If you live in San Antonio, you know the dishes that no one can live without. Whether you’re visiting or have lived here forever, one thing is certain: You simply cannot experience San Antonio without these favorites. Some restaurants are putting a new spin on the San Antonio classics, and some just own those bragging rights fair and square.
We've rounded up nine quintessential San Antonio dishes — and where to go for them.
The puffy taco at Los Barrios
Diana Barrios-Trevino has in fact made it legendary: She even beat Bobby Flay at his own game. Los Barrios is a San Antonio institution, and Viola Barrios’ legacy shines through each dish, but the puffy taco has street cred like no other.
Barbecue at Smoked The Restaurant
More than just a plate, Smoke The Restaurant is spinning barbecue in a new direction with Frito pie served out the bag, sloppy sloppy Joe’s, and a roasted pig broken down at your table. Smoked tacos, smoked burgers ... if it can be smoked and isn’t nailed down, it will be smoked.
Breakfast taco at Taco Taco
It’s no surprise that Taco Taco is the place you have to go, even with the possibility of a breakfast taco literally everywhere you turn in the Alamo City. However, Southtowners have a thing for Maria’s, a dive-meets-perfect-hangover-cure-spot.
Chris Madrid's burger
Let’s face it, the almighty burger is a very big deal in Texas, and you cannot say quintessential about a tried-and-true burger in San Antonio without saying Chris Madrid’s. There is no other place in San Antonio that has owned the iconic title of best burger more than this San Antonio burger tsar.
Steak from Bohanan's
For that ever-so-juicy filet that Texans, especially San Antonians, love more than the hot Texas summer, Bohanan's serves the best downtown has to offer. A romantic date night might just be in order at this classic establishment.
Chicken-fried steak from Tip Top Cafe
We simply can’t talk steak without giving props to the other well-known steak in San Antonio, the chicken-fried variety. Tip Top Cafe has the best chicken-fried steak in town. If you are in the mood for a low-key lunch, this is your spot.
German pancakes from Magnolia Pancake Haus
The German way is the best way! German roots run deep at Magnolia Pancake Haus, and there is no other breakfast place to be when the german pancakes are ushered out of the kitchen. Short stack, flap jack, or pfannkuchen: Plan on hard decisions, as they all taste amazing.
Tortillas from Alamo Cafe
Handmade or machine pressed, the debate rages on, but if you want them hot and fresh, flour or corn, Alamo Café never disappoints. Tortilla Factory is where chefs and locals find their comfort food, handmade, and is always a win too.
Queso, salsa, and guac at Paloma Blanca
Is it a dish? Who cares! Salsa, guacamole, and queso are as San Antonio-famous as the Alamo. There are so many boutique restaurants and major chains, everyone’s getting in on the quest for best in this department. Nailing the trio in San Antonio is none other than Paloma Blanca — all three are done incredibly well and Paloma Blanca even caters to the paleo and gluten-free crowd.