Berni VIetnamese Restaurant

San Antonio is teeming with some fantastic Vietnamese food. Lucky for us! I’ve tried quite a few, but one does everything right. Berni Vietnamese Restaurant in the Medical Center area is hands down, the best. Come and fight me if you think otherwise.

Berni takes care of you from the moment you sit down. While you’re looking at the menu, they bring you a small bowl of clear broth with ground beef and carrots in it. It doesn’t seem remotely Vietnamese, but I enjoy the hell out of it every time. I always end up spending too much time looking at the menu when, in reality, I invariably end up ordering one of two things; a banh mi or a combination pho.

Yes, I went with a grilled pork banh mi. I briefly flirted with the idea of getting a vermicelli bowl, but the words wouldn’t come out when it was finally time to order. The grilled pork banh mi is not only one of the best Vietnamese sandwiches in the city, but it’s one of the best sandwiches in the city, period. The pork is so tender, the carrots and cucumber along with the peanuts add a nice crunch, and the bun is crusty and holds up when you add the delicious sweet sauce. Even though I pour some sauce into the sandwich, I still end up dipping it because that sauce is amazing. I could seriously eat one of these every day.

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The wife went with a combination tripe and meatball pho. Great choice. These meatballs aren’t what you’re thinking. You couldn’t float them in a nice Sunday sauce. These meatballs have a slight hint of cinnamon or nutmeg, I can’t tell which. Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that these particular meatballs are wonderful in the pho. The thing I enjoy about the pho at Berni is that the broth is not always the same. It’s basically the same, but there are always slight differences. I like this because it makes me think that someone is actually making the broth and it’s not a powder or from a can.

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Another nice touch from Berni is the purple tapioca pearl dessert you get at the end of your meal. They actually bring it out while you’re eating, but it’s right there when you finish eating. It’s a nice, smooth transition. Another successful lunch at Berni. Of course I’ll be back. Maybe I’ll try something else off the menu. Nah! Who am I kidding?

Berni Vietnamese Restaurant
8742 Wurzbach Road
San Antonio, TX 78240

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Cafe Don Juan

I don’t know why, but I’ve been on a beef enchilada kick lately. All I care about is finding new Mexican restaurants and trying their enchiladas. Pizza, no! Hamburger, no! Steak, no! You get the picture.

Cafe Don Juan is west of downtown and it looks like it’s been there a while. It’s not fancy and the menu is kind of small. I imagine this place has regulars who don’t even have to order; their usual just miraculously shows up in front of them minutes after sitting down. It’s one of these places that closes after lunch. Luckily for me, I had a rare afternoon off.

The beef enchiladas were as good as I’ve had anywhere; dare I say the best. The beef was well seasoned and the enchiladas were topped with gooey cheese and a thicker than usual (not complaining) enchilada sauce. What a wonderful combination. I probably don’t need to go anywhere else for enchiladas, but what fun would that be? I mixed the beans with a combination of the chip salsa, green salsa and spicy salsa. So good! The spicy salsa is kept in a metal container on the table. Kind of like you would see in a Chinese restaurant with chili oil. First time seeing that.

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The wife wasn’t hungry so she had two tacos which I tried. The carne guisada taco was full of beef stew in a thick sauce. No condiments needed, it was good on it’s own. In the future I would like to just order the carne guisada, take it home, and eat it on top of some hot, steaming white rice. Just a thought. The other taco was chicharrones and eggs. This went well with the green salsa. I kind of wish it was without the eggs. We should have ordered the chicharrones as a stew. Next time.

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I look forward to going back to Cafe Don Juan in the future. There were other interesting things on the menu. I think breakfast will be our next meal there. Maybe I too can become a regular. We all have our own goals.

Cafe Don Juan
1422 W. Commerce Street
San Antonio, TX 78207