Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Where to Eat and Drink in San Antonio

Mavs/Spurs Circa 2010
I always seem to be in San Antonio for one reason or another: a Mavs/Spurs playoff series, Cowboys training camp or, most recently, Rangers spring training.  I have spent the better portion of a decade visiting the Alamo City at least once a year.

With Rangers third base coach Gary Pettis at the Alamodome
Eating well on the road is a sport, won at which I've won and lost.  While I was pregnant, covering the Mavs championship run (ah memories!) in 2011, I searched in vain for fresh, non-fried vegetables in downtown Oklahoma City.  I failed.  Trust me, this is a sport.

Fresh off a quick weekend in San Antonio, here are some can’t miss spots to try near downtown: 
The interior at Feast
Feast – a modern, eclectic tapas spot in the beautiful King Williams Historic District.  My photographer had lamb kebabs and corn fritters while I had mussels and brussel sprouts.  We enjoyed it on the uber-hip patio.  All of it was outstanding.  

Patio at Feast
It’s a good mix of families, the San Antonio gay fab crowd and husbands trotting out their second or third trophy wives.  Great food, great people watching, a definite must-try.

Patio at Mad Hatters
Mad Hatters Tea House & Cafe – a funky tea room in the King Williams Historic District.  A perfect breakfast or lunch spot.  I ate two meals a day here during Cowboys Camp 2011.  They do wonderful whole grain pancakes and omelets for breakfast and outstanding salads at lunch.  They also have a lovely hot and iced tea selection. This is a girlie spot that can satisfy a guys appetite with hearty sandwich offerings.  Bonus: free WiFi!

On The River Walk
I think eating on the River Walk can, at times, be a losing effort.  Most of the restaurants offer bad, overly seasoned food that have you regretting it the next day.  These, though, are some quality choices:

Wavy Gaudi iron entrance to Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas in the Hotel Contessa - hotel food in a gorgeous setting.  If you’re dying for a Catalan vibe without the trip to Spain, this is a good option.  You can find jamon serrano, paella and shellfish stew.  The d├ęcor is inspired by famed Barcelona architect Antoni Gaudi.  Worth it if only for the trippy Gaudi vibe.

Exactly what you would expect at Biga on the Banks
Biga on the Banks - nothing too terribly innovative.  You will find typical spinach salads, cheese plates, steaks and fish.  It works because it doesn't suck.

Boudros - a "Texas bistro on the Riverwalk" in a pretty setting.   A menu heavy on Gulf shellfish, quail, garlic mashed potatoes, all the stuff you would expect.  Again, a good choice because it doesn't suck. 

Starbucks - really.  I can't count the number of meals at the Riverwalk Starbucks I have eaten over the years.  Seriously, they have some healthy options: oatmeal, spinach/feta/egg white wrap, protein box, decent sandwiches, fruit and veggies boxes.  Gotta love free WiFi. 

The Quarry Market is a solid retail and restaurant space north six miles of downtown that features a Whole Foods, My Fit Foods, Canyon Cafe, Piatti Italian Restaurant and much more. 

Mi Tierra Restaurant and Bakery is the popular, open-all-hours Mexican spot.  The food is fine.  The real reason to go: you never know who you will run into there at 2am.  

Menger Bar
Menger Bar
For cocktails, one of my favorite spots is the Menger Bar in the Menger Hotel.  It's "an exact replica of London’s House of Lord’s Pub. "  Teddy Roosevelt recruited his Rough Riders here.  It's a fabulous bar, full of history and interesting characters. 

The Vbar
The Vbar in the Hotel Valencia is very hip.  It's the equivalent of the Menger hotel's hot, younger daughter who just got a boob job.  It has won a couple of "Best of...." awards.

Bar Rojo the new-ish Grand Hyatt isn't bad.  

SWIG Martini Bar on the Riverwalk was a favorite spot for postgame cocktails following a Mavs/Spurs playoff game.  A tad cheesy but popular and filled with tacky tourists like yours truly. 

Hitting the Bayou City?  Check out my recent must-hit list for places to visit in Houston
Interested in Austin?  We just had a fabulous visit to the state capitol
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