St. Louis Dining Guide 2015: Casual ($$) Restaurants

Note: $$ = entrées $11-17

Bella Vino | Photography by Kevin A. Roberts
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33 Wine Shop & Bar
Wine Bar
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
It’s dim, comfy, relaxed. Like a neighborhood pub—with a staggeringly expansive wine list and a selection of beer that isn’t much smaller. There are no full meals, but you’ll find high tea–type cheeses and meats well matched to the wine.
DINNER TUE–SAT.
1913 Park,
314-231-9463
$$
A Pizza Story
Pizza
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Neapolitans come here for pizza. Run by a pizza purist who knows his business, the pizzeria serves pies that are magnificently scorched, with the crust crispy, light, and fragrant. It’s a low-key operation that serves surprisingly good sides and local beers. But the emphasis is where it should be: that glowing brick oven.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
7278 Manchester,
314-899-0011
$$
Acero
Italian
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Cucina povera is glorious at this simple-yet-trendsetting place, where lighter pasta portions and affordable wine quartinos contribute to satisfying, memorable dinners. The four-course prix fixe is inevitably worthwhile.
DINNER MON–SAT.
7266 Manchester,
314-644-1790
$$
Adam’S Smokehouse
Barbecue
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
A descendant of the legendary Pappy’s Smokehouse, Adam’s features a house-made smoked salami sandwich (a nod to the place’s proximity to The Hill) and ribs rubbed with undisclosed ingredients and slathered in a sweet apple butter. A single salad is found on the menu, but it’s topped with your choice of meat (of course).
LUNCH TUE–SUN, EARLY DINNER WED–SAT,
2819 Watson,
314-875-9890
$$
Addie’S Thai House
Thai
FAR WEST COUNTY
This haven for lovers of authentic Thai food offers beautiful presentation and fiery dishes. The Waterfall Beef dish is unique to Addie’s, and the deep-fried sweet potatoes with coconut and tom yum gai soup are customer favorites.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER DAILY.
13441 Olive,
341-469-1660
$$
Almonds Restaurant
American
CLAYTON
In the increasingly competitive fried-chicken scene, this inexpensive popular haunt—which also boasts many notable New Orleans–influenced dishes—continues to shine.
LUNCH TUE–FRI, DINNER TUE–SAT.
8127 Maryland,
314-725-1019
$$
Amigos Cantina
Mexican
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
This fun, informal eatery is perhaps the best margarita bar in town. You’ll find the usual Mexican offerings, including some excellent fajitas. The lunch specials are tasty, too. The mariachi music can be loud. The patio is wonderful. Weekends are always crowded.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
120 W. Jefferson,
314-821-0877
$$
Anthonino’S Taverna
Italian/Greek
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
With a friendly staff and a recent expansion, Anthonino’s remains a favorite. The modern yet cozy vibe is optimal for any occasion. The menu includes hand-tossed pizzas, fresh pastas, sandwiches, salads, and gyros. Consider reservations on weekends.
LUNCH & DINNER MON–SAT.
2225 Maclind,
314-773-4455
$$
Anthony’s Bar
American
downtown
The glossy, sophisticated bar tucked into the ground floor of the Equitable Building shares both kitchen and ownership with Tony’s. Lunch is busy; dinner, with an eclectic menu, quieter. At dinner, you can order anything on the Tony’s menu and have it served to you here. Save room for pastry meisterin Helen Fletcher’s desserts.
LUNCH TUE-FRI, DINNER TUE–SAT.
10 S. Broadway,
314-231-7007
$$
Atomic Cowboy
Mexican
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
This eclectic landing spot for the post-1 a.m. crowd offers a deep roster of classic cocktails and eats that straddle the border between traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex. Looking to turn in early? When the weather cooperates, Atomic Cowboy also offers up one of The Grove’s finest perches for outdoor dining.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SUN.
4140 Manchester,
314-775-0775
$$
Baileys’ Chocolate Bar
Café
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
Think of it as a shrine for chocolate lovers. Desserts—brownies, cakes, and puddings—range from the extravagant to the demented. There’s also an array of nibbles—pizzetas, hummus, empanadas—that serve as the perfect complement to a tantalizing, diverse menu of liquor and beer.
DINNER DAILY.
