A Map of the Best New Restaurants in San Antonio (March 2023)
Over the last 15 years, we have watched San Antonio work its way up from a middle of the road food city to a gastronomic heavy hitter, even earning the coveted UNESCO creative city of gastronomy award in 2017. With a fusion of cultures and flavors, chefs that are willing to get a little adventurous with food, and a population that just plain LOVES TO EAT, the city has proven to be the perfect petri dish in which to develop a thriving food culture. SA now boasts a number of internationally recognized chefs and award-winning restaurants, and, given the sheer volume of new eateries opening their doors, it looks to continue that upward culinary trajectory in the years to come.
With new places hitting the food scene all the time, it can get a little overwhelming trying to stay on top of what’s trending, so we have created a list of some of the best new San Antonio restaurants and eateries. Each of these places is new or relatively new, having opened within the last 18 months, and definitely worth a visit.
As we will be updating this list frequently, plan to check back on the regular for new restaurant ideas and recommendations.
New Restaurants In San Antonio
Go Fish Market
In January 2023, busy restaurateurs, Houston and Emily Carpenter, saw their fourth new San Antonio eatery Go Fish Market open for business and are now planning a fifth (and newly teased sixth!) restaurant, scheduled to open later this year. The combination seafood retail market and cafe is housed in a simple warehouse space located a few blocks west of the Pearl Historic District. And while their space may be simple and modest, the food at Go Fish Market is anything but.
Fresh, high quality seafood is the singular concept at Go Fish Market and is evident the minute you walk in and place your order at the seafood retail counter. Caviar, oysters, unique takes on sashimi, and rotating fish and chips are the primary offerings at Go Fish, and guests can enjoy these in a variety of ways. We recommend starting with the jumbo shrimp cocktail which was indeed quite jumbo, chilled to utter perfection, and served with a splendidly tangy cocktail sauce. Follow it up with the flavorful hiramasa pastrami on sourdough, an open-face amberjack sashimi sandwich topped with pimento mayo and fish roe, all served on fresh sourdough bread.
Go Fish Market also offers an extensive wine bar with more than 60 options to choose from. So whether you are “in the market” (literally, in this case) for a quick king fish burger lunch, or a heftier evening meal complete with wine and oysters on the half shell, Go Fish Market is a great option for those looking for quality seafood in a non-coastal city locale.
Husband and wife team and restaurant heavy-hitters, Houston and Emily Carpenter, are the brains behind Southtown’s newest fine dining establishment, Up Scale. With the addition of Up Scale to their already impressive resume - Little Em’s Oyster Bar, Restaurant Claudine, the new Go Fish Market, and the forthcoming Nineteen Hyaku - the Carpenters have more than made their mark on the culinary scene of the Alamo city with consistency and quality being a highlight in every restaurant they have opened.
Up Scale is exactly what its name implies - an upscale restaurant located in the building previously occupied by the popular and idiosyncratic Southtown restaurant Feast, which closed its doors in 2019. After removing all of the unusual and sometimes wacky contemporary touches of the previous occupant, the Carpenters redesigned Up Scale by zeroing in on understated elegance. With blush pink velvet booths and barstools, and modern tiered chandeliers, Up Scale’s design perfectly echoes its name.
When it comes to the food, Up Scale delivers big on exquisite dishes that also live up to the name. One way they accomplish this is by offering caviar on EVERYTHING. Seriously, it’s nearly omnipresent in the dishes including being on the desserts - Caviar Cheesecake, it’s a thing! A few menu standouts at Up Scale are the luscious Deviled Eggs with white truffle oil, caviar, and gold leaf, the wonderfully tangy Nigiri, and the creamy Lobster Tagliolini (with caviar, of course). For dessert, we suggest you polish it all off with the decadent flourless Chocolate Cake, which just may be the star of the show.
Fair warning: we’re about to go fanboy on this one. Bar Loretta opened its doors in the summer of 2021, moving into the 100-year-old building that previously housed the immensely popular and cherished Madhatter’s Tea House. For 20 years, Madhatter’s was the go-to place in the King William district for a coffee with friends, so news of the retirement of the owners, the subsequent closing of the beloved restaurant, and the announcement that a new restaurant would take its place, was met with some sadness and skepticism that anything could live up to the previous occupant of the building. Obviously, Bar Loretta had some big shoes, or shall we say a big hat, to fill. And fill it, Bar Loretta has.
Bar Loretta offers a beautiful marriage between its food and cocktails, and the rustic-chic (and, in homage to Madhatter’s, sometimes quirky) interior design of the restaurant. Loretta’s indoor dining spaces are varied and unique, with each room, or in some cases, nook, differing from the next, but connected by the charms of the aged building like its unusual layout and hardwood floors.
