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“Victim of the tourist traffic.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Biga on the Banks

Biga on the Banks
203 South Saint Mary's St., San Antonio, TX 78205 (Downtown)
(210) 225-0722
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Ranked #5 of 4,093 restaurants in San Antonio
Price range: $41 - $80
Cuisines: American, Eclectic, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Doing business, Outdoor seating, Special occasions, Scenic view, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night, Dessert
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cross street: Market St.
Transit: Biga is located in the center of downtown San Antonio. Though we are walking distance from most downtown hotels, we are also conveniently located for any who wish to use the city's public transportation.
Description: Overlooking a quiet bend of the San Antonio Riverwalk, but within walking distance of all Downtown hotels and the Convention Center, Biga on the Banks highlights the daily changing menu of Chef Bruce Auden, the most frequently James Beard nominated Chef in San Antonio. Menu features seafood, steaks, lamb and wildgame with a preference for local and sustainable product, but do leave room for the Sticky Toffee Pudding.With high Zagat ratings Biga is an ideal venue for a romantic dinner for 2 or has impressive private dining rooms to entertain clients.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Victim of the tourist traffic.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012 via mobile

Great location, great atmosphere, but the potential for greatness is not realized. The restaurant suffers from the drunkenness of the tourist traffic. $43 a plate should get you excellent service, not a food auction when dinner arrives. Our food had evidence of excellence, but fell short overall. The highly touted sticky toffee puding was disappointing.

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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548 reviews from our community

86% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Must eat unique”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012 via mobile

I always take people I want to impress to Biga. Reliably impeccable food and service(most waiters have been there a loong time) Bruce Auden is well known in Foodie magazines and circles as an innovator and creative maestro.
James Beard award winner...must stopover of celebrity chefs Biga is always blending southwestern cultures onto the plate. My favorite is to ask for the multicourse Table 21. NOT ON THE MENU.
Its the kitchens signal to have fun and we taste a wide sampling of fun and filling treats. Pair the courses with spirits and the somellier will make it perfection. Love Biga.

    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
148 reviews 148 reviews
75 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Excellent Balance_DvB”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2012

This restaurant was a longer walk from the convention center area hotels than I thought, but a perfect distance to let your appetite build and, when returning to your lodging, comfortably digest a delicious meal. No one in our group of middle aged walkers was tired even in the San Antonio warmth.

My first impression was negative. Our group of 14 arrived at the appointed time to discover that our table was not ready. Why make reservations if you are then made to wait? The man and woman at the front were very cordial and welcoming and invited us to enjoy the bar while we waited. Overall, their behavior would have saved any ill feelings had our party been improperly forced to wait on a reserved table.

You may have caught something in that last sentence. The reserving party on our end only called ahead for twelve. So actually, even though the quick correction, minimal wait time, and friendly staff would have appeased any reasonable person delayed due to restaurant staff poor planning, it was our fault that they readily accommodated.

While we waited at the bar, the attorneys in the group contemplated some single malt libations. To me, a sign of the class and training of the entire staff, beginning with the host and hostess at the door, was the bartender’s response when one of us asked the price of a region’s product. The old mentality was that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. Intelligent people have decided that we’d rather have our wealth questioned than follow the pro athletes and actors who “didn’t ask” and now file bankruptcy. On a smaller scale, because of event pricing, etc. don’t you want the option to opt out of purchasing a $400 per night room at a 1-star property, or shelling out $30 for a glass of a wine that is $8 per bottle at a local grocery chain? Some servers haven’t gotten that memo and would have annoyed the upper six-figure income inquirer with some look that implied he or she couldn’t believe a person who had price questions would be there funding his or her wages. This long explanation is to provide a basis for the compliment I offer for the entire staff with whom our group interacted. Still a bit of aloof classiness you expect of a high end dining establishment, but none of the bourgeois pretend haughtiness from fellow working people that can obnoxiously pervade a nice meal. The bartender quickly provided a price list and lingered patiently within earshot (rather than wandering off to converse or read a book as I’ve seen) attentively, but non-obviously awaiting our order.

We didn’t order because our properly sized table was ready… The seating overlooked the River Walk and the ambiance was amazingly balanced between the dimness of a romantic evening and brightness that helps patrons read the menu. Our waiter impressed me, since you can tell I like context, by explaining his service to this chef-owned restaurant for thirteen years. He offered an explanation of the chef’s themes which helps experienced diners who appreciate that only a handful of restaurants in the world do everything well, and even those have specialties. Particularly because I was not paying, I appreciated the inclusion of prices on the menu (who wants to be the jerk ordering the priciest item, even unintentionally). The range of prices started at about $21.00, and given the quality of the meal, was appropriate.

The people in our group were very pleased with the snapper, steak, a seafood medley, mussels, and, my dish, the antelope and quail. The quail was excellent, and the antelope very good, but so were the presentation, the portion, and the cooking level. The only item that was not continuously complimented was the steak sauce. I was told that it was flavorful and unique, but that the well-prepared ribeye could easily stand alone. That is, that the sauce “didn’t add anything” to the steak.

I could go on about the restaurant’s appeal for a business or romantic dinner, but you really should just try it.

  • Visited August 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
201 reviews 201 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 80 cities Reviews in 80 cities
136 helpful votes 136 helpful votes
“Outstanding food”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2012

At Biga, I enjoyed the best meal I have ever had in San Antonio. This is a "chef owned" restaurant that features a new menu daily. I had the beef tenderloin, which was so tender I literally could cut the two-inch cut of meat with a fork. Incredible flavor. The banana caramel crepe dessert also was supurb. The menu included meat, fish, and chicken dishes, as well as a vegetarian option. They even had an antelope and quail dish (I stuck with basic beef). It was on the expensive side, but worth every penny. You will have to look for this restaurant. There is a sign facing St. Mary's Street, but it is very easy to overlook the location.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Germantown, Tennessee
Top Contributor
197 reviews 197 reviews
160 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 73 cities Reviews in 73 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
“Great meal!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012 via mobile

Excellent predinner drinks. Fantastic beef tenderloin that could be cut with a butter knife. Yummy desserts and port. Very good service!!!

    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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