Bovino's/ Facebook

Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our weekly roundup of essential food news.

Openings and closings
A La Cantera steakhouse has abruptly snuffed out its flame. Via a May 23 social media post, Bovino's Brazilian Steakhouse & Seafood announced it had shuttered for "reasons out of [their] control." The restaurant, part of a Mexico-based chain, first opened in San Antonio as Bovino's Churrascaría, later rebranding. In late April, a newly added brunch service debuted to an enthusiastic response. But by May 10, the spot announced its website had been suspended. For fans of the restaurant, there is some hope on the horizon. The statement said the closure was "for the time being," hinting at a possible return.

A sudsy new concept is wagging into Castle Hills. According to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, Thirsty Pups Brewery & Bottle Shop will soon begin construction on a space in Castle Hills Market at 2211 NW Military Hwy #130. The concept, which does not yet appear to have a social or net presence, is set to finish the build-out in September.

A popular food truck is wheeling into a new brick-and-mortar. Guerito's Red Tacos, known for birria and aguas frescas, announced its grand opening at 9218 Potranco Road on June 2. The menu will slightly expand on the trailer's offerings while carrying longtime favorites. Those wanting a quick consommé fix can also visit the reopened food truck at 8701 FM 1560.

The Embassy Oaks location of Magnolia Pancake Haus is flipping to a new site. The original spot will close on June 4 in preparation for the switch. The diner is looking to open its 2070 N. Loop 1604 spot on June 9, barring any moving woes.

Other news and notes

Tastemakers-nominated chef Jesse "Kirk" Kuykendall is heading to Columbia for an exclusive dinner at Ocho. The June 15 event will feature dishes inspired by her South American travels, including arepas, bandeja paisa, and obleas. Tickets for the six-course feast are sold in pairs for $175 and are available here.

Lucy Cooper's Ice House/ Facebook

7 things to know about San Antonio food right now: Buzzy icehouse serves up new location


Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our weekly roundup of essential food news.


One of San Antonio's most recognized chefs is going for a three-peat. Braunda Smith, known for recent appearances on Guy's Grocery Games and Chopped, tells CultureMap that she is opening a third location of Lucy Cooper's Ice House. The new spot will take over the former home of Cerveceria Chapultepec at 8403 State Highway 151 #101 at a to-be-announced future date.

A St. Mary's Strip staple is also in expansion mode. Signage for a second Tycoon Flats is wrapped around the former location of Purple Garlic at 1017 Austin Hwy. It's unclear when the new burger joint will debut. Although the banners promise a summer 2023 opening, renovation appears to still be in the early stages.

The cookie wars are coming to San Antonio as Tempe-based Dirty Dough opens at 19903 Stone Oak Pkwy #104. The franchise's schtick is that its treats feature "some combination of layers, mix-ins, or filling within the dough." But its more recent claim to fame regards a lawsuit brought about by Crumbl Cookies. The rapidly growing upstart accused Dirty of stealing its concept, logo, and recipes. The Arizona brand countered with its own lawsuit and an ad campaign, including mocking billboards on Crumbl's Utah home turf. Cookie criminologists can make their own conclusions on the kerfuffle during Dirty's grand opening on May 27.

On to the less contentious world of ice cream franchises — Ohio chain Handel's Homemade Ice Cream is opening its first Alamo City outpost on May 18 at 5311 N. Loop 1604 W. near The Rim. According to a press release, the grand opening will have face painting, a balloon artist, giveaways, and the chance to win free ice cream for a year. Among the opening flavors will be grape, Key Lime pie, and Graham Central Station — a graham cracker-filled ode to the now-shuttered multi-hyphenate nightclub.

A new kid on the block hopes to wow customers near the University of Texas at San Antonio. Wok N Fries serves 10 riffs on loaded fries, including chicken pesto fries with mozzarella, cheeseburger fries with cheddar and pickles, and Texas fries with mayo, bacon, and onion rings. Potato libertines can head to 7038 UTSA Boulevard on May 20 and 21 for the grand opening weekend featuring free fries for the first 20 guests on either day and a hefty discount for other customers.

According to a Facebook post, the Medical Center location of Taqueria Data Point finally roared back to action on May 12. The revered restaurant was forced to shutter in March 2020 after suffering damage from a nearby fire at Mustafa Grocery. The other two locations at De Zavala Road and Gramercy Place will continue killing the breakfast taco game.

