Doing a little research for a friend who will be in town for the half marathon November 10th-14th. Looking for local haunts (no chains) mid to upper prices but has that comfy cozy local feel. Any cuisine is acceptable (meaning just cause she is running a marathon she is worried about what she is eating). Musinc like jazz or blues in house is a plus. Looking forward to the replies!
I love Ed’s overview of the dining scene in San Antonio.
Just a couple of points. The Spaghetti Warehouse is disgusting—please don't tell your friend to eat there! I was forced to attend a birthday dinner at TSW last month, and there wasn't one good thing about the meal, even by chain-restaurant standards. Their lasagna and spaghetti dishes tasted like warmed-up Stouffer's frozen dinners. Even their bread tasted frozen. People must love the "warehouse" vibe, since this place has been around for decades, but the food is just as bad as it's always been. TSW is to be avoided by serious chowhounds.
Though there are a lot of touristy places with bad food on the River Walk (Casa Rio comes to mind: They've been producing mediocre Tex-Mex in the same location for decades), in my opinion Boudro's is a solid choice. One 'hound recently posted that it was overrated, since all they did was good table-side guacamole. Their guacamole, however, tastes good in and of itself; the table-side preparation is just a theatrical bonus. Plus, the grilled-fish salads; the main course of chicken-fried ribeye, mashed potatoes, and gravy; and the smoked quail are very good. The people who own Boudro's also run a nearby wine bar called Zinc, which is a convenient alternative if there's a line to get in at Boudro's or you just want something light and a glass of wine. In my opinion both options are more interesting than what you’d get at a chain like Dick’s Last Resort.
If you search for Boudro's and Zinc on the Texas board, you’ll find more opinions from other ‘hounds on what’s good there.
Eds post is excellent! I've tried some of those places. been to Luna once, it was great. We love a band called Planet Soul who plays there once in a while.
Willards is near SAC, been meaning to try it.
I love the green enchiladas at La Margarita at Market Square.
I love hole in wall "Titos" near the touristy Rosarios in King William area. Great flautas, chalupas, carne ala mexicans, etc.
He's the nephew of Marios a restaurant back in the day. We went to new Marios this Fri night, milanesa was tough, tough. My steak ala mexicana good but not worth 13 bucks! (we had a coupon)
Chris Madrids best burger anywhere. Go anytime day or night if you get a chance. Good nachos, too.
We also enjoy Rolling Oaks Sports Bar, they have a golf driving range, and live music evenings, ok food. A great blues guy plays there, Ruben V. Enjoy
We went to Bobs Old Smokehouse outside loop on Fredericksburg for lunch Friday. Not the best bbq, but pretty good brisket. I got 1/4 lb and 2 sides. Beans had lots (too much) chili powder and the potato salad was just ok. will go back for brisket!
Since you haven't mentioned what part of town she'll be in ... if she'll have a car, etc. It may be limiting your responses. Also ... jazz background ... gotta admit, even though I like jazz, I don't recall any places that routinely play jazz (I'd like to find some!).
She might do better getting on the TX Board here & doing a search for San Antonio. She'll get lotsa posts that are already here. Lotsa folks have posted on their favorite hoitytoity places.
For jazz, I prefer Luna (www.lunalive.com) ... can't tell you anything about the food ... decent drinks, good jazz on the right night. NO SMOKING ESTABLISHMENT. Website might give you a hint if it'll be the right night for your friend.
I've posted on Brenda's Burgers ... way, way in the SW of town.
Willard's Jamaican Jerk BBQ is good ... suggest you get the sauce on the side unless you live for spicy hot, hot food.
Asia Market & Kitchen is good for Thai -- on W side of town on the 410 loop.
Chris Madrid's puts out a big, greasy burger w/ cheese ... kind of a landmark.
The Beethoven Maennerchor has Wurst & Beer at least 1 evening a week ... it's S of Riverwalk.
The Blue Star Art complex has a restaurant (Joey's) w/ decent enough food & about 5 beers they make on the spot. It's SW of downtown.
For Pizza, I'm fond of Naple's at the N Central part of town. (An institutional place from up by Yale? ... owners moved here to raise horses.) I get it fully loaded (incl fuzzy fish, japs & garlic)
If she's carb loading there's Spaghetti Warehouse (haven't been there). Macaroni Grill is decent Italian ... it's franchised now ... but started here ... decent food.
