Named for the mustang grapes that grow here, Grapevine is one of the oldest settlements in North Texas. Situated between the larger cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, this quintessential town doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves.
While Grapevine, Texas may be less than 36 square miles, it is a culinary heavyweight in its own right. Mexican food, chili, BBQ, and wine may be what travelers expect, but inventive chefs and proprietors have that and so much more to offer at several Grapevine restaurants.
Sprinkled along historic Main Street, found on the road less traveled, or hidden in plain sight, here are the nine Grapevine restaurants I always recommend to visitors and locals alike.
Visiting other cities in Texas? Check out these foodie guides to other great Texan towns:
- The Best Restaurants in The Woodlands, TX
- 9 Must-Try League City Restaurants
- Where to Eat in Keller, TX
Nine Must-Try Restaurants in Grapevine, TX
124 E Worth St // (817) 481-4668
“Limit of three margaritas to anyone not having dinner.” Nine simple words and you’re already glad you came.
You can’t come to Texas and not try our most famous beverage or cuisine. You can, however, fall victim to disappointment if you don’t know where to go. Esparza’s Restaurante Mexicano has been a staple in Grapevine since 1985 and a personal favorite.
Located just off Main Street, Esparza’s occupies a renovated house from the late 1800s. A spacious patio and raucous bar inside welcomes first-time travelers and locals to enjoy the best of what Texas has to offer: authentic, homemade Tex-Mex and good, strong margaritas.
Everyone should experience one of their “notorious” margaritas. My favorite is the Swirl. A frozen house margarita with a swirl of sangria running through it. It’s not at all sweet; instead, it’s perfectly tart with a hint of fruit. Just the right refreshment for lounging on the patio. And with happy hour prices Monday-Friday, 11 am-7 pm, there’s no excuse to miss trying one yourself.
The Queso Flameado is billed as an appetizer, but don’t fall for it. A large skillet of melted cheese is topped with an ample serving of fajita chicken or beef, savory sautéed onions and peppers, and even more cheese. Served with tortillas, this could easily be a meal in itself.
Try one of the rellenos. Whether chicken, cheese, or vegetarian, you won’t be disappointed. They strike just the right balance of smoky and creamy decadence in a portion that could feed two. For a south of the border taste and feel, try this Mexican restaurant in Grapevine.
423 S Main St // (817) 421-4888
Chili is the other food the Lone Star State is famous for. Frank X. Tolbert founded the Terlingua Championship Chili Cook-Off in 1967 after writing a book on the subject, A Bowl of Red. You could say he’s a bit of an expert. In addition to their famous chili, Tolbert’s offers a substantial menu with many hearty southern staples.
I recommend the Torpedoes appetizer. Jalapeño peppers are stuffed with spicy chicken and melty cheese before being battered and deep-fried. Dip them in ranch dressing and you’ve gone to comfort food heaven. I’m also a sucker for their warm Jalapeño Corn Bread Muffins smothered in rich butter.
Lighter fare is also available, and more than just an afterthought. Robust salads, a Veggie Platter, and Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich are all on the menu, but my personal favorite is the Fish Tacos. I get them grilled and served on corn tortillas. The crispy cabbage adds a good crunch and a spritz of lime adds brightness to each bite. It’s a light, but filling meal for the coming dance party.
Live music plays every Thursday – Saturday and dancing is definitely encouraged. Order up a beverage and stay as long as you like.
The bar features over twenty beers on tap, including local craft beers and seasonal brews. The Community Mosaic IPA is delightfully hoppy without being too dense. I’d easily vote this as my favorite beer and highly recommend to all IPA drinkers.
919 W Northwest Hwy // (817) 251-1227
While many states claim the title of “Best BBQ,” Texas is a major contender. Smoked meats come in many forms, but we’re most famous for our brisket. And the brisket at Meat U Anywhere is some of the best available, anywhere.
The founder, Andy Sedino, started Meat U as a catering company after being unceremoniously let go from another local franchise. He launched the business as a way to provide for his family and be in control of his own destiny. The response from catered events was overwhelming and he opened his first Grapevine restaurant a few years ago. It’s a low maintenance, counter-service kind of place, perfect for gnawing on your ribs undisturbed.
The brisket is what they’re most famous for and it’s easy to see why. The meat is tender and not too fatty, though full of flavor. Their St. Louis Cut Ribs are also worth a try. The richness of the meat isn’t masked by sauce, and slides easily from the bone.
I have to admit, my biggest make or break for a BBQ joint is really the sides. The Creamed Corn is a fan favorite and true southern staple. I’m always drawn to jalapeño anything, so the Jalapeño Mac ’n’ Cheese is on the top of my list and I have to recommend the Notcha Momma’s Cole Slaw. It’s vinegar-based, so it’s not too heavy and a good palate cleanser between meats.
