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The Hottest Restaurants in Fort Worth, Late Spring/Early Summer 2017

Where to eat today, tonight, this weekend.

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Meso Maya
| Meso Maya Official

Welcome to the mid-May edition of the Fort Worth Heatmap, Eater's way of showing you the ins and outs of dining and drinking in Panther City.

Fort Worth's restaurant scene has seen such impressive growth since the last Heatmap update, and as such, the map has been totally revamped. Ten new spots have been added, including a brand new outpost of a fried chicken legend, seafood fine-dining style and a killer Indian spot.

In: Woodshed Smokehouse, Istanbul Bar & Grill, Waters, Piattello Italian Kitchen, Tokyo Café, Meso Maya, Gus's Fried Chicken, Righteous Foods, Havana Bar and Grill, Mughlai Fine Indian Cuisine

Out: 44 Bootlegger, Ahi Poke Bowl, Avoca Coffee Roasters, Bentley's, Cork & Pig Tavern, Earl's 377 Pizza, Funky Town Donuts, Grain & Dairy, Meat U Anywhere BBQ and Melt Ice Creams.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Woodshed Smokehouse

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3201 Riverfront Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 740-8835
Visit Website
Tim Love’s iconic, six-year-old rambling riverside restaurant is known for its barbecue—a flag flies daily with a picture of the featured animal—but the menu has recently, thankfully, expanded to include everything from irresistible starters like smoked bock beer cheese fondue with camp bread and veggies to the chef’s famous Love Burger (mmmm, Love Sauce) and terrific bulgogi salmon tacos ($14).
WSH

2. Istanbul Bar & Grill

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401 Throckmorton St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
This new-to-Sundance Square import has virtually the same Mediterranean menu as its south Arlington sister restaurant with one exception: The Fort Worth location is not BYOB. If you can get over that one small fact then you’ll love this place. Gussied up with white tablecloths and colorful Turkish chandeliers in a space owner Sam Sendel designed himself, it’s fancier, but the food is pure comfort with silky-smooth baba ghanoush, abundantly rich gyro platters and kofte skewers luring downtown office workers and evening culture hounds alike.
istanbul Istanbul Bar & Grill Facebook

3. Waters

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301 Main St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
Chef-owner Jon Bonnell has taken his seafood restaurant to the red-bricked streets of Sundance Square after faring not so well in bar-heavy West 7th. Perfect for the expense-account set (those people still exist, no?) and downtown movers and shakers, this handsome iteration is a soothing setting for deals to go down—or for oysters to be slurped. Bonnell’s exceedingly well-sourced raw bar sets the bar in meat-loving Cowtown.
waters Waters Facebook

4. Piattello Italian Kitchen

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5924 Convair Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76109
Marcus Paslay’s new spot is a game-changer. First, it’s a welcome entry in southwest Fort Worth’s sea of chains. But more importantly, it’s currently serving the city’s best Italian food. The seasonal, whimsical menu from Scott Lewis (Nonna, Sprezza) spans calamari, delicately battered and fried alongside plump Castelvetrano olives, to disarmingly simple housemade pastas like the strozzapretti cacao e pepe (twisty nubs of noodles with pecorino and parm). The weekend brunch game is, unsurprisingly, extraordinary, comprising “a little of this, a little of that,” Paslay divulged recently, all of which is just fine with us.
pfik Piattello Italian Kitchen Facebook

5. Tokyo Cafe

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5121 Pershing Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 737-8568
Visit Website
After the fire, west side Fort Worth diners mourned. But the rebuilt Tokyo Cafe, opened last fall, has been reborn in the same space with a reimagined, daring menu, dazzling once-regulars and drawing new patrons alike. Aside from stellar sushi, chef Kevin Martinez is serving everything from ramen to “Tokyo” fish and chips (tempura-fried red snapper) to a half-roasted teriyaki chicken. Mary and Jarry Ho, who also own Shinjuku Station, have—yes!—added that restaurant’s insane tok fries (thick-cut potatoes served with alongside furikake and chili mayo) to the menu here.
tokyo cafe fw Tokyo Cafe Facebook

6. Meso Maya

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3050 S Hulen St
Fort Worth, TX 76109
Opened May 1, Meso Maya’s first Fort Worth location is already winner, and a hot ticket in Tanglewood, which has been clamoring for a decent Mexican restaurant for about, oh, 100 años. A pleasant patio may beckon right now, but no matter where you dine, the food is divine, with black beans, sweet plantains and adobo-marinated meats gladly taking the place of pedestrian Tex-Mex ingredients.
meso fw Meso Maya Facebook

