More than 10,000 restaurants can be found in the Metroplex, and the best, according to the 2008 Zagat survey, is the nation’s number one hotel restaurant: Fearing’s at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas in trendy Uptown. Legendary chef Dean Fearing, inventor of tortilla soup, serves brilliant adventures -- dishes of buffalo, tamales, quail, and other Southwestern cuisine -- in an environment of rich woods, leathers, textures, glass, and earth tones. Downtown, Japanese fusion chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa creates sublime culinary transcendence at Nobu in the elegant Rosewood Crescent Hotel. (Tip: Keep an eye out for NBA and NHL players while dining here.)

With fresh local ingredients arriving daily and head chef Graham Dodds’s home-produced honey, Bolsa in the Bishop Arts District serves inventive homemade fare that earns raves from each and every person who passes through the restaurant’s doors.

In Fort Worth, visit the widely acclaimed Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in the Stockyards. Chef and owner Tim Love, who has cooked at the renowned James Beard House in New York, explores the potential of cuisine from the Old West with dishes such as buffalo rib eye and wild boar -- all served in rustic environs accented by white tablecloths, old brick walls, and Western art.

Nearby is legendary Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican restaurant, which has an enchanting, heavily landscaped expanse surrounding the tiled patio. Downtown Fort Worth musts include rooftop patio dining at Reata, where inventive Texas cuisine mixes with stunning views. Barbecue lovers should head to Riscky’s in Sundance Square or good ole Angelo’s, west of downtown.

Back in Dallas, at Local in Deep Ellum, which is east of downtown, chef and owner Tracy Miller serves inspired American dishes. On McKinney Avenue, Abacus, with its entrancing minimalist environment, explores contemporary global cuisine. The Porch, on North Henderson Avenue, pulls in crowds hungry for home-style food and heavy, happy socializing.

Burger devotees will find nirvana on Currie Street in Fort Worth at funky Fred’s Texas Cafe. And in Deep Ellum, half pounders rule at the popular Angry Dog.