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A spread of dishes from Mi Roti.
A spread of dishes from Mi Roti.
Karissa Rangel

The 15 Essential San Antonio Restaurants

Where to find iconic puffy tacos, boozy boba, fried snapper throats, and green curry smoked brisket in San Antonio

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A spread of dishes from Mi Roti.
| Karissa Rangel

When it comes to dining in San Antonio, the city is an evolving blend of old and new. Time-honored neighborhood restaurants and casual mainstays are the backbone of San Antonio’s food landscape, and, unlike in some larger cities, these classics manage to coexist with the influx of burgeoning fine dining establishments.

Whether it’s puffy tacos, green curry, fried fish, or smoked brisket, there’s a little something for everyone in the Countdown City. In recent years, mixed-use developments like Pearl have become sites for restauranteurs looking to make an impact in San Antonio, and many have been successful in achieving their goals. Still, residents and frequent visitors remain loyal to the “puro San Anto” homegrown restaurants that make the city so unique.

As with all businesses, because things are changing constantly, be sure to call ahead to make sure each restaurant is still open and find out whether there are updates on current offerings and service models. Wear a mask, tip well, and if you’re ordering delivery, try to order directly from the businesses themselves.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Clementine

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Clementine is a Castle Hills hidden gem that provides an unexpected fine dining experience just outside Northwest Loop 410. Owned and run by John and Elise Russ, the restaurant serves up seasonal, regional dishes with a Southern touch and remains one of very few places in town that features gamier meats, like quail and pheasant. The menu changes often, but diners can expect dishes like braised oyster mushrooms, gulf fish en papillote, and chamomile-brined spatchcock chicken served with a garden chimichurri. There’s also a prix fixe option designed to highlight the flavors du jour. Though walk-ins are welcome, reservations for dine-in service can be made online or by phone.

Mushroom salad in a white bowl.
Mushroom salad at Clementine.
Jessica Attie

Original Donut Shop

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On any given day, the drive-thru line at the Original Donut Shop extends into the street, and during peak hours, it might even spill over into the parking lot of the adjacent Texaco. What brings people far and wide to this bakery and taqueria? It’s simple: the toasted bean and cheese tacos. Sure, everything on the Original Donut Shop’s menu shines, including its wide variety of specialty doughnuts, but the toasted bean and cheese (with or without bacon) is a Fredericksburg Road delicacy. Orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor services.

Las Nieves Fruit Cups & More

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Las Nieves Fruit Cups & More on Hildebrand Avenue is one of the best places to go for a frozen chamoy-covered mangonada on a hot summer day. The lime-green building has a wall menu featuring photos of its many raspa, piccadilly, and mangonada variations. Additionally, the snack stand offers an assortment of fresh fruit cups, Italian ice, and savory bites, like the timeless classic corn in a cup. Recently, the shop expanded to have a location on Thousand Oaks Drive, which offers the same wide selection. All Las Nieves locations have outdoor dining options.

Taqueria Datapoint

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San Antonio has taquerias on nearly every city block, but Taqueria Datapoint is one that locals will venture outside their neighborhoods to frequent. The mini tacos, served with all the fixings, are a fan favorite, and breakfast plates like the chilaquiles come stacked with sides including beans and papas. Though the beloved Medical Center location remains shuttered following a 2020 fire, Datapoint has two other locations that stay open later than the average taqueria. The West Gramercy location is open till midnight, and the De Zavala location is open till 11 p.m.

Singhs Vietnamese

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After a car crashed into Singhs last summer, the restaurant is back to doing what it does best: serving up its full menu of Vietnamese dishes, including banh mi, bún, and goi. No stop would be complete without trying the “winghs” — fried chicken wings tossed in a spicy Thai chili butter. Pickup and delivery orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor dining.

A white bowl with seasoned wings with a slice of lime.
Wings from Singhs.
Singhs

Curry Boys BBQ

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Combining Texas barbecue and Southeast Asian curries, Curry Boys BBQ became an instant hit when it opened on the St. Mary’s Strip in the fall of 2020. Within a small, very pink building, Curry Boys seamlessly pairs two distinct cuisines with dishes like the brisket smoke show — tender slices of smoked brisket slathered with green curry and served over a bed of rice and potatoes. There’s no indoor dining space for Curry Boys yet, but it has plenty of shaded picnic tables where diners can sit and eat. Additionally, orders can be placed online ahead of time.

Assorted curry dishes and sides.
Assorted curry dishes and sides from Curry Boys BBQ.
Curry Boys BBQ

Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery

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Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery is almost synonymous with Pearl, the ever-expanding upscale food and shopping complex just north of downtown. Under the direction of chef Jeff Balfour, Southerleigh brings Southern comfort food with a coastal flair to its seasonally rotating menu. The pressure-fried chicken is a constant — excellent paired with the restaurant’s tangy tiger sauce — and the fried snapper throats are a must-try. Pickup and delivery orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and patio service.