Other news and notes

Culinaria has announced the dates for the summer edition of Restaurant Weeks. The biyearly program recruits eateries to offer a specially priced prix fixe menu as a fundraiser for the nonprofit. Though no participating restaurants have been announced yet, locals can mark their calendars for August 12-26.

Southwest Elixirs/ Facebook

Nurse a Fiesta hangover at these 7 San Antonio spots


Congratulations, you made it! After 11 days of celebrations, Fiesta San Antonio is in the rearview mirror. We bet you’re feeling a little rough. It’s OK to rush order some blackout curtains, but hiding from a four-day hangover won’t make the symptoms go away any faster.

What will help is a little self-care. Save the cheese enchiladas for later in the month and eat mindfully at one of these local spots. We can’t promise that you won’t still reach for the Advil, but at least you’ll have enough energy to pack that flower crown up.

Las Nieves
Feeling as dried out as a corn husk flower? Get some bloom again at one of the three locations of this local snack shop. True, it will be hard to resist snack shop faves like corn in a cup and Hot Cheetos, but stick to a more hydrating cucumber or jicama fruit cup. Wash it down with the mineral water rusa topped with salt, lime, and Lucas. Gatorade wishes it has so much power.

Pharm Table
Few local restaurants take San Antonio’s health as seriously as this Southtown hot spot. Chef Elizabeth Johnson composed the menu through an Ayurvedic lens, suggesting each meal start with a pickled ginger amuse-bouche. From there, the globally inspired fare centers veggies in dishes like a zucchini noodle bowl topped with a toasted cashew and coconut crumble.

The breakfast taco was practically made for hangover recovery, but hangover recovery isn’t just about the immediate boost. This downtown eatery lightens up the morning staple with entirely plant-based ingredients. Order the La Tejana — a vegan scramble with pico de gallo, salsa ranchera, and tender potatoes — for a solid foundation.

Rise Up
Instead of buying out the corner store’s stock of corn syrup-filled treats, opt for one of Rise Up’s açai bowls to sate the hangover sweet tooth. The Acai Breakfast feels as decadent as a tub of Blue Bell but is loaded with nutrient-rush fruits like blueberries and bananas. Plus, a generous scoop of almond butter gives a protein boost to help keep cravings at bay.

If ever a coffee shop understood post-festival malaise, it’s this tiny spot inside Vibras nightclub. Power through late afternoons with a pink horchata latte, a delightful rice milk brew with a double shot of espresso. Not only will it give you the oomph to last this tough week, but its Neapolitan color scheme also looks absolutely adorable on a Zoom call.

Though it may be tempting to hop off the wagon after Fiesta’s social whirl, it’s easy to hold your horses thanks to the city’s many mocktails. This downtown retreat offers some of the city’s most imaginative zero-proof sippers, including the quenching Blood Moon with hibiscus tea and the fortifying Criolla Shake — a protein blast with peanut butter, cold brew, egg white, and orgeat.

Southwest Elixirs
This East Side shop bills itself as a wellness café, but that doesn’t mean it wants you to choke down wheatgrass. Its concoctions may offer potential health benefits, but taste is at the fore. Try the For the Sol shot to soothe a still gurgling afterparty stomach. Or detox with the Cosmic Limeade, a zingy mix of activated coconut charcoal, lime, maple syrup, and alkaline water.

Sichuan House/ Facebook

The top 10 neighborhood restaurants in San Antonio serve the soul of the city


Neighborhood restaurants are not merely places to eat; they become essential parts of their patron’s personal stories. Within their walls, romantic entanglements are formed, promotions are announced, and heartbreaks are drowned at the bottom of a cocktail. In a frantic fast-food world, they have the patience to create memories.

That unassuming work often goes unsung. That’s we annually honor the Neighborhood Restaurant of the Year as part of the prestigious CultureMap Tastemaker Awards. But before we reveal the winner at our highly anticipated event at the Briscoe Museum on May 18, we want to take a moment to celebrate all the nominated restaurants. It takes magic to provide a home away from home. Buy tickets now before they sell out.

