Restaurant Spotlight: Waters Restaurant

Downtown Fort Worth mainstay serves fresh seafood to Cowtown diners

Restaurant Spotlight: Waters Restaurant
From a chef who has helped create a distinctive Texan cuisine, Waters is located in the pedestrian-friendly Sundance Square district of Fort Worth. (Courtesy of Waters Restaurant)
May 4, 2022

When it comes to dining in Fort Worth, what springs to mind? Oversized steaks, BBQ, Tex-Mex galore—this Texas tourism hot spot is full of culinary delights. But what about fabulous seafood? Thanks to chef and owner Jon Bonnell’s Sundance Square outpost, Waters Restaurant, Cowtown has that too. Since 2013, this Award of Excellence winner has been serving up some of Fort Worth’s finest seafood with Bonnell’s signature Southwest flair.

Bonnell—whose flagship restaurant, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine, has been a Best of Award of Excellence winner since 2016—has become something of a patron saint of Fort Worth fine dining. In the early 2000s, he sparked a renaissance in Texas cuisine, particularly with his creative use of wild game. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he rallied the local restaurant community and was one of the first chefs to offer affordable, family-style, drive-through meals.

At Waters, Bonnell and executive chef Anthony Felli give seafood a gentle but distinctive Texas treatment, with dishes like fried oysters “Texasfeller,” Cajun sea scallops and Redfish fish-n-chips. Other dishes—like Alaska halibut (flown in direct) with sweet potato gnocchi, toasted macadamia pesto and lemon basil cream—allow the fresh seafood to shine without distraction.

 Chefs Jon Bonnell and Anthony Felli in the kitchen handing finished plate of seafood over the pass
Jon Bonnell and Anthony Felli put a Southwestern spin on seafood. (Courtesy of Waters Restaurant)

Waters has a thoughtful but unfussy wine program overseen by wine director Kalvin Rhone. The restaurant takes wine “seriously, but not so much that the enjoyment of wine is lost in the process.” With 345 selections, 2,500 bottles in the cellar and 20 offerings by the glass—and strength in France, California and Texas—the list is especially suited to a variety of seafood pairings. Rhone describes his approach as “fine-tuned with intimacy and the love of purpose that, for the short time we are able, we are honored to share,” with a focus on wines that are “lovingly nurtured” and sustainably produced.

The restaurant’s patio is also the perfect spot for happy hour, offered from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Try the “Dirty Dozen,” a mix of the day’s freshest oysters, or the “Wine and Brine,” a two-course pairing for which Rhone first picks the wines, then Felli builds dishes to complement them. Waters is open Tuesday to Saturday, and reservations are recommended, especially for patio dining—Texas weather permitting.

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