Keeping Up with the Contemporary Restaurants of San Antonio

click to enlarge Keeping Up with the Contemporary Restaurants of San Antonio
Periphery, photo by Ismael Rodriguez

Periphery Chef Mark Weaver likes a challenge. After a seven-year tenure with the Jason Dady Restaurant Group he left to try his hand at opening his first solo venture. The opening wasn’t without hurdles — for one, he opened his restaurant inside the former home of Beat Street Coffee Co. and the Old Main Assoc. in Monte Vista, and he would go on to renovate the space to make room for Periphery.

Accessible and affordable, Periphery’s made inroads with its neighbors for its unique take on Italian and new American fare. Techniques and unexpected uses for ingredients keep the eatery exciting, whether you stop in for the inexpensive happy hour, roasted chicken, or any of their evolving salads that use local produce. 

With a welcoming dining room, and down-right magical patio that takes you out of the historic district and into your own little world, Periphery’s is still too much of a well-kept secret. Time to spread the word. 2512 N. Main Ave., (210) 966-0404,

20 Nine Restaurant & Wine Bar Dimly lit, and filled with just about all the wine your heart desires, this Alamo Quarry Market restaurant is a refuge from chains. Stop in for daily happy hour specials all day Sunday and Monday. 255 E. Basse Road, (210) 798-9463,

Barbaro Now helmed by chef Matthew Garcia, Barbaro is staying consistent with playful pies, technique-driven sides, and plain delicious desserts. Did we mention the extensive list of cocktails and quaint Monte Vista setting make this the perfect spot for late night ‘za? 2720 McCullough Ave., (210) 320-2261,

Biga on the Banks Bruce Auden’s menu includes such Southwest-Continental dishes as chicken-fried oysters with squid-ink linguini and pancetta, and grilled Texas quail, all of which can be paired to appropriate wines by the glass from Biga’s list. 203 S. St. Mary’s St., (210) 225-0722,

Bite Bite’s interior, with its horseshoe-shaped marble counter, glossy orange accent wall, and aubergine swivel chairs, has a retro-modern look that’s only reinforced by Astorga-Watel’s husband Damien’s riffs on pop-art paintings. The chefs now share a kitchen after Chez Vatel closed its doors this June. 1012 S. Presa St., (210) 532-2551,

Bliss Chef Mark Bliss (see what they did there?) opened his namesake dining room with evident attention to detail. From the elaborate charcuterie boards to the iconic chicken fried oysters and expert service, Bliss is is one of Southtown’s dining jewels. 926 S. Presa St., (210) 225-2547,

click to enlarge Keeping Up with the Contemporary Restaurants of San Antonio
Boiler House, photo by Dan Payton
Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden A true Texas original located at the Pearl, this wine-centric restaurant occupies the former “boiler house” which powered the adjacent brewery. The menu focuses on grilled items from local farms and markets, with a focus on “Texas ranch-style” cuisine. The menu includes small plates, individual main dishes and numerous items designed for sharing – all perfectly complemented by the extensive list of wines from around the world. 312 Pearl Pkwy., Building 3, (210) 354-4644,

Boudro’s A Current readers’ favorite for River Walk dining and for its renowned tableside guacamole, made fresh with plenty of spice and citrus, Boudro’s makes braving the downtown tourists fun, and the kitchen is helmed by chef Robbie Nowlin. 421 E. Commerce St., (210) 224-8484,

Bourbon Street Seafood Kitchen Creole and Cajun flavors meet a boozy happy hour filled with Bellinis and martinis. The Redland location is the most picturesque, but you can’t beat the appeal of the Riverwalk adjacent spot. Multiple locations,

Bowl & Barrel/General Public Bowling doesn’t have to be drab. At this Dallas-based eatery-meets-bowling alley, the bites are modern, fresh and tasty. The shared kitchen with General Public mean you can enjoy the same fare without all the lanes. 17619 La Cantera Pkwy., Suite 102, (210) 920-1102,

Cappycino’s/Cappy’s Both staples of Alamo Heights, both for a good reason. Though a fire threatened to shut down the beloved eateries a few years back, the staff used it as a reason to rebuild their kitchen. Cappycino’s packs in solid lunch options, and the adjacent Cappy’s lets you indulge in fine dining the SA-way with chicken and duck liver pâté, rack of lamb and PEI mussels. 5011 Broadway, (210) 828-9669,

click to enlarge Keeping Up with the Contemporary Restaurants of San Antonio
Photo by Casey Howell
The Cookhouse Chef Pieter Sypesteyn keeps Tobin Hill happy with this Nawlins-inspired kitchen. From po’boys at lunch filled with blackened catfish and barbecue shrimp to dinner with pan-roasted trout, smoked duck breast and a redfish on the half shell, Cookhouse has wow diners since 2014. 720 E. Mistletoe Ave., (210) 320-8211,

Cured Since 2013, Cured has helped cement the Pearl as a dining destination. The charcuterie is made in-house, produce is sourced from local farms and Cured’s dinner service means chef Steve McHugh and his staff can really stretch their legs with a collection of small plates (bison tartare, anyone?), large plates (rabbit cassoulet for bigger appetites) and recently an heirloom corn five-course tasting menu. 306 Pearl Pkwy., Suite 101, (210) 314-3929,