1915 Park,
314-241-8100
$$
Balaban’S
American
FAR WEST COUNTY
An extensive wine list spans more than 860 offerings, including a Library Wine Collection with 250-plus older, vintage varieties. The contemporary American menu’s influenced by French, Spanish, and Italian cuisine, with small plates, flatbreads, and entrée portions. And more vino is available in the wine shop.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT, BRUNCH SUN.
1772 Clarkson,
636-449-6700
$$
Ballpark Village
American
downtown
Naysayers who suspected this would be a cheesy tourist trap are now eating their words. Developers have provided both major league visuals, entertainment (even in the offseason), and five dining options. At Cardinals Nation, reserve a spot on the AT&T Rooftop that includes ticketed seats overlooking Busch Stadium, an AYCE buffet and beverages, plus free passage into the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum. At the Budweiser Brew House, when people say “we’re here for the beer,” they could be referring to the beer flights, the self-serve 21-foot tap wall, or the 24 ABI-family beers on draft. Anchored by a monster, 40-foot LED TV, FOX Sports Midwest Live! is BPV’s spectacular, action-packed hub, the ideal perch for a beer and a Bacon Three Way Burger, either pregame, postgame, or during special events.
HOURS VARY.
601 Clark,
314-345-9481
$$
Barcelona Tapas Restaurant
Small Plates
CLAYTON
This high-energy spot is famous for its sangria, small plates, and sidewalk tables. It’s well suited for a night out watching the game or a last drink during a first date.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
34 N. Central,
314-863-9909
$$
Basso
Italian
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
The draw here, at one of the hippest bistro-type eateries in town, is small-portion Italian fare: roasted Brussels sprouts, seared pork belly, creamy burrata. Pizzas are topped with unexpected ingredients like duck egg and shrimp sausage. And happy hour doesn’t cease till 7 p.m.
DINNER DAILY.
7036 Clayton,
314-932-7820
$$
Beast Craft Bbq Co.
Barbecue
METRO EAST
Owner David Sandusky barbecues with focused intensity. It pays off with killer slabs, thick pork steaks that are tender to the bone, crazy-good chicken, and sausages that bite with a juicy snap. He only uses the best fresh ingredients, adheres to the standards, and servesfood that’s “all killer, no filler.”
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
20 S. Belt West, Belleville,
618-257-9000
$$
Bella Vino Wine Bar & Tapas
Wine Bar
ST. CHARLES & BEYOND
Tapas-type nibbles and a wonderful wine list make this a splendid evening destination in old-town St. Charles. The cozy, brick-walled interior with its fireplace, and the beautiful, intimate patio also make it a natural gathering spot. Don’t miss the fondue or the cobbler desserts—or some fine wine flights.
LUNCH FRI & SAT, DINNER TUE–SUN, BRUNCH SUN.
325 S. Main, St. Charles,
636-724-3434
$$
Biggies Restaurant And Bar
Bar
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Though you’ll want to plop right down on a stool upon entering through the bar—welcoming, low-lit, and spotted with Anheuser-Busch memorabilia—moving a bit farther, into the casual dining areas, will make you feel even more at home, as will the St. Louis–style items on the vast menu, the friendly service, and the South Side clientele.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
3332 Watson,
314-781-0060
$$
Billy G’S Kirkwood
American
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
It looks like the Taos Pueblo outside. Inside are burgers the size of your head, decent BBQ, pizzas, and nachos. The bar is comfortable, and the terrace is spacious, with attractive fire pits. It’s a family-type place, though a younger crowd moves in as the night deepens.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
131 W. Argonne,
314-984-8000
$$
Bixby’S
American
CENTRAL WEST END
The Missouri History Museum houses a restaurant with unparalleled views of Forest Park. The atmosphere’s tasteful and stylish, with lighter fare such as sandwiches and soups, as well as a luxurious Sunday champagne brunch.
LUNCH MON–SAT, BRUNCH SUN.
Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell,
314-361-7313
$$
Blue Sky Tower Grill
American
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
There are burgers, wraps, pizzas, nachos, and daily specials. But the real draw at this quirky, bright eatery: more than 60 martinis. (Insiders also come here for some fine breakfasts.)
