As in many cities, SA’s most popular restaurants are concentrated in a few areas, all within Inner Loop 410 -- Southtown, Alamo Heights, The Pearl, and Downtown are home to the lion’s share of these. But locals who restrict their restaurant patronage to this limited geography are missing out on some great spots, both hidden gems and neighborhood mainstays. These 13 can’t-miss eateries prove that when it comes to dining in San Antonio, there is no wrong side of the road.
Lively and authentic, El Buc is a feast for all the senses. The Mexican seafood and signature cocktails are as visually satisfying as they are tasty, and are complemented by boisterous mariachis and dazzling decor.
Excellent barbecue is in ample supply throughout the Alamo City, but it’s hard to beat the combination of atmosphere and expertly prepared meats and sides you’ll find at Two Bros. For folks living between U.S. 281 and I-10 between the Inner and Outer Loops, Two Bros is an oasis in an otherwise rather desolate BBQ landscape.
Far Northwest/North Central
All of Silo’s locations excel at creating a fine-dining experience without being stuffy or inaccessible. While the trio -- including the original location is in Alamo Heights -- are closely linked in their menus, each has its own distinct personality and vibe.
Its name connotes gingham-checked tablecloths and potato salad, and Picnikins’ lunch menu is fairly in line with that concept. But after dark, this UTSA-area bistro serves up things such as lamb shanks and salmon piccata, along with scratch-made desserts, in an intimate, relaxed atmosphere. It’s a great choice for date night.
The prestigious JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is home to this outstanding steakhouse. Many ingredients are locally sourced, and its stunning views make 18 Oaks a fabulous destination for a special event or decadent and romantic night out.
Serving both Shavano Park and Stone Oak, Wildfish is visually stunning and serves some of the best seafood and steaks in Greater San Antonio. A generous Happy Hour menu allows diners to enjoy apps and cocktails at a nice price.
Folks living in The Dominion, Boerne, and Leon Springs love The Grill, where chef-owner Thierry Burkle completely busts the rude-Parisian stereotype. The food is amazing, and the atmosphere is as friendly as you would expect from an eatery on the edge of the Hill Country.
Who says Happy Hour has to take place in Southtown or at The Pearl? Try this 78213 alternative, home of the Duncan roll, where sushi bargains abound seven days a week.
Like its sister restaurant at The Pearl, Green at Alon Market offers diners big flavors from dishes that you will have a hard time believing are meat-free. Friendly and never preachy, not to mention affordable, Green will appeal to a broad range of palates.
Family-owned and featuring an extensive beer and wine menu and large outdoor eating area, Pam’s is a great choice for pairs or groups of diners who can’t agree on what genre of food they’re in the mood for. The extensive and eclectic menu could be a recipe for disaster in less deft hands, but Pam’s thoughtful approach keeps everyone happy.
Soups, salads, and sandwiches anchor the menu, which also includes pizza, burgers, and comfort food, at this mom-and-pop restaurant where bread is baked fresh daily. No dinner service, so plan accordingly.
Abutting the Oak Hills Country Club just a smidge outside Loop 410 and Babcock, this casual strip-mall eatery is a no-frills breakfast and lunch spot that delivers fresh flavors at great prices.
Helotes is more than just a rustic, gorgeous Hill Country locale literally in SA’s back yard. It is also home to this charming wine and tapas bar -- ideal for getting an out-of-the-city feel without going too far from home.
