Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Texas >
Oct 19, 2008 06:11 PM

Phx Hound Needs San Antonio Fine Dining Recs

We are two Phoenix “hounds,” who will be in San Antonio in two weeks: starting Oct. 31. We’re staying at the Marriott downtown, 555 South Alamo Street. Many of our nights are taken up with events, but we’re looking for near-by recs. for three nights, Friday (later, as we are flying in), Sunday and Monday. We’ll not have an auto, but do not mind “cabbing it.”

Decades ago, we used to come over from New Orleans, for Fiesta Week and ate all over town. Unfortunately, we moved much farther away, so only got into SA every few years. These were most often trips from Denver to New Orleans, but we discovered La Fogata in the NW quadrant. We’d actually drive out of our way, just to dine there. I do not know if they are still in operation, or if they are still any good. Also, for us, they are a bit far away.

I’ve poured over the SA recs. on the board, but most of the folk are looking for a quick and inexpensive taste of SA. Except for Friday night, I’d like to find the best “fine-dining” in this general downtown area. I have no budgetary concerns, and, as I said, cabbing it is definitely an option. The restaurant gets extra points, if they have a really good wine list.

For Friday, I’d love to get a rec. for a great higher-end Tex-Mex restaurant. Going back to before most of you were probably born, La Paloma used to be a good one. I did not find mention of it, except for the “boat ride.” While a boat down the river is nice, I’ve done that a dozen times. I’d rather go for the food. Also, it has been too many years, since we have had really good Tex-Mex. In Colorado (for 20 years) it was an amalgam of New Mexican, Sonoran and just a hint of Tex-Mex. In Phoenix, no one even knows what Tex-Mex is. Everything here is Sonoran, Sinoloan or Bajan. Good, but not anywhere near the same (or as good, IMO). Even in the threads on “Mexican cuisine” on the SW board, very few understand what I am talking about, when I try to define “Tex-Mex.” Obviously, the wine list for the Friday night restaurant will not be that important, unless they have some big, juicy Zinfandels, like Turley or Biale, or a Central Coast Pinot Noir, that thinks it’s a Syrah, like Sea Smoke or Brewer-Clifton. Otherwise, we’ll be very contented with the Margaritas.

As far as the cuisine for Sunday and Monday nights, we are open to any cuisines. We are not in the least adverse to “jackets required,” especially as we’ll be in tux and gown during some of the events. Price is no object, but great food and really good wine are.

Thank you for your considerations and recommendations. I promise to do full reviews.


La Fogata
2427 Vance Jackson Rd, San Antonio, TX 78213

La Paloma Riverwalk
215 Losoya St, San Antonio, TX 78205

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oops, the Marriot Link did not take. Let's try again, shall we? Sorry about that.


    Marriott Hotels Resorts Suites: Plaza San Antonio-A Marriott Hotel S
    555 S Alamo St, San Antonio, TX 78205

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      PS Forgot to add that we are not fans of Morton's, Ruth's or the like. Now, a chef-driven, free-standing steakhouse is not out of the question, but we have so many and also attend too many dinners at "steakhouses," in general, that they are not where we head, while traveling.


      1. re: Bill Hunt

        We have just returned from a week in SA, staying at the Marriott Rivercenter. Often mentioned is La Reve, which we did not go to. For relative fine dining, we very much enjoyed Pesca for fish-both fish & shellfish are flown in. Good wine and service, just slightly away from the busiest part of the Riverwalk. Also enjoyed Citrus in the Valencia Hotel, near the Riverwalk where a group of nine of us had a private room. Nice take on American classics, great wine and service again, though food was a bit salty (common problem). Wonderful ambience. The two of us also very much enjoyed some French-influenced specials at Las Canarias in La Mansion. Was a little bit disappointed in the Tex-Mex scene-especially thinking you might also being from PHX, where I spend a lot of time with family. Not sure anything qualified as "high-end". We went to La Fogata-lot of fun, music, nice garden setting; decent food. Should have looked a little closer at the map, as it involved an expensive taxi ride from the Riverwalk area. Likewise, for La Paloma Blanca, in the Alamo Heights area. Was touted as some of the best in SA. The ceviche was certainly good, other things just okay. Maybe we were put off again by the long taxi ride and that we were sandwiched between two tables of very annoying neighbors. Went to Mi Tierra for breakfast and that was decent; good bakery. Also had a good lunch at El Mirador within walking distance of downtown-near the convention center. Think the best Tex-Mex we had was at Rosario's down where St. Mary's meets S. Alamo-our personal favorite. Can't help you with steak, as we are not red meat eaters. We took a dinner cruise tour and were greatly disappointed. Think most of those tours don't reflect the likely quality of the restaurants that cater them- I won't therefore mention the place. We did a regular boat tour during the day which was a better tour. Could have taken a tour at night for the ambience, gone to a nice restaurant and for a total of much less money, had a better time and meal. Best of luck.

