Rick’s Picks for Downtown San Antonio
A co-worker listed out my favorite restaurants and bars on a page on the Valero Alamo Bowl website she titled “Rick’s Picks.”
The catchy, self-serving name wasn’t worth the grief I got from friends for leaving their places off the list. The Bowl 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 for me to “Please email your 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 as well as our burgeoning culinary scene.
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 also want to 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 recommend.
Restaurants Walkable From Major Downtown Hotels:
CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery
Dough Pizzeria Napoletana
La Panadería (Baked goods)
Mi Tierra (Mexican)
Revolucion Coffee + Juice
Rio Rio Cantina (Mexican)
Restaurants around Southtown (1 mile)
B&D Ice House BBQ
Maverick Texas Brasserie
South Alamode Panini & Gelato Company
Southtown Pizzeria (Italian)
Stella Public House
Restaurants around Midtown/The Historic Pearl (2 miles)
Cookhouse (New Orleans)
The Cove (Family)
Cured at The Pearl (American)
Green Vegetarian Cuisine
The Granary ‘Cue & Brew (BBQ)
La Fonda On Main (Mexican)
La Gloria (Mexican)
The Luxury (American/Outdoor)
Smoke Shack BBQ
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery
If you have specific questions or need a drinking/eating buddy, feel free to reach out to us socially to @valeroalamobowl or use #valeroalamobowl.
* If the Yelp reviews include too many $$$$, check out their lunch specials. Most are very reasonable.
* Jazz, TX and Sternewirth on the Historic Pearl campus are two 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 or Zinc as they offer the best of both worlds. Esquire’s “Downstairs” bar is a cool riverside lounge.
* Our off-the-beaten path recommendations, don’t miss the amazing brisket at 2M Smokehouse or Garcia’s (both are lunch only), the unique bar-b-cue options at Dignowity Meats, the carnitas at Carnitas Lonja or the roasted chicken at Pollos Asados Los Nortenos.
* Want to do a downtown brewery tour? Hit Alamo Beer, Dorcol Distilling + Brewing, Freetail Brewing’s Taproom, Kuenstler Brewing and Roadmap Brewing Co.
* To look good while exploring downtown, buy a guayabera from Penner’s or a custom hat from Paris Hatters. Both of these family owned businesses are 100+ years old.
Rick Hill was a Bowl Volunteer for the first several games and joined the Valero Alamo Bowl staff full-time in 1999. Complaints, clarifications or invitations for him to join can be sent to his email or Twitter.