It’s often said that San Antonio is the smallest big city in America. This tiny St. Mary’s strip dynamo proves it. A personal project for chef-owner Chris Cullum, it also speaks to a shared local experience. The dishes call back to Alamo City restaurants of yore and the largesse of everyday indulgence. The dining room crowds guests in to form friendships over a perfect omelet.

Though a neighborhood restaurant can be hard to define, it absolutely must pass the slump test. Flop into one of the booths at this Monte Vista eatery and order a canned Lambrusco and a carbonara pie. Or chase the Sunday Scaries away with the “keep it coming” Bloody Mary bar. We’re willing to bet that your shoulders will drop, your back will relax, and you’ll settle in for the long haul.

Bar Loretta
On paper, this Southtown haunt seems suited for special occasions. Indeed, more than a few locals have celebrated milestones with a smokey Birthday Manhattan. As the night draws on, however, the spot grows more familiar. Service industry types stream in from nearby bars and restaurants. The light dims as the conversation hits full roar. Yes, dozens of San Antonio bars host post-work parties. Only Loretta serves immaculate steak frites until 1 am.

Most neighborhood favorites eschew innovation for comfort, filling the menu with standbys like burgers or simple steaks. This Castle Hill jewel adds a little zest. Cavatelli is topped with broccoli top pesto, fried quail is dipped into the charred eggplant skin mayo, and crème brûlée awakens with coffee meringue. The menu is ingredient-driven, sure, but Clementine serves it with the unfussiness of a sidewalk café.

Comfort Café
Community is at the forefront of this Los Patios café. For those in recovery, it provides a stable workplace free from the pressures of the often toxic restaurant world. For those on a fixed income, it gives a pay-what-you-can model. For everyone else, it delivers on the promise of its name with a beautiful outdoor setting and simple sandwiches, salads, and egg dishes served with dozens of variations.

Il Forno
Michael Sohocki is known as one of San Antonio’s most statement-making chefs. His much-missed fine dining restaurant, Gwendolyn, famously operated without electric machines. But Southtown’s Il Forno has always been about ease. Yes, the produce is meticulously sourced from local farmers, and the meats are cured in-house. Still, the offerings are accessible, the wine list affordable, and the dessert menu is tidy with a single luscious chocolate mousse.

Sangria on the Burg
This Medical Center restaurant’s website says it all. Sangria on the Burg offers “craft sangria, margarita, and beer paired with sliders, tacos, and salads.” The aforementioned are flourished with ingredients like hand-pressed corn tortillas and pineapple cabbage slaw, but chef Ceasar Zepeda isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Sichuan House
Who says a neighborhood restaurant can’t also be a destination? This Northwest Side plays pied piper with Chinese classics like Sichuan green beans, Mala dry pots, and tea-smoked duck. Regulars know they should arrive with four or five best friends and order more than anyone could eat in one sitting. One shouldn’t miss out on the frenzy of flavors; besides, plenty of take-out containers are in stock.

Thai Dee
When this beloved Blanco Road eatery resumed dine-in service after a lengthy pandemic pause, it almost broke the internet. Floods of fans graffitied its Facebook page with rows of emoji hearts while followers busily tagged friends to plan a quick visit. That sort of rapture is usually reserved for celebrity baby bumps or NBA draft picks. Thai Dee does it in a stir of curry.

The Magpie
This newly expanded East Side bistro is hard to describe. Chef Jungsuk “Sue” Kim doesn’t let genre hold her back, dishing out Korean specialties like dak galbi and Italian rabbit ragu. The wine list has an equally well-stamped passport, exploring traditional and low-intervention winemaking in equal measure. The Magpie doesn’t need to be easily categorized to make an impact. Guests happily gobble up whatever comes into the nest.

Sichuan House San Antonio

Neighborhood restaurant of the year: Sichuan House

Arenas Marisqueria Lounge/Facebook

6 things to know about San Antonio food right now: Stone Oak catches new Latin seafood spot


Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our weekly roundup of essential food news.


The owners of local mainstay Sabor! Cocina Mexicana have dived into seafood. According to social media posts, Arenas Marisqueria Lounge held its grand opening at 9903 Stone Oak Pkwy #202 on March 16. Led by executive chef Luis Vazquez Sr., the eatery serves Latin coastal favorites such as ceviche, aguachile, poké tostadas, and fish tacos. The atmosphere follows suit with oceanic mood lighting and an imposing octopus mural.

