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May 6, 2013 10:08 AM

Must-Eats in Ft. Worth

I'll be in Ft. Worth a few nights this week, and am in search of whatever bites of food I simply must have during my visit. I eat anything and everything and my main goal is to avoid leaving without sampling the best of the best must-eats - whether from a dive or an upscale joint. After some research on this board, I am considering those below, but welcome any and all suggestions. Thanks!

Love Shack
Lonesome Dove
Goat Rodeo

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  1. I haven't been to most of the places on your list... but for the few I have visited:

    I enjoyed Woodshed the one time I visited. The food was good, and reasonably creative in a smoke-oriented sort of way. Nice environment too, especially if the weather is nice enough to sit outside.

    As far as fine dining goes, I've been to Ellerbe a couple of times, Grace once, and Lanny's (not on your list, but probably should be) once. I'd repeat Ellerbe and Lanny's... Ellerbe has more of a local/seasonal vibe, and Lanny's has a cool approach of combining Mexican ingredients with more European technique and presentation. Grace was nice, but not as good as the other two.

    Also not on your list, but possibly should be is Nonna Tata. I have heard raves about this place - and while I was not as impressed as many others seem to be, the food was quite good, and it's a nice little place. If I lived in the neighborhood, I'd visit regularly - they're not open on Sat/Sun, which is when I usually find my self in FTW. I'm not sure if this is still the case or not, but they used to deliver food to the nearby bar, The Usual.

    Actually, if you like cocktails, you should definitely visit The Usual. Fantastic bar with excellent drinks. And, if you're a coffee drinker, AVOCA is a great place - they roast their own beans and make good espresso-based drinks (I haven't tried anything brewed).

    If you want a Mexican suggestion, I'd try Hacienda San Miguel. I have not been... but the same owners used to have a restaurant in Dallas (Cafe San Miguel - now closed) that I quite liked.

    That's all I've got - I've only been to FTW a handful of times, so perhaps someone more experienced will offer additional suggestions.

    1. Don't forget Nonna Tata for authentic, home made Tuscan style Italian food in a very casual setting including a comfortable outside patio.
      I especially enjoy their made from scratch pasta.
      And a big plus, they're BYOB!

      1. What area are you coming from? Will you have a car?

        Some of the places on your list I would avoid. They are good for Fort Worth but not the best in the Metroplex.

        I would knock off Zeke's - Fish and Chips place. It is good and better than Long Johns but I wouldn't seek it out.

        Kincaid's is much like Fuzzy's Tacos. People love it in Fort Worth but there are better burgers out there.

        Love Shack is better than Kincaid's.

        Woodshed was not very favorable on my one and only visit. I would think long and hard about BBQ in FW as it has gotten much more competitive in Dallas these days. If you are in the mood for BBQ the Off The Bone in Forest Hill is your best bet in Tarrant Co.

        2 Replies
        1. re: LewisvilleHounder

          Thanks for your response. Coming from the DC area. No car.

          Would love to know your top picks. Thanks and cheers.

          1. re: John Galt

            Although most locals might poo-poo it, being that you're coming from DC, you might really enjoy the old fashioned Tex-Mex cooking at the long established, (July 4, 1935) Joe T. Garcia's. Especially if it's a nice evening and you can enjoy their very pretty, expansive outdoor patio.
            Not "gourmet" mind you, but simple, good old fashioned Texas "Tex-Mex" food with a cold Margherita as the drink of choice. Believe me, you won't get this food in DC!

            Check out reviews and pictures on Yelp....

        2. Not on your list and should be ... Brewed. Chicken is very good, burger's good, I usually get the candy bar latte. I know the menu pretty well, so let me know if you want to know more.

          Nonna Tata, get the chocolate dessert that comes in a cup, and make sure the chef is present when you visit.

          Zeke's--I've been many times, but apparently they've had some health violations. Definitely better than Long John Silver's ... avoid the avocado salad, you don't want that, I always got the fried shrimp, which is very good. You're probably already aware that virtually everything they serve is fried.

