Texas has beautiful cities across the state with pockets of great areas where the restaurants set the tone for this fantastic expereince. San Antonio has many of the areas that are a huge draw for tourists and natives alike. Today we key in on the riverwalk (Paseo del Rio) that winds below the city with these subtereanean entries into some of the finest hotels San Antonio has to offer, and is lined with restaurants offering a whole host of cuisines.
The river began as a project preceeding the 1921 flood that lead to several major renovations including the 1938 “San Antonio River Beautification Project”, which began the evolution of the site into the present 2.5-mile-long River Walk. Crucial funding came in 1939 under the WPA which resulted in the initial construction of a network of some 17,000 feet (5,200 m) of walkways, about twenty bridges, and extensive plantings including some of the bald cypress (others are several hundred years old) whose branches stretch up to ten stories and are visible from street level.
In 1981 the Hyatt Regency San Antonio opened with a new pedestrian connector that linked Alamo Plaza to the River Walk with concrete waterfalls, waterways and indigenous landscaping. This river extension actually flows from Alamo Plaza into the San Antonio River through the atrium of the hotel. This connector not only allows the hotel to market itself as being on Alamo Plaza and on the River Walk, but it provides the city with an urban park that connects the city’s two largest tourist attractions.
We have an extensive list of restaurants to enjoy while strolling the river.
Las Ramblas: Savor a truly unique dining experience at Las Ramblas aside their exhibition-style kitchen or outside on the beautiful banks of the River Walk. Inside the Hotel Contessa, this restaurant specializes in Spanish cuisine and regional American classics.
Lüke: Lüke is acclaimed chef John Besh’s first restaurant outside of New Orleans, featuring bistro specialties created from farm-fresh ingredients. The authentic Old World cuisine combines classic German and French cooking techniques with a New Orleans touch.
Ocho (Hotel Havana): Enjoy small plate delicacies in the steel and glass conservatory at the historic Hotel Havana, designed by innovative hotelier Liz Lambert. Menu items offer a new approach to traditional Latin fare, such as sweet plantain griddle cakes with Mexican crema and blueberries,
Menu favorites include toasted bruschetta, calamari fritto, eggplant Josephine, Greek salad, huitlacoche quesadillas or shrimp and crab campechena.
NAO Latin Gastro Bar: Run by The Culinary Institute of America, Nao Latin Gastro Bar is a culinary tapestry of Latin ingredients, traditions and culture.
Restaurant Gwendolyn: In this unique restaurant, enjoy fine dining with local, organic and seasonal ingredients. Everything is handmade using only preparation methods and recipes that were available from 1850 and before.
Café Ole: Café Ole’s menu features the Ultimate Fajita and 60 oz. margarita, along with specialties such as the Texas Size Chimichanga and Chicken Acapulco. Enjoy riverboat dining on Friday or Saturday nights.
Casa Rio: Casa Rio opened on the River Walk in 1946, and their best-selling combination plate features a cheese enchilada, tamale, crispy beef taco, chili con carne, guacamole salad, chili con queso, Mexican rice and refried beans.
The Iron Cactus: The Iron Cactus serves up flavorful and innovative Mexican food such as pumpkin-crusted chicken and grilled veggie tacos. Sip a Mexican martini or premium hand-crafted margarita in the Agave Room Bar, with more than 100 types of tequila available.
La Gloria: Chef Johnny Hernandez’s menu includes local favorites such as tacos de trompo al pastor and quesadillas, as well as harder-to-find specialties such as tlayudas from Oaxaca, panuchos from the Yucatan and volcanic molcajete dishes served simmering at your table.
The Original Mexican Restaurant: Spicy and fresh homestyle Mexican dishes such as pork tamales and carne guisada star on the menu at The Original. For a sweet ending, order the Kangaroo Court cheesecake.
Rio Rio Cantina: Sizzling fajitas are a signature dish at lively Rio Rio, where generous portions rule. Flautas, enchiladas and quesadillas are among the many other featured items, several with vegetarian options.
Rita’s on the River: Texas-sized margaritas are Rita’s claim to fame, but be sure to try the tomatillo sour cream chicken enchiladas, chile relleno or freshly made flan.
Citrus: (Hotel Valencia Riverwalk): The imaginative, contemporary menu focuses on the finest fresh ingredients available locally. Entrees include pan-roasted South Texas antelope, grilled Texas quail and mesquite Texas farm chicken. Lunch features a paella bar.
The Fig Tree: In a historic building once occupied by the French consulate, the Fig Tree’s traditional steaks and seafood are even more enjoyable on the elegant outdoor terrace overlooking a quiet bend in the River Walk.
Las Canarias: (La Mansion del Rio): Dine in the most romantic of settings, featuring Las Canarias signature items such as heirloom tomato salad, chateaubriand of beef tenderloin, and hand-made margaritas.
Ostra: (Mokara): Executive Chef Benjamin Knack oversees a sustainable seafood menu of exotic new dishes as well as classic favorites. Don’t miss the oyster bar, filled with a variety of the freshest oysters, clams, crab, shrimp and ceviche.
County Line River Walk: The County Line is a great place to enjoy ice cold beers and frosty margaritas at the open-air bar. Inside, the funky Texas roadhouse atmosphere makes you feel like you’re in the Texas Hill Country. Enjoy the highest quality smoked barbecue ribs, brisket, sausage and chicken with traditional sides of cole slaw, potato salad and beans.
The Granary ‘Cue & Brew: At lunch, pair sliced brisket, pulled pork and house-made sausage with house, seasonal and craft beers. Bread and pickles are made on site. At dinner, try the grit fritters with red-eye mayonnaise and Szechuan duck leg with poached egg.
“Q” (Hyatt Regency): From this state’s beloved pit-smoked meat to Argentinean churrascaria, sample barbeque from around the globe.
Osteria Il Sogno: Chef Andrew Weissman’s Il Sogno offers a casual setting featuring Italian fare found in the trattorias and osterias of Rome and Florence. Floor-to-ceiling windows showcase chefs rolling and cutting fresh pasta daily.
Paesanos Riverwalk: Paesanos breaks the boundaries of traditional Italian cuisine to explore modern Mediterranean specialties, including the legendary Shrimp Paesano and pizzas piled high with grilled chicken and artichokes.
Zocca Cuisine d’Italia: Zocca offers a contemporary twist on Italian food and libations in a casual yet refined setting along one of the most scenic sections of the River Walk.
Biga on the Banks: Owned by nationally renowned and James Beard nominated chef Bruce Auden, Biga offers fine dining founded in the classics but reaching into Texas and Southwest regional cuisine.
Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden: Featuring Texas ranch-style cuisine on a menu of grilled items from local farms and markets, Boiler House invites you to pair your entree with extraordinary wines from around the world.
Boudro’s: This “Texas bistro” has great steaks, blackened shrimp and more, but don’t miss the guacamole made fresh tableside.
The River’s Edge Cafe: Serving American and South Texas inspired cuisine, this approved site for Culinary Institute of America Externs, supports next generation culinary artists.
Landry’s Seafood: Get a taste of Gulf Coast tradition with fresh seafood, succulent steaks and delectable desserts complemented by refreshments from Landry’s extensive drink menu.
Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery: Influenced by coastal classics, Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery’s menu features fried snapper throats and cracker crusted gulf redfish.
Bakery Lorraine: Bakery Lorraine features homemade quiche, sandwiches and their famous macarons.
Copper Kitchen Café: (Southwest School of Art): This popular lunch spot offers daily menu choices of a hot entrée with salad, a Mexican plate, a homemade soup selection, large salads, and a variety of sandwiches. Desserts are homemade daily.