Food at Bar Loretta is just as varied as the building itself. Bar Loretta serves upscale modern Texas cuisine with delicious entrees like the Grilled Tomatillo Shrimp, Peppered Beef Tenderloin, or the near-perfect Loretta Burger with mouthwatering crispy prosciutto. Each appetizer and entree we tried was absolutely exquisite in both presentation and flavor. But whatever you choose to order, DO NOT MISS the Fancy Cheese Board, Bar Loretta’s take on charcuterie. The assortment of bread, cheese, fruits, and nuts is a lovely testament to the restaurant - beauty, variety, and flavor - all in one location.
Finally, Bar Loretta also offers a ginormous cocktail list (which is apropos, given the name of the restaurant). Wines, beers, and house cocktails are all available, with a highlight being their extensive whiskey and specialty whiskey cocktail offerings.
Restaurant Claudine, an upscale southern comfort food restaurant located near the Pearl district, serves cocktails, wine, and elevated southern food with French influences in a (truly adorable) renovated bungalow house.
From the same owners behind Little Em's Oyster Bar, Restaurant Claudine wows with the decor and design, but is absolutely perfect with regard to the food as well. Expect standard southern favorites with a twist. For instance: the cornbread is served with smoked wallflower butter, made with real edible flowers on top. (Just try to eat that without taking a picture first...)
Entrees include reasonably priced plates in the $20ish realm, like a sweet/spicy fried chicken with fermented honey, hot honey and pommes puree, and an absolutely delicious gumbo with andouille, shrimp, chicken, and okra.
Perfect for: date night, a cute lunch date, dinner with a group of girlfriends, or a fun outdoor dining experience on one of those beautiful sunny autumn/spring days in San Antonio.
Located right at the entry to Southtown is San Antonio’s newest tapas restaurant, Hola!. SA chef and owner of Azuca Nuevo Latino, Rene Fernandez, is the brainchild behind this new concept which has been open since May 2022. Hola! features a bar (with a large selection of Spanish wines), dining room, and outdoor patio with views of the Tower of the Americas.
Menu wise, tapas are king with more than 30 varieties of Spanish tapas to choose from. Prices ranged from a reasonable $5.00-$9.00 per plate and were pretty heavy handed on the portion size, which was a pleasant surprise and a departure from the much smaller portions we have seen at other tapas eateries.
If headed to Hola!, we recommend taking advantage of the price points by ordering a variety of dishes to try. A few of our favorites included the Baked Cheese, Beef Empanada, and Moorish Lamb – a Moroccan lamb stew served with flat bread that was both very filling and delicious with smoky flavors. You can polish it all off with a chocolate truffle dusted in cinnamon cocoa (just don’t inhale at the same time you eat it or you will inadvertently experience the cinnamon challenge – ask us how we know!).
Disclosure for parents: Hola!’s décor was on the saucier side with artwork on nearly every wall of women in various states of undress. So parents may want to consider what they are comfortable with before loading up the kids and taking the whole family to dine there.
Parking – Hola! does not have a dedicated parking lot so visitors are relegated to street parking, which can be a veritable nightmare on weekend evenings in Southtown, or in a garage. We recommend the Hemisfair Garage, approximately a 4 minute walk away on the north side of César Chávez Blvd.
The Pearl Brewery has seen a slew of new restaurants and eateries open up in recent months including the uniquely titled, Carriqui (pronounced KHER-ih-key, and the local name of the Green Jaybird). This much-anticipated restaurant opened in September 2022 and is housed in a lovely old saloon that dates back to 1890, and previously held the SA landmark, Liberty Bar, from 1985-2008. After a painstaking renovation, the building has been restored to its original glory, minus the trademark tilt of the previous occupant.
And while the building and location are stunning, it’s not just the setting that is worth a visit. The service and food are also top notch. The menu is based on the flight path of the Carriqui bird which begins in south Texas and follows along the east coast of Mexico down into the Yucatán. As such, you will see everything from BBQ and nachos to ceviche and achiote grilled chicken. If you can’t decide what to order, try one of their botana platters which include an assortment of appetizers and entrees from their main menu, so you get a little bit of a whole lot. Why pick just one thing when you can pick 7 or 8?
As with all of the Pearl restaurants, there are lots of options for parking. There is street parking with meters near the restaurant, or you can head to the Pearl garage about a 5-minute walk away (the first two hours in the garage are free). Surface parking is also available for a fee in front of La Gloria or underneath 281.
Krazy Katsu recently took up a food trailer residence in July 2022 at the Yard Shopping Center in Olmos Park. Their sandwiches were so immediately popular that they sold over 900 pounds of chicken within the first two days of opening, and business hasn’t slowed down since.
