Located just a few miles south of the Sundance Square  area is a stretch of fun and funky eateries well worth exploring. Local establishments are on Magnolia’s menu, offering everything from vegan (one of the few in town) to upscale urban fare to trendy tacos. The following are among the most popular and highly regarded of the bunch.
Avoiding animal products in Cowtown is a hefty challenge, but vegans and vegetarians now have a habitat at the Spiral Diner & Bakery (1314 W. Magnolia Ave., 817/332-8834, www.spiraldiner.com , $8–19). Spiral’s is immediately welcoming (omnivores will also enjoy the flavorful options), and the ’50s diner decor offers a fun experience. Instead of a standard veggie burger, opt for a McNut burger; enhance chips and salsa with a nacho dish using cashew “cheez” sauce; and spice up ordinary pasta by sampling the tasty curry noodles.
For a different twist on a typical Mexican meal in Fort Worth, head to Yucatan Taco Stand (909 W. Magnolia Ave., 817/924-8646, www.yucatantacostand1.com , $9–21). Don’t let the counter service fool you: This is quality fare from way south of the border. Start things off with a hefty margarita accompanied by lightly seasoned chips and salsa. Be sure to save room for a burrito bowl, filled with tasty goodness of your choice, from pork to seafood to garlic to peppers.
Authentic Italian meals aren’t always easy to find in Texas, but if you’re willing to endure a few quirks, you’ll be duly rewarded by Nonna Tata (1400 W. Magnolia Ave., 817/332-0250, $12–30). First, you’ll have to come prepared: bring cash, wine, and a willingness to dine in a tiny establishment only on weekdays. Also, you can expect at least a 30-minute wait (reservations are not accepted).
Even with these limitations, Nonna Tata remains one of the most popular and highly regarded restaurants in the city thanks to its spectacular food. Start things off with the antipasti platter (an amazing board full of Italian meats and cheeses) and continue with one of the restaurant’s seasonal specialties (pumpkin soup) or one of the tantalizing seafood dishes (calamari or shrimp—served with a homemade pasta and fresh pesto). If you still have room for desert, be sure to order the terrific tiramisu.