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How to Find Flavors from Around the World Without Ever Leaving Home 

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Toro Kitchen + Bar It’s hard to capture the plethora of cuisines found in Spain, but Toro Kitchen + Bar does just that in the heart of Stone Oak, no less. With a long list of cured meats and cheeses for tablados, and a long menu of tapas, Toro is perfect for both happy hour or a night out with friends.

Share the fideo seco, calamares fritos or berenjenas fritas con miel (read: fried eggplant bathed in saffron milk and drizzled with honey) or stick with what you know in the tortilla Española and piquillos rellenos filled with cheese, pecans and Serrano ham.

Or go even bigger and share one of three paellas available in small and large portions. Don’t miss Toro’s house version of jumbo shrimp, mussels, chicken, ribs, pork belly and Spanish chorizo. 

You won’t need your passport, but bring your dancing shoes — weekends are lively affairs with music and Flamenco dancers taking up residency in the intimate space. 115 N. 1604 E., Suite 1105, (210) 592-1075,

Latin American

Azuca Nuevo Latino After relocating two spaces over to its new digs, Azuca is still packing in crowds looking for a refreshing mojito, tostones with mojo and a dance floor to merengue the night away. 709 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-5550,

Beto’s Alt-Mex Known for it’s empanadas and epicurean fare, Beto’s features a veggie taco that comes stuffed with well-seasoned squash and caramelized onions. It’s almost as good as the savory potato-and-spinach empanada. You’ll want dessert, too: banana with leche quemada and pecan. 8142 Broadway, (210) 930-9393,

Botika Nikkei and chifa cuisines were introduced to San Antonio inside this posh Pearl spot helmed by chef Geronimo Lopez. Lomo saltado, empanadas, ceviches and tiraditos all share a space on the menu, but make sure to save room for a few sips of sake. 303 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 111, (210) 670-7684.

Brasa Chicken Peruvian Rotisserie With hearty sandwiches, and loaded entrees such as arroz chaufa de carne or especial, Peruvian-roasted birds could replaces your H-E-B runs soon. 8523 Blanco Road, (210) 896-4719,

Cocina El Jibarazo Latin Cuisine It’s a trek, sure, but don’t skip the sandwiches from this beloved spot. Plates all come bearing yellow rice, salad, plantains and your choice of pernil, pollo a la plancha or chuletas. 1790 Austin Hwy., (210) 204-5908,

Ceviche de Waldito Chef’s been slanging buffet-style Peruvian fare since 2010. Stop in for an inexpensive lunch of roasted chicken and tamales served by Waldito himself. 5526 Evers Road, (210) 681-8100.

Chilito’s Express Housed inside the tiniest of shops, Chilito’s adds tamales plates, loaded quesadillas, street tacos, and tortas served with your choice of chicken fajita, Peruvian roasted pork, brisket or arrachera skirt steak.  8802 Huebner Road, (210) 468-2400,

Fonda Latina Fonda Latina successfully captures the flavors of authentic Colombian cuisine, serving traditional dishes like bistek a caballo — steak with a fried egg on top — banana-leaf-wrapped tamales, and arepas con pollo and aji. 6714 San Pedro, (210) 824-2544.

Luna Rosa Puerto Rican Grill The understated locale focuses on its cuisine, combining Spanish tapas and Puerto Rican favorites. Started the night with a helping of patatas bravas, smothered in red spicy sauce and garlicky mayoketchup, the Luna Rosa house sauce and follow it with paella. 2603 SE Military Drive, Suite 107, (210) 314-3111

Jamaica Jamaica All entrees come with a generous serving of rice and peas, steamed cabbage, and plantains. The roast pork, several gray slabs doused in a thick mahogany sheet, pull apart as delicately as spiderwebs, and work with the rice and peas to create a balanced, dense-as-bone kind of bite. 2026 Austin Hwy., (210) 590-0515,

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.

NAO NAO restaurant is dedicated to the exploration, preservation and celebration of the authentic cuisines, cultures, and bounty of Latin America. And an extensive wine list rounds out the experience in this modern and dramatic setting. 312 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 2104, (210) 554-6484,

Ocho Pair your Hemingway Daiquiri with aspirational lunch and dinner fare, including the Havana Cubano torta with achiote-roasted pork shoulder, griddled ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon mustard, and savory papas bravas. Hotel Havana, 1015 Navarro St., (210) 222-2008,

Puerto Rican Grub Express The restaurant will open later this year with different stations including soups, salads, sandwiches, a cold seafood station, juice and coffee, and desserts. 4413 Rittiman Road, (787) 399-7733,


Demo’s Greek Food With locations off Blanco, the Vineyard and St. Mary’s, this 19-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,

