8 classic San Antonio restaurants new Spurs player Victor Wembanyama must try
Judging by the exuberance in the air, one would think it’s Fiesta. But as most off-season celebrations go, San Antonio’s current giddiness has something to do with the Spurs. After a disappointing row of playoff misses, the hometown heroes have drafted French phenom Victor Wembanyama — widely considered the best new NBA prospect since LeBron James.
It’s a big honkin’ deal! The least we fans can do is offer a few dining recommendations. After all, it takes a lot of calories to fuel a 7-foot-5 powerhouse. And what better way to get acquainted with a new city than through its food?
This Alamo Heights staple is filled with screens, which makes it the perfect spot to watch a few highlight reels over fried mushrooms and a juicy burger. There are almost a dozen variations, from the puro bean burger to the spicy 09’er spiked with ghost pepper cheese, chipotle mayo, and jalapeños. Ouch!
While mere mortals may have to split this Pearl eatery’s chicken fried steak over two sittings, we bet the newest Spur won’t have any problem at all. We’d also wager that the famously hungry forward never has to worry about saving room for dessert — a great trait to have in a place that serves 10 pie flavors daily.
La Fonda on Main
Though Wembanyama is still too young to enjoy this classic’s punchy margaritas, the pineapple grapefruit spritzer will sub on the spot. And the menu goes far beyond the greatest hits of Tex-Mex. The prime beef and chicken fajitas sizzle with the best — supplementing more unexpected options like a pepita-crusted salmon cooked on a plancha and served with a tangle of spaghetti squash.
Niki’s Tokyo Inn
It’s comical to imagine Wemby crumpled up on a tatami mat, but the sushi bar is where the action is anyway. And if the baller wants to devote one of his five daily meals to lean protein, it’s hard to beat the dizzying array of toro, uni, Hamachi, and hotate. Sure, Niki’s is a little timeworn, and the décor hasn’t been updated since Julius Irving was a thing. The raucous atmosphere is eternal.
Original Donut Shop
Only in San Antonio could you find a shop that does breakfast so well. The go-to dish is breakfast tacos served on pillowy flour tortillas, but the titular doughnuts are made with just as much finesse. For lunch, Wembanyama should dive into one of the daily plate specials like fideo loco. Even an instant millionaire can appreciate a bargain.
We don’t know what carb loading looks like for a dude with an eight-foot wingspan, but we do know this Lincoln Heights standard-bearer has oodles of noodles. The ravioli de formaggio is topped with succulent veal meatballs and a luscious sauce; the tortellini has enough fresh veggies to almost qualify as health food.
Ray’s Drive Inn
Arguably no San Antonio dish is as iconic as the puffy taco — and no purveyor as famous as the dish’s OG. The beef version, of course, is quintessential, but the spot can fill the shell with fajita chicken, beans, or shrimp. None of them are anyone’s idea of lean protein, but even the most demanding athletic diets come with a few cheat days.
Tex-Mex isn’t the only cuisine making up San Antonio’s rich culinary heritage. The oldest operating restaurant in Alamo City, in fact, is more known for schnitzel than sopapillas. The classic sandwiches are just as good, ranging from a Reuben to a Dagwood club. Young Wemby will no-doubt also appreciate the root beer — a relic of this joint’s Prohibition days.