BEST CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK
Sara Kerens

Pounded, tender meat, the perfect crisp batter that isn't too thick but doesn't easily flake off and perfectly seasoned gravy: There's a lot that goes into a proper chicken-fried steak, and the folks at Jonathon's know how to do each step. Anything fried here is good, as is anything with gravy. But if you're hunting for the best CFS in town, it's right here in North Oak Cliff.

BEST COCKTAIL BAR
Melissa Hennings

When the happy day comes that we can again spend our evenings sitting elbow-to-elbow with fellow humans, one of our first stops will be Shoals. From the kind and intentional staff to the expert cocktails and vegan food menu, this Deep Ellum spot has our hearts forever.

BEST BUTCHER
Chandler Gibson

As this is written, Rudolph's is taking call-in orders only, which we're fine with because it's good to call anyway. After all, Rudolph's is a great first place to visit when you're cooking something that requires a specific cut of meat that may be hard to find. If they don't have it on hand, they can usually get it for you. And there's no better bacon than that pepper bacon they have in the cooler.

BEST CURBSIDE PICKUP

We appreciate everyone who's doing curbside pickup these days, and it's especially smooth and easy at Haute Sweet Patisserie. Order online through Square, select your pickup time and head to the Lake Highlands-area shop at that time. You can't miss the phone number posted all over the windows: Call, and your sweet treat is handed through your window in a minute.

BEST DINER
Sara Kerens

Chef Tom Fleming is still keeping this Far North Dallas diner running with breakfast items we can't get enough of. Proper biscuits and gravy, perfectly fluffy pancakes and savory dishes make this menu one that's good enough for the whole family. It's a place you can't over-hype to your friends: It's consistently a place you'll want to return to for breakfast and lunch.

This past summer offered a weird season for farmers markets, which normally thrive when stone fruits (peaches, plums, etc.) ripen. But our usual go-to east of White Rock Lake held strong, bringing in the vendors that it could to provide us fresh produce, eggs and meat. Good Local Markets runs this one, which means it's full of local farmers and artisans.

BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT
Alison McLean

Reliable pizza dough, bountiful salads and craving-fulfilling pastas are just what we needed downtown. "When I cook something for you, I want to remind you of your childhood. If you've been somewhere and you had a dish, I want this dish to take you back there," owner Dino Santonicola says. "I've got people who drive here from Frisco because they've been to Naples, and they had a dish there and say, 'This is exactly what it tasted like in Naples.' That's the best compliment."

BEST ICE CREAM SHOP
Taylor Adams

Owner Suzy Batlle brought her Miami ice cream business to Bishop Arts, and we're more than grateful to get to experience the Cuban approach to this dessert. Fresh guava makes for ice cream we want more of than we should have, and the regularly rotating menu makes it worth visiting regularly.

BEST FRIED CHICKEN
Nick Rallo

We love the barbecue, but this Design District restaurant has fried chicken that outdoes other attempts. As our contributor Chris Wolfgang notes: "It's a chicken with enough smoke flavor to be noticed, but not so much as to overpower. The crust on Slow Bone's fried chicken has the perfect amount of crunch, whether you eat it right away or take some to go. In fact, you should order enough to do both."

BEST THAI/LAO RESTAURANT
Alison McLean

The Dallas Farmers Market got a wonderful addition last year in this small place with bright yellow umbrellas out front. Try the fried wontons that have an impressively perfect quail egg inside or the spicier yum woon sen — glass noodles with shrimp, onion, ground chicken, celery, tomato and black mushroom. Flavors here take us straight back to Bangkok, and we love it for that.

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