Feast A contemporary gem on the Southtown corridor, the Feast here is for all of the senses. The modern and glamorous décor sets the scene for cocktails and a fun twist on familiar classics, like lettuce-wrapped barbacoa, sought-after macaroni and cheese and goat cheese-stuffed grape leaves. 1024 S. Alamo St., (210) 354-1024,

The Granary ’Cue & Brew Sure, we could have listed this restaurant under barbecue, but that would be selling it short. With quality Texas ’cue served up for lunch and gastronomy-influenced dishes for dinner such as the 44 Farms beef clod with coffee quinoa crunch or grilled veal breast and crispy sweetbreads, The Granary is more dress up than down. 602 Avenue A, (210) 228-0124,

Grayze on Grayson From the casual “Cheeks n Buns” starter to the shockingly tasty roasted cauliflower, Grayze keeps surprising us with new flavors and a solid list of vegetable-forward items. Don’t miss this patio come happy hour. 521 E. Grayson St., (210) 481-8776,

Las Canarias Chef Camron Woods has stepped up the service and menu at Las Canarias, and the new American menu with masterful takes on seafood add to this River Walk setting and make for a romantic dinner or escapist lunch. Omni La Mansion del Rio, 112 College St., (210) 518-1000,

Liberty Bar The tilted building is but a faint memory. This salmon-tinged Southtown eatery is rich in history and locally sourced menu items, from the hefty bread and creative appetizers to the lightly charred quail in piquant green mole and Virginia Green’s chocolate cake. Stop by on Monday’s for half-off bottles of wine. 1111 S. Alamo St., (210) 227-1187,

El Machito Meats of all sorts can be found at chef Johnny Hernandez’s Quarry restaurant. Stop in for cecina, pollos al carbon, cabrito and tortas and tacos from La Gloria’s menu at this hacienda-style restaurant in the heart of San Antonio. 7300 Jones Maltsberger Road, (210) 314-3971,

Max’s Wine Dive Now helmed by chef Halston Connella, MWD is keeping things fresh within its American comfort food-centered menu. Get there early for brunch when the chicken and waffles (and bubbles) are flowing. 340 E. Basse Road, Suite 101, (210) 444-9547,

Mixtli Opened in 2013, Mixtli (or Nahuatl for cloud) ups the ante on multi-course dinners. Led by chefs Diego Galicia and Rico Torres, this progressive restaurant shares beautiful dishes, all telling the story of Mexico one region at a time, for 12 guests at a time, inside a renovated train boxcar. 5251 McCullough Ave., (210) 338-0746,

Rebelle Before Battalion, there was Rebelle. The restaurant focused on French techniques and flavors established by Feast inside a hotel setting. The curries are a all-time favorite, as is the char-grilled Spanish octopus. 300 E. Travis St., (210) 352-3171,

Restaurant Gwendolyn Old is new again. SA’s pristine locavore has added a la carte options to their prix-fixe offerings making it that much more accessible for diners to check out this award-winning fare. 152 E Pecan, Ste 100, (210) 222-1849,

Silo Elevated Cuisine An elegant update on shrimp and grits and signature chicken-fried oysters are among the favored dishes at this restaurant and bar. The Dominion area is home to the latest iteration, Silo Terrace Oyster Bar and it’s as delicious as it sounds. Multiple locations,

Signature Start with the five-piece house-made charcuterie selection. Presented on an antique wooden paddle, it’s a marvel of composition and a textbook example of varying tastes and textures from salty to sweet and plush to rustic. The baguette is one of the best in town, the poached pear pairs beautifully with the familiar foie gras torchon … and if the paté de campagne seemed a tad under-seasoned, some exquisite pickled black trumpet mushrooms more than made up for it. These and more discoveries are why you should head to Andrew Weissman’s latest endeavor. 16401 La Cantera Pkwy., (210) 247-0176,

Supper Hotel Emma’s resident restaurant is led by chef John Brand (formerly of Las Canarias). The Midwesterner is packing in new American flavors from breakfast through dinner. A visit requires a taste of the cinnamon toast waffle topped with goat cheese, or a bite of the English muffin French toast. Lunch means vegetable-forward plates and sandwiches, while dinner continues that trend in resplendent fashion. You can’t go wrong with the smoked crispy quail or braised pork with charred cabbage, almonds, raisings and mustard. 136 E. Grayson St., (210) 448-8351,

Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery Great beer (brewed by Les Locke) pairs well with solid bites from chef Jeffrey Balfour and staff. From shrimp boils with zesty Crystal dressing, to double-stacked burgers, and buttery pretzels, Southerleigh’s a catch-all for Pearl-goers in search of seafood, brunch, a really great michelada, a place to cool off with a cream ale or a place to celebrate that promotion. The historic brewhouse, now one of our favorite restaurants, serves as a perfect backdrop for any occasion. 136 E. Grayson St., Suite 120, (210) 455-5701,


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