One of our friends will be in San Antonio this Sunday. We talk on the phone frequently, but haven’t seen each other in person for years and this is a rare chance to meet. She is available for lunch.
Unfortunately, we know zip about lunch restaurants in San Antonio. Hill Country and Austin, no problem, but heading south, our food knowledge kind of ends with New Braunfels. It’s about 45 minutes to New Braunfels from where she is staying, and we don’t want to waste time crawling up and down I35. The few San Antonio places we do know are either dinner only or too loud.
She is staying near the Riverwalk, close to the junction of Chavez and I-37. Do you have any recommendations for a lunch restaurant in San Antonio, preferably with easy parking, good food, and relatively quiet atmosphere, so we can chat?
Wish I could help, but I’m in the UK 😞
Looking forward to the recommendations tho, planning on stealing some for our dream foodie trip to the US some day 😁
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Everywhere will be packed! Be sure to make a reservation. I live in Illinois so I can’t help either. I talked to my kid earlier this week and she’s been working so hard she didn’t realize this weekend was Mother’s Day weekend! We live in different parts of the country so we talk during the weeks she has off. One week on, one off.
My daughter and I were there a couple weeks ago visiting my aunt. She recommended the Alamo Cafe (14250 San Pedro Avenue, San Antonio) when we asked about “authentic Mexican cuisine”. It was really good! Friendly staff, good food. I’d recommend it:-)
Shannon from Texas says
2nd this, but it’s authentic TexMex, not Mexican. Still my fave SA restaurant, even tho’ I moved to DFW in 98. And their overflow-the-plate chicken fried steak is out of this world.
However, I don’t believe it’s an easy commute from downtown (it’s past the airport), it *will* be packed, and they don’t usually take reservations. Send Gordon an hour early to get on the list?
As a Mexican expatriate, I thank you for this distinction 👏👏
Elizabeth Tures says
Chris Madrid’s. Home of the macho burger, which is the size of your head.
A Korbel says
I’m a big fan of Casa Rio, on the Riverwalk at Commerce (casario.com). It’s the oldest restaurant on the river. Basic Texmex, not fancy but good. You can sit inside or on the balcony overlooking the river.
There’s a parking garage virtually across the street.
There’s also the Chart House at the top of the Tower of the Americas at Hemisfair Park. (you can’t miss it). Never been but I’ve heard it’s nice. http://www.chart-house.com
We stumbled into Casa Rio after a river tour…. food is good
Thirding Casa Rio.
The Chart House location in Boston has been one of my family’s favorite restaurants for over 30 years. To the extent that one evening 25 years ago, I ended up wandering around Boston for three hours with two of my brothers looking for a place to eat because “we ALWAYS eat at the Chart House!” (Guess where we ended up?)
I have no idea of the quality of any of their other locations, but my impression is that they are similar to The Capital Grill or Morton’s*, in that they are always high end.
*I also can make no comparisons on price, since I left Boston in 2004 and haven’t been back.
Stephanie C Spiher says
Casa Rio. just south of downtown, but walking distance easily.
Michelle Shivers says
Brasserie Mon Chou Chou in the Pearl District. Outstanding French
I second Mon Chou Chou.
Taylor Beaver says
Parking downtown is mixed. I would recommend someplace in Southtown or near the Pearl area. Liberty Bar (American) or Rosarios (Mexican) for Southtown. At the Pearl, Ladino (Mediterranean) or Arrosta (Italian) would be my suggestions. All are open for lunch and have parking nearby. If you do want to go downtown, the Palm is quiet. There’s a parking garage on Travis and Pecan that is close.
Was just about to suggest those two at the Pearl. Ate at both on my visit last year.
Carina P. says
I miss San Antonio. I lived there for a few years and would love to go back to visit. I didn’t eat out much so I don’t have places to recommend. I did love UTSA campus food though. Their pizza was amazing.
I would recommend the pearl area. you head to the parking garage parking is free. I like the loma Salgado at Botika.
A little farther away and cheaper is the velvet taco. It is easy to get down to the river walk for a stroll there and it is away from the crowds. There is also Ming’s both of these have free parking.
