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diner

San Antonio, Texas

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Okay,

  I may be somewhat late but this will help next time you or your wife go.

    First stay offf the beaten path, no one in SA eat downtown. All that is for the tourist. Try Tom's Ribs, on 410 and Vance jackson, or 281 and 1604 or Nacogdoches Rd. Or the awesome County Line on IH10 in the collonade. I lived there for twentyeight years I know what I am talking about. Laters

Chef Rob

The power of egullet.

I have a last minute trip down to SA next week and was looking for a restaurant suggestion.

Tom's Ribs looks like a solid suggestion and it is one exit away from the hotel.

Will report back.......

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Tom's is a fun place to go with a crowd but the BBQ is average, the real thing (for San Antonio) is at Bob's at 5145 Fredericksburg Rd. That's it.

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Okay,

   I may be somewhat late but this will help next time you or your wife go.

     First stay off the beaten path, no one in SA eat downtown. All that is for the tourist. Try Tom's Ribs, on 410 and Vance jackson, or 281 and 1604 or Nacogdoches Rd. Or the awesome County Line on IH10 in the collonade. I lived there for twentyeight years I know what I am talking about. Laters

Chef Rob

The power of egullet.

I have a last minute trip down to SA next week and was looking for a restaurant suggestion.

Tom's Ribs looks like a solid suggestion and it is one exit away from the hotel.

Will report back.......

Client meeting ran incredibly long so dinner consisted of Taco Cabana. Not bad, for fast food, but it was still fast food.

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I was recently in San Antonio and had a good Italian dinner at Dolores del Rio. Sorry, I don't remember the address, but it is on the Riverwalk, but not in a very obvious location. The food was very good, and the place had tons of character, and a good jazz band, making the experience even more memorable. Plus, it was New Years' Eve.

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I was recently in San Antonio and had a good Italian dinner at Dolores del Rio. Sorry, I don't remember the address, but it is on the Riverwalk, but not in a very obvious location.

Dolores del Rio is a very funky place, and the food is pretty good - or can be. The service, IME, is seriously hit or miss. I won't go to lunch there for fear that it'll take too long.

It's on the south bank of the River Walk off Commerce St. at the north end of the River Walk proper. Between St. Mary's and Soledad.

My favorite Italian restaurant in SA is a little outside of town in Olmos Park. It's called Ciao Lavanderia - it used to be a laundrymat. Very nice food - simply done. They have a $6, $9 and $12 menu. Mostly, the $12 menu are the specials and the 6 and 9 are the standards (portion size being a determing factor in some of the 6 and 9 price).

It's run by the same guy who owns Bistro Vatel (he's apparently related to the historical Vatel).

Try it next time you're in town - a cheap cab ride if you're downtown.

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My wife and I were in SA for a couple of days in late January and though we didn't go to Dolores Del Rio, we were amused by the name and she (my wife, not Dolores) remembered the words of a naughty cabaret song mentioning the eatery's namesake.

We went to three places worth mentioning (two old standards and a high-end Riverwalk joint) and I'll do capsule reviews rather than go into any great detail:

1. Earl Abel's, 4210 Broadway (a few miles north of center, but still very much downtown). If you like unreconstructed 'throwback' Roadfood-type places with comfort food and a nostalgic feel, a vanishing species in 21st-century America, Earl is your guy. Fried chicken, chicken-fried steak, pies, and breakfasts in general are the specialties of this large, 70-year-old eatery that looks as if it was last renovated in 1963 (you could say the same about the waitstaff and much of the clientele). The food is straight-ahead American grub, well-prepared and modestly priced, but you'll get just as much of a kick out of the corny signs above the counter and the 'crest and knight-in-armor' décor. Fried chicken was decent, but more gravy would have been welcome; maybe you have to ask for it 'wet'? There's nothing about Earl Abel's that particularly says 'San Antonio,' but there couldn't be a more American place than this.

2. Mi Tierra, 218 Produce Row (El Mercado) -- Sprawling, Uber-touristy eating hall in the heart of the faux Mexican marketplace, which we much enjoyed on its own terms (both the plaza and the restaurant). We went for an early lunch (a fish daily special and a taco salad) -- reliable, filling and good value. The strolling mariachi players have to be fended off with a stick every 3 to 5 minutes (I finally caved and requested 'La Bamba' -- a song is $5 and I'd say it's worth it, ONCE) but we put it down to 'it's all part of the experience.' The pastries have a local rep for excellence. If you go, ask to be seated in the mariachi room, decorated with framed costumes and instruments of legendary musicians. (It also seemed to be where the locals sit, maybe because it's closer to the bar...) :laugh:

3. Biga on the Banks, 203 South St. Mary's (in a quiet section of the Riverwalk): Some consider it the best upscale restaurant in town, and we both loved the creative and delicious presentations. (They do excellent $29 prix-fixe three-course dinners before 6:30 and after 9:00 p.m., if you're on a budget.) Classy, tasteful décor; service was correct, if a bit stiff. Great place for a romantic dinner.

We'll be back, and are looking forward to going to La Fogata (old established, much-visited Mexican place near the airport) next time.

CNN Food Central has a section on SA restaurants here:

http://www.cnn.com/FOOD/restaurants/weissm...sanantonio.html

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I love Earls! That place is such a hoot. Completely American - it has become very dear to San Antonio. Much in the same way that Hipps Bubble Room was. It's an institution that we cherish. Chicken fried steak, fried chicken and pies - that's what it's all about. That and bee-hive wearing waitresses.

Another place to look for simple American fare is the 410 Diner. It's on Broadway at 410 (just a couple miles out of downtown - say 20 min drive). Simple, real food. Don't leave without trying the Sonora Casserole - it's my favorite thing they have. We also won't leave without the four berry cobbler with blue bell ice cream on it. Yummy.

Mi Tierra and La Margarita have pretty good food - better than one might expect from touristy area of town. I still like El Mirasol better (in South Town/ King William), but never turn down someone looking to eat there. Give that a try next time.

Biga is very good. I really like the game they have - very rare venison and little game packets are great.

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