Rick’s Picks for Downtown San Antonio

In a past iteration of the Valero Alamo Bowl website, co-worker listed out my favorite restaurants and bars on a page she titled “Rick’s Picks.”

The catchy name wasn’t worth the grief I got from friends for leaving their places off the list. We smartly updated the page to be called “Do It Like A Local.” This larger section now includes links to our Downtown Partners as well as separate Attractions, Nightlife, Restaurant and Shopping tabs.

However, my Mom still sends her monthly request to “Please email me your latest list of good places to eat so i can give it (insert random friend’s name I’ve never heard of) who is planning a trip to San Antonio.” That is a testament to San Antonio’s desirability as a visitor destination and the exploding culinary scene.

So for fans coming in for the Valero Alamo Bowl, check out our Do It Like A Local, Bowl Week Itinerary and Valero Alamo Bowl Game Day Guide sections. However, both visitors and locals might want to also keep the below list of restaurants and bars handy. A big part of San Antonio’s charm is its authenticity and always improving downtown. Thus, this list features links to unique places close to downtown that my wife and I highly recommend.

Restaurants Walkable From Major Downtown Hotels:

Acenar (Mexican)
Bohanan’s (Steakhouse)
Boudro’s (American)
Mi Tierra (Mexican)
Moshe’s Golden Falafel

Paesano’s (Italian)
Rio Rio Cantina (Mexican)
Smoke (BBQ)

Restaurants around Southtown (1 mile)

B&D Ice House BBQ
Batallion (Italian)
Cascabel Mexican Patio

Hot Joy (Asian)
Liberty Bar
Rosario’s (Mexican)
South Alamode Panini & Gelato Company
Stella Public House (Pizza)

Restaurants around Midtown/The Historic Pearl (2 miles)

Barbaro (Pizza)
Chris Madrid’s (Hambugers)
Cookhouse (New Orleans)
The Cove
Cured at The Pearl (American)
Garcia’s Mexican (brisket tacos)
Green Vegetarian Cuisine

The Granary ‘Cue & Brew (BBQ)
Kings Hwy Brew & Q
La Fonda On Main (Mexican)
La Gloria (Mexican)

The Luxury (American/Outdoor)
Smoke Shack BBQ

il Sogno Osteria (Italian)
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery
Taco Taco
W.D. Deli

Bars Walkable From Major Downtown Hotels:

Bar at Bohanan’s
The Esquire Tavern
Juniper Tar

The Last Word
Nectar Wine Bar
Soho Wine & Martini Bar
Swig Martini Bar
Zinc Bistro & Bar

Bars around Southtown (1 mile)

Bar 1919
Francis Bogside (call first as fire damage had them closed for renovations)
The Friendly Spot

Bars around Midtown/The Historic Pearl (2 miles)

High Street Wine Co.
Jazz, TX*


If you have specific questions or need a drinking/eating buddy, feel free to reach out to us socially to @valeroalamobowl or use #alamobowl.

Pro tips:
*  If the Yelp reviews include too many $$$, check out their lunch specials. Most are very reasonable.
*  Jazz, TX, Paramour and Sternewirth are three of the most popular bars in San Antonio and are often at capacity. Plan accordingly.
*  If your group is split between going to eat or getting a drink, then consider Esquire, Francis Bogside and Zinc.
*  For some off-the-beaten path recommendations, try Panchos & Gringos for breakfast, 2M Smokehouse for lunch and Pollos Asados Los Nortenos for dinner.
*  To look good while you explore downtown, buy a guayabera from Penner’s or a custom hat from Paris Hatters. Both of these family owned businesses are 100+ years old.
*  The Bowl has a partnership with Uber. First time Uber riders can get started here and insert the promo code VABOWL16 to receive a free ride up to $20 off.

Rick Hill was a Bowl Volunteer for the first several games and joined the Valero Alamo Bowl staff full-time in 1999. Complaints about this article should be directed to him.


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