Best Of 2019

Best Puffy Tacos

Winner: Henry's Puffy Tacos

Multiple locations

henryspuffytacos.com

Rumor has it that the puffy taco was invented in San Antonio, but wherever its origins, it's clear that Henry's Puffy Tacos perfected the technique. Starting with a single neighborhood eatery in 1978, the Lopez family has built a puffy taco empire that includes two full-service restaurants that serve about 1,000 of the crispy-yet-pillowy fried tacos daily. Each of the beautiful, golden-brown wrappers is stuffed with your choice of filling — be it shredded chicken, spicy beef fajita, bean and cheese or carne guisada — and topped with fresh lettuce and tomato. Customers can also opt for extra toppings such as creamy guacamole, sour cream and sharp cheddar or jack cheese.

2. Ray's Drive Inn

822 SW 19th St.

(210) 432-7171

raysdriveinn.net

3. Los Barrios Mexican Restaurant

4223 Blanco Road

(210) 732-6017

losbarriosrestaurant.com

Food & Drink: Best of San Antonio 2019

Food & Drink

Winner: La Panaderia

Multiple locations

lapanaderia.com

Brothers José and David Cáceres grew up selling freshly made bread on the streets of Mexico City, aided by their mother's passion and home recipes. Together, they helped their mother's business grow to an industrial scale, serving companies throughout Mexico, before they decided to return to the classic recipes and flavors of their childhood. The brothers opened their dream business in San Antonio in 2014, bringing ensaladas, breakfast, coffee and classic bread to Alamo Heights. A second location opened on Houston Street in 2017, with fresh pan dulce, sandwiches and a selection of bubbles, beer and wine. Keep an eye out for more treats. The bakery is slated to open its third location at La Cantera Heights in 2020.

2. Bakery Lorraine

Multiple locations

bakerylorraine.com

3. Bird Bakery

5912 Broadway

(210) 804-2473

birdbakery.com

Winner: La Panaderia

Multiple locations

lapanaderia.com

Brothers José and David Cáceres grew up selling freshly made bread on the streets of Mexico City, aided by their mother's passion and home recipes. Together, they helped their mother's business grow to an industrial scale, serving companies throughout Mexico, before they decided to return to the classic recipes and flavors of their childhood. The brothers opened their dream business in San Antonio in 2014, bringing ensaladas, breakfast, coffee and classic bread to Alamo Heights. A second location opened on Houston Street in 2017, with fresh pan dulce, sandwiches and a selection of bubbles, beer and wine. Keep an eye out for more treats. The bakery is slated to open its third location at La Cantera Heights in 2020.

2. Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia

218 Produce Row

(210) 239-9215

mitierracafe.com

3. Panifico Bake Shop

602 NW 24th St.

(210) 434-9290

panifico.com

Winner: Rios Barbacoa

Multiple locations

facebook.com/riosbarbacoa2decodistrict

Not all barbacoa is created equal. Rios serves fresh, flavorful barbacoa that even your abuela will respect. That explains why this homegrown enterprise has set the standard for a San Antonio classic: steam-cooked shredded meat served on house-made corn tortillas and topped with spicy salsa and fresh avocado. Wash it down with a cold Big Red. If you're feeling homesick or under the weather, the friendly kitchen will put you at ease with a welcoming bowl of menudo served with lemon, beans and pico de gallo. Check out various locations for menu options and tamale availability. But plan to arrive early on weekends, since tortillas go fast when regulars show up.

2. Tellez Tamales & Barbacoa

1802 Bandera Road

(210) 455-0822

Tellez-tamales-barbacoa-factory.business.site

3. Sarah's Barbacoa

6330 De Zavala Road, Suite 103

(210) 263-9955

facebook.com/sarahsbarbacoa

Winner: Smoke Shack BBQ

3714 Broadway St.

(210) 957-1430

smokeshacksa.com

Smoke Shack has come a long way from its humble 2014 beginnings as a food truck-turned-brick and mortar operation. Fortunately, it's let its flavorful Texas barbecue do the talking. Owner Chris Conger has taken a hands-on approach, smoking, cooking and cutting local favorites including ribs, brisket and chicken. But it isn't just the meat that's worth coming back for. The Smoke Shack Mac dresses up the cheesy side with the addition of brisket, while the spicy corn, Frito pie and sweet tea all measure up as well. Head to Smoke Shack's meat counter for sandwiches, sliders and an evolving lineup of house-cured smoked sausages.

2. Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q

Multiple locations

rudysbbq.com

3. Two Bros BBQ Market

12656 West Ave.

(210) 496-0222

twobrosbbqmarket.com

Winner: Bill Miller Bar-B-Q

Multiple locations

billmillerbbq.com

Even in a city with new taquerias popping up almost daily, San Antonians can respect local dining institutions such as Bill Miller Bar-B-Q. Though best known for its brisket sandwiches and buckets of sweet tea, the locally operated fast-casual chain began serving breakfast tacos at all locations in 2017, and its drive-through lines haven't been the same since. The menu features the standard choices: bacon and egg, carne guisada, bean and cheese and potato and egg, all served on the fluffy flour tortillas locals have come to expect. Bill Miller has upped the ante, however when it comes to catering to customer requests. In recent years, the company has introduced limited-time offerings like chorizo tacos to the menu in response to fan requests. And when it comes to toppings such as salsa and other random suggestions from Twitter followers, Bill Miller also goes above and beyond.

2. Tommy's Restaurant

Multiple locations

mytommys.com

3. The Original Donut Shop

3307 Fredericksburg Road

(210) 734-5661

facebook.com/theoriginaldonutshop

Winner: Magnolia Pancake Haus

Multiple locations

magnoliapancakehaus.com

Magnolia Pancake Haus is a brunch-goer's paradise, serving up not just the expected array of sweet and savory pancakes but also delectable waffles, French toast and an almost infinite number of egg dishes. Since Chef Robert Fleming opened the original Pancake Haus in 2000, he's dazzled diners with an expansive menu with pancake varieties including chocolate chip, bacon, silver dollar and his trademark buttermilk. The restaurant has since grown to two locations and offers a drink menu with mimosas, beer-mosas and endless cups of coffee. The eateries tend to fill up quick — especially after Fleming's hotcakes were featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives — so make online reservations ahead of time if you're not willing to wait for a table.

2. NOLA Brunch & Beignets

111 Kings Court

(210) 320-1572

eatatnola.com

3. La Panaderia

Multiple locations

lapanaderia

Winner: Brew's Lee Tea Station

4009 Broadway St.

(210) 598-0068

brewsleetea.com

Brew's Lee Tea Station is more than its glam and Insta-ready looks let on. Since Frances and Billy Lee opened the shop and introduced the city their delicious rose milk teas, refreshing Lychee Jasmine green tea and beautiful glowing bubble tea, they have pushed San Antonians to upgrade their tea drinking experiences. Stop by in the morning for vegan-friendly sweets to pair with your favorite cup, or visit at lunchtime for some of Mama Lee's flavorful house noodles. As masters of Taiwanese tea making traditions, the owners also show their commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility by serving all their drinks — even those with tapioca pearls — with biodegradable straws.

2. Bobalicious

4907 NW Loop 410, Suite 103

(210) 979-8040

bobaliciouscafe.com

3. Suck It: The Restaurant

7220 Louis Pasteur Dr., Suite 120

(210) 560-2113

chefsuckit.com

Winner: Whataburger

Multiple locations

whataburger.com

An icon in Texas's fast-casual dining culture, Whataburger serves up flavorful stacked hamburgers, crispy fries and creamy shakes (including a Dr. Pepper variety) that are sure to satisfy even the hungriest customers, 24 hours a day. With the company headquarters in San Antonio and budget-friendly prices, it's no mystery why Whataburger remains king, even as drive-thru options and out-of-state contenders like In-N-Out Burger and Shake Shack proliferate across the city. While the chain's ubiquity and quick service also account for much of the popularity, the real appeal is the food, which puts most fast-food rivals to shame. And for late-night diners, the deal gets even sweeter when the breakfast menu becomes available at 11 p.m. That means you can order the honey butter chicken biscuit, a classic salty-and-sweet combination bound to hit the spot, whether it's how you start or end your day.

2. Chris Madrid's

830 W. Hollywood Ave.

(210) 735-3552

chrismadrids.com

3. Burger Boy

Multiple locations

burgerboysa.com

Winner: Whataburger

Multiple locations

whataburger.com

An icon in Texas's fast-casual dining culture, Whataburger serves up flavorful stacked hamburgers, crispy fries and creamy shakes (including a Dr. Pepper variety) that are sure to satisfy even the hungriest customers, 24 hours a day. With the company headquarters in San Antonio and budget-friendly prices, it's no mystery why Whataburger remains king, even as drive-thru options and out-of-state contenders like In-N-Out Burger and Shake Shack proliferate across the city. While the chain's ubiquity and quick service also account for much of the popularity, the real appeal is the food, which puts most fast-food rivals to shame. And for late-night diners, the deal gets even sweeter when the breakfast menu becomes available at 11 p.m. That means you can order the honey butter chicken biscuit, a classic salty-and-sweet combination bound to hit the spot, whether it's how you start or end your day.

2. Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia

218 Produce Row

(210) 239-9215

mitierracafe.com

3. Jim's

Multiple locations

jimsrestaurants.com