BREAKFAST MON–FRI, LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
1034 S. Brentwood,
314-726-2583
$$
Bogart’S Smokehouse
Barbecue
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
At Soulard’s most celebrated BBQ joint, tales of life-changing meals of brisket, smoked turkey, and baked beans are only slight exaggerations. The usual challenges of any great BBQ place are here: Long lines and “We outta that” are testaments to its popularity, but it’s absolutely worth it.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER FRI & SAT.
1627 S. Ninth,
314-621-3107
$$
Boogaloo
Caribbean
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
The tapas menu boasts several dishes that you’re not likely to find anywhere else in St. Louis, such as Brazil nut–encrusted manchego cheese and conch fritters. The sandwich menu features one of the best Cuban sandwiches in town, the Cubaniche, along with a vegetarian version. The Cuban Paella brings the flavors of Cuba—shrimp, mussels, clams, market fish, andouille sausage, saffron, coconut milk, Valencia rice—to the heart of Maplewood. Try to finagle a seat at the bar (they’re swings!) or a seat on the hidden patio out back.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
7344 Manchester,
314-645-4803
$$
Braddens Restaurant
American
ST. CHARLES & BEYOND
Eating your way down St. Charles’ Old Main Street will have you stopping at this informal eatery in a historic location. The worthy menu consists of sandwiches and wraps, plus a few steaks and pasta. On Monday nights, kids eat for free, which should either be a warning or an invitation.
BREAKFAST SUNDAY, LUNCH DAILY, DINNER MON–SAT.
515 S. Main, St. Charles,
636-493-9303
$$
Bridge Tap House And Wine Bar
American
downtown
Bridge is all about upscale noshing: cheese and charcuterie platters, along with offbeat but delicious snacks such as duck tacos. If you can’t find one of the 200 beers or 100 wines to like, you’re too fussy. Brick walls and crowded tables make for a handsome but noisy environment.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
1004 Locust,
314-241-8141
$$
Broadway Oyster Bar
Cajun
downtown
Live music nightly makes les bon temps rouler, but those charbroiled oysters, jambalaya, and catfish don’t hurt. It’s not a dive but instead a dip; don’t be put off by the scruffy exterior. Inside, it’s friendly and happily packed, with wonderful beer and drinks.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
736 S. Broadway,
314-621-8811
$$
Byrd & Barrel
Southern
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
The chicken’s crispy, hot, and tasty. The place is downright fun, with an urban beer garden and a drive-thru, as well as in-house seating. The quirky menu includes Kool-Aid pickles, a hot dog stuffed into a pickle, then battered and fried like a corndog, and a Southside take on poutine. LUNCH, DINNER, AND LATE NIGHT DAILY.
3422 S. Jefferson,
314-875-9998
$$
Cafe Natasha’S
Mediterranean
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
For more than 30 years, Cafe Natasha’s has remained the South City mecca for beef kebabs. What’s in store for the uninitiated? Generous portions of sirloin that have been lovingly marinated in oil, onion, and spice. They’re skewered and charbroiled to crispy and oh-so-tender perfection.
LUNCH AND DINNER THU–TUE.
3200 S. Grand,
314-771-3411
$$
Café Osage
American
CENTRAL WEST END
A hidden gem, Café Osage is tucked into a lush urban nursery where many of the café’s ingredients are grown in season. Lunch options include the Brie LT. Breakfast on the sun-dappled patio is a perfect way to start the day.
BREAKFAST DAILY, LUNCH MON–SAT.
4605 Olive,
314-454-6868
$$
Cantina Laredo
Mexican
CLAYTON
A new kid on the block but not in the biz, this is the modern Mexican chain’s eighth location—though the sleek space reads more Clayton than chain. Grab a margarita and a seat by the open fireplace, and watch your server craft the guacamole tableside.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
7710 Forsyth,
314-725-2447
$$
Canyon Café
American
LADUE, FRONTENAC, CREVE COEUR & OLIVETTE
It’s more Tex than Mex— think of it as Southwestern Spicy. Sirloin gets a chili rub, and chicken chowder is spiked with poblanos. Enchiladas, “street” tacos, and fajitas are all good. Regulars rave about the chips and “limit-two” margaritas.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
1707 S. Lindbergh,
314-872-3443
$$
Capitalist Pig Bbq
Barbecue
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
Located in a former police station, both the atmosphere and the barbecue are unconventional. Capitalist Pig is the only area BBQ joint that goes whole hog—literally: buying whole hogs (many of them heritage breeds) and using the entire animal, snout to tail. It’s like eating traditional pulled pork at a pig roast.
