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Best of DFW

Joe T's, Reata top iconic restaurants

Posted 11:38am on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011

Some restaurants help define a city. Say they're names to locals and you get a knowing nod, because these are likely the places they take visitors first, to help initiate them into the ways of DFW. They aren't necessarily our picks for the best restaurants in town, but if you want that purely Fort Worth or Dallas experience, you can't go wrong at any of these six spots:

Joe T. Garcia’s: The 75-year-old, family-owned restaurant, tucked in the Fort Worth Stockyards, features a magical patio that will transport you to a tropical hacienda somewhere south of the border. The food seems simple – mammoth portions of fajitas and enchiladas – but the atmosphere and Joe T’s signature margaritas are so intoxicating, you’ll never want to leave. (Two more things: There is indoor seating, but tons of heaters on the patio. And Joe T’s only accepts cash.) 2201 N. Commerce St., Fort Worth; 817-626-4356. www.joets.com

Sonny Bryan’s: There are seven Sonny’s throughout the Metroplex, but you must dine at the original on Inwood Road, where it’s been for 52 years. You squeeze into old school desks and then carefully unwrap the white paper surrounding what is one of the finest gastronomic events in the Lone Star State: biting into a perfectly built chopped brisket sandwich. You’ll become an instant member of the cult of Texas barbecue. 2202 Inwood Rd., Dallas; 214-357-7120; www.sonnybryans.com

Reata: The epicenter of “cowboy cuisine,” Reata adds gourmet twists to chuckwagon favorites like chicken-fried steak with pepper gravy, tenderloin tamales and buffalo ribeye. The rooftop bar is the perfect spot to sip a margarita and drink in the beauty of Sundance Square. 310 Houston St., Fort Worth; 817-336-1009; www.reata.net

Babe’s Chicken Dinner House: The heavenly aroma of chicken frying at Babe’s has come to Arlington. The local comfort food king recently opened a location not far from Cowboys Stadium, and it’s already packing in people hungry for their famed fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, catfish and buttery sides of corn, mashed potatoes and biscuits. It’s family style, so save us some green beans, please. 230 N. Center St., Arlington, 817-801-0300; www.babeschicken.com

Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck: High above downtown in Reunion Tower, this relatively new, revolving restaurant offers exquisite views of Dallas and exquisitely prepared seafood – the salt-and-pepper fried calamari is to die for. 300 Reunion Blvd. E., Dallas; 214-741-5560; www.wolfgangpuck.com

Paris Coffee Shop: Fort Worth’s movers and shakers come here for the hearty breakfasts, chicken and dumplings lunch, and heavenly slices of homemade pie. Bon Appétit recently named it one of the top 10 places for pie in America. 704 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, (817) 335-2041; www.pariscoffeeshop.net

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