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Dallas Engagement Evening Restaurant Suggestions?

As the title would indicate, I'm proposing in the near future, and am searching for a good place to have a dinner which will be either just before or just after I actually pop the question (note: I won't be proposing at the actual restaurant). I'll also need a restaurant that will be open on Sunday evenings which I realize limits my options significantly.

The best suggestion I've found thus far is the Nana Restaurant in the Anatole hotel, but I'm a little concerned with some recent reviews I've read about their new head chef. The view of Nana is appealing and I'd say the atmosphere is almost more important than the food given the occassion, but not so much that I'd look into Antares (previous bad food experience there).

Any suggestions? Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. The Mansion has the best service in town, excellent food quality, and elegant decor. It would be a contender on any night, but it's easily the best option on a Sunday (unless there's a place that has some personal significance to you or your fiancee).

    Whether you intend to propose before or after the dinner (wherever you decide to go), secure your reservation early and let reservationist and maitre d' know the nature of your special occasion so they can ensure that you have the best possible experience.

    Good luck!

    Scott

    1. The Grape. It defines romantic, and is neither overwrought nor contrived.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Epicurious Esquire

        I had some concerns about Nana as well before I recently dined there. I must say that it was one of the better meals I have had in Dallas, certainly in recent memory. The waitstaff and chef were very accomodating and the food was spot on. I think the tasting menu was far better than what I have had on a few occasions at Lola (both in the main dining room as well as the Tasting room). The view speaks for itself and certainly heightens the experience. The wine list is thorough on all fronts except I wish they had more half-bottle offerings.

      2. Thanks to you all for your quick replies. After looking through pictures I could find online of the mansion, the grape, and nana, I've read mixed reviews of the mansion, and the grape didn't appear to be a fancy enough atmosphere from the pictures I could find online (I'm looking for more of a white tablecloth environment as opposed to checkered) Therefore, I decided to go with Nana as I believe it will have the best atmosphere for the evening given the skyline view and the emphasis on art (which my girlfriend is really into).

        I just called to make the reservation, but now I'm having second thoughts after speaking with a woman who could only offer that they would put down my "request" for a table overlooking the skyline but couldn't make any promises regardless of the event I was bringing someone there to celebrate. At this point, I'm going to read more about the mansion, but thank you all again VERY much for your suggestions and if you have any other advice on other places, or any other way I could somehow have a better shot at a window view table at Nana, I'd love to hear back from you.

        Thank you!

        1 Reply
        1. re: danielsmu

          As for getting a sense of atmosphere, forget about pictures. Find a free evening and go to each of the restaurants you're considering and see what they're like first hand. If you can swing a meal at each, do it. If not, just call ahead and let the maitre d' know you'd like a quick tour of the dining room (and why).

          Scott

        2. On a Sunday night, I don't think that you should have any problem at all getting a table at the window. I was there on a Friday and the restaurant had a few open tables. When we called to make reservations, we got sort of a cool response from the hostess or whomever it was taking the reservation. But, as I mentioned above, that was in no way how we were treated once we got there. If I were you, I would call back and explain your situation to the reservation person. If they are not giving you what you the proper response, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to ask for the manager.

          If you still have concerns about Nana, then I would suggest Lola or Bijoux which are both nice restaurants that are not overly loud/crowded. I agree, the Grape is probably too casual for such a momentous occasion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bhutani

            Neither Lola nor Bijoux are open on Sundays.

            Scott

          2. I had lunch today at The Mansion. It was incredible. Expensive, but incredible.

            1. Two of my friends proposed to their girlfriends at St. Martin's, but I've never been.

              If I were to pick a restaurant on atmosphere primarily, the only other name I can contribute is French Room, though Nana is also a fine choice. . .

              1. I proposed to my wife there, We actually had dinner at another restaurant in Dallas, but then had limo take us there for drinks and dancing. They have some booths that are intimate, and thought it was great.

