OUR PICK: El Mirador, 722 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-9444
After closing for a number of months, El Mirador re-opened its doors in late December with a serious makeover that included murals by Garrett Mormando, artwork by Cruz Ortiz that lines the bar and a private dining room with late artist Chuck Ramirez’s work. While there’s plenty to ooh and ahh at inside, the patio helps bridge the gap between old El Mirador and new. Decked out with new tables, bright pink rope chairs, and a new layer of freshly crushed gravel, the patio here also has one of the best views of the Tower of the Americas (the restaurant was built in 1967, a year before the Hemisfair, and then-owners Julian Treviño Sr. and wife Maria made sure diners could see the newest addition to the SA skyline). It’s great for whiling away an afternoon, sippin’ on ginger-filled Diablos, noshing on 50 cent charro beans for happy hour, people watching or hosting a party with your closest friends.