No one can blame San Antonians for being stressed. Between being bombarded by election year ads and coronavirus headlines, comfort food is needed more than ever. While these San Antonio spots may not be an answer to all the world’s ills, they’re guaranteed to make even the most trying days a little bit better.
This new San Marcos import proves that cuisine doesn’t have to be slathered in cheese to deliver good vibes. Putting a vegan spin on classic American fare, owners Yarnisha Lyons and Balazs Lovasz specialize plant-based soul food like chick’n and cornbread served with a gobsmacking array of sides. The mashed potatoes and mac ’n’ cheese are so creamy guests will never miss the dairy.
Although the three locations of this Alamo City favorite serve up gooey enchiladas, sizzling fajitas, and other Tex-Mex standbys, the seafood specialties are worth a deep dive. The flautas de camaron, ribboned with crema, make terrific anytime snacks, and the towering tostadas are big enough for a whole meal. The ceviches — ranging from the tropical Hawaiano to the green Kiky Villareal — are a ray of sunshine during late winter’s often gloomy days.
After a brief hiatus and a change of ownership, this San Antonio icon came roaring back last October with an updated menu and interior. Those who worried that the classic restaurant has taken a sharp detour, however, need not fret. Earl Abel’s still dishes up all the comfort its guests can handle, including giant chicken fried steaks, roast turkey with all the fixings, fluffy buttermilk biscuits, and, of course, its legendary pies.
The Jerk Shack
Spicy food has been clinically proven to boost happy hormones like serotonin, so having a meal at this Jamaican eatery is only good science. Turn up the heat with the chopped jerk sandwich, festooned with a pineapple habanero slaw and available in either chicken or pork. Those who can’t stand the heat can opt for the braised beef oxtails. While still lavishly seasoned, the rich dish only delivers a mild sting.
Ming’s Noodle Bar
There’s a reason why almost every culture has its own version of noodles. Slurping carbs is as effective as meditation for chasing the blues away. This popular Olmos Park spot offers a menu suitable for all seasons. While there is still a nip in the air, try the spicy ma la sweet potato noodles loaded with veggies or egg noodles in a miso broth. When South Texas is scorching, cool down with the Lucky Dragon, a bowl loaded with ginger dressing and mixed greens.
Upscale restaurants aren’t typically associated with comfort fare, but don’t tell that to the Fairmont Hotel’s signature restaurant. While Nonna’s signature granchio e tartufo might only be an occasional indulgence, it satisfies like few other dishes. Served tableside in a huge Parmesan wheel, it covers all the bases with loads of brown butter, sweet jumbo lump crab meat, and earthy truffles.