A GREAT time!. Carmen's is an absolute GEM of a place that our oldest daughter and her husband introduced us to. The tapas, sangria and flamenco dancing are wonderful, but don't go expecting to be waited on or coddled. This is a casual bistro where you order at the bar, and can run a tab until the end of the evening. We like to go on Friday nights after work, and that's "flamenco" night. We would love to go some Thursday night for Jazz, but we're pretty savvy working grandparents and can't stay out that late on a work night! The staff has always been wonderful and accommodating, and the $10 cover probably weeds out the less desirable clientele. Carmen is often behind the bar, and we get there early to get one of the tables. It's absolutely first come, first served, and is a small, intimate place dominated by the bar and the stage. I've seen the loyal patrons stacked around the walls, having a great time and not complaining. A great place all around.
Debby Downer at the door. We read about a CD release that they were having this past Saturday so we decided to check it out. We got there early but it was already full inside (very small place). We inquired about sitting in the patio and we were very rudely and matter-of-factly told that there was also a $10 cover charge to sit in the patio. This was in the heat and away from any music. We were floored! They definitely have the wrong person working the door! This girl acted like she was doing us a favor! That was a deal breaker for me! We went a little further down N. St. Mary's and found a place called Azuca. I am now hooked on Azuca! Thanks to the door lady here, we found a great place to eat and dance!
If you are looking for Spanish TAPAS look elsewhere. Of the 10-12 items on the menu, only the garlic shrimp and meat/cheese platter, were recognizable as a tapas. Things like Carmen's Fish taco, tostada sampler, and some other items that are non-spanish dominated the menu. The webpage said the flamenco music would start at 7:30, but it actually did not start till 8:30. When I got there at 6:30 the hostess at the door wanted to charge me a $10 cover, and was rude about it. I told her if we stayed till the music started I'd pay the cover. We did not stay for the music. The service was slow, we were the first customers of the evening and it took over 30 minutes to be served. I recommend Casa Espana over near UTSA off 1604 for great tapas, and good service.
best tapas bar. Carmens was such an awesome experience, it's not a restaurant, it's a tapas bar, with live music and they make there own sangria! I went with a bunch of my friends, and it was packed, so it was hard at first to fit, but we hung out, drank sangria, and ate the most amazing food. It's a great place to go if you're looking to try something different in san antonio.
service is very bad. I left embarrassed I'd taken people here. The lady at the door was so rude. The service behind the bar was bad. It's sad b/c the food is great and the place is a great atmosphere. Never again will I bring someone here. I tried to show some out-of-town friends some cool things to do here. Carmens made me look bad. Very disappointed.
Where do I start? They don't answer their phone. Their voice message says, "no reservations", yet when you walk in with a party of 3, they want to charge you 20% more than is normal. Besides, the $10 cover charge way before 8:30 when it's supposed to be charges.
And we have to get our own plates?
When I go to a restaurant, I want to be served. I don't want to serve myself. I can stay home for that.
With their bad service and bad attitudes, eat someplace else.
Local Gem. This local gem is set just north of downtown in an older community but the life inside the house-turned-heaven is vibrant. The menu is roughly 15 items, short and sweet. They often have live entertainment, Flamenco, World music, salsa, etc. Dress nice or dress casual, you'll fit right in. Seating is limited in this small home, but that only means its a full house every night.
User review by vsalas1313. I recently went with a friend for the first time and saw a band called Jamaya (?) and it was great. I have never heard of Carmens till tonight but it was worth the cover charge. The environment was great and the band was awesome.
Funky and vibrant, this spot doesn't miss a beat.. Chef-owner Paula Sullivan hails from Chicago and has blessed San Antonio with a true original. On Thursdays, Carmen's features live jazz and Spanish paella, while Friday nights bring tapas (Spanish-style appetizers) and flamenco dancing with classical guitar.
Excellent tapas. Carmen's tapas are excellent! I haven't been able to find anywhere else in San Antonio quite as unique as Carmen's. The desserts are great too!
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