The Best Places to Eat in San Antonio Right Now
San Antonio's restaurant scene has seen persistent growth this year; new culinary players who burst onto the scene in early 2019 are already making waves, from the CIA’s latest creative venture to a restaurant that looks to be a revitalization of the beloved Chez Vatel. The Alamo City has always been loyal to its old favorites, but is just as welcoming to the new eateries emerging on the scene -- so be a good neighbor and support some nascent local restaurants! Below, you'll find San Antonio's best new openings of the year (so far), followed by the city's all-time best restaurants. Buen provecho!
Seasonal and creative fare in a Sleek and warm environs
Staffed by the Culinary Institute of America's student-chefs, Savor offers a fashionable yet intimate dinner experience in its modern, open dining room. The students are overseen by the school’s hospitality instructors and chefs, who not only ensure quality but also oversee the diverse menu. The majority of the ingredients are sourced from local farmers. Savor replaced Nao (the previous Latin-inspired restaurant opened up by the Culinary Institute) and has re-opened for the summer after a short hiatus. Offering bar food and booze as well as a prix fixe menu, Savor can be pricey, but their modern American food and decadent desserts (especially the Elderflower Panna Cotta) are certainly worth it at the end of the week.
Classic French food and wine in the heart of Alamo Heights
Bistro 09 is for every foodie who mourned the loss of Vatel Bistro in Olmos Park when it closed back in 2017. Opened by Vatel's own Chef Damien Watel and his wife Lisa Astorga-Watel, Bistro 09 offers a traditional French menu and wine list, highlighting some long-established favorites (Steak Frites anyone?) and occasionally offering new options (such as the Elk burger). For all the meat lovers out there, the steak tartare here is the best in the city -- rich, savory, and entirely worthy of a visit on its own. Bistro 09 took over the space once occupied by L’Etoile off of Broadway, and completely renovated the interior which now features a cleanly modern bar, formal dining room, and patio space.
Comforting and fresh food for health nuts and bon vivants alike
Technically, this is the Good Kind’s second location (the first, smaller spot is at the bottling department of the food hall at the Pearl), but we're willing to overlook that because the new, expansive venue offers an entirely new vibe given the available space. Located in the former home of The Monterrey, The Good Kind offers a range of healthy and not so healthful comfort food, ranging from smoothies and salad bowls to rich mac and cheese. The Southtown location also hosts free fitness classes in conjunction with Ivy Hall, an event hall on the property that shares the outdoor space. A great option for a relaxed outdoors brunch on the patio followed by yoga, The Good Kind is one of those restaurants that encourage you to linger by offering more than just good food.
Elegant & classic steakhouse focused on traditional cuts and local Texas vibes
Every hamlet, town, and city in Texas has a steakhouse (or three). Despite only being open for less than a year, Range has knocked it out of the park with its refreshed take on the basics. Range is located in the former Luke space, and while the belt-driven fans, honeycomb tile, and old fashioned bar are still in place, the restaurant itself has been redesigned to create a slightly darker, more intimate atmosphere with dark blue accents, and added mirrors and granite. The juicy cuts of steak here are served exactly to taste, which means you needn’t fear overdone cuts of rubber. The meat is sourced from a variety of specialty farms -- including a few local ranches in Texas -- and the ribs in particular (hailing from Grand Island, Nebraska) are perfectly cooked and fall off the bone. In addition to meats, the menu has a full seafood bar, and offers a range of diverse choices, including the must-try Lobster Enchilada.
Modern Italian food & handmade pastas in a restored firehouse
Battalion has possibly the coolest location on this list: a restored firehouse in the heart of Southtown. The fireman’s pole is still there, but the whole place has been redone in modern, luxurious style. The pasta is the star of the show, and so it should be; you’ll find a range of different handmade pasta styles represented on the menu, including a rich pumpkin lasagna with pork sausage, and savory bucatini ai frutti di mare with clam and octopus. The servings are a bit smaller, so be sure to order multiple entrees and get ready to share tapas-style. The drinks menu is extensive, meanwhile, and includes classic wine and cocktails served in steel tumblers. Protip: Parking can sometimes be a bit difficult, so be sure to get there early.
