13 San Antonio restaurants every tourist must try – mySA

When San Antonio tourists roll into town, they usually flock to the same recognizable restaurants, usually scattered throughout downtown and the River Walk, and near bustling shopping centers like the Alamo Quarry Market and La Cantera. We get it! It’s part of the San Antonio experience, but so is dining at eateries more reflective of the city itself.

Though some restaurants on this list have gained recognition outside of San Antonio for one reason or another, they’re not yet places that tourists associate with the Alamo City. Whether you’re a native wanting to try somewhere new or a tourist wanting a more local take on the food scene here, these essential restaurants are a must-try for a true taste of all that San Antonio has to offer.

A medio pollo plate with half a grilled chicken, onions, a jalapeño, rice, tortillas and an optional side of charro beans from Pollos Asados Los Norteños.

A medio pollo plate with half a grilled chicken, onions, a jalapeño, rice, tortillas and an optional side of charro beans from Pollos Asados Los Norteños.

Mike Sutter /Staff file photo

Pollos Asados Los Norteños

The concept is simple, but the flavors are extraordinary at Pollos Asados Los Norteños. With two locations in San Antonio, it’s easier to get a taste of the Mexican-style grilled chicken that’s served with rice, tortillas, salsas, grilled onions, and jalapeños. Do yourself a favor and get here as soon as possible.

Find it: 4642 Rigsby Ave., San Antonio, TX 78222; 210-648-3303 and 4822 Walzem Road, San Antonio, TX 78218; 210-481-4168

Curry Boys BBQ is now serving Southeast Asian rice bowls topped with Texas-style smoked meats.

Curry Boys BBQ is now serving Southeast Asian rice bowls topped with Texas-style smoked meats.

Curry Boys BBQ

Curry Boys BBQ

The flavors are on point at Curry Boys BBQ, which has already gained recognition in the culinary world. Expect all the meats you expect of Texas barbecue here, but with an Asian twist focusing on curries. You’ll have fun tasting all the different bowls that show off the collaborative cuisines that San Antonio enjoys so much.

Find it: 2334 N. Saint Mary’s St., San Antonio, TX 78212; 210-320-0555

Risotto Nero with black risotto, fried calamari and shrimp bisque from Nonna Osteria.

Risotto Nero with black risotto, fried calamari and shrimp bisque from Nonna Osteria.

Tom Reel /San Antonio Express-News

Nonna Osteria

Located inside the Fairmount Hotel, Nonna Osteria gives a glimpse into a swanky downtown dining experience that’s not replete with tourists. For a more local experience that happens to serve artisan Italian cuisine, you’ll be all set at Nonna Osteria with its pizzas, pastas, and vast wine selections.

Find it: Multiple locations.

Salt and pepper shrimp, left, and mapo tofu from Sichuan House

Salt and pepper shrimp, left, and mapo tofu from Sichuan House

Mike Sutter /Staff file photo

Sichuan House

Texas meets China according to the owners at this Wurzbach Road favorite. There are plenty of Chinese restaurants around town, but Sichuan House will do you right with its hot pots, pork belly variations, and other Sichuan favorites. If you’re in town and staying near the Medical Center, plan on stopping by.

Find it: 3505 Wurzbach Road, #103, San Antonio, TX 78238; 210-509-9999

Wayne's Wings is a must-try for on game day.

Wayne’s Wings is a must-try for on game day.

Yelp / Gus S.

Wayne’s Wings

Between its two San Antonio locations, including the original Walzem outpost, Wayne’s Wings will have you licking your fingers and drooling over its sauces and dry rubs. From the Duke and Roxy to the funnel cake wings, there’s a boatload of flavors to appreciate at this delectable spot.

Find it: 4453 Walzem Road, San Antonio, TX 78218; 210-300-3891 and 11600 Bandera Road, #116, San Antonio, TX 78250; 210-667-4057

Fideo loco with beef picadillo comes with fresh flour tortillas at Maria's Cafe on Nogalitos Street.

Fideo loco with beef picadillo comes with fresh flour tortillas at Maria’s Cafe on Nogalitos Street.

Mike Sutter /Staff

Maria’s Cafe

There are plenty of taquerias to hit up in San Antonio, sure. But it’s not everywhere that you can create your own taco to be named after you for all to enjoy, too. Such is the case at Maria’s Cafe, where you can enjoy the taco of your dreams while taking in the mix of decor all around the space. It’s quite the puro (see more here) experience at Maria’s Cafe.

