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(DFW) Grapevine recs

My cousin just called and he's on a business trip in Grapevine. We are going to have dinner together tomorrow night. Any mid-priced recs maybe Tex-Mex, Italian, seafood, American casual? No steakhouses please.

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  1. If it were my guests and they liked fried chicken, first and foremost, I'd make the drive 15min. to the west for Babe's chicken in Roanoke.

    I hate to say it, but Grapevine flourishes with primarily chain restaurants. But here are a few that are not:

    Los Amigos on NW Hwy, just east of Main is a hole in the wall place serving pretty darn good cheap Tex-Mex. You can do a search here on CH and find references to it. BYOB

    I’d steer clear of Esparza’s even though it is recommended a lot. It (and Wilhoites) were the only game in town for a looooong time and I think the legacy still gets the references. The food was never good. And yes, Wilhoites is there also, but is primarily a large bar that also serves mediocre food.

    Tolbert’s is on Main street and they do a pretty good burger. The chicken fried steak was VERY toothsome the time I ordered it, the mashed taters were clumpy – not in a good way, and the salad (at an up charge) was a simple lettuce variety with a few adornments. Strangely, I’ve never tried the chili, but overall, I’d go somewhere else.
    http://www.tolbertsrestaurant.com/

    There’s an Italian restaurant/wine bar, Farina’s, also on Main street. I keep meaning to try it, but haven’t yet. You may be able to do some google searches and find more on it. I’ve been in it and it appears to be on the dressy side of casual. I’m pretty sure they been there AT LEAST a year, so I guess they’re doing something right.
    http://www.grapevinetexasusa.com/Thin...

    And if you enjoy your wine, there is also Into the Glass – I’ve heard great things about it albeit a very small, narrow space whose only seating is at the bar. This as I remember when I peeked in once. However, they boast an enticing tapas menu.
    http://www.guidelive.com/portal/page?...

    There’s Fireside Pies – you may be familiar with their Dallas location and 5 min. west in Southlake is CoalVines and Campania pizzas, also Mi Cocina.

    As to seafood, I don’t know of any in this area – not even catfish. But Mac’s Steak and Seafood is on 121 (south of 114). I’ve just never tried the seafood. I believe they have/had a loc in Plano, so maybe someone can chime in on an experience there…… ????
    http://macsteak.com/

    As to the chains – let me know if you’re interested and I’ll tell you what’s here – which is pretty much everything from BBQ, to Chinese, to sandwiches, Tex-Mex… the gamut. I’ll have to say I like La Hacienda. It is on 121 (south of 114) also.

    I just remembered Amore Pasta and Pizza – NW Hwy, west of Main Street. Long time Mom and Pop pasta and pizza! My selection of fettuccine alfredo and my friend's canneloni were both better than good. Entree prices are extremely reasonable in the 6.50 (pastas) to 13.95 (lobster ravioli and chicken and veal dishes ) range. The side of garlic bread was kind of lackluster though - and smushed - I think they needed to use a bread knife rather than a chef's knife.

    Seating area is unadorned, relatively small with only about 14 or so tables, it's dimly lit, service is so-so, but it works well for what it is.

    On the night I was there, there was a group of about 16 celebrating a return from Napa. They were VERY HAPPY that it was BYOB!

    Have fun!

    5 Replies
    1. re: CocoaNut

      Great writeup, thanks. If you had to recommend some chain restos, what would they be?

      1. re: Scagnetti

        I forgot about Rio Mambo – yes, it is good – a little expensive for what it is.

        Anyway, as I already said, I like La Hacienda Ranch. Though loud at peak times, they offer good service and the meals are quite good. It’s been removed from the menu, but my favorite which they’ll still make is Chicken Tampiquena – grilled chicken breast w/sautee onions, poblano and tomatoes, cheese enchilada, guacamole, rice and beans. Just as an FYI, at off hours, I've taken issue with some things being "past their prime for service".

        Other than that - here's the list, but not so much as personal recs much as just what's along the 114 restaurant row corridor. Bone Daddy, Uncle Julios and Joe's Crab Shack (my 3 least favorites), PF Chang, Carabba's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Olive Garden, Red Robin.

        One exit to the west of Grapevine is Southlake where other chains abound including Rockfish and Fish City Grill. Fish City Grill I would recommend for the simple fact that it’s in a low volume strip shopping center – ie, it’s never been overly crowded when I’ve been there which allows for easy conversation. HOWEVER, they do like the use of cilantro, so if it isn’t one of your favorites (on oyster nachos for example), have them leave it off.

        I hope this gives you a favorable selection as I tried to include those to cover the general categories that you mentioned.

        1. re: Scagnetti

          There's also Friday's and Chili's.

        2. re: CocoaNut

          Cocoa Nut gives you a pretty good list.

          I definitely second Babe's in Roanoke. It is one of my favorite places in all of North Texas. The downside is it is a little drive out there and is really the only think out there, but the food is awesome and ambiance are unique and fun.

          We really like Tolberts, the food isn't amazing, but it is good, and Main Street Grapevine is just a good place to take visitors to window shop before or bounce around to a few of the places and get drinks afterwards. I have heard that Tolberts has an Eagles cover band this Friday night, but confirm that because I heard it second hand.

          I also like Anamia's on Southlake Blvd. It is good Mexican and a small chain but definitely unique to the area. They also have some outside seating and it should be a nice weekend.

          I agree with CocoaNut on Wilhoites and Esparzas, they are a fine but no reason to take visitors there.

          The Fireside Pies in Grapevine and Coal Vines in Southlake are both good options and both also small chains but still North Texas restaurants. They are two of my favorites but then again pizza isn't as much a uniquely texas or area thing.

