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.”
However, my Mom frequently asks 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.
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:
Dough Pizzeria Napoletana
La Panadería (Baked goods)
Mi Tierra (Mexican)
Revolucion Coffee + Juice
Rio Rio Cantina (Mexican)
Restaurants around near downtown/Southtown (1 mile)
Box Street Social
Mark’s Outing Burgers
Maverick Texas Brasserie
South Alamode Panini & Gelato Company
Restaurants around Midtown/The Historic Pearl (2 miles)
Best Quality Daughter (Asian)
Brasserie Mon Chou Chou
The Cove (Family)
Cured at The Pearl (American)
La Fonda On Main (Mexican)
Magpie (Korean-American Fusion)
Mr. Juicy (Hamburgers)
Shiro Japanese Bistro
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.
* Our off-the-beaten path recommendations, don’t miss the amazing brisket at 2M Smokehouse or Garcia’s (both are lunch only), the carnitas or fish tacos at Carnitas Lonja, the Thai food at Thai Dee or the roasted chicken at Pollos Asados Los Nortenos.
* 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. The Esquire’s “Downstairs” bar is a cool riverside lounge.
* To look good while exploring downtown and taking in cool attractions like Hopscotch or The Saga light show, buy a guayabera from Penner’s or a custom hat from Paris Hatters. Both of these family owned businesses are 100+ years old.
* Want to do a downtown brewery tour? Hit Alamo Beer, Dorcol Distilling + Brewing, Freetail Brewing’s Taproom, Kuenstler Brewing, Dos Sirenos Brewing, BackUnturned Brewing Co., and Roadmap Brewing Co.
* Whataburger doesn’t qualify for this list as “unique only to San Antonio” but they are headquartered here and have a convenient downtown location at 412 E. Commerce.
* If the Yelp reviews include too many $$$$, check out their weekday lunch specials. Most are very reasonable.
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 via his email or Twitter.