LUNCH WED–SAT.
2727 S. 12th,
314-772-1180
$$
Charlie Gitto’S Downtown
Italian
downtown
Celeb photos line the walls of this iconic downtown spot, where locals and tourists mix. The menu’s a textbook of Italian-American dishes: pastas, veal, steaks, chicken—and a stupendous seafood risotto.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
207 N. Sixth,
314-436-2828
$$
Chef Ma’S Chinese Gourmet Restaurant
Chinese
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
Huai? (Bad?) You’ll eat off Styrofoam and struggle with a handwritten menu with the good stuff in untranslated Chinese. Hao? (Good?) The most startlingly authentic Chinese eatery in town. Incredible, delicious fare unequalled lo-cally, like Hainan chicken and Hakka-style fried rice.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
2336 Woodson,
314-395-8797
$$
Cicero’S
American
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
Known for its large portions, inexpensive prices, and the largest beer selection in U. City (plus beer school every Wednesday), this Loop classic doubles as a popular music venue, with bands playing almost every night of the week.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
6691 Delmar,
314- 862-0009
$$
Circle 7 Ranch Taphouse & Grill
Bar
FAR WEST COUNTY
Circle 7 Ranch is a rustic taphouse and grill featuring personal table taps—the first in Missouri—that allow patrons to pour cold draft beers tableside. The menu offers hearty bar food favorites, with an extensive burger, wrap, sandwich, and salad selection, as well as mac and cheese 11 ways. Unexpected options—corn fritters, dirty fries, and fried pickles—round out the menu.
LUNCH TUE–SUN, DINNER DAILY.
14412 Clayton,
636-220-9707
$$
Cooper’S Hawk Winery & Restaurant
American
FAR WEST COUNTY
This Chicago-based restaurant/winery hybrid offers a wine-paired menu in a large, multi-room space that belies its size. A mandatory stop is the tasting room, where guests learn about—and taste—the broad range of Cooper’s Hawk wine.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
1146 Town and Country Crossing,
636-489-0059
$$
Cork Wine Bar
Wine Bar
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
Several wine options are offered at controlled temperatures for optimal tasting. A menu of small plates designed for sharing is organized as “hot,” “cold,” and “snacks.” Sample fondue, veal short ribs, or popcorn. The lobster and grits and bacon hash pair perfectly, no matter the selection.
DINNER TUE–SUN.
423 S. Florissant,
314-521-9463
$$
Cunetto House Of Pasta
Italian
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
For more than four decades, Cunetto has been serving up massive but affordable plates of pasta to those celebrating special occasions—or just another Tuesday night. Remember to leave a tip and take the cannoli.
LUNCH TUE–FRI; DINNER TUE–SUN.
5453 Magnolia,
314-781-1135
$$
Cyrano’S
Desserts/Café
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
Once the dessert destination in St. Louis, Cyrano’s has a reputation that remains deservedly formidable. The dinner menu includes sandwiches and heartier fare: steak frites, pork tenderloin, shrimp Creole… The vibrant pastels, glittery tiles, and bright lantern lighting make for a pleasant, upbeat atmosphere.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
603 E. Lockwood,
314-963-3232
$$
Dalie’S Smokehouse
Barbecue
FAR WEST COUNTY
The team behind Pappy’s and Bogart’s serves up killer ’cue in Valley Park. Order a slab or a sandwich, add some Papa Joe’s Original sauce, and pair it with a side of hush puppies or Fire and Ice Pickles.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SAT, LUNCH SUN.
2951 Dougherty Ferry,
636-529-1898
$$
Death In The Afternoon
American
downtown
Snag a patio seat on game day, when Death in the Afternoon comes alive. Order a craft cocktail and the staff-recommended Cubano sandwich, and you’ll find proof that Blood and Sand’s little sister is a stunner.
LUNCH DAILY, DINNER MON–FRI, BRUNCH SAT & SUN.
808 Chestnut,
314-621-3236
$$
Demun Oyster Bar
Seafood
CLAYTON
This diminutive, on-trend oyster bar wows with its rotating selection of fresh bivalves, killer chowders, and an array of wines, craft cocktails, and beer.
