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Restaurants & Other Dining Places

For those with kids and those who feel like kids the Rainforest Cafe is a fun place to go if you are looking for a place on the riverwalk!   From the street level it's directly across the street (on the south side) of the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  It's two stories (street level and the river walk level).  It is very colorful and worth a look-see even if you don't stay and eat. 

 

Check this out for other choices:
Best Restaurants for 2010
 

Boy, this is a touchy subject.  I hesitate to go where angels fear to tread but what the hey, I wouldn't be doing you much service unless I make somebody upset about their not being included.  San Antonio has beaucoup restaurants.  And if they're anywhere remotely fashionable I've eaten there.  In fact, there are very few places I haven't eaten at and I think most of them are passable.  When I go visiting a new city, I like to eat where the locals eat and stay away from the tourist places.  Fortunately for you, most of the restaurants that you will visit are frequented by locals as well as tourists.  We don't go to the Riverwalk for dinner as often as we should, but when we do we eat at the same restaurants that you are faced with.  The one restaurant that comes immediately to mind that is a tourist restaurant is Dick's Last Resort.  If you enjoy paying to be insulted by your waiter (as part of their attraction) then have at it.

A few restaurants worth mentioning specifically along the Riverwalk are: 

Boudros  This is just a very good restaurant.  Has been in operation for perhaps 20 years.  Serves Southwest and Cajun style quisine.

Paesanos  This restaurant is owned by a local restauranteur who has the flagship Paesanos restaurant up north near The Quarry Mall.  I eat at the north side location about once a month. Try the Shrimp Paesano, their signature piece.  Italian food.

I might add that Las Canarias, Hotel La Mansion del Rio's restaurant is also good.

Now here is an assortment of restaurants that I list either because of the food, charm, longevity or history associated with the place.  I'll only mention those downtown within easy reach of the typical tourist/guest.  If you don't like my choices then check out some of the annual Reader Choice winners on the Miscellany page.

Breakfast Places

Guenther House  Lovely location near King William area.  Can get there by walking along the Riverwalk or taking a streetcar trolley. Location map.

205 E. Guenther St.
210-227-1061
daily 7am-3pm

Estela's Mexican Restaurant  You will never see this on any tourist map.  If fact most locals don't even know about this place.  The restaurant is in an unappealing low rent area but considering you will be going for breakfast is quite safe.  It is a large restaurant with meeting rooms and has its own bakery counter selling mexican pastries.  The place is always quite full so don't think I'm sending you to a dive.  You'll have to take a cab but if you go on a Saturday or Sunday morning you will be eating mexican food accompanied by the music of mariachis, which is the reason I'm sending you there.  These are not the roving, for tourist show, hand out for a tip, mariachis.  These are varied San Antonio groups that  entertain on stage the clientele which is almost exclusively local hispanics.  This is so San Antonio, you can't find any more local color than this.  The group does take a break, so hopefully you won't be dining during the lull of entertainment.  Be reminded I'm not sending you to this place for the food, decor or location.  I'm referring you because here you get to see locals enjoying mariachis music just because they like it.  Not as a tourist draw.  This may be one of those intimate and memorable events in S.A. that you will remember forever.  Shhh...don't tell too many people about this place.

 

Estela's
2200 W. Martin Street
210-226-2979
Verify that they have mariachis the day you go.
It's only a mile or two from downtown but once there it might be more time efficient if you call a cab company and arrange a specific time to pick you up so you won't have to be waiting for a cab to return.
Bus Route 77 goes by but only once an hour, so the bus is not practical.

 

Lunch Spots

For a sandwich and home made draft root beer try Schilo's Delicatessen on Houston St.  The place has been there for roughly 80 years and has the ambiance to prove it. 

 

Schilo's
424 E. Commerce St. 
210-223-6692
Near the Commerce St. bridge

 

Dining Spots

I realize most of you will want to spend what limited time you have dining along the Riverwalk.  And with good reason.  It's a beautiful location.  So, other than the above listed Riverwalk restaurants I won't highlight any others there.  However, for those of you who wish to try something else of gastronomic excellence I will mention the following.  Both are downtown and next to the Riverwalk, but on the street level not the river level, so you will find them easy to get to.  You will not be disappointed at either place.

 

Biga on the Banks  Another restaurant owned and operated by its chef.  In this case, Bruce Auden, who has been on the local scene for many years.  Suggest you make a reservation here also.  The food is contemporary American/Regional.  You will enjoy this dining experience.  As mentioned the restaurant is downtown and, at street level, overlooks the River.  Again, bring your wallet as you will pay.

Biga on the Banks
203 S. St. Mary's St.
210-225-0722
Open only for dinner

 

Local Inside Information

A very popular place on Friday evening is to go to El Jarro.  It's obviously, or maybe not too obvious to outsiders, a mexican food restaurant.  And Friday evening it is always packed.  They have a free band playing and a dance floor which allows you to work off the margarita calories.  It is north of downtown up in suburb land but is really a well known and local hangout.

If you really, really want to be in the "know" you will be at La Fonda restaurant (the one at Sunset Ridge strip center on N. New Braunfels Ave) at 6 p.m. on Sunday evening.  You won't know a soul but rest assured that most everyone in there is well connected in local society.  It's a gathering of the equals.

 

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