Their concept is Japanese-style fried chicken – herb brined and breaded in panko crumbs – served up on freshly made Hawaiian buns. Did we mention the size? The chicken sandwiches are enormous! Guests can pair one of their ten crowd-pleasing, big-as-your-face sandwiches with a side of their seasoned, crinkle-cut fries, or smaller Katsu chicken bites.
We recommend trying the Original, with Kung Fu sauce and pickles, or the Last Samurai, with Japanese pickled cucumbers and teriyaki bourbon sauce. But if you can’t decide, order their sliders and try up to three different sandwiches on a much smaller scale than the normal ones. You’ll still get plenty to eat, and you will be able to narrow down your options for next time because you are definitely going to want to come back.
Open since March 2022, Allora, another Pearl offering, has been dazzling guests with its simple yet chic approach to coastal Italian food. Executive chef/owner/operator, Robbie Nowlin, has successfully delivered a restaurant unlike any other in San Antonio, which is heavy on Texas-style and New American offerings, but scant on upscale international cuisine. Replete with a variety of refined menu offerings as well as fantastic and knowledgeable service, Allora is the total package when it comes to dining experiences in the Alamo city.
From the antipasti to the sashimi grade crudi, to the main course offerings, Allora’s menus absolutely brim with depth. Guests to Allora can enjoy lunch, brunch, or dinner, depending on when they choose to come, and each menu offers something a little different. A few menu standouts include the popular Grilled Octopus, Prosciutto di Parma, and Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese Bianco.
Protip: If you’re not looking to spend a ton of money but still want to experience Allora, head over during their lunch hours and order a panini. Prices range from $15-17, and you’ll be able to enjoy the entire experience for a fraction of the cost of their dinner menu.
Just around the corner from Allora is its little sister restaurant, Arrosta. Open since February 2022, Arrosta originally offered an Italian street food heavy menu and was only open for counter service breakfast and lunch. But now under the direction of the executive chef from Allora, Arrosta has been reimagined and is open for dinner with an expanded menu. Breakfast and lunch are still available for takeaway only.
Arrosta focuses heavily on Italian comfort food in a stylish, but not over-the-top setting. The modern seating area gives guests a front-row view of the open kitchen where chefs cook up Italian favorites such as fettuccine alfredo and lasagne Bolognese. On a nice evening, you can take your meal on their outdoor patio, next to a lovely fountain and sculpture, surrounded by lush greenery.
We highly recommend starting off your meal with the Focaccia Di Recco - crispy focaccia bread covered in stracchino cheese, Texas honey, salt, and fresh herbs. The combination of crispy, savory, salty, and sweet is near perfect. Follow it up with the Chicken Parmigiana and top off your evening with a heavenly slice of Nutella Chocolate Cake.
We are kind of into beignets here (actually, we’re into any kind of fried dough covered in processed sugar – isn’t everyone?), and our recent visit to the new brick-and-mortar location of the popular Beignet Stand only managed to reinforce that devotion.
The Beignet Stand has been a player on the SA food scene since 2017 when they began frying up their mouthwatering, New Orleans-style beignets on the weekends at the Pearl Farmer’s Market. With a committed following behind them, the Beignet Stand made the jump in April 2022 to a building where they can offer their delectable treats Wednesday-Friday while maintaining their beloved presence at the Farmer’s Market on the weekends.
Classic beignets, specialty beignets, and churros pack the menu where you can get a number of fillings such as strawberry, cream cheese, cajeta, and Nutella, as well as rotating seasonal fillings. In addition to their more traditional beignets, the Beignet Stand has some savory options on tap including the Fried Chicken, Classic Burger, and Breakfast Beignet, all of which are sandwiched between beignet buns.
A drive-thru and outdoor seating area are available for those that are either in a rush or prefer to sit down and savor slowly.
Full Goods Diner
The new brunch restaurant, Full Goods Diner, made its debut in September 2022 at the Pearl Brewery. Owners of Austin’s popular brunch restaurant, Paperboy, have set up shop in the space formerly held by Green Vegetarian Cuisine where they are aiming to slip right into the climate of the Pearl by offering a relaxing experience, friendly service, and good food.
The menu centers on breakfast, brunch, lunch, and cocktail options with a blend of Mexican and US flavors. All food is scratch-made in-house using seasonal and local ingredients. Pastries are a feature of Full Goods with a few unique options including their pan de elote, Mexican hot chocolate muffin, and a cardamom knot. For something festive, shareable, and oh-so sweet, try their peaches and cream pop tart. If you aren’t jonesing for sugar, try Ruvin’s breakfast - a potato, egg, and cheese scramble, barbacoa, and refried beans all on delicious, fresh tortillas.
