I’m going to level with you: food inside SeaWorld San Antonio is BLEH. And the food scene in the surrounding Westover Hills is not much better. For years, my family would groan every time we visited SeaWorld and needed to find some food. The options inside the park fall short of even mediocre and cost 3x what they should with theme park upcharges. Options outside the park are largely fast food or uninspired barbecue or Tex-Mex, none of it appealing. Thankfully, the last few years have seen a few restaurants open up that raise the food bar substantially for the area. And while there is still a lot of room for growth, the four restaurants below are fantastic options for places to eat near SeaWorld, and frankly are just fantastic options for places to eat in general.
Where to Eat Near SeaWorld
The Jerk Shack
This one is a total no-brainer. If you are looking for something to eat near SeaWorld, GO HERE.
The Jerk Shack, one of San Antonio’s best restaurants, is absolute fire. Chef Nicola Blaque, who was a James Beard Award semifinalist for 2023, has created an absolute gem of an eatery with the best Caribbean food in San Antonio, and perhaps the entire state of Texas.
Food at the Jerk Shack is spicy and delicious with a focus on Jamaican flavors – we’re talking curry, pineapple, and jerk EVERYTHING (chicken, pork, wings, mac and cheese, burgers, and even egg rolls). Their shrimp and grits, in particular, is extremely popular and for good reason, it is beyond tasty.
The Jerk Shack offers both indoor dining and takeaway, but we highly recommend eating there as the hot food can get a little soggy from the condensation that forms on the container when you bring it home. Your best bet, hit up SeaWorld, work up an appetite, and head straight to the Jerk Shack for a meal you may never forget.
Dave’s Hot Chicken
Yes, I know. This one is a chain. But hear me out. It’s a good chain. And it’s growing fast around the country because it’s good. So, if you are in Westover Hills and looking for a place to eat near SeaWorld, would you rather go to a good chain or an unexceptional chain? There’s really only one answer to that question – as for me, I’ll take Dave’s any day of the week.
Dave’s hot chicken got its start in California when Dave, along with three other friends, decided to create the perfect fried hot chicken. The friends set up a tent in east Hollywood, started to spread the news on Instagram, and watched as their chicken following grew exponentially. Now, years down the road, Dave’s is an international hot chicken juggernaut and a welcome addition to San Antonio.
Dave’s hit the SA scene at the tail end of 2022, opening up just before Christmas with their signature small menu of just four meal options (basically different combinations of tenders, sliders, and fries). San Antonio residents immediately took to the unique concept where each guest can choose their meal and then specify a heat level from 7 different heat options ranging from “no spice” to the fiery “reaper” spice. In terms of what to order, the only thing you have to ask yourself is just how spicy do you feel. And then enjoy!
Photo Credit: Yelp Michelle M.
Lucy Cooper's Ice House
Popular SA bar, Lucy Cooper’s Ice House, recently opened up its third location just off 151 in Westover Hills. In addition to their northside and New Braunfels locations, the Westover Hills spot promises the same cold drinks, tasty bar food, and kid-free atmosphere for adults looking to enjoy an evening of cold drinks and good company.
Owner/chef Braunda Smith, who recently competed on the Food Network show Guy’s Grocery Games, designed Lucy Cooper’s with adults in mind. It is, at its core, a bar for 21 and up only, so don’t plan on bringing your kids around. Her entire concept was to give adults a place to retreat and escape to so while this may not be the best option for a post-SeaWorld day (assuming you’re going to SeaWorld because you have kids with you), it is a fantastic option for those looking to decompress without the noise and bustle of other more family-friendly establishments.
Much of what you will find on Lucy Cooper’s menu reads like a “who’s who” of recent social media trends but the must-try item is the Tin Can Nachos – picture a large tin can filled with chips, queso, beans, meat, pico de gallo, and jalapeños, which falls into a deliciously, messy pile of nachos when the can is lifted. Over-the-top? Yes. A bit kitschy? Perhaps. Tasty and admittedly a little fun? Totally.
Photo Credit: Yelp Letty U.
Elise Cuisine is a vegetarian/vegan-friendly brunch spot that has become really popular, really fast. Open now for just over a year, Elise has cultivated a committed following of both locals and visitors alike who are searching for satisfactory brunch options or satisfactory vegan options. How great is it when you can find both in the same place?
In addition to the many vegan-friendly menu options at Elise, gluten-avoiders will be pleased to know that they can indulge in GF versions of biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and breakfast sandwiches made on GF sourdough. Other popular menu items include omelets, waffles, and fresh fruit smoothies made with homemade almond milk or coconut almond milk.
Given Elise’s proximity to SeaWorld, it is a great place to enjoy during a midday break from the park as it is quiet, simple, and tasty. Kids will enjoy it too, and you may find that an hour or two away from the stimulation of the amusement park is just what they need.
Photo Credit: Yelp Victoria B.
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