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Nov 29, 2010 03:09 PM

San Antonio for a Foodie - help please!

Thanks up front for your input. We are headed to San Antonio for the first time. Hubby is on business so we will be staying on the Riverwalk. We will have a car though, so please don't limit suggestions to just that area - close by would be great though.

I have read many many of the posts already, but would appreciate a "Top, Must Do" list of suggestions. SA Specific are preferred over chains, but if something is simply the best, please include it no matter what it is! Mass crowds are not our favorite - though a few on the River people watching meals will likely happen! Unique with FANTASTIC food is the ultimate for us - please send us in the best directions!

What would be THE happy hour to hit (price and quality of food/drink)?
What is THE Tex-Mex to not miss?
Best breakfast option?
Best bakery?
Best lunch?
Best high end?
Best on the cheap?
Best Jazz spot?
Best almost non-tourist spot on Riverwalk?
Best tourist or hotel restaurant on Riverwalk?
Best local cuisine/sustainable - only local produce/products?
Best crazy/unique place (ex: like a carwash with the best burgers per FN)?

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  1. ButterflyWest

    What about Chinese Food?
    near the airport is one called
    Hsiu Yu
    8338 Broadway St 78209
    Fried rice, bok choy, lemon chicken and spicy chicken

    Also near the Airport
    Barn Door
    8400 North New Braunfels
    Stake House a classic around the area

    Barn Door Restaurant
    8400 N New Braunfels Ave, San Antonio, TX 78209

    2 Replies
    1. re: chocklock

      San Francisco-worthy. Ask for the Chinese menu!

      Phoenix Chinese Cafe
      11821 West Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216

      1. re: pinkhoody

        Was getting delivery from Phoenix until a few months ago when I discovered Sichuan Cuisine. Very authentic, spicy. They've had fresh crabs recently (blue crab), crab in spicy sauce is amazing.

    2. Going on the assumption that you'll be mainly downtown.....
      What would be THE happy hour to hit (price and quality of food/drink)? Our personal favorite (near but not onthe rverwalk)bars are Zinc-not sure about their HH pricing though and Azuca (Southtown-walkable from downtown) that also has great latin menu
      What is THE Tex-Mex to not miss? According to Texas Monthly it's SoLuna (Broadway-closer to airport than downtown) Rosario's (Southtown) is also good. If you feel you need the mariachi expereience go to Mi Tierra (Market Square)-bakery is decent, food is so-so IMHO
      Best breakfast option? Cappy's on Broadway for Sunday Brunch
      Best bakery?
      Best lunch? see below
      Best high end? If you get there when they open and assure yourself a table, Chef Weissman's Sogno (italian) and Sandbar (seafood). Both these are in the Pearl Brewery complex and would be lunch options as well. If you'd rather have a reservation-Biga (riverwalk), Silo (Alamo Heights or 1604) or Lodge at Castle Hills complete my list of must try places.
      Best on the cheap?
      Best Jazz spot? Jim Cullum's landing at the Hyatt
      Best almost non-tourist spot on Riverwalk?
      Best tourist or hotel restaurant on Riverwalk? Acenar
      Best local cuisine/sustainable - only local produce/products?
      Best crazy/unique place (ex: like a carwash with the best burgers per FN)? The Cove (five points-about a mile north of downtown)
      Open table should have info on most of the others

      1. I live in Austin, so I can't really answer much of what you are looking for specifically. I just wanted to recommend the new John Besh restaurant on the Riverwalk called Luke's. If you've been to New Orleans, he has one there as well in addition to a few others. It's really good NOLA style food made with alot of local ingredients, and I thought it was reasonable priced. It's very casual and the wait staff is nice, but obviously new. I don't expect it to be mentioned here much more because it just opened. Check it out:

        Have fun!!

        4 Replies
        1. re: drdelicious

          Glad to here Luke is finally open. Will have to check it out soon.

          1. re: saeyedoc

            Would it be appropriate to bring a 2 yr old with us to this restaurant? we'd go early-5:30 on saturday.

            1. re: Lotus7

              Yes. A well behaved two-year old, if there is such. I'm not sure I saw a kids menu, though. The staff seem able and willing to accomodate a variety of people.

              1. re: Lotus7

                Luke has a 3/6 PM special happy hour half price drinks and 50 cent oysters.

                Luke Restaurant @ 125 E. Houston Street, San Antonio, TX 210 - 227 - LUKE.