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,

Mina and Dimi’s Greek House Traditional Greek fare served with a side of warm hospitality. Although the pita is perfectly soft and savory, the flavorful gyro can stand on its own, perhaps accompanied by flaky spanakopita or a tangy Greek salad. Sweeten the deal with homemade flaky baklava. Opa! 7159 Hwy. 90 W., (210) 674-3464,

Papouli’s Greek Grill The SA-based chain has four locations throughout the city, each dishing up traditional and contemporary cuisine made with fresh ingredients. Try the classic leg of lamb or go for a lighter Greek salad. Multiple locations,

  • Café Bahar, Photo by Sarah Flood-Baumann


The Aloha Kitchen Surprisingly, you can find authentic Hawaiian food on the Mainland. The Aloha Kitchen does Hawaiian best when sticking to the basics – and basic does not mean simple. Lau lau and loco moco are attention grabbers. 1151 Harry Wurzbach, (210) 826-7426


Biryani Pot Find food from Hyderabad, a former princely state on India’s Southeast coast. Specialties include rice dishes, fish and goat curries. 9386 Huebner Road, Suite 109, (210) 561-8874.

India Oven Naan bread, vegetable pakoras, tandoori specialties, and a wide buffet have earned India Oven many longtime fans. The cozy interior is perfect for a date or a simple lunch. 1031 Patricia St., (210) 366-1030,

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

Mustafa Cuisine You’re not visiting Mustafa’s for the décor, but it more than delivers with both familiar dishes and others seldom seen in SA. Breads are fine, curries vary, but goat and cauliflower take two often-neglected ingredients and elevate them to exalted status. 4085 Medical Drive, (210) 615-7861.

Café Bahar Gobi Manchurian, battered and fried cauliflower served with a sweet, spicy sauce with soy and tomato, is one of Bahar’s Indo-Chinese recipes and it’s easy to like. The goat soup is just spicy enough, tastes deeply herbal and would surely cure whatever ails you.10227 Ironside, (210) 558-8289.

Tarka Indian Kitchen This Austin-based franchise is making Indian fare fast casual with a list of curries, kabobs and biryanis that still pack some heat. 427 N. Loop 1604 W., (210) 499-0982,

Taste of India This tiny hole-in-the-wall isn’t much to look at but the friendly service, pillowy naan available in several varieties and the vegetarian paneers beg a second, third or fourth visit. 5999 De Zavala, (210) 561-4409.


Azro Moroccan & Mediterranean Bistro Azro engineer-turned-chef Khalid Said is whipping up Moroccan faves such as the vibrant and warm harira soup, a beautiful tabouli and seafood bastilla made of baked layers of thin pastry filled with salmon and shrimp inside this inviting Castle Hills nook. 2211 NW Military, Suite 131, (210) 342-0011.

Jerusalem Grill Long skewers of lamb and chicken beckon, but try the Syrian-style kibbeh instead, with sides of both hummus and baba ghanoush. It’s one of our falafel faves. Multiple locations,

Mediterranean Turkish Grill Dolmas, hummus and fresh bread are signatures of this authentic Mediterranean grill. 8507 McCullough, Suite B13, (210) 399-1645,

Moroccan Bites Tucked away in a shopping center off Evers, Moroccan Bites is all about family and fresh ingredients. Skip the soups and go straight for the chicken or lamb tagine. 5714 Evers Road, (210) 706-9700.

Pasha Mediterranean Grill It’s hard not to fill up on the hot, fresh flatbread and zaatar spice mix, but you have to save room for Pasha’s delicious Mid-east fare. Standouts include the tender kabobs and the saffron-marinated Cornish hens. Multiple locations,

Shisha’s Café A hotspot for hookah-loving college students, Shisha has plenty to offer. Try the garlicky hummus, the giant falafel or the perfectly seasoned chicken shawarma sandwich wrapped in warm pita bread and filled with garlic sauce, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes. 5500 Babcock Road, Suite 101, (210) 694-4800.

Turquoise Grill Open for lunch and dinner, Turquoise Grille is a welcome setting for a variety of Turkish foods — including excellent Doner kebab, mixed grill, chicken tava, baklava, rice pudding — with affordable prices. 3720 NW Loop 410, (210) 736-2887,

click to enlarge GREG ZARAGOZA
  • Greg Zaragoza


Kohinoor Restaurant & Grill The spices and service are warm and intoxicating at this family-run restaurant that uses 100 percent Zabiha Halal meat. Although the menu is a list of possibilities, take a chance on the special of the day. 9425 Fredericksburg Road, (210) 314-8692,


The Bin Tortillas Españolas with a crispy Dady twist, briny olives, smoked octopus and sinfully delicious goat cheese sandwiches are must-have bites. When the weather cools off, expect the return of Friday night paella! 511 E. Grayson St., (210) 994-8099,

Carmens de La Calle After relocating to the Milam Building, relaunched its global menu with paella, ceviche, empanadas and more. 320 N. Flores St., (210) 281-4349,

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