7. Gus's Fried Chicken

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1067 W Magnolia Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76104
The Memphis-based bastion of fried chicken has finally expanded to Texas (the only other one in the state is in Austin) and the stuff’s as good as advertised. The poultry is uncompromisingly spicy (even the kid’s chicken strips are piquant) but don’t let that deter you. It’s a nuanced batter that melds perfectly with Gus’s array of cool sides, from egg-y potato salad to cabbage-y slaw. The store is tongue-in-cheek shack-like, the service straightforward, but who cares because all you’ll be thinking is “how is this chicken so juicy?”
gus’s Gus's Fried Chicken Facebook

8. Righteous Foods

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3405 W 7th St
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 850-9996
Visit Website
Chef and owner Lanny Lancarte still loves chia and acai but has made room for new menu items like a gouda burger and even a farro risotto. With the motto “healthy food that tastes like it’s bad for you,” the adorably decorated space nicely complements the attractive offerings. Dessert is not an afterthought, either, with cinnamon-dusted churros, coconut black rice pudding or a lemon-cardamom dessert--the icing on the proverbial cake.
Righteous Foods Fort Worth

9. Havana Bar and Grill

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3701 S Cooper St
Arlington, TX 76015
Chef Miguel Mendez is cooking the food of his grandmother’s Cuba in this storefront, which, of course, doubles as a modern-day disco-tech on the weekend. The dance-averse should not be scared off, though, because under the startlingly bright florescent lights, you can see the food is the real deal. Start the meal with yucca fries with a garlicky cilantro dipping sauce but make room (and save time) for the paella, a production that takes close to an hour to make, but delivers the area’s most authentically Cuban rendition of the rice and seafood dish. The ceramic dish that houses the entree is heavy, but you’ll feel as though you just flew to Cuba.
havana Havana Bar and Grill Facebook

10. Mughlai Fine Indian Cuisine

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3311 E State Hwy 114
Southlake, TX 76092
What’s often called Dallas’s best Indian has made the foray to Tarrant County, and thank Jalfrezi. The lunch buffet is excellent and has a breadth seldom seen, at least in these parts, with more than 10 tandoori dishes and some 15 veggie sides on any given day. White tablecloths give the joint—formerly a sports bar—some class, but one taste of the spicy paneer jalfrezi and you won’t even know where you are.
mughlai indian Mughlai Fine Indian Cuisine Facebook

1. Woodshed Smokehouse

3201 Riverfront Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76107
WSH
Tim Love’s iconic, six-year-old rambling riverside restaurant is known for its barbecue—a flag flies daily with a picture of the featured animal—but the menu has recently, thankfully, expanded to include everything from irresistible starters like smoked bock beer cheese fondue with camp bread and veggies to the chef’s famous Love Burger (mmmm, Love Sauce) and terrific bulgogi salmon tacos ($14).
3201 Riverfront Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76107

2. Istanbul Bar & Grill

401 Throckmorton St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
istanbul Istanbul Bar & Grill Facebook
This new-to-Sundance Square import has virtually the same Mediterranean menu as its south Arlington sister restaurant with one exception: The Fort Worth location is not BYOB. If you can get over that one small fact then you’ll love this place. Gussied up with white tablecloths and colorful Turkish chandeliers in a space owner Sam Sendel designed himself, it’s fancier, but the food is pure comfort with silky-smooth baba ghanoush, abundantly rich gyro platters and kofte skewers luring downtown office workers and evening culture hounds alike.
401 Throckmorton St
Fort Worth, TX 76102

3. Waters

301 Main St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
waters Waters Facebook
Chef-owner Jon Bonnell has taken his seafood restaurant to the red-bricked streets of Sundance Square after faring not so well in bar-heavy West 7th. Perfect for the expense-account set (those people still exist, no?) and downtown movers and shakers, this handsome iteration is a soothing setting for deals to go down—or for oysters to be slurped. Bonnell’s exceedingly well-sourced raw bar sets the bar in meat-loving Cowtown.
301 Main St
Fort Worth, TX 76102

