Pair of Dallas restaurants recognized as top neighborhood spots in U.S.

June 29, 2014

It has been about a month since OpenTable pushed out a top 100 list, so it was time. This go-round, it's the nation's neighborhood gems, the restaurants favored by their communities for making diners feel special time and time again.  

Turns out two such magical places exist in Dallas — at least according to OpenTable users.

First there is Battuto Italian Kitchen, the Far North Dallas restaurant founded by former KVIL-FM radio personalities Gene and Julie Gates. It has only been open a little more than a year, but already it has seen two chefs come and go. But they must know how to rally the troops to submit online reviews; in fact, on the footer of the restaurant's website is a request to do just that.

Interestingly, OpenTable is not on the provided list of outlets. However, one user made this plea: "Food is very good. Loved the bison pasta and speck and quail egg pizza. Wine list is good and very reasonably priced. Service is good. Go eat there. Tell friends. We need this little gem to survive. Great local place."

The other Dallas spot on the list is Gemma on Henderson Avenue, opened in December 2013 by California transplants Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers, who both worked at Napa Valley restaurant Press. The locals have embraced this intimate, seasonal American restaurant that has elevated the dining options along this strip.

Wrote one OpenTable fan: "Gemma is a Gem. This is truly one of my favorite places in Dallas, hands down! The decor, food, drinks and service are flawless! The menu is local, seasonal, fresh and creative, but most importantly every morsel is delicious!" There was more — and a lot more exclamation points.

To determine its list of the top 100 neighborhood gems in America, restaurant reservation site OpenTable analyzed more than 5 million reviews — perhaps to see how many times the word "gem" was used — of nearly 19,000 restaurants across the country. Two other Texas establishments made the cut: Black Sheep Bistro in Spring, outside of Houston, and District Kitchen and Cocktails in Austin.