Before resigning yourself to a semester of Mabee food and vending machine treats, try to get your parents to take you out to one of these nearby gourmet destinations. You can find a place for any price range and food type around San Antonio.

Iron Cactus
Price: $$
Location: 200 East River Walk Street

If you’re looking for a real San Antonio experience and some great Mexican food, this is the place for you. Relax and munch on some Cactus Quesadillas as you watch the boats float by on the river. After you and your family have stuffed yourselves with plenty of delicious food, you can end the night by exploring San Antonio’s famous Riverwalk.

Cappy’s $$$$
5011 Broadway Street

Cappy’s is a steak and seafood restaurant with an elegant ambiance. The service is prompt and always pleasant. Though all of the steaks are of excellent quality, my favorite dish is the Jumbo Diver Scallops, which I find are cooked to near perfection. If this restaurant is a little more upscale than what you’re looking for, you can go next door to its sister restaurant, Cappyccino’s, which serves delicious sandwiches and hors d’oeuvres called “Munchies.”

MAX’S Wine Dive $$$
340 East Basse Road #101

This place fuses a gourmet kitchen with the casual atmosphere of a dimly lit bar. Invite your parents to sit in the glow of neon signs with a glass of wine in one hand as you wait for your Nacho Mama’s Oysters or a plate of Bison Sliders. It’s all-American food, reinvented and made even more deliciously decadent. Be sure to try their award-winning MAX ‘n Cheese dish. You’ll be able to smell the lightly torched four cheeses and truffle cream sauce before it even reaches your table.

Ernesto’s Restaurant $$$$
2559 Jackson Keller Road

Ernesto’s is the epitome of the phrase, “diamond in the rough.” Tucked away in the corner of a strip mall, this establishment produces some of the best cuisine San Antonio has to offer. The main focus of Ernesto’s is on seafood and Mexican specialty dishes. Though all of the appetizers are wonderful, I am particularly fond of the Seafood Crepe covered in white cheese and the Green Ceviche. For the main course, just tell Ernesto or one of his sons what you like, and they’ll prepare for you a combination dish, complete with one of their nine signature sauces.

DOUGH Pizzeria Napoletana $$
6989 Blanco Road

Sometimes you just need a pizza to satisfy your appetite, and few places boast a better pizza than DOUGH. It’s been voted the best pizzeria in San Antonio by both the San Antonio Current and the San Antonio Express-News, and once you take a look at their menu, you’ll understand why. In addition to the cheese, tomato sauce and crust composition of your classic pizza, DOUGH’s pizzas feature more exotic ingredients such as prosciutto, truffle oil and oak-roasted zucchini.

{Note* $ signs indicate the average cost per person. $ = $10, $$ = $20, $$$ = $30, etc.}