Lasting Power: Long-standing San Antonio Eateries to Visit

click to enlarge Arirang Korean Restaurant - Jessica Elizarraras
Jessica Elizarraras
Arirang Korean Restaurant
Alamo Café // The addition of Patio 81 to the San Pedro location means you can enjoy vats of queso and wash it down in a cool bar setting. Both locations are perfect for big parties and even bigger fajita dinners. Multiple locations,

Aldo’s Italian Ristorante // Serving salads and pasta, complemented by grilled trout, chicken piccata and other classical Italian entrees, Aldo’s Italian Ristorante offers fine dining and European flair. A lovely atmosphere has enhanced the food for more than 30 years. 8539 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 696-2536,

Arirang Korean Restaurant // Get ready to try some Korean snacks, or pan chan, at this spot — there’s at least 50 items on the bilingual menu and traditional soju, a rice-based distilled liquor, on offer. We’re a fan of the pa jeon, green onion pancakes stuffed with seafood, and anything with octopus, but there’s also plenty of kimchi and Korean barbecue. 2154 Austin Hwy., (210) 650-3845.

Armadillos Texas-Style Burgers // For more than 40 years residents of SA have gathered at Armadillos for ice-cold beer and incredible burgers. With an endless stream of jukebox tunes and their unique atmosphere, Armadillos is also the perfect place for your next big party. 1423 McCullough Ave., (210) 226-9442,

The Barbecue Station // For more than 20 years, the crew has stood behind their promise for fresh, quality meats. Tender, succulent entrees dominate their menu as well as meats sold by the pound. 1610 NE Loop 410, (210) 824-9191,

Barn Door // A San Antonio institution, the historic Barn Door offers down-home fare with Texas hospitality. Steaks can be ordered blackened, rolled in black peppercorn or smothered in jalapeños. 8400 N. New Braunfels Ave., (210) 824-0116,

Biga on the Banks // Bruce Auden’s menu includes such Southwest-Continental dishes as chicken-fried oysters with squid-ink linguini and pancetta, and grilled Texas quail, all of which can be paired to appropriate wines by the glass from Biga’s ample list. 203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-0722,

Blanco Café // This anchor of the homegrown chain serves massive Tex-Mex portions to happy weekend crowds. The just-right-greasy enchiladas are a fave of Current readers. Multiple locations,

Bolner’s Meat Market // Great meats come from great butchers and the staff at this cafeteria-style butcher shop knows how to smoke some mean brisket. 2900 S. Flores St., (210) 533-5112,
click to enlarge Burger Boy - Sara Luna Ellis
Sara Luna Ellis
Burger Boy
Burger Boy // This rotund little chef keeps those in the know happy with home-style burgers made to order, crinkle-cut fries and fresh milkshakes. Look for a new location in the coming months. Multiple locations,

Cappycino’s/Cappy’s // Both staples of Alamo Heights, both for a good reason. Though a fire threatened to shut down the beloved eateries a few years back, the staff used it as a reason to rebuild their kitchen. Cappycino’s packs in solid lunch options, and the adjacent Cappy’s lets you indulge in fine dining the SA-way with chicken and duck liver pâté, rack of lamb and PEI mussels. 5011 Broadway, (210) 828-9669,

Chris Madrid’s // Another favorite (what can we say, San Anto loves burgers), Chris Madrid’s has made plenty of half-pound Macho-sized tostada burgers since its launch in 1977. Though its namesake passed away a few years ago, the Blanco Road spot is still filling those seats with great burgers, fresh fries and great service. 1900 Blanco Road, (210) 735-3552,

Demo’s Greek Food // With locations off Blanco, the Vineyard and St. Mary’s, this 20-year-old, local fast-casual chain isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Go for the tender beef souvlaki, but stay for the charming décor and belly dancing. Multiple locations,

DeWese’s Tip Top Café // Stepping into this petite café will have you feeling like you’ve gone back to the times of poodle skirts and big hair. The fried chicken platter is as big as the Lone Star State. 2814 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 732-0191.

