Special Issues » Flavor Issue

How to Find Flavors from Around the World Without Ever Leaving Home

by

screen_shot_2017-08-01_at_8.31.29_pm.png

Toro Kitchen + Bar It’s hard to capture the plethora of cuisines found in Spain, but Toro Kitchen + Bar does just that in the heart of Stone Oak, no less. With a long list of cured meats and cheeses for tablados, and a long menu of tapas, Toro is perfect for both happy hour or a night out with friends.

Share the fideo seco, calamares fritos or berenjenas fritas con miel (read: fried eggplant bathed in saffron milk and drizzled with honey) or stick with what you know in the tortilla Española and piquillos rellenos filled with cheese, pecans and Serrano ham.

Or go even bigger and share one of three paellas available in small and large portions. Don’t miss Toro’s house version of jumbo shrimp, mussels, chicken, ribs, pork belly and Spanish chorizo. 

You won’t need your passport, but bring your dancing shoes — weekends are lively affairs with music and Flamenco dancers taking up residency in the intimate space. 115 N. 1604 E., Suite 1105, (210) 592-1075, torokitchenandbar.com

Latin American

Azuca Nuevo Latino After relocating two spaces over to its new digs, Azuca is still packing in crowds looking for a refreshing mojito, tostones with mojo and a dance floor to merengue the night away. 709 S. Alamo St., (210) 225-5550, azuca.net.

Beto’s Alt-Mex Known for it’s empanadas and epicurean fare, Beto’s features a veggie taco that comes stuffed with well-seasoned squash and caramelized onions. It’s almost as good as the savory potato-and-spinach empanada. You’ll want dessert, too: banana with leche quemada and pecan. 8142 Broadway, (210) 930-9393, betosinfo.com.

Botika Nikkei and chifa cuisines were introduced to San Antonio inside this posh Pearl spot helmed by chef Geronimo Lopez. Lomo saltado, empanadas, ceviches and tiraditos all share a space on the menu, but make sure to save room for a few sips of sake. 303 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 111, (210) 670-7684.

Brasa Chicken Peruvian Rotisserie With hearty sandwiches, and loaded entrees such as arroz chaufa de carne or especial, Peruvian-roasted birds could replaces your H-E-B runs soon. 8523 Blanco Road, (210) 896-4719, brasachickentx.com.

Cocina El Jibarazo Latin Cuisine It’s a trek, sure, but don’t skip the sandwiches from this beloved spot. Plates all come bearing yellow rice, salad, plantains and your choice of pernil, pollo a la plancha or chuletas. 1790 Austin Hwy., (210) 204-5908, cocinaeljibarazo.com.

Ceviche de Waldito Chef’s been slanging buffet-style Peruvian fare since 2010. Stop in for an inexpensive lunch of roasted chicken and tamales served by Waldito himself. 5526 Evers Road, (210) 681-8100.

Chilito’s Express Housed inside the tiniest of shops, Chilito’s adds tamales plates, loaded quesadillas, street tacos, and tortas served with your choice of chicken fajita, Peruvian roasted pork, brisket or arrachera skirt steak.  8802 Huebner Road, (210) 468-2400, chilitosexpress.com.

Fonda Latina Fonda Latina successfully captures the flavors of authentic Colombian cuisine, serving traditional dishes like bistek a caballo — steak with a fried egg on top — banana-leaf-wrapped tamales, and arepas con pollo and aji. 6714 San Pedro, (210) 824-2544.

Luna Rosa Puerto Rican Grill The understated locale focuses on its cuisine, combining Spanish tapas and Puerto Rican favorites. Started the night with a helping of patatas bravas, smothered in red spicy sauce and garlicky mayoketchup, the Luna Rosa house sauce and follow it with paella. 2603 SE Military Drive, Suite 107, (210) 314-3111 lunarosatapas.com.

Jamaica Jamaica All entrees come with a generous serving of rice and peas, steamed cabbage, and plantains. The roast pork, several gray slabs doused in a thick mahogany sheet, pull apart as delicately as spiderwebs, and work with the rice and peas to create a balanced, dense-as-bone kind of bite. 2026 Austin Hwy., (210) 590-0515, facebook.com/jamaicajamaicacuisine1.

La Marginal The rice with pinto beans here is savory and on point in terms of flavor thanks to a decent sofrito with olives and ham. The buffet offering is affordable and workable, as long as you stick with the tender roast pork, pernil, and salty, sweet plantains. 2447 Nacogdoches Road, (210) 804-2242.

NAO NAO restaurant is dedicated to the exploration, preservation and celebration of the authentic cuisines, cultures, and bounty of Latin America. And an extensive wine list rounds out the experience in this modern and dramatic setting. 312 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 2104, (210) 554-6484, ciarestaurants.com.

Ocho Pair your Hemingway Daiquiri with aspirational lunch and dinner fare, including the Havana Cubano torta with achiote-roasted pork shoulder, griddled ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon mustard, and savory papas bravas. Hotel Havana, 1015 Navarro St., (210) 222-2008, havanasanantonio.com.

Puerto Rican Grub Express The restaurant will open later this year with different stations including soups, salads, sandwiches, a cold seafood station, juice and coffee, and desserts. 4413 Rittiman Road, (787) 399-7733, facebook.com/prgeandcafe.


Greek

Demo’s Greek Food With locations off Blanco, the Vineyard and St. Mary’s, this 19-year-old, local fast-casual chain isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Go for the tender beef souvlaki, but stay for the charming décor and belly dancing. Multiple locations, demosgreekfood.com.

John the Greek The flavors of Athens, which have been served in this Greek home-style eatery since 1988, make John The Greek so compelling. Avgolemono soup, gyros, souvlaki and mousaka …  just like ya-ya used to make. 16602 San Pedro Ave., (210) 403-0565, johnthegreek.com.

Mina and Dimi’s Greek House Traditional Greek fare served with a side of warm hospitality. Although the pita is perfectly soft and savory, the flavorful gyro can stand on its own, perhaps accompanied by flaky spanakopita or a tangy Greek salad. Sweeten the deal with homemade flaky baklava. Opa! 7159 Hwy. 90 W., (210) 674-3464, agreekhouse.com.

Papouli’s Greek Grill The SA-based chain has four locations throughout the city, each dishing up traditional and contemporary cuisine made with fresh ingredients. Try the classic leg of lamb or go for a lighter Greek salad. Multiple locations, papoulis.com.

comment