More than any other food, Tex-Mex is a true San Antonio tradition. So many places do it right that it is next to impossible to list all the best, but we do know that we return to these five classic spots again and again.
Ranging from a contemporary to hole-in-the-wall, these restaurants pack them in for a reason, blessing the town each day with real Alamo City soul food.
Although lunch plates like enchiladas and chiles rellenos are solid, this St. Mary’s Strip mainstay slays breakfast, starting bright an early at 5:30 am. Each day has its own special like migas on Tuesday, a weiner and egg plate Thursday, and a hearty huevos rancheros with a pork chop to provide plenty of fuel for Saturday chores. But the best — a heaping platter of cheesy chilaquiles served with a side of refried beans — is saved for Sunday. Good thing it’s a day of rest, because after eating this monster, it’s impossible to do anything else.
Garcia’s Mexican Food
The decor at this Beacon Hill eatery isn’t much to speak of and the only garnishes are a sprinkle of white onions, but bells and whistles would only distract from the main event. Besides, the tangy chicken enchiladas verdes and spicy carne guisada don’t stay on the plate long enough for guests to consider aesthetics. That goes double for the succulent brisket, the perfect mate for a fresh flour tortilla.
Henry’s Puffy Tacos
Alamo City owes a heartfelt thank you to Henry Lopez, said to have invented the puffy taco back in 1978. His restaurant certainly perfected it with delicately crunchy shells cradling everything from simple bean and cheese to peppery chicken fajita. None of the versions really need any more oomph, but once you’ve given up on eating light, you might as well go whole hog. Smother that sucker with cheese, guacamole, and sour cream.
La Fonda on Main
This San Antonio classic has been around since 1932, and though not owned by the original family, the delicious tradition lives on. Get the La Fonda special for a little bit of everything — two gooey cheese enchiladas, a crispy taco, a pork tamal smothered in chile con carne, guacamole, and a scoop each of rice and beans. The fajitas are just as special — especially the plump oak-grilled Gulf shrimp.
Mixing interior Mexican cuisine with Tex-Mex, this Alamo Heights charmer offers some of the most interesting enchiladas in town. Favorites like cheese enchiladas slathered in beef gravy share space with tortillas stuffed with baby shrimp in a white wine sauce and vegetarian mushroom version in salsa guajillo. Or guests can get two sauces on one plate with the divorciadas, two “irreconcilable” chicken enchiladas, one covered with salsa verde and the other with ranchera.