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San Antonio-Help narrow choices and add a few recommendations

Hubby and I will be staying at Emily Morgan 10/17-10/20 without a car. I'm considering Tre Trattoria, Azuca, Guenther House for breakfast, Liberty Bar for drinks and appetizers, Tip Top Cafe for CFS. How is the BBQ at Augie's Barbed Wire? We're from Alabama and have great pulled pork and pork ribs here. I doubt we'll rent a car to drive to Lockhart for BBQ. We might try Le Reve but wondered about dress code and the probable crowds since it's closing. What options at Pearl Brewery should we consider? I'd like to try a good German place and we love seafood. And we need to try some Tex-Mex or Mexican while we're there as well. Also need recommendations for Sunday, as it seems that many places are closed.

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  1. Looks like you've done your homework. I haven't been to Augie's ... am sure someone else can give you a comparison.

    Not much German IN San Antonio. Schilo's is ok for rotkohl & wurst ... on the Riverwalk at street level ... not far from your hotel ... you'll see it as you are walking around. I've been to the Little Bavarian Restaurant 5512 FM 78 but haven't had a full meal ... just picked up sandwiches for a friend. But it's not close to the city center.
    The Beethoven Maennerchor has wursts und bier a few nights a week -- but nothing fancy. You can check the details @ www.beethovenmaennerchor.com. They would be in walking distance (for me). It would just be a place to grab a quick wurst while you are walking the King William District.
    Since you won't have a car, The Alsatian in Castroville will be out of your range, I'm sure.
    I've had dinner once at Old World, 1546 Babcock ... the Kassler Rippchen was authentic & my German friend was content w/ the food.

    For TexMex, they are a dime a dozen, some more touristy than others ... the closer to the Alamo, the more touristy. It's harder to find authentic Mexican food here. I'm fond of El Siete Mares, El Rafas, I've been told La Paloma has a nice atmosphere & good food. I like Los Antojitos for breakfast or lunch. Folks have posted here that Tito's www.titosrestaurant.com is good ... I haven't gotten there yet ... but it should be close to your hotel.
    If you just want a good selection of nachos & beer or margarita, Chacho's has maybe 20 types of nachos & their top shelf margaritas will resolve the pains of the day ... but don't expect candles or atmosphere. Their mango salsa is fairly good. Their Callaghan location runs 24/7, as I recall.

    As for seafood ... well ... this isn't a coastal town. If you like fried fish ... again ... lots to choose from. Water Street Oyster Bar used to be a favorite, but either I got tired of 'em, or they went downhill. Clear Springs Restaurant is a chain out of the Austin area ... fried catfish is their prime attraction. Fish City Grill was nice when they came to town, and seem to have more creative ideas than Water Street. Nice for lunch or mid-afternoon, but it's small & starts to get crowded in the evening. El Siete Mares again is good Mx Seafood. And I've seen folks rave about the Sandbar downtown next to La Reve for lunch ... but I avoid downtown like the plague.

    Oh yeah ... if over the weekend, there is a chef who cooks lunch (by reservation only) from only the fresh foods found in the farmers' market that day ... see www.mesalegre.com ... that might be enjoyable for something different. I'd prefer that to waiting in line for Italian food.

    That'll get you started. Lots of folks can give you advice on the others. Enjoy your visit.

    2 Replies
    1. re: EdLagniappe

      Thanks for the recs!

      Tex Mex-what about Taco Taco, Los Barrios, Lisa's, Rosarios, El Mirador or El Mirasol, or La Fogata compared to those you mentioned? What are Puffy Tacos like? We don't have them here.

      Fried fish-not so much, and we have great fried catfish and hush puppies.

      I thought I read that SA was settled by Germans and some of the posts said things about the restaurants previously being German markets and running out of food? Maybe we'll scratch the German.

