San Antonio Riverwalk Restaurants

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					San Antonio Riverwalk Restaurants

Biga on the Banks
Owned by nationally renowned chef Bruce Auden, Biga offers fine dining
founded in the classics but reaching into Southwest regional cuisine.
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This “Texas bistro” has great steaks, blackened shrimp and more, but
don’t miss the guacamole made fresh tableside.
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The Fig Tree
In a historic building once occupied by the French consulate, the Fig
Tree's traditional menu of steaks and seafood tastes even better served
on an elegant outdoor terrace overlooking a quiet bend in the River Walk.
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“Q” (Hyatt Regency)
From this state’s beloved pit-smoked meat to Argentinean churrascaria,
sample barbeque from around the globe.
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Las Canarias (La Mansion del Rio)
Sumptuous but not stuffy, Las Canarias’ reputation stands for fine wine
and cuisine and stellar service.
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John Besh's first restaurant outside of New Orleans. Farm-fresh
ingredients, bistro specialties from house-made pates to fresh seafood.
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Small plates served in a steel and glass conservatory, part of the historic
Hotel Havana, one of innovative hotelier Liz Lambert's new visions .
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Zocca's Italian kitchen serves rich fare like lump crab tagliatelle if you feel
like indulging (and less indulgent dishes for those watching the waist
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     San Antonio's reputation for superb Tex Mex is well represented on
     the River Walk. Rio Rio Cantina, Rita's on the River and Mexican
     Manhattan all honor these long traditions. That said, the *BEST*
     San Antonio Mexican restaurants aren’t on the River Walk (see Tina
     & L. J.’s recommendations at the end of this list).

Bar-B-Que restaurants

County Line River Walk: 111 W. Crockett, Ste. 104, San Antonio, TX
78205; (210) 229-1941 / Fax: (210) 229-1953 -- County Line restaurants
have been serving "get it all over 'ya!" award-winning slow-smoked BBQ
for nearly 30 years in San Antonio. On the scenic River Walk in the South
Bank Complex (next to The Hard Rock), The County Line is also a great
place to enjoy ice cold beers and frosty margaritas at the open-air bar.
Inside, the funky Texas roadhouse atmosphere makes you feel like you've
wandered into the Texas Hill Country. The County Line was formed by
Texans who love Texas; love its heritage; love Bar-B-Q; and are committed
to running restaurants based on four principles: 1. offer the highest
quality smoked barbecue ribs, brisket, sausage and chicken with
traditional sides of cole slaw, potato salad and beans; 2. provide these
BBQ specialties in generous portions at reasonable prices; 3. offer
friendly table service with linens and bar service; and 4. feature authentic
locations that celebrate the heritage of Texas. Private party dinner barges
are also available. Check
http:www.countyline.comCountyLineRiverWalk.html for more information.

Augie's Barbed Wire Smokehouse: 3709 N St Mary's, San Antonio, TX
78212; (210) 735-0088 / Fax: (210) 979-6017 -- Augie's specializes in
real "old-school" backyard BBQ, made fresh daily.

The Smokehouse: 3306 Roland Ave, San Antonio, TX 78210; (210) 333-
9548 -- For that uniquely Texan barbecue flavor, The Smokehouse is the
place to go. Whether you choose the juicy brisket, smoked sausage,
barbecue chicken or beef ribs, you'll enjoy the mesquite-smoked meats.

Tony Roma's Famous for Ribs: 849 E. Commerce, #171, San Antonio,
TX 78205; (210) 225-7662 / Fax: (210) 225-7669 -- Tony Roma's is
known for their "world famous ribs" but the story does not end with ribs.
They also serve fresh salads, char-grilled steaks, chicken and seafood.
Locally Owned Restaurants

Bistro Vatel
North of Downtown
Consistently good French/European fare, from bouillabaisse to foie
gras, can be found at chef Damien Watel’s cozy bistro.
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Dough Pizzeria Napoletana
North Central
The pizza oven at Doug Horn’s popular pizzeria is an Italian import
and the mozzarella bar offers fresh, handmade cheeses. An all-
Italian wine list complements the food. The non-descript strip mall
location belies this restaurant's edgy feel.
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La Gloria
River Walk Museum Reach (Pearl Brewery)
Chef Johnny Hernandez’s tasty, authentic Mexican street food is
served in a casual, airy ambiance at the Pearl Brewery complex.
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Tre Trattoria – Downtown & Alamo Heights
Chef Jason Dady’s Italian restaurant offers wonderful cuisine in a
historic hotel (the Fairmount downtown) or a unique setting with
lovely patio (Alamo Heights). Check out their website --

