Jul 7, 2023 - Food and Drink

Taking inventory of San Antonio restaurants that opened in the first half of 2023

Illustration of repeating dinner plate emojis with smiley faces on them.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Restaurant openings and reopenings have kept diners busy in the first half of 2023 as local business owners and national chains enter the landscape.

Why it matters: The growing restaurant scene is diversifying the city's offerings and introducing foodies to new cuisines.

Context: Other new restaurants include Santa Diabla, Arenas Marisqueria Lounge, Mae Dunne, Tokyo Cowboy, Go Fish Wine Bar, Colette, Blush and Wurst Behavior.

Leche de Tigre

A plate of colorful ceviche sits by another plate filled with fried rice on a wooden table.
Nekkei and fried rice from Leche de Tigre. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios
  • Southtown's Peruvian restaurant opened in February with brothers Emil, Axel and Alec Oliva at the helm.
  • Emil Oliva tells Axios lomo saltado and the nekkei ceviche — tuna-based with fried sweet potatoes, cucumbers and scallions — are early favorites.
  • "I think that the community has been so accepting of a different type of cuisine. I think that people in San Antonio knew about Peruvian food, but they were just waiting for somebody to do it," Emil Oliva says.

Santa Diabla

A pig-shaped brick bowl is filled with meat, chips and a lime.
Chicharron de pork belly from Santa Diabla. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios
  • Mexican restaurateurs Grupo Orraca opened their first U.S. concept, Santa Diabla, in San Antonio in January. The restaurant focuses on traditional Mexican dishes, rather than Tex-Mex.
  • "It's been tough; we started slower than we expected. It was a challenge to show what we were bringing because people thought we were another Tex-Mex restaurant, but as soon as people started walking in, they were leaving with really good impressions," owner Rodrigo Orraca tells Axios.
  • Business has been consistently growing since May with crowd-pleasers like the barbacoa de costilla, quesabirria, tostadas de atun and pastel de elote (an Instagram favorite) selling the most, Orraca says.
  • Orraca says his family's restaurant group is planning two more concepts for San Antonio.

Arenas Marisqueria Lounge

Two fish platters sit side by side.
Fish platters from Arenas. Photo: Madalyn Mendoza/Axios
  • The Mexican resort-inspired seafood spot opened in Stone Oak in March with a one-page menu that Luis Vasquez tells Axios is intentional to focus on the dishes his team does "exceptionally well."
  • "It's been surprisingly good. The reception from the neighborhood has all been very kind," Vasquez adds.
  • Despite the one-page menu, Arenas serves a range of seafood entrees, tacos, soups and salads and aguachiles options, but Vasquez says the poke tostadas are ordered "nonstop."

What's next: Newcomers planned for the latter half of 2023 include La Malinche, Nineteen Hyaku and Maeve.


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