Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >

San Antonio Sam's Profile

Title Last Reply

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

Yeah - we got the 12oz beer split 12 ways, too. Not only that, we had to use the same glass for all the beverage pairings . .so we drank our 1oz of white wine out of the same glass we just drank our 1oz of beer out of.

The dishes, for me, fell flat, too. It was a while ago now so I can't remember any details but I do remember thinking it was as if a culinary student from Canada tried to make a high-end dining experience by reading 1 Diane Kennedy cookbook and 1 book by Heston Blumenthal.

When we went, we had half the table and the other half was some older ladies who were just gushing over every bite . . so who knows, maybe they are the ones writing reviews . .or maybe they did get better but, honestly, I'll probably never find out for myself.

May 16, 2015
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

rasputina is talking about uncooked tortillas, though. These are actually somewhat hard to find in most places. Not talking about regular corn tortillas that you fry up before using (and you are correct - there is no way a corn tortilla should be ever be served without at least being heated first).

The Old El Paso taco shells are facsimiles of crispy tacos. We have great crispy tacos in San Antonio. Typically filled with ground beef. We call it "picadillo" which actually refers to a few different preparations .. but in San Antonio Tex Mex it's usually just ground beef, taco seasonings and maybe potato cubes.

I will admit that I like Old El Paso Taco Shells, lol. I grew up in the north east and when my Mom would make tacos, it was Old El Paso shells filled with ground beef cooked up with a packet of taco seasonings, shredded cheddar, diced tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. I make them for my own kids with ground turkey. Frequently. There's just something about it that takes me right back to the dinner table I grew up around. I actually don't have that much love for San Antonio crispy tacos . . . anyway, lol.

check out this video about puffy tacos . .from one of my favorite Tex Mex places - Teka Molino

May 16, 2015
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

No - I like Paloma Blanca. The place I was talking about is Mixtli. Hopefully I'm not offending anybody who had a good experience there . .but on the night I visited, it was one of the biggest let-downs ever.

May 16, 2015
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

I also live in TX. Hugo's is my favorite restaurant that I've ever been to. Ever. Now I'm going to have to make the trek up to Austin to try Fonda San Miguel.

As far as San Antonio goes . .we definitely have some authentic Mexican food here. A couple good restaurants, a couple good seafood places, some good fruterias and taco shops, a couple good chicken places, we have a "high end" place . .but it's crap. Tex-Mex outnumbers Authentic Mex by at least 20 to 1. Especially if you consider Barbacoa to be Tex-Mex (which, the way it is served in San Antonio, I do).

For the OP - there are tons of little taco shops in San Antonio offering Barbacoa - it's steamed cow head . .sometimes just the cheeks, sometimes other parts, too. It's pretty good stuff and everybody has a different answer to who makes the best. I like it scrambled up with eggs better than by itself but if it's really meaty and not greasy then I like it without egg. It is often served with a soda called Big Red. You're not allowed to say anything bad about Big Red in San Antonio so I'll just stop right there and say I prefer coffee, lol.

For true, authentic Tex Mex (and yes, I believe there is such a thing as authentic Tex Mex) . .I vote San Antonio (and/or Rio Grande Valley). If it's authentic Mex you're after, I don't have any advice as to what city to go to . .but I'd go to Houston just for Hugo's. If you watch Mexico, One Plate at a Time, where Rick Bayless visits with top chefs in Mexico - they're doing that same kind of stuff at Hugo's and it's phenomenal. Seriously.

May 14, 2015
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Two nights in San Antonio, possible lunches

You've gotten a lot of good recommendations so far . .I'm just going to give you one. Less than 1 mile away from the convention center is Candy's Old Fashion. Go there for lunch. Personally, I would order the jalapeno cheddar burger unless you don't like jalapenos.

To me, the jalapeno-cheddar burger is a quintessential San Antonio dish. It's delicious, fattening and inexpensive. When I read that back it sounds bad . .but I don't mean it that way. San Antonio is all about things that are delicious, fattening and inexpensive. Yes, of course we have other things, but delicious, fattening and inexpensive is the (clogged) heartbeat of San Antonio. You wouldn't go to Tokyo for the spaghetti, would you?

