Moises Rodriguez is not only the owner of Que Viva; he's also the entertainment. On Friday and Saturday nights, he serenades guests with his flamenco guitar playing as they dine on Mexican dishes such as handmade tamales, carnitas, and grilled chicken breast in red chile mole. Chefs craft each dish using fresh ingredients selected by hand at a restaurant wholesaler each week by co-owner Isabel Rodriguez. Isabel's influence also shines in the restaurant's brightly decorated dining room, which features colorful flowers and carved wooden birds. On the outdoor patio, patrons eat while enjoying the warmth of the sun or the shape of a cloud that looks like an old boss falling out of a chair.
Inspired by the fresh crepes that sizzle on griddles across France, Alma and Edi Zildzo form CrepeTown Cafe & Grill’s from-scratch batter into thin pancakes and fill them with classic sweet and savory fillings culled from local farmers. Though crepe architects specialize in classic French fixings such as béchamel and gruyère cheese, North American flourishes such as ahi steak, chipotle salsa, and the occasional bald-eagle tear also congregate within the crepe’s fluffy confines. Customers can complement their edible envelopes with sips from gourmet coffee drinks made at the espresso bar and sweet treats such as pastries and ice cream.
It is not just the pastas, sandwiches, and pizzas that keep guests coming back to Pete's Restaurant and Brewhouse—the hand-crafted beers also play a major role, quenching thirsts with flavors ranging from the Uptown blonde’s light layers of honey to the highly hoppy profile of the Skinner’s Horse IPA. Pete’s team keeps meals in balance by offering food-and-beer-paring suggestions, assuring diners that the Midtown ale harmonizes with fish tacos and that the Old Town red—a malty, medium-bodied amber ale—improves coordination for slam-dunking meatballs.
Executive Chef Heather Zamarripa lures eaters into 36 Handles with a menu rooted in popular pub food staples, most notably fish and chips prepared six different ways. Although the fish and chips, cottage pie, and bangers and mash are the first three dishes on the list of entrees, the menu isn’t strictly English. Heather and her team use many international cooking techniques to build a diverse selection including shrimp scampi with sundried tomatoes, bourbon barbecue hot wings, and pan-seared salmon with whole-grain beurre blanc.
Upon entering 36 Handles, it’s easy to become enamored by the bar’s 32 taps, which gleam colorfully and display the names of macrobrews and craft beers from America and Europe. Newcomers and neighborhood regulars alike open wide for a deluge of pub classics such as Guinness and Boddingtons, as well as more obscure beers such as Anderson Valley’s Oatmeal Stout and Kwak, a strong yet gentle-tasting Belgian pale ale. The selection stays fresh thanks to eight rotating taps and each bartender’s mind-erasing capabilities. While enjoying an ice-cold brew, patrons can also catch the game on nine big-screen televisions.