These 10 best restaurants in Fort Worth are the cream of the crop
The 2020 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, which will celebrate the best food and drink in Dallas-Fort Worth, are almost here.
This annual event with the best bars, chefs and restaurants has taken a turn this year, no thanks to COVID-19. Instead of toasting our winners personally, we will do so in a virtual ceremony on July 30th.
But our series, which covers the best from DFW in categories like best bar, best chef, and best new restaurant, caught on.
We’re now closing with the biggest category of them all: Restaurant of the Year with 10 nominees put together by our jury consisting of former winners of the CultureMap Tastemaker Award and local F&B experts. Make sure you tune in to find out who is the winner.
Here are our nominees for the 2020 Tastemaker Awards Restaurant of the Year:
The upscale taco spot at WestBend mall was the first Connecticut-based chain location in Texas. It has a lot of things going for it: good prices, a variety of tacos, and a lovely terrace with a view of the Trinity. Tacos are street-style size and are filled with ingredients like ancho-crusted tuna, cod with tempura batter, cauliflower with Romesco sauce, and roast duck with tamarind icing. There are also rice bowls, side dishes like Elote and Chipotle Slaw, and homemade agua frescas in flavors like ginger-grapefruit.
The Bearded Lady used to be a pub in a renovated, centuries-old house on trendy Magnolia Avenue. It reopened on South Main Street in 2019 with a stronger gastropub restaurant profile. You can still get plenty of craft beer, but there is a more robust menu that features salads and sandwiches along with the signature stuffed burgers and brat corny dogs.
The menu of the museum restaurant reflects the breathtaking view of the architectural masterpiece by Tadao Ando. Chef Denise Shavandy packs the lunch menu with ingredients from the region and delicious starters such as the pumpkin blossom tamales and the spring pea falafel. Don’t miss the Sunday brunch either.
Ellerbe Fine Foods
Darling Restaurant is one of Fort Worth’s finest culinary treasures. Chef Molly McCook opened the restaurant in 2009 and continues to offer tempting and inventive dishes like homemade pappardelle with water bufala cheese from Azle cheese maker Battlefield with shaved Grana Padano cheese from Italy. The stylish remake of a former gas station is still adorable.
Home BBQ – river location
Home was called Fort Worth’s answer to Franklin’s Austin Barbecue. As with Franklin, people line up for the owners Travis and Emma Heim’s barbecue in Central Texas style: thick brisket slices in crust and fat bands, meaty pork ribs and biting sausage. They started out as a trailer, then opened a store and now have a second location in the River District overlooking the west fork of the Trinity River.
Little Lilly Sushi
West Side Spot, named after the granddaughter of chef and owner Chih “Danny” Liu, offers fresh and inventive sushi, sashimi and other Japanese dishes in a quaint, low-key atmosphere. Rotating specials usually go beyond the local norm for sushi joints and include sea urchins, scorpion fish, and geoduck clams. Locals wait with bated breath to try the restaurant’s ever-changing okonomiyaki.
This small chain with three locations in Tarrant County, named for the Mexican mortars and pestles used to grind spices, herbs, and peppers, is known for both the quality and the generous amount of their food, which is delivered quickly and hot will. They make Tex-Mex with occasional Americana influences like quesadillas stuffed with onions, mushrooms, Monterey Jack cheese, and bacon. As if all of that wasn’t enough, they are also open for breakfast on weekends from 9 a.m.
There are now two locations for this long-standing Vietnamese staple, including the charmingly unkempt original in Haltom City and a second, elegant location that opened in Colleyville, where good Vietnamese food is hard to find. Typical dishes include the crispy chow mein and a grilled plate of pork and rice served with a side of crispy egg rolls. along with several new beverages, including frosted lemonade, and milk and boba drinks.
The American beer garden in a former air-conditioning warehouse offers a Tex-Mex and a classic American menu with a Wagyu beef burger, chicken nuggets, shakes with Curly’s Frozen Custard (they share the owners) and a brunch with chicken and waffles and biscuits Sauce. They have a great variety of beers on tap, lovely rustic wood interiors, murals that highlight Fort Worth and Texas, loads of TVs and live music.
The ultra-hip contemporary izakaya-style Japanese restaurant was first opened in Dallas’ Lower Greenville by Fort Worth-raised chef Dien Nguyen, who worked with Kenzo Tran of Piranha Killer Sushi. The Wabi House focuses on ramen and small plates like crispy pork ears and seared scallops, as well as a wide variety of yakitori-grilled meat and vegetables served on skewers. They opened this second location in the Medical District in 2018.