Fort Worth is a city that feels like a small town, and it comes with a hefty historical background, including plenty of outlaws and cowboys. If you’re visiting, you may ask whether you need to pack your cowboy gear, and the answer is that you’ll be welcome with or without the boots (or chaps). Although we have a reputation for being a cow town, Fort Worth is much more than just that.
On average, the city has over 200 sunny days a year. It may be hot, but those wide-open Texas skies sure make eating outside pleasant. Here is our guide to our favorite patios and outdoor dining spots in the Fort. Whether you’re visiting from out of town or are a local, there’s a cool (aesthetically or achieved through fans and misters) patio for you to enjoy.
All restaurants featured on The Infatuation are selected by our editorial team. Where To Eat Outside In Fort Worth is presented by Visit Fort Worth. Home to the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive, Fort Worth exudes western charm with all the amenities of a modern city.
If you’ve been to Fort Worth and didn’t make it to Joe T’s in the Stockyards…. well, you didn’t really visit Fort Worth at all. It’s a quintessential patio experience, and you’re almost guaranteed to be seated near one of the dozens of fountains and waterfalls scattered throughout the property. A pitcher of Joe T’s nearly-lethal margaritas for the table is a must. Ordering is easy: choose from one of two entrees: fajitas or the cheese enchilada dinner. Both are straightforward Tex-Mex classics, but we recommend the enchiladas since they come with cheese nachos to help soak up those margaritas.
Tacos are an essential part of eating in Texas, and while there are several great options for tacos in the Fort, our favorite spot is Salsa Limón for their straightforward Mexico City-style tacos. Of their six locations around town, we recommend the Distrito location for its lively front patio. Make sure to order the carne asada street tacos, and definitely a few Topo Chicos and extra crema. There are great salsa options, including a mild salsa verde and a spicy habanero that’s not for the faint of tongue (hence the Topo Chico).
Much like tacos, you can’t think of Texas without immediately thinking of barbecue, and Heim BBQ is one of the best options for smoked meats in Fort Worth. And Heim’s newest location, right next to the Trinity River, has plenty of space to spare - quite the opposite of the small side patio at their Magnolia Avenue location. Here you can grab a seat on their expansive covered patio or a picnic table on their open-air green space. For meats, we recommend the chopped brisket and bacon burnt ends. For sides, the onion rings and green chile mac and cheese are a must. The burger is tasty, too.
Woodshed’s expansive and cozy outdoor patio near University West includes both a xeriscaped garden and patio deck, and it’s perfect for small groups. It’s impressive but welcoming, even to your four-legged friends, where you can keep Fido occupied with a “Rawhide Bone Dipped in Pitmaster Fat” while you and your friends share a cocktail pitcher - we’re partial to the Piggy Punch, a sweet and tart spin on the Paloma. In case you forgot you were in Texas, everything here is cooked with fire and smoke, including things like pork rib-meat tamales, large-format “Dining With Friends” dishes like the Beef Shin, or their sausage of the day, which can be anything from rattlesnake to rabbit.
Nonna Tata is a small trattoria that’s BYOB, and arguably the best Italian spot in town. This tiny restaurant has doubled its capacity by adding a cute side patio, complete with mismatched chairs and bistro tables. It’s the perfect place for a second date, and even if you end up running out of things to talk about, Magnolia Avenue provides some epic people-watching under the year-round lighted trees. Impress your date by ordering the best from the menu: the chicken Milanese, gnocchi di ricotta, or chicken piccata are the way to go.
Fort Worth is a cattle town that takes their cuts of steak seriously. In a city with steak and chop houses on nearly every corner, Reata sets itself apart, especially with its rooftop bar and patio where you can take in downtown and Sundance Square. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the calf fries (bull testicles) with cream gravy. But you’re here for steak, and we’d recommend the bone-in rib eye with the Cook’s Butter: it’s juicy, a touch salty, and the marbled fat melts in your mouth. Top it off with the Texan Pecan Pie for a perfectly Fort Worth meal on a perfect Fort Worth rooftop.
Dallas import HG Sply Co in West Bend has top-notch food and cocktails made with all-natural, responsibly-sourced ingredients, and a menu that has something for everyone, including your vegan and gluten-free paleo friends. Forget the research about water-adjacent spaces making you feel calm: you’ll know it’s true as soon as you step onto their riverfront deck. Make sure to start with HG’s take on chips and queso - a spicy, cashew milk queso topped with guac. It’s so good that you’d never suspect it was vegan.
