It’s inevitable. Every San Antonio restaurant experiences a seasonal slump when locals spend long weekends tubing, watching double matinees in the theater, or otherwise avoiding melting like the villains of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Filling seats when everything is sticky is no easy task.
But almost 15 years ago, Culinaria had a lightbulb moment. What if you coax folks away from swimming pools with something impossible to resist: bargains on some of the best eating in town? It was a natural fit for a nonprofit promoting San Antonio as a food destination.
Now, the two annual editions of Restaurant Weeks are a tradition for local diners looking to strike a few eateries off their ever-growing list. From August 12-26, guests can enjoy prix fixe deals on brunch, lunch, and dinner ranging from $20-$55. The only hard part is figuring out where to make reservations.
Since it’s too darn hot to sweat over making decisions, we’ve made it easy. Break out the linen and stop by one of these seven can’t-miss spots. Then keep checking the Culinaria website for menu updates.
One of the biggest bargains during Restaurant Weeks, this Pearl district beauty is offering a $55 four-course dinner starting with crowd-pleasing openers like olive-brined octopus and chicken liver mousse. The mains will satisfy both seafarers and landlubbers. Choose from sautéed flounder, PEI mussels, roasted pork line, or balsamic-glazed chicken. A $25 three-course brunch is available too for a repeat visit on Sunday Funday.
Damien and Lisa Watel’s French brasserie has long been a favorite for unfussy but elegant dining. This summer’s Culinaria offering is no different, serving up hits like soupe de poisson (a rich fish-based broth) and skate wing and frites for $45. Dessert is a particular indulgence with a choice of chocolate mousse or a luscious crepe a l’orange.
Box Street Social
A few words of advice. Book a reservation at Box Street Social now. The dreaded heat bubble seemingly isn’t diminishing the Hemisfair hot spot's popularity one bit. Once the seating is secured, daydream about which $25 main will make the ultimate cut. The strawberry cheesecake French toast, topped with Graham cracker streusel and meringue, is particularly enticing.
Colette at the Phipps
We have so many questions about the standing tuna sandwich, one of the offerings for this newcomer’s $55 dinner. Google’s image search provided a half dozen whimsical examples, some defying the laws of physics. That’s reason enough to make Colette a Restaurant Weeks stop. A refreshing lemon posset dessert is just the cherry on top.
Go Fish Market
Play hooky and spend an afternoon nibbling on a $35 feast that starts with everyone’s favorite hot weather nosh, charcuterie. From there, guests can enjoy anchovy skewers, calamari and peppers, or fried fish. A bottle of crisp rosé is practically mandatory.
La Frite Belgian Bistro
La Frite, c’est chic! Live la vie boheme with this charming Southtown bistro’s $35 dinner. For the starter, the mussels are a must and are available in three mouthwatering varieties. The entrée is equally tempting. Opt for flaky rainbow trout or curry lamb shank.
Vegetarians will relish this Alta Vista spot’s $45 menu, which switches up in the middle of Restaurant Weeks. From August 17-19, guests can enjoy rigatoni Bolognese loaded with mushrooms, lentils, and aromatic sofrito. Then, they can return August 24-26 for a 100-layer lasagna stuffed with fresh tomato, zucchini, eggplant, and bechamel. Meatier options are available on both weekends.
Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine
Locals need little excuse to stop by this Alamo Heights favorite for lunch. For one, the famously punchy ’09 margarita has been starting parties for generations. Order two, then an Uber, and gird the stomach with a $20 lunch consisting of dishes like ceviche, pollo en salsa verde, and vanilla tres leches cake.