Best Happy Hour 2018 | Bowen House | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Courtesy Austin Marc Graf
Bowen House

What makes a good happy hour? For one, lasting more than an hour. Happy hours that end at 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m. are frustrating for office workers who work a 9-6 (does 9-5 even exist anymore?). At Bowen House, happy hour runs 4-7 p.m. and includes the second most important thing: decent specials. Let's be honest: $1 off one beer for 30 minutes a day ain't cutting it. At this homey Uptown cocktail bar, you'll find $5 classic cocktails (margarita, old fashioned, sazerac, etc.) and food specials like $8 lump crab deviled eggs.

Kathy Tran
Too Thai Street Eats
At this spot in Carrollton’s Korean neighborhood, the kitchen serves up Thai food most Texans have never seen before: crispy chicken skins, spicy seafood hot pots, deep-fried whole fish bathed in tamarind sauce. Too Thai Street Eats is a bright, colorful spot that serves up intoxicating flavors, and there’s no other place in Dallas to try hoi todt, a crispy, bubbly omelet studded with mussels. Sure, you can get good old pad Thai, but sukothai noodles topped with barbecued pork beckon too. And the bubbly optimism of Too Thai’s atmosphere and staff are as addicting as the food.
Brian Maschino
Birthright BBQ Fest
Food festivals are all the rage right now, and you’ll find one for every food item down to tacos, margaritas and even all things spicy. Our favorite fest of 2018 was a new one: Birthright BBQ Fest, which took over Dallas Heritage Village with big-name pitmasters using cooking methods from the 1800s to present-day. They even utilized old-school smokehouses on the historic property, and even though it was sold out, you never had to wait too long to get a slab of smoked meat.
Kathy Tran
This was a tough choice — we could have gone with any number of regional Mexican restaurants serving excellent food in Oak Cliff and beyond. But the crowds haven’t quite found Limon’s, where Francisca Limon and her family serve up specialties from the Veracruz region, like mole veracruzano, one of the sweetest and nuttiest of Mexico’s moles. Tamales veracruzanos, wrapped in banana leaves, are practically decadent, and this is one of the few restaurants in Dallas to serve chanchamitos and garnachas. The enchiladas, especially bathed in fiery-hot salsa verde, are as wonderful as the family atmosphere is welcoming.
Kathy Tran
Legacy Food Hall
Technically, progressive dinners are meant to traverse a neighborhood or a city, but since Legacy Hall features three floors of food and bar stalls, it feels like its own little neighborhood. Even better, whether it’s a date, double date or family night, everyone can choose their noshes and meet at the table to share or just mow down their own. Even a quick lunch hour at the Hall can be a culinary adventure. Start with a soft, savory steamed bun from Enter the Bao and some crunchy flautas from FAQ, then for the entrée, grab a healthy poke bowl from Freshfin Poke Co., a burger from John Tesar’s Knife, yakitori from Red Stix Asian Street Food, and duck-fat fried chicken (wings, sandwiches, salad — try them all) from Tiffany Derry’s Roots Chicken Shack. Then end the meal with French macarons and ice cream sandwiches from Haute Sweets Patisserie and small-batch doughnuts from Glazed Donut Works. Crèpes, barbecue, waffles, pizza, noodles and more — it’s all there, ready for the ordering.
Kathy Tran
Sachet’s wine list focuses on bottles from the Mediterranean rim: France, Spain and Italy are represented, of course, but so are Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Morocco and Slovenia. Great discoveries abound, and, even more happily, many of the best are $50 or less. Sparkling rosé from Greece, orange wines from Sardinia and electric reds from Lebanon are all represented, and the by-the-bottle list denotes natural, organic and biodynamic wines. Can’t decide? Sample wines on tap, or order one-third of one bottle before moving on to the next. Few Dallas-area restaurants reward the adventurous as handsomely as Sachet does, and few make it so affordable to go exploring.
Kathy Tran
Revolver Taco Lounge
Dallas may not be known as Taco City, but it should be. Our taqueria scene is diverse and thoughtful, but even with all the competition, there’s no rivaling Revolver Taco Lounge. This Deep Ellum taqueria, under the direction of owner Regino Rojas, serves up incredible pato (duck), cabrito (baby goat) and carne asada (with Wagyu beef) tacos, and the back room — called Purepecha — gives intrepid diners an opportunity to dine prix fixe-style on whatever seasonal Mexican dishes Rojas dreamed up that week. As an added bonus, their micheladas are a must, and it’s prime drunk food in a neighborhood that has no shortage of boozed-up patrons.
Kathy Tran
Hon Sushi
This Carrollton sushi spot feels like one of DFW’s best-kept secrets. For your money, you won’t find a better piece of refreshingly affordable sushi in North Texas. The extravagant presentations make it feel like you’re in a frou-frou Dallas sushi joint, but you’ll walk out of here having spent far less than you would in Dallas proper. We love letting the sushi chefs go nuts with a $40 sashimi platter, a beautiful landscape of fresh raw fish artfully presented and, on every visit, featuring a few surprise cuts like salmon belly or monkfish liver.
Kathy Tran
Lounge Here
After a dinner out, a concert or a play, even those with the most well-stocked home bar like to stop off on the way home for a nightcap. Well, at Here there’s ample parking and comfy, cozy seating and delicious mixes on the menu, should folks want to veer from the standard twist of lime. Everybody’s Girl offers a light, tart refresher with vodka lifted by elderflower and grapefruit, tempered with the salinity of Fino sherry and bubbled up with prosecco. The Goldrush puts bonded bourbon on the back of a mule, with lemon, honey, ginger beer and angostura bitters. Late night bites are also perfect for that last craving and indulgence of the evening; mac-and-cheese crusted with potato chips delivers on comfort, while the charcuterie and cheese board present the expected meats and cheese with a delightful house-made bourbon, tomato and bacon jam that is delicious enough to eat with a spoon when the baguette runs out. Here neighbors Humble Pie provide two pies (the Mississippi mud-like Bayou Goo and a frozen strawberry chiffon) exclusive to the Lounge, and they contribute to sweet dreams, but chef Megan Foley offers a rotating selection of sweet treats to share…or not. Whether the last stop is one drink or four hours and a full meal, Here is best before home.
Kathy Tran
Unlike most of the best restaurants in Dallas, Bullion is open on Mondays, and unlike some restaurants that show less attention to detail, its quality doesn’t waver outside of peak dining hours. The Monday night special is a seafood lover’s dream: quenelle Lyonnaise, stewed dumplings made from whitefish and showered with a heaping helping of lobster. Need a pairing? On Monday nights, Bullion opens a magnum of pedigreed wine from deep in the cellar — past weeks have featured Bordeaux, grower Champagnes and Châteauneuf-de-Pape — and offers it by the glass until the bottle is gone.

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