Top 10 Fort Worth restaurants are the city's real tastemakers in 2022
See full CultureMap article by Teresa Gubbins here.
We've reached the pinnacle of the 2022 edition of the annual Tastemaker Awards, CultureMap's culinary celebration shining a light on the top talent in Fort Worth's restaurant and bar communities.
The celebration includes an editorial series in which we profile nominees in categories such as Chef of the Year, Bar of the Year, and Best Breakfast. Check out our page with all the nominees, all of which have been voted on by a panel of judges consisting of former CultureMap Tastemaker Award winners and local F&B experts.
There's also our Best New Restaurant tournament, a bracket-style competition that began with eight nominees and is now down to four finalists. You can still vote; click here.
Who will win? Find out at the Tastemaker Awards party on May 10 at 4 Eleven, at 411 S. Main St., emceed by comedian CJ Starr, where attendees get to dine on bites from nominated restaurants and find out who the winners are in all the categories. (Tickets are on sale here.)
Here are the 10 nominees for 2022 Restaurant of the Year:
Food truck-turned-restaurant with locations in Near Southside, far north Fort Worth, and Watauga fills a unique niche, a spinoff of the hot Hawaiian plate lunch trend. Their specialty is Hawaiian-style shrimp plates, which you can get in one of five flavors, accompanied by sides like rice, pineapple, and avocado. Other menu items include shrimp taco, and Bubbles, a Hawaiian mochi ice cream. Their propensity for easy takeout made them a pandemic hit.
Reata Fort Worth
Western-themed restaurant with Southwestern fare and a rooftop bar with views of Fort Worth have made it a longtime institution. Signature dishes include their pepper-crusted tenderloin, plus blackened buffalo ribeye, chicken fried steak, and stacked chicken enchiladas.
Del Campo Empanadas
Small gem of a restaurant opened in the middle of the pandemic, serving Argentinian-style empanadas with meat, veggie, and sweet fillings. Founder Andrea Cacho-Gigante oversees an operation of handmade empanadas baked in-house daily, plus artisan pastries. Regular varieties include beef, chicken, and shrimp, but there's always a daily special, and the Argentine-style offerings such as the one with ground beef, eggs, raisins, onions, red bell peppers, green olives, and Argentine spices, are their most popular.
Belenty's Love Vegan Mexican Restaurant
Small but growing local chain does a vegan spin on Mexican food. Founder Belén Hernández is is a skilled chef who previously owned two taquerias and transformed her recipes into vegan versions of burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and tacos, plus a few American items such as vegan burgers and cauliflower wings. Even the milk and cheese is plant-based. She now has three locations including Fort Worth, the original in Granbury, and a new location in Keene.
Fort Brewery & Pizza
Fort Brewery was founded in 2018 with a vision of exceptional craft beer, food, wine, and live entertainment, with a casual atmosphere and spacious outdoor patio. The beer's brewed on-site and the menu is a crowd-pleaser with pizza, soft pretzels, beer cheese dip, burgers, salads, and soft-serve ice cream.
Restaurant in historic downtown Grapevine specializes in steaks and seafood with from-scratch recipes with a creative twist; think tenderloin bruschetta and ravioli stuffed with lobster. It's a steakhouse experience but in a slightly more casual (and less expensive) setting. Fans love its consistency, which is the highest praise, with excellent service and a great selection of cocktails and wines.
Italian restaurant at Harper hotel downtown champions authentic Italian fare, with an emphasis on pastas with upscale ingredients such as mafaldine, a ribbon-shaped pasta, with heirloom tomato and kale; and rigatoni with dry-aged beef bolognese. There's also appetizers, a couple of pizzas, and basic entrees including salmon, chicken, filet, and lamb, accompanied by a sharp wine list and classic cocktails.
Signature restaurant at the renovated Sinclair Hotel is a modern steakhouse from DRG Concepts, owner of such restaurants as Dallas Chop House, Dallas Fish Market, Chop House Burger, and Wild Salsa. The menu features premium cuts of beef, a raw seafood bar, hand-rolled sushi, oysters, crab, lobster, and swordfish. Showpiece dishes include double-rib steak for two served at the table. Classy decor echoes the building's Art Deco theme.
Wild Acre Brewing Company
Founded in 2016, Wild Acre is both a craft brewery and restaurant. The tap room in the old Ranch Style Beans Factory, just east of downtown, boasts a beer garden with picnic table seating and live music stage. The brewpub on Camp Bowie Boulevard opened in 2020, serving hearty yet chef-driven dishes like a Wagyu patty melt, Cuban press, French dip, chicken lollipops, and Spam fries, plus draught beers, ciders, wine by the glass in a cool space with an exposed brick floor, and plenty of TVs.
Eatery in the Fort Worth Stockyards' Mule Alley complex is from chef Marcus Paslay (Clay Pigeon, Piattello). The menu is high-end American comfort food — think smoked beef rib with Texas caviar — with steaks, chicken-fried steak, oysters, and sides such as crispy okra, braised greens, and cheddar-cheese grits. Cool space has two stories, including a loft-level dining room.