In San Antonio, a Great — Really! — New Restaurant Has Opened at a Riverwalk Hotel

In San Antonio, a Great — Really! — New Restaurant Has Opened at a Riverwalk Hotel

Cider-brined double pork chop served with sweet potato purée, green apple & fennel salad

FOR MANY, THE idea of dining on the San Antonio Riverwalk might elicit thoughts of two-star Tex-Mex and chain restaurants. But Ambler Texas Kitchen and Cocktails is changing all that.


Located on the Riverwalk level of the brightly modern, all-suite Hotel Contessa, the new resto's menu is Texas dining upgraded by Exec Chef John Zaner. The chef is a vet of notable hotel restaurants, having previously cooked at glam San Antonio resort La Cantera and the Ritz-Carlton in Maui. "It's not just Tex-Mex," says Zaner. "We are offering flavors that are rooted in Texas cuisine … house-made smoked meats, unique cuts of steaks, and innovative craft cocktails."

Plan for pre-dinner cocktails on the patio, which is perfectly situated on a lovely bend of the Riverwalk ideal for watching tourists and boats go by. Local musicians such as Chris Guerrero — known as "Mr. Downtown" who plays recognizable favorites from the likes of Frank Sinatra — perform Thursday-Sunday as part of the curated music series Ambler Unplugged.

The bar menu offers a wide selection of local Hill Country wines and elevated margaritas garnished with Hawaiian Lava Salt. Plus, bartenders shake up new age concoctions like Spill the Tea — green-tea-infused Tito's, peach and salted honey — and the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, a smoky iteration of the traditional bourbon drink made with mezcal.

Inside, the dining room décor tends to the masculine and rich — think dark blue hues, dark wood accents and black-tile flooring — dotted with a collection of local art, cowhides and a large Ambler branding iron.

Locally sourced produce and meats populate the menu. The queso, an expected Riverwalk app, is made new as it's mixed with roasted cauliflower and topped with chorizo.

This Texas-cattle-rancher-meets-urbane-diner marriage is reflected throughout the menu. Get outta here, marinara sauce. Pasta here is topped with more of that queso — and there's chicken-fried quail paired with watermelon tossed in a spicy dry rub and roasted corn salsa.

After dinner, mosey the Riverwalk or take a chocolate souffle cake — served with a milk shake — up to your suite. Ambler is open for breakfast, lunch or brunch, and dinner seven days a week.

The Cucumber Twist cocktail with Ketel One botanical vodka, cucumber, and prosecco

The Texas Pantry Board is served with house smoked duck and tasso ham, beef jerky, texas cheeses, honey and pickled vegetables

The cocktail ice is branded with Ambler's logo

Tableside service

The strawberry and margarita tart

People + Places
Pelican Builders Welcome Residents To First New Upper Kirby Condo Offering In Years;
Boutique Midrise Adds To Pedestrian Appeal Of Sought-After, Inner Loop Neighborhood

WITH ITS INAUGURAL set of residents newly moved in, Pelican Builders’ mid-rise condominium Westmore at 2323 W Main Street in Upper Kirby is already seeing the blossoming of a tight-knit community. Designed by Houston-based Mirador Group the Westmore is the first new condominium product to be introduced to the in-demand, inner loop neighborhood in more than three years. And with remaining two-bedroom homes starting at $895,000, it’s a remarkable value for this increasingly pricey area, where condos can easily climb to several million dollars and more.

Keep ReadingShow less
Home + Real Estate

THIS WEEKEND MAY have been chilly, but one Friday-night bash brought the heat: Reagan and Alex Bregman welcomed a handful of VIPs to the launch party for their new southwest food brand, Wild Sol.

Keep ReadingShow less
Parties

Marita Fairbanks, Palmer Schooley, Kasi Kubiak and Connor Estes

STILL RECOVERING FROM a devastating fire at its HQ in 2022, Fresh Arts expanded on its Instagram-worthy dance-party fundraiser by adding a dinner to this year’s gala, themed The Wonder Ball. Dressed in lavish Alice-in-Wonderland-themed costumes, guests were transported down the rabbit hole as they arrived to Silver Street Studios, which was completely transformed into Lewis Carroll’s fantasy land.

Keep ReadingShow less
Parties