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Jun 5, 2012 08:55 AM

Mexican Food in San Antonio?

I moved to San Antonio from Southern California almost two years ago. Love it here.....BUT...Where is the great Mexican food that SA is famous for? Have been to at least 20 little hole-in-the walls and four or five table service places including the much praised Los Barrios. Nothing memorable so far. Had breakfast at Taco Taco and it was better than the others, but nothing special and didn't like the long wait and cramped tables. I am very critical about salsa too, and I must say that I LOVED the salsa at Casa del Rio on Riverwalk (but the food, once again was not very good). Our neighbor owns La Victoria on Vance Jackson They are only open for breakfast and lunch. Food there was GREAT and very reasonable. Please help me...I miss GOOD MEXICAN (not covered with cheese whiz or sour cream please).

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  1. Cielito Lindo
    Mendez Cafe
    El Bucanero

    1. I like Los Barrios (the one on Red Land Rd) but mainly for fajitas. The fajita ceasar salad is one of my favorite lunches in San Antonio. Certain other dishes, like the milaneza, for example, have sucked royally. The chile relleno was average at best.

      Taco Taco is special for the huge, thick, fluffy flour tortillas but, as far as I can tell, nothing else.

      Ok - so now to help you out with some suggestions. saeyedoc gave some solid suggestions - to which I would add Los Robertos (especially for a So Cal Expat), El Mirasol, Tito's, Cascabel Mexican Patio, Beto's, La Fiesta Patio Cafe, La Paloma Blanca, Rosario's, Teka Molino and MexicoToGo.

      There are also barbacoa and tamale shops all over the place - and the molinos! 2 I would recommend are Mimi's Barbacoa, Tacos y Tamales and La Bandera Molino. There are tons more - it's practically infinite.

      3 Replies
      1. re: San Antonio Sam

        And also...

        I lived in Southern California for several years. My son and his Mexican-food-loving family are currently living in Northern California - San Jose, and I visit them often. (And it just so happens that when we were living in Southern California, that son was in high school, and worked part time at a very popular Mexican restaurant in our area.) I've also lived in Arizona and New Mexico. My family is originally from Texas, and I've spent a lot of time traveling through Mexico itself in search of great eats.

        While you're trying to find "GOOD MEXICAN" in your new locale, it would help you greatly to keep in mind that what constitutes GOOD MEXICAN varies a great deal from place to place. The food can range from being quite similar to being completely different, from the salsas to the ingredients to the methods of preparation - everything. CaliMex can be nothing like TexMex like New Mex/Mex like Arizona-Mex. I still miss the food of Southern Arizona and northern Mexico - the so-called "Mexican pizzas" and caldo de queso and the mole and chiles rellenos of Chihuahua and Nogales and always will. But overall, New Mex/Mex is my favorite. Cali-Mex is pretty far down on my personal list.

        I have moved over 50 times in my life - from Alaska to the Panama Canal Zone, from Hong Kong and the Philippines to Germany, and every single region of the US. I learned long ago that if you don't get out there and do a little research into what's good in your area and ask questions and experiment and try new things with an open mind, and stop worrying about what you left behind, you'll never be content.

        You think it's hard finding GOOD MEXICAN in San Antonio?

        You should try finding GOOD BARBECUE in the middle of Alaska.

        You'll drive yourself crazy if you insist on having here what you loved there.

        But for a start, if you like the food at La Victoria and it's only open for breakfast and lunch and you know the owner, why not ask him where he goes for dinner?

        1. re: Jaymes

          This is a really perceptive comment. Please define what "mexican food" you're after, and it will be easier to help you. San Antonio has a wealth of traditional Tex-Mex establishments, but even among those, the cuisine varies quite a bit. Also, the influx of Mexicans from Northern Mexico has produced an almost equally interesting range of Mexican cuisine from various regions.

          1. re: Jaymes

            Well said Jaymes! I too have moved many times in my career, foreign & domestic (20+). Although my roots are in northern New England and I miss the "down east" eats from time to time, I have found that eating local is rewarding, satisfying, and often exciting. I looking forward to my next move!

        2. More suggestions for you: Taco Tex at BrookHollow @ 281, one of our favorite little places, but only open til 3. Taco Garage on Broadway, just S. of 410 is always good.
          La Choza at Starcrest and Jones-Maltsberger is also good, little place. El Jarro de Arturo at Bitters and 281 has a big menu & also has some continental-influenced Mex. on the menu.
          La Fogata is a classic. La Gloria at the Pearl is excellent.
          I'm sure I could come up with more, but the other excellent suggestions on this thread should more than get you started.

          1. Thank you all for your suggestions. Can't wait to get started. I guess I was expecting Texas to be more like California in the Mexican food department. In San Diego you can walk into any Mexican restaurant (in any price range) and expect and GET great Mexican food. There is no such thing as bad food there lol. (Well maybe some of the touristy places are not that great, but locals in SD don't go the tourist places if they can help it.) Will just have to do some experimenting here in my new home of SA. Thanks again. I have traveled extensively in Mexico and there is also bad Mexican food there hehe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: lindasant

              I hope you come to enjoy all the great things that San Antonio has to offer. It's a wonderful place to live with so many things to do both locally and a short drive away. It has a small town vibe and the people are welcoming and friendly. We moved here 25 years ago, not knowing anything about the city and absolutely love this place.

              1. re: lindasant

                I lived in San Diego for about 3 years. Not long enough to get to know every mexican restaurant, of course, but I've certainly been to my share. For what it's worth, I prefer the Mexican food in San Antonio.

                There are so many delicious things I never had until I came here - huaraches, tlacoyos, garnaches, gorditas, fideo, birria, cabrito, enfrijoladas and green mole, for example. The locally made tortillas here, both corn and flour, are the best I ever had anywhere. The best chile relleno I've ever had was in San Antonio. I never had true mexican style enchiladas before coming here, either. Tamales? Yes I had them in California but I never understood the appeal until I moved here. Tamale Fest at Pearl is something to behold, indeed. Not to mention all the tamales that people make and share around the holidays.

                And the things you can buy in the stores - so many types of mexican cheeses and cremas and a huge variety of chiles. There are mexican groceries in San Diego, of course, but the ones I went to were scary, stinky places with half rotten produce and meat you wouldn't eat on a dare. Culebra Meat Market is like a paradise compared to those places.

                I would say that San Diego has the best carne asada burritos and the best fish tacos. But that makes the score like 100 to 2, in my opinion with San Antonio as the hands-down winner.

                And I love Tex Mex, too .. but if I start extolling the virtues of puffy tacos, fajitas and enchiladas with brown gravy - this post is gonna get real long real quick, lol.

                You do have to look around a little bit depending on what part of town you're in . .but in my opinion, San Antonio is a Mexican Food paradise.

              2. Betos on Broadway
                Paloma Blanca
                - all tasty and varying in price

                1 Reply
                1. re: sgw53

                  The original Blanco Cafe on Blanco Road has the best tex-mex cheese enchiladas i've ever had.