Top 10 Must-Try Restaurants And Grills In San Antonio, Texas

Esquire Lounge San Antonio | © H. Michael Karshis/Flickr
Esquire Lounge San Antonio | © H. Michael Karshis/Flickr
Photo of Priyunka Maheshwari
9 February 2017

While many people incorrectly assume that Austin is the only city in Texas to represent good cooking, San Antonio locals know differently. Here’s our guide to the best San Antonio restaurants and grills.

San Antonio at Christmas | © Corey Leopold/Flickr


Charcuterie, Restaurant, American, Contemporary, $$$
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Bliss, named after head chef Mark Bliss, is a fine-dining experience that offers a tranquil and relaxing evening. With an upscale approach to contemporary American food, Bliss has few serious competitors for the top spot in local dining. Located in a modernist building that is as unique as the food, Bliss’ menu changes depending on the season to ensure the freshest ingredients. The gorgeously prepared dishes include crafted selections of charcuterie, artisanal cheese and homemade bread. For a classy approach to dining, try your meal with wines and beers that are expertly picked.

Chris Madrid’s

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Wood Fired Pizza
Wood Fired Pizza | Courtesy of Dough Pizzeria
Welcome to Chris Madrid’s, where Chris Madrid has been serving classic burgers since 1977. This quaint and friendly restaurant offers each customer personal attention to make sure they receive a high quality plate of food. Located in an old gas station and cantina, the Tex-Mex décor that adorns this site adds to the relaxing atmosphere. While at the cantina, try out some iced down longnecks and frozen margaritas. Chris Madrid’s is special because they highly value customer feedback and wants customers to be genuinely satisfied. So those who take issue with one of the six amazing hamburgers or the fresh cut fries can voice those complaints. We don’t think there will be anything negative to say, however, as this family of chefs makes the best burgers in San Antonio.

Dough Pizzeria

In order to prepare for a lifetime of crafting authentic Italian pizzas, Dough Pizzeria owner Doug Horn flew to Naples to learn the tricks of pizza-crafting. When Horn arrived back in Texas, he brought back his experiences and an original pizza oven. This oven has been used since his return to create dazzling and tasty pizzas that make customers want to come back for more. Opened in 2007, Dough has many customers requesting the ‘pork love’ pizza, which is topped with salami, sausage, speck, pancetta, and mozzarella. For those less fond of pizza, Dough offers other Italian appetizers that range from caprese to burrata cheese.

Dough, 6989 Blanco Rd, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 979 6565

The Esquire Tavern

Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
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Barman with a freshly made cocktail
The Esquire Tavern serves up craft cocktails in a former Mafia headquarters | © Maksim Fesenko/Shutterstock

Opened in 1933, The Esquire Tavern has been fueled by the 21st Amendment which brought about the end of prohibition in America. Today, nearly a century later, this tavern still offers the best beers and cocktails to those in need. With creative names for the drinks served—such as the ‘Desert Bird’ and ‘Capone’s Revolver’—there is nothing better than a Nuestra Margarita, which combines blanco with highland reposado, accentuated by French triple sec and key lime. This margarita is known far and wide as one of the best drinks in the country. The ambiance is also a winner, thanks to the dark color palette and unique design created out of the ceiling, floral wallpaper and 100 foot long wooden bar top. The bar top is the longest in all of Texas, so take a picture while you’re hanging out at The Esquire Tavern.

The Granary

The Granary is the perfect place to celebrate Southern barbecue alongside gracious hospitality. While situated in its perfect location — Texas — this restaurant tries a cultural approach to the barbecue culinary tradition, including incorporating barbecue techniques from other countries. This unexpected spin makes The Granary a notable eatery and entices customers to try their top quality meats and vegetables. The Granary uses seasonal veggies bought from certified and trusted farmers, while every other ingredient is made from scratch in-house to provide only the best and freshest food.

The Luxury exterior | Courtesy The Luxury

The Luxury

Bar, Restaurant, American
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Rosario's | © Mathieu Plourde/Flickr
With a name like The Luxury, it’s no surprise that this restaurant makes our list of favorites. With a cool atmosphere downtown near the river and even better food (including a fried Snickers bar) you can’t beat the understated quirkiness of this new restaurant. Patrons visit The Luxury multiple times and never order the same thing twice thanks to the diverse range of options on this limitless menu. Try everything, but start with the beer, which kicks off any evening with a laid-back vibe. Priding itself as an ‘eclectic restaurant,’ it’s hard to go wrong with this growing all-star.


Restaurant, Bar, Cafe, Mexican, $$$
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Fish tacos
Fish tacos | Courtesy of Rosario's Mexican Cafe Y Cantina

In a town dominated by locals with a Mexican heritage, it’s important to find good Mexican cuisine. Rosario’s solves this need by offering traditional Mexican fare cooked expertly — try the chorizo quesadilla or the shrimp nachos, or experiment with the Aztec soup with smoky chipotle tomato and shredded chicken. Known for more than just great food, Rosario’s is famous because of its colorful and lighted performance venue. The happy and appealing bar welcomes guests who want artfully prepared drinks to start the night, with a special menu created simply for the margaritas.

Sandbar Fish House

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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Native San Antonio chef Andrew Weissman creates an international experience right in the middle of Texas with Sandbar — a fine-dining go-to spot for seafood and fish cuisine. The delicate meals are prepared with fresh seafood from the East Coast and are paired with the perfect blend of ingredients to create a flavor combination no visitor will forget. The flavor of the cold poached arctic char is unparalleled thanks to bluebonnet micro greens and seared scallops. The casual setting reflects the seafarer vibe of this sailor’s joint, so relax in the white and blue home created by Weissman’s team.


Deli, Restaurant, German
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Schilo's Window
Schilo's Window | © H. Michael Karshis/Flickr
Schilo’s, an authentic German deli, has crafted a strong reputation since its opening in 1917. Located in heart of downtown San Antonio this restaurant is one of the oldest, continually operated spots to eat and prides itself on being housed in an old mercantile exchange building from the 1800s. Schilo’s brings back the days when much of the San Antonio population was German. Keeping with tradition, the old signage, postcards, and tiled floor are still intact and grace customers upon entrance. Perhaps what Schilo’s is best known for is the hot mustard, which is sold by the bottle. If mustard doesn’t sound appealing try the homemade root beer, split pea soup, or even a reuben sandwich.

Tuk Tuk Taproom

Chef David Gilbert is responsible for the genius behind Tuk Tuk Taproom, which started after Gilbert made a comment about how a good beer perfectly complemented Asian street food. Tuk Tuk Taproom serves this delightful mix, with street food and top pick beers. Gilbert travelled to Asia often, to try out the local street foods in their original locations and source the best of these meals. With the help of beer specialist Steve Newman, Tuk Tuk curated a list of 70 craft beers on tap. For an international, fresh take on the dining scene, try out this metropolitan haven.

Tuk Tuk Taproom, 1702 Broadway St, San Antonio, TX, USA, +1 210 222 8277

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