BEST LOCAL BREWERY

As far as taprooms to hang out, Deep Ellum is our go-to with its spacious outdoor seating and reliable brews. The staff is accommodating and friendly, making it a spot to become your home bar if you live in the area. We hear there's a new chef in the kitchen, too, who's upping the game on the food menu.

Jose
Alison McLean

A fresh margarita on a spacious, breezy patio is the respite we need. It may be the enchiladas or those margaritas that have you going to José, but for us, it's mostly that beautiful patio that has us yearning to go back. It's dog-friendly, the staff is prompt and knowledgeable and the retractable cover offers shade alongside the sound of the fountain in the middle.

La Popular Tamale House
Taryn Walker

This category is a tough one — salsa for what? Tacos, tamales, chips, eggs? So we looked for something comprehensive: It's a tossup over whether the red or green salsa is the best here, but this Old East Dallas spot is a go-to for salsa that's good on so much. It's made fresh and sold by the pint so you can take it home to last you the week.

TJ's Seafood Market
Kathy Tran

Dallas' seams aren't exactly bursting with seafood options, so we certainly celebrate this one that's constantly good. Fresh items — whether you're taking from the market or ordering off the takeout or dine-in menu — are what make us come back for more. Take dinner to go or grab some staples like a fish dip to have on-hand at home.

BEST VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT
Kathy Tran

This one's an easy choice: Lá Me has been a long-time favorite for good reason. Even if you take it to go, flavors and textures hold up for meals that are some of our favorites in all of Dallas. Try the shaken beef, any of the vermicelli plates and absolutely the egg rolls. Don't forget a Vietnamese iced coffee while you wait for your food.

Go for beer, go for pizza, whatever you do, do not go without ordering wings here. You order per wing, each of which is the full cut — no choosing between a flat or drum here. You'll get the drummette, ringette and tip. The salt and pepper rub is a must with an easy seasoning on the juicy chicken, or go for the classic Buffalo.

BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT
Alison McLean

Chile peppers are the name of the game at Hunan Bistro, where dishes can be buried in chopped peppers that are the deep, dusky color of a Dallas sunset. But don't let them intimidate you and don't be worried by the enormous menu, either. Look for red-braised pork, spicy pig ears and whole fish. If the spice is too much, turn to milder but equally good fare such as pork spare ribs, dry-fried green beans or ultra-savory eggplant. There aren't many Hunanese restaurants in North Texas, and it's hard to top the rustic but high-intensity flavors here.

We've ordered from countless restaurants for takeout in 2020, and every restaurant using Square is making it easier on us. When you're craving one particular meal, Square's user interface is easy and quick to load, and noting the exact time for pickup makes it even better.

Boulevardier
Kathryn DeBruler

This Bishop Arts District restaurant has been temporarily closed throughout the pandemic, but memories of sitting at the bar enjoying freshly shucked oysters still haunt our dreams. This is an ideal spot for brunch or dinner, but either way, get wine and oysters while you take in the vibe of the space. This is one place we really can't wait to see reopened.

BEST WINE SHOP

This Knox-Henderson wine shop is the perfect place to meet friends on the patio for a glass of wine and a meat board — whenever it's safe to meet with people. During the pandemic, it's been a good go-to for ordering our favorite wines. If they don't have it, see if they'll bring it in for you — then enjoy a glass from their list on the patio while you're picking up.

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