and soy-glazed peanuts; glistening slices of marbled brisket, pork belly, and ribeye; charcoal grills which we prefer to their electric counterparts ; and a sleek, industrial space. Need a water refill?

More meat? Push the call button, and your table number flashes on a screen near the kitchen. Co-owners and siblings Ryan and Daniel Pernice are ever-attentive and easy to spot—think the Property Brothers with beards. Pasta options including gluten-free ones range from plump agnolotti di oxo braised short rib—stuffed ravioli to hearty tagliolini Bolognese.

For lighter fare, go with the grilled branzino with broccolini and sweet-onion puree. Both locations of Nam Phuong are worthwhile starting points to explore the joys of Vietnamese cuisine beyond pho and banh mi, though the Jimmy Carter Boulevard outpost has a bit of an edge on the Buford Highway one. Louis ribs with guava-chipotle barbecue sauce; and sofrito mac and cheese with pork-rind crumbs. The star order is the Puerto Rican Fried Can Can Pork Chop, a massive, prehistoric-looking cut that extends from loin to belly and includes ribs, which will easily feed three.

Tasty China was the first restaurant in town to serve undiluted Sichuan cuisine. But Tasty China currently is in superb—if not quite Changian—form, churning out stellar dishes including confit-like fish filets in chili oil and velvety, mild chicken with three types of mushrooms. Chicken schnitzel is served with miso mustard, pork-belly sliders arrive on Chinese steam buns, and braised local greens are spiked with soy sauce and chilis. His steaks are listed in two sections: Uptown Meats, expensive prime cuts such as New York strip and an extraordinarily tender spinalis, also known as ribeye cap; and Downtown Meats, less flashy, leaner cuts, including a set of three four-ounce, bone-in baby filets.

Sweet, little ice cream bonbons by old-school pastry chef Joannie Trotochaud are the thing to order after a meal. The Old Fourth Ward location was short-lived it closed in June , but the concept was not. Spina relaunched a month later in Duluth , with an expanded menu that includes a chicken parm hero on housemade bread and handmade cavatelli.

But the biggest draw remains the game-changing pizzas: classic round pies, thick-crust Sicilians, thick-yet-airy Detroit-style, and, of course, grandma.

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