Kimberly au Telemanus says
2nd, 3rd, and 4th Velvet Taco! One of my very favs, and I miss it so much since I moved 😢
Boudros on the Riverwalk has been around for years and the food is consistently good.
Lynn L says
Sunday is Mother’s Day. I recommend a hotel bar if you want a quiet place to talk.
Wow! I 2nd this lady! Eat in your friends hotel bar. I just read an article that said Mother’s Day is the most hated holiday for servers in the food service industry (never would have guessed that )!
I very rarely venture downtown 🙁 But I can recommend anything at the Pearl Brewery like Brasserie Mon Chou Chou, First Quality Daughter, Full Goods Diner, Boilerhouse, Southerleigh, etc. Free parking in the Pearl garage for the first 2 hours. Unethical Pro tip: if longer than two hours, take your car out of the garage and then run right back in and get a new free 2-hour ticket. I even got my previous spot once!
Like others said though, reservations are a must, especially at the Pearl. Especially on Mothers Day. I hope you find a good place!
Honey Chipman says
I grew up in San Antonio. You should do The Mercado down town. It’s a touristy Mexican market and there are 2 good authentic Mexican restaurants there. My preference is La Margaritas out of the 2 and they do excellent puffy tacos which is a San Antonio specialty. Also just around the corner from the Alamo is an old German deli called Schilo’s-homemade root beer, split pea soup and brown bread-yum!
Dixie McIlwraith says
I can say there are multiple restaurants on the Riverwalk. I suggest you park and stroll along the banks, chatting and enjoying the area until you find one that looks perfect for the two of you.
I would recommend The Guenther House, Sam’s Burger Joint, Rosarios, or La Gloria. All are great!
Sam’s Burger Joint
330 East Grayson Street
San Antonio, TX 78215
722 S. SAINT MARY’S ST. SAN ANTONIO, TX 78205
The Guenther House
205 East Guenther Street
San Antonio, Texas 78204
100 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX 78215
Restaurant Claudine’s is lovely. There are lots of good restaurants near the Pearl. I recommend you park at your friends hotel and Uber or walk to avoid the hassle of parking. Southtown also has a lot of excellent restaurants, but modern architecture/style is not great for conversing.
Lynn L says
Sunday you really will need a reservation. Especially for any of the restaurants at the Pearl who take them. Boudros on the Riverwalk is our favorite there. Just about all the restaurants in and around The Pearl are very good including the Hotel Emma, which is a fun place. Depending on which hotel, your friend is staying at, some of the downtown hotels have very good restaurants also.
Wanda Harrison says
I’d recommend the restaurants mentioned that are in the Pearl. Not a far distance from where she’s staying and decent on and off from the 281. Reservations are a must.
I’d veto the Alamo Cafe, bad location for what you want. Chris Madrid’s is a great burger place but not the ambiance you’re looking for. I’d also stay away from the Mercado area. Great place to visit but not very quiet in my experient. Casa Rio is always nice.
My husband and I recently went to Dorrego’s, an Argentian steakhouse located in the Hotel Valencia. It was very nice, located on the Riverwalk, but also has a nice and quiet interior.
Another vote for Casa Rio – really pretty, and you can talk there.
Recommendation from a local: https://www.brasseriemonchouchou.com/reservations/
She says it’s amazing and they have a few reservations still available
My hands down favorite San Antonio restaurant is Rudy’s BBQ. Technically it’s north on I-10 a little ways north of 1604 and it used to be a dive. But wow, the BBQ is outstanding.
I second this one. Food is great and the “atmosphere” is interesting. Should have space even on Mother’s day.
+1 from me too. No reservations, can eat outside on picnic tables.
Not downtown though.
Pat Z says
There’s a Rudy’s on IH35 in Selma.
Dough Pizza at the Hemisfair
Pat Z says
I second Doughs. Their house made Burrata is fabulous! https://www.doughpizzeria.com/convention-center-hemisfair-menu/
Guenther House (bananas on a regular Sunday)
Mama’s Cafe (the chocolate cake!)
