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“A Hit-or-Miss Family Outing” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Magic Time Machine

Magic Time Machine
902 NE Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78209-1401 (Oak Park / Northwood)
210-828-1470
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Ranked #633 of 4,197 Restaurants in San Antonio
Price range: $21 - $30
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Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: Oak Park / Northwood
Houston, Texas
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“A Hit-or-Miss Family Outing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

I have visited this venue on two occasions in the past two months, and think I have experienced both the zenith and the nadir for the restaurant.

The restaurant itself is whimsical - a busy menagerie of tables tucked away in rooms, so you have what amounts to a private-lite dining experience. The waitstaff is comprised of waiters and waitresses in various fantasy style garb, playing characters as diverse as Jack Sparrow, the Queen of Hearts, Spiderman, Katniss, Finn (from Adventure Time), Nacho Libre, Marilyn Monroe, and more. The premise is that the servers are in character as they take your order and provide your entertainment.

On our first trip, we were served by the Queen of Hearts, whose accent might not have been precisely British, but she was clearly making an effort to entertain - good humour, entertained the children, and just a lilt of irreverence. She really connected with the table, which was very nice.

The second trip we were seated and then had to wait 11 minutes before our server (Marilyn Monroe) finally stopped to take our drink orders. She made almost no attempt to engage the table, and short of wearing a costume was not in character as we'd have hoped. She was passable as a server, but appeared indifferent with respect to service or entertainment. We much preferred the Queen.

The food itself is overpriced, but I expect that going in to a theme-style restaurant. You are paying for the experience as much as the food. The bread is very good, with nice flavour and a couple different butters (regular butter and cinnamon butter), and the salad bar itself is pretty basic, but satisfactory. I've not had any personal complaints about the steaks I ordered, and my son was pleased with his Chicken Parmesan, and the other kids enjoyed their kid menu items, including their "bubbling potion" (Appears to be a lemonade with food coloring added and dry ice to make the bubbles).

The restaurant offers a couple other child-friendly activities, such as face painting (which we did not do) and a balloon artist (which we did do on our first trip).

With one good visit and one not so good visit, I would probably head back again, however, I say that with the caveat that you are going to be paying a little bit more than you might at restaurants with similar food quality, so it really needs to be the entertainment that makes the trip worthwhile, and that appears to be a gamble.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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168 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Food and service = bad Atmosphere= fun for the kids”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2013 via mobile

In case you don't read all of this, here's my best tip: just order the salad bar (and soup) for $5.95. Prices high for poor quality food (steak, shrimp) and poor service. We had to ask several times for refills, bread, A1 sauce - never got, and a beer that we never got. The steak special that 3 of us ordered was grisly and tough. The kids did like their pizza, but it sure didn't look good- small cheap frozen pizza. Wouldn't be so bad if you weren't paying almost $20 per person. The decor and the characters were fun for the kids once they got over their initial shock of how weird the place was. They are girls, ages 4 and 8. There are also a few games, a balloon guy, and face painting. Face painting starts at $3, but the girl said a cat would be $6. We decided not to. The girl went right back to her phone. Kinda rude too. Overall, this is a one time kind of place.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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San Antonio, Texas
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“beat your "hunger" here”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2013

We stopped here while geocaching. place looks old and smells musky. food is good. salad car needs cheese. Katniss was our server and was a riot. the girl looks legit. nacho libre sang to us and the queen threatened our heads. the magic bubble potions are cool, when we got them katniss yelled "the fog is poison!" and ran , lol. We didnt order dessert but she made a snow globe out of whip cream that had a edible tag with my name on it. super cool. the manager with the mustache was hovering and i saw him yank a character while they were talking to a table. over all the place is a must go to :)

  • Visited December 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katy, Texas
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Good for a one time visit”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2013

This was a - for the kids - visit. The kids had a lot of fun and got the characters to sign little cards, but without kids? Skip it. Very, very high dollar for the below average food, super cramped seating and very noisy. That being said, are we glad we went? Yes. Will we go again? No. This is a one visit, give the kids a fun meal and try somewhere else next time.

Top tip --- request Nacho Libre as a waiter.

Unfortunately we did not have him, the table beside us did. But he was great, even sneaking over to our table for a song.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Cute, but food was bad”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2013

I was one of five adults for dinner. The atmosphere was fun and all (colored drinks that steamed from dry ice, servers dressed in all sorts of costumes, and they acted their characters)), but the meals were pricy and did not measure up.. I had the special, which was a steak and fried shrimp. The shrimp arrived at room temperature and the steak was cold. The mashed potatoes were also cold. I asked for some A1 Sauce and although the server made a big fuss over me using it "on his Steak," the steak didn't taste very good. When he brought the A1 Sauce, I was the peppercorn variety. I tried it, but itthe pepper was overwhelming. I tried to catch his eye for about 10 minutes to get the regular kind, but he was so busy "harassing" his other tables, he did not pay any attention to us. I had to go into the server station and get it, myself. The place got overly loud at times, o I wouldn't recommend it if you need some quiet. The food definitely was not worth the price. Our bill was about $140 for the five of us. I won't be coming back!

  • Visited November 2013
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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