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mazman

Restaurants in San Antonio/Austin

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Some friends and I are coming to Austin and San Antonio for 3 days and looking for top places to eat in the two cities. We want great food in a reasonably casual setting, with a good wine list also. Two of the night we are in town are su and mo. Any suggestions welcome.

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I'm the restaurant event director for the University of Texas cooking club.

Here are some picks:

Driskill Grill (high-end New American)

Vespaio (contemporary southern Italian)

T&S Seafood (Cantonese Chinese)

Uchi (contemporary sushi)

Austin Chronicle (www.auschron.com) is your friend.

PM for more specifics.

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I second T&S Seafood (not just Cantonese) on N. Lamar. From early lunch until after midnight, tables turn quickly. Vietnamese menu items are allure for me, although I live 60 miles west of T&S. When I "go to town (Austin)," my conscience suspends control of my appetite. I point my car at T&S, knowing it will be open. And I know it will be more than worth the gas mileage.

Also would like to suggest Carmelo's, 504 East 5th St., 512.477.7497. Just Sicilian cuisine, in a surviving (this is Texas), historically-significant building. Seasonal specialties cooked with skill. Italian-intensive wine list (inspires me to continue educating myself) with many moderately-priced selections. Outstanding service. Thank God they don't do lunch. Sleep-deprived Austin drivers not equal to the challenge.

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In San Antonio....Sundays are hard, but Picante Grill on Broadway has great Mexican and Tex Mex food. Casual and affordable, worth the trip. Cappys brunch is very good as well. Biga ( on the Riverwalk) has a great brunch.

Mondays for lunch I would suggest Boardwalk Bistro. Very good food!

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Mazman-

Hope you have a great trip. In SA I'd HIGHLY recommend Liberty Bar. Simple, yummy food and a good wine list. If I'm not mistaken, bottles over $50 are discounted by 50% on Mondays. I've also heard good things about Sandbar downtown for fish dishes. Never been to Biga for Sunday brunch, but the handfull of dinners I'e had there have been awful. If you're looking for Tex Mex, I think Los Barrios is hard to beat. For lunch in SA, I like Panchito's and Teca Molina or Chris Madrid's for a delicious burger.

In Austin, I'd recommend Wink or Zoot (contemporary American) and maybe Asti, Vespaio (both Italian), or Fino (Spanish/Mediterranean). Wink, Asti and Fino are open Monday but closed Sunday and vice versa for Zoot and Vespaio. All are casual. Asti, Fino and Vespaio are probably a little bit more lively and Fino has a beautiful patio for outdoor dining. The Driskill is most definitely NOT casual and was a huge disappointment when I went. If you're in the mood for sushi, Uchi's a good choice but also closed Sundays. Uchi and Vespaio have pretty limiting reservations policies and long waits, but are well worth it.

For lunch in Austin, check out Vespaio's Enoteca, Tam Deli (if you've got a car - it's pretty far north) for delicious sandwiches and noodle dishes, or Starlite's new location downtown. Or you may want to check out our ridiculous Whole Foods at 6th and Lamar. It's probably like nothing you've ever seen.

On the road between SA and Austin if you have time to stop in Luling or Lockhart, there's great barbecue to be found.

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In SA I'd HIGHLY recommend Liberty Bar.  Simple, yummy food and a good wine list.  If I'm not mistaken, bottles over $50 are discounted by 50% on Mondays. 

I enthusiatically second this recommendation. Liberty Bar is probably my second favorite restaurant in San Antonio (behind what I believe is hands-down the best restaurant in Texas ---- Le Reve, which definitely doens't fit the "reasonably casual setting" criterion the original poster was looking for).

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Hi, this is my first posting. I, too am looking for good restaurants in San Antonio. I'm mainly interested in "fine dining". I'm not too concerned with price. Thanks, SusanP

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The one restaurant I've been to in SA is Silo. I liked it. Rather contemporary and innovative cuisine. Interesting building, very hip. What do other SA residents think about it?

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I've always liked Z'Tejas Grill (preferably the one near the arboretum) and Castle Hill Cafe in Austin. In San Antonio, Boudro's on the Riverwalk is very good.

