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Food shopping in San Antonio

I just moved to San Antonio from the Upper Connecticut River Valley of NH/VT. I've been here a couple of months and looking for hookups to the best food markets. For example, bread. I've been searching for some good Italian/French style artisanal bread. There are plenty of Mexican bakeries. Being a gabacho, I went into one asking for "bread," and the woman behind the counter looked at me like I had two heads. OH, I thought to myself, they eat tortillas here, DUH! Next stop was La Madeleine, which has decent croissants, but their sourdough french is tasteless. City Market has bread that looks good but it's still supermarket bread. Are there any good bakeries who produce an authentic loaf?

Another quest is for real Italian ingredients, e.g. rope sausage. City Market has something that barely resembles Italian sausage and they charge an arm and a leg. Are there any good Italian delis? Asian groceries? How about a fish market. Obviously, Mexican ingredients are easy to get. Any other suggestions for ethnic/local/fresh/artisanal food ingredients, farmer's markets, etc. would be appreciated. By the way, I love it here.

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  1. San Antonio has a real problem. There is no good farmer's market.
    We're surrounded by farm land, but there's no central (good) places the farmer's bring it to sell in the city. There are a spattering of Farmer's markets, but nothing that'll do the trick.

    I think a restaurant named "little italy"... which is near blanco and west... may have a meat market... but you'll probably want to call first.

    as for bread, i've always had good luck with "broadway daily bread" which is on broadway (almost across from central market) and up on dezavala road, east of i-10.

    I'm not a huge bread snob. I like the bread at Panera, which is at the lincoln heights shopping center... but that's a chain.... and may not be what you're looking for.

    As for asian markets... I think there's one on hildebrand, just east of blanco. Never been, but I drive by it.

    1. If you're referring to the HEB Central Market on Broadway about the bread, I'd suggest that you give it another try. Although it's a supermarket, I haven't found better french bread (crusty and hard on the outside, pillowy and full of yeast holes on the inside) in this fair city. The Central Market bakery may be in a supermarket with supermarket quantities, but the breads are near-equivalents to what I used to get from my boulangerie in Belgium years ago.

      Too bad about the the italian sausage...give the chicken/feta/spinach sausage a try at Central Market. It's really good. Fish? Again, Central Market. Spendy as hell, but f-r-e-s-h. Costco has good bargains on farm raised salmon and whole trout...if you're feeding four or more.

      There's a halal market on Wurzbach just west of I-10, called Ali Babba. If you like Mediterranean food, it's a great place to get everything you need for a hummus/shish/olive/lamb fest.

      Welcome to the smallest city in the US that happens to be the US's 7th most populous...so many contradictions in this gem.

      2 Replies
      1. re: YGBSM

        I whole heartedly agree with the above assessment of the french bread at Central Market. A slice of this covered with some of their in house made pesto is hard to beat.

        1. re: RGVHound

          There are several oriental markets in town.One is TNK on North New Braunfels near Fort Sam Houston and there are others. No fish market here.You have to buy it from H.E.B.
          They sometimes have articles about farmers markets in different parts of town,or you might check out Produce Row where the restaurants and others buy their stuff.

      2. I'd have to disagree about the deliciousness of the bread at Central Market and at most "European-style" bakeries in San Antonio as well as Austin. In my opinion, the crust is not good and the flavor is generic and bland. So, I'm afraid my answer to your question about bread is: no. Texas does a good job of "home-style" soft, dense breads. I'm thinking of places like Great Harvest, which has a location on NW Military in San Antonio. But high-quality artisanal French/Italian bread is sorely lacking.

        Austin does have some larger farmer's markets, if you're interested in an occasional road trip:



        They're not of the same quality as the ones that I used to frequent in the Northeast, but they're good for this area.

        1. I am so glad I found this site and this post too! :-) I am italian and I moved to SA from Italy a few months ago. I am definitely NOT looking for the food or the ingredients I left behind me when I made the big move, but I was not prepared, I must admit, to not being able to find good "real" fruits and vegetables grown locally :-( Where do they hide them? Being the smalltown girl (if you can call a 41year old a girl...sigh...) that I am, I am not a supermarket fan, but I am pretty happy with the HEB general average quality. But...if only I could find a good special little store...that special market...something like that! I would be a happier woman :-) Other than that I simply love TEXAS and San Antonio in particular. Very happy here. Ciao ciao everybody!

          1. Welcome to S.A.! Try Joe Saglembini's fine wine on Rhapsodyfor italian foods. Joe is out of New York, and has alot of italian supplies. He has also recently started carrying organic meats, but also has some deli meats and cheese. The wine selection here is beyond compare, and worth a trip to on Saturdays when they do wine tasting. He might also be able to hook you up with a connection for Italilan Sausage. For breads, Regiannos or Paesanos on Basse have a pretty good bread. But I would start w/ Joe's on Saturday, he can probabley connect you up with alot of the stuff you are looking for.

            3 Replies
            1. re: vmaurer

              Thank you very much, will definitely try that for the imported stuff! But like I said...I would also like to find locally grown products. Like, for instance: where do you buy your peaches, your cheese, your vegetables? :-)

              1. re: damo267

                Try Tims Oriental & Fish Market for asian food.
                7015 Bandera Rd Ste 8
                San Antonio, TX 78238

                They have the basic essentials for most asian cultures (Vietnamese - Chinese - Korean -Japanese - Thai - Phillipino etc). I'm an American of Japanese decent and it's one of the few places where I can get some japanese speciality items. There are acouple of Korean markets on Harry Wurzbach (one of them has a restaurant in the back but I haven't tried it yet) about a mile south of Loop 410. And then there's another Korean store on on Pt Booker Rd in Universal City

                1. re: OETex

                  I second the rec for Tim's. Unfortunately, no small artisanal markets for bread, produce, etc. Between Costco (good produce and meat) and HEB, that's about it. Then new HEB plus at Blanco and 1604 has many of Central Market's products and a fairly decent bread selection. Nothing like the Northeast though.

            2. for asian, there's hung phong oriental market inbetween rittiman and eisenhaur. they have fresh produce, fruits and seafood every thursday

              1 Reply
              1. re: thaiguy314

                If you want to take a trip to Austin there's an asian market up there that covers Thai - Viet Namese - Japanese - Philippino - Chinese food. It's the best Asian market this side of Southern California. The name is MT Market 10901 N Lamar.

              2. I'm late to the post, but here's my two cents....for fresh fish try Groomer's on McCullough just off Ison; Tim's Oriental Mkt is still the best of the Asian's. Broadway Daily Bread (although I think they now have other locations) Can't say about the sausages. I don't know where the bbq joints get theirs, maybe they make it. I don't think Central Market holds a candel to the stuff you
                can get a little East of here,some of the old-time German places. If you get to Fredericksberg,
                try Opa's on Hwy 87, on the way out of town. The early posts telling you there are no good
                farmers markets here are long out of date as there's a thriving mkt at the Pearl Brewery complex on Sats. and another on Sun. in the Whole Foods parking lot on Basse Road. Come mid-Sprng they will be open all over town in various grocery store/commmunity center/church parking lots.
                If you are going to try Austin for the Oriental mkt. suggested, pack a lunch. That market is not just in Austin, it's on the NORTH side of Austin, but the poster is correct in that it has probably everything you could want for any kind of Asian cooking. If you are up that way, you might as well try the huge Asian Mall on North Research. Can't remember the name, but a google search should produce it. Good luch in your searches.