Best Restaurants in San Antonio
There's no doubt about it: San Antonio is a culinary destination. And whether you're visiting SA for a long weekend or you're a local who's looking for some great food to try, your search for the most delicious and exciting food stops right here: this is your guide to the best restaurants in San Antonio.
San Antonio's rich culture has influenced the food scene. The Mexican and Spanish heritage is apparent in the family-run taco stands and big exciting Mexican restaurants (guides to best Mexican food and Tex Mex coming soon). The Southwestern culture in Texas means that San Antonio is full of delicious southern food, meat-forward eateries, and BBQ joints. And since San Antonio bridges the gap between south Texas and the Texas Hill Country, you'll find lots of rustic-chic upscale New American restaurants scattered around SA. Of course, we can't forget about the River Walk and the exciting eateries that offer a view of the water.
How this guide is written:
It's no small feat to compile a "best of" list in regards to San Antonio's massive culinary scene. So we set some guidelines:
- This guide is created for all-day eating. Our goal is to provide some lovely lunch spots, a few fast-casual eateries, and of course a variety of nice dinner restaurants. There are plenty of additional high-end restaurants in San Antonio that could be on this list. Those will be on our guide to Date Night Restaurants in San Antonio (coming soon!)
- Variety in food matters. Don't get me wrong: I love a New American restaurant! But San Antonio is bursting in diversity, and a "best of" restaurant list should reflect that.
- Food/service/ambiance. As always, the trifecta is important. If a beautiful restaurant has creative food but always offers poor service? That's a no. A wonderful menu is best accompanied by a wonderful ambiance, and this list reflects that.
After all, you're spending your money on the entire experience of eating out. It's about so much more than just the food! (But the food is pretty important...)
Best Restaurants in San Antonio
Good for: brunch, date night, family meal
This contemporary New American restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in SA. Does it live up to the hype? 100% yes. Supper has one of the best menus of seasonal, crave-able food in San Antonio.
Date night at Supper is always a good idea, but a family meal is loads of fun because you’ll be able to taste a wide selection of the menu. Don’t skip over the shareable plates and salads: the crispy cauliflower and sprouts with caramel popcorn and chili honey are one of the most delicious takes on vegetables you’ll ever try.
The main dishes are meat-forward with a selection of game, seafood, and steaks. One of the biggest treats of dining at Supper is the fantastic staff. They’re there to make you feel cared for and treated well, so be sure to talk to your server about the best dinner selection for you.
2. Carnita’s Lonja
Good for: a quick lunch
No frills, no gimmicks…just some of the best carnitas tacos of your life. It’s a family-owned business with a small walk up window and a simple menu of carnitas, homemade corn tortillas, and a few seafood options like shrimp or fish tacos.
But take one bite of that slow-cooked pork on top of a soft, flavorful corn tortilla, and you’ll see why Carnitas Lonja often sells out of food long before their official closing hours. It’s no wonder that chef Paredes was nominated for a James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas.
3. Maverick Texas Brasserie
Good for: date night, dinner party
Maverick is a French American restaurant that’s perfect for a cozy and sophisticated date night. It has a chic/industrial feel with black steel beams, Edison bulbs, exposed brick, and a long and sexy copper cocktail bar.
There are several dining rooms here, and each has a different feel. It’s a very fun spot for a large dinner group party (think: birthday gathering or rehearsal dinner.)
Maverick is casual enough for a Thursday night burger date night with your boo, or upscale enough for a rehearsal dinner celebration. They offer an impressive wine list from France and California and a nice selection of specialty cocktails. The Texas brasserie/French menu features classics like an exceptional Steak Frite (upgrade to truffle fries!), Croque madame, and a lovely rotisserie half duck. And if you’re overwhelmed and not sure what to order, try the daily Plats Du Jour. For $34 you get a salad, a daily rotating entree selection, and a dessert.
4. Curry Boys
Good for: a weekday lunch
This might be your new favorite spot to stop by for a quick solo lunch in San Antonio. This bright pink building only recently became the new home to Curry Boys and gives them ample space to work their magic.
Curry Boys serves the most amazing (and genius!) fusion food around: delicious smoked barbecue paired with southeast Asian curry. DELISH. And delish enough that they were just named James Beard Award semi-finalists for 2023.
The smoked barbecue is smoked by the folks at South BBQ, and the Asian influences come from Pinch Boil House, a casual spot known for cajun seafood boils and southeast Asian street food.
The Brisket Smoke Show bowl is definitely the place to start if it’s your first time visiting: delicious smoked brisket paired with green curry, with a hefty scoop of rice with some soft potatoes and carrots mixed in. The cold chili garlic noodles are not to be missed. They’re topped with a spicy chili crunch and fried shallots, and they’re the perfect cold combo to a hot bowl of brisket and curry.
