Mark Bliss, chef and owner of Bliss restaurant, tells us how to spend an ideal day in his fun and funky San Antonio neighborhood (here's a hint: come hungry).
With its sprawl of art galleries, historic homes, and a growing number of hip restaurants, the King William District is San Antonio's most vibrant neighborhood. Named Texas' first Residential Historic District in 1967, today it serves as a bastion for artists and some of the most creative chefs in town, including Mark Bliss, who opened the aptly named Bliss restaurant (foodisbliss.com or 210/225-2547) in February. At Bliss, Mark's menu changes daily as ingredients such as soft-shell crabs and heirloom tomatoes come through the kitchen door. "The emerging food scene here confirmed my feeling that San Antonio is ready for adventurous dining" he says.
Mod decor and an illuminated patio give this light and airy restaurant the feel of a culinary jewel box. Kick things off with a Prince Cocktail, Feast's take on the classic gin and tonic, spiked with cilantro and serrano chiles ($9). Then sit outside and nibble a couple of chef Stefan Bowers' rotating small plates, such as Grilled Duck Breast Tostadas ($12) or Texas Quail with fresh corn polenta and red wine-bacon vinaigrette ($11). 1024 South Alamo Street; feastsa.com or 210/354-1024
The Monterey serves bold flavors in dishes like Pickled Mackerel with kimchi, pine nut butter, and Vietnamese herbs. Brunch offerings such as Fried Green Tomatoes with eggs, Cheddar, and Crystal hollandaise ($11.50) have a cult following. 1127 South St. Mary's Street; thememontereysa.com or 210/745-2581
La Frite Belgian Bistro
La Frite specializes in Franco favorites such as crêpes filled with creamy lump crab and mushrooms ($13) alongside perfectly crisp, golden pommes frites ($5). Order a pint of Kwak Belgian amber ($9) served in a curvaceous glass cradled in a coachman's handle—a contraption originally designed in the 1800s for drinking during stagecoach travel. 728 South Alamo Street; lafritesa.com or 210/224-7555
The Friendly Spot Ice House
Grab a pastel-colored chair in the courtyard at The Friendly Spot. Look for more than 200 kinds of beer, Mexican snacks like spicy chorizo nachos, and—major bonus—a playscape for kids. 943 South Alamo Street; thefriendlyspot.com or 210/224-2337
Alamo Street Eat Bar
Here you'll find six gourmet food trucks, including Where Y'at Third Coast Kitchen (offering Cajun specialties) and The Chili Queens (with brisket tacos). 609 South Alamo Street; alamostreeteatbar.com