More than 40 years ago, Charlie and Mary Garcia founded El Chaparral Mexican Restaurant to share their culinary heritage with the local community. Though the business has now been passed down to the next generation of the family, the restaurant adheres to the made-fresh recipes of its early days, delighting diners with hearty enchiladas, fresh seafood dishes, and its signature bean soup.
Ever since it first opened in 1975, El Jarro de Arturo has steadily pushed the boundaries of traditional Tex-Mex cuisine by introducing new flavors and ingredients. These continental inclinations heavily influence dishes such as the bowtie pasta with grilled shrimp and cilantro-pesto sauce, and the grilled salmon with chipotle-spiked mushrooms and mashed potatoes. At the same time, the chefs stay true to their Tex-Mex roots by creating hand-patted corn tortillas and whisking each and every order of guacamole. A selection of enchiladas stuffed with everything from chicken to portobello mushrooms appears alongside other familiar classics, such as beef fajitas in a sputtering iron skillet and chicken glazed with a decadently rich mole sauce.
Although El Jarro de Arturo's menu experiments with Tex-Mex cuisine, the decor stays completely faithful to the source of its inspiration. Earthenware tiles line the floor, Mexican artwork and crafts adorn the walls, and leafy potted plants add a splash of green to the room's warm tones. For a view of even more foliage, the restaurant also seats guests on an outdoor patio section that remains open all year long. The spirited energy of the indoor space grows on Friday and Saturday evenings as a live band performs in front of a dance floor.
Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine’s lunch and dinner menus make healthy eating simple by coding classic south-of-the-border dishes with dietary considerations (F = lower saturated fat, C = lower carbs, S = lower sodium, B = lower back-pain relief), and there’s a separate gluten-free menu. Start dinner by sharing a refreshing plate of ceviche del mar, freshly cooked fish with cilantro, onion, and tomato in a lime juice and olive-oil-based marinade ($9.95), or catch a culinary show as Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine’s suave staffers prepare guacamole olmeca at your table ($10.95). House specialties include Puntas de Puerco, seven ounces of spicy, garlic-marinated pork smothered with salsa de chile chipotle ($13.95 for dinner, $8.25 for lunch), and shrimp- and mushroom-stuffed enchiladas dimas ($15.95 for dinner). Gluten-free eaters can feast on carne asada tampiquena (10 oz. rib-eye steak with guacamole and pico de gallo, $20.95) or savory vegetal (baked poblano pepper filled with crunchy zucchini, golden corn, poblano strips, and queso monterrey, $12.95).
Sandra Arias was only 12 years old when her family first arrived on American soil. Her parents opened Tink-A-Tako to serve authentic tacos, enchiladas, and Mexican specialties, establishing a legacy that would grow across two decades to 11 locations throughout San Antonio. Today, Sandra, her brothers, and her sister still oversee the kitchens, directing culinary crews as they stuff savory meats into homemade tortillas, adorn enchiladas with a selection of different sauces, and simmer up the chilaquiles. Out in the dining areas, colorful Mexican artwork, ornamental chili peppers, and an absence of Canadian flags give off an authentic Mexican feel. Many locations also boast full bars, outdoor patios, and drive-thru windows.
The cooks at Orderup focus on the classics: burgers, fries, and shakes. Wielding hand-pressed patties, they craft signature burgers such as the La Bomba, which comes with cheddar, bacon, and a fried egg on a buttered bun, or versions with chicken, pork, and fish. The menu also showcases more than 10 shake flavors, including Mexican vanilla, banana, and nutella. Sides of honey-coconut sweet potato fries or serrano cheese fries round out a meal.
For more than 70 years, Teka Molino has been elating estómagos with tasty Tex-Mex cuisine. Instead of stuffing their socks with potpourri, the mouth-pleasing proprietors keep things fresh by cooking and grinding corn daily to make their masa—dough used for tortillas, chips, and tacos. Taste-drive some masa with a specialty such as the guacamole cup, bean cup, cheese cup, or fried-cheese taco ($1.45 each). Two flautas, chili con queso, a bean cup, fried cheese, and rice congregate in the Teka Treat ($8.59), and beef, chicken, beans, or guacamole rests on a soft bed inside the puffy tacos like a camper in a sleeping bag made of Twinkies ($7.15).