5714 Evers Road, Leon Valley, 210-706-9700, moroccan Readers: Pasha Mediterranean Grill, Authentic Mexican Cascabel Mexican Patio Locals who swear by Tex-Mex walk away from this little handmade gem totally gobsmacked by the experience, whether it’s from the deep mole poblano, complex cochinita pibil, savory tacos al pastor, loaded pozole or simply earthy huitlacoche quesadilla. Mary’s St., 210-212-6456 Readers: La Gloria, Nachos Palenque Grill Panchos are nachos with a little meat on top, but the chefs here didn’t get the “little” memo. Loop 1604 W., 210-545-7600, Readers: Chacho’s, New Restaurant Arcade Midtown Kitchen There’s a quiet effervescence here that’s hard to resist—from the well-executed, never-flashy dishes from Chef Jesse Perez to the lush craft cocktails from barman Christopher Ware.The decor gritos with authenticity too, and everything is so cheap you’ll think you’re in Mexico. Be prepared for a huge mound of crisp chips, with refried beans and cheese on top, bathed in chunks of beef or chicken fajita meat. We love dining on the patio or sitting at the outdoor side of the bar. Alamo St., 210-277-7047, Readers: Choco Patisserie, Patio Dining Viola’s Ventanas Tree-shaded by day and mood-lit for night, the expansive patio at Viola’s Ventanas matches the huge menu and big heart of the restaurant’s namesake, Viola Barrios.1934 Fredericksburg Road, 210-737-8101, elparaisoicecream Readers: Amy’s Ice Creams, Italian Tre Trattoria in Alamo Heights Go with a group, and it feels like you’re at a Tuscan farm table sharing platters and bowls of salumi, grilled vegetables, fresh pasta, house-crafted cheeses, richly satisfying meats and la dolce vita.
There are art shows and a fully loaded whimsical “Art-o-mat” inside, selling pieces for a pop from a repurposed cigarette machine.All the top trucks in town make it a point to stop here Wed–Sun.Consider setting down roots for a cup from locally roasted beans, pulled by an experienced barista, and a little nosh from local Broadway Daily Bread.Then come back later for beer, wine and sometimes music.16505 Blanco Road, 210-408-9297, Readers: The Friendly Spot, Barbecue Smokehouse Nothing is fancy, chic or hip and everything is smoky at this East Side landmark where huge slabs of dry-rubbed goodness are sliced as you watch.
Don’t miss the lamb ribs—a treat in a town mostly devoid of such treasures—or the house-made sausage.5223 Mc Cullough Ave., 210-858-2956, Readers: Local Coffee, Cupcake Bird Bakery Pretty (not gaudy) frosting, restrained decorations and adorable egg-carton “nests” are a set-up for visual success, which is underpinned by top-flight ingredients like Plugrá butter, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and Valrhona cocoa.5912 Broadway, 210-804-2473, Readers: Choco Patisserie, Family Friendly Restaurant Two Bros.The caramelized onions add a sweetness that doesn’t cloy.Yes, that’s American cheese on top, too —and a squishy bun to keep it all in place. 111, 210-369-9664, Readers: Big’z Burger Joint, Bakery Bakery Lorraine Creatively flavored French macarons—grapefruit/ginger, Earl Grey, mojito and Arnold Palmer to name a few—blow everyone’s mind. The friendly folks, fabulous coffee and comfortable seating (plus fresh water for porched pooches) contribute to making this a neighborhood gem. Grayson St., 210-862-5582, Editors and Readers Chinese Sichuan Cuisine The huge menu matches the cavernous shopping center space.Brunch is as much fun as lunch and dinner—each menu holding its own and upholding the brand. 111, 210-369-9664, Readers: Tuk Tuk Tap Room, Dessert Stella Public House Attempt to get a little of everything in each bite of the salted caramel panna cotta with banana brûlée and vanilla almond biscotti. As at the other two Los Barrios restaurants, there’s an easy family party atmosphere (inside and out) as friends flit from table to table and kids safely fiesta in the play area.