Upmarket food hall with options for everyone
The food hall at The Pearl technically contains five different food stalls, as well as an aesthetically pleasing marble-covered bar offering a range of local beers and wines. Bud’s Southern Rotisserie offers southern classics like melt-in-your-mouth rotisserie chicken with a side of greens, candied yams, or mashed potatoes. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious you can follow your Bud’s meal up with one of the handmade donuts at Maybelle’s, which come in a range of creative flavors including key lime, cinnamon roll, and strawberry shortcake. Tenko Ramen serves bowls of hot, savory ramen, including an unbeatable Tokyo Shoyu that comes with some of the best marinated eggs in the city. The Good Kind offers healthy alternatives (and includes vegetarian options) such as avocado toast, free range chicken stew, and cold pressed juices and smoothies. Fletcher’s hawks classic American hamburgers, hot dogs, and perfectly salted fries. You can choose to eat inside the food hall, or move outside to one of the many outdoor tables in the center of the Pearl’s courtyard and enjoy some of the best people watching in San Antonio.
BYOB light and relaxing spot filled with the smell of fresh beignet and hot coffee
Pieter Sypesteyn is at it again, this time with brunch. The restaurant features a diverse menu with everything a diehard bruncher could ask for: sweets, drinks, and greasy fare all perfect for sobering up hungover San Antonians. The Nola Brunch Plate comes with scrambled eggs, grits, praline bacon, and fried green tomato -- get it and take a nap afterwards for the perfect Sunday.
Homey and savory Irish comfort food in a cool, dark pub
Francis Bogside was previously known as Brigid, and was rebuilt from the ground up after it burned down back in 2016. The moody pub atmosphere is equally comfortable in summer or winter, and there are several cozy private nooks for a more intimate dinner -- if, however, you’re in the mood for banter, the kidney-shaped bar is large and open. The food is comprised of classic Irish staples (including Bangers and Mash, and Shepherd’s Pie) in addition to some adopted staples like Yardbird Curry and Thai Fried Chicken. Their version of the Scotch egg (“Scotchantonio Egg”) is especially delicious and comforting -- even more so when complemented by a crisp pint of Guinness.
Casual American comfort food served in a relaxed and open area
Chef Pedro Cuellar, formerly of Arcade Midtown Kitchen, offers comfort food with a twist just up the road from his old digs at The Pearl. Emerging favorites include sliders (barbacoa, bahn mi, meatloaf), balsamic-braised Lambshank Redemption and the gloriously decadent Queso Classico grilled cheese sandwich. Heading up the drink side of things is James Moore of TBA, whose still-emerging cocktail menu is the perfect compliment to Cuellar’s excellent grub.
Hyper fresh pizza and prosecco joint in the heart of Southtown
It's not hyperbole: Southtown Pizzeria makes the best damn pie in the city. The restaurant is incredibly consistent for how young it is, with pizzas that are always hot, thin, and layered with fresh ingredients -- you can't go wrong with the classic pepperoni pie. It doesn't hurt that the place looks good either; each menu is handwritten, the interior is warm and welcoming, and it's just about the perfect place for date night with a loved one.
Fresh seafood in a sleek, dramatic setting
The renovated St. Anthony hotel is a beautiful setting for the steak- and seafood-centric menu with lively cocktail offerings. That Rebelle hit its stride from the get-go is no surprise, given that it is the brainchild of the guys who brought us Feast. The food here is decadent, eye-catching, and thoughtfully conceived while also remaining accessible. The upshot is that Rebelle is the best of both worlds -- a memorable dining experience that doesn’t need to be reserved for rare special occasions.
Window-filled restaurant with an incredible margarita/avocado toast combo
Down on Grayson enjoyed a meteoric rise through San Antonio's food scene, due in large part to the joint's location, drinks, and beautiful patio. You won't be seated quickly on a weekend evening, but don't be deterred; grab a drink, order the Double Dip, (house made guacamole & jalapeño pimento cheese served with warm tortillas), and enjoy the hustle and bustle of San Antonio near the Pearl. Then reward your patience with a char-broiled burger, because why not?
Stylish Asian fusion restaurant with creative dishes and out of this world cocktails
The only spot in San Antonio where you'll find Chinese-Peruvian & Japanese-Peruvian fare, Botika is here to intrigue and puzzle our untrained palates. Tickle your tastebuds with dishes like Huancaina Noodles and Shrimp & Almond Fried Rice, or go a more familiar route with steak & frites -- whatever you do, though, don't forget about the fried bananas for dessert. There's also a pretty strong happy hour here as well, with half-off wines by the glass and $1 off beer from 3pm-6pm, Tuesday thru Saturday.
Modern Mexican food right off the St. Mary’s strip
Free chips and queso during happy hour is probably enough for most San Antonians to understand why Chisme makes this list -- but wait, there's more! The Pollo Asado is worth fighting through hordes of haggard, sleepless, and desperate Trinity students sure to infest the St. Mary's strip; chicken with charred spring onions, cabbage, rice, beans, and freshly made tortillas will make a San Antonian do crazy things. Free queso, though, will cause mayhem. Be careful.
