While upscale Italian concepts can be found throughout Dallas, perhaps one of the best bangs for your buck is lunch at Partenope Ristorante in downtown Dallas.
Named for the queen of Naples, Partenope serves a chic selection of Neopolitan pizzas, hearty pastas and other expected plates for an Italian menu. Going to Partenope during dinner may cost you a pretty dollar, but going during lunch time is relatively inexpensive while maintaining quality. All items on the lunch menu are under $20.
Partenope offers a selection of craft cocktails: One of the sweeter, lighter options is the napulè, a fizzy, fruity mix of blood orange vodka, thyme, lemon, orange and Bergotto soda ($11). If your lunch calls for a bolder cocktail, try the Capodichino, a blend of Lemoncocco, bourbon, lemon juice, sugar and mint ($13).
As for appetizers, one would be remiss if they didn’t try the calamari e gamberetti ($13). This plate of flash-fried calamari and shrimp pairs so well with Partenope’s house marinara sauce. Plus, the sweety drop peppers are like a hot, spicy candy, adding a semi-sugary touch.
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Each pizza at Partenope is 12 inches, enough to satisfy you on its own, but also ideal for sharing. Napoli centrale offers plenty Italian flavors, containing mozzarella, ricotta, bolognese and prosciutto di Parma ($17). A lighter, airy pizza is the meta di sorrento, which is made with mozzarella, whipped ricotta, sliced lemon, mint and zucchini ($16).
In addition to good lunch deals, Partenope also has an excellent happy hour. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, guests can find $4 beers and $7 wines by the glass. Even better: Try the sangria by the glass for just $3, which pairs well with a margherita pizza (only $7 at this time).
Partenope Ristorante, 1903 Main St. (downtown)