      1. re: glecroy

        There are a lot of Germans in the area. The king William district was settled by Germans, but even years ago there weren't really any places of much note around here that served german food. I never as a kid remember going to dinner at any german restaurants. Plus, my dad was picky about his german food. He was from Milwaukee, and grew up eating it since that's were his grandparents came from.
        That's like there used to be a polish and Hungarian restaurants here in SA, but they too have disappeared,even though the families still live here, and there is a Polish American Club.
        Clear Springs Catfish in Clear Springs south of New Braunfels is good, but you need a rental car to get there.San Antonio was never noted for it's seafood.Waterstreet Oyster Bar has changed from when my sister and I ate there in the late 1980s, early 90s. There was a very good place back in the 1980s on Broadway we went to when my sister graduated from college.
        However, it too is long good.The food and service were excellent, unlike Chrisite's, where the peas they served were canned. They used to be good, but went down hill.Only in really recent years have places like Biga and Le Reve taken off.But that is because others have moved here in recent years.
        There seemed to be a lack of fine dining places.Or if there were any, most people unless rich didn't go there.
        Puffy Tacos are torillas that fire up and puff, they remove them from the grease, and then kind of fold them and put the filling in.Check out Henry's Puffy Tacos,they may have a website explaining it better than I can.

    2. I've read and heard such great things about Sandbar in SA. That is where I would go for seafood, assuming they are still open.

      1. Too many choices, too little time! After looking at the maps in the official travel guide I received yesterday, this is my tentative plan: Saturday afternoon after arrival at 2 PM, check into Emily Morgan and tour Alamo, dinner at Sandbar, walk along Riverwalk and get prickly pear margaritas at Boudros. Sunday or Monday, depending on what's open, either go south and hit San Jose Mission, King William District, Blue Star Arts Complex, La Villita, etc. and eat lunch and supper at two of the following (please help eliminate) Rosarios, Titos, El Mirador, Guenther House, and Azuca. Hopefully we can take the bus or cab where the trolley doesn't go. Monday (or Sunday if it works better) go north (ride river taxi maybe) to Pearl Brewery, Witte Museum, Botanical Garden, San Antonio Art Museum, maybe zoo if it's great, but no kids along, and eat at Liberty Bar and Tre Trattoria. Tuesday our plane leaves at 12:30, so time for checkout and breakfast or brunch -where? Should we go to Market Square or skip it and go to Blanco for breakfast tacos? I hope I don't get in trouble for mixing attractions with food, but is there anything that I must see or attractions to skip on the list? We've never been to SA and will not have a car. Husband into history, me not so much. Will it take us the entire day both north and south? Some of the restaurants seem too far for us to try, given the number within reach by trolley or water taxi. Thanks for any help!

        1. On the RIverwalk Azuca, Boudro's and, for seafood, Pesca (they have an oyster bar too).
          You will like the King William/Southtown area, take the trolley and go to La Frite or Olorosa for dinner.
          As for Sunday, go to t he brunch at Las Canarias or Guenther House (but it is very crowded on Sunday).

          1. WOW! I'm from Birmingham! I hope you enjoy San Antonio while you're here! There is no better BBQ than Alabama in my opinion, I certainly haven't found any here in Texas yet. How I miss Jim N Nicks and Rib It Up. Try Mi Tierra downtown for Mexican. They are 24 hours and there's always a party in that place. The food is cheap and good! Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda ate there a few weeks back and Rachel Ray as well. It's a fun and filling place to eat. The best seafood here is at Sea Island or Pappadeaux hands down, that's if you rent a car. Pappadeaux is the best!! Pearl Brewery has a great Farmer's Market and shops and what not for Saturday morning activity! Sunday you could have a great Texas steak at Saltgrass which is excellent! Enjoy your trip and have a safe journey back to sweet home Alabama!

            1 Reply
            1. re: SaTownHoney

              We live in Madison, just outside of Huntsville. To me there's no better BBQ than the BBQ chicken with white sauce! Well, the pork ribs are pretty good too, depending on where you get them. Thanks for the post.

            2. Check with the Emily's front desk and get a copy of the trolley schedule. You will find the lines go all over the areas your restaurant picks are in. I believe Sandbar serves lunch only. Le Reve for dinner only + reservations are a must. Il Songo in the Pearl Brewery does breakfast and lunch and that area is also where the "chef's market" is located. You should be able to take a barge ride on the river to get there. That means you'll see all the new art installations between downtown river walk and the SA Art Museum and the Brewery. Have a great time, eating your way through SA. It's a great foodie town and like I said that trolley is a G-dsend and best of all, it's cheap!!

