McAllen, Texas, ‘The City of Palms.’ Located right at the southern tip of the Rio Grande Valley, and practically a hop, skip, and a jump from the Mexican border. Some would say it’s not as impressive as San Antonio or Dallas, but it’s home, and visitors often warm up to it over time. One of the ways this happens is through the food; yes, McAllen has some amazing food places, and here are ten of them.
1. Santa Fe Steakhouse
A nice place to take a date or some business partners, the Santa Fe Steakhouse is considered by many to be one of the top dining destinations in McAllen. A good wine list, excellent namesake steaks, and plenty of other creative options, from Santa Fe Crab Cakes and Filets Espresso to their desserts, which are changed daily. Definitely a suit and tie location.
2. The Patio on Guerra
Another restaurant meant for whining and dining, the Patio on Guerra is a somewhat historical restaurant, representing around 100 years of McAllen history, thanks to the Three Guerra Brothers. Here, you’ll find live entertainment in the form of Spanish music and quartets, an impressive wine list, and a choice selection of specialty coffees, steaks, seafood, poultry, and signature dishes, including Bison Tenderloin and Texas Quail.
3. Il Forno a Legna
I had to include pizza here somewhere. To be fair, Il Forno is not just a pizza place. Not to be confused with Kocino Il Forno and specializing in Italian cuisine, Il Forno has its own brick oven, to further accentuate the tastes of their pizzas and other dishes.
4. Koko’s Cafe Uptown
By far my favorite restaurant on this list, Koko’s was the place my dad would take the family for a casual dinner together every so often. While I would always order the fried shrimp or the burger, this restaurant has plenty of Mexican cuisine for you to try out. From Enchiladas and Nachos to Fajitas and Caldo De Res, a homemade beef and vegetable soup. A great place to vent.
5. Grain To Glass
Like beer? Fan of downing a few cold ones after work? Grain To Glass is the way to go. This is a very casual place, serving burgers and sandwiches to customers, where the real focus is the impressive selections of beers, whether on tap, or flying. I recommend trying the beer flight if you want to know what’s good. Four small beers to whet your tastes buds.
6. El Devino Dining & Cocktails
Seasonal menus, fresh cocktails; El Devino is a social locale for those looking for a stylish afternoon or evening. Grilled Lamb Ribs, Grilled Octopus, Hot Fried Chicken, and Earl Gray Panna Cotta; having a meal here would be a memorable evening, as well as a tasteful one. This would be the perfect place to bring a date. There’s even a speakeasy lounge and a private room, for the more special occasions.
7. Copper Moon Bar & Grill
With a mixed menu ranging from Texas to the Mississippi all the way to Japan, the Copper Moon Bar & Grill can be an unforgettable restaurant experience for both the individual and the family. With tacos, seafood, wagyu beef burgers and other stylized starters, I highly recommend this place on a weekday afternoon. I also recommend their brunch menu, as the Monte Cristo special looks especially delectable.
8. The Blue Onion
Another casual locale, what makes the Blue Onion restaurant special is that it specializes in fresh, made to order food. Flat bread dips, fresh salads, homemade pizzas; this is the place to let your gut hang out and have a good time.
9. Republic of the Rio Grande
Yet another establishment dedicated to fine dining in the McAllen area, the Republic of the Rio Grande has an interesting selection of signature drinks and infusions that are sure to surprise some of the uninitiated guests, as well as a menu that covers all the bases of foods that might entice future customers.
10. Delia’s (Specializing In) Tamales
If you want good Tamales in McAllen, most people will say that Delia’s is the place to go. Not exactly the fanciest place on this list, but I you won’t regret coming here, I can promise you that. Pork, chicken, beef, bean; the title isn’t just for show with this restaurant. My personal favorite is the chicken and cheese.