Local Flavor: Fabulous Fort Worth Restaurants

I have resided in Fort Worth, TX for almost 5 years total (including our current stint, during which we made it official and purchased a home in Funkytown). One of my favorite things about the city is that it's young, it's vibrant, but it's also quite chill at the same time. It's not the rat race that nearly leveled me in Dallas, and it's much closer to our families than Austin (another Texas city that I adore and once called home). Lots of live music, cultural activities, and restaurants worth writing home about.

Below are some of my favorite Fort Worth spots for meals that will satisfy and ambiance that will charm your pants off. (Not literally. We mind our manners around here. Mostly.)

Lili's Bistro
The first of a few spots you'll see on this list that are nestled in the Fairmont/Magnolia area of Fort Worth, Lili's is just precious. The ambiance is cozy and you'll sometimes find live jazz music during dinner. We celebrated Valentine's Day here a few years back, and everyone was so accommodating and friendly. No stress and bustling waiters running around like banshees. Sit back, sip on some wine, and try a sampling of their tasty bites. They always feature a large vegetarian dish, as well as lots of veggie-friendly sides. And the doughnuts and coffee ice cream are not too shabby either.

Spiral Diner
Spiral has been one of my favorite haunts since first visiting the original FW location in 2003. (There is also a Spiral in Dallas.) They serve delicious vegan dishes that will make you rethink any ideas you have about vegetarian/vegan eats. Think fantastic diner food, only far less grease, no guilt, and so much yum. The cashew-based nacho cheese is stupid, it's so good. (Order it.) The chopped BBQ sandwich (sub chipotle mayo), The Mitch, Nacho Supremo and Viva Las Migas are some of my faves. The same staff has been working these locations for ages, and the food has been consistently awesome over the past decade. They also sell baked goods and have a small grocery section you can peruse, and if you're feeling frisky, grab a mint cookies 'n cream I-Scream shake for the road.

Winslow's Wine Cafe
While this place can get pretty packed with the Happy Hour crowd on a Friday night (who are usually impeccably dressed and prone to loudness after a few bottles of wine), it's a great spot for both a date with your honey or an evening with the gals. The jalapeno hummus is delightful (pairs well with a deep red), and the Winslow's Crunch pizza is something we crave at least once a week. Get there early enough and you can snag a spot around the outdoor fire pits.

Nonna Tata
Legit Italian cuisine, and so under the radar, they don't even have a website. The restaurant is tiny and only seats a few parties at a time, but they're very accommodating (will even deliver apps to the bar a few doors down while you wait for your table) and the food is so worth it. The ricotta gnocchi has ruined me to any other gnocchi for life. Their hours are limited, cash only and BYOB. Show up early (we roll up around 5pm on a Friday to queue up for the 5:30 opening), bring a great bottle of wine from home, and don't forget the tiramisu.

Lonesome Dove Western Bistro
This is usually M's choice spot for birthday dinners, and I am always amenable to that selection. It's definitely a special occasion spot (unless you're rolling in the green), but nestled in the historic Stockyards, you can show up in nice jeans and feel perfectly at home. (I think they just frown upon athletic shoes, but call ahead to confirm for your reservation.) The waiters are savvy and facilitate a nicely paced dining experience, and the white truffle mac 'n cheese may illicit a "Hummina" or two. The Dirty Love 'Tini is like a snack in and of itself, and the Butter Lettuce salad may be my favorite green dish around (as it is for Hubs as well, in no small part because he gets all the bacon lardoons to himself). You'll leave Lonesome Dove food drunk and jonesing for another trip back.

Bon appetite, y'all!

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