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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Casual restaurant

Mon 11:00am–9:00pm
Tue–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–11:00pm
Sun 9:00am–9:00pm

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


North 1604
19141 Stone Oak Parkway
San Antonio, TX
(210) 545-7960
Cielito Lindo
Mexican by and for “nationals” and enlightened gringos

Cielito Lindo is certainly the city’s most Mex restaurant; there’s a massive menu spanning the entire country to our south. Most major masa shapes are represented, from flautas to huaraches, sopas, and gorditas; the coast is covered with cocktails and ceviches; there are regional chilaquiles such as “Toluqueños;” and the Yucatán weighs in with piggie pibil. There is even, in possibly grudging deference to a long-ago event, an “Alamo Special” of chicken or beef fajitas. You have our permission to ignore it; these are real Mexicans intent on serving real Mexican food, and we should be grateful.

We nevertheless sometimes start with a dish that has serious local competition: menudo. Cielito Lindo’s version may not be as forthrightly fierce as some hereabouts, but it is accordingly very accessible, even to diners with an aversion to innards such as tripe. Put together with the best local michelada we’ve had, the perfect hair-of-dog, morning-after cure emerges. Working equally well would be the sopecitos with their topping of crumbled chicharrón. Pig skins appear again in the locally unfamiliar form of chicharrón prensado, a pressed creation that’s a by-product of the frying of pork skins. Ignore all that and just order the “gorditas de la plaza;” they’re light and delicate, and the filling is sensational.

Margaritas tend toward tutti-frutti, and the décor seems to be trying so hard not to be mainstream-Mex that it ends up in the timid-Tuscan camp. No matter—go anyway.

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