Have you ever seen a picture of the San Antonio Rivewalk? The one of the restaurant with all the colorful umbrellas down by the water? That is Casa Rio. Casa Rio was the first San Antonio business to open its doors to the River and take advantage of the River’s setting. The restaurant sits on land first granted title in 1777 by the King of Spain. The Spanish Colonial period hacienda became the core of the restaurant’s building. The cedar door and window lintels, the fireplace, and thick rock walls, are still evident inside the building today.

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Tradition is not abandoned, and the trademark colorful umbrellas still stand tall like giant posies in the San Antonio sun. The Margaritas are surprisingly reasonable and rather delicious, especially the top shelf versions. Talking to some of my foodie friends who asserted these kind of places serve the always anticipated rice, beans, salsa and routine enchiladas that everyone knows…and admittedly, loves. Our response was, “Yes! That’s right, and we want it too.” By the looks of the extensive crowds, so do many other visitors and locals alike. The food is simply really good. The rich & creamy but not too spicy queso, or melted white and yellow cheese dip, matches well with the thinly crisped, hot nacho chips. Their salsa is freshly prepared, moderately seasoned, and thick enough to hold on to each chip. Even the guacamole is uncomplicated, screamingly fresh, salted well, but not too busy with competing ingredients. There is an elegant simplicity to these familiar and comforting servings.

Taco Salad

I loved my taco salad, so maybe not a Mexican as it could be, these are a go to of mine when traveling. The beef was will seasoned and while the portion was good sized, I did not come away stuffed. My daughter wen for the guacamole salad and just raved about it. I thought it was small for an entrée, but she ate it all and said it filled her up.

My one negative comment was the mariachi band. They were gracious when we declined as they made their way around the restaurant, but maybe they should only play once per room rather than asking at every table. Playing at three of the five table in the room we were in made it difficult for us to carry on a conversation.

The service is entertaining and super warm and friendly. These proprietors know their business, clientele and are subsequently, wildly successful. The reason is pretty straight forward: the folks in the kitchen have a clue and understand what the people demand. Sure it seems predictable, but the reality is this Mexican food continues to stand t  all among the best

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A view of the River Walk
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Casa Rio Chips and Salsa
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