Mon Chou Chou San Antonio
Photograph: Courtesy Mon Chou Chou

The 12 best restaurants in San Antonio right now

Loosen those belts: these are the best restaurants in San Antonio

Contributors: Matt Charnock & James Wong

If you're hungry then get ready to eat well in San Antonio. Boasting some of the most diverse foods and cultures in Texas, the Alamo City rarely disappoints especially when it comes to food. While Houston and Dallas definitely have a fantastic food culture, San Antonio brings something different to the table. From reliable neighborhood haunts that are tried and true to new popular bistros and pop-ups, there is a little something here for everyone. A new wave of development over the last few years has meant a revitalization of certain areas of Pearl, which has become a culinary hub, among many others in the city.

Whether you're after authentic Texas barbecue, mouthwatering Tex Mex, Naples-style pizza, juicy Chinese char siu, or elevated Asian fusion, you will find it all at the best restaurants in San Antonio. After you eat your way through different neighborhoods, you'll want to check out all the exciting things to do in San Antonio while also hitting up its vibrant nightlife. Now that your taste buds are watering, here are the best places to eat in San Antonio right now.

Recommended: The best bars in San Antonio

This guide was updated by San Antonio expert Anni Irish. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

Best restaurants in San Antonio

1. Il Forno

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No one pizza is created the same, and while Neopotlaian style is the reigning queen in this down, ask any local what their favorite is, and you will get a different answer. But Il Forno tops many lists. From the hand-built brick oven, house-cured meats, and a rotating number of pickled items for their antipasti plates, this place makes a truly great pie. The pizzas are all one size fits all and are 12”, and the menu is diverse, offering a variety of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. Be sure to try the cleverly named "things found underground" with its fontana cheese and preserved lemon, among other unique ingredients, it's a menu standout. And with a great wine list and happy hour, Il Forno’s pizza is hard to beat!

2. Cured

Behind grand illuminated doors of a renovated historical building, Cured serves homemade, sustainable charcuterie, cured meats, and locally sourced produce and seafood from Gulf suppliers. Meats are cured for up to a year and offered with suggested beer, wine or cocktail pairings that enhance the flavors. Multiple James Beard Award finalist chef Steve McHugh’s mains reflect seasonality at its very best. Don't miss the Heritage Hog Poutine with Wisconsin cheddar curds and pickled cauliflower if it's your first time


3. Mon Chou Chou

Brasserie Mon Chou Chou is a serious straight-of-Paris situation. If it weren’t for the twang and extreme patio heat, you’d forget you were in Texas altogether. First, there’s the very French interiors—mosaic tiled floors, brass lights and petit seating, and then there’s the food. The Escargots, Chariot de Fromages and Demi-Poulet Roti are magnifique (translation: y’all will love the snails, cheese and roast chicken). Save both stomach and camera space for the gorgeous creme brulee and profiterole presentation at the end.

4. Best Quality Daughter

Not even a pandemic could stop this 2020 opening from being a runaway success. The pink bungalow is the town’s talk of Asian-American cuisine. Most of the mains are served family-style, such as the Hakka Stuffed Tofu and the ginormous Char Siu Roast Pork Shoulder that comes with heavenly little baos. Still, you’re welcome to go individually and have your own plate of Miso Ginger Noodles and Impossible Potstickers if you wish. A separate bar with Thai tea cocktails and a decent happy hour is worth coming in early for.

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Located in a restored firehouse (complete with a pole) in the center of Southtown, Battalion brings Italian fine dining to San Antonio. The grilled mackerel and red meat dishes are scrumptious, but the handmade pasta dishes—like fettuccine, lasagna and spaghetti—are the real standouts. House favorites like savory bucatini ai frutti di mare (with clams and octopus) and classic eggplant parmesan are served in smaller, tapas-style portions, so order two or three to ensure you leave full. 

6. The Jerk Shack

Opened in 2018, The Jerk Shack has risen up the culinary ranks recently, serving up the best Caribbean food in San Antonio and beyond. Nicola Blaque, owner and chef of the restaurant, was nominated for a James Beard award in 2023, and it's easy to see why in the food she is making. With its pretty extensive menu and daily specials, it's sure to please the crowd. Menu items include tacos on Monday with a choice of jerk or chicken or pork, jerk chicken wings with mac and cheese is available Friday through Sunday, and a delectable oxtail you can grab on Fridays through the weekend with sides like cabbage and carrots and rice and peas. Jerk Shack has that if you're after more traditional Caribbean fare, too. From flakey beef patties to complex, well-spiced curries, Jerk Shack has one tasty option after another.


7. Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood

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For native Texans, having a great streak can be a truly transformative experience. One place that has been serving up amazing cuts of meat for over 20 years is the famed steak house Bohanan's Prime Steaks and Seafood, located in downtown San Antonio. Combining the larger elegance of a steakhouse experience with a twist, Bonhanan’s is a local institution. While this can be a pricey experience, having their juicy filets from a mesquite grill is worth it, or you can split the well-portioned double-center cut pork chop with a date. Don't forget the seafood items here, which include some unique dishes such as a mesquite grilled red snapper that's topped with a decadent cream-based sauce featuring crab meat, scallops, and chanterelle mushrooms. 

8. Niki's Tokyo Inn

Opened in 1970, Niki's has become a stalwart when it comes to Japanese food within San Antonio's Edison neighborhood. Family owned and operated for 50 years, Niki's offers a killer sushi menu, such as maki and sashimi, among other popular items. Other dishes like Japanese-style barbecue beef are served with a side of kimchi, or even Agesakana, a perfectly fried whole fish topped with ponzu sauce. The tatami-style floor seating is a real treat for those who haven't experienced it before.


9. 2M Smokehouse

2M Smokehouse shows up on "best barbecue" lists time and time again, so it's no surprise that the line snakes around the East Side restaurant on the regs. The odd hours don't help; 2M is only open Thursday through Sunday, from 11am to 4pm (or earlier, if they sell out). Pitmaster Esaul Ramos gives a Tex-Mex spin to the more traditional brisket-centered barbecue common in south Texas. Expect dishes like chorizo and jalapeño cornbread in addition to long-standing favorites like baby back ribs, potato salads, and sausage. In a hurry? 2M Smokehouse's turkey sandwiches and tacos are perfect for on-the-go.

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When Vatel Bistro closed its doors in 2017, San Antonio's collective mourning for French food didn't have to last long. Spearheaded by former Vatel Bistro chef Damien Watel, Bistr09 dishes out modern French fare like steak frites and duck confit as well as new creations like elk burgers during the evening as well as a fantastic Sunday brunch that features one of the city's best Eggs Benedict. 


11. Pancake Joe's

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This is one of San Antonio’s go-to spots for breakfast and—you guessed it—pancakes. With over 20 different varieties, it can be a little overwhelming, but there’s no way to go wrong. And with short stacks for only $7.99 and a tall for $1 more, it's one of the best deals in town. If pancakes aren't your thing, try something else from the list of greasy-spoon classics—think omelets, sandwiches, and more.  

12. Mixtli

There’s no shortage of authentic Mexican restaurants in SA, but Mixtli is a cut above the rest, offering seasonal menu items made with the freshest ingredients. For a special occasion opt for the family-style tasting menu, which takes place at the 12-seat chef's table. The multi-course experience takes you on a culinary tour of Mexico. 

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