                1. Should mention Nana was the place I proposed, great views of Dallas.

                  1. Just wanted to give a quick update as a small way of saying thanks to all those that replied. I made reservations at the mansion just to have a trump card in my pocket when I called Nana back and asked for a manager. My plan was to tell him or her that if they couldn't guarantee me a window table given the hopefully once-in-a-lifetime type of occasion I'll be celebrating, that I was going to cancel my reservation and take my business elsewhere. However, the service I received from the representative at the mansion was so head and shoulders above the person I spoke with at Nana that I'm tempted to just cancel the Nana reservation without even putting up a fight. The mansion rep offered that if one of their private dining rooms wasn't reserved for the evening that we could have it at no charge due to the occasion and also asked me to call back and let them know if I'd be proposing before or after dinner to ensure that none of the staff spoiled any surprises. (side question: Would a private room at the mansion be a good environment for this type of evening, or am I better off sticking with the main dining room?)

                    Unfortunately, I'll be traveling over the next few weeks and my schedule won't allow for an onsite visit prior to dinner so I'm going to ask once more for opinions on these two restaurants specifically. Given that: my girlfriend and I have never been to either of these restaurants previously, and that art is a BIG part of my girlfriend's life (which is why the atmosphere at Nana would be such a plus with the trammel crow pieces), which restaurant would you recommend for this occasion? I feel reasonably confident that I could talk my way into a guaranteed spot by speaking with a manager at Nana, but I'd like to get your opinions as well as a community that appears to have frequented both of these establishments on more than one occasion. As I mentioned before, atmosphere and service are critical to this evening and while food quality is important, I see the atmosphere or service being much more capable of ruining the evening than if parts of our meal slip to 3.5-4 stars down from the 4.5-5 range that both of these restaurants are typically rated at.

                    Again, thank you all very, very much for all your help. This is by far the best online community I've found for these inquiries and I'm very thankful for your time and thought out responses.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: danielsmu

                      I'd be happy to go take some pictures (interior, exterior) of both restaurants and e-mail them to you, if you'd like. (Or, if you want a test of service, call in to each of the restaurants and ask *them* to e-mail you some photos of the inside and outside.)

                      Scott

                      1. re: Scott

                        Thanks very much for the generous offer Scott (as well as all of your replies in this thread). However, per my post below, pictures won't be necessary as I feel like the mansion is the way to go. Thanks again for all your help and advice.

                      2. re: danielsmu

                        Look, you seem like a nice person so let me help you out. Scott is the conscience of the Dallas chowhounds (and a nod towards Kirk). If Scott recommends the Mansion then do it! Forget Nana.

                        Nana is located in the Anatole and I've never liked the vibe there. Big asphalt parking lot, sprawling atrium, and that air of conventioneers and marketeers. The Mansion is in a swell part of town, understated elegance, and has that special occasion feel.

                        1. re: danielsmu

                          Mansion. Not as stuffy as it used to be and for an occasion like this, the white glove treatment is what you want. And the staff there delivers that in spades, as the reception you received on your call indicates.

                        2. Let me throw this at you. In 10 years when you want to celebrate this occasion again, which restaurant would you expect to still be open and operating at the SAME level as today. My vote is for the Mansion. Just my .02 cents.

                          1. Choose the Mansion. It's just made for this kind of celebration. No question. I would be the happiest girl on the planet if I got proposed to and got dinner at the Mansion to top it off!

                            1. I would have to respectfully disagree with the last few comments regarding the Mansion. While it has certainly had its heyday, the ambience is a bit staid. While a number of posts re: Nana discuss the "new" chef and "new" menu, both have been in place a lot longer than at the Mansion. The cuisine at the Manion is in flux with a new, but respected, chef.

                              While I do agree that the Anatole's atrium, lobby, and parking lot do not compare the Mansion; my guess is that you would be eating in the restaurant (which is far removed from any of those spots). The food at Nana is also more memorable (where else are you going to find tuna tartar with a wasabi ice cream). I can buy the Mansion's tortilla soup (essentially spiced broth) for a whopping $18 at my local Kroger.

                              1. Thank you all again very much for all of your help. I've decided to go with the mansion and will be cancelling my Nana reservation later today. Planning for this event has been pretty stressful, but I can't thank you all enough for helping me feel like at least one part of that day is well taken care of. I'll post again with a first timer's impression of the mansion at the end of the month and thanks again!

                                1. The Grape, The Grape, The Grape...Hands down, most romantic and intimate