According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records, the popular Chinese eatery Ming's is planning a new thing. Project details filed with the state reveal that a new location is in the works at 10772 Fiesta Texas Dr., Bldg 400 #106in La Cantera Heights. Construction on the 4000-square-foot eatery is set to begin in early April and wrap up in July.

The race to fill the San Antonio area with chain coffee shops continues with Scooter's Coffee. The Nebraska-based franchise has submitted paperwork with the state for a drive-thru location at 2606 FM 1103 in Cibolo. The brand is best known for its maple waffle sandwiches filled with egg, Cheddar, and "just-enough-spice sausage. Take that last descriptor with a grain of salt. The Midwest is hardly known as a hotbed of bold flavors.

An Austin-based chain is hoping to make a splash near Sea World. A sixth outpost of Torchy's Tacos debuted March 29 at 602 Hwy 151 #101. Like the other locations, the spot will serve fusion tacos alongside salads, burritos, cocktails, and the brand's signature queso.

Other news and notes

Food site Mashed has named local taquería Little Taco Factory its pick for the best taco in the state. According to the write-up, the site factored in "reviews, recommendations, awards, and other forms of recognition" to determine the winners, which must have been a daunting task. Particular kudos were given to the chorizo and egg breakfast taco, evocatively described as "an absolute fiesta in your mouth."

Need a little liquid courage to conquer a fear of heights? The Tower of the Americas is hosting Wine Fest on April 15 from 2-5 pm. The $50-$90 tickets include tastings from 24 Sonoma Valley wineries paired with light bites. VIP passes add early entry and access to an exclusive lounge.

Photo courtesy of Goldee's BBQ

Where to find the most iconic — and best — meals in all of Texas

Hit the Road

Texans don't need much of a reason to hit the open road. Our state is brimming with natural beauty and charming small towns, but nothing motivates us to fill up the tank like a bonanza of regional foods.

There are renowned Texas flavors to be found throughout the entire state, from small towns like Round Top to the far west end in El Paso. And with meals ranging from Tex-Mex and barbecue to Frito Pie and kolaches, the Lone Star State is known for some of the most iconic foods in America.

When you hit the open road to explore (and taste) it all, know that a Hilton Hotel is nearby for a good night's rest. Whether you're traveling with family, friends, or as a couple, the right room is waiting with a warm welcome.

Hope you're hungry, because here is but a small slice of some of the best.

Goldee's BBQ, Fort Worth
Few barbecue joints in Texas can make a name without serving the holy trinity of brisket, sausage, and ribs. Still, the young chefs and pitmasters at this Fort Worth stop one-up the competition with unexpected sides like chicken rice and collard greens and crowd-pleasers like fish and chips.

Chicken Fried Steak
Babe's Chicken Dinner House, Carrollton
All Texans take their chicken fried steak with some degree of seriousness. We dare say this eatery — which originated in Carrollton and has locations all over North Texas — takes it the most seriously of all, with plenty of family-style sides to round out the table.

La Cocina, McAllen
Former oil worker Evin Garcia combines tradition and innovation at this McAllen haunt. Enjoy everything from birria tacos dipped in a luscious consommé to an octopus version served with traditional al pastor fixings like onion, cilantro, and grilled pineapple.

Elotes Fanny, Austin + North Texas
With locations in Austin, Fort Worth, and Garland, this snack shop mini-chain knows everything about corn. Get it by the cob or in a cup, and make sure to douse it in the fiery homemade Atomic Salsa.

Fried Chicken
Dolli's Diner, Nacogdoches
This diner does just about everything right, but the crowning jewel of the menu is undoubtedly the chicken fried chicken. It's served with mashed potatoes, gravy, and fresh veggies for color and is best enjoyed with funnel cake fries for dessert.

Frito Pie
RD's Burger, Cibolo
This casual stop does its namesake dish with aplomb, but found pure magic in its Frito Pie. It's served with no muss or fuss and occasionally on the insanely delicious burger.

Slovacek’s, West
When it comes to kolaches, any bakery in West will serve the real deal. Relative newcomer Slovacek's gets the vote for its dozens of fruit flavors and creative klobasnek (the meaty cousin of kolaches) filled with boudin, pepperoni, or kraut.