DINNER DAILY.
740 DeMun,
314-725-0322
$$
Dewey’S Pizza
Pizza
Multiple Locations
This gourmet pizza chain serves inventive specialty pizzas, as well as seasonal offerings. Rotating craft beers are on tap, with an emphasis on local breweries. A full wine list includes Dewey’s own line from Novy Family Wines.
Lunch Mon–Sat, Dinner Daily.
559 North & South,
314-726-3434;
124 N. Kirkwood,
314-821-7474;
122 E. Lockwood,
314-961-1000;
1312 Clarkson/Clayton Center,
636-227-3400;
1520 S. 5th, St. Charles,
636-724-1111;
112 E. Vandalia, Edwardsville, Ill.,
618-656-2200
$$
Dreamland Palace
German
METRO EAST
You probably can’t pronounce half of the items on the menu here, but it’s fun to try. Dreamland Palace is the place for German fare, a tchotchke-laden space where “cafeteria” meets hofbrau. The food’s authentic, and the beer is nearly as cold as the frosted mugs. A perfect spot for larger groups, the atmosphere is lively and loud. Vergnügen!
LUNCH AND DINNER WED–SUN.
3043 Hwy. 156, Waterloo,
618-939-9922
$$
Dressel’S Public House
Bar
CENTRAL WEST END
Few places capture the Welsh pub experience as well as Dressel’s. The dark wood–and–brick interior holds a lively crowd enjoying draft beers. Completing the effect is the food: rarebit, lamb burgers, fish and chips, soft pretzels. It’s hearty dining in a charmingly informal vintage-feel setting.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SUN.
419 N. Euclid,
314-361-1060
$$
Eclipse
American
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
Inventive fine dining is served amid retro lunar-themed décor at the Moonrise Hotel. The restaurant’s LED-lit bar is a colorful setting for a handcrafted cocktail, and the Rooftop Terrace Bar offers incredible views of the city’s skyline.
BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND DINNER DAILY.
6177 Delmar,
314-726-2222
$$
Edgewild Bistro & Tap
American
LADUE, FRONTENAC, CREVE COEUR & OLIVETTE
The menu’s ambitious: pizza, sandwiches, salads, along with such meals as Cajun penne and fried smoked chicken. It’s one of those places that’s suitable for a business lunch or a weekend dinner with the family. The beer selection is worthy, too.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
12316 Olive,
314-548-2222
$$
El Burro Loco
Mexican
CENTRAL WEST END
Hark back to the days when such places as Chi-Chi’s and the beloved Casa Gallardo introduced Mexican food to the mass market, with fajitas, chimichangas, and other then-exotic menu offerings. Toss in the wackiest and most whimsical Mexican décor in town, as well as fishbowl-size margaritas, and you have El Burro Loco. Celebrating an adult’s birthday? Opt for the same free birthday dessert the kids get—or a complimentary shot.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
313 N. Euclid,
314-224-5371
$$
Element
American
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
The restaurant has a welcome fetish for beautiful presentations. The menu’s a constantly changing reflection of the chef’s whims, with sweet tea–brined chicken and oil-poached whitefish. The atmosphere is classy and understated, with a magnificent open-air lounge upstairs. Element was voted “Best Restaurant With an Attached Rock-Climbing Gym.”
LUNCH TUE–FRI, DINNER TUE–SAT, BRUNCH SUN.
1419 Carroll,
314-241-1674
$$
Ernesto’S Wine Bar
Wine Bar
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
On Wednesday, wines are half price. Steak and frîtes–type classics are served alongside surprises like chicken strudel and peach cobbler. The drink menu includes New and Old World wines, as well as cocktails.
DINNER TUE–SAT.
2730 McNair,
314-664-4511
$$
Evangeline’S Bistro
Cajun
CENTRAL WEST END
Enjoy nightly live music and food, both of which lean toward Louisiana traditions. Located at the northern end of the Euclid strip, it’s a particularly fine spot for a long, leisurely brunch, especially with New Orleans–style eye openers like brandy milk punch and a Ramos gin fizz.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SUN.