May 14, 2015
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Need a Tex-Mex itinerary

San Antonio is really the beating heart of tex-mex. I've not been to Dallas so I can't speak to that city . .but Austin and Houston are both great cities with great food and they both have great Tex-Mex . .but San Antonio is about as "All Tex-Mex, All the Time" as a larger city can get. It's the the home of the chili queens, the birthplace of the puffy taco and the place where the combo plate was invented.

If I came to San Antonio specifically for Tex-Mex, I would focus on puffy tacos, cheese enchiladas, tamales, tortilla soup, breakfast tacos and fajitas. Depending on time . .I might also throw in a bean burger. This, unlike in most areas, is a beef burger, slathered in refried beans and gooey cheese and topped with crumbled tortilla chips. It is like Tex-Mex phase 2 - deep integration, lol.

The best margaritas in town, in my opinion, are at El Mirasol . .which is not really a Tex-Mex place in the traditional, processed cheese, sense of the word. My second favorite are at Tito's - which does have excellent Tex-Mex. Mark's Favorite Plate is also my favorite (at Tito's, anyway).

Teka Molina is another must, in my opinion. They are masters of masa so you want to focus on corn-related offerings here vs the flour. Awesome puffy tacos. The enchiladas have more of a chili-con-carne topping vs the chile gravy that I personally prefer. The tamales are killer. They also have these little deep-fried masa cups - filled with picadillo, guacamole or beans that are fantastic.

There are so many good flour tortillas in town that I can't make a recommendation except don't buy into the Alamo Cafe thing . .the tortillas are fine but, like I said, there are awesome flour tortillas coming out of every nook and cranny in this town. Can't really think of a bad flour tortilla I've eaten in this town in the 4 years I've lived here.

My favorite for breakfast tacos is Pete's Tako House but, like with flour tortillas, it's much harder to find a bad breakfast taco than a good one.

One thing I really want to do is go on an eating trip to the Rio Grande Valley. I haven't done it yet so I can't advise except to say that while San Antonio is where Tex-Mex really matured and became popular, the Rio Grande Valley is where it was born.

So I would say that you could definitely do worse . .for both eating Tex Mex and kayaking . .than to start your trip in San Antonio and then drive down through the RGV. The only problem is spending a few days . .you really need like 2 weeks. And don't forget your stretchy pants, lol.

Some kayaking destinations . .
The Upper Guadalupe River
The Frio River
The Nueces River
Lake Amistad
Pedernales River
Devils River (advanced planning required)

Check out

May 14, 2015
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Need six VG lunch spots: San Antonio

Sarovar - on my alternates list - is Indian. It's my favorite Indian in SA (not that I've tried them all, of course). The food is quite spicy. They have a buffet several nights a week (not sure about lunch - only been for dinner).

If it's available, I recommend the buffet. The one time I had it - the labeling was not so good so I kind of had no idea what some of the items were - but they were all delicious . .and pretty spicy! I made sort of a pig of myself it was all so good . . .I sort of had to waddle out to my car afterwards . . .nothing to make a regular thing out of, lol.

Ordering off the menu is good, too . .you can ask for less spicy if you want. So far, I've been here about 6 times and ordered something different each time and liked it all . .well, except I got chicken biryani twice . . it's good.

As for Greek - Jerusalem Grill has Middle Eastern, Greek, Persian and Turkish food. I've heard that Mina and Dimi's is good but have not been. Our favorite Chinese in town is China Inn . . but it's nothing really special . .just good, solid American-style Chinese food. The place amazinc is talking about on NW Military is called Sichuan Cuisine . .and they have some really good traditional items on thier menu - but for American style stuff. .like Beef and Broccoli, Kung Pao Chicken, etc .. we go to China Inn just down the street.

Oct 26, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Need six VG lunch spots: San Antonio

My 6 picks
1. Jerusalem Grill
2. El Bucanero
3. El Mirasol
4. Thai Dee
5. Cappy's
6. Florio's Pizza (or Dough, if you want it more upscale)

Moroccan Bites
Taqueria Datapoint
Jamaica Jamaica (take-out only - nearby Tobin Park has some picnic tables)

Hope your therapy goes well and your next 6 trips to SA are just for fun.