Find it: 1105 Nogalitos St., San Antonio, TX 78204; 210-227-7005

Chorizo and potato taco on a handmade corn tortilla (left) and a bacon and egg taco on handmade flour from The Original Donut Shop.
Chorizo and potato taco on a handmade corn tortilla (left) and a bacon and egg taco on handmade flour from The Original Donut Shop.Mike Sutter /San Antonio Express-News

The Original Donut Shop

Despite being a standout of the iconic Fredericksburg Road, the Original Donut Shop may not always ring any bells for folks visiting the city. That’s no worry, just make sure that you stop by this local gem sooner or later. Though the name focuses on the donuts, just know that the breakfast tacos are also mighty delicious. You’ll be living the good life here.

Find it: 3307 Fredericksburg Road, San Antonio, TX 78201; 210-734-5661

A trio of pork tacos at Carnitas Lonja

A trio of pork tacos at Carnitas Lonja

Bob Owen /Staff file photo

Carnitas Lonja

Representing the Southside is none other than Carnitas Lonja, regarded for its Michoacan-inspired carnitas made fresh daily. Seriously, with all the sides to accompany the juicy meat, you’ll be in heaven. The family-owned spot is open for breakfast and lunch, with a mix of quesadillas, tortas, tacos, and tostadas on the menu. There’s even menudo on the weekends!

Find it: 1107 Roosevelt Ave., Suite B, San Antonio, TX 78210; 210-455-2105

The brisket dumpings from Best Quality Daughter

The brisket dumpings from Best Quality Daughter

Jamie Stolarski /For Best Quality Daughter

Best Quality Daughter

There are plenty of restaurants to enjoy when visiting the Pearl, but Best Quality Daughter is one not to be missed. Housed inside a restored 1900s home, this Asian fusion spot has an inventive menu with treats like Taiwanese popcorn chicken and curry guisada.

Find it: 602 Ave. A, San Antonio, TX 78215; 210-819-4236

Hiding in plain sight as a North Side convenience store, Gino’s Deli is so popular that they’ve stopped selling gas. This sandwich is part of the reason: a long torpedo roll stuffed with a grilled cornucopia of rib-eye steak, onions, bell peppers and smoked provolone ($8.49). They roll it in foil for a steamy marriage that wrecks the lettuce and tomato, but that hot mess is part of the charm.

Hiding in plain sight as a North Side convenience store, Gino’s Deli is so popular that they’ve stopped selling gas. This sandwich is part of the reason: a long torpedo roll stuffed with a grilled cornucopia of rib-eye steak, onions, bell peppers and smoked provolone ($8.49). They roll it in foil for a steamy marriage that wrecks the lettuce and tomato, but that hot mess is part of the charm.

Mike Sutter /San Antonio Express-News

Gino’s Deli Stop N Buy

Housed inside a convenience store, Gino’s Deli whips up delicious hot and cold sandwiches, like the TurkeyRoni and chicken salad, to be enjoyed fresh or packed to go. Pair your perfect sandwich with your chips and drink of choice.

Find it: 13210 Huebner Road, San Antonio, TX 78230; 210-764-0602

A selection of menu items from Comfort Café

A selection of menu items from Comfort Café

Paul Stephen /Staff

Comfort Cafe

Though it has received some praise for its concept, a pay-what-you-can eatery that employs individuals recovering from addiction, we’ll never get tired of recognizing Comfort Cafe as an Alamo City must-try. Consider it the cherry on top that you can enjoy breakfast plates and lunch deals on the patio.

Find it: 2015 N.E. Interstate 410 Loop, San Antonio, TX 78217; 512-360-2100

Lala's Gorditas serves up a mix of staple Tex-Mex dishes, including puffy tacos.

Lala’s Gorditas serves up a mix of staple Tex-Mex dishes, including puffy tacos.

Yelp / Anita Y.

Lala’s Gorditas

Opened by Steven Pizzini, a product of the Taco Hut legacy, Lala’s Gorditas keeps San Antonio’s puro cuisine alive and well with its mix of puffy tacos, enchiladas, and gorditas of course.

Find it: 1600 Roosevelt Ave., San Antonio, TX 78210; 210-465-7157

The weekday lunch special at Sari-Sari Filipino Restaurant Market & Bakery includes fried pork called lechon kawali, pork adobo, fried lumpia, rice, pancit and the pork-blood stew called dinuguan.

The weekday lunch special at Sari-Sari Filipino Restaurant Market & Bakery includes fried pork called lechon kawali, pork adobo, fried lumpia, rice, pancit and the pork-blood stew called dinuguan.

Mike Sutter /Staff

Sari-Sari Supper Club

Family-owned and -operated since 1995, Sari-Sari is not to be missed among all the places to eat in San Antonio. You’ll be able to take in a mix of Filipino dishes, desserts, and more. Whether you opt for your own plate or order the Kamayan Boodle Fight (served on fresh banana leaves) for the table, you’ll be eating good!

Find it: 10234 TX-151, #102, San Antonio, TX 78251; 210-428-1742

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