We enjoyed simply amazing food on our recent visit to San Antonio. If you are a foodie, I highly recommend putting San Antonio on your bucket list. The food scene here is on another level, with fabulous restaurants around every corner. Here are some of my favorites for Mexican food in particular.
I have been hosted in some of these restaurants. All opinions are mine.
1. Mi Tierra Cafe
Started as a three-table restaurant in the 1940s by the Cortez family, Mi Tierra Cafe has grown into a 500-person restaurant, as well as an on-site traditional Mexican bakery and market. Still locally owned and operated, Mi Tierra serves pure Tex-Mex cuisine at its finest. With so many mouth-watering dishes on the menu, it’s hard to know where to start.
What to order at Mi Tierra
The Enchiladas Verdes de Pollo got a resounding thumbs up from my dinner mates. The vibrant green tomatillo sauce coating the hot enchiladas is especially delicious. For starters, try the roasted salsa served with fresh, crunchy tortilla chips. The roasted flavor offers a unique twist on the traditional salsas I’m used to and proves the difference is good.
I recommend the mole chicken enchiladas, one of the most popular dishes on the menu. A house specialty, this dish features two enchiladas stuffed with chicken and smothered in a rich dark brown taupe sauce, served with the traditional rice and beans. I’ve often read about the wonders of a well-made mole, but I’ve never found a mole that turned me on. This is until now. The soft chocolate undertones of Mi Tierra’s taupe will blow your mind. This mole is a winner.
Pro tip: On your way out, don’t let the lines at Panaderia stop you from picking out your favorite Mexican pastries. The line is moving fast.
2. La Gloria
Everyone from our Uber driver to our hotel bellhop told us to go to La Gloria if we wanted to try some of the best Mexican food San Antonio has to offer. Chef-owner Johnny Hernandez runs this restaurant and several others in his beloved town of Alamo. La Gloria, one of Pearl’s two original restaurants, specializes in Mexican street food. These are the dishes that inspired Johnny as he traveled through Mexico, exploring different regions and cultures.
Lunch in the brightly colored La Gloria dining room is a mix of dishes, all showcasing what makes Mexican street food so good. We particularly enjoyed the ceviches and the soup. We tried the marinated pork and chicken sopes. The mole sauce on the sope pollo con mole is divine.
As a chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America, Johnny is very involved in the San Antonio culinary scene and the community at large. Its support contributed to the city being recognized as a City of Gastronomy by UNESCO. And its annual Dia de Los Muertos festival held throughout San Antonio is the largest Day of The Dead festival in all of the United States.
What to order at La Gloria
Owner Johnny Hernandez has a particular fondness for Mexico’s coastal Veracruz region and over many visits has perfected the art of making ceviche. Try one of his fresh ceviche creations. The Ceviche Veracruzano, made with delicate white fish, onion, jalapeno, tomato, cilantro and olive oil, won rave reviews from everyone in our party.
Chef John Russ has figured out how to turn a gourmet meal into a truly fun and memorable dining experience. Lots of places have great food, but few have such a cool concept as the Feed Me menu you’ll find at Clementine. Our super server, Edward, calls the concept a “controlled surprise”. Our dinner here was awesome!
Although the menu is not focused on Mexican dishes, we loved the Latin-influenced flavors of our favorite dishes. 2022 James Beard Award Semi-Finalist Chef Russ adds compressed cherries, peaches, basil, chili and cilantro microgreens to his seafood for a totally fresh twist on ceviche.
Clémentine does not neglect any detail. The fresh chimichurri that accompanies many entrees is homemade every hour. The delicious okra is sliced down the middle and seared, taking care of the usual stickiness that can sometimes be encountered. And the octopus, from Spain, is something I never thought I’d like, but I loved it.
Pastry Chef Elise, a partner in the business and married to Chef John, creates an amazing range of desserts. The crunchy clementine bar, chocolate mousse, roasted hazelnuts and clementine sorbet is quite simply a work of art.
What to order at Clémentine
Order the Feed Me, without a doubt. You’ll get chef-selected seasonal dishes, including savory dishes, dessert options, and expert wine pairings. The fun part is that you don’t know exactly what you’re going to eat, but whatever it is will be delicious. Chef John and his kitchen will accommodate your dietary preferences and manage any dietary restrictions.
