Imagine the best cheesy enchiladas, crispy puffy tacos, spicy shrimp nachos, sizzling fajitas and scintillating chipotle salsa and rejoice because in San Antonio you don’t have to imagine anymore. All of the most incredible Mexican food comes to life here, from traditional favorites to modern interpretations and the tastiest Tex-Mex you’ve ever had in your life!
Upscale option abound, but Paloma Blanca and La Fonda always satisfy those cravings but in a beautiful upscale environment and with premium ingredients and knockout flavors! Both restaurants have plenty of patio seating, perfect for lounging with a a few friends and a few more margaritas.
You can always keep it low-key but festive at Rosario’s, which has two locations in town, and is a favorite go-to for locals for consistently fantastic Tex-Mex, from their Chicken Suizas Enchiladas to their Mexican Rice, which is a coveted family recipe.
For something a little off the beaten path, head to Lala’s Gorditas for some mind blowing gorditas and puffy tacos. The masa is stone-ground fresh everyday here, making it extra fresh and delicious!
Mixtli is so much more than just a satisfying meal, it’s truly a journey of the spirit and senses. Owners Diego Galicia and Rico Torres, also chefs, have developed a unique dining experience they’re calling “progressive Mexican culinaria,” which is unlike anything in San Antonio, perhaps even in the U.S. The duo know how to make great food, that’s a fact, but what’s more enticing is they know how to entertain you. If food were live theater, Mixtli would be a hit Broadway show. Everything is made from scratch, and they source many of their ingredients locally, although some ingredients are imported from Mexico and South America, such as their cocoa beans. Mixtli, which means cloud in the Aztec language of Nahuatl, represents the ever-changing cuisine. The emphasis is on Mexican food that celebrates traditional ingredients and cuisine, just like their ranching grandmothers used to make, yet much more refined.
Recommended for Mexican because: Mixtli offers diners an exciting taste of Mexico they can’t get anywhere else, perhaps in the entire world.
Kimberly’s expert tip: Mixtli only takes reservations and they book up at least a month in advance so be sure to pre-plan.
Cascabel is one of the best-kept secrets in San Antonio and sports a wonderful outdoor patio with umbrella-covered tables. It’s different than every other Mexican restaurant in the city because it features regional specialties from interior Mexico. You won’t find the ubiquitous refried pinto beans here or even flour tortillas. Cascabel serves everything with thick yet soft homemade corn tortillas and refried black beans that have an exceptional amount of flavor. If you want to try something unique, order the Birria, which is a rustic goat stew. If you want to play it safe, order the Huaraches, which are corn tortillas smothered in refried black beans, shredded cabbage, your choice of meat, a spicy red chile sauce and sour cream. Cascabel will stimulate your palette without over-stimulating your bank account!
Recommended for Mexican because: Cascabel is a quaint little eatery with authentic interior Mexican food, a region of the country that is not often featured in San Antonio.
Kimberly’s expert tip: You can get breakfast all day!
Get a taste of a San Antonio tradition at the new Lala’s Gorditas, located just a few minutes south of downtown. Although the restaurant is new, these family recipes have been delighting food lovers for decades. You won’t find a more delicious Tex-Mex meal for these prices anywhere else in town. Lala’s starts with the freshest corn tortillas by grinding their own masa (corn meal). The menu is small but includes their famous gorditas, puffy tacos, bean rolls, guacamole cups and a couple of other handmade goodies. A few puffy tacos and a Mexican Coke and all is right with the world. Don’t expect anything fancy, but if you want to eat great Tex-Mex where the locals do, then this spot should top your list! Outdoor patio seating is available or grab it and go to take to one of the nearby parks or Missions.
Recommended for Mexican because: Lala’s is where you will find true traditional Tex-Mex from a family who has been making it for decades.
Kimberly’s expert tip: If you plan on eating on-site, go early or after the lunch rush.
Imagine kicking back with a cold cerveza and a magnificent plate of fresh, bright shrimp and octopus ceviche marinated in lime juice and mixed with pico de gallo, avocado and Serrano peppers, the sound of the ocean waves lapping against the sand in the distance. Now, imagine you can have all that flavor right here in San Antonio and you’ve stepped into the world of El 7 Mares, a family-owned Mexican Seafood restaurant just a few miles west of downtown. The homemade family recipes are exceptional and the staff amazingly friendly. It’s no wonder they’ve been around for 20 years and recently made Texas Monthly’s top 50 Mexican restaurants list, a huge honor for this unassuming yet delightfully charming restaurant. Locals love the Filete a lo Macho – grilled tilapia with a creamy octopus and shrimp sauce, bacon-wrapped shrimp stuffed with crab and mozzarella and aguachiles with shrimp and scallops. Yum!
Recommended for Mexican because: El 7 Mares is another off the beaten path restaurant that’s worth the extra effort.
Kimberly’s expert tip: Give the ceviche a try here for something fresh and light.