Royer's Round Top Cafe, Round Top
No trip to Round Top's famous antique fair is complete without a stop at this darling cafe. "Pie Man" Bud Royer makes every visit sweet with pies like buttermilk, pecan, and the multi-fruit Troy's Junk Berry.

L & J Cafe, El Paso
This El Paso tradition is by a graveyard, sure, but don't let that deter you from enjoying its queso. The miraculous concoction made with roasted green chile, tomatoes, and onions is served with just-fried tostadas.

Leal's Tamale Factory, Lubbock
A Lubbock classic, this mainstay doesn't go for newfangled tamale flavors like sweet potato. Order pork, chicken, or cheese and rediscover the fundamentals.

Viet-Cajun crawfish boils
Crawfish & Noodles, Houston
Who knows what James Beard-nominated chef Trong Nguyen puts in his secret sauce. What we do know is that it's one of the most intensely flavorful experiences in all of Houston.

Texas knows no bounds when it comes to to where you can go (and eat). No matter where your next foodie adventure takes you, a Hilton hotel is waiting for you.

With over 550 Hilton hotels spanning across the state of Texas, the possibilities to earn more while exploring the Lone Star State are endless.

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James Beard award nominee Nicola Blaque set to open 3rd restaurant concept in Hemisfair Park

Hungry at Hemisfair

Chef Nicola Blaque has a new restaurant concept in the works at Hemisfair Park.

The City of San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission officially approved Blaque's concept for her third restaurant, Port Royal, to be housed in the historic Schultze House in Hemisfair Park.

While Port Royal will feature similar menu items from Blaque's original restaurant, the Jerk Shack, the Hemisfair spot will also feature a full bar and cocktail program, the first of its kind for Blaque's restaurants.

For anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of eating at the Jerk Shack, Blaque's signature culinary style is artisanal Jamaican cuisine, with menu options like Blaque's signature jerk chicken, fried plantains, jerk egg rolls, and more.

Guests at Blaque's new restaurant concept will also be able to order 'steakhouse-menu like items,' per an official press release from Hemisfair. Port Royal will also have the distinction of being one of the first public tenants on what is the now-driveable E. Nueva St.

So we know what you're thinking — when does Port Royal open anyway? Can we expect cocktails and food at Port Royal this summer?

Bit of bad news fellow foodies — Port Royal is slated for a summer opening, but not until summer 2024.

However, anything new from the James Beard Award nominated chef (most recently she made it to the James Beard Award semifinals for 2023) is always worth the wait, so just hang tight for now and we'll keep you posted on details of Port Royal's grand opening.

Blaque, who is also a military veteran, had this to say about Port Royal in an official statement — "The response to The Jerk Shack has been amazing, which has allowed us to expand across the city...Our fans and customers have been extremely supportive of our growth so we’re looking forward to bringing The Jerk Shack to Hemisfair."

Port Royal will join other new tenants at Hemisfair's Civic Park, including Künstler Tap Haus, Bombay Bicycle Club and Kusch Faire.

Construction on Port Royal is slated to begin in fall 2023.

American Airlines adds summer travel perks including Wi-Fi enhancements, meals, and movies

Airline Food News

Fort Worth-based American Airlines has made some additions to its in-flight lineup for summer 2023, including new meals and foodie snacks, Wi-Fi updates, and new movie options to stream. That includes a special selection of films celebrating Pride Month in June.

Food first!

The new food options include chef-curated menu options in premium cabins and choices for the indulgent or health-conscious traveler in the main cabin.

Plant-based: Customers flying on transcontinental American Flagship service flights have a new premium entrée and it's plant-based, woo-hoo: The new Plant-Based Bulgogi Noodle Bowl entrée comes with yakisoba noodles, stir-fry vegetables, and plant-based beef crumbles — offering a new meal option that is both nourishing and delicious.

Avli on the Park: Customers flying in premium cabins to Europe from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport this summer can enjoy dishes from Avli on the Park, a Greek restaurant in Chicago and a Michelin 2023 honoree. Options include a Greek Beef Orzo Stew and a Kagiana Egg Scramble for breakfast. These items from Avli on the Park are available on six nonstop flights to Europe: Athens, Barcelona, Dublin, London, Paris, and Rome.

