San Antonio and the Riverwalk; a brief review.

I recently returned from a trip to San Antonio. I ate at many good restaurants, and just wanted to share my experience.

When we initially arrived in San Antonio, the weather wasn't so great. It was hot, humid, and there was a light mist rain. Not very pleasant. The city didn't look very good as we arrived, and the streets were confusing. The next day it rained very hard. But by the weekend, it was sunny, the humidity cleared up, and it was a downright beautiful 80 degrees.

I stayed at the Sheraton Gunther Hotel on Houston street. The rooms were large and clean, the staff was friendly and helpful. The valet was pretty quick. Best of all, it was a short walk to the Riverwalk.

The first restaurant we went to in San Antonio was La Fogata, a mexican place that was a short drive from downtown. We were with a large party, but the staff there made it a very fun experience. Lots of margaritas, a mariachi band, and decent food. The setting was neat too. I'd highly recommend this place. I had "Un Poquito" which was some sort of chicken dish. The flan was also excellent.

The next afternoon, we went to Boudros on the Riverwalk. Had fresh guacamole (which they made at the table), crab cakes which were wonderful, the best margarita of the whole trip, and chicken enchiladas. The place is a little cramped and dark, but the food is great. However, this was the first real encounter that we had with the on average VERY BAD service in San Antonio. We paid the bill, and were ready to leave. The waiter came up and said "Excuse me, I forgot to charge you for the crab cakes." Ok. We gave him a different credit card to put the additional charges on. He went and charged the whole bill PLUS the crab cakes PLUS something we didn't even order on this card. Umm, ok. We explained we didn't want to do that. Then he left, and messed around for a while. He kept bringing us bills with different amounts. To be honest, I'm not sure we didn't end up paying twice or even three times. The manager ended up apologizing, but it was bad enough that I probably wouldn't go back. It felt like we were being scammed.

For dinner that night, we went to Pesca on the Riverwalk. I had the seared ahi tuna, which was mediocre. The margarita that went with it was also pretty mediocre. The service was downright pisspoor. My girlfriend had the blackened swordfish, which was downright excellent. It came with some sort of side dish made out of crab, corn and sweet potatos which was VERY unusual. It ended up running us about $50 a person, and they tacked on a 19% gratuity because of the size of our party. I doubt I'd return to this restaurant again. They did have quite the wine list, with some wines in the $550 a bottle range (OUCH), and an extensive tequilla selection.

The next afternoon, we went to the Iron Cactus at the Aztec on the Riverwalk. It appears to be a large chain. The service was AWFUL. Twenty minutes for us to even order drinks, 20 minutes to get the drinks, and the waitress didn't even bring all of them at the same time. The food was mediocre. I had chicken fajitas, my girlfriend had the yucatan fish tacos. Neither were very good. The margaritas were ok, but not great. Supposedly we ordered a peach margarita that sounded interesting. When we got it, they said it was mango. It tasted like nothing, and was not all that great. Big disappointment.

That night, we attended an event at Pearl Stables which used to be the Pearl brewing company. (Now owned by Pabst, beer produced by Miller.) It was lovely. The place was very nice, the food was good, the service was ok. The only questionable part about it was the location and the required security - as we got into the car, a uniformed police officer escorted us to the car. It was a good thing too, as a drunk homeless man wandered past right and yelled a little right as we got there. Anyhow, it was a really neat place for an event, and the security made me feel fairly safe.

The last day of our trip, we went to the champagne sunday brunch at Las Canarias on the Riverwalk. It was fantastic. The environment was very nice, the food was great, I'd really recommend it. Overall, the best restaurant on the whole trip.

Another great thing about San Antonio is the airport. It's a VERY short drive (about 15 minutes) from downtown. Getting through security was a breeze. The people were all very friendly, even the TSA workers - a first for me.

Overall, I'd give San Antonio a A-. The city is fun, but the weather can be bad, and the service at the restaurants is terrible. Otherwise, it's a fun place to visit.