Dinner and a movie go together like lobster and filet mignon, Bogey and Bacall, NASCAR and a can of Copenhagen. But sometimes the movie you want to see is only playing at a theater you rarely go to in a part of town you barely know. You want to eat right before or after the movie but where? Here are some suggestions for lively local restaurants in the vicinity of the city's theaters (you'll notice nearby theaters grouped together) so you aren't forced to subsist on watery Mr. Pibb and melted-together Junior Mints.
100 Central SW
Most downtown restaurants are open only for lunch and only during the week but most people go to the movies at night and on the weekends. Sucks, don't it? Here are a few places that are open for lunch and dinner.
NYPD (New York Pizza Department)
215 Central NW, 766-6793
Just a few blocks from the theater (between Second and Third), NYPD is a great spot for a quick slice and pint. They've also got salads, subs, calzones and house-made ice cream. It might still be warm enough for the patio if you're going to a matinee.
118 Central SW, 842-5099
This weeks-old Japanese joint in the theatre complex serves a full menu of sushi in addition to noodles and cooked-fish dishes.
509 Central NW, 244-9405
Pearl's is a relaxed, often quiet and not too-smoky place to grab a burger and a beer before or after the movie. Full bar, front and back patios.
I-25 and Jefferson
6311 San Mateo NE
4951 San Mateo NE
Madstone actually has a nice little café in the lobby where you can buy a Danish, a turkey and brie sandwich or a fruit smoothie. Century Rio has a huge snack bar but sometimes the lines are so long you think you might be eligible for the senior citizen discount before you get your hot dog and Red Vines.
5500 San Mateo NE, 883-7334
A delightful little Thai restaurant between McLeod and Osuna, Siam is often busy but always delicious. The atmosphere is just so-so but the curries are not to be missed.
Purple Afternoon Cafe
5505 Osuna NE, 883-4660
If it's just a bubble tea and a snack you're in the mood for then dart East across San Mateo and stop in at Purple Afternoon. Don't be afraid. Try one of the Vietnamese sandwiches.
I Love Sushi
6001 San Mateo NE, 883-3618
Just north of Osuna on San Mateo. I love Sushi recently expanded, taking over the space next door and adding a few teppan tables to their repertoire. So feel free to bring the kids or your sushi-phobe friends. In the same strip as the very good Saigon Vietnamese restaurant.
4320 The 25 Way, 345-5156
Fantastic Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food right near Century Rio. This place has a great silky tent vibe going on, accented by floor pillows, hookahs and belly dancers. Try the appetizers—all of them. Exit I-25 at Jefferson, go west of the highway and make the first right onto Singer.
7600 Jefferson NE, 821-2666
It can be hard to find this French eatery in the Journal Center but just keep your eyes focused on the Marriott as you're driving up Jefferson and turn when you see the Journal Center sign. Wonderful crêpes, house-baked breads and tempting specials.
6401 Uptown NE
201 Winrock Centre
6521 America's Parkway NE, 884-8937
There are two separate dining rooms across a courtyard from each other. Take the kids to the one with the teppan grills; it's livelier. Take your date to the sushi bar and get a booth. Feed each other deep-fried shrimp heads.
6601 Uptown NE, 884-4711
The same burgers and beers you came to love in Nob Hill. Note: O'Niell's management swears that there is now a smoking section in the restaurant at all times. Ask for it.
Ribs Hickory Pit BBQ
6601 Uptown NE, 883-7427
In the same parking lot as O'Niell's, Ribs is not a very well known barbecue joint but they really do have fantastically meaty and smoky ribs. Planning a good-night kiss after Ribs and a movie? Bring some floss and hit the bathroom on your way out.
13160 Central SE
136 Juan Tabo SE, 237-8230
This Vietnamese restaurant relocated from Central and San Mateo about a year ago. Go on a cold day and warm up with an order of Vietnamese egg rolls and a giant bowl of delicately spicy beef stew with a crusty baguette. A tall iced coffee should keep you awake through even the most boring period drama.
Dino's Burgers and Wings
13400 Winona SE, 294-8688
Just south of Central on Tramway is this little nibble hut. Alibi staffers rave about the boneless wings and beefy burgers.
3405 Central NE
UNM Student Union Building
There are a million restaurants along this neon-drenched stretch of Central. Here are a few you might not think of.
Laru Ni Hati
3413 Central NE, 255-1575
Yes, it's a salon but did you know they also have beer and wine (I saw a bottle of Dom Perignon in there last week), a huge selection of imported cigars, a menu full of Cuban food and a charming front patio? And it's just a few doors down from The Guild.
Fei Health Café
2114 Central SE, 243-3390
Lots of vegetarian fare, smoothies and bubble tea. Be sure to try the veggie nuggets. Fei is only open until 7 p.m. so hit it before the movie.
3624 Central SE, 232-2787.
Buster's is only open until 4 so pick a matinee and go for brunch. You only have to look at one of the breakfast sandwiches to quench your hunger. Eat one and you'll be sated for the rest of the day.
3009 Central NE, 254-9462
Haven't checked out this new hot spot yet? Be cool and go late. The downstairs bar serves food until midnight; Upstairs you can eat until 10 p.m. Don't miss the rotisserie-grilled meats.
12910 Indian School at Tramway
Chow's Chinese Bistro
1950 Juan Tabo NE, 298-3000
Just one block south of Menaul on Juan Tabo, Chow's is like P.F. Chang's but without the headache and the wait. Be sure to try the caffeine-free orange tea and the Santa Fe mu shu pork. Mmm, pork.
Great American Land and Cattle
1550 Tramway NE, 292-1510
Just across Tramway from the theater, Great American is a great place for an old-fashioned steak or, better yet, a quick dessert and glass of wine from their excellent wine list.
1016 Juan Tabo NE, 292-8222
A very good Vietnamese restaurant just north of Lomas on Juan Tabo. Try the fresh spring rolls. So herby and delicious!
Paul's Monterey Inn
1000 Juan Tabo NE, 294-1461
This is still the best date restaurant in town. Perfect for pairing with an arty flick at High Ridge. In case you'd been avoiding Paul's because of the smoke you might be interested to know that because of the smoking ban, lighting up has been relegated to the bar area at Paul's.
9201 Coors NW
You might think it's all McBenniSteak and Chile Grills over by Cottonwood, but look closer and you'll find several serious dining destinations nearby.
3700 Ellison, 897-3341
Indulge in a pile of barbecued ribs and a pitcher of beer right near the theater. Then pick up a nice bottle of wine to share after the movie.
355 Rio Rancho Boulevard (Rio Rancho), 892-2202
All the way up the hill, past Intel you'll find the newest addition to the Ragin' Shrimp family. If you've got a hankerin' for shrimp or crawfish you can get your fill here.
Satellite Toys and Coffee
1642 Alameda NW, 899-1001
At the corner of Corrales Road and Alameda, Satellite serves up coffee but also soups, quiches, desserts and pastries. This is a good choice if you're hungry late. They're open until at least 10:30 p.m. most nights.
Noda's Japanese Cuisine
2704 Southern (Rio Rancho), 891-4378
An absolute gem hidden in the bowels of Rio Rancho. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and the food is spectacular. Worth the drive. Closed Sunday and Monday.