A red plate with a blue rim and “Southerleigh - May Our Paths Cross” printed on the side. The plate has two fried snapper throats and two sauces.
Fried snapper throats at Southerleigh.
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery

Mi Roti

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A collaboration between chefs Nicola Blaque — of one of Eater’s best new restaurants of 2019 — and Lionel “Butch” Blache, Mi Roti takes a choose-your-own-adventure approach to Caribbean cuisine. The restaurant’s highly customizable menu includes numerous toppings and perfectly seasoned protein options, including jerk chicken and curry chickpeas, making Mi Roti a popular stop at Pearl’s Bottling Department Food Hall. Orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor service.

Rice bowl with pork belly at Mi Roti.
JP Garrigues

Best Quality Daughter

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Best Quality Daughter began in 2018 as a series of pop-ups to spotlight female Asian-American chefs in San Antonio. Since then, co-owners Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin and Quealy Watson (both of Tenko Ramen) have transitioned the pop-up into a physical restaurant at Pearl. With menu items like curry shrimp fried rice, thick noodle short rib, and Taiwanese popcorn fried chicken, the restaurant makes creative, specific dishes and presents them in a familiar way. The boozy boba tea is a standout option that fully represents the restaurant’s lighthearted sensibility, with drink names like “I Used to Live in Thailand” and “My Husband at the Time.” Orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and patio service.

A plate of pot stickers with other Asian dishes and drinks in the backgroun.
Pot stickers from Best Quality Daughter.
Best Quality Daughter

Rebelle

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Nestled inside the historic St. Anthony Hotel, Rebelle is an upscale seafood restaurant with a luxurious, cool atmosphere that simply works. While Rebelle is probably best known for its decadent seafood towers, make no mistake: The chefs can also prepare one heck of a rib-eye. The seven deadly sins-inspired cocktail list is another menu highlight, and the restaurant’s bar also offers a number of classic libations that are very affordable during happy hour. Reservations can be made on OpenTable.

A seafood tower with lobster and shrimp.
Seafood tower from Rebelle.
Rebelle

Ray's Drive Inn

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Ray’s Drive Inn has been serving the Westside quick and tasty Mexican favorites since the 1950s, but the restaurant gained national attention after owner Arturo Lopez introduced the iconic puffy taco to its menu. A true drive-in, Ray’s allows customers to order and enjoy the plump, fried corn tortilla tacos — topped with lettuce, tomato, and cheese by request — from the comfort of their cars. Additionally, Ray’s now offers an online preorder option.

A trio of crispy fried puffy tacos on a platter from Ray’s.
Puffy tacos from Ray’s Drive Inn.
Bill Addison/Eater

Rosario's Mexican Cafe Y Cantina

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Though many restaurants have come and gone in Southtown, Rosario’s is still going strong after 29 years in business. With its colorful lounge aesthetic, the restaurant is a step up from casual dining, making it a great place to grab frozen margaritas and a plate of nachos to share while catching up with friends and family. The fish tacos and the enchiladas Mexicanas are some of Rosario’s dinner standouts. Orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and patio service.

Carnitas Lonja

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Owner and chef Alejandro Paredes opened Carnitas Lonja in a small, unassuming location, just south of downtown, back in 2017. Since then, the Michoacán taqueria has garnered high praise from critics and diners alike for its carnitas-filled menu and its quick-and-easy service. The restaurant offers half- and full-pound portions of tender, perfectly seasoned pork carnitas, served with pico de gallo, pickled onions, salsa, and a stack of fresh corn tortillas. Orders can be made in person or online, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating on the premises. 

Rudy's Seafood

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Rudy’s Seafood has been a mainstay of the Southside since it first opened in the 1960s. With feed-the-family combo options, Rudy’s is known for its ample helpings of fried fish, shrimp, and oysters, which come with tartar sauce, lemon slices, bread, and a giant serving of fries. Pickup orders can be placed over the phone, and the restaurant is open for indoor dining.

A plate with fried shrimp, fries, two green jalapeños, and two yellow lemon slices.
A fried shrimp plate from Rudy’s Seafood.
Rudy’s Seafood

2M Smokehouse

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Barbecue is the essence of Texas dining, and 2M Smokehouse is the best that San Antonio has to offer on that front. Whether ordered by itself or in a sandwich, the brisket is a full-on flavor and textural experience that explains why the line is always out the door. Other menu highlights include smoked turkey breast and pulled pork along with such sides as chicharoni macaroni and Maria’s beans, which are available by the gallon. The smokehouse is open for some indoor and outdoor dining.

