BEST STEAKHOUSE

There's really been no doubt about Knife's preeminence on Dallas' overcrowded steak scene since its dry-aging room first filled with cuts of beef in 2014. From the Texas-sourced cuts to the choice each diner can make between "old-school" cooking and "new-school" (which uses sous vide to guarantee temperature), everything about Knife shows a care toward the beef. The restaurant took some major time off in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, reopening after investing in safety measures. If you don't have the cash for some of the highest-end steaks here, Knife's attention to detail also produces some of America's best cheeseburgers.

BEST MODERN AMERICAN

Located in a snug space in Deep Ellum's historic Boyd Hotel, L O C A L takes modern American cuisine and elevates it to the Nth degree. Using each season's finest quality ingredients, L O C A L gives familiar, comforting food a shiny new finish. Grandma never made short ribs this good, that's for sure (sorry, Nana). The chef's tasting menu, which includes seven courses with an option to add complementing wine, is an absolute must-try. Home diners can order online for delivery or curbside pickup, choosing from a top-notch takeaway menu. Sign us up.

BEST TO-GO

BTG is the real MVP. Big ups to the owners of contemporary French restaurant Bullion, who opened a to-go operation, BTG (Bullion To-Go), on July 1. Hungry customers can purchase gourmet produce and wine for contactless delivery, as well as cocktail and meal kits to bring fine dining home. In addition to delicacies like escargot ravioli and a wagyu New York strip steak, the downtown Dallas establishment now offers COVID-19 test kits. Those who are worried they've contracted the coronavirus can reserve a drive-thru testing slot on the restaurant's website.

Sipping palomas on the expansive patio of Dot's Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard in Deep Ellum is one of the finer joys in life, especially during fiery Texas summers. And the ooey-gooey, succulent duck fat cheese fries don't hurt either. They will haunt your dreams in the best way possible. Sadly, Dot's had to temporarily shutter because of Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order that forced the state's bars closed. Owner Jeff Brightwell created a video that offers a decent compromise, though, so if you know Abbott, tell him to tune in. Let's get this virus under control so Dot's can reopen.

Holy mother of God, this cheese is good. Denton's Ten : One Artisan Cheese Shop is a true treasure with a stellar selection of fine cheeses from across the globe. Their custom plates would make Wolfgang Puck weak at the knees, hitting all manner of high notes on a diner's palate. For a steamy date night, order a custom-made cheese board, which boasts a top-notch selection of cheese and fresh bread with accoutrements such as house-made pickles and jam. Also, be sure to tune in sometime to a virtual wine and cheese pairing class conducted by the shop's staff.

BEST VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN
courtesy of Omar Yeefoon
Shoals' Omar Yeefoon

Once, mortadella with peppers was the star. The times are a-changin': Shoals has flipped its entire model to vegan after a honeymoon of meat (and it won't go back). Now you'll find a sandwich of smoked jackfruit or ground-shattering, beer-battered tempeh or griddle-encrusted seitan with a remarkable smoked prosciutto-meets-bacon flavor. That one is part of a — you heard us right, plant-based —Cubano sandwich. Yes, it's a vegan cubano and all of the sensations are there. "This is a Latin-American restaurant. The food just happens to be all vegan," says owner Omar Yeefoon.

Cafe Izmir

Go for the marinated olives, stay for the tapas and out-of-this-world hummus. Café Izmir reigns supreme as Dallas' finest noshing spot, taking standard staples from the Mediterranean canon of classic dishes and alchemizing them into mouth-watering pure gold. In addition to the most perfect falafel in the West, they've got delicious dolmas and killer kebabs that'll make your entire year. Oh yeah, and their coconut shrimp is astounding. Seriously, we could go on and on, so it's best to stop while we're ahead.

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