Kura Revolving Sushi Bar
San Antonio’s very first conveyor belt sushi bar, Kura, opened up in February 2022 at the Quarry Market to great anticipation and excitement. Now 8 months in and with wait times that are frequently an hour or more, it’s looking like Kura is here to stay.
To call Kura “a sushi bar” may be true, but also feels a bit like the understatement of the year. Kura is more of a full-on Japanese sushi experience, embracing both the cuisine and the technology of the land of the rising sun. Guests will take a seat at one of their tables as a conveyor belt filled with sushi cycles by. You are welcome to pick and choose anything off the belt as it moves by your table. Don’t see something you like or prefer something other than sushi? Just place an order on the touchscreen computer mounted on the wall next to you, and a second conveyor belt will then speed your order directly from the kitchen to your table.
Need something to drink? Place your order and a robot will roll over in a few moments to hand deliver your beverage to you. Yes, you heard us correctly, a robot - kind of R2-D2-like in shape, with a shelf attached to its back to carry beverages on.
While Kura certainly has the technological wow factor going for it, the food can also stand on its own. Sushi, ramen, mochi desserts, and a number of sides can all be pulled from one of the two revolving conveyor belts. And with more than 140 different things to choose from, guests should have no problem finding something that they would enjoy.
*Download Kura’s app to order online, earn rewards, and most importantly, join the waitlist. Kura’s wait times have been on the longer side since opening, so guests can check in via the app, and keep an eye on their wait time in order to plan for when to arrive. While there are lots of stores you can browse at the Quarry Market while you wait, Kura does not have a seating area, so we highly recommend utilizing the app.
A New Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, Ladino, has taken over the Pearl Brewery space previously occupied by Andrew Weissman’s Italian restaurant, Il Sogno. Ladino is owned by the Emmer and Rye Hospitality Group out of Austin and Executive Chef Berty Richter is at the helm.
The namesake for the restaurant is the name of the Judeo-Spanish language that Chef Richter grew up speaking at home. And as one of Bon Appétit’s “Most Exciting New Restaurants in September 2022,” Ladino looks to go beyond its name and blend the unique flavors of the executive chef’s cultural roots in Turkey, Israel, Greece, and the Balkans.
At a glance, the menu at Ladino is heavily influenced by Mediterranean ingredients and flavors but combines the Sephardic tradition of cooking over a charcoal grill to create some very inventive and original dishes. Highlights include a range of dips and freshly baked pita bread, cold and hot mezes, and full-size entrees. We really enjoyed the Muhammara dip with a mix of peppers and Texas pecans as well as the hot meze, Arayis, with lamb and beef, spicy tomato, and whipped tahini. For the main dish, we recommend the pork souvlaki covered in creamy, garlicky tzatziki.
One con worth mentioning regarding Ladino, the music was on the louder side which could make it difficult to hear at times. If you or a member of your party are hard of hearing or sensitive to volume, this may not be the place for you. Ladino is a great option for those on a date night, for adventurous eaters, or for anyone looking for something brand new or very unusual.
Bexar Kolache Co.
You’ve heard of Tex-Mex, but have you heard of Czech-Tex? At the popular Bexar Kolache Company, the flavors of the traditional Czech and Slovak pastry, the kolache, have been married to the traditional flavors of Mexican cuisine, and the results are a beautiful thing.
Open since 2020, the Bexar Kolache Company expanded to its second location in June 2022 off of Fredericksburg Rd where they offer a full menu of both sweet and savory filled kolaches. Offerings include your run-of-the-mill fillings like cheddar and sausage (made with sausage from local Kiolbassa Smoked Meats) to the more San Antonio-style carne guisada or chorizo, egg, and cheese.
On the sweet side of the house, you can find apricot, guava, Mexican hot chocolate, and mango and chamoy. Also, be sure to check out their seasonal options such as pumpkin spice and peppermint chocolate.
Open since early 2022 at the Blanco Center in Beacon Hill, Bright Coffee has quickly become a neighborhood favorite. With coffee and a gallery by day and dancing by night, Bright Coffee has managed to combine three loves of its owners (java, art, and swing dancing) into one outstanding experience.
Bright is all about supporting and bringing together the local community. From the beans they source (downtown’s Estate Coffee Company), to the warm and inviting seating area, to the works of local artists they display around the café, everything they do is meant to bring people together while promoting local businesses and the arts.
Bright’s menu has all the traditional coffeehouse standards as well as a few unconventional options inspired by the owner’s Korean heritage including a banana milk latte (highly recommend!), a melon milk latte, a red bean latte, and a black sesame latte. They also offer a seasonal menu highlighting the flavors and ingredients of each season.
*Bonus - Once you’ve had a chance to check out Bright by day, don’t forget to come back at night for swing dancing and lindy hop lessons. It seems right on the nose to work out those caffeine jitters by learning the jitterbug.
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