Wi-Fi updates
Wi-Fi enhancements for the summer months include:

Complimentary Wi-Fi for T-Mobile customers: By July, 100 percent of American's Wi-Fi-equipped regional and narrowbody aircrafts will offer T-Mobile In-Flight Connection On Us, allowing eligible T-Mobile customers to enjoy complimentary connectivity with streaming on domestic flights.

Summer streaming: Travelers to international destinations should be able to enjoy faster Wi-Fi speeds and a more reliable service for all their connectivity needs thanks to increased bandwidth planned for American's widebody aircraft, offering 100 percent mainline aircraft with video streaming capabilities.

New film and viewing options include:

Monthly exclusives: New movies will be offered monthly which customers can watch exclusively inflight such as the new AppleTV+ movie Ghosted.

Pride Month: American is offering an entertainment channel featuring top LGBTQ+ talent; customers can choose from a list of movies and series.

American Black Film Festival channel: This summer, American is bringing new content to the American Black Film Festival channel, elevating the unique voices and power stories of the Black community to offer a deeper understanding of the Black experience.

"Our customers are the inspiration behind everything we do, and American is committed to consistently deliver a world-class experience for them,” said Kim Cisek, Vice President of Customer Experience. “We know customers want a convenient travel experience throughout their journey on American and to arrive at their destination satisfied and ready to explore — a focus we keep in mind when refreshing and creating new experiences for them to enjoy on the ground and in the skies."

Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is ridiculous and fun at the same time

Movie Review

The Transformers series has been one marked by near universal derision by the critics and (mostly) massive box office, highlighting the divide between those who watch movies for a living and those who just go for fun. Given that history, it seemed unlikely that the latest film, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, would unite the two factions.

Like the last film, Bumblebee, Rise of the Beasts is a prequel to the Transformers films directed by Michael Bay from 2007-2017 (Bay remains as a producer). Set in 1994, it features a way-too-complicated story involving something called the Transwarp device prized by three separate groups of Transformers: The Autobots led by Optimus Prime (Peter Cullen); the Maximals, animal-esque bots led by Optimus Primal (Ron Perlman); and the Terrorbots, led by Scourge (Peter Dinklage). One guess as to which of those groups is the evil one.

Mirage (Pete Davidson) in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts

Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Mirage (Pete Davidson) in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.

Noah Diaz (Anthony Ramos) is a former soldier in Manhattan who can’t find a job and tries his best to take care of his sickly brother, Kris (Dean Scott Vazquez). Elena Wallace (Dominique Fishback) works at a museum on Ellis Island, where she encounters an artifact with unusual markings. Through a series of unlikely but still fun events, both of them are dragged into the conflict between the Transformers, with nothing less than the fate of the universe at stake.

Directed by Steven Caple Jr. and written by a team of five writers, the film is as ridiculous as any of the previous iterations, and yet somehow it becomes the most entertaining entry yet. Some of this has to do with the human characters, who are given engaging scenes outside of the ones with Transformers, allowing them to be relatable instead of just pawns in the robot battles.

The trifecta of Transformer groups turn out to be actually interesting, rather than an excuse to fill the screen with CGI nonsense. The Autobots, as usual, are the main heroes, and with Bumblebee using movie quotes to talk and Mirage (Pete Davidson) lobbing wisecracks constantly, they’re rarely unentertaining. Having the animal-like Maximals on board gives a new dimension, and the seemingly unstoppable Scourge makes for an intimidating villain.

That’s not to say, of course, that the film doesn’t devolve into chaos on multiple occasions. Several of the battles, including the final sequence, seem designed to be almost incomprehensible. But Caple and the visual effects team appear to have understood that clarity makes for a better moviegoing experience, and so even as bedlam reigns, there’s a level of focus to the film that other films in the series have not had.

Even though his character isn’t fully fleshed out, Ramos brings a kind of streetwise energy to the role that makes him stand out. Fishback is not given as much to do, but she’s still highly enjoyable. Cullen, who’s been voicing Optimus Prime since the 1980s, is still a commanding presence, allowing Davidson, Michelle Yeoh, Perlman, and more to bring their own unique flair to their characters.

It may be a low bar to jump, but Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is the best film so far in the series, cracking the code of pairing humans with robots for a (semi)intelligible story. A late movie teaser will have fans geeking out over the future, but it’s best to enjoy this film for being as good as it is.


Transformers: Rise of the Beasts opens in theaters on June 9.