Searching for the best food the state has to offer, plus authentic Texas recipes and restaurant reviews for Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, El Paso, and everywhere in between.

No. 7 Knife

Of course you want the 240. It’s the most famous steak in Texas. Meticulously dry-aged in-house for 240 days until it attains an almost truffle-like intensity of flavor, this USDA Prime tomahawk ribeye has few peers. After an initial shortage, plenty are stacking up in Knife’s special meat locker (one 30- to 36-ounce bone-in 240 costs $125 but easily feeds two to four). If you just want a conventional steak, though, no problem.

No. 6 San Salvaje

The name means “Wild Saint,” with the emphasis on “wild.” This riotously decorated venture from 62-year-old Dallas chef Stephan Pyles takes you on a border-hopping culinary tour of Mexico, South America, Cuba, and beyond. Yet despite the unfamiliar words on the menu, many of the dishes are surprisingly comforting. A case in point? The causa.

No. 5 Odd Duck

Fine dining wears a comfort-food guise at Odd Duck. The restaurant seems conflicted, as if it’s trying to hide its complex flavors and artful plating behind quaint mismatched china, chipped paint, and burlap lamp shades.

No. 4 Pax Americana

You will eat your vegetables at Pax Americana, where mounds of dewy lettuces, crunchy young sprouts, and teeny microgreens are scattered with abandon on almost everything but the desserts. Thirty-one-year-old chef Adam Dorris has turned a garnish into a delectable signature at a New American venue that already stands out from the crowd.

No. 3 Gemma

Some chefs yearn to reinvent the wheel. Stephen Rogers, 44, wants to give you the smoothest ride possible. In his hands Gemma has evolved from a halting start into one of Dallas’s most sought-after dining destinations. His New American and Mediterranean menu takes established traditions, applies a bit of a spin, and burnishes them until they shine.

No. 2 Olamaie

By any logic, Olamaie belongs in the South, with places like Husk and Catbird Seat, which are revolutionizing that region’s delicious if sometimes hidebound cooking. But Olamaie’s chefs, Michael Fojtasek, 35, and Grae Nonas, 28, didn’t want to live in the South. They wanted to live in Austin, and that is how Olamaie came to occupy a near-downtown cottage transformed inside to resemble a sleek, contemporary country club.

No. 1 Caracol

The air crackles at Caracol. You feel the energy as you walk past the hopping terrace and check in with the host. You sense it as a palpable force that caroms from the entry to the kitchen and back, filling every nook and cranny of the restaurant’s spacious white dining rooms, which are decked out in playful aquatic art. This place is happening. At any other restaurant, so much excitement could quickly devolve into chaos. Not here.

Where to Eat Now 2015

Got the midwinter blahs? Or craftily thinking ahead to Valentine’s? Here’s a plan for either situation: check out our annual list of the best new restaurants in the state. I promise you’ll find something to like because, as usual, they’re all over the map, from a splashy Mexican seafood emporium in Houston to a chic French dining room in Fort Worth to the home of the year’s most ballyhooed steak, in Dallas.


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