A few friends and I were seeing a late movie at Pacific Place, but wanted a quick drink and snack beforehand. Every time I need to grab food downtown I’m dismayed by the lack of choices—there is an uncanny convergence of bad chain restaurants. After much debate, we finally settled on the Dragonfish Café in the Paramount Hotel. I had been there once before a long, long time ago and it left a bad taste in my mouth, although now I can’t remember why.

We walked in to find the bar area packed, as they were in the midst of their second happy hour (10pm-1am daily). We ordered a round of fruity cocktails and they came to the table in cute bamboo shaped glasses. Everyone took a sip and eyes lit up around the table. Then we all swapped drinks so we could taste everything. I was stunned that Dragonfish served some of the best juice-based cocktails I’ve ever had. And since it was happy hour, they were only $2.95 each. The best drink was the Lemongrass Lime Ricky, which featured lemon grass and lime leaf infused vodka. My other favorite was the Ruby Berry Splash—a spiked raspberry lemonade.

Since the drinks were so stellar, we decided to try out the Happy Hour Menu. We had a four piece Dragon Roll ($1.95) that contained asparagus, shrimp, tuna and avocado. Nothing special, but it wasn’t bad either. Next was the Chinese BBQ Pork ($2.95). Again, not bad, but I should never order BBQ pork outside of Chinatown, because it’s not very exciting when made from bland pork tenderloin. Where’s the crispy fat?! Our last dish was the Caramel Ginger Chicken ($3.95) which was oddly good, although the “caramel” tasted and looked a lot like a honey glaze.

I can’t say I’d go out of my way to eat here, but it will now be my restaurant of choice for happy hour before (or after) a movie, shopping, the theater, or any other reason I may find myself in need of a drink downtown.

Dragonfish Asian Cafe on Urbanspoon