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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Food
Feel
Price
8.1
8.5
$45
Latin American
Casual restaurant

Hours
Mon–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri 11:00am–10:30pm
Sat noon–10:30pm
Sun 5:00pm–9:30pm

Features Date-friendly, live music, outdoor dining, Wi-Fi
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted

www.azuca.net

King William/Southtown
713 S. Alamo St.
San Antonio, TX
(210) 225-5550
Azuca
Sweet, sassy, and sometimes more show than substance—but the package is pretty

At Azuca it’s Carmen Miranda on a plate, cartoon contemporary on the walls, and a menu format that channels tacky travel brochures touting the tropics. Actually, we take back part of the cartoon comment; the blown-glass wall pieces and chandeliers are classy and produced in a studio right next door. We also admit to falling for the pumped-up plating that often includes lofty fright wigs of fried tubers.

And within the menu’s Technicolor pages are some luscious Latin gems. The ceviche trio is usually worth a try, yuca frita with a garlicky mojo is addictive, and the banana-leaf-swaddled and chicken-studded Amazonian tamal is such in both size and sensibility.

Ambition can overtake execution from time to time, however. Chef Rene Fernandez’s “Paella Latina” is appropriately alegre, and the pork medallions with sugar cane and a caipirinha glaze are both exuberant and excellent—when not dry. Perhaps the camarón pelao is attempting to be uncharacteristically cautious, but when wilted spinach dominates tequila-marinated shrimp and inky huitlacoche sauce, the rhythm is off.

But not in the adjacent bar—especially after extended exposure to the tropical drinks list. Live bands incite to salsa on weekends, but beware: competition on the floor is fierce.

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