The Pearl Brewery complex has nine restaurants, but the first, Il Sogno Osteria, is still considered by many to be the best of them all. Turin-born chef Andrew Weissman had a much-raved-about restaurant downtown called Le Reve (French for "The Dream") before he decided to close that and create a restaurant closer to his roots. That's when he opened Il Sogno, meaning, not coincidentally, "The Dream" in Italian—and dreamy it is. Weissman owns several other highly successful restaurants, including the nearby Sandbar and Minnie's Tavern. To me, Il Sogno stands above them all. The small, bright, contemporary/urban space is upscale but informal, special but not stuffy. You can sit on a barstool at the window and nosh on appetizers while watching the kitchen, or grab a small table and enjoy the better-than-average service. The daily menu offers classic Italian dishes with handmade pastas, pizzas, and main courses of veal, chicken, beef, and seafood, and there are always some specials. The fresh, quality ingredients often come from the Pearl Farmer's Market. The wine list is a testament to Italy's deft wine-making roots. The restaurant is often crowded (there are only 19 tables indoors), and it doesn't take reservations, so arriving early is a good strategy. There's also a waiting list for those who call in advance. Sometimes while we wait, we like to sit at the counter overlooking the open kitchen and enjoy bulbous glasses of wine while we nibble on focaccia with lardo (spice-cured pork belly), or one of the many antipasti offerings. There are a few tables outside for al fresco dining, though the Texas heat often keeps everyone indoors. For travelers staying downtown, I recommend the slow Rio Taxi route up the Museum Reach, with San Antonio's $12-million art installations all along the way, and a smooth finish at Il Sogno.
San Antonio› Restaurant
Il Sogno Osteria
Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St.
Our Rating Neighborhood Mid-Town/Tobin Hill/Pearl Brewery Hours Breakfast Tues–Fri 7:30–10am, Sat 8:30–10am, lunch and dinner Tues–Sun 11:30am–2pm and 6–9:30pm Phone 210/223-3900 Prices Main courses $16–$30 Cuisine Type New World Italian Web site Il Sogno Osteria
MapPearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St. San Antonio
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.