Earl Abel’s  // Since 1933, Earl’s has satisfied the appetites of SA locals with its vast menu of burgers, sandwiches, fried chicken, steaks and more. Grab a slice of chocolate ice-box pie or bread pudding. 1639 Broadway, (210) 822-3358,

El Milagrito // Their cheese enchiladas are titans of Tex-Mex, topped with good, chunky gravy that indicates Milagrito’s guisada is also a cut above. But don’t stop there: the tortas and huaraches are not to be missed. The breakfast menu, served all day, merits a try, too. 521 E. Woodlawn Ave., (210) 737-8646,
click to enlarge El Mirador - Kody Melton
Kody Melton
El Mirador
El Mirador // Now under new ownership (the same folks that gave us The Esquire Tavern and Downstairs), El Mirador holds artful new interiors, and delicate menu tweaks. The ginger-laced Diablo cocktail is as spicy as ever, and the patio is the perfect backdrop for a business lunch, brunch with pals or date night. 722 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-9444,

El Siete Mares // The Westside’s go-to for fish fillets, and sopas de marisco, El Siete Mares is still as fresh as ever. Don’t miss the shrimp cocktail. Get there early on weekends, the joint is often filled with large, lively groups. 3831 W. Commerce St., (210) 436-6056.

French Sandwiches // Tucked away in the same shopping center that houses India Palace is French Sandwiches with its hearty, leafy French Vietnamese sandwiches and excellent soups and salads. Don’t miss the grilled pork sandwich or the French onion soup. 8448 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 692-7019.

Fujiya Japanese Garden // Servers in traditional attire, a long list of sushi rolls to choose from and a collection of Japanese bites (get the katsudon) have made this a favorite in the city since 1972. 9030 Wurzbach Road, (210) 615-7553,

Garcia’s Mexican Food // You can’t call yourself a true San Antonian until you’ve enjoyed a brisket and guacamole taco from Garcia’s. Helmed by the Garcia family since 1962, this tiny nook on Fredericksburg is a piece of heaven in a plump tortilla. 842 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 735-4525.

Golden Wok // Sometimes you want tiny pockets of deliciousness in your mouth. Enter Golden Wok’s extensive dim sum menu, which helped propel it as Best Chinese Restaurant in several of our Best of San Antonio readers’ polls. The hargau, tapioca skin stuffed with shrimp, are a staff favorite. Visit the Wurzbach location on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-2:3o p.m. for a dim sum house feel. Pick your poison from carts brought around to each table. Multiple locations,

Green Vegetarian Cuisine // With locations at the Pearl and Alon Market, folks have more ways to eat green. Entrées can instantly be made into a vegan dishes with the substitution of regular cheese to Daiya cheese for a buck more. Multiple locations,

India Palace // Buffet dishes are changed regularly, and nothing seems really tired. Saag paneer and dal makhani are reliable staples since 1990. Avoid the lunch rush and opt for an intimate dinner. 8747 Fredericksburg Road, Suite 100, (210) 692-5262,

Jacala Mexican Restaurant // With a kitschy interior that screams Tex-Mex, Jacala has been a Westside fave since 1949. The great puffy tacos don’t hurt either. 606 West Ave., (210) 732-5222.
click to enlarge Mi Tierra - Dan Payton
Dan Payton
Mi Tierra

Jim’s Restaurants // A San Antonio staple since 1947, this diner is your go-to for late night fare to fuel a night out or study session. Multiple locations,

John the Greek // The flavors of Athens, which have been served in this Greek home-style eatery since 1988, make John the Greek so compelling. Avgolemono soup, gyros, souvlaki and mousaka just like ya-ya used to make. 16602 San Pedro Ave., (210) 403-0565,

Josephine Street Café // Since 1979, Josephine’s has always been a downtown gem with its signature steak and whiskey offerings. Stop by Josephine’s for a 16-ounce Texas T-bone and feel enriched in a downtown tradition. 400 E. Josephine St., (210) 224-6169,

La Fogata // There are several reasons to visit La Fogata: the arboreal wonderland of a patio, the tequila-laden margaritas, the friendly staff, the light starters, the hearty enchiladas … should we go on? 2427 Vance Jackson Road, (210) 340-1337,

Liberty Bar // The tilted building is but a faint memory. This salmon-tinged Southtown eatery is rich in history and locally sourced menu items, from the hefty bread and creative appetizers to the lightly charred quail in piquant green mole and Virginia Green’s chocolate cake. Stop by on Monday’s for half-off bottles of wine. 1111 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-1187,

Little Red Barn // This little red chophouse isn’t so little, and its iconic red building is visible from the highway. For over 50 years, Little Red Barn has catered to hungry SA diners in a folksy dining hall. Don’t mind the faux-pistol-clad servers, it’s just part of the aesthetic. 1902 S. Hackberry St., (210) 532-4235,

