Eat in ’09: Jardín 

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San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Best Kept Secret

Jason Dady’s Jardín Restaurant

By Meredith Kay

Photography by Al Rendon

It’s not a secret that the culinary scene is exploding here in San Antonio, and food enthusiasts have so many ways to explore the flavors of the world right here in our backyard. Luckily, many of the best restaurants in town are located in and around Alamo Heights. Still, only one local eatery sits among the most beautiful scenery in town.

Chef Jason Dady brings his Mediterranean menu to the grounds of the San Antonio Botanical Garden at Jardín. Housed in the original Sullivan Carriage House built in 1896, the standout feature is the outdoor patio called “Gertie’s Garden.” The garden offers seating for nearly 150 socially distanced guests in the open air and is surrounded by mature trees providing natural shade. The patio also showcases a beautiful display of annual plantings and colorful flowers that set the perfect backdrop to an outstanding dining experience.

Chef Dady shares, “We wanted to create a dining experience that would appeal to everyone. Whether you are meeting friends, having a business meeting, or just dining out as a family, Jardín allows diners to create their own unique experience with our menu and our venue.”

The menu consists mainly of mezze (small) plates that embody the flavors of the Mediterranean. Jardín offers a taste of Turkish, Italian, Greek, Moroccan, and Spanish cuisines, blended beautifully to create a lavish meal meant to be shared and awaken your tastebuds. 

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“We never try to reinvent the wheel, but we do try to put our fresh spin on classic, cultural foods that will appeal to those diners adventurous enough to try something different.”

The kitchen is blessed with access to fresh seasonal herbs and edible plants grown on-site. The menu changes seasonally, and all of the dishes are low-impact and prepared smoke-free. The idea, when Jardín was being conceptualized, was to keep the carriage house intact, maintaining its historical charm. Chef Dady says, “The real beauty of the place is the building. It has beautiful lines and features.”

The dishes are as colorful and beautiful as the flowers surrounding the patio. Make an entire meal for everyone by ordering several of the mezze plates to share, like the Deviled Eggs topped with saffron and smoked paprika or the Spinach-Feta Dip with orange, dill, and pistachio, or choose the wildly popular Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwich.

Some other standout dishes include the Saffron Glazed Chicken Breast crisply baked to perfection, served with a preserved lemon reduction and topped with asparagus and crispy onions. The Pan Seared Salmon served with Moroccan-inspired Couscous, Charred Cumin Oil, Tzatziki, and Apricot Purée has also become a house favorite and signature dish.

Jardín also features an awe-inspiring bar program with creative craft cocktails, like the Rising Sun, made with Hendrick’s Gin, cucumber, allspice, fresh mint, and house-made saffron syrup. Local Texas craft beers and a carefully curated wine list featuring wines from around the world are also available to complement your meal. If you are looking for an excellent spot for a small gathering of old friends, clients, or you simply want to take the family and make a day of it strolling the garden, then make plans to visit the restaurant and take time to smell the flowers as you savor the Mediterranean flavors of Jardín.


555 Funston Place @ the San Antonio Botanical Garden

(210) 338-5100

Hours: (Reservations Recommended)

Monday to Thursday 11:00A-9:00P

Friday 11:00A-10:00P

Saturday 10:00A-10:00P

Sunday 10:00A-7:30P

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Half Texan on her mama’s side, Meredith grew up in Southern California and graduated from Pepperdine University, with a degree in Advertising. This allowed her to use words creatively, and to find her voice as a writer. She is a food enthusiast, and will eat anything but broccoli. Meredith has an incurable case of wanderlust, and she loves to cook, travel and eat. She spends her days raising two kids, and rescuing as many dogs as possible. She wanders the streets of San Antonio, and the rest of the world when she can, searching for great restaurants, tasty cocktails and interesting people. She is also still waiting for Shiner Bock to make her their official spokesperson.

Read more from Meredith Kay
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Al Rendon is a cultural documentary photographer with a studio in historic Southtown San Antonio. A native San Antonian, Al captures the people and culture that surround him in this graceful, expressive city. His understanding of his hometown merges with more than 30 years of professional photographic experience to fully document any event or cultural expression he is covering.

See more from Al Rendon

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