Food & Drink

San Antonio's Best Restaurants Outside the Loop

Published On 02/02/2016 Published On 02/02/2016

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.

Flickr/Peter Brantley

Mariscos El Bucanero

Far Northwest

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.

Flickr/Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner

Two Bros BBQ Market

North Central

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.

Silo Terrace Oyster Bar/Silo Elevated Cuisine

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.

Picnikins Patio Cafe

Picnikins Patio Cafe


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.

Flickr/Heather Cowper

18 Oaks

Stone Oak

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.

Wildfish Seafood Grille

Far Northwest

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.

Flickr/San Antonio Food Bank

The Grill at Leon Springs

Far Northwest

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.


Sushihana Japanese Restaurant

Castle Hills

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.

Green Vegetarian Cuisine

Green Vegetarian Cuisine

Far Northwest

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.  

Pam’s Patio Kitchen

Far Northwest

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.

River Tree Bistro

River Tree Bistro

North Central

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.

Sandwich de Paris

Sandwich de Paris

Medical Center

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.

Wine 101

Far West

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.

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Michelle Burgess is a San Antonio writer whose inherent lack of coolness renders her unfit to live inside the Loop. Follow her woefully infrequent tweets at @MishiBurg.

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1. Mariscos El Bucanero 16505 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78232

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.

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2. Two Bros BBQ Market 12656 West Ave, San Antonio, TX 78216

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.

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3. SILO Terrace Oyster Bar 22211 Suite 1210, IH 10 W, San Antonio, TX 78257

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.

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4. Silo Elevated Cuisine 1133 Austin Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78209-4806 (Alamo Heights)

Silo boasts three locations in the San Antonio area. Whichever one you go to, be sure to try the chicken-fried oysters.

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5. Picnikins Patio Cafe 5811 University Hts, San Antonio, TX 78249

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.

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6. 18 Oaks 23808 Resort Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78261 (Stone Oak)

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.

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7. Wildfish Seafood Grille 1834 N Loop 1604 W, San Antonio, TX 78248

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.

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8. The Grill at Leon Springs 24116 W Interstate 10, San Antonio, TX 78257

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.

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9. Sushihana 1810 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78213 (Castle Hills)

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.

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10. Green Vegetarian Cuisine At Alon 10003 NW Military Hwy, San Antonio, TX 78231

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.

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11. Pam's Patio Kitchen Wine & Beer Bar 11826 Wurzbach Rd, San Antonio, TX 78230

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.

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12. River Tree Bistro 16350 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX 78232

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.

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13. Sandwich De Paris 7220 Louis Pasteur Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229 (Medical Center District)

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.

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14. Wine 101 14743 Old Bandera Rd, Helotes, TX 78023

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.