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The best quality food choices in SA/Austin will always be those that include a casual atmophere. Excluding the obvious chains, Steak/Seafood, Tex-Mex and BBQ places:

In Texas there is only ONE fine dining restaurant of national note: San Antonio's Le Reve. Other dressy-ish quality places are Biga, Silo, Paesano's, Las Canarias, Anaqua Grill, Boudro's, Liberty, and Crumpets. Also, interestingly, San Antonio has a great collection of long-standing traditional restaurants (dozens of local favorites) representing all kinds of cuisines.

In Austin, dressy-ish quality places:

Café at the Four Seasons

Fonda San Miguel

Driskill Grill

Aquarelle

Suzis' China Grill

Jeffery's

Vespaio

Z'Tejas

Uchi

Starlite

Shoreline Grill

Hudson's on the Bend

Castle Hill

Wink

... and, Amy's Ice Cream :wink:

Caveat: if you come to SA/Austin and do NOT eat at a local Tex-Mex or local BBQ joint you will have missed the best in the world of those cuisines.

Edited for typos.


Edited by BigboyDan (log)

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What's Susie's? I've never heard of it, nor is it on the Austin Chronicle restaurant guide. Google didn't turn up anything either. Perhaps you have the name wrong or mixed it up with another city?

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Hi, this is my first posting. I, too am looking for good restaurants in San Antonio. I'm mainly interested in "fine dining". I'm not too concerned with price. Thanks, SusanP

Welcome to eGullet, Susan. In San Antonio, fine dining is not as prevalent as it tends to be in many other large cities. I agree with BigBoyDan that many of the better quality places in SA and Austin have a much more casual atmosphere.

That being said, you must go to Le Reve. It put every other restaurant I've tried in San Antonio to shame. It is truly a wonderful dining experience, easily on par with many of the best restaurants here in NYC.

For more fine dining options in SA, you might consider:

The Lodge of Castle Hills, fine dining in a very beautiful and secluded setting.

L'etoile, a French place located in Alamo Heights.

Biga on the Banks is also a nice option, and has the advantage of being located on the river, if you are curious to check out the Riverwalk a bit.

Bistro Time for the city's best crab cakes.

Not fine dining, but truly a special place that kind of just says "Texas" for me is Liberty Bar. Great food in a laid-back setting. It's my favorite place in the city besides Le Reve. (Two very different places)

Lastly, as BigBoyDan said, it would be a shame to be in SA or Austin without sampling some great Tex-Mex and Barbeque (just a short drive to Luling, or Lockhart, or the Salt Lick...).

Have fun, and eat well!

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Thanks for those suggestions. I'm glad I'm on the right track since I had already put Le Reve & Biga on my list to try. I'm hoping to get to some good Tex-Mex places although my friend who I'm meeting up with (& was raised in Dallas) isn't a Tex-Mex fan.

I'll have to report on my food finds after my trip.

Susan

Hi, this is my first posting. I, too am looking for good restaurants in San Antonio. I'm mainly interested in "fine dining". I'm not too concerned with price. Thanks, SusanP

Welcome to eGullet, Susan. In San Antonio, fine dining is not as prevalent as it tends to be in many other large cities. I agree with BigBoyDan that many of the better quality places in SA and Austin have a much more casual atmosphere.

That being said, you must go to Le Reve. It put every other restaurant I've tried in San Antonio to shame. It is truly a wonderful dining experience, easily on par with many of the best restaurants here in NYC.

For more fine dining options in SA, you might consider:

The Lodge of Castle Hills, fine dining in a very beautiful and secluded setting.

L'etoile, a French place located in Alamo Heights.

Biga on the Banks is also a nice option, and has the advantage of being located on the river, if you are curious to check out the Riverwalk a bit.

Bistro Time for the city's best crab cakes.

Not fine dining, but truly a special place that kind of just says "Texas" for me is Liberty Bar. Great food in a laid-back setting. It's my favorite place in the city besides Le Reve. (Two very different places)

Lastly, as BigBoyDan said, it would be a shame to be in SA or Austin without sampling some great Tex-Mex and Barbeque (just a short drive to Luling, or Lockhart, or the Salt Lick...).

Have fun, and eat well!

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