Osteria Il Sogno
River Walk Museum Reach (Pearl Brewery)
On the Italian style characterizes this fine dining in a casual
atmosphere restaurant from Andrew Weissman. Fresh pasta is made
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First, we won’t include any chain restaurants you could go to anywhere
(there will be a few chains, but they are either local to San Antonio or
regional to Texas). We’re trying to give you a set of choices that will
allow you to experience the unique dining options San Antonio has to
Second, these are the best restaurants in town – some are quite
expensive and somewhat difficult to get into (depending):

Biga on the Banks: A beautiful space on the quiet portion of the River
Walk with truly excellent food and a very good wine list (particularly
strong in Spanish wines) – limited outdoor dining available. The chef,
Bruce Auden, is nationally-recognized (203 S. St. Mary’s; 225-0722)

Il Sogno Osteria: Another Andrew Weissman restaurant, and excellent
Italian restaurant that is a high-end good value (if that makes sense). Lots
of small plates, antipasto options, as well as full meals. Excellent wine
list. One of our favorites, also in the Pearl Brewery complex; 200 East
Grayson, 223-3900).

La Frite: Great Belgian/French food (moules frites, steak tartare are
particularly good; a bit of a walk, but doable (728 S. Alamo; 224-7555).

Las Canarias: The restaurant in La Mansion del Rio (a hotel on the River
Walk) is a very romantic spot for lunch or dinner – the food is good, as is
the wine list (112 College St.; 518-1000)

Sandbar Fish House and Market: This is an excellent seafood restaurant
by Chef Andrew Weissman (he was the chef at Le Reve), who is probably
the top chef in San Antonio. It has expanded its menu beyond just basic
shellfish and raw bar type selections, and now has non-fish items as well.
It is in the Pearl Brewery complex, which is at the end of the River Walk, a
pretty long hike but short cab ride (200 E. Grayson; 222-2426).

Francesca’s at Sunset: This restaurant is in the Westin La Cantera (just
across from the UTSA campus) – wonderful Southwestern food (the chef,
Jesse Perez, trained with Mark Miller from Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe) and a
good wine list – as the name implies, if you can dine during sunset you’ll
be rewarded with a terrific view (OK, the view is great any time before
dark) (cab ride: 16641 La Cantera Parkway; 558-6500)
Top 10 TexMex/Latino Restaurants in San Antonio

The Mexican/Latin American cuisine scene in San Antonio goes far
beyond traditional TexMex, but all of it is good! Our top 10 are:

Acenar: Self-described as Nueva TexMex, Acenar is a vibrant space right
on the River Walk. The food is excellent (as are the drinks), and they
have a very hip bar upstairs. On Sundays, they have a wonderful jazz
brunch (146 E. Houston St.; 222-2362)

Ajuua: A slightly more traditional Mexican restaurant, the food is quite
good (the best Poblanos al Carbon in town). The El Grito margaritas are
also terrific! (cab ride: 11703 Huebner Rd.; 877-0600)

Azuca: This is a South American restaurant near downtown, with
wonderful ceviches and killer drinks (notice a trend here?). The space is
loud and lively, with a flamenco show on Thursday nights and latin music
on Fridays and Saturdays (713 S. Alamo; 225-5550)

El Chapparal: This is traditional TexMex at it’s best. Located in Helotes
(near UTSA’s campus), it’s a bit of a drive, but if you’re going to spend a
day out in Hill Country, this is highly recommended (except for the
margaritas…) (cab ride: 15103 Bandera Rd.; 695-8302)

El Jarro de Arturo: This is also excellent, more traditional TexMex (with a
few trendy dishes as well). The special margaritas (Arturo’s) are REALLY
DANGEROUS (we’re serious – be careful). It’s a fun place, especially late
on Friday nights when they play R&B and funk! (cab ride: 13421 San
Pedro; 494-5084)

El Mirador: This is an excellent, small TexMex restaurant downtown, with
great margaritas and a wonderful Sunday brunch. This is where you can
get the best cabrito (among other things)! (722 S. St. Mary’s; 225-9444)

La Fogata: This is an old TexMex institution, complete with strolling
mariachi bands and fountains. The food is good, the margaritas aren’t,
but the atmosphere is quintessential San Antonio (especially if it’s a nice
evening). (cab ride: 2427 Vance Jackson; 340-1337)

Mi Tierra: Another old TexMex institution, located in El Mercado – OK
food, OK margaritas, but open 24 hours and another strolling mariachi-
type place (218 Produce Row; 225-1262)

