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March 12, 2021 Slideshows » Food & Drink

25 iconic San Antonio restaurants everyone should try at least once 

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San Antonio is a verifiable mecca for food-loving folks who enjoy exploring the city and getting their grub on. Our culinary landscape is hella diverse, offering unlimited dining options for pretty much whatever you crave.

We assembled a collection of eateries that qualify as must-visit spots. Some offer bites inspired by faraway places, while others are so puro, you simply can't miss them.

In all cases, these beloved restaurants qualify as delicious and iconic.
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Earl Abel’s
1639 Broadway St, (210) 822-3358, earlabelssa.com
Can you say you’ve explored the San Antonio diner scene if you haven’t been to Earl Abel’s? Considered a staple in the Alamo City, Earl Abel’s is known for home-cooked dishes like pot pie, meatloaf, pork chops and fried chicken.
Photo via Instagram / jesselizarraras
The Station Cafe
108 King William St, (210) 444-2200, thestationsa.com
This cafe is a go-to for fresh bread and house-made sauces. So take advantage of all the love that goes into the food and enjoy twists on classics, like the San Antonio cheesesteak (mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, jalapenos, onions, roast beef, white BBQ sauce) or the Turkey Chupacabra (sweet & spicy Chupacabra serrano sauce, smoked turkey, melted cheddar, lettuce, tomato).
Photo via Instagram / sarasperspective
Liberty Bar
1111 S Alamo St, (210) 227-1187, liberty-bar.com
Housed in a restored convent, Liberty Bar is just one of those trendy places that knows how to draw in a crowd. After a winter hiatus, the eatery is set to reopen — with a new look — in April.
Photo via Instagram / libertybarsa
The Jerk Shack
117 Matyear St, (210) 776-7780, facebook.com/thejerkshacksatx
A consistent mention in restaurant roundups, folks keep coming back to the West Side’s Jerk Shack. Both a Black-owned and veteran-owned eatery, the restaurant offers wild flavors and hefty portions, so you’ll be eating good here. Stop by and taste for yourself.
Photo via Instagram / sa.suaveeats
Rebelle
300 E Travis St, (210) 352-3171, rebellesa.com
Located inside the gorgeous St. Anthony Hotel, Rebelle comes through when you want to have a night out on the town and feel absolutely cosmopolitan. The space is swanky and stylish, while the kitchen delivers a delicious lineup of seafood dishes. The inventive cocktail menu draws in guests all on its own, so do take in a nightcap whenever you’re in the area.
Photo via Instagram / s.a.foodie
The Cherrity Bar
302 Montana St., (210) 598-0496, cherritybar.com
Seated comfortably at the corner of Cherry and Montana streets on the East Side, The Cherrity Bar covers nearly an entire city block, combining cocktails, charitable giving and a ramen shop. While their small arcade collection is currently closed off, guests can sit in the huge covered patio area overlooking plenty of space for kiddos to frolic.
Photo via Instagram / cherritybar
The Friendly Spot Ice House
943 S Alamo St., (210) 224-2337, thefriendlyspot.com
Southtown’s largest outdoor food and drink venue, The Friendly Spot, marries “friendly eats & drinks,” outdoor sports viewing and weekend DJ sets for a seriously laid back vibe that's a must-try.
Photo via Instagram / lizzie.blank
La Tuna Icehouse
100 Probandt St., (210) 212-5727, latunasa.com
For over 27 years, La Tuna Icehouse has been serving cold beer and wine to guests on their front outdoor patio, which includes an array of pecan tree-shaded picnic tables. Don't forget to take a photo with their new mural while you enjoy a frosty beverage.
Photo via Instagram / latunaicehouse
Los Azulejos
2267 NW Military Hwy #101, (210) 281-4500, facebook.com/losazulejosrestaurante
Yelper Leslie M. says of this Castle Hills eatery: “What a yummy Mexican restaurant! It was definitely an alternative to your run of the mill Mexican restaurants. Twists on food you wouldn't expect.”
Photo via Instagram / losazulejosrestaurante
Tacos y Burritos Metro Basilica 2
7627 Culebra Rd #105, (210) 680-1412, facebook.com/tacosyburritosmetrobasilica2
Yelpers rave about Tacos y Burritos’ phenomenal and quick service, reasonable prices, and epically tasty food. Try the street tacos with cheese and fresh avocado. Perfection!
Photo via Instagram / tacos_y_burritos_metro
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Carnitas Lonja
1107 Roosevelt Ave. carnitaslonja.com
Blue skies, puffy clouds, light breeze; chunky carnitas, great guac, savvy salsas … that seems like reason enough to get yourself to Carnitas Lonja. A legit pork paradise on the South Side, the spot was recognized in 2019 by The Daily Meal as one of the best hole-in-the-wall spots in the U.S., citing its no-frills approach to carnitas and delicious corn tortillas as reason enough to visit the Alamo City.
Photo via Instagram / carnitas_lonja
Pho Garden
2535 SE Military Dr., (210) 333-8899, facebook.com/phogardenvietnamese
Stop by this authentic, locally-owned Vietnamese joint to get your pho fix or opt for a bahn mi or vermicelli bowl. Plus, an extensive menu of thai tea, boba tea and fresh smoothies to round out your meal.
