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12 one-of-a-kind San Antonio restaurants to visit right now

With so many first-rate San Antonio restaurants to choose from, figuring out where to dine is no easy task. From a Texas-forward bistro housed in a building that dates back to 1904, to one of the country’s only South American-Asian fusion eateries, to restaurants with stellar brunch menus, San Antonio knows how to do food right.

To help you narrow down your choices, we’re bringing you a curated list of 12 unique San Antonio restaurants guaranteed to please every kind of palate. Keep reading for our top picks.

healed

Among the best restaurants in San Antonio, this gourmand oasis is housed inside a building erected in 1904 as Pearl Brewery’s administration building. Run by chef Steve McHugh, you won’t soon forget the delightful eats from beer can PEI mussels and bread pudding with brown buttser caramel and candied pecans to heritage hog poutine with Wisconsin cheddar curds and chicken and donuts with jalapeño syrup.

Chicken and donuts from Cured.

Chicken and donuts from Cured.

Courtesy of Cured/Jonathan Alonzo

All Texas-grown meats are cured on-site and the venue also has a wine cellar located inside the original safe of Pearl Brewery. McHugh, who hails from a small Wisconsin farm (hence the cheese curds) recently received a James Beard Award Nomination for Best Chef in Texas, to boot.

find it: 306 Pearl Pkwy, #101, San Antonio, TX 78215

The bakery

Handmade bread and pan dulce inspired by Mexico’s Golden Era (“Epoca de Oro”) is the name of the game at this stellar eatery which also nods to French, Italian, and American bread-making techniques to whip up classic Mexican sweet breads.

A man and women enjoy brunch at La Panadería's Broadway location.

A man and women enjoy brunch at La Panadería’s Broadway location.

Courtesy of La Panadería/Karissa Rangel

Once you sink your teeth into their baked goods, you’ll understand why the 48-hour fermentation process is well worth it. Two of our favourites? The Pan de Muerto with a touch of orange and Nutella muffin croissants. And the spot isn’t just celebrated in Alamo City, co-founder David Cáceres has earned a James Beard nomination for Outstanding Baker in 2022.

find it: 8305 Broadway San Antonio, TX 78209

Pharma Table

For a unique restaurant in San Antonio’s Southtown, Pharm Table is a winner for both your palate and your health. Founded in 2015 by chef Elizabeth Johnson, the eatery aims to reimagine comfort foods without inflammatory ingredients and in accordance with principles from ayurvedic cuisine, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Blue Zone regions (home to the world’s longest living people).

Pharm Table aims to reimagine comfort foods without inflammatory ingredients and in accordance with principles from ayurvedic cuisine.

Pharm Table aims to reimagine comfort foods without inflammatory ingredients and in accordance with principles from ayurvedic cuisine.

Courtesy of Pharma Table

Incorporating plenty of Mexican and Texas flavors, the menu focuses on plant-based fare and showcases local ingredients as much as possible. Chase your zero-proof “N/A-groni” or golden milk fizz with a cauliflower shawarma bowl or cilantro coconut guacamole and an Israeli-style hummus and veggies spread.

find itAddress: 611 S. Presa St., Suite 106, San Antonio, TX 78205

The Esquire Tavern

Located on the San Antonio River Walk, no list of unique restaurants in San Antonio is complete without a hat tip to this famed establishment. Known for having the longest wooden bar top in Texas, The Esquire Tavern opened in 1933 as a gathering place to toast to the end of prohibition.

Pimm's Cup at The Esquire Tavern.

Pimm’s Cup at The Esquire Tavern.

Courtesy of Visit San Antonio/Kody Melton

Nosh on fried plantain chips, shrimp cocktails or the Esquire cheeseburger chased by a Pimm’s Cup, Old-Fashioned or French 75.

find itAddress: 155 E. Commerce St., San Antonio, TX 78205

Eight

Located on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River Walk inside the boutique property, Hotel Havana you’ll feel teleported to Cuba in this bohemian-yet-refined space with abundant light spilling in through floor-to-ceiling windows during daylight hours.

Eight lounge at Hotel Havana in San Antonio, TX.

Eight lounge at Hotel Havana in San Antonio, TX.

Courtesy of Visit San Antonio/Nick Simonite

Nestle up to a stool by the ledge perched over the water and clink your mojito or margarita glass to a good time, which we hope also includes the restaurant’s tacos de fungi (mushroom tacos with fresh cheese, cilantro, and pickled onions) and Zarandeado fish (Achiote snapper with avocado-cilantro rice, pickled cabbage, Mezcal mango, and black Cuban beans). Before you leave the pan-Latin hub, look up and take a moment to marvel at the beautiful chandeliers.

find itAddress: 1015 Navarro St., San Antonio, TX 78205

Burgertheque

When you want a hamburger from a San Antonio restaurant, Southtown’s Burgerteca is the correct answer. For us, it’s a toss-up between the Oaxaca burger with mole negro, black beans, pickled red onions, avocado and queso fresco and the La Veggie burger made from roasted beets, queso fresco, poblano peppers, corn, barley grains, and topped with jalapeño lime-mayo, cabbage, pickled red onions, tomato and avocado crema.

The Mole Burger from Burgerteca.

The Mole Burger from Burgerteca.