For excellent BBQ in Grapevine, just tell me to “meet you anywhere.”
106 E Texas St // (817) 410-2739
One of Grapevine’s newest treats is located just one block off downtown Main Street and is getting crafty with their coffee. Opened at the height of the pandemic, the young owner has successfully combined her social media skills and creativity to not only survive the economic downturn, but to establish her inventive coffeehouse as a must-try.
You can order all your coffee-house standards: lattes, cappuccinos, doppio, chai tea, etc., or you can defer to the Barista Recommendations and reward your taste buds. These more creative concoctions change seasonally but never miss their mark.
The Lavender Honey Latte is creamy and floral without being overly sweet. The Blueberry Matcha Latte is surprisingly refreshing and faintly fruity.
And in an admirable nod to sustainability, all beverages are made with oat milk due to the high volumes of water needed to produce almond milk. Some substitutes are available upon request.
But wait, there’s more…brewed beverages are just one part of their business. Handmade waffles are the delightful other. Made from either cornbread or in a more traditional European style, waffles come in sweet and savory options.
The Churro is a staple. Made with the traditional base, it’s covered in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with cream. A sweet treat that pairs well with french-pressed coffee or as an escape from a hectic afternoon.
I’m dying to try the Everything Waffle. Made with the cornbread base, filled with house-made sour cream and cream cheese, and sprinkled with everything seasoning, it sounds like my perfect version of the griddlecake. For great coffee and exotic breakfast items, try this amazing Grapevine restaurant.
600 W Northwest Hwy // (817) 442-9378
You’ll know you’re in Texas the moment you step inside this Western-themed restaurant in Grapevine. If the large horse mural and Lone Star paraphernalia all over the walls don’t give it away, the staff decked out in their country best will. And true to what you’ve heard about Southern hospitality, everyone has a smile for you.
Fair warning, parking can be tricky and you’re almost guaranteed a wait any day of the week. But if that doesn’t tell you exactly why this is a must-try, then trust me, the food is worth it. The menu alone reads like Betty Crocker’s greatest hits.
Try one of the dishes served with Cinnamon-Crisp French Toast. The bread is nice and thick, so it holds up well without getting soggy. This toast also has enough cinnamon in it to balance out the sugar so it’s not too sweet if that’s not your thing. It doesn’t even need syrup.
If you’re looking for a meal that offers a little bit of everything, try the Stagecoach. It’s biscuits and gravy topped with hashbrowns, scrambled eggs, cheese, and jalapeños. Don’t worry, this restaurant doesn’t add calorie counts next to its items, so you won’t have to worry about any undue guilt as you indulge.
The omelets are a good-sized portion, made with three eggs, and stay fluffy despite the large helping of veggies, meats, and cheeses added. The Lemon Blueberry pancakes are a fan favorite and the sides scream Texas in the best way.
Cinnamon & Sugar Toast is something we all grew up on and highly recommend. The hashbrown casserole is also quite good, staying nice and crispy without turning to mush.
While they do serve lunch as well, they’re famous for their breakfast and it’s available 7 am-2 pm every day.
2500 Oak Grove Loop S #200 // (817) 481-1237
Nestled deep inside Scott’s Landing Marina on Grapevine Lake, Big Daddy’s Ship Store is BYOB and perfect for sunny days. This hidden gem has been a well-kept secret for locals since 1997. Between the fantastic views, long, languid hours, and live music, but limited seating, it’s a secret worth protecting and a definite must-try.
The Ship Store is famous for its burgers, which the menu humbly refers to as “Local Legends.” I’m a sucker for the Spicy Burger with a fried egg on top. They don’t hold back on this beast. It’s topped with grilled onions, grilled jalapeño, grilled cherry peppers, spicy mustard, and pepper jack cheese. The egg adds a creaminess that makes it impossible to stop eating. Make sure to ask for extra napkins.
As you’d expect, they also serve fish sandwiches and seafood baskets if that’s more your preference while lazing by the water. And a variety of filling salads are available for the lighter side.
I give this joint extra points because they have live music playing every Friday and Saturday night. In the summer, running Memorial Day through Labor Day, fireworks are also on display over the lake, every Friday. And if you’re craving mudbugs, they put on one heck of a Crawfish Boil in March. The boils are weekends beginning mid-month and running for up to five weeks.
Check out Big Daddy’s for waterfront dining in Grapevine.