4. Piattello Italian Kitchen

5924 Convair Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76109
pfik Piattello Italian Kitchen Facebook
Marcus Paslay’s new spot is a game-changer. First, it’s a welcome entry in southwest Fort Worth’s sea of chains. But more importantly, it’s currently serving the city’s best Italian food. The seasonal, whimsical menu from Scott Lewis (Nonna, Sprezza) spans calamari, delicately battered and fried alongside plump Castelvetrano olives, to disarmingly simple housemade pastas like the strozzapretti cacao e pepe (twisty nubs of noodles with pecorino and parm). The weekend brunch game is, unsurprisingly, extraordinary, comprising “a little of this, a little of that,” Paslay divulged recently, all of which is just fine with us.
5924 Convair Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76109

5. Tokyo Cafe

5121 Pershing Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76107
tokyo cafe fw Tokyo Cafe Facebook
After the fire, west side Fort Worth diners mourned. But the rebuilt Tokyo Cafe, opened last fall, has been reborn in the same space with a reimagined, daring menu, dazzling once-regulars and drawing new patrons alike. Aside from stellar sushi, chef Kevin Martinez is serving everything from ramen to “Tokyo” fish and chips (tempura-fried red snapper) to a half-roasted teriyaki chicken. Mary and Jarry Ho, who also own Shinjuku Station, have—yes!—added that restaurant’s insane tok fries (thick-cut potatoes served with alongside furikake and chili mayo) to the menu here.
5121 Pershing Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76107

6. Meso Maya

3050 S Hulen St, Fort Worth, TX 76109
meso fw Meso Maya Facebook
Opened May 1, Meso Maya’s first Fort Worth location is already winner, and a hot ticket in Tanglewood, which has been clamoring for a decent Mexican restaurant for about, oh, 100 años. A pleasant patio may beckon right now, but no matter where you dine, the food is divine, with black beans, sweet plantains and adobo-marinated meats gladly taking the place of pedestrian Tex-Mex ingredients.
3050 S Hulen St
Fort Worth, TX 76109

7. Gus's Fried Chicken

1067 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104
gus’s Gus's Fried Chicken Facebook
The Memphis-based bastion of fried chicken has finally expanded to Texas (the only other one in the state is in Austin) and the stuff’s as good as advertised. The poultry is uncompromisingly spicy (even the kid’s chicken strips are piquant) but don’t let that deter you. It’s a nuanced batter that melds perfectly with Gus’s array of cool sides, from egg-y potato salad to cabbage-y slaw. The store is tongue-in-cheek shack-like, the service straightforward, but who cares because all you’ll be thinking is “how is this chicken so juicy?”
1067 W Magnolia Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76104

8. Righteous Foods

3405 W 7th St, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Righteous Foods Fort Worth
Chef and owner Lanny Lancarte still loves chia and acai but has made room for new menu items like a gouda burger and even a farro risotto. With the motto “healthy food that tastes like it’s bad for you,” the adorably decorated space nicely complements the attractive offerings. Dessert is not an afterthought, either, with cinnamon-dusted churros, coconut black rice pudding or a lemon-cardamom dessert--the icing on the proverbial cake.
3405 W 7th St
Fort Worth, TX 76107

9. Havana Bar and Grill

3701 S Cooper St, Arlington, TX 76015
havana Havana Bar and Grill Facebook
Chef Miguel Mendez is cooking the food of his grandmother’s Cuba in this storefront, which, of course, doubles as a modern-day disco-tech on the weekend. The dance-averse should not be scared off, though, because under the startlingly bright florescent lights, you can see the food is the real deal. Start the meal with yucca fries with a garlicky cilantro dipping sauce but make room (and save time) for the paella, a production that takes close to an hour to make, but delivers the area’s most authentically Cuban rendition of the rice and seafood dish. The ceramic dish that houses the entree is heavy, but you’ll feel as though you just flew to Cuba.
3701 S Cooper St
Arlington, TX 76015

10. Mughlai Fine Indian Cuisine

3311 E State Hwy 114, Southlake, TX 76092
mughlai indian Mughlai Fine Indian Cuisine Facebook
What’s often called Dallas’s best Indian has made the foray to Tarrant County, and thank Jalfrezi. The lunch buffet is excellent and has a breadth seldom seen, at least in these parts, with more than 10 tandoori dishes and some 15 veggie sides on any given day. White tablecloths give the joint—formerly a sports bar—some class, but one taste of the spicy paneer jalfrezi and you won’t even know where you are.
3311 E State Hwy 114
Southlake, TX 76092

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