Oct 25, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

San Antonio Help

I have never stayed there (since I'm local) but have been for drinks and would recommend the Hotel Indigo - Alamo. It's right near The Alamo . .of course. Another fun place to visit is the Texas T pub - if you like dive bars.

For eating, I hate to say it but the Riverwalk is slim-pickings - especially for those with good palates. Most places on the riverwalk are targeting out-of-towners who are staying there and don't want to go far to eat.

If you were staying at Hotel Indigo - Southtown is only 1 mile away. A very cheap cab ride or you could even walk it - if it's not too terribly hot. Some good places to eat in Southtown on a budget :
Taco Haven
Liberty Bar
Cascabel Mexican Patio (good authentic Mex!)
The Monterey (I hesitate to recommend - but it's kind of a cool spot. A bit pricey and food can be hit or miss but interesting small plate selections and a decent wine list)

Make sure and have a beer at the Friendly Spot, too.

Jul 08, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Dining Options in San Antonio - What's good? Local??

For authentic mex I would recommend Guajillos or Cascabel Mexican Patio. El Bucanero is tops if you like seafood - do not miss the fried fish tacos and ceviche! A little higher priced but absolutely delicious is El Mirasol - their Chispas are the best margaritas in town, IMO.

My favorite tex mex is Teka Molino. Crazy delicious. If you want to try something different, try Gorditas Dona Tota - a fast food chain with dozens of locations in Mexico but just a few in the US.

If you're interested in the best chicken fingers in the world, check out Speedy's on the South Side.

The bean burger is a San Antonio classic . .my favorite is Order Up.

I don't know if you have a Pollo Regio in Dallas . .. but if not, give that place a try for some fantastic mexican grilled chicken - get plenty of the green salsa.

The Guenther House is a favorite for breakfast - get there early to avoid the lines. Same thing with Magnolia Pancake Haus. Better food than GH, in my opinion . .but just a normal diner where GH is in an old victorian mansion on the river.

Also consider The Liberty Bar, Titos and Rosarios in Southtown.

Don't forget to bring some loose pants for the drive home, lol

Mar 13, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Innovative San Antonio cuisine?

I've never thought much of our "innovative" cuisine here in San Antonio . .I've said as much on this and other threads. However, there is a relatively new place called Laurent's Modern Cuisine in Olmos Park that I am happy to say is absolutely killing it.

I was blown away by my meal at Laurent's. The menu was small but packed with interesting options. The dishes were perfectly executed and the service was fantastic. Most importantly . .the flavors were just expertly matched and so well thought out.

Truly the most enjoyable evening of fine dining I've had in San Antonio. Actually, the only evening of fine dining in San Antonio that I've truly enjoyed as an entire experience. .not just enjoyed aspects of.

Nao had great drinks, ok food and wierd service. Sustenio had dishes that were hit and miss. Bliss was good but kind of played out with deconstructed, "big plate, small food" dishes that were popular 5-10 years ago.

Laurent's is the whole package. Modern and classic at the same time . .with flavors that will blow you away.

Mar 09, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

What's your favorite "Texas" products?

I like all the suggestions so far. I'll add Pioneer Baking Mix . .and White Wings Tortilla Mix. Both by CH Guenther in San Antonio.

Mar 01, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Best Mexican breakfast in San Antonio?

There are so many great places that there really isn't a *best* in my opinion. You can't even turn around in this town without knocking over a tray of breakfast tacos or stepping in a plate of chilaquiles.

I don't have any recs for right near where you're staying - . .but probably not far is Tommy's on San Pedro or perhaps a little farther would be Taco Taco. Taco Taco is "famous" if you're into that. The food is great - particularly the awesome thick flour tortillas. But it's a tiny place and you may have to wait a bit for a seat.

If you want to take a nice drive in the country I could heartily recommend Grumpy's Mexican Cafe . . or going in the totally opposite direction would be Benjamins Kitchen. Benjamin's Kitchen is an experience - if you have the time I would recommend it. Grumpy's is famous for ridiculous portion sizes . .and the food is great, too.

As I said, tho . . .if you just drive around in the am you will probably find a great breakfast at the first mexican place you come to.

Feb 27, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

BBQ near Riverwalk in SA?

I haven't found anything in SA that compares to Central TX BBQ but there are a few decent places. Most are far from the Riverwalk - however . .Mr J's on S New Braunfels is just a short, colorful cab ride away.

