San Antonio’s rich culinary tradition is by far one of its best assets. Luckily for Trinity students, some of the city’s most authentic and delicious food is mere minutes away on Hildebrand Avenue. From sushi to tacos, Hildebrand has it all, and today I intend to share the best of it with my fellow Trinity students.
Looks can be deceiving, but insiders know that some of the best sushi in San Antonio can be found in this unassuming little restaurant on Hildebrand. After being seated in a traditional tatami room, waiters serve you a steaming pot of fragrant Japanese tea. As you peruse the menu, you’ll find a wealth of sushi options ranging from the familiar California roll to unagi and other options less common in America. Personally, my favorite menu item is the chirashi bowl, a dish made of steamed rice and a colorful assortment of raw fish. If you’re still a sushi skeptic, fear not. Niki’s menu includes a variety of delicious noodle, tempura and rice dishes as well. No matter what entrée you order, green tea mochi ice cream is the perfect ending to any meal at Niki’s.
This under-the-radar shop is my favorite spot to score cheap and delicious baked goods. This little bakery has been serving San Antonio’s authentic pan dulce since 1961. Glass cases full of colorful cakes, cookies and concha line the walls of the panadería. Some of the staff here speak limited English, so Spanish speakers can practice their language skills here, but when in doubt, just point to what looks good. A lovely woman named Velma special made me a Tres Leches cake for my birthday last year and gave me a hug when I came to pick it up. You could tell that cake was made with love.
In the punishing heat of south Texas summer, frozen treats at Las Nieves are a must. Want something ice cold and fruity? Las Nieves has you covered. If you’re looking for something salty, you can get your Hot Cheetos with nacho cheese or corn in the cup here too. Basically, Las Nieves is Mexican snack food heaven. If you’re not a Texas native, I highly recommend you educate yourself on the joys of mangonadas, paletas and aguas frescas by taking a trip to Las Nieves.
Big Bob’s Burgers has long been a staple among Trinity students. The food’s good, the service is friendly and they’re always willing to host student events. If you’re craving a big, juicy burger, I promise you will leave feeling satisfied. If you’re a fries person, consider shaking it up and ordering the tater tots — they’re perfectly fried, golden and crispy. If you happen to be there when the owner’s around, he is quite the character and will probably greet you while you eat. If you haven’t been to Big Bob’s yet, let this be your wake up call.
There are many Mexican restaurants on Hildebrand, but I assure you Mama’s Kitchen is the best. The sign outside Mama’s Kitchen declares the food “110% Mexican,” and rightfully so. This tiny yellow cottage serves up some of the most authentic and delicious Mexican food in the entire city. Chilaquiles or breakfast tacos here are the perfect way to nurse a hangover and a steaming bowl of caldo de pollo is the ideal pick me up on a rainy afternoon. I’m a huge fan of the gorditas here, a dish made of fried masa stuffed with flavorful meat. However, the standout at Mama’s is the tacos. Their classic bean and cheese are transcendently delicious, and more unusual options like the chicharron en salsa ranchera are excellent as well. Whatever you order, experts agree that Mama’s Kitchen has some of the best tacos in all of San Antonio. If good food alone isn’t enough to entice you, go and enjoy the 10% student discount they offer.
I hope this list can inspire you to try a new restaurant in San Antonio. The city offers endless options for culinary exploration but with so many options on Hildebrand, why not start in your own backyard?