Honcho’s (churros in Alamo Heights)
Roberta Astroff says
Nola is wonderful, but relies on street parking and will probably be booked for Mothers Day.
Magic Time Machine! It’s super fun and weird.
Whoops, it appears to only have dinner hours. Sorry!
John B says
I would highly recommend La Frite down on Alamo
Pat Z says
been a while, and it is mothers’ day, but iirc, the Marriott on the Riverwalk has a lovely Jazz Sunday brunch. given the holiday, may be pricey. they did have a good hotel bar.
Julio Velasquez says
1720 Blanco Rd
424 E Commerce
Main Street Pizza
1906 N Main Ave
I second Liberty Bar–never disappoints! in addition to The Guenther House, I like Magnolia Pancake House (they have parking!). I also love The Pearl, which has a number of great choices.
Los Buccaneros- Mexican seafood, yum. Shrimp verde to die for.
Stephanie Smitj says
¡Santa María! Stay away from Riverwalk. Rosario’s Cominda Mex and Bar on S. St. Mary’s street. It’s still close to the Riverwalk, but the locals love it. Recently merged two locations into this one — so it gets crowded, but has a call ahead wait list. Potent margaritas— and be aware they are San Antonio Mexican restaurant , not Houston Mexican restaurant, so no chips and salsa unless requested and paired extra. Good luck and enjoy wherever you end up.
Pam Powers says
La Fonda on Main is open for lunch-need reservations. Open since 1932. Great Margaritas and good food. Checkout pictures of the patio. Not walkable from downtown but easy to Uber.
Shilo’s also has great cheese cake but not too quiet inside.
Pat Z says
La Fonda on Main is always great.
Colleen C. says
Oh man. I just left San Marcos and the weather was calling for, honest to god, 10 inches of rain. Good luck and stay safe!
Mina & Dimi’s, 7159 W US Hwy 90, San Antonio, TX 78227 (west-ish side of San Antonio, not really close to the Riverwalk, sorry)
Great Greek food – the gyro sandwiches and tzatziki sauce are amazing, especially with a side of feta fries.
Downside: everyone else knows that it’s amazing too, and it’s near the airbase, so it’s often very crowded during the lunch hour. I usually call in for takeout and then enjoy the yumminess at home.
Good restruarants is easy – it is the quiet that is very hard. My favorites down on the river is also Boudros but I am also a fan of Paesanos. Reservations would be a good idea. But both are troublesome when looking for quiet.
I would recommend a small, hole in the wall restaurant called Mama’s Cafe. It’s the kind of place that has daily specials written on a chalk board on wall and some great food. My dad really loved their country fried steak. I liked pretty much everything. It’s been a few years since I’ve been there. I have extended family in San Antonio, it was where meals were at when we visited.
Ramona Drago says
Charles Bukowski says
ocho at the Havana on augusta
Molly Valdez says
I don’t think you’ll find a seat or quiet on Mother’s Day weekend. I work in a restaurant, and patrons get fussy and loud on holidays due to the crowds. Best of luck, tho.
Aleea Brewer says
I wish you a wonderful lunch with your friend. I haven’t been to SA in 45 years, so my recommendation would most likely be gone. Have fun!
Susie Q. says
LaMargarita, 120 Produce Row 210-898-1745 lamargarita.com
They had a meal for 2 that had everything on it – fajitas, grilled onions, chicken, sausage, Chile relleno, papa’s. I’ve lived in Texas for over 20 years and it’s my favorite. It is in an area near the Mercado which has stores, etc., and another Mexican restaurant a brief stroll away with an amazing bakery.
Kathy Watts says
We live in the area and our favorite places are:
Mon Chou Chou – french cuisine in a quiet intimate setting. So fun! Really good food especially for a special occasion. Indoor and outdoor available and both are lovely, comfortable and fun!
Lupe Tortilla’s – always outstanding mexican food at a various locations. Might be a little noisier inside. But usually has an amazing patio outside where you can dine and have margaritas all day!
