Well, fellow Texans, we've breezed past that lovely time of year when it's cool enough to wear long sleeves with flip flops, yet we're not quite to the miserable heat of summer in Texas. Right about now is when you want to get outside on a nice patio -- read: not on a curb or practically in the street -- with some delicious food (not a mediocre bar burger) before two-showers-a-day season starts.
And remember: if you don't take a patio selfie, it never happened.
Mesa The best-kept secret on Jefferson is no longer a secret. Because Beyonce. And a certain redheaded celebrity. If you can still find a spot on Mesa's unique back patio constructed of reclaimed cedar planks, I strongly recommend you enjoy a horchata cocktail and the best mole in town (there, I said it). And the real best-kept secret about Mesa? It's the brunch. You're welcome.
HG Sply Co. We don't have beaches or mountains around these parts, but we do have that beautiful Texas sky with sunsets that can take your breath away, and a rooftop with a view of downtown surrounded by big, fluffy clouds is nothing to sneeze at. The sizeable rooftop patio at HG SPLY on Greenville Avenue is perfect for a drink while people-watching and dining on what crossfitters consider diet food. The rest of us just want to try something called The Burgerstack.
Meso Maya It's not Tex-Mex, but if you're into that you'll certainly find a lot to like at Meso Maya's downtown location near the Perot Museum. Bustling at both lunch and dinner, Chef Nico Sanchez delivers Mexican and Mayan recipes that are familiar, yet unique. Strung with lights and surrounded by towering brick walls and rod iron balconies, the interior courtyard at Meso Maya feels like an escape from the city, even if it's just your lunch break.
Meddlesome Moth Get your gastropub on at Meddlesome Moth for brunch, lunch, dinner or late night eats. The patio at The Moth is a little oasis off Oak Lawn in the Design District, and if the cement walls don't make you forget about the traffic outside, perhaps a few of the 40 draught beers or 85 beers by the bottle will do the trick. Personally, I'm a fan of the burger, which chef Synatschk surrounds with inventive menu items that change with the seasons.
Oak Across the street from The Moth is Oak, where Chef Richard Gras is turning out inventive, modern and seriously beautiful dishes befitting of Dallas' Design District. The side patio space was an addition to the original restaurant footprint, and it features one important thing: a bit of air conditioning. That, some intriguing cocktails and a deliciously classy happy hour makes Oak's outdoor space perfect for this list.
Bolsa We awarded the title of Best Patio to Bolsa, but I'll be the first to assert that a patio alone does not make a particularly great place to dine outside. We also given Bolsa a Best Burger nod, called it the Best Place To Take A Date, and well, we've certainly told you about the chicken. Bolsa's patio just screams first date, but the food and cocktails will bring you back for more, dining partner optional.
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Toulouse Cafe & Bar Fancy a quick trip to France? Francophiles will delight in the Parisian Patio at Toulouse on Knox Street, where pups are welcome and Chef Yoann Lardeux turns out classic French fare like soufflés, salads niçoise and pommes frites along with specials scribbled in chalk on boards scattered about. Casual yet chic enough to impress, Toulouse is an outdoor pleasure you can indulge in any day of the week.
Rise No. 1 Not to dwell on soufflés, or the French for that matter, but another outdoor space worth mentioning happens to be next on the list. Rise features a delicious selection of the fluffy, eggy, delicate specialty, as well as a few salads, a unique take on tomato soup and possibly the best cheese cart in town. Tucked inside Inwood Village, the covered patio at Rise is great place to escape with a sparkling cocktail and conversation to match.
That list should help you get started enjoying the fresh air while it's still fresh. Don't dilly dally; summer is almost here and dining in the nude is still illegal last time I checked.