4. La Panaderia
With a vanilla latte in hand, I stood in line at La Panaderia waiting to choose from the beautiful and intricate Mexican pastries in front of me. According to Manager Ray, the line this weekday morning at the flagship Houston Street location was short by their standards. On the weekends it usually meanders around the block.
As an artisan bakery, owners Jose and David Caceres do things the old-fashioned way here, which means making dough daily for their handmade bread and pastries. La Panaderia is known for its Mexican roots. Jose and David, originally from Mexico City, have carefully incorporated these roots and other international flavors from their travels into exquisite pastries and breads at La Panaderia since 2014.
With David’s background as a Culinary Institute of America graduate and James Beard Award finalist, and Jose’s CEO skills, the two-brother team covers all the bases.
What to order at La Panaderia
Try Rosca de Reyes, a superb pastry that symbolizes a crown and the journey of the three kings to find Jesus. Or try one of the delicious bear claws or monkey bread.
5. Four Brothers
Baked in a Texas-shaped skillet, who could resist Bexar’s cornbread? As I slathered myself in the butter and honey served alongside the gigantic pan of bread, my mouth was watering in anticipation of good things to come. The brand new Four Brothers restaurant, located in the Omni La Mansion del Rio, has an interesting history. The name Four Brothers comes from its previous life as a Catholic school run by four clergy brothers. The restaurant, under the direction of chef Andres Farias, specializes in Southern specialties with a Texan touch.
Pro Tip: Enjoy either at an outside table along the river for a magnificent dining experience.
What to order at Four Brothers
Highly recommend the jalapeno cornbread and honey. We also enjoyed the complex flavors of the chicken adovada, a half roast chicken in a rich red chili sauce served with roast potatoes, charred leeks and crema sauce, is excellent.
6. Boudro’s Texas Bistro
Located on the San Antonio Riverwalk, Boudros has been a local institution since the 1980s. The dining room features limestone walls adorned with mirrors and dark polished wood dining tables that create the perfect ambiance for an occasion dinner. special or an evening with friends. Gulf Coast Crab Cakes feature fresh blue crab, roasted corn sauce, jicama salad and serrano aioli, showcasing seafood prepared with a Tex-Mex twist. Next time you’re in San Antonio, grab a table at Boudro’s (they accept online reservations) and enjoy an upscale meal inspired by the bold flavors of Mexico.
What to order from Boudro
My favorite margarita, the colorful prickly pear, is served with ancho pepper on the rim of the glass, a magical addition to this spectacular cocktail. You also have to order the Boudro guacamole, freshly prepared and served at the table. It’s legendary.
7. Pearl Cure
Six-time James Beard Award finalist Steve McHugh is the master behind the handcrafted masterpieces you’ll find at Cured At Pearl. Here, the focus is on regional ingredients. In fact, during our visit, we were told that they referred to their sourcing philosophy as the 60 mile plate. Almost every ingredient here can be traced within a 60 mile radius. Although not a Mexican restaurant, Cured offers dishes influenced by local Texas culture.
What to order from Cured At Pearl
Homemade Frito Pie is a decadent blend of dry-aged beef chili, beer cheese, cilantro, sour cream, pickled jalapeno, and black beans. We liked the kicky jalapeno cheddar sausage served with Napa slaw. For dessert, try the prickly pear sorbet with mesquite cake crumbles, blackberries and squash blossoms.
We also liked the reserve charcuterie plate. An absolutely gorgeous presentation, this charcuterie board tastes as good as it looks. You will enjoy a range of cold meats and artisanal cheeses as well as a selection of fruits and spreads. Start by digging into the duck ham and the chicken liver mouse and let your mouth come alive.
8. La Fonda on the Main
La Fonda On Main has been recommended by several locals as one of the best places in San Antonio. As San Antonio’s oldest restaurant, it’s been around since the 1930s and serves traditional Mexican specialties.
What to order at La Fonda sur Main
At brunch, try the steak and egg rellenos. Poblano pepper stuffed with rib eye, scrambled eggs and cheese is a hearty and satisfying Tex-Mex meal.
Heading to San Antonio? Don’t miss