Abandoned brewery converts to ritzy hotel: grand bar, shops, reading room, and a deceptively named flagship restaurant, all embedded in turn-of-the-century (almost steampunk) decor. Supper’s menu shows a bit of Germanic influence, morning to night, without succumbing to heaviness. On lots of plates, pickled bits do their pleasing tricks, alongside grilled and braised meats and yeasty breads and rolls. There are, as one would expect from a restaurant at the classy Hotel Emma, lots of special menus and events, from literary suppers to wine dinners, but the standard, seasonal meals are splendid reminders of San Antonio’s German heritage and our region’s farm-to-table bounty (plenty of imaginative vegetarian options here). A recent lunch included a crispy cod roll on brioche, golf ball–size orbs of fried fish alongside a plate of the home-baked toast, slathered with butter and Parmesan. At dinner, we shared a beautifully presented platter of za’atar-roasted lamb with pickled eggplant and other veggies—nothing shy about that dish. Eat inside, with a view of the river, or, if weather permits, outside on the patio overlooking the small amphitheater and all the action at the Pearl. It’s all shine and polish, from seating to service, but dress and demeanor are casual.
City: San Antonio
Cuisine: New American