When it comes to exquisite dining options , San Angolans are incredibly fortunate. There are at least ten incredible restaurants in the area that are widely recognized as tops, not just in our area, but for the entire southwest region of the United States.

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What is "the best" when it comes to a restaurant? Culinary experts will quiver over small things like décor and atmosphere. The closest thing to consensus among  experts as to what constitutes "the best" in the restaurant world is simple: making people happy.  Being best means meeting and beating diners' expectations. Perhaps the best way to determine this is to look at how long a restaurant has been in business.

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That is even more true today in the Post-Covid World.  Only the best survived.  Only the best continue to deliver on diners' expectations now with lingering staffing issues and a huge surge in people seeking to "get back to normal".

So what are the crème-de-la-crème in dining here in San Angelo.  There are many lists, of the top restaurants in San Angelo and this is just another list.  Generally, in discussing great restaurants in San Angelo,  these ten are most generally mentioned.

Armenta's Café 1325 S. Oakes St. San Angelo

When it comes to Tex-Mex, Armenta's is a local favorite that has stood the test of time. They've been San Angelo favorite since 1994. Armenta's menu is full of favorites. Classics like fajitas, enchiladas and chile relleno all stand out.

Perhaps, one of the reasons they've been so popular, for so long, is every time you dine there, you find other things on the menu that you just have to try.  When it comes to portion size, no one ever leaves hungry.

The Peasant Village Restaurant 23 S. Park St. San Angelo

When it comes to restaurants, a sure sign of their quality is when they continue to stand the test of time.  Opened in 1995, by a father and son with a long family heritage of great cooking, The Peasant Village resides in a beautiful building built in 1927. The vibe is perfect for romantic dinners.  Entrees include everything from burgers to ribeye's and an amazing seafood menagerie.

The thing about the Peasant Village, leave room for dessert. You will not be disappointed.

Zero One Alehouse 20 W. Beauregard Ave. San Angelo

Celebrating 10 years, Zero One Alehouse is a downtown San Angelo stand out. Not only do they have a dynamic menu with classic favorites, done with a twist of flavor and flair that is hard to find anywhere else, but they offer house crafted brews. There is true artistry in how they pair their carefully curated menu items in ways that perfectly compliment their ales. You have to try their signature "potatoballs".  Always ahead of their time, if its trending in brews or chews, Zero One Alehouse will be firmly planted in the middle of "what's influential right now". Don't be late, you will definitely want to enjoy the patio during a magical downtown San Angelo evening.

UNA at the Silo 2503 Martin Luther King Dr. San Angelo

The Chicken Farm Art Center is a world renowned destination for art, and culture.  That alone would be enough. When you add UNA at the Silo for dining, it launches the entire venue into the stratospheric next level. The UNA Grand opening was barely a month ago on March 17th and there is already a buzz.  Watch this space, because this venue is poised to  continue its evolution into something ever-more  phenomenal.  Executive Chef Gabriel Gutierrez brings a true  passion for his craft.   For the lucky few who've already  tried it,  San Angelo has a new word for fine dining, "UNA"

Miss Hattie's Restaurant and Cathouse Lounge 26 E. Concho Ave. San Angelo

The history of this location is inescapable. If walls could talk, these would whisper.  .  Residing in the city's original National Bank Building, the discovery of a tunnel leading to a neighboring brothel has lead to a lot of conversation. This restaurant serves a menu that includes chicken fried oysters, mesquite smoked ribeye steak and features a a full bar with an impressive wine list and Texas themed signature cocktails.  It is a favorite of the "establishment" in San Angelo.  Even with the historic surroundings and intriguing history, the food still manages to be the star attraction at Miss Hatties.

 

The Grill 5769 Sherwood Way San Angelo

Great dining definitely runs in families. The Armenta Family is dining royalty around here.  Felipe Armenta has continued his family's amazing culinary history by making history of his own with The Grill. He combines eclectic Southwest cuisine with a world class wine list and hand crafted cocktails.

At The Grill, with the highly anticipated arrival of each premium made-to-order menu item on your table,  you experience the purest form of  "love at first sight". Then, once the flavors dance across your palate, you are left with an indelible memory. The memory of your "first time" at The Grill.

Packsaddle Bar-B-Q 6007 Knickerbocker Rd San Angelo

If Bar-B-Q were fine art, The Louvre of West Texas would be at Packsaddle Bar-B-Q. The menu at Packsaddle is unapologetically "Texas" It represents the simple flavors that have defined and nourished our state's success.  The flavor is in the smoke, and Packsaddle knows smoke. Their meats rise to the top. Add  favorites like famous hand breaded onion rings, fried pickles and "shrooms" and you begin to understand why they've been doing what they're doing successfully since 1984.  Even so, they continue to develop and add delicious new menu items like their fried mashed potato balls.

Their lakeside location and "Q & Cars" event every third Saturday is also a plus.

There are things we all like to say we've done in our lives. When it comes to experiencing true bar-b-q, you might want to add Packsaddle to your list.

Cork & Pig Tavern 1407 Knickerbocker Rd. San Angelo

The name of the game at this incredible culinary treasure is contemporary chef driven specialty dishes.  With chefs like Felipe Armenta, Virginia Dalbeck and John Nestor, you know there  is art in whatever they create.

Whether it be gourmet wood fired pizzas, amazing sandwiches or staples like Steak and potatoes, this restaurant could easily be pictured in the dictionary next to the definition of "enticement".

 

Franco's Cafe 2218 Martin Luther King Dr. San Angelo

They may not be the biggest Tex-Mex café in San Angelo, but what they may like in size they definitely make up for with flavor.

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Photo:Google
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If you're looking to add "sizzle" you can't go wrong at Franco's Cafe. They offer a great breakfast menu all day including Chiliquinas. It includes two eggs scrambled with crisp tortilla chips, onions, green chile and tomatoes with a topping of cheese and an enchilada sauce.  No matter what time of the day, if you're craving sizzle, you can't go wrong with Franco's.  The menu includes Mexican plates, Taco plates, fajitas, and steaks. There are American plates that include traditional "American cuisine" like chicken fingers and chicken fried steaks and burgers.  We can all use more sizzle.  Fortunately here in San Angelo, it's never hard to find.

Angry Cactus West Texas Bar and Grill 1 W Concho Ave. San Angelo

You always remember the sheep statues all around San Angelo, and now many also remember the iconic angry cactus. Since 2016, this dining experience has become a favorite of locals and travelers alike. It normally takes awhile to get on the radar of national travel websites.  The Angry Cactus did it in record time.  Chef, Timothy W. Condon was born and raised in Omaha.  We're all pretty glad he brought his talents to San Angelo.

You almost need a whole new name for the traditional items on The Angry Cactus menu. While you will find food names you recognize, like "salad" , "meatloaf", "chicken fried steak" and "tenderloin", be prepared to taste a burst of flavor that redefines exactly what those words mean. There are gluten free selections and lighter fare items as well. The Sunday brunch menu is also amazing.  Combine that with a great selection of beer, wines and cocktails and while the cactus may be angry, you surely won't be.

These ten restaurants are just the beginning of your culinary journey in San Angelo.  We arerichly blessed with a culinary tradition that has long established our city as a desired location to refuel and re-charge the physical, but the mental as well.  Enjoy the journey and Bon Appetite!

Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash
Photo by bady abbas on Unsplash
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