1400 W. Magnolia Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104
www.facebook.com/Nonna-Tata The Italian food at this 21-seat cafe is so exceptional that diners would probably bring their own chairs to eat here if they had to, but fortunately all they need to bring is the wine, a corkscrew and maybe some wine glasses to pour it in. Diners also need to come with cash and a dose of patience, because the line starts forming before the doors open at 5:30 p.m. But no worries, you can enjoy a glass or two while you wait. As far as the food, owner Donatella Trotti’s ever evolving menu of specialties—ranging from grilled calamari and gnocchi to an array of pasta dishes—are some of the most authentic you’ll find outside of Italy.
1410 N. Fitzhugh Ave.
Dallas, TX 75214
Good things come in small packages and that certainly rings true for this intimate neighborhood bistro where the only issue you’ll have is deciding what to order off an eclectic menu of tempting options. The crispy risotto balls with Fresno chili peppers and smoked mozzarella is a good place to start. Or go with the 1410 salad with goat cheese, candied walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and greens from Tom Spicer’s garden next door. Main courses range from seared cod on a potato crab cake with sunchoke corn cream to pumpkin ravioli with pine nuts and Marzano tomatoes in a brown butter sage sauce. With a $3 corkage fee and Jimmy’s Food Store next door, bringing your own bottle to dinner or lunch couldn’t be easier.
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20 Feet Seafood Joint
1160 Peavy Road
Dallas, TX 75218
Located in East Dallas’ hip restaurant corridor along Peavy Road, this nautical-themed eatery has been the talk of the town since opening last year. Delectable offerings range from East Coast seafaring favorites like fresh plump fried Ipswich clams and succulent Maine lobster rolls to Asian-inspired specialties like pork belly banh mi sandwiches and ramen noodles. The stellar food and free BYOB policy is enough to make this place a great catch.
2995 Preston Road, Suite 1590
Frisco, TX 75034
www.platiagreek.com If this cozy, family-owned spot doesn’t transport you to Greece on ambiance alone, then yia-yia’s kota – a juicy, flavorful roasted chicken with olive oil, garlic, lemon and oregano – will have you there in no time. Or if you want to have a little bit of everything, the combination platters are perfect for an evening of grazing and sipping on a nice bottle of vino that you can bring in for a setup fee of $2.50 per bottle.
111 W. Virginia St.
McKinney, TX 75069
www.gregorysbistro.org For an upscale night out without an upscale bill, head over to McKinney’s downtown square for a taste of Gregory’s incredible French fare. From diver sea scallops with pomegranate and roasted jalapeno sauce to sea bass with lobster risotto, you will find plenty of choices to get excited about. Even better, you can make a pit stop across the street for a few bottles of bon vin at McKinney Wine Merchant and have it served with your meal for $5 per table.
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Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at Examiner.com.