If you just landed in San Antonio you'll be happy to know you can even eat pretty good Tex-Mex at the airport. It's not hard to find, but if you're looking to maximize on those cheesy calories, then you'll want to keep reading.
La Fonda on Main is a fantastic option for first-time visitors unsure of the ways of Tex-Mex, as it's on the high end of the spectrum and offers dishes made with clean, quality ingredients. They offer lovely daily specials, which you can enjoy on their gorgeous patio while sipping a superb, freshly-made margarita. Their chips and salsa alone are worth the trip.
Paloma Blanca is another family favorite for upscale dining. From ceviche to nachos, you really can't go wrong here. It's a great choice on a sunny day, as they have a large covered patio.
If, however, you're looking to get down and dirty, don't be afraid to head to Tito's in Southtown or Panchito's on the north central side of town. You'll find all the Tex-Mex classics here from enchiladas to tacos and more. Just make sure to go on a cheat day!
Tito's is your classic hole in the wall restaurant, but it's most definitely worth a visit. Located in San Antonio's acclaimed arts district, Southtown, Tito's is the place the locals go again and again and again. They put the T in Tex-Mex with some of their signature dishes, such as the Chipotle Cream Chicken Enchiladas or their delightfully juicy Crispy Beef Tacos. This is one of the best tasting and inexpensive places you'll find in San Antonio or, possibly, even in Texas. All of the plates come with rice, beans and tortillas. It's practically guaranteed you'll leave Tito's both full and happy! ((210) 212-8226)
Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner this delectable Tex-Mex restaurant is a San Antonio favorite. You can expect to find all of your classics here and then some. The Nachos are amazing, as well as the Puffy Beef Tacos, Brisket and the Chicken Mole Enchiladas, for starters. If you're in a daring, mood, try the Menudo. Their breakfast plates are a great way to start your day, and if you go for dinner, you'll be sure to enjoy Mariachi's singing soulful and lively tunes. This family-owned restaurant has been around for over 30 years and you'll find out why once you take that first bite! ((210) 821-5338)
Packed houses attest to El Mirador's popularity with locals, and its traditional cuisine ventures beyond the standards to include grilled goat, wild boar, and tongue. Its soups are especially lauded, particularly the much-requested sopa Azteca. Fruit tacos are similarly favored. Sunday brunch draws a crowd, and eager folks come early to stake out a table and leisurely enjoy the bounty. The menu features filling breakfast fare and a handful of even heartier main-course options. Dinner here is equally as popular, with affordable classic Tex-Mex such as enchiladas and fajitas. They also have a great outdoor patio. If you're staying downtown, it's not that far of a walk. (210-225-9444, 210- 271-3236)
Mi Tierra Cafe Y Panaderia
Mi Tierra might indeed be a tourist destination, but it's earned that reputation for a reason. This family-owned restaurant has been in business since 1941. It's located downtown near the Mercado, a great place to do a little shopping and pick up some trinkets for friends and family back home. They might not have the best food in town but for ambience, this is it! They're also open 24 hours a day and provide an incomparably festive atmosphere with roving Mariachi singers and Christmas lights all year long. Have we mentioned they also have a bakery? We recommend you pop in for a visit, even if it's only for some cinnamon-laced Mexican hot chocolate and a fresh pan (210-225-1262)
Cascabel Mexican Patio
Cascabel's is one of the best-kept secrets in San Antonio and sports a wonderful outdoor patio with umbrella-covered tables. It's different than every other Mexican food restaurant in the city because it features regional specialties from interior Mexico. You won't find the ubiquitous refried pinto beans here or even flour tortillas. Cascabel's serves everything with thick yet soft homemade corn tortillas and refried black beans that have an exceptional amount of flavor. If you want to try something unique, order the Birria, which is a rustic goat stew. If you want to play it safe, order the Huaraches, which are corn tortillas smothered in refried black beans, shredded cabbage, your choice of meat, a spicy red chile sauce and sour cream. Cascabel's will stimulate your palette without over-stimulating your bank account! ((210) 212-6456)
