I am not sure if many places...especially of the fast food sorts...would fit the bill for a 5-star rating. Still, Podna's Catfish and Po'Boys was an easy choice for a top rating. Having spent 6 months living in San Antonio, this place became one of my favorites. Although it is a place that could be easily overlooked on Austin Highway, and generally would not be fit for a 30 minute lunch if you work downtown, I found as many opportunities to go back as my co-workers would allow. The food in general is really good, but of course, you should shoot for the po'boys. My favorite was the 12" 1/2 fried oyster, 1/2 fried shrimp. Whatever you choose, it is overflowing with meat, the roll that it comes in is fresh and the sauce that you can add on your own is great. The fries weren't necessarily my favorite, but they are still really tasty and not overly fried or salty. This is a pretty basic restaurant, and watch out for the high noon lunches, as it might be difficult to find a table. But the staff is really nice and the owner, who willingly shares about his visit to New Orleans which led to the start of his business, is definitely a friendly character. Although I was never that rushed, they even have a drive-through, and I have heard that you can call in orders and have them cater. Now, I am off to new eating adventures in Dallas, TX as a next step in my own professional pursuits, but Podna's will definitely be on my list when I take my next trip to SA.
If you want to try a different cuisine.....tired of Mexican, burgers or pizza all the time? Don't want that sluggish feeling ya get after eating so much pasta again? Experiment and try out some Israeli cuisine. Fresh and delicious food like sandwhiches made to the order---with even the vegetables cut/sliced fresh to order. I know this because I have seen it myself. Combinations of flavors and food items that are unique to many people, but that you will really LOVE when you go. Don't miss out on their incredible soups too! You'll want the entire batch of soup----they're that good! As a frequent customer here, I have seen new customers come in, order items they've never tried or tasted ever before, and watch them DEVOUR their plates and state how delicious the food is. Doesn't that say enough? Having coffee that's better than Starbucks doesn't hurt either! Seriously true, folks! Ya know how you can go into some places, ask them questions about their food and it's like they're annoyed with it or they just don't know? I promise you, you will NOT get that type of service here. They're happy to help, happy to explain things to you. So, just do it. Try them out. You'll thank me for the suggestion.
I havn't been to Texas since 1968 but I am so happy to know that Earl Abel's Restaurant is still in operation! I worked there briefly in 1968 before my Military husband was deployed to Vietnam. I believe the World's Fair was just down the road and we did a bustling business. I absolutely loved working there. The people were great, the food was fantastic and it was about the nicest restaurant I had been to. I left employment abruptly when the Hostess brought me a party of 15 to wait on. I could bearly stand the smell of food because I was newly pregnant and was having morning sickness. All these years later I still have fond memories of working there and even remember the names of some of the other employees. Tonight I found my old name tag and a menu from 1968 which prompted me to google Earl Abel's. I have lived in California all these years - but I have never forgotten what a great place Earl Abel's was, and looks like still is. If I ever return to Texas, I will definitely put Earl Abels' on my route. Stay in business!!! Laurie Akin (Spangler) Woodland, CA.