As “ground zero” for the beloved food genre known as Tex-Mex, San Antonio is beloved and iconic in the Texas foodie community. For many, a trip to San Antonio isn’t complete without a plate of enchiladas from Mi Tierra or a margarita from La Fogata
But in case you’re tempted to limit San Antonio’s culinary scope to the puffy taco, think again. Over the last decade, San Antonio’s dining scene has been slowly but surely growing and diversifying, inspiring innovative recipes and attracting world-renowned chefs.
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And along with remarkable food, these breakout restaurants have also been setting the bar incredibly high when it comes to aesthetics. Inspired by this recent article highlighting Hotel Havana's Ocho Lounge as one of "The World's Most Gorgeous Glass Restaurants", we decided to do a full feature. From sleek lines to beautiful art to gorgeous outdoor patios, these 15 San Antonio restaurants are as beautiful as they are delicious.
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Dreamed up by the “foodie oscar nominee” Chef Steve McHugh, Cured is one of the newest additions to San Antonio’s Pearl District. Focused on creating high-quality food with local ingredients, Cured offers a charcuterie-forward menu that also boasts some of the city’s best craft cocktails. Cured is located in an artfully renovated historic building that has been updated to preserve its historic charm, exuding a minimalist brand of luxury.
2. High Street Wine Co.
Image Courtesy of High Street Wine Co.
Considering the area’s reputation for exciting growth, it’s no surprise to us that High Street Wine Co chose to set up shop in the Pearl District of Central San Antonio. This relatively small operation was the dreamed into existence by experienced sommeliers and industry vets who wanted an accessible, homey space where quality always supersedes quantity. The space’s open-air concept, outdoor patio, wood accents, and industrial vibes lend themselves to a minimalist, yet cozy atmosphere.
Located in the ever-innovative Southtown district, Bliss is the reigning local standard when it comes to San Antonio’s restaurant scene. Upscale and eclectic, in menu and appearance, Bliss is a culinary and visual delight. The unique building itself boasts sleek, contemporary architecture, and the outdoor patio is enough to charm any foodie. Enjoy brown sugar cured soy-glazed Kurobuta pork belly or the roasted, stuffed quail and sit below the cafe lights and sprawling palms!
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Throw out all your preconceived notions concerning the aesthetics of Texas Barbeque: The Granary ‘Cue and Brew is what happens when authentic Texas fare dresses to the nines for a fancy occasion. Located in San Antonio’s Tobin Hill neighborhood, The Granary is housed in a renovated nineteenth-century residence, boasting high ceilings and dark wood trimmings that offset modern design elements. Authentic and upscale, The Granary preserves the integrity of Texas’s favorite food while still taking innovative leaps in cuisine and design.
5. Hotel Havana’s Ocho Lounge
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Perhaps one of the most visually stunning restaurants on our list, Hotel Havana’s Ocho Lounge encompasses the old-world charm of San Antonio and the luxurious, lush vibes of its Cuban namesake. Located in Downtown San Antonio, this eatery is also a glass conservatory overlooking the River Walk. Velvety, rich textures, jewel tones, and bright accents offset the equally gorgeous menu and offerings.
6. Esquire Tavern
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As the oldest bar on the Riverwalk, Esquire Tavern is a total Downtown San Antonio classic...which comes as no surprise to anyone who’s ever set foot inside this gorgeous establishment. The Tavern’s old-world feel is a rich combination of intriguing prohibition-era class and down-home Texas charm, complete with a dark wood bar that stretches the length of the bar (the longest wooden bar top in Texas!).
7. Guenther House
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Take a stroll down any street in the King William neighborhood, and you’ll understand why this area has been immortalized as a historic district! The gorgeous architecture spans a wide variety of design styles and eras, culminating in beautifully restored and updated buildings such as San Antonio’s iconic Guenther House, a local restaurant that serves up delicious Southern comfort foods and Tex-Mex fare. Originally the lower level of a historic mill, the owners of the Guenther House have fully embraced the charming Art Nouveau vibes.
8. Nao Latin Gastro Bar
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In a city full of enchiladas and barbeque, Nao Latin Gastro Bar is a concept restaurant that dares to be different. Specializing in imaginative Latin American cuisine prepared with exciting (and maybe even “dramatic”) methods, this warm, contemporary eatery in Central San Antonio features large windows and industrial details. The restaurant’s open kitchen allows guests to also act as an audience for live fire cooking!
Image Courtesy of the St Anthony Hotel
While most of our list may be comprised of restored historic gems and striking contemporary architecture, Downtown San Antonio’s Rebelle is a refreshing walk on the whimsy side. Located in the former ballroom of the St Anthony Hotel, Rebelle’s dark walls, hyper-modern design, and violet lighting might be what happens when Alice In Wonderland meets The Food Network...all with a stylish twist, of course.
10. The Brooklynite
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True to its classic name, The Brooklynite’s classic design is an alluring force to be reckoned with. Located in Urban San Antonio, this modern-day speakeasy transports guests directly back to the decadent 1920’s, offering beautiful craft cocktails that look just as vintage as the chandeliers and dark-wood accents.
11. Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery
An all-encompassing example of “a modern twist on a classic,” Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewing is a fresh take on the Historic Pearl Brewery’s original intent. Both a brewhouse and restaurant, the establishment was created with the intent to show off the scope of Texas’s culinary heritage, and menu offerings range from coastal to cowboy to Spanish to German to Creole. This diverse set of influences meet in a space that offers “breezy Southern charm” with industrial-chic accents, somehow remaining both warm and posh.
Image Courtesy of Hotel Emma
When it comes to design in San Antonio, the standard has been set by the visionaries behind Hotel Emma, perhaps the most remarkable historic renovation in the city. Located in Central San Antonio on the banks of the San Antonio River, this gorgeous hotel is offset by a collection of bars and eateries, each of which manages to harness a distinct concept. The defining minimalist of the bunch, Supper is a straightforward approach to luxury cuisine guided by flavor and creativity. Executive Chef John Brand’s “elemental Midwestern approach” can be seen in both the menu and aesthetic, displayed by bright colors, simple, clean lines, and stunning attention to detail.
13. Hot Joy
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True to its name, San Antonio’s iconic Asian eatery Hot Joy is buzzing with vibrancy, from the neon sign to colorful interior. Located in the Southtown neighborhood, this trendy locale offers creative dishes and cocktails.
14. Jazz TX
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It’s only natural that the creators of Jazz, TX would incorporate fine dining and good music in an equally gorgeous space. Located in the Tobin Hill area, this live-music venue and restaurant is a hidden, sultry gem in the cellar of the Bottling House at the historic Pearl Brewery. The intimate environment allows you to enjoy upscale takes on Texas classics (think pickled okra and pecan pie) while you listen to anything from classic jazz to blues to swing to salsa.
15. Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood
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An Urban San Antonio classic, Bohanan’s is a legendary Riverwalk spot for anything from steak to seafood. Owned by its namesake Chef Mark Bohanan, this restaurant has a 15-year reputation for gorgeous aesthetics, created and designed to embody “a Texas spirit with Old World Charm.”
As one of the oldest settlements in Texas, San Antonio’s diverse culinary heritage is deeply rooted in delicious tradition, manifesting in everything from avocado-laden breakfast tacos to perfect cuts of filet mignon. If you’re interested in what it looks like to join this exciting city’s growth and innovation, let us know!