              5 Replies
              1. re: amazinc

                I'm pretty sure Sandbar is open for dinner only.

                1. re: shauben2007

                  I called Sandbar and left a message but they haven't called back yet. I'll try again. Seems odd that they don't have a website. I think the visitor information center is just across the street from the hotel, so we should be able to get all the trolley and river taxi info there, as well as whatever else we need. My Saturday night plans might be scrubbed depending on the college football TV schedule :(

                  1. re: glecroy

                    Sandbar, 152 E Pecan St, San Antonio, TX 78205-1507
                    (210) 222-2426 Open Tue-Fri 11am-2pm; Sat 12pm-2pm

                    www.yelp.com/biz/the-sandbar-san-antonio

                    www.gayot.com/restaurants/sandbar-fis...

                    more: www.google.com/search?q=sandbar%2C+Sa...

                    Ok ... just to add MORE stuff to consider:
                    10/18 Sunday is 3d Sunday ... usually there is a Charreada by one of the southern missions ... it's the Mx precursor of what we call a rodeo. Totally different events ... 1/2 the commentary/announcing is in English but not all the jokes. All volunteer ... they compete for "the honor" and to keep their horses exercised. $10 for folk over 12, kids under 12 free. Beers $4-5 I think. CONCRETE SEATING but it's covered. They cancel for rain. Read up on it before you consider it so you understand what the heck they are doing. see: www.sacharro.com, contact rmj8757@hotmail.com for SA Charro event info & more specifics. The website used to have it, but they've joined w/ other charro assns & have gotten less specific. It's at 6126 Padre Drive Oh yeah ... it starts at 1300 w/ either Mariachi or Ballet Folklorico then they swap ... then the Charreada proper starts & runs till 1700-1730 whenever they finish. Best seats are as close to the center of the "keyhole" shape or just off to the left a bit so you can see the stage a bit better. Avoid the bottom, front rows unless you are patient for little kids running back & forth.

                    Pretty good tacos @ Patty's Taco House when you are down this direction --- good food, dumpy atmosphere. 2422 S Hackberry 210-534-3395 ... or ... 1818 Goliad St 333-8226 ... but call ahead ... not sure of days/hours they are open.

                    Also Sundays: Mariachi Mass at San Fernando Cathedral sfc2000@sfcathedral.org @115 Main Plaza ... walking distance from your hotel.

                    Also ... Conjunto Tocaditas ... 2 old guys playing conjunto music for free @ 111 Soledad @ Main Plaza next to San Fernando Cathedral between Market & Commerce Sundays 1100-1300 weather permitting .... they've been playing >60 yrs.

                    In response to your 2nd note ... TacoTaco is good ... their big Norteno taco is a full meal for 1 person & will be a fine snack for 2 ... they are only open thru lunchhour ... I think they close at 1400.

                    Never been to La Fogata, but have heard good things.

                    Yep ... there were plenty of Germans in the area ... but the food got mixed & diluted. Not hardcore German anymore. I did mention the Beethoven Maennerchor & sent the website I think ... that's pretty German but not for more than a good wurst mit kraut & a selection of 6-8 good german beers. But it could be on your route to King William district ... finish off at Blue Star @ Joey's (for a beer :-) Lots of Czechs here as well ... but I haven't found any Czech restaurants.
                    Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. My favorite German restaurant was in Austin & closed maybe 10 yrs ago. Sorry. I listed the best I know of in the area. But they won't make a Bavarian swoon w/ homesickness.

                    As to Puffy Tacos ... well ... I tried 'em once. Didn't blow my socks off. At Henry's Puffy Tacos at his orig location before his rude demise. If you like crunchy, you might like 'em more than I did. Just deep fried tacos ... here's a website: www.henryspuffytacos.com

                    Lots of other good info above. If you aren't big on fried fish, then you could go w/ El Siete Mares which I mentioned vs Pappadeaux ... which is the cajun restaurant run by the Pappas family ... and they do a pretty decent job for chain restaurants of multiple ethnicities. So they would have the blackened fish ... they are up on the N side of Loop 410 ... 76 NE Loop 410 210-340-7143 But I'm sure you can get cajun someplace at home. But you probably can't get a pretty decent Mexican (not TxMx) seafood like at El Siete Mares. (Hope I'm selling too hard & then have you find out that it's slidden ... haven't been there in >1 yr :-

                    )

                    Oh yeah ... and Sandbar ... that's the closest seafood w/ good rep to your hotel. I've wanted to go ... it has excellent rep ... I just don't get downtown very often. On foot it'd be great ... in a car ... parking sucketh mightily.