Rosario’s: Good luck getting into this place! Absolutely one of the most
popular Mexican restaurants in town (near downtown). Your better bet is
to go at an “off” time (like a late lunch or early dinner around 3 or 4 in the
afternoon). Worth the effort (910 S. Alamo; 223-1806)

Taco Cabana: Good TexMex fast food -- seriously! The original Taco
Cabana is basically a taco shack (started in 1978) – the best fast-food
Mexican there is! (cab ride: 3310 San Pedro Ave.; 733-9332)

Top 5 Other Ethnic Cuisines

You undoubtedly noticed the drop down from Top 10 to Top 5 – this is
strictly due to the fact that for every non-Mexican restaurant in San
Antonio, there are at least 10 Mexican restaurants (who knows for sure? –
but the balance is definitely in favor of Latin flavors!). Here are the best
ethnic restaurants in town:

India Palace: Great Indian food, with a relatively inexpensive lunch buffet
(cab ride: 8474 Fredericksburg Rd.; 775-1721

Sarovar: Wonderful Indian food, including southern specialties (such as
dosas). Bring a big group and share several dishes (they offer an
incredible variety) (cab ride: 10227 Ironside Dr.; 558-8289)

Sichuan Cuisine: Extremely good Chinese restaurant, particularly if you
have someone in the group who can converse with the owner to get
authentic dishes (cab ride: 2347 NW Military Hwy.; 525-8118)

Sushi Zushi: A small, local chain that combines traditional sushi with a
latino flair (what else?) – excellent! There is a downtown location within
easy walking distance from the hotel (203 S. St. Mary’s; 472-2900)

Thai Café: This is a little hole-in-the-wall place with really terrific Thai
food. It’s near the airport, so maybe you can combine a trip here with
your departure??? (cab ride: 11318 Perrin Beitel Rd.; 599-8830)

Top Burger Joints (Texas is really good at these!)

These are the most popular burger joints in town – the debate rages on
(but we will point out our personal favorite). In all, count on ice-cold
longnecks, terrific burgers, country-western music, etc. (I think you get
the picture) – oh, and they’ll ALL require a cab ride (but it’s worth it):
Chris Madrid’s: A unique offering is the bean burger (no, not for
vegetarians – a beef burger with refried beans – people swear it’s great)
(1900 Blanco Rd.; 735-3552)

Longhorn Cafe: This is it! The best (in our humble opinion) (17625
Blanco Rd.; 492-0301)

Sam’s Burger Joint: This is an interesting late-night hangout for
disillusioned youth with live music (seriously, some good acts at times)
(330 E. Grayson St.; 223-2830)

Luther’s Café: Also excellent burgers (1425 North Main Ave.; 223-7727)

Top for Texas Food (besides TexMex & burgers)

Grey Moss Inn: This old (1920’s) restaurant out in the country (another
Hill Country destination) serves outdoor-wood-grilled meats and fish and
an excellent (and reasonable) wine list. If the weather is nice, the outdoor
dining area is beautiful (cab ride: 19010 Scenic Loop Rd.; 695-8301)

Jim’s: This is a San Antonio institution – a coffee shop that grew out of
an old watermelon stand – there are locations all over town (some are
open 24 hours, but not all). Just basic food, nothing fancy (cab ride:
4108 Broadway; 828-5120)

Luby’s: Another institution – cafeteria style (locations all over town) –
cheap, down-home Texas cookin’ (911 N. Main Ave., 223-9155)

Scenic Loop Cafe: Yet another Hill Country destination if you’re in the
mood – live music on weekends, really good food and great drinks (nice
patio if weather cooperates) (cab ride: 25615 Boerne Stage Rd.; 687-

Top Miscellaneous Places to Eat:

These didn’t really fit in any of the above categories, but are all

Boudro’s: This is a decent Southwestern restaurant on the River Walk
(421 E. Commerce; 224-8484)
410 Diner: This is your basic diner, serving almost everything (except for
breakfast?) – the food is quite good. It’s near the airport (cab ride: 8315
Broadway; 822-6246)

Schilo’s Delicatessen: This is an old-timey delicatessen in the heart of
downtown – serves breakfast and lunch – good, basic food (424 E.
Commerce; 223-6692)

Interesting Bars & Clubs

OK, no jokes about our short list for late-night partying – there are TONS
of options along the River Walk – most of them of the international chain
variety. These are beyond the beaten path, so to speak. In addition to
these, the Pearl Brewery complex has a number of new bars, and is quite
the hot spot these days (long walk called the River Walk Museum Reach,
but with artwork along the way). To find out what music is playing where
(for many of these suggestions), pick up a free copy of the San Antonio

