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HELP for San Antonio High Quality Dining

We will be visiting San Antonio TX for the first time. We are New Yorkers who normally travel to Europe or the West Coast and we like creative local cuisine using high quality fresh ingredients. We'd like a bit of local flavor but prefer fine dining - NOT ribs or BBQ..

Any suggestions?

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  1. Il Sogno or Sandbar at the Pearl Brewery- Both owned by Andrew Weisman, a Beard nominated chef.

    Bin 555- Small, Spanish influenced small plates. Jason Dady, the owner, has several restaurants, all of which are good including Tre Trattoria and his new tapas rest downtown.

    There's really not much in the way of fine dining since Le Reve closed.

    1. Well ... if SAEyeDoc says so ... you can take it as God's Truth ... he may not be able to keep Lackland AFB separated from Randolph AFB ... but he knows good grunts. And the locals pee in their pants with excitement if they can get a reservation at Il Sogno or Sandbar.

      I'm a plebe ... and I kinda like Grey Moss Inn ... for their wine list & summer patio dining w/ a good aged cow. And aside from my date, their aged beef is darned good as well.

      And now that I've done my best to offend everyone, I'll bow out. :-)

      1 Reply
      1. re: EdLagniappe

        Or, that is, they WOULD pee in their pants, since Il Sogno doesnt take reservations!

      2. you need to try the lodge restaurant of castle hills. by far one of my best experiences here in san antonio as far as fine dining.

        9 Replies
        1. re: Pandabear13

          Good suggestion! I haven't been there in years, but it was always excellent.

          SAEyeDoc ... am sure you are right that no reservations are needed @ Il Sogno ... I'm waiting til the newness wears off & it doesn't have the line at the door (that I've heard about) when it opens. And right now I don't have anyone I'd want to take there for dinner anyway.

          1. re: EdLagniappe

            It would be nice if they did take reservations at Il Sogno/Sandbar. I've only been once for dinner, got lucky with a table right away at 7:30ish on a Sat night, there was a line shortly after. I haven't been back, or tried Sandbar since they moved as I have no patience for waiting.
            Another great place, although not fine dining and also doesn't take reservations is Dough. I know there' s great pizza in NYC (having lived there myself), but Dough is as good as any, if you like authentic certified Napoletana Pizza. www.doughpizzeria.com

            1. re: saeyedoc

              Thanks re: Dough ... it's in my PDA now. Surprised to see their lunchtime prices are greater than dinner prices for some items. First time I've run into that.

              Can't say I know Neopolitan pizza ... during my time in Italy the pizzas were all thin crust w/ a little marinara decoration ... nothing more ... only antipasti.

              Nice to see they have Pineto Brachetto D' Acqui - Piemonte to have w/ desserts.

              And for folks who like a sweet bubbly, the Rosa Regale would also be good with desserts .... and probably a good contrast w/ speecy spicey foods.

              On another topic ... I'm building an Adobe Oven for my new property ... maybe seeing theirs will help in my design :-) Heck ... 90 sec cooking time is faster & better than a microwave :-)

              Thanks again for the suggestion, I'd forgotten about Dough.

              1. re: saeyedoc

                Not that I have anything bad to say about Il Sogno or Dough, but you're going to send a group of New Yorkers to an Italian place and a pizza restaurant? Really?

                1. re: Bulldozer

                  Where would you send them? There is no place that I know of that serves high end cuisine of the likes of Le Reve. I can't think of one place that does tasting menus with wine selections like they did.
                  SA's best local food happens to be Mexican and BBQ, neither of which qualifies as fine dining.

                  1. re: saeyedoc

                    Those are all good points. Surprised a steakhouse hasn't been suggested yet. Bohanan's looked like a white table cloth-type place when I walked past it, I think they'd qualify.

                    Saw a good review for The Lodge here too:
                    http://www.chow.com/restaurants/30889...

                    1. re: air

                      Bohanan's is good, but very overpriced. Another type of food that NYC has plenty of.

                  2. re: Bulldozer

                    yeah, I doubt there's a restaurant in town in the same class as Le Reve. No shame in that; probably was the best restaurant in Texas.

                    I've heard great things about the Lodge as well.

                    Is Biga on the Banks any good anymore? It's been years for me.

                    1. re: Bulldozer

                      Biga's was terrific in October....our table ordered venison, quail, lamb chops, steak.......everything was truly delicious.

            2. Haven't had the pleasure of dining at The Lodge, the first of Jason Dady's restaurants. AFAIK, no reservations at Il Sogno or Sandbar.

              1. +1 on Sandbar i love that place!!! to bad i dont travel to SA anymore....

                1. Were I on death row, and given my choice of a final meal, it would be Paesano's shrimp Paesano. The ambience is also quite elegant, without being pretentious. A San Antonio institution.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: archon41

                    Paesano's is decent, but not what I'd recommend to NY'ers looking for high end dining. I think Il Sogno would be a much better choice for italian.

                    1. re: saeyedoc

                      You could try Insignia in the Fairmount Hotel on S. Alamo and I quite like Las Canarias and Pesca on the Riverwalk.

                      1. re: saeyedoc

                        How about Silo? Haven't been there ... heard tell they had decent food ... but is it up to hoity toity standards?

                        As to steak, I thought I mentioned Grey Moss Inn ... darned good aged beef when I was last there. And they had a great wine list at that time ... but it's been a while. Don't know how it's doing these days.

                        I had a friend who raved about The Fig Tree ... and then I treated one of their chefs who thought their prices were obscene. But is the food all that?

                        Too bad Castle Avalon no longer opens it's dining room to outsiders ... I had the best lamb chops in my life up there a handful of years ago. They have a lovely, intimate dining room.

                    2. El Sogno at the Pearl Brewery. Great Italian food. Or... Le Frite, South of down town on Alamo St. Great French/Belgium food.

                      1. As many others have suggested, Il Sogno is a must. I also quite like Boardwalk Bistro. The atmosphere is more casual than upscale but the menu is more innovative and fresh than many other area restaurants. Someone mentioned Tre Trattoria but I have always left there disappointed. I also like Wildfish and Bohanan's.

                        1. As you can see from the volume of responses, you've got a lot to choose from. Important question is where are you staying (or do you have transportation)and for how many days. From recent experience, I can heartily recommend Sogno and Sandbar (early arrival almost guarantees an available table). You can get the Jason Dady (Lodge at CH, Bin 555, Tre)experience by doing lunch at Insignia (in the Fairmont Hotel downtown-you need a car for the others). I'd had service related issues with Biga on the Banks in the remote past which were completely erased by a fabulous chef's table experience last month (ask for Colby). Silo (Alamo Heights or 1604) would probably fit thebill as well.
                          If you're locked into downtown: Bohanans (non-chain steakhouse), Oloroso (mediterranean), Le Midi(french), Azuca (latin fusion). Grey Moss Inn is delightful (make sure you have GPS in your car). Almost all of these have websites-hope you enjoy your visit and let us know what you thought.