The Best Restaurants in San Antonio, Texas
In a city of over 1 million people and spanning 465 square miles, you can bet on there being plenty of options for dining out. With so much diversity, there is a lot to choose from, making it hard to find places to satisfy your cravings. In this list, we will explore the top 10 eateries located in the heart of South Texas.
Best Indian Cuisine - Bombay Hall
Bombay Hall, located in the amazing Medical Center of San Antonio deserves the highest praises for their authentic, comforting and just flat out delicious Indian Cuisine.
Their ingredients are some of the freshest and most flavorful you can find with everything from the spiciest to the sweetest dishes. The staff are always an absolute delight. They make you feel right at home in the calm and uplifting atmosphere of their buffet and dining area.
The food is elegantly prepared from scratch, made with love and care. Their specialties are North Indian cuisine and Tandoori dishes made with the classic clay oven. Affordable, delicious, and heartwarming, Bombay Hall deserves a visit when you find yourself craving curries or tandoori dishes.
Best Sandwich Shop - The Station Cafe
Sandwiches are one of man's great accomplishments. It has meats, it has cheese, vegetables, sauces, all cozy between bread, it's versatile and mobile all while being filling and comforting at the same time. With this in mind, it's no wonder Subways and Firehouse Subs, Jimmy Johns, and every other sandwich shop and deli has started garnering more attention. You can get sandwiches on the cheap and on the go from just about anywhere, but San Antonio's The Station Cafe blows the competition out of the water.
Downtown San Antonio sees its fair share of quaint cafes and diners, but none seem to match what used to be known as "The Filling Station". True to the original name, their sandwiches fill you up and hit the spot. Turkey to pastrami, horseradish to habanero aioli or pesto, they've got it all and it is all delicious. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, just the way a sandwich shop should be.
Best Chinese and Thai - The Spicy Ginger Asian Cafe
Located along Bandera, The Spicy Ginger brings excellent Thai and Chinese cuisine under one roof. The second you step inside the smell of warm spices and sauces wrap you up like a hug.
The aesthetic is golden amber, and it makes everything seem extra happy and warm. The food of course is just absolutely delicious. You can order the Americanized orange chicken dish, recreated to capture the essence of Chinese cuisine while still being an everyday favorite. Their curries are a perfect blend of coconut and other spices and their meats are tender and high quality.
Everything is made from scratch, and everything is affordable and worth the visit. Quality, quantity and aesthetic make what could be any other Americanized Chinese restaurant into something memorable and unique.
Best American Cuisine - Fattboy Burgers & Dogs
Looking for family favorites? Fattboy's is the place to be. There's a nostalgic, old American diner feel to this place that really brings the family together. Nothing but quality cooking and care comes from this restaurant.
Everything you could ever want out of an American diner, with some of the most delicious beef served with tomatoes, pickles and lettuce between two warm and toasty buns. If you aren't in the mood for a burger but don't want to miss out on the fun, there are their plump and juicy Fattdogs, with fixin's like chili, cheese and just about anything else. Add a side of fries, some homemade ice cream and you've got yourself a party.
Best Creole and Cajun Cuisine - Where Y'at Food Truck
I searched for years for a creole caterer that delivered something that was straight out of the dirty south. Most places fall short, misunderstanding the concept of cajun and creole as excessive spice and nothing but crawfish. Not that those attributes are bad, they just aren't where it should stop. Well, Where Y'at makes you feel like you're in Lousiana.
It's a food truck so yes, it is mobile, but it is conveniently located down at the Alamo Street Eat Bar in downtown San Antonio. It's a nice outdoor pavillion with, as the name suggests, a bar.
The menu offers classics like oyster po boys, jambalaya, gumbo and various tradition crawfish dishes. They also offer up Muffaletta and Quails stuffed with boudin and for dessert- beignets and bread pudding. The classic southern food meals meet high quality gourmet cooking before meeting you out downtown.
Best French Cuisine - Bistro Vatel
If you're looking for a place that epitomizes fine-dining and fancy French cuisine, look no further than the Bistro Vatel. It's more affordable than many of the French bistros you might come across without losing any of the quality or consistency.
The unpretentious 4-star bistro gives us cheese selections, fabulous wines, mussels, rissotto, quail, beef, duck and veal. This should be the go-to French restaurant in San Antonio. Their dedication to the culinary arts has earned them the title of one of the top 20 restaurants in the US, so it is most definitely worth the try.
Best Pizza - Gallo Pizzeria
This lovely little places serves up the best pies you can get outside of New York. Lovingly maintained with a rustic, authentic pizzeria feel, you only need to step through the door to know that you're about to meet the slice(s) of a lifetime.
My homestate is New York, and I've had my share of Italian food and pizzas, some good and some that capture what a pizza should be- a hearty, indulgent and moutwatering experience. Gallo Pizzeria also takes the homemade spices up a notch with their well-known and spicy "Diablo Pizza". If you're not interested in the saucy, cheesy, meaty goodness that is pizza, they also offer some great calzones and some of the best wings around!
Pizza brings everyone together, and at Gallo Pizzeria, you really feel the wonderful family atmosphere. It's a must-stop.
Best Barbecue - Old Smokehouse
Got a hankering for that old family backyard barbecue? Welcome to Texas. Plenty of smokehouses are serving up briskets and sausages, but in San Antonio, this is as good as it gets. And that's wonderful news for anyone who loves barbecue because this is great. Besides bringing 30 years of experience to the table, they can tell you that nothing has changed because the same wonderful man, Robert, has been smoking the meat all these years.
If you don't want to eat the meat they've got, they're more than happy to smoke the meat you bring from home! That's true dedication to the art of barbecue. It's cooked with experience and 100% mesquite wood, definitely worth the break from Bill Miller's, a native staple.
Best Fried Chicken - Chatman's Chicken
A southern staple, fried chicken is an American favorite. If it's not homemade, it's often served up at a fast food restaurant such as KFC. Now, if you're not near anything else, KFC might be fine. But, if you ever wind up on San Antonio's East Side and find yourself in need of some Southern-fried goodness, this is where you want to be.
The chicken is succulent and always fresh and it's breading is always wonderfully put together. You can feel the soul of the friendly and happy staff in the food. They've got everything you want from a fried chicken establishment, and aren't limited to thighs and wings. They also serve up fried catfish and if you're into it, the best gizzard and livers in all of the San Antonio area. Wash it down with some fritters and a gallon of that Southern sweet tea and you're good to go.
Best Mexican Cuisine - Nicha's Comida Mexicana
Welcome to San Antonio, where everyone's Abuelita has the best tamales, enchiladas, rellenos, rice and beans, and every other dish that makes you wish you had a traditional Mexican family. If you don't have an Abuelita, but you want the closest you can get, Nicha's will treat you right.
San Antonio is made of Mexican restaurants, everyone has a favorite taco shop and that means something when there are about 5 in any given place. But, through all of that, Nicha's has really brought the family feel of a good plate of rice and beans, guisada, y todo, to the public. This restaurant has been family owned and operated since 1977 and has deep roots in San Antonio's history. Nicha's is a crown jewel.
In the end, San Antonio is filled to the brim with exciting cuisine. Due to the rich culture and vibrant spirit, the area has everything to choose from, extending far beyond the well-known chain restaurants. If you need good food to warm your belly, don't be afraid to try the small businesses that show their passion for the kitchen to you and your family. These restaurants are my favorite in the area based on their cuisine. None of these are better than the others, but they are the stars of their respective fare.
Remember to eat well! Remember the Alamo!