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San Antonio Restaurants

Helen Apr 14, 2003 11:56 AM

Are there any SA chowhounds that would like to comment on great places to eat either casual or fancy?

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    avi RE: Helen Apr 14, 2003 01:56 PM

    3 places in SA to mull over:

    1. For very casual dining, try the Little Red Steakhouse on Hackberry at I-10. Its a huge, colorfull restaurant that's going on almost 40 years.

    Dinner salads, rolls, and crackers are automatically brought to the picnic-style tables by "cowgirl" outfitted waitresses. The menu is a placard and also painted on the walls. The food is so-so - from fair to all right - but what do you expect for the laughable prices they charge? All in all, it's well worthwhile the visit. Shrimp and fish are also available.

    2. Another unique place is the 750 ft. high Tower restaurant downtown in the Hemisfair. It revolves once an hour, affording a wonderful 360 degree view of San Antonio. I like to go up there an hour before sunset in order to enjoy the daylight, dusk, and night views. It's spectacular. The food is not memorable, but who cares. Dinner will run in the $20-$30 range p/person. Here's a link: http://hotx.com/hot/hillcountry/sa/to...

    3. The San Antonio Riverwalk is a great place to have a meal on a pleasent day. There is a good selection of eating places of all kinds, all casual, none of which have food to really write home about. The pleasure here is to dine on a patio near the riverside sidewalk and enjoy the people going by, the sunshine, and the atmoshpere. It's not exactly Venice, but you don't need a visa either. And as an added bonus, some of the people strolling by are very good looking.

    1. h
      Howard Coone RE: Helen Apr 14, 2003 01:59 PM

      Blanco Cafe (original Blanco Road location) is a great family spot especially for Saturday or Sunday lunch. It is a locals type place with very good and inexpensive authentic SA Tex/Mex grub. My family was the only non-mexican one there last time and we felt right at home. Very friendly, efficient service and how about three enchiladas, a taco, chalupa, guacamole, beans, rice and tortillas for less than seven bucks?

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        wondertrev RE: Helen Apr 14, 2003 02:25 PM

        Schilo's on the Riverwalk has good German, but you don't get to see the human scenery. Tomatillo's on Broadway is owned (I think) by the same folks as La Fogata, but I think the food is better. The veggie entrees are tasty.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wondertrev
          John Simpson RE: wondertrev Jul 14, 2003 01:30 PM

          Tomatillo's and La Fogata are owned by the same folks, and both restaurants are AWESOME with INCREDIBLE margaritas. I moved away from San Antonio a couple of months ago and miss both places very, very much. Tomatillo's is Tex Mex while La Fogata is more "real" Mexican food.

          1. re: John Simpson
            Carrollton Foodie RE: John Simpson Jul 7, 2009 04:04 PM

            Second the recommendations of Schilo's and La Fogata. Schilo's serves a delicious breakfast. La Fogata besides having really tasty food and margaritas is absolutely beautiful.

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          john clark RE: Helen Apr 15, 2003 09:52 AM

          Haven't been to SA in several years. Is Liberty Bar still there and still good? Anyone?

          1 Reply
          1. re: john clark
            Laura Fries, Food Editor, San Antonio Current RE: john clark Apr 22, 2004 08:42 PM

            Yes, the Liberty Bar is still there -- and thanks to a recent leveling, is bound to be for some time. The secret to a successful ordering experience, according to a friend who works there, is to inquire after the food you'd like to be devouring. The pot roast has a reputation for being dry, but it's all in the time you go. Ask before ordering.

            Link: http://www.sacurrent.com

          2. m
            MidtownCoog RE: Helen Apr 15, 2003 02:46 PM

            I still like Casa Rio on the Riverwalk.

            All the Hounds on this board will say it's no good, but my family has been eating there for close to 30 years. It was the first restaurant on the river so they must be doing something right.

            Get the Caso Rio Dinner and be sure to sit river-side.

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              Rob Hargrove RE: Helen Apr 15, 2003 05:14 PM

              Chris Madrid's has as good a cheeseburger I've ever had. I mean it. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, aching for a burger from Chris Madrid's. I love Austin, but I would consider moving to SA for the burgers alone.

              Sadly, not being from there I cannot give directions. Sorry.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Rob Hargrove
                Zorra RE: Rob Hargrove Apr 15, 2003 07:09 PM

                Chris Madrid's is at 1900 Blanco Road, about two or three blocks south of Hildebrand and a block or two north of Blanco Cafe, if memory serves. Chris Madrid's has great nachos too.

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                Zorra RE: Helen Apr 15, 2003 07:23 PM

                I was just surfing around a minute ago and came upon a reference to a new place called Timbo's, way way out on the north side (in Spring Branch, really) at 14370 Hwy 281. It is run by the former manager of Little Hipp's, and reportedly has the same burgers, shypoke eggs, everything. SA hounds, somebody please report!

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                  Helen RE: Helen Apr 16, 2003 09:07 AM

                  I'm going to report on one of my own! Right off McCullough and Olmos Circle in Olmos Park is a new place called "Ciao" (pasta and pizza)- same owner as Bistro Vatel in the same strip center. Been several times and so far, excellent - thin, thin pizza bubbling with cheeses. Pasta very fresh and hot and service impeccable.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Helen
                    bob RE: Helen May 6, 2003 01:42 PM

                    I second the vote for Ciao.