I agree with many of the folks who have recommended the Pearl area, although I suspect that it will be crowded this Sunday. Here are two suggestions:
1) At the Pearl: Hotel Emma has a little deli with delicious, not-too-expensive food, and they have a little seating area just outside that many people don’t know about. Eat lunch there and then walk back into the hotel and have a drink and chat in their huge, amazing bar. You may like it so much you’ll want to put in in a future book.
2. If it is raining (highly likely), don’t go down to the river, or downtown at all-there are way too many low water crossings and badly marked one-way streets. Go instead up San Pedro/Hwy 281 to El Jarro de Arturo. Don’t be fooled by the strip-center location. They have authentic Mexican food as well as Tex-Mex, and one of the crucial “musts” in San Antonio: authentic hand-made tortillas, which are beyond delicious. You may very well see some of the ladies patting them out and cooking them on a hot plate just before they are brought to your table. I highly, highly recommend the red snapper with mango and currants. Orro would not hesitate to steal the recipe.
I love the Orro addition to the recommendation.
I love El Jarro. El Mirasol too
El Mirasol is where we always go in San Antonio. Pinkertons, which started here in Houston, is now in SA. The one in Houston has amazing BBQ but I have never been to the one in SA
Pat Z says
I love El Jairo de Arturo. Their sangria is to die for. https://www.mysanantonio.com/food/recipes-cooking/article/Recipe-El-Jarro-de-Arturo-s-Sangria-5374667.php%22%3Emysanantonio.com
Jerusalem Grill I think has excellent food. Up by Bass Pro in The Rim they have an English pub called The Lion & Rose which is fun and I enjoyed the food.
I googled “best San Antonio Riverwalk restaurants”. Lots of photos. Boudros and Biga came out on top. I suggest picking anything over a 4 rating with over 1k ratings. Start calling down the list and ask if they have reservations in your time slot and if they have quiet seating. Good Luck!
Amber Marler says
Paesano Italian but the quarry. Lovely service, good pasta…
Casa Rio on the River Walk. Seating on the river and indoors. Some architectural elements from the original hacienda from 1777.
430 E. Commerce San Antonio, TX
I lived there for 12 years. On Mother’s Day it’s going to be extremely busy anywhere, but especially the Riverwalk. Also, the food on the Riverwalk is generally not great. There are a bunch of really good restaurants in the Pearl, which isn’t far from the Riverwalk, but it’s going to be busy. Some suggestions:
Best Quality Daughter
Down on Grayson
Full Goods Diner
There’s also the Food Hall, which has a variety of places. I have a lot more suggestions, but that’s a good place to start
Taco Garage was my hands down favorite restaurant when I was in San Antonio
Michelle Luster says
In full disclosure I am not a San Antonio person, but when a visited a few years ago this place was delightful
It’s near Hotel Emma, which was converted from a brewery. I stayed at the hotel for a conference and we walked to this place for lunch on the last day.
Have a nice visit with your friends
When I have friends that are passing through town with only a few hours to visit, I usually meet them at their hotel with a picnic basket filled with a table cloth, napkins, plasticware & paperplates, sandwiches, a ziplock with squeezy packets of condiments, finger friendly fruit, bottled drinks, and a dessert. It helps to call ahead to the hotel and arrange for a pretty place (like their patio or a corner of the lobby) to dine and catch up. It’s nice to relax and when you’re done, you can make them a plate to nibble on later.
I hope you have a wonderful visit with your friends and create new memories to cherish in the coming years.
Patricia Schlorke says
I saw on the Weather Channel that San Antonio is under a flash flood watch. Be careful when you go down there. Plus, they’re expecting rain tomorrow, so more flooding may occur.
Have fun with your friend tomorrow.
David M Reavis says
This is not related to the above blog post, but is of a timely nature. I naturally am a long-time fan of all the Ilona Andrews books, but I do like other authors and Ilona often shares experiences with writing, publishing, etc.
I recently purchased two books by Vanessa Nelson in her Taellaneth series. When trying to buy the next book in the series, I found that 1) the book was not listed, 2) no other Vanessa Nelson books are listed, and 3) her author page (so I’m not spelling her name wrong) comes up, but shows “0” books available.
