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Fearless Critic restaurant review
San Antonio
Modern, French
Casual restaurant

Tue 11:00am–9:00pm
Wed–Sun 11:00am–3:00pm

Features Outdoor dining
Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


200 E. Jones Ave.
San Antonio, TX
(210) 978-8155
Café des Artistes
Mirroring the museum, the food’s contemporary, international, classic...

Museums have learned their lesson: no longer are their dining facilities buried in the basements and treated like grade school cafeterias. Some are even high-dollar dining destinations in their own right. SAMA’s solution was to offer a building overlooking the new Museum Reach of the River Walk to restaurateur Damien Watel, and the result is Café des Artistes. OK, he borrowed the name. And copied some paintings.

He also borrowed the menu—much of it from his own previous and current enterprises, some from the ladies-that-lunch lexicon. Quiches and pastries (and they are good) come from the bakery he and his mother operate opposite Bistro Vatel, the seafood vol au vent straight from his days of running La Frite Belgian Bistro.

None of it is exciting enough to constitute a must-dine experience, though if you are taking a noontime stroll along the river—or taking in a museum show—there are few places more pleasant. A recent daily special soup, a butternut squash bisque, was satisfyingly thick but oddly sweet and hinted of vanilla; by bowl’s end, it cloyed. But an unconventional tabbouleh salad topped with grilled shrimp fit the tone of the place perfectly, and a chocolate walnut tart proved worth the caloric catastrophe.

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