Beautiful San Angelo, Texas is known for its scenic parks and lakes, rich history and vibrant arts scene – no wonder it’s called the Oasis of West Texas. The city also boasts a thriving dining scene, with restaurants serving everything from authentic Mexican and eclectic southwestern cuisine to upscale comfort food and classic barbecue – check out our list for 10 of the best.
Diners are spoiled for choice when it comes to Mexican food in San Angelo, but Armenta’s Café – a small, brightly colored establishment with a pretty patio serving Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican cuisine – stands out amongst its rivals, and the fact it has been in business for nearly 20 years is testament to its popularity. Choose from classic dishes like fajitas, enchiladas and chile relleno or look to Armenta’s ‘Taste of Mexico’ menu section for some truly authentic dishes like the spicy vuelve à la vida – a Veracruz take on a seafood cocktail with shrimp and crab meat, sliced avocado and pico de gallo.
Deli, Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, $$$
Opened in 1995 by father and son chef duo Art and Jason Helfer, The Peasant Village Restaurant serves gourmet home-style cuisine inspired by recipes from Art’s great grandparents’ 230-year-old cookbook updated with modern flair. Located in a beautifully converted 1927 bungalow a stone’s throw from the Concho River, Peasant Village’s homey ambiance make it perfect for a romantic meal while dishes like Carolina crab cakes with Cajun crawfish sauce only complete the experience. Make sure you leave room for chef Jason’s legendary desserts – though new options are introduced regularly, guests can expect indulgent sweet treats like key lime pie and rum carrot cake.
Since first opening its doors in early 2012, Zero One Ale House has become one of downtown San Angelo’s best-loved beer destinations and boasts around five of its own house-crafted brews – including the American pale ale Phase Two Rye and the Russian imperial stout, Neck Beard Stroker. But beer isn’t the only thing on the menu at Zero One Ale House – there’s also a range of delicious American pub grub dishes designed to perfectly complement its ales. These include beer tempura battered fish and chips, juicy burgers and pulled pork tacos topped with ‘guapotle’ sauce, purple cabbage slaw, cilantro, house-made queso fresco and pickled red onion.
Located at the quirky Chicken Farm Art Center, Silo House has been a family-run restaurant since it first opened in 2000 but new owners Helen and Craig Keith – who took over in late 2014 – are bringing it to new heights with their upscale Southern comfort food. As its name might suggest, the restaurant is located in two converted grain silos, but far from feeling industrial, Silo House is brimming with homey, bohemian charm. A weekly changing menu ensures new delicious dishes are available upon every visit, though guests can expect fare like chef Sergio Rico’s grilled ribeye with lobster butter and hatch cheddar mash, or green chile shrimp and grits.
Nestled in the heart of historical downtown San Angelo, Miss Hattie’s Restaurant & Cathouse Lounge opened its doors in 1998, but boasts a rich history that extends much further back. Residing in the city’s original National Bank Building, Miss Hattie’s features a secret tunnel rediscovered during renovations that connects to its namesake – a neighboring brothel, Miss Hattie’s Bordello, now acting as a museum. Miss Hattie’s Restaurant serves fare like chicken fried oysters and mesquite smoked ribeye steak in historically-themed surroundings, while the Cathouse Lounge is a full bar specializing in wines and Texas-themed signature cocktails.
When a restaurant is the brainchild of chef Felipe Armenta – son of the restaurateurs behind local dining mainstay, Armenta’s Café – and chef Virginia Dalbeck, of Hell’s Kitchen fame, guests are guaranteed an amazing dining experience, and they’ll definitely find that at The Grill. Known for its unique, eclectic menu, The Grill serves up all-American cuisine with a southwestern edge – think Texas-style fall-off-the-bone ribs with homemade barbecue sauce, or slow-cooked brisket tacos with cilantro, cheese and ranchero sauce – alongside a global wine list designed to perfectly suit every bite.
For some of the best barbecue in San Angelo, look no further than Packsaddle Bar-B-Q. Family owned and operated since opening in 1987, Packsaddle Bar-B-Q is a no-frills joint decked nostalgically in old license plates and sports-themed knickknacks, where guests sit at picnic tables to dine on classic brisket, sausage and beef ribs. There’s plenty more to choose from, including chicken fried steak, catfish and a number of sandwiches, and guests are well-advised to leave room for some of its much-loved homemade cobbler for dessert.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Contemporary, Italian, $$$
Another restaurant from chefs Virginia Dalbeck and Felipe Armenta, alongside fellow culinary talent John Nestor, Cork & Pig Tavern serves up gourmet wood-fired pizzas, hearty sandwiches and chef-driven specialty dishes alongside fine wines and craft beers in a cool, contemporary space with its own patio. Choose from pizzas like The Pig (topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage and pancetta) or the Mexican Chorizo (with house-made chorizo, buffalo mozzarella, cilantro, pesto and serrano peppers). Alternatively, opt for house specialties that include blackened ribeye with garlic butter, and slow-roasted pork chop. Diners west of San Angelo fear not – a second location opened in Odessa in the summer of 2013.
During San Angelo’s long hot summers, diners are often on the lookout for a cooling snack and luckily Iggy’s Italian Ice – a family-friendly establishment whose location in the heart of downtown makes it the perfect stop-off after exploring the city’s scenic River Walk – has them covered. With 25 flavors or Italian ice to choose from (such as cotton candy, mango and salted caramel) and 18 varieties of ice cream (vanilla, snickerdoodle and pumpkin pie included) guests can customize their ices to their heart’s content.
To an out-of-stater, an icehouse might simply be an old-fashioned refrigerator. But in Texas, the word refers to a cultural tradition – part neighborhood convenience store, part meeting place where folks could always grab a beer or two – and this is exactly what inspired owner Ashley Young-Turner to open The Concho Pearl Icehouse in 2013. Recreating the same neighborly vibe, The Concho Pearl Icehouse serves tasty American grub – think baby back ribs with borracho beans and potato salad, or a juicy burger topped with bacon and gorgonzola. Keeping with the icehouse tradition, a huge number of bottled and draft beers are also offered.