Courtesy of Burgerteca/Josie Rees

Spotlighting Mexico’s regional flavors and indigenous ingredients, the menu also offers tasty sides like nachos and Mole Fries and mango, spicy mango and house margaritas to quench your thirst.

find it: 403 Blue Star, #105, San Antonio, TX 78204

2M Smokehouse

When you’re highlighting the best unique restaurants in San Antonio, you’ve got to include a BBQ venue. Our vote? This otherworldly smokehouse founded by two high school friends that has catapulted its way to a cherished local hot spot since opening in 2016.

A variety of barbecue meats and sides from 2M Smokehouse.

A variety of barbecue meats and sides from 2M Smokehouse.

Courtesy of Visit San Antonio

Pitmaster Esaul Ramos electrifies diners’ palates with signature Texas barbecue dishes updated with Mexican finesse. Say, pork link with serrano peppers and Oaxaca cheese, Chicharoni macaroni, pickled nopales (cactus), and Mexican street corn, along with brisket, pulled pork and meats by the pound.

find it: 2731 S. Ww White Road, San Antonio, TX 78222

pharmacy

Another Pearl District San Antonio restaurant go-to, this fusion restaurant melds Peruvian recipes with Asian flavors. Chef Geronimo Lopez of Caracas, Venezuela dazzles at this historic Pearl Brewery outpost that features both “Chifa” (Chinese-Peruvian) and “Nikkei” (Japanese-Peruvian) cuisine, prepared in a charcoal oven.

Bento box from Botika in San Antonio, TX.

Bento box from Botika in San Antonio, TX.

Botika via Yelp

Said to be one of a handful such restaurants in America that combines the gastronomy of Asia and South America in such a way, expect standouts like charred octopus, spicy eggplant noodles and genre-bending sushi rolls.

find it: 303 Pearl Pkwy., #111, San Antonio, TX 78215

My land

Looking for restaurants in downtown San Antonio with epic Tex-Mex cuisine? Head to Mi Tierra. In 1941, Pete and Cruz Cortez opened a three-table café for farmers and workers at San Antonio’s Mercado. Now, the 24-hour family-owned restaurant remains a beloved haunt, doling out traditional dishes like enchiladas and fajitas and pouring finely-crafted margaritas, accompanied by live Mariachi entertainment.

Mi Tierra bakery serves an array of pastries and sweets.

Mi Tierra bakery serves an array of pastries and sweets.

Courtesy of Mi Tierra/Stuart Dee

The adjoining bakery is also worth a pit stop, especially for their delicious pecan pralines.

find it: 218 Produce Row, San Antonio, TX 78207

Yard

A jaunt to the picturesque San Antonio Botanical Garden capped off with a stellar meal? Yes, please. This new restaurant comes from celebrated chef Jason Dady and ties together the culinary heritage of Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Morocco in a zen farmhouse setting with an eye-catching white marble bar. (You can also sit outside in Gertie’s Garden, which hosts live jazz performances on Wednesday evenings.)

Garden is Chef Jason Dady's latest concept.

Garden is Chef Jason Dady’s latest concept.

Courtesy of Visit San Antonio

Don’t miss nature’s bounty in dishes like fattoush salad, edamame falafel, and raspberry panna cotta. The focaccia pizza (opt for the “daily garden inspiration” or the white truffle Milanese with ricotta, asparagus, pecorino and a fried hen egg) is also divine.

find itAddress: 555 Funston Place, San Antonio, TX 78209

Dorrego’s

For an incredible restaurant on San Antonio’s River Walk, venture to this venue in Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, which bills itself as San Antonio’s only Argentinian-inspired eatery. While you soak up the sounds of the Naranja Latin Jazz Band (Thursday-Saturday nights), feast on Locro, a hearty stew of the Argentinian Gaucho with squash, beef, hominy and more or Pescado del Dia (fish of the day).

Dorrego's is located on San Antonio's River Walk.

Dorrego’s is located on San Antonio’s River Walk.

Courtesy of Visit San Antonio

Whatever you order, save room for cream of lemon with red fruits and white chocolate ice cream, a sublime dessert of lemon curd with seasonal berries and white chocolate ice cream. If you love tequila, the offerings from the Naranja Tequila and Mezcal Bar (also located at Hotel Valencia), are sure to please.

find it: 150 E. Houston St., San Antonio, TX 78205

Mixtli

For an epicurean experience, make a reservation at Mixtli which recently received a James Beard Award nomination for Outstanding Restaurant in 2022 (the sole Texas restaurant in that category) and Outstanding Pastry Chef for Sofia Tejeda’s incredible work. The Chef’s table seats 12, and you’ll linger over eight courses with beer, wine, spirits (Sotol, tequila, Mezcal, to name a few) and fresh waters.

Diners at Mixtli can expect to find new items on the menu every 45 days.

Diners at Mixtli can expect to find new items on the menu every 45 days.

Courtesy of Visit San Antonio

The menu changes every 45 days, featuring fare from various parts of Mexico, made with indigenous ingredients and pre-Hispanic techniques. Chayote heart salad with green apple, white anchovy and citrus vinaigrette and duck tamal with black bean Bordelaise, anyone?

find itAddress: 812 S. Alamo St., Suite 103, San Antonio, TX 78205