Broadway 5050: This is a cross between a bar and a diner with a Pulp
Fiction theme (menu items include the Vincent Vega and the Royale with
Cheese). It has live music regularly and a full-service bar (cab ride: 5050
Broadway; 826-0069)

Floore Country Store: A country-music institution, but way off the beaten
path! Over in Helotes – a definite trip (probably 30 minutes by car). This
is where Willy plays when he’s in town (Willy Nelson for those not on a
first-name basis). It’s an old-timey indoor/outdoor beer hall – quite an
experience! Robert Earl Keen is a frequent head-liner (hint: could be a
destination after dinner at El Chapparal!) (cab ride: 14464 Old Bandera
Rd.; 695-8827)

Swig: Your basic nouveau martini bar in the heart of downtown (111 W.
Crockett St.; 476-0005)

Zinc: This is a terrific wine bar (with interesting nibbles too) right
downtown – VERY packed late on weekends, but quiet at other times (207
N. Presa; 224-2900)

Top 5 Unique Shopping Destinations

Broadway: In Alamo Heights, lots of independently-owned boutiques for
miles -- basically from Loop 410 at the North to Josephine at the South
(cab ride)
Garcia Art Glass: Local artist’s studio with bright, vibrant colors and
designs (you can see her work if you go to Azuca, which is nearby) –
beautiful stuff! (715 S. Alamo; 354-4681)

El Mercado: The Market – touristy, souvenir-type stuff (sombreros,
serapes, etc.) – actually, if you live in any other Texas or California town,
this won’t seem that unique (but if you’re from Boston…) (207-8600)

La Villita: More touristy, souvenir-type stuff, but this time with more of a
Texas Hill Country flavor than a Mexican flavor – very pleasant little
village though (207-8610)

The Quarry: Although the stores are mostly chains (with a few local
exceptions such as Harold’s and Tootsie’s), the setting is very interesting
– it really was a working quarry at one point in time. Lots of great little
lunch spots too (that are unique), and one of the most beautiful public
golf courses we’ve ever seen, set among the rocks (cab ride)

Top 5 Museums

Blue Star Arts Complex: Not really a museum, just a collection of artist’s
studios in an old warehouse space – pretty cool stuff, but only open on
weekends (check with hotel staff for exact details) (cab ride: 116 Blue
Star; 277-6960)

King William District: Again, not a museum per se, but a beautiful walk in
the oldest neighborhood in town (with one home open to the public for
tours) (cab ride or LONG walk: 107 King William St.; 224-6163)

The McNay: A small, but gorgeous museum in a 1920’s Spanish
Mediterranean mansion – our favorite museum in town (cab ride: 6000
N. New Braunfels Ave.; 824-5368)

San Antonio Museum of Art: Very interesting architecture (renovated
Lone Star Brewery from 1904!) and a variety of holdings (cab ride: 200 W.
Jones Ave.; 978-8100)

The Witte: A natural science and history museum with lots of great kid-
stuff (cab ride: 3801 Broadway; 357-1900)

Top 5 Tourist Attractions Beyond The Alamo and The River Walk
Hill Country: Several small towns dot this beautiful, natural landscape
between San Antonio and Austin, most with antique stores, craft shops,
and cute cafes…

The Majestic Theatre: This is a gorgeous theatre in the heart of
downtown – call ahead to see if you can get in, or to see what’s
scheduled (208 E. Houston St.; 226-3333)

The Menger Hotel: The bar is where Teddy Roosevelt recruited his Rough
Riders, and the hotel is supposed to be haunted? (204 Alamo Plaza; 345-

Mission San Jose: A real mission (like the Alamo USED to be) with a
museum (cab ride: 6701 San Jose Dr.; 932-1001)

Sunset Station: A collection of restaurants, clubs, and boutiques in the
renovated train station area of town near the Alamodome (cab ride or
LONG walk: 1174 E. Commerce)

Top 5 Things to do with Kids

Brackenridge Park & Zoo: An old-fashioned, but pleasant zoo (cab ride:
3903 N. St. Mary’s; 734-7183)

Fiesta Texas: A Six Flags theme park, with all that that entails (cab ride:
17000 IH-10 West; 1-800-473-4378)

Institute of Texas Cultures: Where our Saturday night event will be held,
but a good, educational experience for kids (cab ride or LONG walk: 801
S. Bowie St.; 458-2300)

San Antonio Children’s Museum: Need we say more??? And, it’s right
downtown (305 E. Houston St.; 212-4453)

Sea World: Our assumption is that this is like every other Sea World,
although we have heard that it is very well-organized! (cab ride: 10500
Sea World Dr.; 523-3611)

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