Lunch under the colorful umbrellas of Casa Rio

Chances are when you think of San Antonio Riverwalk you think of the colorful umbrellas lining the Riverwalk and the Spanish Colonial brown building modestly hidden behind them. A plaque near the entrance thanks the founders, Alfred F. Beyer and his wife, for first undertaking responsibility for beautification of the River. A sign at the entrance says, Casa Rio since 1946. Do you know you have stumbled upon the first restaurant on the Riverwalk?

C & I visited Casa Rio on our most recent trip to San Antonio. When we asked for a table for 3, our hostess in a traditional Mexican Senorita dress inquired, ‘Inside or outside?’ It was the hottest day of August, we had arrived at Casa Rio for lunch and the noon sun was shining down upon us. We said, outside. It is always a treat to sit under one of the colorful umbrellas and sip on a cold beer or margarita and watch the tourist barges cruise by. It is fun to wave at the tourists, watch the ducks and birds at the river and feel the slight breeze blowing from the water. It is a great way to have quality time with your date or family. ‘Yes, outside’, we said a little more empathetically and were delighted when we were seated right by the river under a giant red umbrella.

Full Disclosure: We received lunch for two and a half as guests of Casa Rio. All opinions are our own.

C opted for a spicy margarita and I ordered the Alamo Ale. We also ordered an ice tea for S-boy, who promptly drank it with gusto. Our server also brought some chips and salsa to munch on with our drinks; these were on the house for every table. The hot salsa was very much on point. The spicy margarita was like a Michelada sans the beer but with Margarita and quite tasty. Their menu advertises San Antonio style Mexican food, which in my opinion is code for good old Tex-Mex. I ordered the grilled Mahi-Mahi with poblano sauce and side salad and C ordered their famous deluxe dinner. His dinner was a giant plate that came with an enchilada, crispy taco, tamale, chips and guacamole, refried beans and Mexican rice, and more. Basically, the whole Tex-Mex shebang. S boy had his own rice and refried beans. The food was really good, especially the deluxe dinner, (I mean ‘next-time-I’m-ordering-what-you-had’ good) and the atmosphere was lively and romantic. Did I mention the Mariachi band which serenaded the diners? These guys were charming and even posed for a few photographs.  

Casa Rio was the first restaurant on the Riverwalk and also the first restaurant to have dining barges on the river. The restaurant is where the evolution of the Riverwalk as a mecca of fine-dining first began. While they don’t operate their own barges today, visitors have the option of taking a dinner cruise with Rio San Antonio cruises and ordering dinner from Casa Rio. Few years back when their neon sign was taken down for a refurbishment it made the local news; Casa Rio and its happenings are profoundly linked to the San Antonio Riverwalk and the city. The restaurant still remains in the family; Alfred F. Beyer’s great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Lyons, serves as the Director of Marketing and Public Relations and is working keenly to blend the historic restaurant with modern eating lifestyles while preserving its authentic character. My grilled Mahi Mahi, with grapefruit salad and a light cheesy sauce with Mexican rice, was newly added to the menu to appeal to modern taste buds and it sure works!

Mariachi band serenading a couple on their anniversary. Uber-romantic!

Are you planning to visit the most photographed restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk anytime? Let me know in comments!  

Full Disclosure: We received lunch for two and a half as guests of Casa Rio. All opinions are our own.

Casa Rio | Website | Address: 430 E. Commerce St., San Antonio, TX 78205 | Phone: (210) 225-6718

I visited Casa Rio on the San Antonio Riverwalk in August 2017.


  • The Almost Kiwi

    What a great review, I love eating by the water so good job in getting a riverside table! Tempted to grab some Mexican for lunch now….

  • Theresa

    I just ordered dinner and now I wish I’d ordered Mexican. Darn it! Thanks for the delicious description! It looks like a great spot.

  • manders1397

    We had the pleasure of visiting the Riverwalk 2 years ago when driving through San Antonio on a 3 month roadtrip, and we loved it! We didn’t eat anywhere, but we very much enjoyed the wander along the river! The food here looks delicious, and how cool to eat at the first restaurant on the Riverwalk! Especially right on the water!

  • Claudia

    What a great review! I love Mexican food and your pictures look so good that I might just order some Mexican food 🙂

  • Tushar Singh

    Wow! I just love this place. It looks like a Mexican Venice. 😀
    *Meanwhile, Casa Rio successfully added to the bucket list*

  • Ressa

    Wow, Casa Rio is so beautiful! I bet this was such a great experience to see! 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 I really need to visit this place myself one day!

  • Le Coin de Mel

    Wow, the food looks absolutely delicious. The deluxe dinner looks like my cup of tea, but it would be too big for me: I’m pretty sure it would feed 2 of us 🙂

  • kaidigger

    This looks so amazing, i would like to visit this place as i love travelling and i love Mexican food.

  • meghanramsey1

    I love the river walk in San Antonio and this restaurant looks like the perfect stop on a day there! So colorful and fresh looking food.

  • Kate

    This looks like such a vibrant spot! And I love spicy food, so I’m definitely going to need to check this out. Love your photos!

  • 🌻🌻🌻 (@feliciabroccolo)

    Wow what a pretty spot for some yummy food! I’m from California where we have amazing Mexican food and I miss it so much when I’m traveling!

  • alisonrost

    I’ve been to the San Antonio Riverwalk! In fact, my brother and sister-in-law live in San Antonio and when my husband I visit, the Riverwalk is one of our favorite places to go. It’s fun to have dinner under one of the colorful umbrellas and be part of a crowd that’s so diverse and interesting. It always leaves me in a better mood and a spring in my step! x

  • Aditi

    This post and the gorgeous pictures made me super hungry. I am craving some good ol’ loaded nachos now. Thanks for sharing this post, I bet it would have been so much fun dining under those umbrellas.

  • Jpr Arv

    I have heard so much about San Antonio but I’m yet to visit. I love the fact that there’s a different atmosphere altogether out here.Thanks for info on this restaurant, will surely visit it whenever I’m there.

  • Shawna

    I really, REALLY want to go to San Antonio! Now, my urge to go is increased, as is my appetite!

  • Anjali Chawla

    Cheese nachos and guacomole look delicious! Colorful umbrellas are certainly adding charm to the whole experience. I’ll surely visit Casa Rio whenever I’m there.

  • Joanna

    I have a friend who I think had dinner there. I remember him sending me photos of the mexican singers and videos of the happy atmopshere. The food looks delicious and it’s nice that you get some snacks and dips on the house as well.

  • Ana De-Jesus

    Oh I love Mexican food it is one of my favourite cuisines and I am glad that they offered you to dine there that is really sweet! Cheese nachos look rather tasty x

  • Via Bella

    OOOH I want to be sernaded while I eat. Where can I sign up for that? They are going to thrive as a place with that alone!
    XO Via Bella Blog

  • sveeteskapes

    I love San Antonio and the riverwalk is the best! Will definitely check out Casa Rio I am there next time.

    xx, Kusum |

  • Claire Santiago

    That’s a great spot for travelers. I love nachos and I can eat a lot of it within the day. The salsa looks so delicious, I love making home made salsa that are Mexican-inspired.

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