As with lodging, you'll find scads of national chains located along Del Rio's Veterans Boulevard. You'll be better served (in more ways than one) by seeking out one of Del Rio's locally owned restaurants, such as The Herald, 321 S. Main St. (tel. 830/774-2845). The former HQ for the town's daily paper, the News-Herald, the swankest eatery in downtown Del Rio specializes in sandwiches and soups for lunch and steaks and martinis at dinner. Also recommended is La Hacienda, 330 Pecan St. in Pecan Street Station (tel. 830/774-7094), featuring Mexican fare and a popular lunch buffet.

If you want to get a true (and inexpensive) taste of the region, head south to Ciudad Acuña. (Call City Taxi at tel. 830/775-6344 for a ride.) My picks: Crosby's, Hidalgo #195 (tel. 011-52/87-72-20-20), a tourist-oriented restaurant and bar with great service and a place in country music history thanks to a mention in George Strait's "Blame it on Mexico"; Manuel's, Morelos #130 (tel. 011-52/87-72-59-15), an upscale Mexican restaurant with good steaks and rellenos; La Cabañita, Galena #267 E. (tel. 011-52/87-72-14-67), a fun, funky space with a menu for meat lovers; and the local favorite, Tacos Grill, Guerrero #1490 S. (tel. 011-52/87-72-40-41). There's also a legendary watering hole, the Corona Club, 2 blocks south of the downtown crossing bridge at Hidalgo #200 (tel. 011-52/87-72-51-08). A location in the movie Desperado, this classic border dive opens into a spectacular courtyard that is the best music venue in the area.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.