1.) Best Pho: Beyond the pho, Pho District (2401 W 7th St, 817-862-9988) serves traditional Vietnamese street food with a modern twist. What’s more twisted than a chorizo pizza made with a deep-fried rice patty topped with Chinese sweet chorizo, shredded pork jerky, green onions, and a sweet soy glaze? I’m ready to try this before or after a bowl of pho. Either way, I’m in.
2.) Best Pizza: Along with its regular pepperoni, Mama’s Pizza (5800 Camp Bowie Blvd, 817-731-6262) now offers “cup & char” as an option. Google tells me that this pepperoni is a traditional Western New York variety with a collagen casing that allows the slices to “pop” or transform into cups, holding natural juices and flavor inside while the edges of the pepp get crispy. This is now a thing you know. Try it at any of Mama’s six area locations.
3.) Best Restaurant: Mesquite Pit (MesquitePit.com, 817-596-7046) is very popular with our readers. Along with this category, they also won readers’ choice awards for best margarita, steak, queso, and waitstaff. With three locations — Granbury (919 E Pearl St, 817-579-9113), Mineral Wells (3915 Hwy 180, 940-325-5960), and Weatherford (1201 Fort Worth Hwy, 817-596-7046) — you can go on a little culinary adventure to check them out.
4.) Best Ramen: Known for ramen, small plates, and yakitori, Wabi House (1229 8th Av Ste 227, 817-720-3099) is affordably priced, and you can easily order several small plates to share. Heck, try it all. As for the ramen, six varieties are offered, along with 15 add-on toppings. One option — the Tsukemen — is available only after 5pm, so of course that’s what I want to try. It’s made with chashu (Japanese braised pork belly), applewood bacon, scallion, ajitama egg, and chile strips and served with a pork dipping broth.
5.) Best Salsa: Family-owned and -operated in Fort Worth, Blended Family Foods (@BlendedFamilyFoods, 817-901-3144) makes small-batch craft condiments using all-natural ingredients. Along with ordering direct, you can find their products at local retailers like Bodega South, Napoli’s Kitchen & Grocery, Roy Pope, The Table Market & Culinary Studio, and more. Read about their award-winning salsa, sauces, and honey at BlendedFamilyFoods.org.
6.) Best Seafood (tie): The new season means a new salad at La Onda (2905 Race St, 817-607-8605). Before your seafood entree, indulge in an arugula salad with mint, verjus-soaked pears, house-made ricotta cheese, and walnuts. This Latin-inspired seafood restaurant recently made Bon Appetit’s 50 best new restaurants, so you’d best make a reservation by emailing ReservationsLaOnda@gmail.com. Now. Do it now.
7.) Best Seafood (tie): Chef Jon Bonnell — our readers’ choice winner for best chef — serves “upscale sustainable seafood shore-to-door” at Waters (301 Main St, 817-984-1110). Most Fridays, the Sundance Square restaurant hosts Wine & Brine, featuring two glasses of wine and chef-paired bites. For updates on future events, click the “follow” button at Facebook.com/WatersTexas.
8.) Best Soul Food: Over the summer, Drew’s Place (5701 Curzon Av, 817-242-4454) was open only Thu-Sat for pickup as the dining room was closed due to staffing issues. As of last week, the dining room is back open! Join them for a sit-down soul food experience 11am-3pm Tue-Sat.