Best Of 2015

Sushi

1. Sushi Zushi
Multiple locations
sushizushi.com

2. Godai Sushi
11203 West Ave.
(210) 348-6781
godaisushi.com

3. Sushihana
1810 NW Military Hwy.
(210) 340-7808
sushihanasan.com

BAKERY

1. Bakery Lorraine
306 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 110
(210) 862-5582
bakerylorraine.com

Even after relocating to the Pearl Complex in October, Bakery Lorraine still holds on to its title of best bakery and dessert in SA. The new location made room for buttery sandwiches, flavorful salads and more seating, but the essence of the bakery remains intact. Visits to Bakery Lorraine, which now shares patio space with neighboring Cured, should always end with a sleeve of French macarons. A recent visit (we make more than we care to admit) featured mangonada-flavored macs, complete with chili powder; egg-shaped moon pies for Easter and custard-filled choux bunnies. The classic, fruit and chocolate tarts are still hitting all the right notes and don’t you dare show up empty-handed to your girlfriend’s birthday party without some sort of baked treat from the city’s favorite bakery.

2. Bird Bakery
5912 Broadway
(210) 804-2473
birdbakery.com

3. Cake Crumbs
1218 W. Bitters Rd., Suite 108
(210) 906-3783
cakecrumbssa.com

DESSERT

2. Cake Crumbs
1218 W. Bitters Rd., Suite 108
(210) 906-3783
cakecrumbssa.com

3. Frozen Friday’s
Multiple locations
facebook.com/FrozenFridays

1. Rosario's Mexican Café y Cantina
Multiple locations
rosariossa.com

From its outpost in Southtown, Rosario's made San Antonio safe for serious salsa — the kind that comes complete with charred bits of tomato and chile, the kind that lasts all the way through a bountiful bowl of fresh chips, the kind that can outshout even Rosario's famously cacophonous environment. And once you've had your fill of chips, ladle the stuff into and onto almost anything else — the albondigas, the parrilla de fajitas or carnitas ... stopping just short of anointing the sweet tamales. With its second, northside location and an outlet at the airport, Rosario's is approaching chain-status tipping point — but not to worry. There are even a few new items, the paquetes de jicama y camaron and the believe-it-or-not quinoa chile relleno among them, to keep corporate cuisine at bay. Desserts, normally not worth more than a nod at Mexi-joints, are championed here by the nutty bread pudding with cajeta and blueberry/raspberry compote.

MEXICAN

2. La Posada del Rey
1896 Nacogdoches Rd.
(210) 828-5666
laposadadelrey.com

3. Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine
5800 Broadway St., Suite 300
(210) 822-6151
palomablanca.net

SALSA

2. TIE: Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine
5800 Broadway St., Suite 300
(210) 822-6151
palomablanca.net

2. TIE: Las Palapas
Multiple locations
mylaspalapas.com

3. Guajillo's – The Shortcut To Mexico
(210) 344-4119
guajillos.com

1. Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood
219 E. Houston St.
(210) 472-2600
bohanans.com

Bohanan’s is located in one of the most vibrant parts of downtown San Antonio, in the East Houston Street entertainment district. The restaurant, with a chic atmosphere and old-world charm, has developed a strong following with the downtown work/live crowd, local jazz fans and people who have a penchant for high-end craft cocktails. But steak is the main draw at Bohanan’s. The restaurant was the first in the United States to use Akaushi beef. Executive chef/owner Mark Bohanan and staff cook everything mesquite-grilled, Texas style, over an open flame. Yahoo! Travel named Bohanan’s among the top 10 U.S. steakhouses.

2. The Barn Door
8400 N. New Braunfels Ave.
(210) 824-0116
thebarndoorrestaurant.com

3. Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse
18318 Sonterra Pl.
(210) 564-9400
chamagaucha.com

1. Lulu’s Bakery and Cafe
918 N. Main Ave.
(210) 224-5001
luluscafeinsa.com

Lulu’s has long prided itself in offering what it calls “Texas-sized” portions of Southern-style home cooking. So who could resist Texas-sized chicken fried steak? The signature item — along with the three-pound cinnamon roll – is arguably the most popular item on Lulu’s menu. It’s big and powerful enough to get the attention of travel and cuisine publications and even the TV show Man vs. Food. The edges of Lulu’s chicken fried steak are fried to a crisp, with breading neither too thick nor too thin. A generous amount of gravy is the perfect topping.

2. Tip Top Café
2814 Fredericksburg Rd.
(210) 732-0191
tiptopcafe.com

3. Good Time Charlie’s
2922 Broadway St.
(210) 828-5392
gtcsatx.com

1. Golden Wok
Multiple locations
golden-wok.com

Golden Wok is a mainstay when it comes to Asian cuisine in San Antonio. The 43-year-old restaurant is known for being the only SA eatery to offer dim sum. A koi pond welcomes patrons upon arrival at the original Golden Wok at 8822 Wurzbach Road. The interior of the original location features painted bamboo and calligraphic upholstery. The menu ranges from chef’s specials to a create-your-own stir fry bar, but egg drop soup has become the most popular dish over the years.

