Within its tranquil and rustic climes, Anne Marie's Carriage House Bistro rustles up gourmet comfort fare for an eclectic menu of late-morning nibbles and midday noshables. Celebrate a day away from the office and its cruelly mocking copy machines with weekend brunch fare such as the bistro benedict, a split muffin topped with ancho smoked beef, fried eggs, and hollandaise ($10), or one of two varieties of jalapeño-cheddar french toast ($10–$12). At lunch, meat mavens can indulge in the Carriage House meatloaf ($11) and South Texas cheesesteak ($9), while veggivores can keep their plant-loving mandibles from latching onto the botanical garden’s nearby flora by busying them with a garden hoagie, which comes loaded with seared portobello mushrooms, eggplant tapenade, jalapeño cream cheese, red bell pepper, onion, and provolone ($8). The bistro is open Tuesday–Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with brunch served on weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chef Luca Della Casa sends out artfully designed small plates at Nosh, where "nearly everything is made in-house and it shows," according to my SanAntonio. Here, the chefs encourage diners to connect over shareable bites of gourmet cuisine. They serve plates of tagliatelle pasta with salmon and mushroom-and-parmesan fried risotto balls in a family-style manner—minus the traditional arm-wrestling match for the last slice of pizza. On the patio or inside the cozy dining room, diners can pair grownup snacks—such as cheese plates and truffle-oil french fries—with a wide variety of wines or specialty cocktails that rotate regularly.
The crew at The District regularly reroute the holds on its climbing walls to keep clients guessing. While music pumps through the gym’s speakers, visitors can try out slacklining—or walking across a wide nylon webbing suspended between two points—and strengthen their arms on punching bags and gymnast rings. The space is open 24 hours a day to fit any schedule and accommodate sleepwalkers.
Since 1980, chef Francois Maeder has crafted artful European entrees in Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery's scenic, forest-surrounded dining haven, prompting accolades from Esquire, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable. A creek bustles beneath the bridge leading to the dining room's entrance, flanked by oak trees and a spacious patio for alfresco dining. Inside, exposed brick and tall, floor-to-ceiling windows inculcate elegance, and a painstakingly built menu of pasta, meat, and fresh seafood dishes highlights options that are heart-healthy, like running from a bear or running after a cardiologist. By request, cooks can poach or charbroil certain entrees with a nonfat Santa Elena sauce of vegetables in a cabernet reduction. Crumpets' lineup of delectable baked goods charms sweet teeth by feeding them croissants, cakes, flans, and pastries, and rotating wines from around the world arrive monthly, like new moons and new presidents.
Tunes played on the harp or keyboard during musical performances on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays fill the air with pleasantly sonorous vibrations to match the ambrosial cuisine scents wafting overhead. For more primal culinary outings, diners may be tempted to accompany Chef Maeder on gourmet rafting trips, which carry attendees through canyons and campsites with the promise of palatable rations and lessons in catfish calls.
Chef Frederick Costa teams with his brother Michel to craft inventive fusions of French and Asian cuisine at an eatery lauded by USA Today as one of the top five restaurants to eat at in San Antonio while on a business trip. Thought born in Vietnam, the culinary siblings soon moved to France, where they strengthened their skills dead-lifting pepper grinders at their parents' gourmet restaurants. Visitors to the eatery can sample succulent meats and veggies crafted from Frederick's mother's own recipes or opt for one of the chef's more recent creations. The San Antonio Express-News lauds Frederick's as having seafood dishes that "are routinely among the best in town"
At Ciao Lavanderia, the revolving seasons dictate an eclectic menu of classic Italian spreads served amid a framework of dark red walls and crisp white tablecloths. To start, warm focaccia bread escapes the confinement of a wood-burning oven or overheated bounce house to rest alongside ambrosial rosemary, Italian herbs, and roasted red peppers. Capellini basilico leads a quartet of pastas, melodically uniting fresh tomatoes and olive oil among the drifts of angel-hair pasta. Diners can demolish the sausage-and-ricotta stratums of lasagna, or grapple with a tag team of prosciutto-wrapped pork and creamy herb polenta. Italian desserts cap off meals in a sweetened flurry as panna cotta arrives drenched in a fruity sauce and mouthfuls of chocolate gelato temporarily pause conversations or conceal diamond-studded bicuspids.