          Love Shack & Lonesome Dove, quite good
          Kincaid's--fun because of the historic location, but this is a very old school burger, in terms of just food Love Shack is better
          Goat Rodeo, Aguilera's, Ernesto's--don't know these places
          Grace--haven't been yet
          For Tex-Mex, recommend Mexican Inn on 8th (do not recommend Joe T's for anything but ambience--the margaritas have a good rep). Love the house-made tortillas & chips & salsa. I usually order the queso loco, nachos, taco salad (half meat half beans off menu, no extra charge), or arroz con pollo. Other items at your own risk ;)
          Ellerbe's--do not order the Reuben (it will not be what you expected), and do not indicate in even the mildest way that anything was not to your taste

          You might try Drew's Place for soul food. The fried chicken is pretty good ... it's a little mom & pop meat & 3 I like to go to sometimes. They close at dusk, I believe 7 pm this time of year, also open for lunch. Keep your street smarts about you if you go, you'll be visiting a slightly interesting neighborhood, but I go there for lunch or dinner.

          Oh, there is also a Dude, Sweet Chocolate outpost in FW now, you should check that out. It's in the 7th street restaurant area. You could combine with a visit to any restaurant on Magnolia. You could also visit Fred's in the 7th area, next block over from DSC, for a great burger (blue cheese is great) & possibly an extremely large dose of local culture. Lanny's is also nearby but not walking distance.

          7 Replies
          1. re: foiegras

            I agree with Brewed as being a place you should probably hit up. Very cozy atmosphere and at least for me a well thought out beer selection. My wife seemed to enjoy the coffee drinks too.


            Live Oak is also very nice and right behind Brewed if you want to have live music with a nice selection of about 70 taps (most local). I have not eaten at Live Oak but the burgers looked pretty solid.


            The Cafe at the Modern is really nice and one of the best in Fort Worth. Menu is seasonal so always changing it up. The view is spectacular and the museum isn't half bad either, about on par with the Hirshhorn.


            If you get tired of steaks, mexican/tex-mex, or burgers there is always Muang Lao in north Fort Worth that is a bit of a cab ride but I still cannot get their Nam Kow dish out of my head. The larb salad is also very nice but beware it is not dumbed down (contains tripe and other bits of offal). Their rendition of larb is also one of the spiciest dishes I have had in a long while. The Lao Jerky was also one of the best versions I have had in the metroplex. I did not get a chance yet to try their Lao sausage. Solid menu but I stuck only to the Lao dishes. I am sure they are pretty solid on their Thai dishes as well.


            I have been a few times out to Chubby's Burger Shack and I think it is one of the better affordable burger places, meaning there are high end options but Chubby's keeps it under $15.


            If it is tacos in Fort Worth you desire then you should probably check out The Taco Trail for options or even email Jose Ralat-Maldonado for recommendations. I believe your best bet is Revolver (high end) and Taqueria San Luis (street).


            Breakfast or lunch you might want to check out Swiss Pastry Shop. I haven't been yet but just the FB posts alone make me want to go. Smoked Ribeye and Hatch Chile Queso cheesesteak sandwiches, Black Forest Cake and4 Berry Strudel. The list is endless. I would check it out

            I have heard of Rodeo Goat only because it is owned by the folk who brought us Flying Saucer and Meddlesome Moth two of Dallas's best beer haunts. The food menu looks pretty good and they will have a decent beer selection. I think the selection at Live Oak or the Flying Saucer in Sundance Square will be better.

            Isn't much Asian food in Fort Worth but these are probably the best right now, with the exception of Muang Lao.

            Shinjuku Station

            Little Lilly - get the pork belly ramen or the duck and oyster okonomiyaki

            1. re: LewisvilleHounder

              This is fantastic, LewisvilleHounder. Lots to work with here -- many sound right up my alley. Cheers.

              1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                Of all the things I miss in my hometown of Fort Worth, the one I miss most is Swiss Pastry Shop. Their ruben is like no other, but the real star there for me was their cheesecake.

                Most cheesecakes taste greasy to me, but this one has just the perfect texture and a hint of tartness that I often dream about.

                Their black forest cake is one of the best as well, but I'd definitely give their cheesecake a whirl as it's like none other I've ever had.