Photo via Instagram / phogarden
Niki's Tokyo Inn
819 W. Hildebrand Ave., (210) 736-5471, facebook.com/nikis.tokyo.inn
Serving up the freshest sashimi in the coziest little spot, Niki's is perfect for date night or a solo dining trip.
Photo via Instagram / jetsetter2020
Thai Vegan
15614 Huebner Rd #113, (210) 257-0090, thaivegantx.com
San Antonio just can’t get enough Thai food. As you taste your way throughout all the local restaurants, be sure to make note of Thai Vegan. The outpost is regarded for its selection of dishes such as stir-fries, noodles, curries and even Asian-inspired wraps.
Photo via Instagram / jesselizarraras
Fratello’s Deli
2503 Broadway St, (210) 444-0277, fratellosdeli.com
Is it a deli or a market? It’s both! Whether you’re looking for fresh Italian ingredients to make a feast at home, or if you want something hot and already made to enjoy while you dine-in, Fratello’s has you covered on both fronts. The family-owned joint makes all the classics, from Italian wedding soup and Caprese salad to a variety of pizzas and pastas.
Photo via Instagram / s.a.vory
Simi's India Cuisine
4535 Fredericksburg Road #109, (210) 737-3166, facebook.com
Those with special diets will feel more than welcome here thanks to a number of vegetarian dishes on the menu. Be sure to try one of the tandoori dishes so you understand why this spot is a go-to for Indian fare for so many locals.
Photo via Instagram / adriennei3
India Palace
8474 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 692-5262, indiapalacesatx.com
Specializing in North Indian fare, this Medical Center mainstay for both vegetarian and meaty dishes of the cuisine. Be prepared to get stuffed — and to enjoy every bite of your feast.
Photo via Instagram / rabidmeerkat
Harmon's BBQ
102 S Main St, Cibolo, (210) 658-8889, harmonsbbq.com
If you don’t mind the drive, you’ll want to head to Cibolo for some damn good ‘cue. The menu is simple here: order your choice of meat as a plate or sandwich, and there’s always the combo choice. The sides are the usual lineup you see at more barbecue joints. But the flavors here? Well, they’re close to one-of-a-kind.
Photo via Instagram / 2live_jkrew
Davila’s BBQ
418 W Kingsbury St, Seguin, (830) 379-5566, davilasbbq.com
Just a short drive away in Seguin you’ll find unbelievably scrumptious barbecue meats awaiting you. Pitmaster Adrian Davila, who took over the family business, keeps it real with mesquite-smoked meats. Order a plate or enough for the family, either way you’ll be eating good. Try the Big Red cake for the dessert you didn’t know you needed.
Photo via Instagram / theadriandavila
Sichuan House
3505 Wurzbach Road #102, (210) 509-9999, sichuaneats.com
This iconic Chinese eatery offers mouth-numbingly spicy, Sichuan cuisine that's fit for an emperor. Don't fret if your taste buds need something a little less fiery, as the mud also offers an array of less spicy fare.
Photo via Instagram sichuaneats
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Thai Dee
5307 Blanco Road, (210) 342-3622, thaideesa.com
This central SA manistay serves up authentic Thai delights such as curry puffs, pad Thai, crispy fried tofu and delectable Banana Spring Rolls.
Photo via Instagram / thaideesa
La Fonda on Main
2415 N Main Ave, (210) 733-0621, lafondaonmain.com
A classic for Tex-Mex and interior Mexican fare since 1932, the longstanding La Fonda on Main is just one of those spots every San Antonians needs to dine at, ideally sooner rather than later. If patio vibes are your scene, grab a seat in the shaded space while you enjoy a margarita and of course your lunch/dinner.
Photo via Instagram / matthewmauldon
Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia
218 Produce Row, (210) 239-9215, mitierracafe.com
Mi Tierra needs no introduction. Pedro and Cruz Cortez opened a three-table cafe in 1941, serving farmers and workers in the mercado. The rest, they say, is history. The now-famous landmark has seen much success, being a go-to for locals and tourists alike.
Photo via Instagram / sugar_alice
Hot Joy
1014 S Alamo St, (210) 368-9324, hotjoysa.com
For a weeknight meal out on the town, consider Hot Joy. You can expect the Southtown spot will have you feeling cosmopolitan with its swanky decor and eclectic mood. Be sure to pair your meal with a tiki cocktail, it’s a night out after all.
Photo via Instagram / thecheekymermaid
Schilo’s Delicatessen
424 E Commerce St, (210) 223-6692, schilos.com
Just steps from SA’s famed Paseo del Rio, Schilo’s is a longstanding ALamo City institution not to be missed. Everything on the menu is made fresh daily, including their delicious homemade root beer.
Photo via Instagram / sarahtheissen
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Earl Abel’s
1639 Broadway St, (210) 822-3358, earlabelssa.com
Can you say you’ve explored the San Antonio diner scene if you haven’t been to Earl Abel’s? Considered a staple in the Alamo City, Earl Abel’s is known for home-cooked dishes like pot pie, meatloaf, pork chops and fried chicken.
Photo via Instagram / jesselizarraras

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