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Jun 1, 2006 12:17 PM

Seeking taco stands in San Antonio

  • m

We are heading to San Antonio for a week next month to visit relatives, and we need some recommendations. We want to do a taco run and sample some of the area's best. Can anyone recommend some authenic taquerias or small local taco stands? We're looking for things off the beaten track - no Taco Cabanas, please!

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  1. San Antonio is a great city for getting off the beaten track. There is at least one taqueria per city block, and a large, well-established Mexican-American population that knows good Tex-Mex.

    Here are ten of my favorites:

    * Mendez Cafe at 201 Bartholomew Avenue (phone 210-923-6603), south of Highway 90 and north of SW Military Drive. Breakfast and lunch only.

    Their handmade (and hand-rolled) flour tortillas are the best I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant, and their refried beans put every other version to shame. This cheerful restaurant is popular with locals who live on the south side. From day one, it’s also been packed with the lunch crowd from nearby Kelly AFB. I love their breakfasts. The only dud I’ve ever ordered here was a special of very tough Mexican steak.

    * Nicha's Comida Mexicana (phone 210-922-3330) at 3119 Roosevelt Avenue. Breakfast and lunch only (I think).

    Similar to the food above, which means exceptionally good food cooked with love. Great flour tortillas. You can actually see viejitas rolling them out expertly—-and fast!—-when you place your order.

    * Panchito's Taco Station No. 2 at 4107 McCullough Ave. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    This place is always full, and it’s popular with local Mexican-American families. Don’t order the crispy tacos unless you like deep-fried taco shells. And the gorditas are more like San-Antonio-style puffy tacos than the thicker gorditas served elsewhere in the city. But everything else is extremely good—-corn tortillas, guacamole, flautas, barbacoa. Their menudo is my third-favorite in the city (after Mi Tierra and Bandera Molino).

    * Bedoy’s Panadería at 803 West Hildebrand Avenue, (210) 736-2253.

    This may be San Antonio’s oldest continually-operating Mexican bakery. It’s certainly the best. They sell delicious flour tortillas by the dozen; tasty pan dulce and bolillos; and home-cooked tacos to-go in the morning. A well-kept west-side secret for decades, the original location of Bedoy’s (on NW 24th) is now operated by someone else. The "new" one on Hildebrand is now the real deal.

    * La Bandera Molino & Restaurant (phone 210-434-0631) at 3114 W. Woodlawn Avenue.

    This place is a molino (they mill their own corn to make masa) and small store that sells great corn and flour tortillas, along with menudo and barbacoa on weekends. They serve some very good tacos, too. Just make sure they’ve re-opened. They’re in the process of relocating from their old place on Bandera Road. When I went by the Woodlawn location last week, the doors were closed.

    If they still haven’t re-opened, you can substitute one of the many other molinos in town—-like Teka Molino, at 2403 N. Saint Mary's Street.

    * Garcia’s Mexican Food at 842 Fredericksburg Road.

    Great, down-home Mexican food in a very simple environment. I love the chorizo con huevo (they must use one link of chorizo per egg); the “pork chop” taco (bone and all); and the huevos rancheros. I’ve been hitting this place for satisfying taqueria-fare for years.

    * Henry’s Puffy Tacos (210-432-7341) at 815 Bandera Road. Lunch and dinner.

    For what else? There are other places that do puffy tacos, but Henry’s still does them just right.

    By the way, they’re moving to a larger location: 6030 Bandera Road at Wurzbach, just outside Loop 410. The last time I drove by, they hadn’t moved yet, but you might want to call first.

    * Cascabel Mexican Patio (210-212-6456) at 1000 S. St. Mary's Street. 10 A.M. to 9 P.M. Monday through Saturday.

    This is another small mom-and-pop place, but this one serves interior Mexican food, some of which is hot as hell. Forget about flour tortillas, chips with salsa, and refried beans. Great tortas, pork dishes, sqaush-blossom quesadillas, and caldos (hot soups).

    * El Siete Mares at 3831 W Commerce Street, (210) 436-6056.

    They serve fish tacos and authentic Mexican seafood, including delicious whole fish, ceviche, caldos, and seafood cocktails, in a casual, friendly atmosphere. Their cabrito isn’t bad, either.

    * The Original Donut Shop-Taco Drive-Thru at 3307 Fredericksburg Road.

    Why bother with Taco Cabana when you can drive through here for great tacos with a donut chaser? I thought this was a joke the first time I saw this place. Their tacos, however, are very good.

    I included some hours of operation, but be sure to double-check them. Schedules change all the time.

    Some of the well-known places mentioned on this board are very good (El Mirador; Rosario’s; Mi Tierra—-but not for pan dulce). Some are not. Luckily, in a city like San Antonio, there’s no need to settle for just-okay food when there are literally hundreds of places to explore on the Hispanic west and south sides.

    Enjoy yourselves!

    5 Replies
    1. re: MPH
      Jason Wiseman

      Not sure of the address but Rolando's Super Tacos is the place to go in SA.


      1. re: Jason Wiseman

        I've been going to Titos lately for great bean and cheese chalupas, carne a la mexicana tacos and fajitas off the ala carte taco menu. Last week, I had the best flautas ever and the rice and beans are very good, too. the only miss is the nachos. They are close to Roarios on Alamo St. in the King William Southtown area.

        1. re: SAnativegirl

          You definately should go to Taco Taco Cafe on McCullough and Hildebrand. It's open 7 to 2pm. Awesome breakfast tacos, which are a very San Antonio thing. There is always a line out the door. It's a great place to get tacos to go because it is so popular and the dining area is small. I suggest the taco a la mexicana.

          1. re: wen


            Would any of the taco places cater? Or even better, is there one that will come out and cook the tacos on site with their own grill there?


      2. re: MPH

        thank you mph I'm headed to san antonio next week and I've been loking art restaunts from austin to galveston. but I have been craving tacos and I'm pickey about them I love taco casas and jack in the box i'm from dallas and there is arestauant there that is great Tupinamba Restaurant
        12270 Inwood Rd
        Dallas, TX 75244
        (972) 991-8148 there nachos and tacos are the best but I live in oklahoma now and there is not a good taco here only indian tacos they are expensive so I still have not had one but I heard they are good. i'm so confused from being here because chalupas here are tostadas in tx and tequistos are fried tacos flautas in tx . so what is a gordia?
        and a puffy taco? I love fried tacos so I bet I would like it. well thanks for the restraunt names i'll have to check a couple out. and if your in dallas check out tupinambas little pricey but great food and the tupy marg.