BEST SUSHI 2020 | Nori Handroll Bar | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Alison McLean

Deep Ellum's hand-roll sensation puts ingredients and technique to the foreground. When dine-in meals are safe again, you'll get to sit at the long bar that takes up the whole restaurant and watch the care and craft that go into making such simple-looking seaweed-wrapped sushi, featuring fresh tuna belly, uni, scallops and ever-changing specials. The hand-roll format is also a first-rate vehicle for vegetarian combinations. For now, we have Nori's tidy, flawless takeout containers of sushi, which can also include the izakaya-style appetizers that come from the restaurant's small kitchen.

It wasn't easy for chef Ryan Ferguson to adapt to the road. Pasta and pizza seem like the ultimate takeout cuisine: They're not. Pasta likes to sponge up whatever the liquid is around it. Thin-crust pizza can get as floppy as a rabbit's ear after a drive home. Sprezza has considered this: Their pizzas crackle and blister and snap. The creamy tomato sauce pie — the vodka-spiked tomato base, studded with shishito pepper, fresh plum tomato, sharp provolone — is a stunner. There are zero other pies like it in Dallas. The crust is thin, rectangular, modest but giant fiery-huge in flavor. Keep an eye on their rotating, farm-to-table toppings. Fresh toppings and good tomatoes and crackling crust are how a good pizza is made.

Brian Reinhart

Few takeout specials during the coronavirus pandemic have become as iconic as Taco y Vino's formula of six tacos and a bottle of wine for $30. It's North Oak Cliff's ultimate weeknight treat, and it helps that Taco y Vino keeps coming up with creative new menu offerings to match. One of owner Jimmy Contreras' summer specials, for instance, drew on his abiding love for the Double Decker at Taco Bell. But fear not: In terms of quality and care, this is about as far from Taco Bell as you can get. Every great taco menu is a little bit playful, and Taco y Vino's is proof.

Kathy Tran

"Tex-Mex" here refers to the foods of the borderlands, to cabrito and guisos you could find on either side of the Rio Grande. But El Ranchito also has plenty of seafood and a San Antonio-style panache that includes the restaurant's celebrated mariachi performances (during pre-viral times) and elaborate Christmas decorations. So whether your definition of "Tex-Mex" leans more toward the Tex or the Mex, there will be something to please you at this nearly 40-year-old Oak Cliff institution.

Catherine Downs

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.

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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.

Susie Oszustowicz

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.

Kimberly Jurgens

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.

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