                    Well ... with all these responses ... and my stirring the pot today, you've plenty to decide on. Sounds like you have a good list ... it's just picking which of the better ones you've got to settle on. (And this didn't get to be the 3d fattest town by accident ... bring your Lipitor :-)

                    1. re: glecroy

                      Sandbar is moving so it won't be in its downtown location.

                      1. re: glecroy

                        Scoop on Sandbar - I called them this evening. They are in the old location on Pecan Street until Halloween and will open in the Pearl Brewery on Nov 1. They get a shipment of fish every day from FedEx and open at 5 for dinner unless the shipment is late and it isn't possible for the chef to get ready by 5. The website is under construction, but Pearl Brewery people have taken it over since they are moving there. They do not take reservations. Since we're coming Oct 17 we can go to the old location.

                  2. I'm fairly sure Sandbar changed from lunch only to dinner only a few years ago. They are supposed to be moving to the Pearl Brewery this month, it's possible they may not be open now to faciliate the move. You could try calling Il Sogno to find out (210) 223-3900

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: saeyedoc

                      Losing their known phone number wouldn't be a prudent business move ... even if it's to an answering machine. Betcha it'll be the same at the new address. Thanks all for the new location info ... I've updated my PDA. Will call for times if I'm headed that way. :-)~

                      1. re: EdLagniappe

                        This is the Sandbar number I got them at, 210-222-2426. The person at Il Sogno was no help. At Sandbar I got a British sounding guy who was nice and said for me to call the day we plan to come and he'll work it out for us since we're from out of town. Turns out it will have to be Saturday night since they aren't open Sunday or Monday and we leave Tuesday. How is it to eat there solo in case the football games interfere, anybody know?

                        1. re: glecroy

                          I've only eaten there solo, back when it was lunch only. They have seats at the raw bar , which would be perfect.

                          1. re: glecroy

                            Re Andrew Weismann restaurants (Sandbar, Le Reve etc.) it has always seemed to me that there is massive disorganization at all his establishments. I have tried to get into Sandbar but it has always been closed. I hope his places in the pearly Brewery will be consistent and open when they say they will.

                            1. re: bronwen

                              We had very good service at both Sandbar and Il Sogno. We did call Sandbar Saturday evening before we went and they said don't come before 5:20, though they are supposed to open at 5:00. However, we were on a very short time fuse and they got us in and out in a hurry. We had a more relaxing meal at Il Sogno. Our waiter was excellent. There was an empty table next to us, so it wasn't full at 1:30 on Sunday. I'm still salivating over the Nutella tart!

                      2. What is the dress code at Sandbar, Tre Trattoria, Azuca, Guenther House, Boudros and Rosarios? Would my husband be uncomfortable without a coat and tie at any of them?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: glecroy

                          Very casual at Sandbar, Tre, Rosarios, Boudros, Azuca. No coat or tie required anywhere except Le Reve that I know of.

                          1. re: saeyedoc

                            Great, thanks for the info, packing tonight!

                        2. Augies is not bad, but I've had better barbeque. There's a hole-in-the-wall on Fredericksburg and Calaghan that's probably the best in the city. I ate there with some co-workers for lunch and the only problem we had after eating there was going back to work smelling like smoke, but the food is exceptional. If they're still open, you'll' have no problem finding it once you're on that intersection- just use your nose. As for Mexican food, oddly, there really aren't many Mexican restaurants in San Antonio- most are TexMex. Rosario's on St. Marys and Alamo is a safe bet. So is La Margarita and Mi Tierra- both are in the Market Square district. Having lived in Germany for four years, I find German restaurants a tough act to follow in the states. Still, there's Old World Delicatessen on Babcock, and some others out in the town of Fredericksburg, west of San Antonio. Seafood is also better in places like coastal cities, but in San Antonio, there's Wild Fish on 1604 and Huebner which is good, but pricey. There's also The Water Street Oyster Bar on Broadway and Nacogdoches. Hope you enjoy your stay.

