A First Taste of Farena — The Signature Italian Restaurant At Loews Arlington Hotel

And What Else To Expect At Arlington’s New Showcase Resort and Meeting Mecca

BY Courtney Dabney // 05.20.24

When the new $550-million meeting and resort destination, Loews Arlington Hotel, opened in the North Texas city’s Entertainment District, it added 888 rooms and five restaurants to the local landscape. But that’s not all. The property also houses the lavish Arlington Convention Center with its massive 266,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and convention space.

Beyond the sparkling resort pool, surrounded by cabanas and loungers, complete with a water slide, is the hotel’s expansive event lawn positioned to take in the sunset. The hotel ballroom instantly became a meeting and event magnet as well. It is the largest in North Texas at 51,000 square feet. Its Crystal Ballroom alone can accommodate over 5,000 people. A wall of windows (the conference wing’s promenade) overlooks the resort grounds, topped by modern LED chandeliers

PaperCity enjoyed a hosted stay at Loews Hotel Arlington which officially opened in mid-February, getting a first look at the spa ― with its sleek relaxation room and six treatment rooms. We also enjoyed the view from a 12th-floor corner suite with panoramas of both downtown Fort Worth to the west and Dallas to the east ― highlighting its ideal, central location.

It was also the perfect perch to take in the bustling crowd that was in town for the PBR Finals taking place at Choctaw Stadium, and heading to and from the Rangers baseball game at Globe Life Field ― both just a short walk from the hotel.

Loews Arlington Hotel
The wood-fired pizza ovens inside Farena shine like a new penny. (Courtesy photo)

Italian Fare Served at Loews Signature Restaurant

Chef Mouhssine “Moose” Benhamacht, who developed the menu at Farena, was previously at Live! by Loews ― Arlington where he opened the hotel in August 2019.

“He then moved across the street to open Loews Arlington in October 2023,” public relations director Lisa Garland confirms. “In preparation of opening Farena, he traveled to Italy for ten days, spending time in Sicily, Trento, Barolo, and Torino, to hone his Italian cooking techniques and for menu inspiration.”

Before chef Moose’s last day with Loews Arlington on April 30, “He worked closely alongside executive sous chef, Andres Cisneros and chef de cuisine, Dustin Traylor, for menu development, execution, and staff training. They have also been at Loews Arlington since before the hotel opened,” she says.

Fort Worth diners will remember Dustin Traylor as Dustin Lee, who opened his first restaurant, Beast & Co. along with chef Michael Arlt on Magnolia Avenue in 2022. We got a sneak peek of that space and menu before its opening. Beast & Co. proved to be wildly creative, presenting a variety of cuisines and flavor combinations on its menu, but it didn’t last long, closing exactly one year later, in April of 2023.

Big eye tuna carpaccio in a citrus vinaigrette. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

A First Taste Of Farena Italian

We saw prep chefs crafting fresh pasta as we entered the expansive dining venue, complete with a partitioned private dining room and wrapped by covered terraces, known as The Veranda with its own dedicated bar ― ideal for taking in the sunset or sipping a pre- or post-meal cocktail, like the signature Old Fashioned with a brown butter wash, and cherry oleo saccharum (a throwback cocktail ingredient of sugared oil).

Farena which translates to “flour” takes its name from the many highlights of the Italian menu ― prominently featuring pasta, bread, and pizza. They say nearly 70 percent of the menu is prepared in one of its two 900-degree wood-fired stone, copper-clad pizza ovens. The floors are inlaid tile and wood, and the central olive tree is capped by an arched ceiling with massive wood trusses.

The squash blossoms are a springtime treat not to be missed. This appetizer was a hearty portion of five squash blossoms, filled with tangy goat cheese, battered and fried creating an extra crispy shell. They were plated with a drizzle of local honey and a sprinkle of Sicilian sea salt, making a scrumptious bite, and a very shareable plate.

Likewise, the big-eye tuna carpaccio had an amazing flavor profile. Sliced into bright pink strips for a dramatic plating, unlike many traditional thinly shaved carpaccio presentations, this one was set in a citrus vinaigrette, with fried capers, creamy avocado, fried garlic slices, and pine nuts. I would highly suggest either dish to start.

We also sampled the linguini de mare in a slightly spicy but neatly restrained Pomodoro sauce. Grilled red prawns sided the twirl of pasta plated with tangy green olives and fresh basil. There were tender clams and mussels stacked on the plating as well.

The 10-ounce, Allen Brothers filet at Farena arrived on a board with hearty sides of roasted porcini mushrooms, charred broccolini, and a grilled lemon. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

Stellar Steaks Too

Those in search of red meat will not be disappointed either. That’s no surprise since their sister property Live! by Lowes has gained a reputation for great steaks at its restaurant Cut & Bourbon.  A prime, 10-ounce, Allen Brothers filet arrived on a board with hearty sides of roasted porcini mushrooms, charred broccolini, and a grilled lemon, served with a delicate and rich Amarone peppercorn sauce.

And, for dessert, a creamy cheesecake combining both chocolate and pistachio, was topped with chocolate strips and Amarena cherries, completing our Italian tour.

Farena serves hotel guests and visitors from breakfast through dinner daily.

Next to arrive at Loews Hotel Arlington will be Soy Cowboy, by Berg Hospitality Group, with its ever-growing slate of Houston-based restaurants, which also owns Fort Worth’s B&B Butchers. It will be added to the roster of the hotel’s dining destinations soon.

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