Is your favorite restaurant really your favorite restaurant, or is it just a comfortable standby? Either way, it’s time for something new. Shake up your neighborhood dining life with these suggestions for every kind of meal.

Posh patios


Click for a Google map of all the restaurants listed in this article

Nothing’s classier than an outdoor lunch date at Rise No. 1, the Inwood Village “salon de soufflé” that specializes in French cuisine, following principles of the Slow Food Movement. The menu features several types of soufflés from creamed spinach to escargot, and each contains no more than 413 calories. The European-style patio encourages folks to stay a while. You can also curl up with a book from the in-house library. 5360 W. Lovers at Inwood, Suite 220, 214.366.9900

If you’ve ever been to Bread Winners Café and Bakery for Sunday brunch, you know how loud and boisterous it gets inside. That’s why a detour to the patio is the perfect way to enjoy your eggs benedict and mimosa. Even on a hot summer day, the fans and forestry keep the area cool. 5560 W. Lovers at Inwood, 214.351.3339

Whether sitting inside or hanging on the patio, R+D Kitchen carries an outdoor feel throughout. Enjoy a pulled pork barbecue sandwich by the cascading fountain, and don’t skip the indulgent banana cream pie. 8300 Preston Center Plaza, 214.890.7900

Stop in just before the dinner rush, and the huge double deck patio at Stratos Greek Taverna is a relaxing end to the workday. Stop by after dark, and it’s a full-on nightclub with booming music and belly dancers. The restaurant offers half-price wines on Wednesdays and Sundays. But don’t leave without trying the mango margarita. 2907 Northwest Highway at Webb Chapel, 214.352.3321

The cupcake conundrum

Sometimes, presentation is everything. Sprinkles gets it right with hip and clean topping designs that change with the seasons. Plus, you can often help out a local nonprofit by indulging in certain flavors. But beware, one of these rich cupcakes can easily be split two ways. 4020 Villanova at preston, 214.369.0004

Not only does its menu change daily, but Gigi’s offers truly unique flavors such as the wildly popular Kentucky Bourbon Pie — bourbon cake topped with pecans, chocolate chips and cream cheese frosting, and drizzled in caramel and ganache. 5450 W. Lovers at inwood, 214.352.2253

Sure, the cupcakes are divine — especially the S’mores flavor with marshmallow filling topped with chocolate butter cream and toasted marshmallow. But it’s the cake balls and whoopie pies that keep us coming back to Crème de la Cookie again and again. 6025 Royal at preston, Suite 127, 214.363.4766

The only thing more dangerous than a good cupcake shop is one that encourages you to stay awhile. In addition to its delectable edibles, Tart Bakery doubles as a gift store and coffee shop, offering free wi-fi. 5219 W. Lovers at inwood, Suite B, 469.335.8919

For your health


For good, clean food, head over to South Paws Organic Café — the “health-food Cheers” in Preston Center. The owners are purists when it comes to eating well. You won’t find any unfamiliar ingredients in these dishes. Try the signature gluten-free ZaZa Rice Bowl packed with fresh veggies or the Green Gobbler spinach wrap. 6009 Berkshire at douglas, 214.987.0351

My Fit Foods does all of the calorie counting for you, offering pre-proportioned, refrigerated but sophisticated meals such as pear salmon and stir-fry. The recipes harness healthy fat, lean meat and low glycemic carbs that go straight to your thighs. 6100 Luther at westchester, 214.360.7569, 5960 Royal at preston, 214.613.2841

Snappy Salads makes a killer Cobb salad, combining romaine and iceberg lettuce, topped with tomatoes, chives, crumbled egg, bacon, grilled chicken, fresh avocado, gorgonzola and the restaurant’s signature dressing. 5915 Forest at preston, 972.991.7627

Create your own healthy salad at Salata, which offers a wide array of fresh lettuce, veggies, fruits, nuts and cheeses along with homemade dressings that won’t just tack those extra calories back on. 8307 Westchester at luther, 214.363.6991