                    Actually, I think it's called Ciao Lavanderia - since it used to be a laundry.

                    The food is very good, and it's *cheap*.

                    Not always easy to get into.

                  2. m
                    memorylane RE: Helen Apr 19, 2003 12:21 AM

                    henry's puffy tacos - a place I would definitely go back to.

                    Schilo's - someone mentioned above, great German food.

                    Chris Madrid's - I'll try them again, but I wasn't impressed the first time I went. The meat looked grey rather than grilled. With so many people who like this place it was possibly an off day. So for sure a second chance.

                    If you can fit it in, BBQ at Lockhart or Luling. Worth every minute of the 1 hour drive (in the rain for me!). BBQ there is a revelation!

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                      usuhs95 RE: Helen Jul 1, 2008 05:24 PM

                      We love Cafe Paladar on 1604 near Stone Oak. It is a Tapas Bar. Brian West is the chef and has done some really creative delicious stuff. The wine list is also great.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: usuhs95
                        bronwen RE: usuhs95 Jul 2, 2008 10:36 AM

                        On the Riverwalk I recommend Biga's, Boudro's, Acenar, Fig Tree, Pesca, Las Canarias - all fancy. Casa Rio, Mexican Manhattan - not fancy

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                        Nita01 RE: Helen Jul 7, 2008 01:29 PM

                        We were just in San Antonio this last weekend. On Friday night, we ate at Le Reve. It was great! The atmosphere was comfortable and not at all stuffy, and the service and food were exceptional. We did not do the tasting menu but instead did four courses each. It was so much food!

                        On Saturday, we had lunch at Taco Taco. It was good, but I expected much more after reading all of the reviews online. My husband and I each had the el norteno and then shared a chicken puffy taco. Hubbie loved the puffy taco... Dinner Saturday night was at Las Canarias. We had dinner with two other couples and everyone enjoyed their meals. I especially liked the buffalo ribeye.

                        On Sunday, we made a trip to Lockhart to Smitty's. Two sausage links, five ribs, and a half pound of brisket later, we made the trip home to Dallas. Again, a great meal, but my favorite was definitely the sausage. (wrapped in a slice of white bread!) My pants are a bit tight today, but it was a weekend of great eating!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Nita01
                          chickstein RE: Nita01 Jul 9, 2008 11:53 AM

                          I agree with you 100% on Le Reve. One of the best restaurants in Texas.

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                          rjwillie RE: Helen Jul 25, 2008 02:09 PM

                          Was just in San Antonio last week and wanted to agree with some other Chowhound posts as well as add some of my own.

                          First of all...the Liberty Bar is so freaking cool...it is a don't miss in my opinion. The food was interesting and innovative (Grilled Mission Figs with Goat Cheese was awesome) plus the place was just so funky on the inside. (It...like the tower in Pisa...is "leaning"). Plus I read somewhere that the service wasn't that great, but our server was very friendly and attentive...she was very happy to give her thoughts on the menu and some helpful what to see/eat in San A.
                          Also check out the Gunther House restaurant for breakfast...the building is cool, the locale is cool, and the food was great. (Biscuits, pancakes, strudel, fresh fruit...all yum.)
                          Another great place was the Twin Sisters Cafe...they had a lovely live music set on Friday night, the food was excellent (with a vegetarian slant, but they do have meat) and we got some deserts to go which were fab. They also serve breakfast, but we didn't get a chance to check that out.
                          Mi Tierra came highly recommended for breakfast, but I wasn't all that impressed...my vote is skip breakfast and just have their amazing pastries.
                          Also, my husband found Broadway Bistro online and we checked it out...the food was very impressive (Mediteranean) but the service was so awful it kind of ruined the evening.
                          And just for fun check out the Blue Star Brewery...we didn't eat there but sitting outside next to the water with gorgeous trees and baby ducks was great fun and I strongly recommend the golden ale/lemon soda mix for any beer "un-afficianados" in your party...it was delicious and refreshing.

                          1. DaveLaf RE: Helen Jul 6, 2009 06:17 AM

                            Was in San Antonio for a conference downtown. I didn't have a lot of time to explore, but we had a great dinner at Las Margaritas in the International Center, about 1 mile walk from the convention center. The margaritas were great, and my colleagues had the 4 person fajitas including cabrito (goat). Never had that so it was a new experience. I had the chile verde which was very tasty. Definitely recommend Las Margaritas.

                            As others on CH have commented the restaurants along the Riverwalk are a tourist rip off. The line at Boudros was way too long (on a Sunday night...) so I ended up at Iron Cactus, a local chain. Drinks were fine, but the sauce on my beef fajitas tasted like they put way too much salt in it. Maybe I am channeling Marion Nestle, but it was not very good. If I were a Riverwalk restaurant, I'd be the best to differentiate from all of the other places, but then what do I know. All of the Riverwalk restaurants were packed even with the bad reviews here.

                            I'd love to explore more of SA, maybe on a future trip.

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                              deelindsay RE: Helen Apr 25, 2011 06:58 PM

                              A few suggestions:
                              1) la tuna. Get the cheesy burger. Fantastic.

                              2) Gwendolyn. Menu rotates but the desserts are fabulous. Poteet strawberry sorbet is amazing. The coffee is also darn near perfect.

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