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The 11 Hottest New Restaurants in San Antonio Right Now

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Today Eater returns once again to San Antonio, Texas to focus on 11 newish bars and restaurants that have been garnering some serious buzz. Once again, San Antonio Current food and nightlife editor Jessica Elizarraras has kindly shared her picks for the hottest openings of the past 12 months.

Among her favorites are a new restaurant from a group of vegetarian empire builders (Bok Choy), pleasingly tear-inducing spicy food from Thailand's northeastern region (Baan Esaan), and a veritable saloon that should quell any fears of San Antonio forgetting its past (the Squeezebox).

Of course, things continue to buzz at the Pearl, the industrial-chic home of new restaurants like Botika. Also on the horizon is the opening of Jazz, TX, the Pearl's first music venue. "The buzz is already swirling," notes Elizarraras. "It could be owner/bandleader Brent Doc Watkins's jazz credentials, chef Lorenzo Morales' spin on San Antonio soul food (foie and brisket taco, anyone), or Jake Corney's line of craft cocktails (he was formerly with Bohanan's). Only time will tell." Without further ado — and in geographical order — the Eater Heatmap to San Antonio:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Il Forno

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James Beard Award semifinalist Michael Sohocki (of Restaurant Gwendolyn and Kimura fame) has done it again. This time he’s taking on pizza Napoletana with Il Forno, and yes, Sohocki built the wood-burning oven. The pies are delicate, seasonal to a fault (mostly because you’ll want more of that eggplant), and won’t set you back — especially during happy hour, with $6 its margherita pizzas. Bonus: all meats are cured in-house.

Baan Esaan

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The Thailand-sized hole in the heart of Southtown has been filled by this teensy restaurant that packs in papaya, apple, and carrot som tum, along with herb-soaked Tiger Cry steak over sticky rice. The "medium" heat level will make your eyelids sweat.

Estate Coffee Company / Oak & Salt

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The city’s latest roasting operation also packs in a solid collection of spices, tinctures, bitters, and more. Estate Coffee Co. and Oak & Salt — a joint project from coffee guys Alex Dyck and Brian LaBarbera and chef Ben Annotti — share the 1,001-square-foot shop where you can pick up a coffee Old Fashioned and a new spice rub. On weekends, Annotti puts his chef skills to work with breakfast sandwiches, bagels and lox, and waffles — but get there early, because they will sell out.

Rebelle

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After receiving accolades from Texas Monthly, the San Antonio Express-News, and the San Antonio Current, Rebelle’s holding its own inside the St. Anthony Hotel. Chef Stefan Bowers (Feast) and his staff are adding French techniques with global flavors to the dining scene within its glam and upscale walls (most San Antonians still reserve it for a special night out). It's by far and away the biggest opening of the year since our last heatmap.

Just more than a year since the Jesse Perez-helmed Arcade Midtown Kitchen closed its doors, the Pearl space now tackles Asian-Peruvian fusion. Led by chef Geronimo Lopez (formerly with CIA-San Antonio’s NAO restaurant), the eatery delivers Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) and Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) cuisine with funky sushi rolls and great ceviche.

Grayze On Grayson

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Owner James Moore helped open Max’s Wine Dive and Boiler House before branching out on his own to open Grayze. The punny names continue throughout the New American menu with a comfort food slant ("Cheeks n Buns" is a prime example), but the patio is the real pleaser here. More rosé, please.

Jeret Peña and the Boulevardier Group decided to loosen their vests while still producing quality cocktails at Rumble. The patio bar, complete with imported tile, keeps things light and trendy by hosting ever-popular hip-hop nights offering themed cocktails, including an ode to Drake with "the Worst Behavior."

The Squeezebox

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If San Antonians are worried about the hipsterification of the dining scene (we have 18 craft cocktail bars and boutique coffee roasters now), they can rest easy with the Squeezebox. This low-key bar honors the city’s Tejano/Conjunto roots with occasional barbacoa and Big Red brunches (and often hosts living legends on their intimate stage), while throwing in simple but refreshing patio sippers.

Bok Choy

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The people behind Green Vegetarian Cuisine and Earth Burger added a third concept to their veg-friendly empire with a pan-Asian menu focusing largely on American-style Chinese food. The “plant-powered Asian” joint features meatless takes on pho, beef and broccoli, ramen, and cheese rangoons.