5. Biga On The Banks
Good for: special occasions
From James Beard Award nominee Bruce Auden comes Biga on the Banks, a highly-ranked River Walk restaurant among locals, visitors, and food pros alike. If you're looking for an upscale restaurant in San Antonio, it's hard to beat this one.
The New American cuisine is consistently good. Chef Auden focuses on Texas game, beef, and seafood. The cornmeal-crusted American red snapper is a must-try entree, served with elote salad, masa polenta, and roasted pobalno sauce. Biga's wine list is exciting, and the dessert menu is not to be missed. The sticky toffee pudding is absolutely perfect. The restaurant has a view of the River Walk, and they offer private dining rooms if you'd like to host a larger group. All together, this is one of the best San Antonio restaurants for a special occasion.
Expect to splurge here. After all, it's not only an upscale San Antonio restaurant...it's also a River Walk restauant, so you'll be paying River Walk prices. But keep in mind that Biga on the Banks participates in the Culinaria restaurant week (typically in January and August) when you can enjoy a three course prixe fixe meal for about $35-45 per person.
6. 2M Smokehouse
Good for: a huge lunch feast
It’s hard to talk about the best restaurants in this famous Texas city without mentioning a barbecue restaurant. While San Antonio is known for several nationally-renowned barbecue pits, 2M Smokehouse steals the show.
They’ve been featured on Texas Monthly’s “Top 50 Texas BBQ Joints” multiple times, and the long line of hungry weekend diners proves that it’s a favorite for foodies near and far.
The peppery brisket is smoked to the perfect melt-in-your-mouth consistency. Be sure to grab some of it before it sells out, but also load up your plate with 2M’s delectable pork ribs and housemade sausage. (The pork link with serrano peppers and Oaxaca cheese is really fun.)
All of the salty meat pairs perfectly with the special “pickled” section of the menu: the tangy and tart pickled bell peppers, nopales (cactus), and serranos are served in small 4 or 8 oz that fit perfectly on your bbq tray.
The amazing sides add yet one more reason to check out 2M Smokehouse. Maria’s Ranchero-Style Beans are anything but boring - they have a perfect salty, umami flavor and could truly stand up as their own main dish. Be sure to order a large side of the Mexican street corn and the bright bubble gum-sweet coleslaw. The rotating desserts are made in-house. If you’re having trouble choosing between two different options, the answer is yes.
If you’re looking for truly great San Antonio restaurants, 2M smokehouse is a must-try.
7. NONNA Osteria
Good for: date night
There are several fantastic Italian restaurants in San Antonio (including one on the River Walk, if you’re looking for wonderful river views while you eat your pasta!), but Nonna truly shines in regards to beautiful ambiance, upscale service, and the most elevated hand-crafted northern Italian cuisine in town.
Let’s start with the location: it’s on the ground floor level of the Fairmont hotel, directly across the street from Hemisfair park. (Go ahead and make reservations at the Fairmont Hotel’s rooftop oyster bar for pre-dinner drinks. The views are unbeatable!) It’s a small, bright restaurant with white tabletops and shiny wood floors, and it feels classic and comfortable.
“Nonna” means “grandmother” in Italian, and Chef Luca Della Casa drew inspiration for many of his menu items from his grandmother’s kitchen
The menu at Nonna is packed with classic antipasti, Italian pizzas, and handmade pasta. The Tartufo (market price) is the show stopper: your server will perform a table side show of mixing homemade pasta in a cheese rind, adding in lump crab, and then sprinkling black truffle shavings on top. Life altering.
8. Best Quality Daughter
Good for: lunch or dinner with the girlfriends
Walk just a few steps from Pearl District and you’ll find this beautiful little 1900s bungalow. It’s been restored into a bright pink wallpaper, swimming with gorgeous wallpapers and textiles. It’s called Best Quality Daughter, and it’s one of the hottest restaurants in San Antonio right now, and another James Beard Award semi-finalist.
The name and restaurant experience are reminiscent of chef Jennifer Dobbertin’s childhood as a second-generation Chinese American. Chef Dobbertin wanted to do something about the lack of Asian-American female chefs in Texas. What started as a pop-up called Best Quality Daughter is now a brick-and-mortar restaurant by the same name.
If you love elevated Asian American cuisine, gorgeous interiors, and fun cocktails, Best Quality Daughter is a must-try.
Good for: brunch, date night, family meal
Incredibly unique and memorable, Cured is a charcutterie-forward restaurant (as its name suggests...) located at the historic Pearl district.
James Beard Award finalist Steve McHugh puts cured ingredients front and center on his New American menu. From pâté to chicken liver mouse, cheese plates and pickled veggies, and plenty of salami, duck ham, and smoked habanero oysters, expect a rich, salty, absolutely decadent meal at Cured.
The building itself is a treat: it was built in 1904 and features a rustic ambiance with exposed brick walls, wooden floorboards, and a large glass display case showing off the wide selection of house cured meats. Even if you simply stop in for a whiskey and a charcuterie board at the long cocktail bar, you'll appreciate the aesthetics at Cured.
