Restaurant recommendations in San Antonio
January 18, 2013 9:48 AM   Subscribe

We're a couple of poor students who'll be travelling through San Antonio on our anniversary, and we'd like to get a nice memorable lunch or dinner there without going broke. We don't much care how formal it is — super-fancy and super-casual are both okay, as is anything in between — as long as the atmosphere is basically pleasant and cozy. (Bonus points for friendly neighborhood-ish joints, or places with good people-watching.) But the main thing is we're looking for the sort of restaurant where you sigh happily after the meal and say "man, I haven't had an XYZ that good in a long time."

We'll be near the zoo and Incarnate Word, but we'll drive elsewhere if it's worth it.
posted by and so but then, we to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
My San Antonio native partner would say that Alamo Cafe is worth the drive. She's been out of Texas for almost 15 years and every time she goes back she makes a point to go there. Often multiple times in a three day visit. When I went to meet her family we went three times. It's good, even to this northerner.
posted by FlamingBore at 9:58 AM on January 18, 2013

I spent a weekend in San Antonio some years back, and we liked Acadiana so much that we went there for two dinners and a lunch.

Warning: auto-playing music on that link.
posted by gauche at 10:10 AM on January 18, 2013

Nao vastly exceeded my expectations for San Antonio fine dining.
posted by spanishbombs at 10:11 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: (Oh, I should mention: We don't live in SA, but we do live in Texas, and this isn't the last time we'll be in town. So we'd be totally happy with Tex-Mex or Mexican food — but it also wouldn't be a Ginormous Missed Opportunity if we had something else.)
posted by and so but then, we at 10:12 AM on January 18, 2013

I have fond memories of El Milagrito and feel compelled to plug it. It's closer to the other end of Brackenridge Park from Incarnate Word. It might serve you better for breakfast, though, as I'm sure there's somewhere more memorable for lunch given all of San Antonio to choose from. (El Milagrito wins its immediate vicinity, but it had little competition when I was there.)
posted by hoyland at 10:25 AM on January 18, 2013

Tong's Thai is right in the area where you're staying. It has a great atmosphere and I remember the dishes being very, very good.

A little bit of a drive: There are plenty of Indian restaurants in the Medical Center area, but I think the best atmosphere and dinner entrees are at Sarovar. It doesn't have the best lunch buffet, though. That would be Bombay Hall (in my opinion - this is a subject for endless debate.)
posted by muddgirl at 10:38 AM on January 18, 2013

On a nice day with warm weather, one of my favorite breakfasts (in the whole world) is migas and fresh orange juice, eaten in the patio area of La Fogata. If it's not breakfast time, they have excellent mole. And good margaritas! And it's 5.3 miles from the zoo. Website; Yelp reviews. It's a nice, beautiful, romantic restaurant that isn't expensive.
posted by Houstonian at 10:40 AM on January 18, 2013

Where in Texas are you coming from? If you are driving from Austin or thereabouts, I highly recommend stopping in Lockhart for barbecue from Smittys or Kreitz's market.
posted by hrj at 10:57 AM on January 18, 2013

My Partner and I (both student-ish) just recently moved away from that area, here are a couple of our old favorites around there:

Piatti's - it's a sort of mid-scale Italian joint just up the 281 from Incarnate Word at the quarry. Great food, great service, nice atmosphere on the inside. Been a big hit with the multiple sets of family that we have brought here.

Dough - Absolutely fantastic italian-style gourmet pizzaria probably a 10 minute drive from your area at the 410 & Blanco. Same as above, great food and service, with a nice atmosphere on the inside. Probably my partner's favorite pizza outside of Italy.

(I specify inside at these places as they are both in outdoor shopping complexes so they don't look like much on the outside).

Il Sogno and Sandbar at the Pearl Brewery a few minutes south on Broadway would honestly be at the top of my list, but are a bit pricier and so I won't dwell on them. Fantastic Italian/Seafood respectively, and can be good people watching depending on the night. Also in a prime position for a post-meal stroll down the nice and quiet part of the riverwalk. La gloria in this place is also pretty damn good mexican-style tapas, and the brewery in general is a neat collection of new restaraunts & shops with weekend farmers markets and events if you want to people watch a bit.

Paloma Blanca - a short way up Broadway from Incarnate Word, a nice Mexican joint to have a few drinks and a meal at.
posted by McSwaggers at 11:53 AM on January 18, 2013

I always recommend Silo -- there's one not far from IWA/zoo on Austin Highway. I think their lunch menu is largely the same as their dinner menu and the prices are a little easier on the wallet. Try the chicken fried oysters if you go.

I also always like Cappy's; it's also a little pricier, but it's also about half a mile from IWA, so very conveniently located for you. If Cappy's is still too spendy, try its companion restaurant, Cappyccino's, right next door. Shares a kitchen and a lot of the same food, but in a more casual environment.

Paloma Blanca is a family favorite, so I can second that one, and I'll also recommend La Fonda on Main, but both are Mexican food, and, while good, not any more spectacular than any other "nicer" Mexican place in Austin/Dallas/Houston.

Finally, if you do decide you want to grab some Tex-Mex (either at another time, or maybe earlier/later in the day), I highly recommend Taco Garage, at Broadway and 410. I was born and raised in South Texas and I've eaten a lot of damn fine Tex-Mex, and Taco Garage is pretty high on my all-time list. Get the migas.
posted by devinemissk at 12:38 PM on January 18, 2013

I am from California originally and Robertos (two locations in SA I think) was really great TexMex but with alot of the touches you would also see in divey California taco places. On the super casual end but if you like hole in the wall tacos, it's your place.
posted by slow graffiti at 12:57 PM on January 18, 2013

I live in Austin and we go to San Antonio for shows regularly. Our favorite place to eat near the Riverwalk (but not on it) is the Esquire Tavern, which is a fantastic bar and has a hoity-toity drink menu for special occasions, plus delicious bar food.
posted by immlass at 9:50 AM on January 19, 2013

« Older Food-Grade Spikenard Oil   |   How to make google TV less annoying? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.