401 S Main St // (817) 527-7867
As the name of the town may suggest, Grapevine is home to several wineries. Many of these are peppered along Main Street and offer tasting flights to try Texas-made wine. Sloan & Williams pours wine from other states as well, and they definitely serve the best food.
Served tapas style, the bigger your party, the more you get to try. The charcuterie comes in various sizes and you can create your very own masterpiece.
The Balsamic & Cipollini Onion Artigiano should be at the top of your list for cheeses. Tangy, sweet, and warm, don’t forget to eat the rind, that’s where the magic lives. The Garlic-Herb Goat Cheese is also one of the best (isn’t it always that way with goat cheese?) and the Creamed Havarti creates a balanced flavor profile of sweet to savory to salty.
The creamy Spinach Artichoke dip served with veggies and bread is very filling for a larger group or those looking to make a full meal.
But if you try nothing else, let it be the Bacon & Brie Naan. Sweet fig jam, melty brie, smoky bacon, candied pecans, and floral basil combine to hit all the right notes. Sweet dreams are made of this naan.
401 E State Hwy 114 // (817) 329-5282
Proof that fresh fish can be found inland and that Texas is more than meat, Lava 10 has a huge menu and chef creations you’ve never seen before. A spin-off of Lava Asian Grill in nearby Euless, the Grapevine location is a more upscale variation of mixed Asian cuisine and it’s reflected in their prices. However, the inspired dishes served here are worth it.
The Tom Kha Soup is some of the best I’ve ever had. It’s creamy and soothing with a hint of lime that delivers umami and keeps you going back for more.
The Butterfly Kiss is a house special and hands down my favorite rice-less roll, period. Luscious salmon is wrapped around creamy avocado and crab then drizzled in a bright ponzu sauce. It’s heaven.
And if you really want to go big, the Gold Digger Roll combines spicy, tempura lobster with crab and tops it all with spicy tuna and avocado then served with a house specialty sauce.
The extensive menu includes meat and seafood entrees and rice or noodle bowls, but to be honest, I only come here for the sushi. It’s too good to miss. For a seafood restaurant in Grapevine with an Asian flair, Lava 10 is the place to go.
316 S Main St // (817) 424-4333
Launched in 2000, Main Street Bakery was a runaway hit with locals and visitors. Bolstered by this success, chef Fabien Goury opened an adjacent eatery to honor the popular Bistro concept in Europe. Stunning French cuisine can be found in this Texas town treating foodies to an unforgettable experience.
Craft cocktails set the scene and help you settle in. The Gin Blossom combines elderflower, hibiscus, champagne, and a twist of lemon. It’s light and fancy and perfect. The French Old Fashioned is a fan favorite made with cognac and featuring walnut bitters in addition to orange. As it should be in any proper bistro, the wine list is extensive with vintages from all over the world.
Weekend Brunch is a big hit with Mimosa Buckets available and a Texas Bloody Mary piled high with peppered bacon.
The Smoked Ham Crepe is luscious, smothered with a rich and creamy mornay sauce. The Normandy French Toast is decadent, topped with fresh fruit and cream cheese icing, and finished with a sweet Maple Pecan Granola Streusel. The “Healthy Start” menu features a Smoked Salmon Bagel Platter with all my favorite fixins too.
In the evening, when the hanging Edison bulbs that adorn the tiled ceiling buzz to life, is when true magic happens.
Start with the Warm Brie with wild mushrooms, mornay sauce, truffle, parmesan, and arugula. It’s warm, indulgent, and a treat for the senses.
The Short Ribs Beef Bourguignon is a successful spin on a classic and the meat literally melts in your mouth.
My all-time favorite however is the Scottish Salmon Meunière. Served with broccolini, potato puree, roasted heirloom tomatoes and topped with a lemon caper butter sauce, it’s impossible not to finish. The salmon can be cooked to order and I recommend medium-rare to highlight the freshness. And for anyone else who loves lemon, you’ll be happy to find it’s a primary flavor in this delicious dish.
Reservations are recommended and can be made through OpenTable. For a continental approach to fine dining in Grapevine, this is your restaurant.
Which one of these Grapevine restaurants will you try first? Let us know in the comments below!
By the time she was ten, Kerri Smith had already lived in five different states and had attended as many grade schools. Moving to new places instilled a love of adventure from an early age and a desire to see as much of the world as possible.
Kerri is an avid traveler and believes firmly that culture is rooted in a community’s food and dining experiences can make or break a trip. Whether solo or with friends, She enjoys traveling best when the most is made of every experience. Good, bad, or otherwise, her motto is “…but would it make a good story?”
Kerri left her traditional job in advertising sales to become a full-time travel writer and to live her one life as fully as possible.