For carb loading, there's always mass quantities of TxMx ... ChaCho's has one of the widest assortments of fajita platters I've ever seen ... along w/ a breakfast margarita (Top Shelf is much better). For carb loading they've a blackbean & cheese fajitas that should do the job. I go to the one just W of IH-10 at Callaghan (across from the Lowe's Hardware) ... at 7am it's a cop & nurse bar (so don't bump any cars in the lot) ... gets crowded at mealtimes. Several other locations.
For very tasty Mx, Los Antojitos has a good breakfast & lunch. Tiny place on the W side of town (on Culebra). But others have posted their favorite taco/tortilla places in town ... and they are all good.
For a touristy place easy to find downtown, La Margarita in El Mercado has decent food. I like their cabrito ... the fajitas are also good. Might be crowded w/ other runners the eve before the marathon.
Schilo's on the RiverWalk (street level by the Convention Center) is decent Texas German cafeteria.
El Siete Mares has excellent Mx seafood ... I haven't been to the orig downtown ... but the one just N of town was impressive.
Though lots will rave about a few of the places downtown, I'm still fond of Grey Moss Inn (N of town ... surrounded by speed traps) ... map in the phonebook or online. Best aged beef I've found & largest wine cellar. In clement weather, sit outside under the giant oak ... can be very romantic.
Best BBQ in town (I think) is Willard's (mentioned above) ... best in striking distance is Black's BBQ for Briskit & Smitty's BBQ for Sausage in Lockhart TX ... 1.5 HOURS N of S.A. Nothing inside of S.A. compares (I haven't compared Willard's at the same sitting but suspect he'd be closest). Lockhart may be outside of dining range before the run, but might be a good place to recuperate after.
Friends rave about Welfare Cafe in greater metropolitan Welfare TX (pop 10) ... NW of town on IH-10. Need reservations for dinner. I waiting on my new motorcycle to get up there.
Castroville TX (20 min W of S.A. border) is an old French settlement ... has a purportedly great French (Alsatian) place there. If my info is correct, it's The Alsatian 830-931-3260 ... have short meal hours ... should call ahead.
Sun AM has a very, very Mexican Brunch at Don Pedro on the S side of town. $8 Not fancyschmancy (no lobster or shrimp crepes)... but you'll feed just fine. Gets crowded fast after 8am.
The places on the Riverwalk are overpriced Tourist traps ... undoubtedly due to high overhead. Food is not particularly impressive. For a touristy feed, Dick's Last Resort (a chain) has burgers, seafood in a bucket, beer ... and a honkytonk piano player.
Dick Cullum's "The Landing" has postage stamp tables, cover charge & high prices on drinks (I can't imagine what they'd do to you for food) ... but the jazz is decent (they have an NPR radio show). I avoid it due to difficult parking there ... and I prefer the ambiance at Luna.
Oh yeah ... Chester's Burgers are decent ... best burger in town that also has a good assortment of designer beers.
The Flying Saucer (www.beerknurd.com) has a bigger selection of beers ... and a decent menu for bar food. I'd recommend the Real Ale Coffee Porter ... but it's seasonal & I'm not sure it'll be available that early this fall.
That should give her some choices for the 2-3 days she'll be here. Glad to give more specifics ... but am sure a search here will give her more than she needs. Most of these places have websites ... I'm glad to give addresses, hours, etc if you/she get more specific.
Hope this gets you started
PS: Hash House Harriers run on Sat afternoons here ... either SAHHH or KMHHH ... unless that's when her marathon is scheduled OR she's a marathon snob :-) If her marathon is Sun ... the HHH run would be a good warmup.
Sorry for the belated response ... haven't been online recently.
Willard's Jamaican Jerk BBQ -- in the phone book
726 E Mistletoe just to the W of St Mary's @ it's northernmost end ... @ the 281 Exit for St Mary's
736-5375 & 639-5375
Willard also caters ... his store hours are a bit variable ... but if the smoker is going (at the curb) ... it's a good sign. He smokes his meat 18-24 hours, so he probably puts meat on & goes home for the night.