Elevated southern food served with flourish (and beer)
One of The Pearl’s newer restaurants, Southerleigh dishes up what chef Jeff Balfour calls "Texas cross-cultural cuisine” and a dozen or so original beers brewed on the premises. The broad and easily navigable menu features hearty fare -- oxtail pie, steak, and fried chicken, plus an array of fish and seafood -- as well as unique smaller plates such as roasted beets and a wood-fired pretzel, all with recommended beer pairings. Housed in the old Pearl Brewery itself, Southerleigh is as much worth visiting for its architecture, ambience, and design as it is for its consistently good food.
Cocktails and oysters served in a whimsical, seaside-themed restaurant
If you can’t get to the coast for lunch or dinner, Jason Dady will bring the coast to you. Family-friendly but definitely not kid-centric, Shuck Shack is a relaxed joint with standout lobster rolls, clam chowder, and oysters by the dozen or half-dozen. Grab a picnic table and a cold beer, close your eyes and breathe deeply, and you can almost (almost!) feel the warm breeze coming off the Gulf.
Classy, locally sourced fare alongside an impressive drinks list
Supper offers locally sourced and seasonal items served in an intimate and comfortable setting. Part of Hotel Emma’s stunning complex at the Pearl, Supper is friendly, welcoming, and accessible, offering menu items whose ingredients are simple but preparation and presentation are anything but average. If you never thought you could get genuinely excited by, say, a bowl of green beans, Supper will blow your mind.
Modern Mexican regional food that changes with the seasons
While there’s nothing wrong with a heaping plate of cheesy enchiladas, sometimes it’s nice to go for more nuanced Mexican food. The food and spirits menus at Mixtli draw from a variety of Mexico's regions, resulting in diverse pork, beef, and chicken dishes, creative sharing plates, and authentic desserts. Focusing on sustainable sourcing and featuring a menu that changes with the seasons and chef's ideas, Mixtli delivers consistency while offering eating and drinking experiences that are never the same thing twice.
Jazzy, homemade New Orleans food in an intimate converted bungalow
San Antonians haven't had to drive 600 miles east on I-10 for a decent bowl of gumbo since Pieter Sypesteyn opened Cookhouse on Mistletoe Avenue in 2014. Always lively, loud, and full of the intoxicating smell of yellow onion & bell pepper simmering in hot oil -- Cookhouse feels like a mini-vacation to the bayou. Try the gumbo with andouille sausage and duck, but make sure to start with some fried Boudin Balls.
Rich, flavourful meats served in stylish environs in the heart of the Pearl
Cured’s charcuterie offerings are made in house, cured for up to a year, and offered with suggested beer and cocktail pairings that enhance the flavors of the meats and cheeses. Lunch, brunch, and dinner menus are creative and distinct from each other, as well as surprisingly eclectic. The dinner menu features a broad array of seafood, fowl, lamb, beef, and pork dishes, all masterfully executed and served by a well-trained staff that knows its stuff.
Contemporary and classic cuisine served in a former petrol station
A welcoming atmosphere and constantly evolving menu of thoughtful contemporary American cuisine have built Bliss a loyal following. Specific dishes vary based on what ingredients are available, but chef Mark Bliss' commitment to backing up his restaurant's tagline -- “Food is Bliss” -- has remained constant since its launch in 2012.
Diverse dishes and funky cocktails in a high-energy, brightly lit spot
This lauded foodie favorite garners scads of attention, and with good reason: the food is just that good, and the location draws a variety of diners, from local hipsters to tourists, brunch regulars, and even families making the pilgrimage from outside the Loop. Feast's menu changes daily, but crowd favorites are constant. And thanks to the creatively organized menus, no matter what you're in the mood for, you’ll always find something at Feast that satisfies.
Tasty pizza served in a light and airy Italian style dining room
A local favorite since it opened in 2007, Dough is the undisputed king of pizza in San Antonio. Unlike many of the city's top restaurants, Dough doesn’t change its menu very often. It doesn’t need to, because what diners have come to expect here is exactly what they want to get every time they come in the door: Neapolitan-style pizza crafted from locally sourced ingredients and prepared in a traditional wood-fired oven.
San Antonio classic in a repurposed convent
Liberty Bar is a San Antonio landmark, and packs a double punch as an excellent restaurant and evening watering hole. Liberty Bar typically anchors its menu with delicious basics like chicken tortilla soup, and ups the ante with dishes like the pot roast bowl. They’re particularly popular on the weekend, courtesy of a hearty and extensive brunch menu which features classics like French toast and chilaquiles, as well as a la carte options if you want to create your own brunch spread.
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