Best Drinking Buddy 2006 | The Beer Companion at The Ginger Man | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
After a long day in the cubicle fields, there's something heavenly about happy hour. Everyone de-ages by approximately 6.37 years, microchips are removed, spreadsheets are forgotten and actual human communication can commence. Only thing is, by 6 p.m., lunch is a distant memory. The belly needs some insulation before a deluge of lagers and other libations. The Ginger Man's Beer Companion is the perfect choice--a smattering of items that tickles the taste buds but doesn't ruin dinner. A variety of cheeses (yay, Muenster!), Genoa salami, olives, pickles, fruit and sliced baguette compose a hearty snack and prep evening revelers for any Stellas, Murphys or Paulis they might meet along the way.

Best Power Lunch If You Don't Have an Expense Account

Chan Thai

Located in a snug corner of Oak Cliff's Bishop Art's District, Chan Thai could easily pass itself off as a hip, trendy restaurant offering smart Asian cuisine. All they'd have to do is double their prices, halve their portions and dim the lights, and it would become the restaurant of choice for food snobs who mistake the frustrating accoutrements of fine dining for a pleasurable eating experience. Lucky for us, however, Chan Thai likes being both unpretentious and incredibly delicious, offering the best pad Thai, curry chicken and spring rolls you're likely to find in a quick in-and-out lunch place. Even though just about all lunches are priced under $10, the stylish, brightly colored Chan Thai is no dive, which likely accounts for the presence of such Republican luminaries as County Judge Margaret Keliher and district attorney candidate Toby Shook.

Best Place to Eat After Running/ Cycling White Rock Lake

Legal Grounds

Although a tad overpriced and almost always overcrowded, Legal Grounds is still an apt reward for a morning spent running and cycling around White Rock Lake. Located in the heart of Lakewood, Legal Grounds has long been a hotspot for athletic types, as witnessed by the veritable army of trim patrons clad in running/cycling shorts and tank tops. And while this is not always a good thing--gentlemen, if you have more hair on your shoulder than your head, scrap the muscle shirt--it does give the place a cozy, fun vibe on a Saturday morning. More important, the French toast, topped with a layer of fresh fruit, is appropriately decadent, not too dry or too buttery. The same could be said of Legal Grounds' fresh muffins, which are the best in town. Finally, the strong, flavorful coffee will wash away the sticky taste of the post-run Gatorade and keep you going if you're contemplating a second loop around the lake.
If we were on death row we'd request Scalini's chocolate cappuccino pie as a last meal because it's so unbelievably delicious. In fact, it's so awesome that if given the chance between having a wild night with Scarlett Johansson and having a slice of this pie, we'd choose, oh come on, obviously Scarlett Johansson. But we'd still take her to Scalini's, order her the chocolate cappuccino pie for dessert. Gotta get lucky after that.
Appropriately located in the upscale Knox-Henderson neighborhood, La Duni does everything so well that singling it out for a drink seems akin to praising Jessica Alba for her ankles. So, dear God, don't just go to La Duni to order a mojito and then head across the street for a generic meal at Chuy's. Stay a while and enjoy any of La Duni's kick-ass Cuban and Mexican dishes, particularly the quesadillas de pescado, which include handmade corn tortillas stocked with sauted fresh fish and Latin cheese. And if you start it off with a mojito, fueled with just the right dosage of Bacardi Silver rum and ably mixed with sugar, mint and the juiciest of limes, you will start thinking of La Duni as your own personal Xanadu.
In September 2005, we gave the relatively new Manny's Uptown a so-so review. The menu, created by former Mia's chef Javier Hernandez, engendered lofty expectations for our critic, and he came away disappointed by the inconsistent dishes and the spotty service. Perhaps it took a few months to work out the kinks, but Manny's is on top of its game these days, offering an extensive array of Tex-Mex dishes that unlike others in its culinary genre don't swim in a murky sea of cheese and sour cream. Still, at Manny's, the food, while delicious, may not be the highlight of your experience. The fenced-in outdoor patio, haphazardly decorated and oddly lit, makes for a veritable dining playpen practically begging you to come with all your friends and stay all night. On any given Saturday, the place is jam-packed with a random assortment of patrons, from your typical blond-and-beautiful Uptown party set to the middle-aged couples looking to enjoy a rare night of frivolity.
This Casa Linda joint has a loyal following. On Thursday nights you'll catch the biker crowd; they park their Harleys in the lot and catch up on gossip. They come for Fat Daddy's burgers, giant hand-formed beef patties with a bun that's not too thick and not too thin, accompanied by seasoned steak fries and a generous condiment bar for $5.99. The big surprise: Order the burger at Fat Daddy's, and you get two free beers. Seems the owner decided he'd come out ahead by giving beer away rather than paying for a liquor license to sell it. Decide you want a soft drink or tea? Gotta pay extra for that. It's actually cheaper to drink beer than a Coke. Fitting with the self-indulgence of eating a cheeseburger with fries, there's something decadent about that.
This Vietnamese-Chinese spot packs 'em in on Sundays for an endless parade of carts that offer a huge variety of dumplings and other dim sum treats. Steamed pork buns, barbecued ribs, shrimp rolls and small plates of ever-changing delicacies make Sunday brunch an adventure. Arc-En-Ciel serves dim sum daily until 3 p.m. but really draws people on Sundays. Especially in evidence are people from the local Asian community. Sometimes there's a bit of a language barrier with the waitstaff, but they are friendly and enthusiastic. If you're not crazy about one cart's offerings, another will be along in two minutes.
At the Garland Road location, multiple TVs blare Mexican shows so you know this place is authentic. Pollo Fiesta's specialty is pollo asado, chicken roasted on a giant spit. Rubbed down with Mexican spices and falling off the bone, it's a great alternative to the ubiquitous rotisserie chicken. The charro beans are great, filled with chunky onions and peppers. The arroz has peas, carrots and kernels of corn. With hefty chunks of avocado the tortilla soup is darn good for fast food.
During the day this Lakewood neighborhood spot serves up coffee and legal advice. At night it dishes Greek favorites such as spanakopita and moussaka. It's cozy and intimate and one of the few places serving Greek cuisine on this side of town. It focuses on the traditional: stuffed grape leaves, gyros, grilled lamb and chicken kebabs and pastitsio, with sweet endings like baklava. Word is that on the last Thursday of each month Neenah, the star of the local belly-dancing circuit, performs at 8 p.m. That's what we call a Greek restaurant.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of