My latest Groupon adventure led me to eat lunch with a friend at Paloma Blanca in Alamo Heights. I was excited because I have long heard that it is an excellent place to dine and a favorite of the 09ers (read: people from Alamo Heights, 78209 zip code).
The weather was really starting to cool off, so my friend and I decided to eat on the patio. I was really impressed with the atmosphere inside when I went in to be seated by the hostess. It was really chic and had a welcoming vibe to it. Equally as nice was the patio, where they carved out a secluded place that really took you away from the outside world. The fountain outside is soothing and really drowned out the outside noise.
The chips and salsa were excellent; in fact, I will say that the roasted salsa is the best I’ve had in town to date, even surpassing that of La Fogata (my friend also agreed with this).
When I opened up my menu, I was glad that I had come for lunch. The prices seemed completely out of touch with Mexican restaurants (even the nice ones) throughout the city. Plates seemed an average of $5-$10 higher than normal for dinner; I guess they have to make sure they can cover that Alamo Heights rent.
I ordered the Chile Relleno Tradicional de Carne which is a poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, and white cheese. It was topped with a red chile sauce that was really tasty. The rice and borracho beans were a notch above typical restaurants. While the relleno was pretty good, all I could think about was the fact that (1) how glad I was that I got the lunch price and (2) how glad I was that I had a Groupon to save even more money. It’s definitely more expensive than I thought it should be.
A final word should be made on the service; it was absolutely top notch. Our waitress was not only friendly, but prompt while being unobtrusive, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. Unfortunately, my friend noticed that some of the ground beef in his enchilada was undercooked (not so good for ground beef). Now, I firmly believe this was atypical for Paloma Blanca based on the pride that they obviously take in the restaurant; sometimes things go wrong in a restaurant, but to me this is a time for truly good service to shine. Our waitress did just that. She apologized profusely, immediately took the plate back, and promptly brought out a new plate. I admire how she handled the situation herself without having to bring in a manager. To me, this shows how awesome Paloma Blanca’s service truly is.
I really think that you need to determine what you are looking for before going to Paloma Blanca. If you are just looking for some good food, then there are tons of options in San Antonio that I think deliver the same quality of food at a cheaper cost. However, if you really are looking for an amazing atmosphere and service, and are willing to pay a premium for it, then Paloma Blanca will not disappoint.
Value: 6/10 (I felt like the prices were incredibly inflated; I would advise visiting them for lunch where they aren’t quite as expensive; however, if you are looking for awesome atmosphere and service (and don’t mind paying for it), then this could be the place for you)
Atmosphere: 10/10 (super cool atmosphere both inside and out on the patio; you can definitely unwind at this restaurant)
Service: 10/10 (absolutely some of the best in the city)
Salsa: 10/10 (the roasted salsa is phenomenal; don’t even waste your time with the other type of salsa that they bring out to you)
Taste: 8.5/10 (overall the food has good flavor in the same vein as the more upscale Mexican restaurants in town)