One of the best things about the exploding culinary scene in San Antonio is that it means there are more choices for lunch on any given day. Where once before you had your choice of tacos and enchiladas, now you can choose between a fresh, farm-to-table lunch, authentic Mexican food or something sinfully delicious in an outdoor venue.
Grayze is one of the newest restaurants to open its doors and the buzz is growing fast. Located across from the Pearl Brewery Community, this neighborhood eatery is great for lunch, dinner and drinks. Not only is it affordable farm-to-table eats, but it's simply delicious with no pretentiousness.
Rebelle is another new restaurant now offering lunch. However, this upscale restaurant is a bit more swanky and sophisticated. While dinner can stretch your wallet a bit, particularly because you want to sample a little bit of everything, lunch is completely doable and still decadent. Although let it be known Chef Bowers is proud of all the fresh salads they offer. Still it might be hard to resist the French Dip! Don't worry, no one will blame you once they see the pics.
For some savory, scratch-made Italian dishes, head to Fratello's, where the premium, authentic Italian ingredients are imported perfection and the desserts are irresistible!
The Clean Plate
While the concept of farm-to-table hasn't quite caught fire yet in San Antonio, the fact is, for many people as well as restaurateurs, farm-to-table is the only way to go. There's no doubt that while your farm-to-table choices are limited in the Alamo city, you can be sure that the ones we do have are nothing short of excellent.
The Clean Plate, which recently opened its doors, is at the top of this list and you'll see why. This small but cozy restaurant is dedicated to serving dishes made with locally-sourced and often organic ingredients that are as delicious as they are wholesome. They are doing more than their part to support local farms, ranches and other specialized vendors. They have no interest in using ingredients that are mass produced.
Owners Chef Cat New and Melissa Polinard are passionate about the importance of utilizing local, sustainable ingredients. All of their proteins are locally-sourced and humanly raised while 95% of their produce is locally-sourced. If that doesn't impress you, the flavors certainly will!
Whiskey Cake is the first farm-to-table chain to open in San Antonio. With it's sizable bar and dining area offering seasonal and often locally-sourced cuisine, it's hard to believe how affordable it is. The cool, industrial space, fresh-squeezed juices and famous Whiskey Cake the restaurant is named after are just a few of the highlights. The consistency, service and overall dining experience are superb here. While it's fresh and local, that doesn't always mean its low on calories. The OMG Burger is piled high with all kinds of fixin's, including a big onion ring, muenster cheese, roasted criminis and more. The rotisserie "farm bird" of spit-roasted chicken along with cauliflower, mustard greens and carrots or the grilled Texas striped Bass are equally delicious, healthy and affordable. You won't be disappointed, that's for sure. If you are looking to splurge, definitely go for the fried green tomatoes or deviled eggs. ((210) 236-8095)
This recent addition to San Antonio eateries is just one example of why San Antonio is a supreme vacation destination. The Luxury is Chef Andrew Weissman's (one of San Antonio's finest) newest restaurants. Located across the river from the San Antonio Museum of Art, this funky fun outdoor restaurant has a small but utterly delightful menu and an impressive list of beer and wine. There's no doubt it's all delicious, but you can't go wrong with the pulled-pig sandwich, slathered in grilled onions and red peppers or the crispy fish banh mi sandwich topped with dill, onion, cilantro, mint and, yes, even a sunnyside-up fried egg. Yum! For dessert, dip into the chocolate pudding with salted caramel and Chantilly cream. Are you in heaven yet? ((210) 223-3900)
Cascabel Mexican Patio
Cascabel's is one of the best-kept secrets in San Antonio and sports a wonderful outdoor patio with umbrella-covered tables. It's different than every other Mexican food restaurant in the city because it features regional specialties from interior Mexico. You won't find the ubiquitous refried pinto beans here or even flour tortillas. Cascabel's serves everything with thick yet soft homemade corn tortillas and refried black beans that have an exceptional amount of flavor. If you want to try something unique, order the Birria, which is a rustic goat stew. If you want to play it safe, order the Huaraches, which are corn tortillas smothered in refried black beans, shredded cabbage, your choice of meat, a spicy red chile sauce and sour cream. Cascabel's will stimulate your palette without over-stimulating your bank account! ((210) 212-6456)
Fratello's is part restaurant, part deli, part market and wholly delicious! It's a great place to grab a quick bite to eat that's not only fresh but affordable. Their dishes come from hearty family recipes that inspire memories of sitting around the kitchen table, talking, eating, laughing and loving life. The "American Dream" brought many immigrants to America, including their Italian grandparents, uncles and aunts that settled in San Antonio, Texas. Fratello's offers beloved Italian classics such as Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna, Linguine with meatballs and traditional tomato sauce. Fratello's makes all their breads from scratch. Plus, it's the only place in town you can get a bowl of Bucatini al' Amatriciana! They use premium imported Italian ingredients as well as locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. They also use Volpi, America's Oldest Maker of Dry Cured Italian Meats. You'll find a love for tradition and flavor in every Fratello's bite! ((210) 444-0277)
Panchos and Gringos Deli
Panchos and Gringos is an unexpected delight. Don't be put off by the dim surroundings. This family-owned and operated restaurant is truly a hidden gem. They offer a large menu of primarily breakfast foods and sandwiches. The food is inexpensive and always fresh and hot and the staff is extremely nice and attentive. For breakfast, you can enjoy a variety of omelets, pancakes, grits and scrumptious breakfast sandwiches, such as the Frenchie, HOBO, SOBO and BOBO. For lunch, enjoy their also creatively named and deliciously sandwiches such as the Brooklyn, which consists of hot grilled pastrami, hot grilled roast beef, melted cheese and house-made coleslaw on a lightly-toasted 12" bun from New York. You won't find breakfast potatoes this fantastic anywhere else in the city. The fries are also spot on. Enjoy! ((210) 227-6700)
