It’s not far from San Antonio, Texas
, to sunny Mexico
, and such proximity is evident in the heavy influence of Mexican food on the city’s dining scene. In addition to the many excellent Mexican restaurants, several talented chefs have chosen San Antonio to offer their creative menus. Explore San Antonio’s dining with our guide to the city’s best restaurants.
Stop at San Antonio’s Mi Tierra at any time of the day or night, they’re open 24 hours. This bar and bakery was established in 1941 to offer breakfast for early-rising farmers at the city’s market, but has gone on to be a never-closing joint serving hearty portions of Mexican specialties at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mi Tierra is a local favorite and the secret to its success, in addition to the finger-licking food, lies in its festive and fun atmosphere. In the bakery, which welcomes its patrons with a whiff of freshly-baked sweet breads, candies and pastries, colorful party decorations, piñatas and holiday lights dangle from the ceiling all year round. The welcoming bar is frequently filled with the music played live by the Mexican-to-the-bone mariachis strolling around the room.
Mi Tierra, 218 Produce Row, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 225 1262
The Esquire Tavern
Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
The Esquire Tavern
The Esquire Tavern was first opened in 1933, fuelled by the end of Prohibition in the United States. More than 80 years later, the tavern still caters to the tippling needs of its aficionados, ready to serve them the best beers and a wide choice of imaginatively-named cocktails. Among Desert Birds, Waking the Deads and Capone’s Revolvers, don’t overlook the pub’s flagship nuestra margarita, an explosive concoction of lowland blanco, highland reposado, French triple sec, and key lime. In turn, it was voted one of America’s best margaritas. The Esquire Tavern boasts a lavish, dark design and most notably the original tin ceiling, the floral wallpaper, and the 108-foot-long wooden bar top, the longest in all Texas.
The Esquire Tavern, 155 E Commerce St, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 222 2521
The Granary is the right place in San Antonio to celebrate one of the great American legends. The barbecue. Alongside the classic tradition of the American ‘cue, the chefs take pride in trying their hand at other countries approaches to barbecuing, providing an unexpected and interesting spin making this restaurant well worth a visit. The top-quality, succulent meats served at The Granary are sourced from certified and trusted farmers. The vegetables are used seasonally and pretty much every other ingredient is made from scratch in house to bring to the table only the healthiest and best-tasting food.
The Granary, 602 Avenue A, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 228 0124
Bar, Cafe, Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
Consistently numbered among San Antonio’s best Mexican restaurants, Rosario’s offers the classics of traditional Mexican fare cooked to perfection. Try a tasty chorizo quesadilla or the popular shrimp nacho, or go for the Aztec soup with smoky chipotle tomato and shredded chicken, the succulent Anita’s steak topped with poblano pepper and ranchero sauce, or the mouth-watering three cheese enchilada. Rosario’s is also popular thanks to the lively ambiance of its spacious, light-filled and colorful corner venue. In the restaurant, a bar awaits those looking to liven up the night with a few deftly-prepared drinks. The bar menu lists a whole choice of specialty margaritas set aside for dedicated fans of this Mexican drink.
Rosario’s, 910 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 223 1806
Charcuterie, Restaurant, American, Contemporary, $$$
Bliss is the last name of the noted chef who runs the kitchen in this fine-dining restaurant. Mark Bliss aims to offer guests a blissful experience through his upscale approach to contemporary American cuisine with few competitors across San Antonio. Housed in a unique, modernist building, Bliss’ menu changes seasonally to ensure the restaurant produces impeccably executed dishes with only the freshest ingredients. The excellent selections of charcuterie, artisan cheeses and home-made breads are always available for guests year-round. Bliss doesn’t serve cocktails, but the expert choice of wines and beers won’t leave anyone unsatisfied.
Bliss, 926 S Presa St, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 225 2547
The students of San Antonio’s Culinary Institute of America, a prestigious college for future chefs, were recently put in charge of restaurant Nao to put to the test the skills and knowledge learned in their classes. The young chefs lived up to the challenge magnificently. Nao is located in the college’s premises, and is one of the most surprising restaurants to have opened in San Antonio over the last few years. As the restaurant’s signature new world flavors suggests the open-view kitchen cranks out exquisite dishes inspired exclusively by the rich gastronomic traditions of Latin American countries. Choose from the Venezuelan grilled swordfish loin, Argentinian slow-braised lamb shank, or Cuban orange-cumin pork chop.
Nao, 312 Pearl Pkwy, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 554 6484
With Sandbar, acclaimed chef Andrew Weissman, a San Antonio native with an international experience, has created a fine-dining shrine for fish cuisine in his own hometown. The delicate-tasting courses offered at Sandbar are lovingly prepared with the freshest seafood fished from the East Coast, and expertly paired with just the right ingredients to create unforgettable, flavorful combinations: cold poached arctic char with bluebonnet micro greens and pan-seared scallops with truffled cauliflower puree and brussels sprouts. In contrast to the refined quality of the offerings, Sandbar’s venue provides a more casual setting — characterized by a maritime vibe in the extensive use of white and blue, which lets the guest sink in the culinary pleasure unleashed by Weissman’s maritime-inspired dishes.
Sandbar, 200 E Grayson St, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 212 2221
Before opening his pizzeria, Dough’s owner Doug Horn flew all the way to Naples, Italy, to learn the tricks of pizza-making from the masters. When he went back to San Antonio, he brought along invaluable experience, as well as an original Italian oven. In that oven, he has been baking mouth-watering pizzas since 2007, serving them to the swarms of customers lured in by the terrific selection of pizzas on the menu. The ‘pork love’ pizza, topped with sopressata salami, sausage, pancetta, speck, mozzarella and tomato sauce, and is an undying favorite. Besides the pizzas, Dough also offers an array of Italian culinary highlights as appetizers, ranging from the delicate caprese to the creamy burrata cheese.
Dough, 6989 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 979 6565