The SA Foodie Experience at #ISTE2017 Tips by a Local!

7 min read

ISTE is around the corner and taking place in my hometown, San Antonio. Make sure to catch the Periscope videos by my newborn, Savvy, and I as we interview people as official ISTE Media (@ShellTerrell). I’m a foodie and have worked in the San Antonio tourist industry as well as a waitress on the RiverWalk for years before becoming an educator. The RiverWalk is a definite must see. Have a margarita there, but you won’t get to eat a lot of good authentic reasonably priced food. All the good restaurants are way too expensive. Below, I have created a graphic and also have listed top places near the ISTE conference center to eat and drink. I have marked places that are within a 10 to 15 minute walk (*) and (**) within a 15 to 30 minute walk. San Antonio is super hot and humid so I recommend you Lyft or Uber it. Both have extremely cheap fares and are free apps. You can also try Via’s new VIVA downtown bus service. Super cheap, $2.75 for an all day pass. Click here for schedules. Definitely wear comfortable shoes and very light clothing. I also recommend you download the Open Table app, so you don’t have to wait in restaurant lines. San Antonio has great happy hour (5 to 7pm) specials so if on a budget you eat and drink cheap at most of the places below. If you need any other tips or care to venture even further just tweet me, @ShellTerrell. The Quarry, the St. Mary’s strip and La Cantera are great areas to visit with great food, shopping, live music, and reverse happy hour special (9 to 11pm). I also invite you to join my family and I this Sun., June 25th, for Mariachi authentic TexMex cheap all you can eat brunch at Estela’s Mexican Restaurant and bakery at 10:30am, 2200 W Martin St, San Antonio, TX 78207.

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Southtown King Williams District

Take the VIVA Culture 11 bus.

  • Friendly Spot* – Outdoor bar with craft beers and small menu.
  • Bar America*- Local dive bar with a jukebox and pool. Cheap and owners been there for years.
  • Alamo Eat Street*- Food trucks, outdoors, and drinks.
  • Azuca*- Nuevo Latino food, drinks, live Latino music and dancing, and great happy hour specials. Indoors and outdoors.
  • Taco Haven*- Great TexMex food that is cheap and great tacos. Recommended for breakfast and lunch.
  • The Station Cafe*- Great for pizzas and quick cheap eats.
  • MadHatter’s*- Great food and Alice and Wonderland theme. Great for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Variety of good beers, delicious sandwiches, great sides, and atmosphere.
  • Rosarios*- Delicious Mexican food way better than RiverWalk, but pricey.
  • Liberty Bar*- We love the Goat cheese with Piloncillo appetizer and the rest of the food is amazing.
  • Guenther House**- The best breakfast and brunch you will have, because they make it with the flour from the local Pioneer Flour Mill.
  • La Tuna** – Great food upstairs and outdoor dive bar. Very cheap beer but you need cash. Especially nice at night with the lights.
  • Beethoven Beerhall and Garden**- Outdoor and indoor drinking serving the best German beers on tap. Didn’t make the graphic because it is closed Sunday and Monday.

Pearl Brewery

At Pearl Brewery you want to walk around and visit the RiverWalk that is less crowded around there. It’s one of my favorite areas. There are art installations around this part of the RiverWalk including my favorite fish and grotto installations. These are free to see and quite magical at night. Most of the restaurants are delicious just super expensive. It’s because they are next to SA’s top culinary school. If they aren’t listed it is because they just are too pricey for my taste. Take the VIVA Culture 11 bus.

  • La Gloria– The adobo or puerco mocajetes feed 2 or 3 and go nicely with the mojitos. I also love the Mole sope, the tostadas, and the caramel flan.
  • Green– Love all the food and fantastic for vegans and vegetarians. Desserts are so good and gluten free.
  • Viva Taco Land– A great tradition in San Antonio and behind La Gloria. Drink outdoors and eat cheaply. Also, listen to live music at night.
  • Sam’s Burger Joint– I used to read slam poetry here. Now you can eat and drink cheaply. Good burgers and cheap bear. Also, live music indoors.
  • The Luxury– Drink outdoors. Small menu and craft beers. Also, some outdoor games.
  • Jazz, TX– Live jazz music, eat and drink. Pricey.
  • Hotel Emma– Pricey but great to eat and tour. In the actual old Pearl Brewery. Beautiful area.
  • The Granary– One of the best barbecue places but pricey. My favorite is the pork shoulder.
  • Paramour– One of the few rooftop bars.
  • Local Coffee– Great place to get coffee and treats.

Downtown and RiverWalk

You can take the VIVA Centro 301 or Primo 100 bus.

  • Ocho Hotel Havana**- The Havana Hotel is one of my favorite hidden gems in SA. Take a tour of the rooms. Go to the Ocho restaurant. Food is excellent but the best part is the underground Cuban bar that looks like a scene from the 1920s. Hardly anyone is around and you hear great Cuban music. The mojitos are amazing. Take the VIVA Culture 11 or VIVA Centro 301 bus to the Tobin Center. It’s right behind the Tobin.
  • The Cove– My partner, Jake Duncan’s, favorite place. All locally produced food, craft beer, and live music. Indoor and outdoors. Great burgers and vegan choices. We recommend the sweet hash. Take Lyft or Uber. Via bus 4, 82, 95 or 96. Behind Whataburger.
  • Schakolad Chocolate Factory– It’s SA’s chocolate factory. Viva 11.
  • Acenar*- Eat and drink some great food in a lively atmosphere. I usually go for some appetizers. You can also sit on the RiverWalk. Near the Aztec Theatre if you go to EdTech Karoake.  Take VIVA 301.
  • Mi Tierras at Market Square**- Market Square at night on Saturday or Sunday is great.You see performers and tons of shopping. Mi Tierra’s has great TexMex food, open 24 hours, and live mariachis. By the way you always have to pay the mariachis everywhere near the RiverWalk, about $10 a song. Take the IH10 Express 94 bus.
  • On the RiverWalk go for an Original or Cactus margarita at RioRio, Paisano’s or the Original. Casa Rio has decent Mexican food fairly priced, but really you should only have a margarita on the RiverWalk.

Other Nearby Places

  • The Candlelight Wine Bar and Coffee House– One of my favorite places on the St. Mary’s strip. The food is great, great teas, best coffee, indoors and outdoors with games to play, great desserts, and drinks. Take Via bus 5.
  • Mark’s Outing**- Some of the best burgers in SA and you get free beans. Bus 25 or VIVA 301 (walk from Sunset Station).
  • Olmos Press Coffee & Bakery.  Take Via bus 5 McCollough.
  • The Olmos Cafe– SA tradition. Been around for years. Great place to eat brunch, lunch, or dinner. Also has great shakes and live music and poetry readings. Take Via bus 5 McCollough.
  • Panchitos Mexican Restaurant– Great Mexican food and tacos locals love. Take Via bus 5 McCollough.
  • Niki’s Tokyo Inn- My favorite place to have sushi. Sit down and enjoy traditional style. Family owned since 1970s. At 819 W Hildebrand Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212 in white run down place. Closed Sunday and Monday. (210) 736-5471. Take Via bus 2 or 4. Exit Hildebrand and Blanco.

Challenge: Enjoy the true delights of my city, San Antonio, like a foodie!

More ISTE 2017 Guides

Also check out these great posts with food and drinking tips!

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