512 N. Euclid,
314-367-3644
$$
Everest Café & Bar
Asian
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
You won’t need that bottle of sriracha on the table; each dish here provides the appropriate spice and distinctive flavors from Nepal, India, and Korea. The lunch buffet is popular and convenient, with an entire room home to a display of hot trays of specialties (well-labeled with dietary specifications). Egg, chicken, and vegetables are featured in an array of colorful, aromatic sauces.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN,
4145 Manchester,
314-531-4800
$$
Farotto’S Pizzeria
Italian
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
St. Louis–style pizza is served alongside fish, chicken, and pasta, but the real secret here is a spectacular meatball sandwich. (Get it on the garlic cheese bread.) The Rock Hill institution has a spacious new patio and a large banquet space.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER DAILY.
9525 Manchester,
314- 962-0048
$$
Favazza’S
Italian
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
The best reason to visit this nearly 40-year-old Hill classic—besides the house garlic bread and the generous pasta portions—is to dine on the new all-season covered patio, complete with a fireplace and its own bar. It’s fun to eat “outside” in the wintertime.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
5201 Southwest,
314-772-4454
$$
Felix’S Pizza Pub
Pizza
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
The move from its former location to larger quarters across the street has put Felix’s into overdrive. The menu includes New York–style pizza, plus sandwiches, drinks, and killer trashed wings. There are several televisions and lots of activity, but it’s all part of the fun.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
6401 Clayton,
314-645-6565
$$
Ferguson Brewing Company
Bar
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
North County’s first brewpub offers beer-friendly foods, such as brats, soft pretzels, and a hearty beer-cheese soup. Try the smoked chicken wings—a full pound. You’ll also find eight brews on tap, as well as seasonal selections.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
418 S. Florissant,
314-521-2220
$$
Fletcher’S Kitchen & Tap
American
METRO EAST
Pastas, burgers, and sandwiches are served in a loud, friendly atmosphere. You’ll whiff the hickory smoke a block away; the grilled ribs and thick burgers are as good as they smell. Don’t miss the grilled zucchini.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
6101 W. Main, Belleville,
618-239-3317
$$
Fox & Hounds Tavern
American
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Cozy, retro-romantic, and chock full of nooks, the Fox & Hounds is where you’ll stop for a cocktail and end up staying for more, such as the Liverpool wings, grilled salmon, or chocolate gooey butter cake. The fireplace is a perfect place to gather and reminisce.
DINNER DAILY.
6300 Clayton,
314-647-7300
$$
Fratelli’S Ristorante
Italian
ST. CHARLES & BEYOND
From the Tuscany vista murals to the scratch-made sauces, it doesn’t get more “St. Louis Italian.” The ambience is all about family; not only do the staff know you, but they also know your Uncle Max—and his weird new girlfriend. It’s affordable, enjoyable, and dependably good.
LUNCH MON–FRI, DINNER DAILY.
2061 Zumbehl,
636-949-9005
$$
Fritanga
Nicaraguan
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Serving up Nicaraguan and Latin cuisine, Fritanga allows you to order plantains three different ways to accompany your entrée—also topped with plantains. We recommend the Rumtarindo, a rum-based cocktail that goes down smoothly with the help of the savory meat, bean, and rice dishes. Service is attentive and on the verge of formal.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
2208 S. Jefferson,
314-664-7777
$$
Grbic
European
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Friendly service and hearty food charm customers at this family-owned restaurant. Don’t miss cevapi, juicy beef sausages, and tarhana soup. It’s a good place for a quiet conversation, even when there’s a wedding or community gathering being catered next door. LUNCH SAT–SUN, DINNER TUE–SUN.
4071 Keokuk,
314-772-3100,
.$$
Gringo
Mexican
CENTRAL WEST END
Tuck into chips and salsa, tacos, and superior margaritas. Spend a leisurely evening at this swanky cantina from the creators of Pi. The atmosphere’s hip, spacious, and sleek. Chef Cary McDowell’s menu includes unexpected twists, such as brisket enchiladas and an enormous loaded quesadilla.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
398 N. Euclid,
314-449-1212
$$
Guido’S Pizzeria & Tapas
Italian
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
Pizza and paella on the same menu? Sure. After finishing some traditional-style tapas, try the St. Louis–style pizza, which is way more than just an afterthought. Like Modesto, it’s not the sort of spot you’d expect to find on The Hill.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
5046 Shaw,
314-771-4900
$$
Hacienda
Mexican
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
Fine renditions of Mexican dishes such as chicken mole are served in a delightfully unique setting. Chalet meets estancia—and it’s among the oldest historic structures in the county. The terrace is shaded, boisterous. The bar’s convivial. And did we mention that Hacienda has its own tortilla factory?
