In Amharic, the word desta means "happiness," and it appears throughout the Ethiopian restaurant known as Desta, gracing the menus, signs, and walls with a constant reminder of hope. Here, it's a mantra as much as a namesake, a tribute to the tragic past. In 2012, the owners of Desta—Yared and Yenni, a husband-and-wife pair returning home from a 16-hour shift—were fatally shot on their front porch, leaving behind an infant son. Months after the couple's death, Yared's sisters reopened Desta, dedicated to continuing Yared's dream so that his orphaned son might grow up in a world defined by desta rather than grief.
Whether in the sleek, minimalist décor or the menu of authentic Ethiopian cuisine, Yared and Yenni's legacy remains in every part of Desta's second iteration. Atop the wooden tables, entrees such as fish kitfo—a serving of extralean tuna seasoned with mitmita-hot-chili powder—accompanies helpings of injera bread, an Ethiopian staple that can be formed into a scoop to pick up food by hand. To the tune of the modern lounge’s grand piano, Desta’s friendly staff serves diners inside or on the patio, happy to offer suggestions or answer questions about any unfamiliar fare.
Veggie Garden draws on the traditions of Punjabi and North Indian cuisine, discriminately spicing authentic vegetarian dishes to awaken the flavours of vegetables, cheeses, grains, and legumes. The menu seduces both herbivores and those who adhere to steak-shaped food rainbows alike with dishes such as the South Indian specialty masala dosa, a rice-and-black-lentil pancake stuffed with potatoes and spices ($8.99). Entrees include the mutter mushroom, sautéed with green peas in butter before being dressed in onions and tamarind sauce ($7.99). The baingan bharta ($9.99) mashes smoked eggplant with spices, onions, and tomatoes and is served with a side of residual good karma from Mother Earth. Palates enlivened by the eatery's delicately incorporated spices can change directions with desserts such as kheer kesari, a rice pudding swaddling saffron and nuts. Between bites, Veggie Garden's free WiFi encourages plant gnashers to hop online to check on their virtual organic farms.
The Egg & I started in Colorado, but like a tumbleweed or a particularly sturdy egg it rolled its way south into the Dallas culinary scene. Sit on the outdoor patio and sip premium, fresh-ground Costa Rican coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and made-to-order smoothies. Or head inside, where the décor is as sunnily downhomey as the yolks on your plate. Vegetarian options abound, and egg whites can be substituted at any time so long as you order with conviction and integrity.
Since making their stage debut in 1956, Pizza by Marco's thin-crust pizzas and colorful palette of toppings have earned a bevy of awards, including Best Pizza in Dallas-Fort Worth from the readers of Pegasus News in 2010. The menu of specialty and customizable pizzas showcases the pizzeria's rich sauce handcrafted from a Sicilian family recipe of 13 secret spices known only to the founder's son and a network of undercover measuring spoons.
When The Melting Pot originally opened in 1975 just outside Orlando, the location was cozy and quaint, but diners had only three options: swiss-cheese fondue, beef fondue, or chocolate fondue. However, as the restaurant grew in popularity, so did its menu selection and atmosphere. The restaurant first expanded four years later under the leadership of a Melting Pot waiter and enterprising college student named Mark Johnston, who teamed up with his brothers Mike and Bob to open a new outpost in Tallahassee. This location grew in reputation to pave the way for future franchise expansion. Today, the company—now owned by the trio of siblings—reigns as the premier fondue, wine, and drink restaurant, stretching across North America with more than 140 restaurants linked by underground tunnels. The restaurant's menu has also ballooned, and patrons can now expect six varieties of hot dipping cheese paired with salads, meats, and molten chocolate.
On a given night, groups of foodies gather around tables to nosh on signature four-course meals, from cheese-fondue appetizers and various salads to steaks and seafood cooked in a choice of healthy broth or oil. Birthday revelers and couples can share decadent evenings at private tables, capping off meals with chocolate desserts that have defined The Melting Pot for decades.