Mr J's is definitely a dive - and not like a TX BBQ Joint dive . .but a "looks like it's falling down/I can't believe this is a licensed business" type of dive . . so, depending on what you're looking for, it may or may not be for you.

Feb 26, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

El Pollo Regio and/or Best Mexican Chicken

Pollo Regio is still awesome.

If you didn't get this rec already from the Houston folks - try Pollo Campero.

Feb 23, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Good steaks in San Antonio?

I mostly agree - however there are some steakhouses in the country where you can get a quality of meat that you can't find at Costco. A truly great ,aged steak is indeed something to behold and is worth 40 bucks ala cart. You just cant find such a thing in San Antonio (as far as my experience goes).

Feb 15, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Mexican in San Antonio

Guajillo's is awesome - my favorite. They don't have lengua or menudo - at least not on a regular basis . .but they do have a birria that I could vouch for.

If you've never tried it before you might want to try barbacoa - beef cheek or whole head - depending on where and how you order. If given the choice, this gringo chooses "all meat", lol. Can recommend Mimi's tamales and barbacoa . .or, if it's in the evening, Erick's Tacos has barbacao tacos that I like.

You could also go down to a Culebra Meat Market, pick up some barbacoa, a pack of corn tamales, a plastic tub of red hot salsa and a Big Red - a very "San Antonio" experience.

Jan 29, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Good steaks in San Antonio?

Funny - Texas Road House is probably the best steak I've had around here, too. On Weds (I think) they have $11 sirloin steaks . .definitely the best $11 steak I've had.

I've tried a couple of our higher end places and was mostly underwhelmed. If I was visiting from out of town and wanted a kind of "San Antonio" or Texas type experience . .I would recommend either The Barn Door or Tejas Rodeo company. They both have good steak - Tejas probably a little better - but the places are great. Tejas has actual rodeos on the weekends and The Barn Door is one of the oldest restaruants in SA.

Jan 29, 2013
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Drew's American Grille

Right before lunch, my boss came into my office and told me we needed to visit a client site and would grab lunch along the way. I ended up eating a Subway Sandwiich! If that's not grounds for quitting a job, I don't know what is!

Dec 16, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Drew's American Grille

I agree with the doc. Drew's is a pass for me. Defintely overpriced and the food is just ok. I'm actually in Houston today - near the Galleria. Pastrami sounds pretty awesome (I'm also an East Coast transplant). I'm going to do my best to eat lunch there today - thanks for mentioning it.

Dec 14, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Acenar vs Biga on the Banks vs NAO

If you're looking for some hole-in-the-wall, real deal, "essence of San Antonio" type places and are willing to venture from the River Walk. .I recommend trying out:

Erick's Tacos
Los Cocos
Rubens Tamales (or Tellez, you're choice)
El Folklor - The taco shop in the La Fiesta Supermarket on Ingram Rd
Some breakfast tacos from just about anywhere.

And, then, if you're tired of Mexican (I don't see how you could be) - you might want to have breakfast at Magnolia Pancake House, have a chicken fried steak at Grumpys Mexican Cafe (not actually a mexican place) or Richter's Antler Cafe, have some BBQ at Home of Da Smoke, the best chicken fingers you ever, ever had at Speedy's Chicken. A burger at Longhorn Cafe would round all that out nicely and send you waddling home happy, with fond memories of the Alamo City and some loose sweatpants, lol.

Also - A few fun places to check out within a mile or 2 from the RW - The Friendly Spot, La Tuna Ice House, Alamo Eat Street (food trucks). If you like dive bars, the Texas T pub, just off the riverwalk is one where I've managed to have some enjoyable times.

Dec 12, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Acenar vs Biga on the Banks vs NAO

I haven't tried Biga yet but I have recently been to both Acenar and NAO. Both were, quite frankly, disapointing. NAO has better food and the menu is definitely more "foodie" but the service, when I went, was akward, the portions really small and most of the dishes were pretty average.

Acenar was really disapointing. It was loud, crowded, slow service, a little dirty (probably due to the rush but there was a lot of stuff on the floor) and the food is no better or different than what you can get at any number of other mexican restaurants - mostly cheaper and with better service. And, unforgivably, the margaritas were weak.