Chill factor

Maybe you stumbled upon it while grabbing a quick soda. Or, maybe you never knew it existed. Tucked away in Doc’s Food Store in the Meadow Central shopping center, Summer Snow serves up some of the best sno cones around. The stand has more than 49 varieties, including natural flavors made with 100 percent fresh fruit and no preservatives. Try the chamoyadas for something spicier. The seasonal shop is open April 1 through Halloween. Although news has spread mostly by word of mouth, you’re guaranteed to see a long line as the weather heats up this summer. 7814 Meadow at Central, 214.315.5589

Besides the burgers and dogs, Scotty P’s serves some of the best milkshakes around. Try Tommy P’s ice cream shake, which comes in chocolate, strawberry, vanilla or Oreo topped with whipped cream and a cherry. 11661 Preston at Forest, Suite 131, 214.691.1200

The flavor list is endless at Paciugo, the locally owned gelato shop that can be found at nearly every end of our neighborhood. Mix it up by building your own flavor combinations in one cup. 5915 Forest at Preston, Suite 320, 972.392.0319

Step just outside the neighborhood to Highland Park Pharmacy, the old-fashioned soda shop that serves up tasty milkshakes with that extra nostalgia factor. 3229 Knox at Travis, 214.521.2126

The morning doughnut run

Location and convenience mean a lot when choosing where to grab that box of doughnuts for the break room. That’s true of Forest Donuts, located at Forest and Central across from Medical City Hospital. But stop in early because they quickly run out of all the staples — glazed, sprinkled and chocolate. There’s also free wi-fi, and the interior is pleasant enough to sit and stay a while. 7726 Forest at Central, 214.363.1669

Another place aptly named for its spot on the map is Inwood Donuts. The family-owned shop near the Forestwood shopping center has become an institution for nearby families. 11814 Inwood at Forest, 972.387.9043

For a place that makes eating doughnuts feel trendy, try Yummy Donuts on Lovers near the Dallas North Tollway. The doughnuts are carefully crafted with flavors ranging from the traditional glazed to wider varieties such as birthday cake, mint Oreo and Fruity Pebbles. 4355 Lovers at Armstrong, 214.520.7680

Try before you die


Fried green tomatoes at Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, topped with crumbled goat cheese and a special sauce that combines Round Rock Honey, ancho chiles and fresh thyme. 6130 Luther, 214.890.1103

Corned beef hash at Gio’s Café & New York Deli, shipped straight from Carnegie Deli in New York. Melts in your mouth. 12817 Preston, Suite 129. 972.387.4467

Chocolate caramel Tortugas at The Cultured Cup, covered in a dark chocolate shell, filled with pecan and caramel, and dusted with cocoa powder. 8312 Preston Center Plaza, 972.960.1521

Grilled shrimp tacos at Tacos Y Mas, loaded with onions, cilantro, a splash of lime juice and salt, and wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla. 7752 Forest, 214.824.8079

The fro-yo phenomenon

In our neighborhood alone, the list of frozen yogurt shops is endless, with new spots opening left and right. Instead of rambling on about each one and why we love it, we’ve created an interactive map online to help you navigate the fro-yo circuit.

Where the kids are alright

At Neuhaus Café, you can satisfy the kids without sacrificing your adult taste. While the little ones are chowing down on PB&J and chicken tenders, you can enjoy bruschetta, a lox bagel or grilled salmon for dinner. Plus, the wall of candy machines in the back of the restaurant will keep the kids busy. 626 Preston Royal Shopping Center, 214.739.4600

We don’t have to go far for a good burger in our neighborhood (e.g., Balls, Chips, Goff’s, Elevation). But Gazeebo Burgers is complete with a sizable game room in addition to a menu of kid-friendly items such as chicken fingers, hot dogs and grilled cheese. 5950 Royal at Preston, 214.368.3344

You can never go wrong with an old-fashioned menu of gourmet burgers, milkshakes and French fries. And if you’ve lived in the area for any length of time, you know that Purple Cow is a hotspot for young families. So, if you need to get the rowdy munchkins out of the house, you’ll fit in here. 6025 Royal at Preston, Suite 110, 214.373.0037

Maybe it’s time to expose the kids to hummus and Greek potato salad. Or, stick with the foolproof kids menu at Zoë’s Kitchen, where you can also call ahead to order family meals on the go, feeding four people for just under $30. For dining in, try the spinach roll-ups and the turkey stack. 6025 Royal at Preston, Suite 104, 469.341.0123