        1. re: markabauman


          Thank you for the response. You have given me more than enough to work with for this short trip. I'll get busy with some Web searches for the spots that you enjoyed most. Las Canarias in La Mansion was also recommend by a friend, who has a satellite office in SA, so it will be one of my choices.

          I appreciate you efforts and your list of restaurants.

          Will report with reviews of the spots that we do choose,


          1. re: Bill Hunt

            I stay at La Masnion everytime I am in SA. The food at Las Canairas is wonderful. Beautiful setting, but go later after the pool is closed.

      2. re: Bill Hunt

        An excellent and very unusual Mexican restaurant is Ernesto's, 2559 Jackson Keller Rd. The phone number is (210) 344-1248. We live in San Antonio and we take all of our frequent quests here. It is a family-run restaurant in an unlikely location. The food, service and ambiance are excellent and the prices are quite reasonable given the quality of the cuisine.

        Here are some reviews:

      3. Bill,

        I spend so much time in San Antonio, it is like a 2nd home to me. In fact, we may pass each other at the airport as I arrive on the 30th and leave on the 31st.

        For fine dining in San Antonio, do not miss Le Reve. It is truely the Texas version of the French Laundry. Jackets are required for men and plan on spendng 4 hours dining.

        Andrew and Maureen, the owners of Le Reve have opened an Italian restaurant. Il Sogno. I am not sure if it is open yet or not.

        29 Restaurant and Wine Bar located at the Quarry is exceptional. They have incredible food and great wine.

        Biga on the Banks is located on the Riverfront and is an excellent choice as well.

        One piece of advice, I see you are staying at the Marriott. IF that is on eht eRiverfront, make sure you ask for a room, NOT on the Riverfront. I made the mistake of staying in a room on the Riverfront my first time going there and I got absolutely NO sleep. It is like sleeping in a room on Bourbon Street. When the partying ends the cleanup begins and is just as loud as the partying.

        6 Replies
        1. re: chickstein

          Agreed; when we were dining at Pesca, across from La Mansion, we saw the balconies at the hotel and thought initially it might be nice to sit out and look at the boats go by, etc., but then we realized the noise factor would totally ruin the potential for a little piece and quiet. We stayed on the 25th floor of the Marriott Rivercenter and could still hear music!
          Didn't get to Biga, but that also was highly recommended. Next time.

          1. re: chickstein


            Thank you, as always. I have not seen you around much lately. I hope it is that you have just been too busy.

            Any recommendation that you make is fine with me. You have never steered me wrong yet - batting 1.000.

            It sounds like it must be Las Canairas, and Le Reve. I'll try and secure reservations tomorrow. Jackt is no problem for me. Heck, I even travel with one to Hawai`i.

            If you see an older gentleman with an attractive younger wife, and he's wearing a dbl-breasted blazer with a Burberry pockt square, stop him, because that will be me. Now, I just have to remember that particular pocket square! Flying into SA on 31st.

            I'll review these two on this board.

            Thanks for all of the recs.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              Boudro's on the Riverwalk is certainly a favorite of mine. I'm unsure of their wine list but can say that they make superb mojitos and prickly pear margaritas.

              It is our "must go to" place while in SA.

              My cousin raves about the guacamole that is made table side.

              Boudro's Texas Bistro On The Riverwalk
              421 E Commerce St Ste A, San Antonio, TX 78205

              1. re: onatrip

                Just drove back to Houston after better part of a week in San Antonio, we went to Boudro's four times, mainly for a quick snack and glass or three of wine. Dining on the river is a minefield, but Boudro's was very good. Also had some good basic Tex-Mex at Los Barrios on Blanco about a fifteen minute drive from the river. Will post trip to Luling and Lockhart manana.

                1. re: James Cristinian

                  Forgot to mention, we had guacamole every time, it is very good, ask for extra peppers if you like it spicy like we do.

            2. re: chickstein

              OK, it is Le Reve (since you mentioned the 4 hr. dining, we went for an early seating), and Las Canarias. Reservations confirmed, and reviews to follow.

              If Le Reve is one-half of what BBF was, we're so looking forward to the experience.

              I greatly appreciate all of the recommendations. It's too bad that we have two black-tie events, especially as they'll probably have "rubber chicken," and 2$Chuck for the wine. However, one of the previous events was at Vidalia, in DC, and the wines were great. Maybe we'll get lucky again. Still, the events cut into our personal dining time and we have to be get back to PHX for another event - bummer!

              Thanks everyone,


            3. A big thank you to all, who responded. The event and the dining were very good, to great, depending on which part of it you wish to note.

              The full reviews are:

              for anyone caring to see where we dined, and how it all was.