1. Mariscos El Bucanero16505 Blanco Rd, San Antonio
2. Two Bros BBQ Market12656 West Ave, San Antonio
3. SILO Terrace Oyster Bar22211 Suite 1210, IH 10 W, San Antonio
4. Silo Elevated Cuisine1133 Austin Hwy, San Antonio
5. Picnikins Patio Cafe5811 University Hts, San Antonio
6. 18 Oaks23808 Resort Pkwy, San Antonio
7. Wildfish Seafood Grille1834 N Loop 1604 W, San Antonio
8. The Grill at Leon Springs24116 W Interstate 10, San Antonio
9. Sushihana1810 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio
10. Green Vegetarian Cuisine At Alon10003 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio
11. Pam's Patio Kitchen Wine & Beer Bar11826 Wurzbach Rd, San Antonio
12. River Tree Bistro16350 Blanco Rd, San Antonio
13. Sandwich De Paris7220 Louis Pasteur Dr, San Antonio
14. Wine 10114743 Old Bandera Rd, Helotes
El Bucanero serves up Sinaloa-style Mexican food and a lively atmosphere. The menu is seafood focused and most dishes are interpretations by LA native Cesar Cervantes, the wunderkind chef-owner who runs El Buc with his family. Everything is auténtico; no tourists ever find this place, so there’s no need to water anything down, which is greatly appreciated by the locals who come in droves to have a good time.
Ambiance-wise, it’s hard to find a better spot than Two Bros, with its oak-shaded outdoor picnic tables and extra-large double dining rooms inside. The menu also impresses with expertly smoked meats, solid sides, a free fixins' bar with an venerable choice of pickled goodies, and three distinctly different delicious sauces. Bright, warm and friendly, this is the perfect place to get your meat on.
For one of the best oyster spots outside the loop, SILO is where you want to go. Eat in the intimate indoor setting or venture out to the terrace on a nice day, either way you're in for a great dining experience.
Silo boasts three locations in the San Antonio area. Whichever one you go to, be sure to try the chicken-fried oysters.
A perfect date night spot, Picnikins may be casual by day, but once that sun goes down, the UTSA-area bistro serves up dishes like lamb shanks and salmon piccata, plus homemade desserts, in an intimate, relaxed atmosphere.
Tucked inside the prestigious JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa, 18 Oak offers outstanding meat dishes, locally sourced ingredients (supplemented by a sprawling on-site organic garden), and an incredible view. Lauded for its spectacular brunch, 18 Oaks is no slouch in the steak department, either. While the service can sometimes be hit-or-miss, the food is consistently spot on.
This popular San Antonio chain serves up some of the best seafood and steaks in the area. The restaurant itself is visually stunning and you can enjoy happy hour priced appetizers and cocktails on the outdoor patio.
Right on the edge of Hill Country, The Grill at Leon Springs serves up quality dishes in a lively and friendly atmosphere. On the weekends, The Grill features live music on the patio, plus karaoke every Wednesday night.
Sushihana serves up both inventive and traditional rolls in a serene, open atmosphere. Plus with happy hour deals seven days a week, you don't have to worry about going broke when ordering your favorite roll.
Unsurprising of this Elm Creek spot, Green Vegetarian serves up completely meatless and kosher dishes. But "green" isn't just a standard of food, no, it's a standard of living -- they've got sustainability down pat with repurposed furniture, a recycling dumpster, a bike rack, and they only supply free-range eggs and fair-trade coffee. If you've been living off veggie burgers for a while, get ready for something spicy -- this place's got Mexican food for days with mega-sized nachos and spicy cauliflower hot wings.
With a huge menu and a wide range of dishes, Pam's is sure to satisfy every type of diner. From nachos to mahi mahi to to pork chops, there isn't a food genre that's not covered. Plus the extensive beer and wine list will keep you hanging out on Pam's large patio even after the meal is over.
An exclusively lunch establishment, River Tree Bistro serves up quality salads, soups and sandwiches plus a selection of entrées, pizzas and burgers. They bake their bread fresh daily, so we recommend throwing "healthy" out the window and getting something with carbs, you won't regret it.
This casual strip-mall eatery serves up inventive sandwiches with incredible flavors at a great price. Plus their baked goods are always fresh and tasty, so be sure not to skip dessert when you come here.
Wine 101 is the perfect spot to get an out-of-the-city feel without actually venturing too far away from the city. With a huge wine list and a worthy tapas menu, Wine 101 pulls out all the stops. Plus every Thursday from 3-8pm they host a FREE wine tasting. You can even be a member of their wine club and get perks like 2 bottles of wine per month, a customized wine glass for their tastings and invitations to special events at the restaurant.