Although the Stockyards  have plenty of good steak restaurants to choose from, the best of the bunch is Cattlemen’s Steakhouse (2458 N. Main St., 817/624-3945, www.cattlemenssteakhouse.com , open daily, $15–34). Immediately upon entering the weighty doors of this legendary establishment, there’s no denying Cattlemen’s is all about the beef. The enormous photos of stately bulls adorning the walls and the sound of clanging steak knives are forbearers of the feast that awaits. The popular Rose o’ Texas tenderloin is a prime cut of savory charcoal-broiled beef, and the rib eye steaks offer a joyful jolt of succulent flavor. Order the fresh sautéed mushrooms for a perfect flavorful accompaniment, and try to save room for blueberry cobbler.
Just down the street, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro (2406 N. Main St., 817/740-8810, www.lonesomedovebistro.com , closed Sun. and Mon., $20–39) offers steaks and Southwestern fare with an eclectic twist. Esteemed chef (and native Texan) Tim Love focuses on steak and wild game, and the results are a true Texas original. It’s the only place in the country where can you order huge cuts of Texas steer, grilled Texas quail quesadillas, or braised boar ribs seasoned with inventive rubs or sauces containing European influences. Even the buffalo burgers are exquisite. Food Network fans take note: Chef Love was one of the few competitors on Iron Chef America to defeat the esteemed Masaharu Morimoto (in a chile competition). Reservations are recommended.
The new kid on the culinary block in the Stockyards is actually a legendary veteran of Texas barbecue. Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que (301 Stockyards Blvd., 817/626-6464, www.coopersbbqfortworth.com , open daily, $8–36) is an outpost of the original location in Llano, considered by many barbecue aficionados to be the best in Texas. The similarities to the Llano location are numerous, including the primary focus on quality meats (as opposed to ambience). The signature “big chop” is a must—it’s an enormously thick hunk of savory pork with a perfect mixture of flavors from the salt-and-pepper rub and slow-smoked pit. The tender brisket and beef ribs taste like prime rib, and there’s even cabrito (goat) and ham on the menu.
One of the most famous Tex-Mex restaurants in the Metroplex is Joe T. Garcia’s (2201 N. Commerce St., 817/626-4356, www.joets.com , open daily, $7–16). Originally a small room with seating for 16, Joe’s has evolved into a gigantic multiwinged facility that accommodates more than 1,000. Even so, there’s still usually a line out the door, though it moves pretty quickly. There are no menus for dinner, only a choice between two equally tasty options: the enchilada and taco plate combo or the equally satisfying fajitas. Lunch offers more to choose from, and it’s all just as good, including chiles rellenos, tamales, and flautas. Make sure you don’t fill up on the premeal tortillas and butter (or thick chips), and be prepared to bring cash, since Joe T. does not accept credit cards.
Just across the street from Billy Bob’s is Los Vaqueros (2629 N. Main St., 817/624-1511, www.losvaqueros.com , open daily, $8–16), another enormous (yet less legendary) Fort Worth locale in a charming historic building. The food is standard Tex-Mex fare, with tacos and enchiladas among the best options. Complete your meal with an order of sopapillas, thin puffy pastries dusted with cinnamon and sugar and served with honey.