Ten Essential Places to Eat and Drink near American Airlines Center

Heading to American Airlines Center at Victory Park for a Mavericks game, a Dallas Stars match-up or perhaps a concert? Then chances are good that you’re going to want to do some eating and drinking before the big event. And if the idea of snacking on over-priced junk food doesn’t cut it, then you’re in luck as some of the city’s prime eateries are within walking distance from the Center.

Within Victory Park alone, you chow down on modern Texas-inspired dishes at Billy Can Can; slurp standout ramen at JINYA; dig into Moroccan cuisine at Medina Oven & Bar, snack on sushi at Imoto, and tuck into Tex-Mex specialties at Mesero.

And a little further down the road in the Harwood District lies Happiest Hour, a popular bar and restaurant boasting upscale bites, cocktails and amazing skyline views. There’s also Saint Ann, a trendy eatery with modern American fare and a fabulous patio to boot. And next to Saint Ann is Mercat Bistro, a casual spot for French-European classics like duck confit and steak frites.

The hits don’t stop there. Read on for more places to check out around the AAC. Pro tip: Score two hours of free parking when you dine at the Victory Park restaurants.  


Victory Park
Buzzbrews Kitchen
Photo courtesy of Buzzbrews Kitchen

There are several reasons why you'll want to keep Buzzbrews on your radar. For one, it offers an extensive beverage list of brews, lattes, craft beer and wine, plus a stellar food menu that includes everything from savory crepes to burgers, sandwiches, grilled fish and steaks. Secondly, it's within stumbling distance of the AAC. And finally, it's open 24/7 so you can stop in for some solid eats before or after the show. Did we mention that they serve all day breakfast options too? Best of all, most everything on the menu is priced under $15.

Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar
Photo courtesy of Saint Ann Restaurant and Bar

Anchoring the ground floor of a renovated circa-1927 schoolhouse, Saint Ann is arguably one of Dallas' most popular places to hang out. Sure, it churns out a terrific lineup of modern American fare, ranging from charcuterie to mushroom truffle pizzas and chicken fried ribeyes. And the libations are top-notch as well. But the biggest draw is the patio. And a stunning patio it is, complete with lush greenery, fire pits, life-size chess sets and twinkling lights. It's about as close to an oasis as you can get while still being smack dab in the middle of the city. Speaking of close, the restaurant happens to be within a 10-minute walk from the AAC.

Mercat Bistro
Photo courtesy of Mercat Bistro

Just steps from Saint Ann's, this laid-back French bistro is a go-to spot any time of the day, but it's an especially good option to consider when you're looking for a reliably good meal before an event at the AAC. Dinner features everything from steak tartare and merguez sausage with fried polenta to moule frites and coq au vin while lunch rocks with lobster rolls and croque madames. Drink options include a thoughtful wine selection by the glass, half-bottle and bottle as well as a succinct list of beer and cocktails. Diners say the butterscotch bread pudding alone is worth the trip.

Happiest Hour
Photo courtesy of Happiest Hour

Home to Dallas' largest rooftop terrace, this huge restaurant-bar has it all: killer skyline views; back yard games, solid bites (think: nacho towers, artisan sandwiches, flatbreads, steaks and crab mac & cheese) and a stellar beverage list that includes family-style cocktails, wines on tap and over fifty selections of beer. Not to mention, this spot is only a 10-minute walk from the AAC, plus it stays open until midnight during the week and 2 a.m. on weekends, giving you a good excuse to stop by before and after the game. Bonus perk: They have a DJ in the house spinning tunes every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

Victory Park
Medina Oven & Bar
Photo courtesy of Medina Oven & Bar

Moroccan-Mediterranean cuisine is what's going down at Medina Oven, a sexy, dimly lit spot tucked away in the urban area of Victory Park. The offerings run the gambit from dips and mezzes to grilled brochettes, wood-fired pizzas (think kefta, caramelized onions and mozzarella) pastillas and tagines. Be sure to order a specialty cocktail, which includes Mediterranean twists on martinis, mojitos and margaritas. The orange blossom créme brulée is also a must. The best part? Most everything on the dinner menu rings in at $20 or less. It's easy to see why this place is packed nearly every night.