          I would probably rank them Babe's, Tolberts, Fireside Pies, Coal Vines, and then Anamias...

          1. re: taldeac

            Everyone seems to have their own opinions, my 4 would be Babe's, La Hacienda, Tolberts, and Joe's Crab Shack.

            Babe's - Great restaurant all around.
            La Hacienda - A Texas feel and some good fajitas, they have a family style fajita platter that is good for small groups.
            Tolberts- Great feel, and neat area
            Joes - Total chain, but great food. I feel like Joes is a little cheesy chain restaurant but it was mentioned above so I feel validated in publicly expressing how much I like it.

        3. Rio Mambo on 121 is my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant in DFW. Strongly recommend the spinach quesadillas, brisket tacos, beans, rice, and pork tamale.

          Officially on the Colleyville side of the highway.

          http://www.riomambo.com/

          1. After much deliberation, we went to Anamia's. Good food, excellent service, and tasty frozen margaritas.

            1. Just to add to this thread of the "Grapevine" chow subject.

              Fireside Pies
              1285 S Main St
              Grapevine, TX 76051
              (817) 416-1285
              I've only been here once which was in the summer months. I definitely will return at some point, but they do not open until 5:00 pm and unfortunately, or not, I don't consider pizza a "go out to dinner" option very often. Anyway, the standout of my visit was the very flavorful tomatoes.

              If you like a really thin crust pizza, you'll like it here.

              We started our meal by ordering the Bruschetta - but were quickly informed that the "bruschetta" had been changed to a crostini base topped with all the same ingredients of goat cheese, red and yellow tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, pine nuts, garnished with baby spinach and shavings of parm - all dressed in a Balsamic vinegar dressing. For 2 people, THIS was a very good and hearty meal, folks. Therefore, the pizza to follow was strictly for show. We knew a to-go box was in order.

              The chicken, bleu cheese pizza was most intriguing. The additional listed ingredients of spinach, creminis and tomatoes actually came as a salad (over)dressed with a Balsamic vinaigrette. This would have been fantastic, EXCEPT! the wet salad was plopped in the middle of the pizza making the pizza soggy. Strange. But, the parts of the pizza not touching the salad were really very good. So, if you ever order this particular pizza, ask them to put the "salad" on the side.

              Big Fish Seafood Grill
              414 S Main St
              Grapevine, TX 76051
              (817) 481-2010
              No big deal here. I returned my grilled shrimp po-boy for a second cup of seafood gumbo, which wasn't half bad (but S&D in Dallas is the place to go for gumbo). The "grilled" shrimp were so white-ish, there's no doubt they were previously frozen, thawed, and dunked briefly in hot water. Pretty bad. When I asked where the (missing) grill marks were, I was told it was "their" version of grilled. I still haven't figured that one out......

              My friend had the fried (not at all greasy) catfish fillets, which she said was very good. It was accompanied with very limp "grilled???" veggies as a side.

              The overall atmosphere is really more "wine bar" and they do offer a fairly nice chalkboard list of new local wines. The key lime pie and bread pudding looked pretty seductive as it was served at a neighboring table.

              Grapevine Diner
              3105 Ira E Woods Ave
              Grapevine, TX 76051
              (817) 251-5151
              Located in a strip shopping center at the edge of Grapevine High School and in close proximity to Colleyville's football stadium, there are several appropriately named hamburger/breakfast items. Open until 2 pm, they offer typical breakfast and lunch diner-plate expectations.

              Already knowing what I wanted, I ordered the French toast w/a side of sausage. I am as much a visual person as I am a taste and texture person, so when this arrived at my table - 4 triangles of French toast with a filigree pattern of browning, lacy ribbons of the toasty egg mixture dangling from the edges ~ 4 well browned patties of sausage at its side - well, this was a happy vision – and the taste was equally good with the exception of the maple syrup being the fake stuff.

              The downside is that everything is ordered al a carte, so depending on what you order, your final breakfast tab can near the 10 dollar mark – maybe not so bad if they didn’t scrimp on things like pure maple syrup.

              On a subsequent visit, I stopped in for lunch. The chicken fried steak, accompanied by green beans and mashed potatoes with gravy, was the worst I've ever had - all of it. I’m fairly certain the beans were straight out of the can. And they really need to take a course in general seasoning. I’m certain the potatoes were instant and the steak gristle-y. Ok for breakfast, not much for this particular lunch.

              Napolis Italian Cafe
              309 S Main St
              Grapevine, TX 76051
              (817) 310-0385
              Great, creamy gelato!!!! Get it first because you probably won't have room after your meal.

              First, the neg. Lasagna. Very dry, mostly pasta on pasta. Selfish with the meat, it was slices of (yesterday leftover?) meatballs. Very little cheese, very little sauce, very little flavor.

              Napoli's Trio - EXceptional! Penne pasta, large pieces of artichoke, spinach, slices of chicken breast and Alfredo sauce. Having said "exceptional" I will add that this was the worst excuse for Alfredo that I've ever had. It was thin with very little traditional flavor of cream or Parmesan. But in this case, it worked perfectly as a sauce medium for allowing the pasta to marry with the real stars - the artichoke and spinach. It was a perfect amount. I left fully satisfied, but wanting more.

              Beer and wine available

              1 Reply
              1. re: CocoaNut

                Tolberts is good. Went for the Eagles band and had the nachos (late night snack) and they were very good. Been there for lunch a few times and reccommend the pot roast or the chili, but ask for them to make it spicy.

                Also, the Back Porch down the street has great food for a hole in the wall.