Just north of San Antonio’s infamous downtown hub is another historical hot spot for food, culture, and history. The Pearl is the 22-acre property on the same site of an old brewing company that began in the 1880s, but is now home to shops, restaurants, apartments, hotels, and the Culinary Institute of America.
The Very Best Restaurants at The Pearl
At any given time of the year you can find markets, events, and concerts galore but what brings us all back, is the food. This guide is your best tool to navigate the marinade of amazing restaurant options the Pearl has to offer, so that you can feel confident in your choices.
Restaurants At The Pearl: Tips & Parking
A few tips on reservations and parking: lunch at the Pearl during the weekday is laid back, but can be busy during peak weekend hours. You likely won’t have a long wait on a weeknight for a table but if you plan to dine here on the weekend, call ahead at least two days for reservations. There are several hourly parking lots surrounding the Pearl and all are very affordable, but the free lots can be found under the 281, adjacent to Avenue A, and within steps of the Pearl’s main entrance. Definitely give yourself an extra 10 minutes to park if you’re going on a busy night. Onward!
The crown jewel of the Pearl is the tower at its center, Hotel Emma. Supper, its restaurant is mentioned further down this list, but they also have one of the finest small grocery stores in the city. While not a full-fledged restaurant, this guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this little food gem for those on the go or in need of a snack or an excuse to shop from their shelves lined with spices, spreads, jams and sauces, cookbooks, kitchen tools, and drinks. Larder has an impressive assortment of sandwiches, snacks, and desserts to-go. Don’t sleep on their must-try browned butter, toffee rice crispy treat.
11. The Food Hall at Bottling Dept.
The best restaurant at the Pearl that offers both a variety of great food and a flexible atmosphere is the Food Hall Bottling Department. The food Hall sits on the site of the original bottling department and offers five foodcourt style options: Tenko Ramen, Chilaquil, Mi Roti, Kineapple, and Fletchers. All are solid options but here are our favorites:
1) Mi Roti is the sister restaurant to the Jerk Shack, born of chef genius Nicola Blaque, who attended the Culinary Institute of America here in San Antonio. Caribbean flavors coat their creative menu of Roti wraps and bowls, and you can’t go wrong with their perfect list of sauces and accompaniments. Definitely order the masala fries!
2) Chilaquil pays homage to the best of Mexican comfort food, Chilaquiles, while also delivering killer tortas and tacos. If you’ve never had chilaquiles, put a stop to that today and cozy up to a bowl of Chilaquilu’s perfectly sauced tortilla chips laced with queso fresco, pickled onions, avocado, and cilantro. It will fill your belly and any cracks in your heart.
3) When it’s just a good day for a burger, Fletchers at the Food Hall has you covered with one of the best in town. Their Texas Akaushi beef hotdogs are also a perfect summer indulgence and the patty melt is a solid option if you don’t mind a classically delicious mess.
10. Down on Grayson
Casual and unassuming, Down in Grayson offers delicious food in a beautiful indoor space with a relaxed, easy patio. While technically not located within the Pearl, Down on Grayson sits a block away and deserves a try when considering the best restaurants at “the Pearl”. Their menu is creative and very approachable, offering great burgers, sandwiches, and delicious small plates for sharing. Try the fire-roasted shishitos and JK club for lunch or the chimichurri strip steak for dinner. The six layer strawberry cake is the perfect sweet and fluffy ending to any meal.
Savor is the restaurant of the San Antonio campus of the renowned Culinary Institute of America. Here their students hone their craft and present you with many options on their prix fixe menu, where you can choose from a three or four-course meal with choices ranging from simple and flavorful salads to rich, satisfying mains. You will not find better hospitality at any of the restaurants at the Pearl, as their staff is incredibly attentive, kind, and efficient. Because it’s run by the CIA, calling ahead is a must as their hours are dictated by the school schedule.
This Latin/Asian-influenced restaurant at the Pearl isn’t afraid to incorporate influences from around the world for their guests. At Botika you’ll see bento lunch boxes with Brazilian items and steam buns with Mexican influence. The lomo saltado is a fun Latin play on steak frites– beef shoulder sliced thin and perfectly cooked, paired with crispy wedge fries, pickled veg, and fried plantains. If you love Latin and Asian cuisine and delicious food this is a great place to experience something new, yet still within the flavor profiles that you love.
If you’re a FF veteran you may have heard of this gem of a restaurant before. Southerleigh is the Creole star of the Pearl and one of the best southern restaurants in San Antonio. Serving up southern classics with a cajun spin, the atmosphere, grits, and the mac n’ cheese can’t be beat. Their gulf redfish and fried chicken are favorites and you can always count on us ordering one of their wood-fired pretzels, too. They have a festive patio overlooking the main Pearl courtyard and a stunning interior that shows off the old and working brewery equipment.
Supper is the New-American restaurant of Hotel Emma and sits on the corner of the Pearl district facing the riverwalk. Their Patio overlooks one of the most peaceful and beautiful sections of the famous San Antonio Riverwalk, but in a much more quiet section, delivering the best view of all the restaurants at the Pearl. The seasonal menus at Supper are high quality and local with their Bronzini and salt and vinegar brussels sprouts being stalwart favorites. The burnt sugar panna cotta is the best way to end any meal with the sticky toffee pudding being a close second.
5. Best Quality Daughter
The newest kid in the block that sits on the old site of the Granary is Best Quality Daughter. Here you will find Chinese food with a New American flair. The familiar presence of pungent garlic, peppercorns, and peanuts are reminiscent of Sichuan cuisine while making room for their spin on tradition with mapo hummus and char siu spring rolls. Their creative take on Chinese food is exciting and delicious, qualifying Best Quality Daughter as one of the best restaurants at the Pearl.
4. Bakery Lorraine
Bakery Lorraine is one of our go-to’s for pastries and croissants not just at the Pearl, but in San Antonio. Their almond croissant, pain au chacolat, and kolache assortments are all stellar with the kouign-amann being the show-stopping favorite. Flakey buttery layers of pastry encasing creamy, tart lemon curd just can’t be beat. For lunch, their sandwiches are perfect and a few handmade pop tarts to-go are never a bad idea.
3. Lick Honest Ice Creams
Lick is one of the best ice cream shops in San Antonio and certainly the best among the restaurants at the Pearl. They have several everyday staples and revolve their creamy and creative menu around the seasons, sprinkled with delicious non-dairy flavors too. The goat cheese, thyme, and honey flavor stands amazingly on its own, but the Texas sheet cake and the coffee cream are an excellent pair. Of all the restaurants at the Pearl to eat at, make sure to save room for ice cream at Lick after.
2. Brasserie Mon Chou Chou
Mon Chou Chou is French comfort food at its finest. Their menu, which is sure to satisfy any french fry lover, feels so indulgent. From the impressive assortment of cheeses to all the rich decadence you would expect from any traditional French restaurant that goes through hundreds of pounds of butter a week. Highlights include their roasted chicken, steak frites, and rack of lamb. So flavorful, served with a rich red wine demi-glaze and the best fried potato pancake topped with flakes of salt. Not a place to eat every night of the week but the best splurge among all of the restaurants at the Pearl.
If you’re looking for a unique experience with the best quality of food, Cured is an exceptional place to make that happen. Cured is our favorite restaurant at the Pearl and for good reason– their forte is their house-cured meats but their high quality touches everything on the menu. Here, ordering a charcuterie board is an absolute must, and have full confidence in adding a few seasonal small plates for a diverse and outstanding upscale dining experience.