As we toil through the pandemic, many of us have turned to comfort food to help us dull the pain of isolation, illness, or uncertainty. And, when it comes to the perfect comfort food, we believe there is no better option than a bowl of queso.
Whether served with crisp chips or handmade tortillas, topped with pico or chili, flameado or Ro-Tel — when queso is done well it's downright divine. (And let's be honest, when it's not done well, it's still pretty great.) Queso also inspires cult-like devotion. Everyone has their favorite spot, and once picked, it's nearly impossible to convince someone otherwise.
The Alamo City has no shortage of fantastic spots to get your dip on, but our Tastemaker judges have narrowed it down to just three of the city's finest queso dishes. Read about them below, and then tune in on Thursday, July 23, at 7 pm as we reveal the winner during our first-ever Tastemaker Awards — Virtual Edition, hosted by Bun B. It's our way of celebrating the extraordinary spirit of the San Antonio restaurant and bar scene during this challenging time. Tickets to the virtual event are on sale now and include a Tasting Tote featuring bites, sips, and more to enjoy at home.
This local mini chain, a food truck turned brick-and-mortar that now boasts locations near the San Antonio Zoo and in Alamo Heights, does cheese right. Along with gooey quesadillas, its griddled Costra de Chelas garnered rave reviews from both the San Antonio Express-News and Texas Monthly. It should come as no surprise then to see the homegrown chain offers a delicious, Tex-Mex spin on queso. Order it as a trio dip to sample it alongside Chela's salsa and guacamole.
Currently: Chela's is open at all locations for dining with social distancing measures in place. It is also open for to-go orders and delivery via third-party apps.
Tito's Mexican Restaurant
This funky eatery has been a King William staple for nearly two decades, thanks in part to its commitment to crafting authentic Mexican fare. Tito's queso flamadeo is a gooey, stretchy, melted white cheese topped with chorizo Mexicano and served on a smoking skillet. It is believed that queso flameado — aka queso fundido — originated around campfires in Northern Mexico border towns, hence the red-hot skillet.
Currently: Tito's is open for carryout and delivery via third-party apps.
Tlahco Mexican Kitchen
Tlahco Mexican Kitchen — also nominated for San Antonio's Best New Restaurant — has been open less than a year, but it's already attracting buzz thanks to its near-encyclopedic menu, which offers both breakfast and lunch. Like Tito's, Tlahco offers a version of queso flameado, which is topped with either chorizo or rajas, and served with a side of homemade tortillas.
Currently: Tlahco is open for in-house dining with limited capacity