          2. Happy hour, I can't help with. Best Tex-Mex for a sit-down meal is Los Barrios; for good food in a nicer setting (outside, if the weather's good), La Fogata. Breakfast in San Antonio means breakfast tacos. DO NOT MISS THE OPPORTUNITY. Taco Taco on Hildebrand was voted best in the country by Bon Appetit magazine, but almost every mom & pop hole in the wall is better. Try Lula's on Travis Street downtown (if it's still there -- it was my favourite when I used to work downtown). Try chilaquile tacos. Best bakeries are (Mexican) Bedoy's on Hildebrand and (French) the place in the white building at the Olmos Circle (Olmos Drive at McCullough); sorry, but I don't remember the name of it. Lunch: in this town, there ain't no "best" -- but try Luke, in one of the Riverwalk hotels, I forget which. High End, Cheap? High end or cheap what?

            Best Jazz is, of course, the Landing, on the River at the old Hyatt.

            Best crazy/unique place is probably the Cove, on Culebra. Go in the evenings. Call ahead to see who's playing in the beer garden. (It's also a burger joint and, ironically, a car wash.)

            Enjoy the town.

            La Fogata
            2427 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213

            Taco Taco Cafe
            145 E Hildebrand Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212

            1. TEXMEX Heaven:
              1. Rosario's is amazing! All is good, but the roasted salsa is incredible. I love Griselda's Tacos, etc.
              2. Paloma Blanca is on Broadway over by Incarnate Word. Awesome food! The Tlalpeno Soup is the greatest and spiciest soup ever! PB has great salsa, enchiladas, little quesadillas, etc. It is all really great! (The Sister has a restaurant neat the Alamodome called "Aldaco's" which is very similar and 10-15 min closer. Same Tlalpeno soup, maybe not quite as good, but very good!
              3. La Fogata is out of downtown, but the classic San Antonio mexican place. I love the Tacos Nortenos (grilled corn tortillas with beef fajita, beans, etc. Best Salsa in the world! Also roasted
              3. La Margarita has awesome fajitas!! and yes, strolling Mariachis!!! Tip $20 bucks and get a private concert by a large band! Totally fun.

              Breakfast: Totally agree on BREAKFAST Tacos!!!! Can't be missed. Anything goes in San Antonio for breakfast, so embrace it
              1. Mi Tierra was named the BEST 24 hour restaurant in the country by FoodTV. If you get hammered, go here and pig out. (Owned by La Margarita people)
              2. Guenther Inn is on an un-developed part of the San Antonio River just south of downtown near the King William district. I would eat Mexican for breakfast everyday, but my mom adores this place, so I thought I would mention it.

              DON'T EAT on the Riverwalk: Terrible. If I had to I'd eat Italian of all things. Here are a few recommendations if you have to eat there!
              -Paesano's is a good local Italian chain.
              -Dolores Del Rio is a cave with an owner that Belly Dances! Total blast with a group. Not the greatest food, but really fun!
              -Boudros is OK, but not San Antonio Tex Mex at all... kinda Southwest
              -Las Canarias in La Mansion del Rio is good for upscale with a tasting menu
              -Biga is good and expensive
              -Zuni Grill has great Prickly Pear Margaritas (and Margaritas in general) Good salsa and decent mexican and southwest food. (I'd go for a drink and some chips and salsa!!!)

              -MiTierra has a Mexican Bakery

              Not sure if this is CRAZIEST, BUT HERE IT GOES:
              Tamales are big here, especially at Christmas, so there are a lot of Tamale shops that sell a dozen to go.
              - Ruben's Tamales are the best... HUGE line at the holidays and is in a gas station SE of downtown
              -Delicious Tamales are delicious too.
              2. Puffy Tacos - to my knowledge, only available in San Antonio. Bobby Flay did a "Puffy Taco Throw Down" in SA.
              -lots of places have them. I hesitate to recommend the place that beat Bobby, because they use American Cheese, which ruins it for me, but Los Barrios is the original, just a few miles north of Downtown. The show was recorded way up north at their other place. BTW, Los Barrios cookbook is a good TEXMEX one, which just needs some minor tweets and cheese changes.

              SA is not a town for healthy food. Lard is very commonly used, still. I'd say that Biga, Silo, Il Sogno, etc. would be your best bet for that.

              Happy Eating!

              La Fogata
              2427 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213

              3 Replies
              1. re: Uncle Luigi

                Dolores del Rio got closed down by the Health Department. I don't think it's reopened.

                1. re: bronwen

                  That's funny since you had to walk through the kitchen to get to the restroom. Always seemed a bit suspect.

                  Dolores is a blast, let's hope she has "cleaned up her act" if this is true. Places to dance and get on stage are not that plentiful.

                  1. re: bronwen

                    Now if they would just close Casa Rio. That place has been serving bad food for decades. Pity the tourists that get sucked into that dump.

                    Casa Rio
                    430 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205