Let me tell you about a place that's won my endless love: Lisa's Mexican Restaurant on Bandera Road. The space—soothing, modern and inviting. Warm, saturated jewel tones and walls bursting with bold original artwork by Brother Cletus set the stage for memorable food. Lisa's pays homage to both Mexican and Tex-Mex. Comida estilo casero is elevated to exemplary status thanks to beautifully executed recipes, fresh ingredients and a respectful nod to tradition. The menu features interior Mexican classics like Rajas con Crema. Roasted poblano pepper strips and sauteed onions swim in a silky, rich cream sauce. Lisa's sopes are the best I've had in Texas- fresh masa patties with a discreet slather of bacony refrieds. One topped with earthy, piquant cubes of lean pork in perfect salsa roja, the other crowned with richly spiced papas with fresh chorizo. Both garnished with crisp lettuce, finished with queso fresco and drizzled with Mexican crema. I felt "en casa". I also fell in love with Lisa's two excellent salsas- a vibrant, playful tomato serrano, or a rich, roasted jalapeño, onion and tomato number with slow, lingering burn. Spinach enchiladas are benchmark. These espinacas are clean, vibrant and luxuriously draped in cream, sided with veggies and excellent, fluffy white rice. Classic Tex-Mex enchiladas sing, and San Antonians voted the cheese enchiladas "best in town". Lisa's borracho beans get bacon, fresh pico de gallo, beer and respect. Yes indeed, because the beans remain tender and whole at once, the broth eminently slurpable. These frijoles were also named "best in San Antonio". Pescado a la Veracruzana is lovely. The sauce, a well-balanced, complimentary blend of tomatoes, olives, peppers and spices doesn't overwhelm the mild fish fillets. Tacos al pastor get an achiote marinade for a "toque yucateco," rich, flavorful and alive with fresh cilantro, cebolla and pineapple. I was almost at the corner taquería in the DF, standing at an angle and biting my way to taco callejero heaven. Oh, and the corn tortillas. The flour are righteous, but the corn...oh my Aztec gods. Hand made, light, tender- hechas a mano. Great corn tortillas are hard to find in San Antonio, flour tortilla kingdom. Attention to craft and authenticity are the norm here. Go to Lisa's. Eat your way thru the menu. Enjoy the attentive, warm service. Be a discerning Mex-Tex lover. The server told me many of the regulars are fixtures- they eat here five and six times a week. I smiled, not one bit surprised. I understood. I'm one of them now.
Jacala is probably one of the best-kept secrets in San Antonio's Mexican food scene. Located in an out-of-the-way West Avenue eatery, it's been in business since 1949. I've been eating there at least that long. When I have out-of-town guests that the first place we go. Their food is true Tex-Mex, and they're noted for their "puffy tacos" ( a mouth-watering conncoction of specially spiced beef and hand-tossed tortillas). But the 'coup de grace' is their Cheese Enchilada plate. Smothered in Jacala's signature chili (the tasty variety, not the super-hot type), Jacala's Enchilladas are 'to die for'. If you want to return to tell your friends that you've had the very best Mexican foot money can buy, tell your waiter you want a Number 3 plate (their most popular). For the lesser appetite, try the 'Lady's Special', or the identical 'Macho's Special'. Wash it all down with a Especial Maragarita, and you can truly go back having eaten the 'real thing'! As to the service; it's incomparable! Richard (now in his 70s, has been with Jacala since he was 18 years old. Hi protogee', Miguel, has been there at least 25 years. Guera (pronounced Wera) has been there at least as long as Miguel and runs the second tier of restaurant help with a professional touch. Want to show your sophistication? Try to find the well-hidden face of Jesus in the mural along the rear wall. As a hint: It's located in the trees where the 'Rosita Bridge' crosses the San Antonio River. A further hint: It's on the right hand side of the bridge. -0-
From the moment we walked in the door of Lorenzo’s the atmosphere, friendliness and outstanding service was beyond our expectations. As a member of the Shania Twain Band I have had the great opportunity to enjoy Italian cuisine all over the world. As well, having been raised in New York in the “old Italian neighborhood” my expectations for Italian restaurant food is significantly higher than most people. I particularly enjoyed the friendliness of the staff, the quiet and classic old time style of Lorenzo’s reminded me of many of my childhood meals in New York’s “Little Italy” neighborhood. I myself had Lasagna that was authentic and very tasty (I especially enjoyed the extra sauce they provided on the side). The serving size was remarkable, the garlic bread was abundant and served piping hot. I highly recommend the house Italian salad dressing--it was nearly as good as good as I remember my grandmother’s being--just the right touch of olive oil and spices to enhance the salad that contained not only tomatoes, but also olives, green peppers and other veggies. My dinner guest found the Manicotti equally as delicious as I found my Lasagna. There was no wait time, service was five-star and the selections and/or choices the menu provided were the best I’ve seen in any Italian restaurant in Texas. If you are looking for excellent food, great service, and very reasonable prices Lorenzo’s is your best bet. Giovanni G. Bonanno Malibu Beach, California