2. Hsiu Yu
8338 Broadway St.
(210) 828-2273
hsiuyu.com

3. Hot Joy
1014 S. Alamo St.
(210) 368-9324

hotjoysa.com

1. Señor Veggie
620 S. Presa St.
(210) 228-0073
senorveggie.us

Guarded by a cartoon Aztec mural, the marigold building housing Señor Veggie hosts some of the best vegan chow in San Anto. Run by the husband and wife team of José Alfredo Cruz and Tiffany Cruz, the restaurant began in 2012 as a booth in the Quarry Farmer's market and quickly transitioned to a permanent spot on South Presa (formerly occupied by Mr. Tim's Country Kitchen). With Thai, Spanish and Mediterranean inspirations, Señor Veggie has an impressive range of flavor, pairing the veggies of the world with their best representations in food culture (i.e. a delicious Baba ghanoush starter, the Indian samosa plate and a potato-based Vichyssoise). Of course, in their big '50s-style diner booths, Señor Veggie provides American dishes, like their black bean or beet burgers and sweet potato wedges with umami-packed curry ketchup. Ultimately, as their name might suggest, the Tex-Mex tradition inspires Señor Veggie's best grub. The black bean nachos with crumbled tempeh is a mighty lead-off dish, matching well with a lovely agua fresca or BYOB libation. Batting cleanup is the Jackfruit street tacos, chopping the world's largest treefruit into a tender carnitas alternative with a remarkable verisimilitude to the original pork.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Green Vegetarian Cuisine
Various Locations
eatatgreen.com

Crossroads Kitchen
517 E. Woodlawn Ave.
(210) 257-0628
facebook.com/crossroadskitchen

1. Rosella Coffee
203 E. Jones Ave., Suite 101
(210) 277-8574
rosellacoffee.com

While choosing the best coffee shop in San Antonio, we took into consideration all the roles a java joint should fulfill besides just a tasty caffeine jolt — a place for meetings, for music and art as well as to break up with someone. In a setting of exposed brick, Rosella Coffee provides the 360-degree role of the coffee spot. On weekdays, the place buzzes with laptop work, brainstorm meetings and social media distraction. On the weekend, singer-songwriters and bands post up in front of the tall glass wall for ad hoc folk and rock 'n' roll. And with multiple exits and a variety of beer and wine, it's a strong choice for a public breakup spot if things get ugly. In the past few years, an excellent coffee scene has emerged in San Antonio, with strong brews from Local, Press, Olmos Perk and Brown Coffee Company (recently heralded by Alton Brown on Instagram as "the best cup of coffee I've ever had IN MY LIFE!"). But with 16 red wines, 15 whites and beers from 13 Texas breweries, Rosella works at an advantage with the dual threat of caffeine and alcohol. And from the light, universally lauded avocado toast to full sandwiches, it's hard to stick with just a cup of the Rosella house blend.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Local Coffee
Various locations
localcoffeesa.com

Brown Coffee Company
Multiple locations
browncoffeeco.com

1. Barbaro
2720 McCullough Ave.
(210) 320-2261
barbarosanantonio.com

Discerning readers should have discerning tastes in mates (or at least casual dates ... let's have some standards, people!). That's why a date to Barbaro, where we've witnessed many a romantic-awkward-sexy evening, is in order. For starters, what sort of beer does your date order? Are they adventurous eaters or do they reach for the straitlaced pepperoni and cheese? Does your would-be beau know what kale is? You'll find out quickly whether he/she is the one or the one-you'll-shake-hands-with-awkwardly after you split the check. And it's accessible on several levels — sit at a booth for a mid-day $10 getting-to-know-you lunch, grab a table for two and split a sweet skillet pancake during brunch, share a pizza at dinner or get cozy over dark cocktails inside this neighborhood eatery that packs in the sultry lighting and courage-giving cocktails be it day or night. Our honorable mentions run the gamut for first-date options. Stick with the tried-and-true coffee shop option and head to the twee CommonWealth, where you and your courter can split a croissant. If you've been swiping left and right to score a date, reach for tasty cocktails at Stay Golden and gain liquid courage with a house-made "Fireball" shot. Remember, chemistry's not always guaranteed.

Honorable Mentions:

CommonWealth Coffee
118 Davis Court
(210) 560-2955
commonwealthcoffeehouse.com

Stay Golden Social House
401 Pearl Pkwy
facebook.com/goldenglovesocialhouse

Brindle’s Awesome Ice Creams
11255 Huebner Rd., Suite 210
(210) 641-5222

Two words: “cake batter.” No shop has come closer than Brindle’s Awesome Ice Creams to replicating that lick-the-batter-off-the-spoon experience, which is why this dessert mash-up is one of its signature ice creams. Located in The Strand Shopping Center in Huebner Oaks, Brindle’s features dozens of classic and imaginative ice cream and gelato flavors, all made in-house. Their limited edition ice creams — which in the past have included bacon walnut, cookie butter and savory creations such as garlic, honey and currant — are always worth a try. But everyday offerings such as Azteca — their chocolate cinnamon combo — make repeat visits a necessity. If you really want ice cream, order the Muddy Feet, a decadent cookie sundae that’s perfect for date night with your sweetie or those evenings you just want to be left alone to eat your feelings. The ice cream flavor of your choice is scooped onto a warm chocolate chip cookie and piled high with almonds, whipped cream, hot fudge and caramel. If cookies are not your thing, there’s also the Turtle Crumble which switches out the Muddy Feet’s cookie for a warm, chocolaty brownie. And remember, you can order pints and quarts of your favorite flavor to enjoy at home.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

SA Pops
3420 N. St. Mary’s St.
(210) 736-2526

Justin’s Ice Cream Company
245 E. Commerce St.
(210) 222-2707