Bakery Lorraine

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After relocating its flagship location to the Pearl district, Bakery Lorraine has extended its reach to the city’s Medical Center area, helping hospital staffers, patients, and visitors alike satiate cravings for French macarons, canelés, mini Moon Pies, and a new trout confit sandwich with yucca chips, fried egg mayo, and lettuce.

The Well

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If you can’t decide whether to eat, drink, or dance, you can do all three at the Well, a 20,000-square-foot restaurant/bar/dancehall that’s complete with a dog park. Chef Chemo Barrera and wife Margeaux Alcorta, formerly with the Jason Dady Restaurant Group, are keeping bellies happy with scratch-made comfort fare, just like grandma would make.

Il Forno

James Beard Award semifinalist Michael Sohocki (of Restaurant Gwendolyn and Kimura fame) has done it again. This time he’s taking on pizza Napoletana with Il Forno, and yes, Sohocki built the wood-burning oven. The pies are delicate, seasonal to a fault (mostly because you’ll want more of that eggplant), and won’t set you back — especially during happy hour, with $6 its margherita pizzas. Bonus: all meats are cured in-house.

Baan Esaan

The Thailand-sized hole in the heart of Southtown has been filled by this teensy restaurant that packs in papaya, apple, and carrot som tum, along with herb-soaked Tiger Cry steak over sticky rice. The "medium" heat level will make your eyelids sweat.

Estate Coffee Company / Oak & Salt

The city’s latest roasting operation also packs in a solid collection of spices, tinctures, bitters, and more. Estate Coffee Co. and Oak & Salt — a joint project from coffee guys Alex Dyck and Brian LaBarbera and chef Ben Annotti — share the 1,001-square-foot shop where you can pick up a coffee Old Fashioned and a new spice rub. On weekends, Annotti puts his chef skills to work with breakfast sandwiches, bagels and lox, and waffles — but get there early, because they will sell out.

Rebelle

After receiving accolades from Texas Monthly, the San Antonio Express-News, and the San Antonio Current, Rebelle’s holding its own inside the St. Anthony Hotel. Chef Stefan Bowers (Feast) and his staff are adding French techniques with global flavors to the dining scene within its glam and upscale walls (most San Antonians still reserve it for a special night out). It's by far and away the biggest opening of the year since our last heatmap.

Botika

Just more than a year since the Jesse Perez-helmed Arcade Midtown Kitchen closed its doors, the Pearl space now tackles Asian-Peruvian fusion. Led by chef Geronimo Lopez (formerly with CIA-San Antonio’s NAO restaurant), the eatery delivers Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) and Chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) cuisine with funky sushi rolls and great ceviche.

Grayze On Grayson

Owner James Moore helped open Max’s Wine Dive and Boiler House before branching out on his own to open Grayze. The punny names continue throughout the New American menu with a comfort food slant ("Cheeks n Buns" is a prime example), but the patio is the real pleaser here. More rosé, please.

Rumble

Jeret Peña and the Boulevardier Group decided to loosen their vests while still producing quality cocktails at Rumble. The patio bar, complete with imported tile, keeps things light and trendy by hosting ever-popular hip-hop nights offering themed cocktails, including an ode to Drake with "the Worst Behavior."

The Squeezebox

If San Antonians are worried about the hipsterification of the dining scene (we have 18 craft cocktail bars and boutique coffee roasters now), they can rest easy with the Squeezebox. This low-key bar honors the city’s Tejano/Conjunto roots with occasional barbacoa and Big Red brunches (and often hosts living legends on their intimate stage), while throwing in simple but refreshing patio sippers.

Bok Choy

The people behind Green Vegetarian Cuisine and Earth Burger added a third concept to their veg-friendly empire with a pan-Asian menu focusing largely on American-style Chinese food. The “plant-powered Asian” joint features meatless takes on pho, beef and broccoli, ramen, and cheese rangoons.

Bakery Lorraine

After relocating its flagship location to the Pearl district, Bakery Lorraine has extended its reach to the city’s Medical Center area, helping hospital staffers, patients, and visitors alike satiate cravings for French macarons, canelés, mini Moon Pies, and a new trout confit sandwich with yucca chips, fried egg mayo, and lettuce.

The Well

If you can’t decide whether to eat, drink, or dance, you can do all three at the Well, a 20,000-square-foot restaurant/bar/dancehall that’s complete with a dog park. Chef Chemo Barrera and wife Margeaux Alcorta, formerly with the Jason Dady Restaurant Group, are keeping bellies happy with scratch-made comfort fare, just like grandma would make.

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