Located at the trailhead on the Clearfork, Press Cafe is the perfect spot to lounge and grab a bite after a hike or a bike ride on the trail. Press’ fresh take on American menu staples includes things like crunchy salads and freshly made specialties like their housemade ricotta and toast. You should be able to comfortably make the bike ride back home (especially if you wear those stretchy bike shorts that are not at all embarrassing). For brunch we recommend the egg in the hole or the banana walnut waffles (maybe not for our bike-short-wearing friends, though).
As the name suggests, this Near Southside pub and restaurant is a solid spot for elevated bar food. Take advantage of their vast and ever-rotating selection of drafts and canned beers while enjoying the expanded patio of their new-ish location. We argue that Bearded’s L.U.S.T. burger - served on a toasted brioche bun and topped with fresh feta and melted gouda, poblano peppers, and avocado - is the best burger in Fort Worth. Make sure to add the fried leeks instead of fries.
Let’s be real: if you’ve decided to grab dinner or hit up a Happy Hour along Magnolia, it’s because you want to go to Melt for their small-batch specialty ice cream. We always look forward to checking out their rotating flavors (and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that crème brûlée will return one day). But their “Always Flavors” - like chocolate chocolate and cookie crush - always hit the spot. Enjoy a cone or dish by yourself or to share on their spacious side patio, lit up by string lights.
Named for the famed Tokyo train station, Shinjuku is a Japanese izakaya that serves drinks and small plates. You can find sushi here (along with a ton of other delicious things), but this place is anything but traditional, and their charming and spacious back patio may make you think you’ve wandered onto a Wes Anderson set. Sip some sake and take your time ordering a few small as you go. Just make sure the sake-steamed black mussels, tok fries, and beer-braised pork buns are in the mix.
Brewed is one of our favorite outdoor spots along Magnolia, featuring a cozy brick-top patio surrounded by roses and a fire pit for late fall night hangs. While their brewed items (coffee and craft beers) are great, their New American and Texas-inspired dishes hold their own too. And even though an entire section of the menu is devoted to waffles, Brewed isn’t just a breakfast or brunch place. Their daily lunch and dinner specials are fresh spins on classics - we’re partial to Wednesday’s chicken fried steak, but their duck fat fries are probably the best thing on the menu.
Fort Worth is known as “Panther City,” which comes from a strange legend that started in 1875 describing Fort Worth as a sleepy Dallas suburb. So sleepy, in fact, that a panther took a nap downtown and it went practically unnoticed. It’s a weird story and also kind of an insult, but the city took it up and ran with it. These days, Panther City BBQ embraces that weirdness with their creative takes on barbecue. While they are celebrated for their classic staples like brisket, jalapeno sausage, and pork ribs, it’s their more inventive items like pork belly jalapeño poppers that help them stand out as the city’s new favorite barbecue joint. With their new brick-and-mortar location in the Near Southside, it’s the perfect time to try their brisket elote and smoked bologna on their shaded patio full of picnic tables.
The Coffee Folk truck has set up shop in Meadowbrook on the eastside of Fort Worth. Along with their excellent coffee, they serve breakfast tacos from Taco Heads and pastries from Stir Crazy, which you can enjoy at a table under the shade of their many pecan trees. We always get a latte, and we can’t pick a favorite. It’s either the lavender or the burnt sugar with pink salt. Sometimes we can’t decide, so we just get both.
Taco Heads in the Cultural District boasts that their margarita is the best in Texas, and we’d have to agree. It’s the perfect drink to sip on their covered patio, situated between the restaurant and cantina, especially on Mondays (when margaritas are $5). When it comes to tacos here, the simpler the better. Our standing order is the Mama Castillo’s chicken taco and a carnitas taco (add grilled jalapeño), alongside their sweetcorn chips and guac.
The story behind Chef Point is the stuff of legend. It began as a little restaurant within a gas station, but the quality of the food didn’t fit its humble surroundings. The juxtaposition of elevated comfort food - like lobster mac and cheese, blackened pork chops, and a famous bread pudding - in a more casual setting helped Chef Point gain a local fanbase and national attention. Now years later, Chef Point has expanded into an expansive restaurant and patio, with locations in north Fort Worth and Colleyville.