But if you can make reservations for lunch, dinner, or Sunday supper, the menu is full of exciting tastes and textures. Note that it's a very meat-heavy restaurant and not the type of place to bring a vegetarian friend. But Cured is definitely one of the top restaurants in San Antonio.
10. Brasserie Mon Chou Chou
French Comfort Food
Good for: upscale breakfast, lunch, dinner
One of the first photos you'll see on the website is the Raclette, that ooey-gooey cheese that's melted and scraped off a half-wheel of cheese. Totally photo-worthy. We're clearly off to a good start.
But Mon Chou Chou is more than just decadent French entrees. Yes, you should try the chicken Cordon Bleu sandwich with Parisian ham and housemade aioli, or the slow braised lamb shank in red wine reduction.
And yes, you should probably do as the Parisians do and order a full bottle of wine in place of water.
But!! If you're not here for a full meal, Mon Chou Chou is a lovely spot to get an afternoon snack (perhaps a baguette sandwich or some classic escargot?), pair it with a lovely glass of vin blanc, and enjoy watching the shoppers wander around the Pearl district. The outdoor bistro tables are a wonderful spot to rest your feet, enjoy a drink, and take in the ambiance.
Mon Chou Chou also offers a weekday breakfast and a Sunday brunch.
WEBSITE | Address
11. Jerk Shack
Good for: lunch
If you love Caribbean food like spicy marinated jerk chicken, caramelized plantains, brown sugar yams, and rice with peas, you’re going to fall in love with Jerk Shack. And if you’re not sure if you love Caribbean food, just try one bite of those famous masala fries and you’ll know the answer..
From Jamaica-native Nicola Blaque, Jerk Shack is where you go for the best jerk chicken of your life. Seriously. Chef Blaque opened the original Jerk Shack to look like a traditional Caribbean shack where jerk chicken is prepared, and she uses her own special (and ridiculously complicated) combination of spices to create that sweet and fiery jerk seasoning. The original location is now closed (Jerk Shack quickly outgrew it and needed better air conditioning for those Texas summers!), but the new location, which is a restaurant near SeaWorld San Antonio, has a large dining space which can better cater to hungry customers.
It’s open for lunch and dinner hours. And while you can order the food to go, keep in mind that some of it is fried, and fried food tends to steam and soften if you leave it in a to-go container for a few minutes. So the best way to enjoy Jerk Shack is to show up SUPER hungry, order a combo plate of a few items, and eat to your heart’s content.
Seasonal cuisine with hill country influences
good for: fine dining
Situated at the stunning La Cantera Resort and Spa, Signature is a seasonal fine dining establishment that has a well-deserved spot on our list of best San Antonio restaurants.
La Cantera is a world-class luxury resort, and it only makes sense that the grounds are beautiful and well-manicured. The restaurant itself has old world rustic decor with sweeping views of the property.
Signature's food shows off the best that the Texas Hill Country has to offer: gulf seafood, sirloin, and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. But the menu also features Atlantic oysters, Pacific Northwest lamb, and Maine scallops. Basically, whatever Signature can do to secure the absolute highest-quality ingredients for your meal, they'll do it.
By the way, Signature offers an afternoon "Signature Hour" with discounted drinks and bites. If you're in the area and want to experience the property at a fraction of the price, this is the way to do it.
13. Dough Pizzeria
Good for: kid-friendly dinner, casual meal
Everyone wants to know where the best pizza in San Antonio is, and there’s a quick and easy answer: Dough. Full stop. Although there are two locations, you’ll want to visit the cute little restaurant at Hemisfair Park. It’s steps away from the splash pad and playground, so if you’re in San Antonio with little ones, they’ll be happy here. (The Blanco Rd location has the exact same delicious pies, but the ambiance is a shopping center with a cement patio, and it’s less charming.)
These are legitimate Neapolitan-style pizza: small round pies flash cooked in a brick oven to create a charred outer edge and soft middle. They meet the requirements to be considered authentic Neapolitan pizza by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), by using the proper ingredients, including specific types of mozzarella cheese, flour, and toppings.
Try the house-made burrata, farm-to-table salads, and delectable plates of pasta…but mostly save room for their lovely 12” round pizzas. Food Network has featured many of them (you'll see the little logo on the side of the menu), but the toppings are truly all phenomenal. Listen to your heart and choose the one (or three…) that sounds right for you.
Good for: date night
This chef-owned and operated New American restaurant is a staple in the San Antonio dining scene. The beautiful restaurant is actually a renovated filling station! It feels comfortable and quaint.
Bliss focuses on seasonal cuisine, so the menu is constantly rotating. As a diner, you'll always get to try the newest, freshest food available. The environment is relaxed yet elegant. It all lends itself perfectly to a cozy date night or a special meal with loved ones.
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