Rebelle Restaurant in the newly-renovated St. Anthony Hotel has finally come to fruition and oh what a plump, juicy treat it is. Once, years ago, the restaurant at the St. Anthony was the place to go for dinner... and now it is once again! Executive Chef Stefan Bowers along with restaurateur Andrew Goodman, have already proven their talents at the successful Feast Restaurant in Southtown, San Antonio. With Rebelle, they're now well on their way to earning national attention. With Chef Bowers' gift for blending scintillating flavors and Goodman's aesthetic grace, this duo is a match made in heaven - which is what Rebelle looks like, if heaven is an enchanting, purple-hued dreamscape where the lusty libations and seductive cuisine never end. For Chef Bowers, it's all about the flavor. While the dishes are certainly thoughtfully put together, you quickly lose sight its beauty once you taste it. Chef Bowers calls it "high-risk" cuisine because if even one component of these highly composed dishes is not on point, it throws the entire dish off. The concept is shared plates of elegant, extraordinarily fresh and diverse cuisine. Rebelle is French for rebel and is their acknowledgement of the common use of French techniques used in the dishes, even though the menu is quite global. It's also the perfect description for these two men who are true to their own vision and no one else's. The menu includes the most succulent Char-Grilled Spanish Octopus with braised corona beans and basil pistou; a decadent 32 oz. Cote de Bouef (bone-in Ribeye with tarragon butter); perfectly-cooked Veal Sweetbreads with black trumpets and lobster knuckle butter and Rosemary and Red Pepper Spiced Goat Shank, to name a few. Bon appetit!
O'liva Healthy Local Cuisine & Tasting Room
O'liva is a new downtown restaurant offering unbelievably affordable, contemporary farm-to-table cuisine in a beautiful, relaxed atmosphere with a true open kitchen. They are working to revive the local food movement in a part of San Antonio that hasn't seen it for over a century, and doing it with an unrivaled pinache. Chef Chuck Hernandez, owner of O'liva, has accomplished an amazing feat with his new restaurant, located in the Plaza de Armas City Center building, just down the block from the historic Spanish Governor's Palace. Hernadez, who also owns Arugula Catering, practically invented the slow food movement. He's been sourcing locally and working with nearby farmers, ranchers and artisan food makers going on 30 years. It's nearly impossible to pin down the type of cuisine you'll find at O'liva, but it's always flavorful and creative. Hernandez describes it as country food, but in fact, the cuisine is quite international and features dishes from an array of countries, including Lebanon, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, India, the list goes on.Hernandez, also known as the Pesto King with a published book of recipes under his belt, is a traveler and lover of diverse cultures and cuisines. He's spent his entire career developing pestos with flavors that traverse the globe. Go for breakfast, lunch and dinner! ((210) 229-2638)
Housed in a renovated home next to the Pearl Brewery, The Granary 'Cue & Brew offers patrons a one-of-a-kind globally-inspired barbecue experience as well as hand-crafted, fresh-brewed beer, even root beer for the kids! While Central Texas barbecue is the backbone, The Granary provides a diverse look at the unique barbecue styles from around the world. Expect to find dishes you wouldn't anywhere else, such as the lamb shoulder with sweet pea pudding and smoked garlic, the brisket ramen with smoked shoya broth and collard greens, barbecued sweetbreads with lamb, kimchi, Asian pear and lemon grass and the spring salad with smoked trout. Is your mouth watering yet? ((210) 228-0124)
Grayze is one of the newest restaurants to appear on the culinary landscape in San Antonio, conveniently located across Broadway Street from the popular Pearl Brewery Community. Grazye, which also sports a bar and patio, is the first of hopefully many more restaurant concepts to spring from this new restaurant group. With 50 percent farm to table ingredients, this self-proclaimed approachable gourmet cuisine served in a barnyard shiek setting is expecting their affordable menu of familiar dishes will help establish Grayze as the new neighborhood hot spot and for good reason. The price point is almost unbelievable, making it the kind of place that a family could easily dine at a couple of times a week. Although they're certainly appealing to locals, the Pearl area is without-a-doubt the must-see neighborhood of San Antonio right now, and Grayze is the perfect place to dine to get a taste of the emerging food culture there. The menu ranges from mouth-watering burgers and scrumptious sides like frites with house-made ketchup and aioli, calamari with shishito chamoy and saffron aioli to heart happy vegetarian dishes like The Harvest, which comes with beets, green beans, asparagus, barley, farro, ricotta, almonds and preserved lemon vinaigrette. So good you don't miss the meat. Grazye also offers Happy Hour, which runs from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm from Monday through Saturday, and they also just they have also introduced breakfast and brunch on weekends. ((210) 481-8776)
About Kimberly Suta
Kimberly A. Suta is a professional freelance writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur with a background in marketing, advertising and social media. Her first business, Midnight Sun Innovations, involved a partnership with Regal Cinemas, the largest theatre chain in the world. Kimberly has written, directed and produced several films that have screened at Texas film festivals and she produces an annual film competition at the popular Alamo Drafthouse theatre. She recently published her second novel, The Rain Queen, which can be found on Amazon.com. Kimberly currently lives and works in San Antonio, Texas, a place of much inspiration to her.
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