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
9748 Manchester,
314-962-7100
$$
Half & Half
American
CLAYTON
A mix of standard fare and variations, such as mascarpone-and-lemon–layered pancakes, sate the appetites of sweet- and savory-breakfast aficionados alike in this packed-from-the-start champion of the local brunch scene. A rotating selection of guest roasters’ coffee is also a highlight.
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH TUE–FRI, SAT & SUN BRUNCH.
8135 Maryland,
314-725-0719
$$
Helen Fitzgerald’S
Bar
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
It’s a Syberg family restaurant, so you know the signature wings are mandatory. At night, Helen’s turns into a party with live bands, DJs, drink specials, and ladies’ nights.
LUNCH, AND DINNER DAILY.
3650 S. Lindbergh,
314-984-0026
$$
Hendel’S Market Café & Wine Bar
American
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
This family-owned restaurant is housed in a historic brick building with a covered porch and ivy-draped brick courtyard. Many come for the steak—USDA Choice beef, aged at least 21 days. The signature Louisiana-style crab cakes are served with a tobacco-onion remoulade. If you’re there for brunch, grab a mimosa for $2.25.
LUNCH & DINNER TUE–SAT, BRUNCH SUN.
599 St. Denis,
314-837-2304
$$
Hendricks Bbq
Barbecue
ST. CHARLES & BEYOND
It’s a feast for the eyes, ears, and palate. There’s a rustic roadhouse vibe upstairs, a blues bar downstairs, a massive patio overlooking the Katy Trail, and exceptional barbecue. First-timers should opt for a combo; consider a hearty plate of tender beef brisket, decadent ribbons of pulled pork, and oh-so-moist turkey.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
1200 S. Main, St. Charles,
636-724-8600
$$
Hick’S Bbq
Barbecue
METRO EAST
A vinegary Carolina-type sauce “with a kick” dominates at this small, rustic, inevitably packed joint. The wait is worth it. The ribs are excellent, the brisket is properly moist and tender, and the pork sandwiches are decadently overstuffed. Oh, and don’t miss the homemade potato chips. Though the frills are few, this is serious barbecue.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
609 S. Illinois, Belleville,
618-234-7427
$$
Hodak’S Restaurant
Southern
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Winner, winner: Hodak’s is required eating for anyone who enjoys a fried chicken dinner. Popular long before there was a fried-chicken trend, Hodak’s specializes in crowd-pleasing birds wrapped in a distinctive savory cornbread-and-flour coating.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
2100 Gravois,
314-776-7292
$$
House Of India
Indian
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
Long heralded locally and nationally as one of the best Indian restaurants in St. Louis, House of India offers an extensive menu of authentic dishes. The daily buffet is a popular business-lunch and weekend tradition for many. Takeout is also available for feasting at home. And the restaurant is vegetarian-friendly.
LUNCH BUFFET AND DINNER DAILY.
8501 Delmar,
314-567-6850
$$
India Palace
Indian
Multiple Locations
Many dine at the Lindbergh location for the setting alone, with its top-floor view of planes at the airport. The menu offers some of the best Indian cuisine around. The lamb vindaloo and chicken tikka masala are outstanding.
Lunch Buffet And Dinner Mon–Sat On Olive, Daily At Airport.
4534 N. Lindbergh,
314-731-3333,
711 Olive,
314-621-8533,
$$
Iron Barley
American
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Unusual yet delicious takes on traditional favorites are prepared from scratch in an arsenal of seasoned cast-iron pans. Pair the dishes with a cadre of local microbrews in the informal setting. First-time visitors tend to come away wishing that this delicious neighborhood joint were in their own neighborhoods.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
5510 Virginia,
314-351-4500
$$
J Fires’ Market Bistro
American
METRO EAST
A beautifully restored Victorian home is transformed into unexpected dining elegance in the fields of Waterloo. The menu tilts toward Cajun: étouffée, gumbo, and boudin. Surprises such as lamb and whole fish keep things interesting. The vine-entwined patio is splendid for warm-weather dining.