Los Barrios // One of San Antonio’s most beloved Mexican restaurants (yes, that is saying a lot), Los Barrios’ exhaustive menu includes items like “the world’s only gourmet sour nachos,” 16 different Mexican dinner plates and several arguably more interesting dishes like the Nuevo León specialty Cortadillo Zuazua Style, juicy beef tenderloin stewed with veggies and spices. 4223 Blanco Road, (210) 732-6017,

La Marginal // The rice with pinto beans here is savory and on point in terms of flavor thanks to a decent sofrito with olives and ham. The buffet offering is affordable and workable, as long as you stick with the tender roast pork, pernil, and salty, sweet plantains. 2447 Nacogdoches Road, (210) 804-2242,

Mi Tierra Restaurant & Bakery // For those in the know, Mi Tierra is truly a wonder. The panadería at the entrance alerts that this is the real deal. Then there’s the typical fare, including some of the best menudo in town. An institution since its 1941 founding, Mi Tierra is one of the few places still open 24/7, holidays included. 218 Produce Row, (210) 225-1262,

Mary Ann’s Pig Stand // Since 1927, Mary Ann’s Pig Stand has stood the test of time. This vintage diner is full of kitsch and worth a visit for their pies alone. 1508 Broadway, (210) 222-9923,

Niki’s Tokyo Inn // Don’t let the outside fool you. Inside is masterful sushi, fresh and simple. Some even say it’s the most authentic Japanese food in town. Sit at the sushi bar and watch your sushi being delicately formed, Western-style or choose Japanese-style seating. Don’t miss the tempura dinners or ramen. 819 W. Hildebrand Ave., (210) 736-5471.
click to enlarge Niki's Tokyo Inn - Bryan Rindfuss
Bryan Rindfuss
Niki's Tokyo Inn
Paesanos // Joe Cosniac’s original Lincoln Heights heir serves the signature breaded, garlicky Shrimp Paesano, a meaty eggplant parmigiana, and if the devotees are to be believed, one of the best steaks in town. Multiple locations,

Ray’s Drive Inn // Puffy tacos and a certain San Antonio je ne sais quoi are the draws at this Westside establishment. Portions are large (bring the whole family), but remember to bring cash; our critics recommend the brisket and guacamole puffy tacos. 822 SW 19th, (210) 432-7171,

Sari-Sari Filipino Restaurant // Likely one of the few spots in town to offer halo-halo, or Filipino shaved ice, Sari-Sari also offers an extensive list of soups, starters, entrees, all-day breakfast and baked goods. 5700 Wurzbach Road, (210) 647-7274,

Sea Island Shrimp House // After celebrating 50 years as San Antonio’s go-to Lenten spot, Sea Island is still cranking out hits. It’s not Port A, but it’ll do — especially when you order the “world famous” charbroiled shrimp plate, of 15 lightly breaded, skewered and citrusy shrimp served alongside your choice of sides. Multiple locations,

Schilo’s // This delicatessen is the real deal. The house-made sausages are great, but don’t miss the split pea soup and pumpernickel bread. 424 E. Commerce St., (210) 223-6692,

Soluna // Home of the potent Chispa cocktail, this Alamo Heights restaurant comes alive on weekends. Pore over the entire menu and work your way through it with several visits. We won’t judge. 7959 Broadway, (210) 930-8070,

Sorrento Ristorante e Pizzeria // Since 2001, the Ciccone family has prepared tasty pizza, seafood and pasta out of their Alamo Heights kitchen. They specialize in cuisine from the south of Italy, including a time-honored Lasagna Della Casa topped with a house pink sauce. 5146 Broadway, (210) 824-0055,

Teka Molino // The puffy tacos are a must, but don’t sleep on the guacamole cups and bean rolls. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Teka has been serving San Antonio for more than 60 years. Multiple locations,
click to enlarge Thai Dee - Jessica Elizarraras
Jessica Elizarraras
Thai Dee
Thai Dee // Always a contender of Best Thai in our Best of San Antonio readers’ poll, Thai Dee serves up what we once described as “ridiculously good, huge dishes at rock-bottom prices.” Check the specials for truly authentic dishes and remember to BYOB. 5307 Blanco Road, (210) 342-3622,

Zito’s Deli // Sometimes you just need a great sandwich. Let the staff at Zito’s — established in 1974 — take care of you with one of their massive Serious Sandwiches. Filled with salami, two types of ham, provolone, cheddar, black olives, and LTO on fluffy homemade Italian flatbread, this sando means business. Multiple locations,

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