Thanks to The Culinary Institute of America opening a San Antonio campus in 2008, the Alamo City is enjoying a restaurant boom – driven by a new generation of ambitious, well-trained young chefs. Need proof? Start your day in style with an indulgent brunch at one of these outstanding venues.
Rosella at the Rand is an upscale coffee house renowned for its egg cloud sandwich (an English muffin served with tarragon aioli, prosciutto, arugula, white cheddar and egg) and live Latin jazz on Sundays. Based in the historic Rand Building downtown, it’s a welcoming, well-heeled haven of calm. Pull up a stool at the sweeping bar and order a brunch cocktail to start your day. If you’re feeling particularly decadent, the three-cheese panini with bacon and sweet hot jalapeños is pretty much the perfect weekend comfort food.
La Fonda on Main has been serving traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex fare for nearly 90 years | Courtesy of Visit San Antonio
Expertly pivoting across the blurred line between traditional Mexican fare and delicious Tex-Mex dishes, La Fonda on Main has been an institution here for nearly 90 years – and there’s good reason for that. Casual and affordable, it is considered by many locals to be San Antonio’s best Mexican restaurant, and that’s saying something considering its location so close to the border. The breezy establishment on North Main Avenue does brisk trade for brunch on the weekends, including a selection of spicy specials. The barbacoa enchiladas in red jalapeño sauce are a particular treat.
Based in a restored convent with an eye-catching salmon pink facade, the Liberty Bar is a striking space that pays homage to its history, retaining the sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows and simple wooden furniture. The brunch menu is considerably more modern, with a selection of salads, sandwiches and mains – many featuring a slice from one of the fresh loaves baked in house. Make sure to check out the daily quiche, which is usually something special, and healthy enough to justify being washed down with one of the restaurant’s renowned mimosas (they serve several types here, as well as one of the best bloody marys in town). If you’re looking for a straightforward brunch and cocktails in a historical but vibrant venue, this is the place for you.
Chicken and donuts: great on their own, incredible together | Courtesy of Visit San Antonio / Jonathan Alonzo
Housed in the stellar Pearl Brewery renovation, Cured at Pearl was the first restaurant from renowned local chef Steve McHugh – and it has quickly become one of San Antonio’s most notable. A buzzy, rustic-chic establishment, it serves seasonal dishes with a focus on hand-cured meat. Weekend brunch includes the popular chicken and donuts, experimental cocktails and the usual fare of freshly squeezed juices, soups and sandwiches, but also a stellar selection of nose-to-tail offerings including foie gras and pig-cheek poutine. Needless to say, the charcuterie platters here are outstanding.
Another gem nestled in the revitalized Pearl District, Boiler House is an industrial-chic eatery offering gourmet American dishes in an airy, split-level setting. Picture cast-iron fixtures, exposed brick and an outdoor wine patio. The brunch menu includes a punchy tequila-infused salmon margarita benedict, as well as the ridiculously popular hangover hash. But pride of place goes to the David Lee Roth Krispy Kreme burger. Tackle one of those and you probably won’t be eating dinner that day.
Positioned in the pretty King William Historic District, Feast serves up innovative new American cuisine with a Mediterranean spin. The brunch menu includes sophisticated updates on traditional breakfast dishes, with ingredients such as blue cheese potatoes, grilled bratwurst peppers and Swedish sausage. But what really pulls crowds here is the sweets section, including satisfying options such as almond-pistachio French toast and bourbon apple crepes. Grab a seat beneath the twinkling lights on the picture-perfect patio, and feast to your heart’s content.
Corn fritters with poached egg is a standout dish at Cappy’s | Courtesy of Visit San Antonio
Well positioned between downtown San Antonio and the airport, Cappy’s Restaurant serves a popular weekend brunch including fresh daily specials. Standout stars among the menu staples include Texas pot roast, mustang chicken (served in a fresh horseradish panko crust) and the extravagant truffled scrambled eggs with crab and poached lobster tails. The relaxed atmosphere and contemporary American menu makes Cappy’s the perfect option for those on the lookout for a traditional but refined brunch.
Despite its name, Candlelight is as much a brunch spot as it is an outstanding evening venue. The waffles here are particularly great, along with a wide selection of healthier brunching options, including granola parfait with seasonal fruit and a standout smoked-salmon scramble. The big draw, however, is Candlelight’s welcoming, laid-back atmosphere. On mornings when you really don’t feel like venturing out, coming here will feel like a home away from home.
If you want to step things up a little, this is where you should be dining. Las Canarias at the Omni La Mansion Hotel on College Street is both romantic and elegant, with a champagne brunch to match. The menu is all about the classics (eggs benedict, three-egg omelettes, smoked-salmon bagels) executed to perfection, but you can also check out the restaurant’s signature dishes for a Mexican spin. Meanwhile, those with a sweet tooth can look to the griddle for blueberry soufflé pancakes and crème brûlée French toast, served with bananas foster and cream.
Botika serves elaborate, inventive Peruvian-Asian fusion plates | Courtesy of Visit San Antonio
Thanks to charismatic Venezuelan chef Geronimo Lopez at the helm, Botika serves elaborate, inventive Peruvian-Asian fusion plates from a menu that’s lauded as one of the finest in Texas. This isn’t the best place to soak up a hangover; it’s where you can enjoy a riot of flavors, courtesy of dishes such as lomo saltado ( a traditional Peruvian steak stir-fry with fries) and chorizo and shrimp chaufa (Peruvian-Chinese fried rice). But if you do need a hair-of-the-dog tipple to wash down your Sunday brunch, the good news is the cocktails here are outstanding too. Try the coffee-based bourbon confection for a morning pick-me-up, or a jug of the sangria rioja – a red wine, fruit and brandy mix. Whatever you do, don’t skip the fried bananas for dessert.