Located along the gorgeous north extension of the river walk at the famous Pearl Brewery, La Gloria has earned a name for itself as a vibrant cantina that serves traditional Mexican street food. Renowned chef, Johnny Hernandez, truly made a name for himself with La Gloria. He’s known for his ability to bring the rich, diverse flavors of Mexico to life in America. The extensive menu is full of delights you would normally find among the street vendors, taquerias, and kitchens of interior Mexico. La Gloria also has a lovely outdoor seating area with scenic views of the river. Inexpensive and perfect for large parties and festivities with friends and families, this eatery has become a favorite for locals and visitors alike. The best part is, if you don’t get your fill, you can grab a bite to eat at their airport location on your way home!
Recommended for Mexican because: La Gloria is a popular restaurant located along the riverwalk with inexpensive Mexican street food.
Kimberly’s expert tip: Can’t get enough? Try one of Chef Hernandez’ other restaurants in the city, including the new Burgerteca and La Fruiteria.
Tito’s is your classic hole in the wall restaurant, but it’s most definitely worth a visit. Located in San Antonio’s acclaimed arts district, Southtown, Tito’s is the place the locals go again and again and again. They put the T in Tex-Mex with some of their signature dishes, such as the Chipotle Cream Chicken Enchiladas or their delightfully juicy Crispy Beef Tacos. This is one of the best tasting and inexpensive places you’ll find in San Antonio or, possibly, even in Texas. All of the plates come with rice, beans and tortillas. It’s practically guaranteed you’ll leave Tito’s both full and happy!
Recommended for Mexican because: Tito’s is a neighborhood restaurant that everyone knows and loves for their inexpensive Tex-Mex.
Kimberly’s expert tip: Try the fideo for a satisfying, absolutely delicious dish!
Rosario’s, which has been around now for over 20 years, has transported itself from a local favorite to a critically-acclaimed restaurant. They have been featured in Southern Living, Texas Monthly and The New York Times, and have been listed as one of the “Top 50 Restaurants in the U.S.” by Hispanic Magazine. From their Chile Relleno de Pescado (shrimp and fish stuffed poblano pepper) to their fajitas and enchiladas, there is not one thing on the menu you won’t be wanting to return for again and again. They offer live music on the weekends and specialize in gigantic margaritas that are almost a meal by itself!
Recommended for Mexican because: A favorite Mexican restaurant in San Antonio, Rosario’s has stood the test of time.
Kimberly’s expert tip: Order the Lisa’s Special plate, which has been a local’s favorite for years.
Dependable food and reliable service are Ernesto’s mainstays and two of the main reasons that locals keep coming back. Behind the modest, strip-mall exterior, items like crab and shrimp crepes are favorites. A casual yet romantic atmosphere makes Ernesto’s a popular choice for anniversaries and birthdays, and Ernesto himself might even offer a few recommendations. Years ago, Ernesto taught French cooking in San Antonio, and now he’s artfully merged French elements with Mexican cuisine to create one-of-a-kind delectable dishes, such as Red Snapper stuffed with crab meat, accompanied by some incredible sauces that will have you coming back again and again. It’s a wonderful restaurant for a special evening out with family and friends. Make sure to save room for their cajeta caramel crepes for dessert. To-die-for!
Recommended for Mexican because: Ernesto’s is a completely unique offering with sauces that make these dishes shine.
Kimberly’s expert tip: A great place to celebrate a special occasion!
La Fonda is the oldest Mexican restaurant in San Antonio. Established in 1932, the restaurant has served at least two American presidents (Teddy Roosevelt and Lyndon B Johnson). However, their primary focus is on serving the city of San Antonio and the locals love this place! The restaurant serves Tex-Mex as well as interior Mexican foods. In a casual atmosphere with colorful decorations, diners relax and enjoy themselves. From the Espinaca Omelet to Migas La Fonda, you will find the perfect Tex-Mex brunch here. You’ll also find traditional sides in the form of hashbrowns and a fruit cup available. However, make sure to ask to sit outside on their patio and don’t forget to order a margarita!
Recommended for Mexican because: La Fonda is a tradition in San Antonio because it serves up some of the best Mexican food in town.
Kimberly’s expert tip: Order the chef’s special for something different you can’t find everyday, typically made with seasonal produce.
Paloma Blanca is conveniently located in Alamo Heights and is something of an oasis, particularly on a hot summer day, with its flowering landscape and tropical palm trees. They offer much more than just an exceptional meal, they offer a relaxed, soothing environment where you can truly savor the conversation with your friends and family. Beyond the typical Tex-Mex fare, they offer dishes such as the Enchiladas San Miguel – enchiladas filled with mushrooms in a Salsa Guajillo, covered with queso fresco and served with poblano corn, white rice and Ensalada Esmeralda. Paloma Blanca is also leading the way in culinary awareness by offering a Paleo menu, complete with Paleo Tacos served on iceberg lettuce. Who says Tex-Mex can’t be healthy?!
Recommended for Mexican because: Great Mexican food may not be hard to find, but Paloma Blanca elevates it.
Kimberly’s expert tip: Paloma Blanca is one of the few Mexican restaurants in town that has a dedicated gluten-free and Paleo menu.