Closeup shot of brisket.
Brisket from 2M Smokehouse.
2M Smokehouse

Clementine

Mushroom salad in a white bowl.
Mushroom salad at Clementine.
Jessica Attie

Clementine is a Castle Hills hidden gem that provides an unexpected fine dining experience just outside Northwest Loop 410. Owned and run by John and Elise Russ, the restaurant serves up seasonal, regional dishes with a Southern touch and remains one of very few places in town that features gamier meats, like quail and pheasant. The menu changes often, but diners can expect dishes like braised oyster mushrooms, gulf fish en papillote, and chamomile-brined spatchcock chicken served with a garden chimichurri. There’s also a prix fixe option designed to highlight the flavors du jour. Though walk-ins are welcome, reservations for dine-in service can be made online or by phone.

Mushroom salad in a white bowl.
Mushroom salad at Clementine.
Jessica Attie

Original Donut Shop

On any given day, the drive-thru line at the Original Donut Shop extends into the street, and during peak hours, it might even spill over into the parking lot of the adjacent Texaco. What brings people far and wide to this bakery and taqueria? It’s simple: the toasted bean and cheese tacos. Sure, everything on the Original Donut Shop’s menu shines, including its wide variety of specialty doughnuts, but the toasted bean and cheese (with or without bacon) is a Fredericksburg Road delicacy. Orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor services.

Las Nieves Fruit Cups & More

Las Nieves Fruit Cups & More on Hildebrand Avenue is one of the best places to go for a frozen chamoy-covered mangonada on a hot summer day. The lime-green building has a wall menu featuring photos of its many raspa, piccadilly, and mangonada variations. Additionally, the snack stand offers an assortment of fresh fruit cups, Italian ice, and savory bites, like the timeless classic corn in a cup. Recently, the shop expanded to have a location on Thousand Oaks Drive, which offers the same wide selection. All Las Nieves locations have outdoor dining options.

Taqueria Datapoint

San Antonio has taquerias on nearly every city block, but Taqueria Datapoint is one that locals will venture outside their neighborhoods to frequent. The mini tacos, served with all the fixings, are a fan favorite, and breakfast plates like the chilaquiles come stacked with sides including beans and papas. Though the beloved Medical Center location remains shuttered following a 2020 fire, Datapoint has two other locations that stay open later than the average taqueria. The West Gramercy location is open till midnight, and the De Zavala location is open till 11 p.m.

Singhs Vietnamese

A white bowl with seasoned wings with a slice of lime.
Wings from Singhs.
Singhs

After a car crashed into Singhs last summer, the restaurant is back to doing what it does best: serving up its full menu of Vietnamese dishes, including banh mi, bún, and goi. No stop would be complete without trying the “winghs” — fried chicken wings tossed in a spicy Thai chili butter. Pickup and delivery orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor dining.

A white bowl with seasoned wings with a slice of lime.
Wings from Singhs.
Singhs

Curry Boys BBQ

Assorted curry dishes and sides.
Assorted curry dishes and sides from Curry Boys BBQ.
Curry Boys BBQ

Combining Texas barbecue and Southeast Asian curries, Curry Boys BBQ became an instant hit when it opened on the St. Mary’s Strip in the fall of 2020. Within a small, very pink building, Curry Boys seamlessly pairs two distinct cuisines with dishes like the brisket smoke show — tender slices of smoked brisket slathered with green curry and served over a bed of rice and potatoes. There’s no indoor dining space for Curry Boys yet, but it has plenty of shaded picnic tables where diners can sit and eat. Additionally, orders can be placed online ahead of time.

Assorted curry dishes and sides.
Assorted curry dishes and sides from Curry Boys BBQ.
Curry Boys BBQ

Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery

A red plate with a blue rim and “Southerleigh - May Our Paths Cross” printed on the side. The plate has two fried snapper throats and two sauces.
Fried snapper throats at Southerleigh.
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery

Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery is almost synonymous with Pearl, the ever-expanding upscale food and shopping complex just north of downtown. Under the direction of chef Jeff Balfour, Southerleigh brings Southern comfort food with a coastal flair to its seasonally rotating menu. The pressure-fried chicken is a constant — excellent paired with the restaurant’s tangy tiger sauce — and the fried snapper throats are a must-try. Pickup and delivery orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and patio service.

A red plate with a blue rim and “Southerleigh - May Our Paths Cross” printed on the side. The plate has two fried snapper throats and two sauces.
Fried snapper throats at Southerleigh.
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery

Mi Roti

Rice bowl with pork belly at Mi Roti.
JP Garrigues

A collaboration between chefs Nicola Blaque — of one of Eater’s best new restaurants of 2019 — and Lionel “Butch” Blache, Mi Roti takes a choose-your-own-adventure approach to Caribbean cuisine. The restaurant’s highly customizable menu includes numerous toppings and perfectly seasoned protein options, including jerk chicken and curry chickpeas, making Mi Roti a popular stop at Pearl’s Bottling Department Food Hall. Orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor service.