                          1. We had to rush, but ate a great meal at Sandbar last night. I called and they said not to come before 5:20. We had to leave by 6:30 to watch college football :(. However, we explained that we didn't have much time and they were very accomodating. I had Caesar salad, which was whole romaine leaves with a great dressing and grated parmesan cheese and egg yolks, dinner size so we split. She brought extra plate. Hubby had chowder, with crab rather than clams, which was full of chunks of potatoes, etc. and had a very good flavor. They had no lobster. We then had 2 of the off menu specials, I had tilefish with provencal onions, green beans and potatoes. Husband had a line caught fish that I don't remember the name of with watercress salad, potatoes. We tasted each others. He liked his better and I liked mine better. Which works out great :). We didn't have time for dessert. I didn't realize that the food came from LeReve kitchen, so got the best of both worlds. They are moving to a much bigger place including outdoor seating at Pearl Brewery November 1 next to the Italian restaurant with 2 more options to come there. Thanks for the rec on Sandbar because we would never have found it!

                            1. Lunch at Il Sogno today was fabulous! Hubby had house salad. I had arugula with marinated mushrooms. We both had the special pasta dish, homemade shells with shrimp and a tomato-based sauce that was great. Hubby liked it better than Sandbar. We had a a more leisurely meal than last night. He had tiramisu and I had nutella tart (sp?) which were both wonderful. Our waiter said the nutella tart was what put LeReve on the map. It had a molten chocolate center with a little peanut butter, on a tart shell of some sort and came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Tre Tratorra not open on Sundays. Also the rodeo apparently cancelled due to a wet arena, which may have been for the best after the horse tripping video I saw. If we can manage to stuff down more food it's probably off to Rosarios tonight.

                              1. Rosarios was really good. The chicken soup was great! I had the Veracruz fish dish and he had chipotle chicken on the waitress's rec. He liked mine better so I mostly had the chicken, which I liked. We got the large soup and guacamole, not knowing how huge they were, so no room for dessert. The salsa was smoky and not very spicy, but alas no fresh cilantro. I really liked it. This was Sunday night, as Sunday lunch was Il Sogno, our best meal. Monday we went to Azuca for lunch and had the ceviche trio, I had crab crusted salmon with mashers and 2 sauces, a dark one and fruity one, he had fish tacos. Again no dessert. I liked it better than he did. Monday night we were supposed to go to La Tuna Grill, but the Blue Star complex was closed, other than the microbrewery (he liked the Texican Lager best), so we finished up too early for dinner. He wanted to go back to Il Sogno, but when we got back to the hotel my notes said it is closed on Monday as well. One of his co-workers said we must go to Mi Tierra, so we went. I had the goat. I asked the waiter if it was good. I would never have thought to try it without the Chowhounds. He didn't know but asked another waiter who said for him to let me sample it. It was good, so I ordered it. Again he liked mine better than his chile rellano. No dessert, but we bought pastry to take back to hotel for Tuesday breakfast. We just had a sandwich at the airport for lunch. We had a great time on the river taxi, seeing the sights, and eating our way through San Antonio. We went to San Antonio Art Museum, San Jose MIssion, San Fernando Cathedral, rode all the way around the river taxi, both day and night to see it, and it was great! It was our first visit there and couldn't have been better!! Thanks again for all the help!!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: glecroy

                                  La Tuna isn't in the Blue Star Complex.

                                  1. re: bronwen

                                    No, but it's right across the railroad tracks. We were too early for dinner because all the time I allowed for checking out the art galleries, which were closed, but La Tuna was open. Husband just wanted to go back to Il Sogno. We went to Il Sogno about 1:30 on Sunday afternoon and got a table immediately. Several folks were sitting at the tables outside, so in winter I guess there will be less capacity. Too bad it isn't open on Monday or we would have gone again.