The Best Restaurants in San Antonio
While San Antonio is known for Tex-Mex cuisine, the city’s restaurants have so much more to offer, with menu items from burgers and pizza to indulgent breakfasts and fine Southwestern fare. For one of the city’s best evenings out, combine a stroll along the River Walk with a meal at one of the area’s restaurants.
430 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
Watching the river flow by with a margarita in hand is one of the best ways to while away an afternoon in San Antonio, and at Casa Rio, you can do just that. The restaurant’s colorful umbrellas have lined the River Walk since 1946, providing a postcard-perfect backdrop for sampling enchiladas, flautas, fajitas, and, of course, icy-cold margaritas. The oldest restaurant on the riverfront, Casa Rio is beloved for its authentic Tex-Mex cuisine, but its real charm lies in its ambience. Request an outdoor table and let your worries float away with the river. Just be sure to decide between frozen and on the rocks first.
136 E Grayson St, Suite 120, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
Run by well-known chef Jeff Balfour, Southerleigh brings cross-cultural cuisine to the bustling Pearl Brewery complex. Here, the seasonal menu ranges from crispy fried half-chicken with coffee-crusted bacon and thyme red-eye gravy to Gulf red snapper with charred tomato sauce piquant and pickled fennel salad. Housed in a historic building that was once Pearl’s Brewhouse, Southerleigh also references its past with an on-site brewery and nearly two dozen beers on tap.
418 Villita St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
In a city known for its breakfast tacos, it can be hard to decide where to start your day. One place that will never disappoint, however, is La Villita Cafe. The options here are simple—think bean and cheese, potato and egg, and chorizo and egg—but everything is delicious, especially the brisket and egg taco. When you’re done eating, check out the neighboring La Villita art community, which provides a window into San Antonio’s diverse past.
910 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205, USA
Opened by local restaurateur Lisa Wong in 1992, Rosario’s started as a neighborhood café, where San Antonio residents came to satisfy their Tex-Mex cravings. Today, it’s a city institution, known for its south-of-the-border specialties and house favorites. Don’t miss the tantalizing albondigas con arroz (Mexican meatballs braised in a spicy broth and served with rice and queso fresco), or the flavorful enchiladas Mexicanas (three queso-filled enchiladas smothered in a fragrant chile-infused sauce). And be sure to wash it all down with a perfectly crafted margarita.
926 S Presa St, San Antonio, TX 78210, USA
The name says it all: To dine at Bliss is pure euphoria. In an intimate space with just 52 seats, this Southtown restaurant offers a dining experience you won’t soon forget. Mixing hearty classics with Southwest-inspired cuisine, the menu ranges from braised beef short ribs with buttery mashed potatoes to vegetarian enchiladas stuffed with roasted butternut squash, cremini mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, eggplant, and cheese. Appetizers are equally enticing, especially the Japanese hamachi sashimi tostadas and the oyster sliders, served with candied bacon on buttermilk chive biscuits.
830 W Hollywood Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
In 1977, University of Texas marketing major Chris Madrid opened a small burger and taco joint with help from his family and friends. Today, his eponymous restaurant is one of San Antonio’s best spots to grab a quick bite. Burgers are the way to go here. Choose from menu favorites such as the Cheddar Cheezy (melted cheddar cheese, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and pickles), the Tostada (refried beans, chips, onions, and cheddar cheese), and the Porky’s Delight (bacon and melted cheddar cheese), and be sure to get a side of nachos or chalupas.
2926 N St Mary's St, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
Everyone can find something to love about Tycoon Flats, whether it’s the family-friendly atmosphere, the fantastic food, the house margaritas, or the sprawling beer garden. Sometimes there’s even live music, making this midtown spot a favorite for a casual meal. If you’re going to get a burger, go for the stuffed option: a 2/3-pound patty packed with either jalapeño, cheddar, and onion, or blue cheese and bacon. Other menu favorites include wings, nachos, chalupas, and hot dogs.
2048 S WW White Rd, San Antonio, TX 78222, USA
Founded in 2002, Big Lou’s is famous for its enormous pizzas. Ringing in at 42 inches, the pies have been featured everywhere from the Food Network to the Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food. Cover yours in classic toppings, or order specialty versions such as the white, the veggie, or barbecue, which comes slathered in two types of cheese and barbecue sauce. In case you’re not a pizza person, the menu also features wings, salads, sandwiches, calzones, and pasta.
10333 Huebner Rd, San Antonio, TX 78240, USA
One of San Antonio’s best breakfast spots, Magnolia Pancake Haus is the kind of place where flapjacks and waffles are the order of the day. Featured on the Food Network, the restaurant usually has a line but it’s worth waiting for the delicious pancakes, which are made from scratch with only the freshest ingredients. Don’t miss the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cakes, or the incredible corned beef hash. If you’re in the mood for lunch, you can also choose from a variety of sandwiches, including a Reuben with house-cured brisket and grilled pumpernickel bread.
303 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
Pearl was founded in 1881 as a traditional brewery. These days, however, the bustling complex is less about beer than its 15 restaurants, dozen-plus retailers, and numerous family-friendly events, including a twice-weekly farmers’ market. Start with lunch at La Gloria, chef Johnny Hernandez’s nod to interior Mexico, followed by dessert at Bakery Lorraine, where you’ll find an enticing rainbow of Parisian-style macarons. If you’re in the mood to shop, pick up a tailored guayabera from Dos Carolinas, or a piece of handcrafted jewelry from Ten Thousand Villages. Pearl Brewery is even home to Hotel Emma, a true gem in San Antonio’s boutique-lodging scene, in case you don’t want to leave.
205 E Guenther St, San Antonio, TX 78204, USA
In the mid-1800s, the Pioneer Mills family helped found San Antonio’s active flour milling industry. It’s fitting that their private residence, the Guenther House, is now home to a local history museum and a delicious restaurant that serves some of the best pancakes in San Antonio. The pioneer biscuits and waffles are also a favorite best enjoyed riverside. Come for the food, but linger for the history lesson.
2, 312 Pearl Pkwy #2102, San Antonio, TX 78215, USA
Even if you aren’t planning to take a cooking course during your visit to San Antonio, a trip to the Culinary Institute of America is worth a visit. It’s a great area to walk around in, and you can try coffee and pastries at the CIA Bakery Cafe. You can also eat at NAO, the award-winning restaurant at the CIA that’s also part of the student’s educational experience. Be sure to make a reservation.