The new dinner party? Make your restaurant reservations now


Having friends over may be over


illustration by MIGUEL DAVILLA

We all know the pleasures of the dinner party. Whether you’re doing the cooking yourself or getting a great deal of help, it’s wonderful to have friends to your home for dinner.

But why not entertain them in a restaurant for a change? Stresses evaporate, you’re out in dazzling Dallas and you and your guests can benefit from the happy buzz of a lively restaurant. Select a place where you’re comfortable, where you love the service, with food that delights but doesn’t challenge. Where you choose depends on the tone you want to set, how much you want to spend and the ambience that appeals. If you want to soak up the atmosphere, ask for a table right in the dining room. For something more intimate, seek out a restaurant with a private room.

Whichever way you go, for a seamless evening, work with the management before the event to design a set menu your guests will enjoy, complete with cocktails, wines and digestifs. No one has to bother with a menu, and you don’t even need to see a check — that can all be handled in advance.

Maybe you’ll invite them for steaks or prime rib, paired with important, big-shouldered red wines, at Al Biernat’s. Or have them choose between salt-crust-roasted branzino or suckling pig roasted in myrtle leaves — they are common specials and available for parties via pre order — at Zio Cecio Cucina Italiana. Or spoil them with a five-course menu at the Mansion Restaurant, where a party of 10 can hide out in style at the Chef’s Table, or 24 can bathe in the Library’s rosy glow. Have a favorite chef? Ask him or her to create something special for your guests.

How deliciously civilized, right? We’ll see you at 8.

LESLIE BRENNER is the restaurant critic and dining editor for The Dallas Morning News. Reach her at or on Instagram @lesliebrenner.

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