London’s Hakkasan Group opened this posh dim sum house in the Galleria to much fanfare last year, offering small bites and inventive drinks in a sleek, urban setting. At the top of the cocktails list is the Dessert Essence, made with Por Siempre sotol—similar to a tequila—sage, aloe vera, hibiscus, cane sugar, lime and dill.
2 BCN Taste & Tradition
Catalonia-born Luis Rogel’s kitchen channels the world-class culinary scene of his native region of Spain, but the more than half-dozen variations of the gin and tonic are unexpected. Herbal versions include one made with lavender and elderflower; another, with saffron and star anise.
3 Le Colonial
This elevated Vietnamese restaurant in River Oaks District transports diners back to French colonial Vietnam. Order a tropical cocktail to complement the environs, like this summer’s signature Smoky Paradise, made with mezcal, tamarind syrup, passion fruit and mango puree, and fresh lime.
For more than 30 years, Benjy Levit has been pushing the envelope with cool culinary creations at his namesake restaurant in Rice Village. Seasoned popcorn comes out in lieu of a bread basket, and nothing goes better with it than the establishment’s blood orange margarita, which appeared here decades before it became trendy nationwide. Don’t miss happy hour specials in the lounge upstairs or outside on the balcony.
5 Star Fish
The Heights got a major addition with the opening of seafood-centric Star Fish. A generous selection of oysters supplments the menu of decadent dishes such as king salmon with horseradish mashed potatoes and deviled lobster tail. The beverage menu has an entire section devoted to martinis, but the signature nod to the classic mixes Fords Gin, Miro extra-dry vermouth and lemon zest.