Rice bowl with pork belly at Mi Roti.
JP Garrigues

Best Quality Daughter

A plate of pot stickers with other Asian dishes and drinks in the backgroun.
Pot stickers from Best Quality Daughter.
Best Quality Daughter

Best Quality Daughter began in 2018 as a series of pop-ups to spotlight female Asian-American chefs in San Antonio. Since then, co-owners Jennifer Hwa Dobbertin and Quealy Watson (both of Tenko Ramen) have transitioned the pop-up into a physical restaurant at Pearl. With menu items like curry shrimp fried rice, thick noodle short rib, and Taiwanese popcorn fried chicken, the restaurant makes creative, specific dishes and presents them in a familiar way. The boozy boba tea is a standout option that fully represents the restaurant’s lighthearted sensibility, with drink names like “I Used to Live in Thailand” and “My Husband at the Time.” Orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and patio service.

A plate of pot stickers with other Asian dishes and drinks in the backgroun.
Pot stickers from Best Quality Daughter.
Best Quality Daughter

Rebelle

A seafood tower with lobster and shrimp.
Seafood tower from Rebelle.
Rebelle

Nestled inside the historic St. Anthony Hotel, Rebelle is an upscale seafood restaurant with a luxurious, cool atmosphere that simply works. While Rebelle is probably best known for its decadent seafood towers, make no mistake: The chefs can also prepare one heck of a rib-eye. The seven deadly sins-inspired cocktail list is another menu highlight, and the restaurant’s bar also offers a number of classic libations that are very affordable during happy hour. Reservations can be made on OpenTable.

A seafood tower with lobster and shrimp.
Seafood tower from Rebelle.
Rebelle

Ray's Drive Inn

A trio of crispy fried puffy tacos on a platter from Ray’s.
Puffy tacos from Ray’s Drive Inn.
Bill Addison/Eater

Ray’s Drive Inn has been serving the Westside quick and tasty Mexican favorites since the 1950s, but the restaurant gained national attention after owner Arturo Lopez introduced the iconic puffy taco to its menu. A true drive-in, Ray’s allows customers to order and enjoy the plump, fried corn tortilla tacos — topped with lettuce, tomato, and cheese by request — from the comfort of their cars. Additionally, Ray’s now offers an online preorder option.

A trio of crispy fried puffy tacos on a platter from Ray’s.
Puffy tacos from Ray’s Drive Inn.
Bill Addison/Eater

Rosario's Mexican Cafe Y Cantina

Though many restaurants have come and gone in Southtown, Rosario’s is still going strong after 29 years in business. With its colorful lounge aesthetic, the restaurant is a step up from casual dining, making it a great place to grab frozen margaritas and a plate of nachos to share while catching up with friends and family. The fish tacos and the enchiladas Mexicanas are some of Rosario’s dinner standouts. Orders are placed online, and the restaurant is open for indoor and patio service.

Carnitas Lonja

Owner and chef Alejandro Paredes opened Carnitas Lonja in a small, unassuming location, just south of downtown, back in 2017. Since then, the Michoacán taqueria has garnered high praise from critics and diners alike for its carnitas-filled menu and its quick-and-easy service. The restaurant offers half- and full-pound portions of tender, perfectly seasoned pork carnitas, served with pico de gallo, pickled onions, salsa, and a stack of fresh corn tortillas. Orders can be made in person or online, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating on the premises. 

Rudy's Seafood

A plate with fried shrimp, fries, two green jalapeños, and two yellow lemon slices.
A fried shrimp plate from Rudy’s Seafood.
Rudy’s Seafood

Rudy’s Seafood has been a mainstay of the Southside since it first opened in the 1960s. With feed-the-family combo options, Rudy’s is known for its ample helpings of fried fish, shrimp, and oysters, which come with tartar sauce, lemon slices, bread, and a giant serving of fries. Pickup orders can be placed over the phone, and the restaurant is open for indoor dining.

A plate with fried shrimp, fries, two green jalapeños, and two yellow lemon slices.
A fried shrimp plate from Rudy’s Seafood.
Rudy’s Seafood

2M Smokehouse

Closeup shot of brisket.
Brisket from 2M Smokehouse.
2M Smokehouse

Barbecue is the essence of Texas dining, and 2M Smokehouse is the best that San Antonio has to offer on that front. Whether ordered by itself or in a sandwich, the brisket is a full-on flavor and textural experience that explains why the line is always out the door. Other menu highlights include smoked turkey breast and pulled pork along with such sides as chicharoni macaroni and Maria’s beans, which are available by the gallon. The smokehouse is open for some indoor and outdoor dining.

Closeup shot of brisket.
Brisket from 2M Smokehouse.
2M Smokehouse

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