Occasionally, it’s nice to step out of the kitchen and have a really great meal cooked for you while you sit back and relax. As a chef, I appreciate a unique and savory culinary experience, so I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 restaurants (in no particular order) that I love!  The great part of this list is that even those with food allergies/intolerances will find someplace they can eat!

1) Oliva Italian Eatery

This is my go-to Italian restaurant! Cynthia, the owner, has Celiac’s disease so there are gluten-free pasta (homemade by the way!) options as well as dairy-free options. You won’t have to leave your love for Italian food at this lovely eatery! Try Cynthia’s Mexican restaurant the ‘Elote Mexican Kitchen”  which is just as fabulous.

2) Ellerbe Fine Foods

This restaurant, located on Magnolia in downtown Fort Worth and owned by Molly McCook, is a farm-to-table dining experience. This restaurant features fresh, seasonal, local food which means the menu changes every day. Of course, this is a great restaurant for vegetarians.

3) Bonnell’s 

Found on Bryan Irvin Rd, this restaurant puts a “lean twist” on good ‘ole Texas cuisine. Here you’ll find leaner meats including bison. John Bonell, the owner, truly cares about the ingredients in your food.

4) Righteous Foods

This is a beautiful and fun place to dine! The beautiful wood floors and bright-colored accents certainly make this cafe a lively place to eat! I love that they serve healthy American food, with raw and vegan options and always no preservatives. No guilt here!

5) Jason’s Deli

Everyone can appreciate a good sandwich, and Jason’s Deli (three locations in Fort Worth) is definitely a healthier option if you’re looking for natural, organic ingredients in your sandwich. Talk about food made with love! They are the first restaurant to ban artificial trans fats in the U.S. and the first to eliminate high fructose corn syrup. So if you see sodas at their deli, rest-assured they’re made with natural sugars!

6) Terra Mediterranean Grill

If you have a cultured palette and love exotic foods, then this restaurant is for you! I love Greek food, so naturally I come here. Their menu is very diverse and what I love about their food is how fresh it tastes. The food they serve ranges from lamb to amazing hummus to Saffron chicken. It’s all good!

7) The Flying Carpet

This Turkish cafe is certainly a unique culinary experience! The front of the shop is a carpet store, so logically the walls are decorated with beautiful tapestry. There’s no place quite like it! I seriously have a hard time deciding what menu items to suggest, because I really enjoy the majority of the menu (that’s why I chose this place)

8) Yatai Food Kart

Food trucks are popping up all over the country, but this is not your typical food truck, it’s a “food kart” to be precise. This restaurant on wheels serves delicious Japanese, Chinese and Korean cuisine in a farm-to-trailer fashion. The owner is a friend of mine, Kevin Martinez.  Their menu is diverse; you can get sushi, delicious ramen, pork shoulder with pickled ginger, and even lamb! They travel around Fort Worth, so if you see this “kart”  don’t pass it up!

9) Rodeo Goat

This place is definitely one you’ll remember–not just because the name is peculiar– but because they serve the “best burger in DFW.”  Don’t worry, I know you’re probably thinking, Deb, a burger?! But this place definitely has healthy burger options, such as turkey burgers with toppings like sprouts, goat-cheese spread, fresh beech mushrooms, shaved cucumber, and the list goes on! If you haven’t tried these burgers, you need to! Plus, they just opened another one in Dallas so now you’ve got two reasons to go.

10) Shinjuku Station

Last but certainly not least, is this Japanese izakaya-style restaurant located on Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth. The servings are perfect for sharing and I really just love the atmosphere with the brick walls, fashioned after an actual train station in Tokyo, Japan. You’ll never think of ramen the same  again after you eat here.The food not only tastes spectacular but looks (almost!) too pretty to eat.

Next time you go out, these places must be on your list to try! There is something for everyone, especially my health-conscious Savor clients! Fort Worth definitely has a lot of great dining options for those times that  you don’t want to get your hands dirty in the kitchen. Happy dining y’all!