Victory Park
JINYA Ramen Bar
Photo courtesy of Thanin Viriyaki Photography

Newly opened in Victory Park, this Los Angeles-based chain, founded by Tokyo restaurateur Tomonori Takahashi, churns out what's arguably some of the best ramen in the city. The secret lies within the absurdly rich stocks which are all (meat and vegetarian) slowly simmered for more than ten hours. There are 13 signature ramen offerings as well as the option to build-your-own from five kinds of broth and 30 different toppings. Aside from ramen, diners can also dig into Asian-inspired snacks plus a variety of rice bowls and salads. Bonus points for daily happy hours and staying open until midnight on weekends.

Victory Park
Photo courtesy of Shannon Faulk

Everything is bigger in Texas, and this cavernous, 25,000-square-foot sports bar and restaurant is a perfect example. Located within spitting distance from the south entrance of American Airlines Center, Hero boasts a 540-seat dining area complete with two full-service bars, an old-school gaming arcade and a Bullzerk store which offers custom t-shirts. And that's just the half of it. There's also an indoor/outdoor bar area which houses an additional 560 seats, 3 full-service bars and a massive 24-foot screen for game watching. As for food, the restaurant caters all the Dallas Stars practices, so expect healthy options such as build-your-own bowls alongside burgers, sandwiches, tacos and mains like roasted chicken and steak frites. To drink, there's a lengthy list of wine, craft beer, cocktails and frozen libations.

Mesero-Victory Park
Photo courtesy of Mesero

Local favorite Mesero has recently opened this sleek new spot in Victory Park, and with it comes a slew of tasty cocktails along with an extensive Mexican and Tex-Mex inspired menu. Expect to find nachos, queso dips and quesadillas as well as a variety of tacos and enchiladas. Hits include grilled chicken with cheddar chipotle grits, and the Rose Burger (yes, a burger), which was rated as a top burger in Texas by Texas Monthly. Don't skip out on the Cinco Leches cake. Also worth noting are the churros pancakes offered during weekend brunch.

Victory Park
Photo courtesy of Scott Harben

This spacious Victory Park stunner from veteran restaurateur and award-winning chef, Kent Rathbun, features a sushi bar headed up by Nobu alum Jimmy Duke, and a menu packed with sharable Pan-Asian goodies. Find everything from honey-soy glazed Korean fried chicken and tempura lobster shooters to Wagyu short rib potstickers and lamb samosas. Also, keep an eye out for exotic options like tempura king crab rolls with truffle wasabi mayo, and spicy yellowtail sashimi served over crispy forbidden rice. No matter what you order, be sure to get the hibiscus infused sake sangria. Don't sleep on the crispy pork belly Brussels sprouts, either.

Victory Park
Billy Can Can
Photo courtesy of Billy Can Can

Cementing Victory Park as Dallas' trendiest new dining destination is Billy Can Can, a handsome, wood and taxidermy adorned eatery modeled after a late-19th-century saloon. The restaurant comes by way of Tristan Simon (the same guy who transformed Henderson Avenue into a restaurant hotspot) and offers a seasonal, locally sourced menu focusing on modern Texas cuisine. We're talking everything from venison tartare and crispy oyster sliders to hot fried quail, wild boar pasta and giant tomahawk steaks. Drink-wise, there's a stellar lineup of inspiring cocktails as well as a curated list of Texas wines and craft beer. Not to be missed are the churros with warm chocolate mole dipping sauce.


Meet Ilene Jacobs

As a perpetual wanderer, foodie freak and wannabe chef, Ilene is always on the lookout for the best places to see, eat, drink and sleep. When she's not writing about the latest happenings in...  More About Ilene