So, out of those 3, I would choose Biga. I have heard good things and want to try it. On the other hand, I have tried Bruce Audens other restaurant, Auden's Kitchen a few times and was mostly disapointed.

For a San Antonio foodie, I recommend Austin. This is not to say that I don't love the food here in SA . .I really, really, do . .but in my experience it's just not a "foodie" town and trying such places leads to disapointment upon disapointment.

In the last year, I have tried Sustenio, Bliss, The Monterey, Feast, Rosario's and Bin 555 in addition to Acenar and NAO. Can't say a single one of them is worth a second visit. If pressed, I would say Feast was my favorite - mostly because they have nice cocktails and I got pretty drunk . .the food could've been awful, I guess. I would also consider giving Bliss another shot - especially if I could get 6 people together and do the Chef's Table. If I went back to Sustenio, I would try to sit at the Ceviche bar (although you can get way better ceviche at any number of places, NAO not being one of them).

Other than Biga, I would for sure go to South Town instead. My personal choice would be Tito's but my wife looks at my like she wants to slap me when I recommend it. It's basically a bar and not remotely fancy or nice inside . .but they make strong margaritas and the food is pretty good.

I also second the rec to try Gwendolyn . .haven't tried it yet but I definitely plan to. My favorite "nice" restaruant in San Antonio is, by far, Cappy's in Alamo Heights. The menu is pretty traditional but the food and service are excellent.

Have fun in SA whatever you choose to eat!

Dec 11, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Where can i get a terrific salad in San Antonio

I've read this post several times hoping somebody would answer - San Antonio is just not a salad town. 2 days ago, though, I tried River Tree Bistro on Blanco near 1604 for the first time and they have really great salads!

Nov 20, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

San Antonio Riverwalk

If you happen to be in the mood for a burger while driving up I35 - you should check out CBQ Eatery in Shertz.

As for Riverwalk restaurants - The recs in this thread are solid but Southtown is less than a mile away and has a lot more good places to eat.

Nov 10, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Best BBQ San Antonio?

I finally got a chance to try Home of Da Smoke in Adkins. I was very impressed, indeed. The pork ribs, in particular, were outstanding - best I've had in and around San Antonio. It's a bit of a hike from most parts of the city but well worth a visit.

Oct 30, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Best BBQ San Antonio?

oh, yeah . . .I love the baked potato with chopped brisket, too. That's a nap-inducing lunch, for sure!

Oct 16, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Italian in San Antonio

Maybe Luce was just having a good day when I visited? I have not tried the gnocchi at Tre Trattoria or Il Sogno - but I grew up in an Italian family and my uncle owned an Italian restaurant - both he and my grandmother made gnocchi - which is the basis for my comparisons. They made food in a very different style than Tre Trattoria and Il Sogno. No Gorgonzola in my grandma's kitchen.

FWIW - my wife ordered the bolognese and didn't really care for it.

Oct 15, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Italian in San Antonio

If I wanted to load up on carbs, I would head straight to Luce in the Huebner Oaks shopping center and order a plate of house-made gnocchi. I love gnocchi - most places don't do them justice but these are light, fluffy bombs of carbohydrate-loaded goodness.

Oct 14, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Best BBQ San Antonio?

Never been to any other location but servicable and "go to" are words I would use to describe Smokey Mo's in San Antonio. It's consistently very good. I never really liked thier brisket - too lean and dry for me - but all the other meats are very good. The pork loin and turkey are really special - I can't think of a place that does those meats better. I moved across town and haven't been back for a while - our new go to place is not as good as Smokey Mo's . .but I still don't drive across town for it.

Oct 14, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas

Moving to San Antonio

Gaujillos is great. Pam's Patio Kitchen, Zorba's and Garibaldi's are all good, too. Mamacita Jean's is a regular spot for us for weekend breakfast - I have to qualify that recommendation by saying that the service can be slow and some of the menu items are better than others - but the staff is awesome and it's one of those places that we just love to go. My favorite breakfast taco is sausage and potato - with jimmy dean type sausage vs bbq link or chorizo . .and Mamacita Jean's has those plus delicious hot green salsa.

Sep 22, 2012
San Antonio Sam in Texas