What's it take to be a bonafide Dallas foodie? Try asking a Yelp Elite.
An "elite" Yelper is a super-user whose insatiable taste for dining out is only matched by their ability to microblog about their experiences and offer tips to others who use the site. So when looking for recommendations on where to eat and drink, it's safe to say the local Yelp Elite are rife with nuggets of nourishing knowledge. After all, when's the last time you could say you ate out 15 times in a week?
In honor of Yelp's 100 millionth review, which hit the site in mid-March, we quizzed some of North Texas' most prolific reviewers about their favorite spots to indulge.
ViJay is a contact center manager from Carrollton who relies on others' Yelp ratings to evaluate a restaurant as much as they rely on his.
Favorite restaurant: Taverna Rossa (Plano)
"Great service with food to match," he says. "They never let me down."
Favorite bar: HG Sply Co. (Dallas)
"They have one of the BEST views in Dallas," says ViJay. (We have to agree.) "The rooftop bar has plenty of space for groups and couples."
North Texas' most underrated foodie city: Addison
ViJay credits the suburb for having "the most restaurants per square mile. With so much new development, who would have thought so many gems are right in our backyard!"
Heather is an Arlington-based nurse who credits her love of trying new things to fact she gets bored easily.
The first place she takes out-of-towners: Magnolia Avenue and West 7th Street in Fort Worth
Her favorite spots are Rodeo Goat, Max's Wine Dive and Heim Barbecue food truck, which she calls her favorite smokehouse in D-FW. "I'd take them over Pecan Lodge or Lockhart's any day (I know those are fighting words)," she says. "The owner worked at Franklin in Austin ... he also has bacon burnt ends and the most amazing potato salad."
Favorite bar: Thompson's (Fort Worth)
"It's a speakeasy-style bar and the only one I know of in Fort Worth that has a secret passageway," she says, adding the cocktails "are made with so much expertise and craftsmanship, you really feel like the drink was designed just for you."
Favorite restaurant: Vivo 53 (Fort Worth)
Heather praises Vivo 53 for its uniqueness and consistent menu improvements. "You can definitely tell that the owners/chef care about feedback and the customer experience," she says.
Terry is an IT manager and database developer who may as well as add professional restaurant scout to his resume -- he eats out 10 to 15 times per week.
North Texas' most underrated foodie city: Arlington
Dallas and Fort Worth have the best reputations, but Arlington is just as diverse, he says. "From fine French dining at Cacharel to the small mom and pop places, there is something here for just about everyone."
First place he takes out-of-towners: Moni's Pasta and Pizza (Arlington)
The owners know how to make guests feel at home, Terry says. "Moni and/or Momma will stop by your table to chat ... even if it's your first time time there, they will talk to you like they have known you for years." Another plus: it's BYOB.
Favorite restaurant: Pak-A-Pocket (Fort Worth)
A 19-year regular, Terry lauds the shop's lunch specials and pita chips, which are "toasted to garlicky perfection." An insider trick: "Tell them you want it Terry's way and you'll get a bag of pita chips and an extra bag of pita chips in place of fruit," he says.
Elyse is a Plano resident and GIS technician, whose favorite hobby is seeking out new and hidden foodie gems.
Favorite restaurant: Carbone's Fine Food and Wine (Dallas)
"Italian food is my weakness and their fresh pasta is to die for," she says.
Favorite bar: The Libertine Bar (Dallas)
"Their weekend brunch is incredible with item such as jalapeño-cheddar grits and a fried green tomato sandwich," she says. (Once again, we have to agree.) "Even better? Champagne drinks are only $2.50 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.!"
North Texas' most underrated foodie district: Oak Cliff
The neighborhood is home to some outstanding restaurants, including brunch hot spot Jonathon's and Spiral Diner, which Elyse says you don't have to be a vegan to enjoy.