Rosario's, which has been around now for over 20 years, has transported itself from a local favorite to a critically-acclaimed restaurant. They have been featured in Southern Living, Texas Monthly and The New York Times, and have been listed as one of the "Top 50 Restaurants in the U.S." by Hispanic Magazine. From their Chile Relleno de Pescado (shrimp and fish stuffed poblano pepper) to their fajitas and enchiladas, there is not one thing on the menu you won't be wanting to return for again and again. They offer live music on the weekends and specialize in gigantic margaritas that are almost a meal by itself! (210-223-1806)
Acenar, located downtown on the Riverwalk, is a spectacularly innovative and contemporary Tex-Mex restaurant that Zagat has noted for their "killer food." Lisa Wong (who also owns Rosario's) and her partners took special care with this restaurant to ensure it could compete in style and taste with just about any other restaurant in any metropolitan city, and they did not disappoint. If you just want to check it out, they offer a Houston street-level bar called Atomar and a Happy Hour menu that's worth the walk. Although the regular menu is similar to Rosario's with a boost in price, Acenar offers items that are unique to it, such as the Buttermilk Fried Oysters, the Young Texas Goat served with Ancho Salsa Ranchera and the Duck Crepes. Looking for Tex-Mex with a twist? This is it! (210-222-2362)
Beto's Comida Latina
Beto's claims this is the place where Mexican street food meets Latin American soul food, but you can be sure that they put their own Texas spin on their scrumptious food! Casual and festive, this Latin American eatery serves flavorful tacos, quesadillas and empanadas at reasonable prices. Enjoy lunch at an outdoor table with a margarita or a cold beer, or if you're in a hurry, get your meal to-go. Besides awesome fish tacos, they've also been recognized for their Taco Pastor, and Food Network's Guy Fieri calls them a favorite. Their drinks are as good as the food with Mexican classics merged with cocktail favorites. Pina Horchata, for example, is a rumlicious spin on their horchata with a splash of pineapple. Beer-a-Rita Grande is a blend of your favorite beer and a fresh margarita. Where can you go wrong? (210-930-9393)
Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine
Paloma Blanca is conveniently located in Alamo Heights and is something of an oasis, particularly on a hot summer day, with its flowering landscape and tropical palm trees. They offer much more than just an exceptional meal, they offer a relaxed, soothing environment where you can truly savor the conversation with your friends and family. Beyond the typical Tex-Mex fare, they offer dishes such as the Enchiladas San Miguel - enchiladas filled with mushrooms in a Salsa Guajillo, covered with queso fresco and served with poblano corn, white rice and Ensalada Esmeralda. Paloma Blanca is also leading the way in culinary awareness by offering a Paleo menu, complete with Paleo Tacos served on iceberg lettuce. Who says Tex-Mex can't be healthy?! ((210) 822-6151 or)
La Fonda on Main
La Fonda is one of the prettiest restaurants in the city, with its white stucco and gorgeous patio covered by a giant oak tree. Sipping a margarita and eating La Fonda's signature salsa that tastes as if the ingredients were picked fresh that day, you feel like you just might be in Mexico. Although this delicious Tex-Mex restaurant has all of your favorites, the level of quality that La Fonda's is known for makes the meal as guilt-free as possible. Some local favorites are the Chile Relleno, the Shrimp Enchiladas and the Fish Tacos, which comes with a zesty salad and a spicy grilled jalepeno. If you have the appetite, be sure to start the meal out right with some of their addictive queso or homemade guacamole! (210-733-0621)
About Kimberly Suta
Kimberly A. Suta is a professional freelance writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur with a background in marketing, advertising and social media. Her first business, Midnight Sun Innovations, involved a partnership with Regal Cinemas, the largest theatre chain in the world. Kimberly has written, directed and produced several films that have screened at Texas film festivals and she produces an annual film competition at the popular Alamo Drafthouse theatre. She recently published her second novel, The Rain Queen, which can be found on Amazon.com. Kimberly currently lives and works in San Antonio, Texas, a place of much inspiration to her.
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