              2. re: foiegras

                Yes more info please on what to order at Brewed.

                1. re: John Galt

                  Sure ...

                  Fries--regular rather than sweet potato (they fall apart)
                  Chicken--this is sourced from an Amish farm and is quite good. Fairmount Bird or chicken & waffles.
                  The eggs are good, bacon is excellent, housemade sausage I'm not into. Pork belly preparations have not impressed.
                  Burger's good as I mentioned ...
                  House salad, cookies skippable
                  Coffee's good ... I haven't had it but they have a very fragrant hot tea that some dining companions raved about, have been meaning to try it (but somehow I always order coffee)
                  Donut dippers are good, and you can get the blueberry compote on the side with other things (there's basically no fruit on the menu). There's also a veggie mix available that you can order with whatever off-menu
                  Jalepeno grits, not crazy about them. They use farm eggs of course, they're good
                  Housemade ice cream is good, as is the salted caramel sauce

                  The vibe is very laid back here & everyone loves how the place is decorated. I'm not a beer drinker so no comments there ... believe I've had a decent glass of wine here. There's a patio so you can sit outside--perfect weather for it right now.

                  Enjoy ... let us know how you fare.

                  1. re: foiegras

                    any idea where they get their coffee? Or do they roast their own?

                    1. re: gavlist

                      Sorry, I don't know ... next time I'm in there I'll try to remember to ask.

                      Just wanted to note it appears they've added a fruit plate ... didn't use to have this.

              3. Thanks for the responses so far. Still in search for identification of things I absolutely must eat before leaving Ft. Worth. Any life-changing eats out there?

                6 Replies
                1. re: John Galt

                  Life-changing is not really our thing here in Fort Worth.

                  I'd go for Love Shack, Lonesome Dove, and the aforementioned dessert at Nonna Tata for life-changing, or as close as we can get. If you like foie gras, the sliders at Lonesome Dove as well as the elk are quite good. I'd also not miss the tortillas, etc. at the Mexican Inn. Lanny's was not life-changing for me, but some people have had really good experiences there, or with Lanny elsewhere (he's part of the Joe T's family & used to have a tasting table inside).

                  Some of the options on your list are so far from life-changing that I think we're having a tough time comprehending that that is the goal ;) It looked more like you were looking for local color.

                  1. re: foiegras

                    In response and with all due respect to my fellow poster foiegras, I still think my suggestion for Joe T. Garcia's would be an experience unlike anything you'd probably get in DC.

                    Are there better Mexican or Tex-Mex restaurants in the DFW area? Sure. However, I really think coming from out of town, you'd love the Joe T. Garcia experience and food very much.

                    1. re: twinwillow

                      No, no, if you have the cajones to mention Joe T's in a life-changing food thread, I bow to you ;) And will only say that indeed, perhaps one of the OP's best chances for life-changing may very well be at Joe T's. I would suggest consuming a number of their margaritas, and then taking some action that will change your life, such as proposing to your girlfriend (or boyfriend, as the case may be) of 5 years' standing. I can only hope you have been provident enough to have such a person standing by for this life-changing exercise ;)

                      Failing that idea, I came back to say that Dude, Sweet Chocolate could perhaps be life-changing. Recommend the hot chocolate mix with house-made marshmallows (you make it stronger than the package instructions for best life-changing effect, I believe by about 2x), and the stingray fudge (hope they've made it nice and strong).

                      1. re: foiegras

                        LOL! Very good! And, a HUGE second for Dude Sweet Chocolate.

                      2. re: twinwillow

                        We go to Joe Ts every few months, but we go for lunch. They have more selections at that time (although I've heard you can get those items at dinner). I like the mini beef chimichangas.

                        Anyways, life changing? Eh - but it is a great patio and a unique experience.

                      3. re: foiegras

                        I was starting to get that sense, as no one I've asked has tried to grab me by the collar and insist you MUST eat ____ before leaving Ft. Worth. I was thinking of easing in with Love Shack and White Elephant Saloon for my first night, and then I 'll go from there. Thanks for the help.