Is this a common problem? Authors suddenly disappearing on Amazon? Not genuflecting or something to J. Bezos? Anyone else have any ideas?
I read about 300 books a year, most of them not very good, so I especially appreciate the really good authors like Ilona Andrews and a couple others, and would like to support them. Regards: DMR
Moderator R says
Ilona googled it for you, here is the author addressing the issue https://www.facebook.com/100063710282533/posts/718673026933034/?mibextid=rS40aB7S9Ucbxw6v
David M Reavis says
ModR: thanks, and thank Ilona for me, I figured you guys would know. BTW, I have turned my wife, daughter, and a couple granddaughters into IA fans, and several of us get your daily News. We are from Texas (of course!) although somewhat scattered these days, including a daughter and granddaughters in Atlanta, so they see “vestiges” of scenes in KD series. I drove by many of the scenes in the Hidden Legacy series when I lived in Houston. But, need more Dina and (esp) Maud! Sweep of the Blade is my go-to when on a long flight. Re-read it more times than any other book. Regards: DMR
Montgomery Bonner says
Any Outback or Longhorn steak house is good to excellent. I have no local knowledge about Restaurants there, we stayed south of their and went to the local places in cities near where we were at.
Teresa Kathleen Valentic says
I also second Liberty Bar food is great!
Landry’s on the Riverwalk. There is also a Bolivian steak house on the otherwise of town
Tammy McCullough says
I grew up in San Antonio and still visit family and friends. There are a ton of great restaurants there so it will be hard to go wrong. Southerleigh Fine food and Brewery is really good and in the Pearl District which is a cool area to walk around in. La Fonda on Main is iconic and the food is good.
Mi Tierra is a good spot, it is a Mexican restaurant with a Mexican bakery. It is also a part of San Antonio Mercado which is a great tourist spot. San Fernando Cathedral is also close by. I like the food at Pico De Gallo which is about 5 minutes away from the Mercado. However,Mi Tierra has a lot of history is and considered a San Antonio landmark it would be a better tourist destination.
Caution regarding Casa Rio – it’s lovely and delicious, but I was just in San Antonio for a conference two weeks ago (the convention center is right on the Riverwalk, near Hemisfair) and it was Fiesta. Fun but packed, so possibly similar conditions to Mother’s Day volume. Casa Rio doesn’t take reservations, and the wait can be 1+ hours. Hope you find a fun spot, and definitely make a reservation 🙂
There are many fine restaurants right on the River Walk, and the views are excellent. I’d recommend Boudro’s on the Riverwalk.
Does La Quinta still do the little flag ? bringing you a basket of Sopapillas every time you run it up the little pole…
Goddess, I miss Sopapillas the way they do them in San Antonio.
Think New Orleans Beignets, but without powdered sugar. Instead, they serve them with a jar of honey. Just bite off a corner, then pour in some honey.
I am experiencing a severe bout of Nostalgia hunger.
I think it’s called Mi Tierra in El Mercado… it’s a restaurant & bakery in a shopping area called El Mercado. It’s been a while since I was there (a decade or thereabouts). I was there for a Math & CS faculty conference. It was the anniversary of the Alamo in the year that the interstate out of Dallas closed that weekend due to SNOW. It was the first time I had been to Texas, and that was the first restaurant I tried, and it was DELICIOUS.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse has yummy meat,
Schilo’s German-Texan Restaurant get the homemade root beer and a schnitzel, Fiume Pizzeria has pretty good pizza. Hope this is helpful 🙂
the pearl district is a great place has alot of different restaurants and interesting shops. it is where the old Pearl Beer brewery used to be which is now a cool boutique hotel. that would be my suggestion.
There is one, I think called Casa Rio. Right on the Riverwalk next to the place where you pay to go on the riverboats. Inside and sidewalk dining. It has been there for years and years but always a nice place to visit. Also, after the meal you can walk the Riverwalk or ride on the boats. I hope you have a nice visit.