DINNER WED–SUN, BRUNCH SUN.
725 N. Market, Waterloo,
618-939-7233
$$
J Mcarthur’S
American
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
At this handsome restaurant, every course is delightfully prepared with seasonal ingredients. The menu—with items like pea shoots and wild greens, diver scallops and Amish chicken, and blueberry marmalade-slathered beignets—is constantly changing. And the wine selection’s impressive. (Note: A great late night menu includes snacks like street tacos and flatbreads.)
DINNER TUE–SAT.
3500 Watson,
314-353-9463
$$
Jazz At The Bistro
American
MIDTOWN & GRAND CENTER
The bistro’s menu matches this singular, intimate space. Diners can choose three courses as part of the prix fixe option, order individual items, or go for the small plates. New Orleans–inspired soul food punctuates several of the dishes, including a mixed salad with black-eyed peas and a flatbread pizza with crawfish and andouille.
DINNER NIGHTLY DURING PERFORMANCES AT 7:30 & 9:30 P.M., BRUNCH SUN.
3536 Washington,
314-571-6000
$$
Jj Twig’S Pizza & Pub
Pizza
Multiple Locations
With three area locations, JJ Twig’s has a well-established clientele. Order the signature Double-Decker, which allows customers to build two layers of toppings for the monstrous double-crust pie.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
2964 Dougherty Ferry,
636-225-9945;
5600 Hampton,
314-833-6700
1090 Tom Ginnever,
636-379-4446
$$
Joe Boccardi’S Ristorante
Italian
Multiple Locations
There’s an extensive menu of Italian favorites for lunch and dinner, but pizza remains the top seller. Try traditional choices such as Joe’s Special Original or the meat-laden Raffaele.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
8556 Watson,
314-849-7976;
117 S. Main, Columbia, Ill.,
618-281-6700;
128 Boccardi, Eureka,
636-938-6100;
958 Brookwood Center, Fenton,
636-326-2563
$$
Joey B’s
Bar & Grill
Multiple Locations
A big menu of appetizers, burgers, wings, sandwiches, and even steak modiga keeps crowds coming back. The pizza is remarkably satisfying for a spot that doesn’t focus on it. And don’t miss the tower of hand-breaded onion rings.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
710 N. Second,
314-621-9570,
2524 Hampton,
314-645-7300,
189 Concord Plaza,
314-843-2121,
$$
Joy Luck Buffet
Chinese
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
This local favorite has a buffet whose offerings are constantly replenished. The variety runs the gamut from Americanized items to authentically exotic dishes. Seafood selections are particularly enticing. For those with a taste for spicy Szechuan, Joy Luck offers one of the best hot pots in town.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
8030 Manchester,
314-645-9982
$$
Juniper
Southern
CENTRAL WEST END
Juniper feels like a pop-up restaurant that (fortunately) decided to stick around long-term. It serves some of the best fried chicken in town, along with other down-home Southern eats conjured in a delightfully uptown style. The bread basket is mandatory, as are the exceptional craft cocktails. The scene’s folksy, friendly, and wildly popular.
DINNER MON–SAT.
360 N. Boyle,
314-329-7696
$$
Katie’S Pizza And Pasta
Italian
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
The kitchen’s obsessed with assembling pizzas topped with fresh ingredients like figs and dandelion greens. The pastas are even more entertaining, dressed with such splendid ingredients as wild boar ragu and caviar. Much of the fare is garnished with bounty from the patio garden.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SAT & SUN.
9568 Manchester,
314-942-6555
$$
Katie’S Pizzeria Café
Pizza
CLAYTON
A range of interestingly topped Tuscan-style pizzas, salads, and appetizers make up the menu at this eclectically decorated café. Classic toasted ravioli is kicked up with an artichoke-and-Gorgonzola–stuffed variation.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
6611 Clayton,
314-727-8585
$$
La Pizza
Pizza
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
Heralded by many as the best New York–style pizza in town, La Pizza might also be the tiniest pizzeria you’ve ever visited. There are just a few tables, so arrive early or order to go. The dough is hand-tossed, the cheese is 100 percent whole-milk, and everything is made in-house. Stromboli, calzones, hero sandwiches, and salads are also available.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY
8137 Delmar,
314-725-1230
$$
Lascelles Granite City
American
METRO EAST
This chef-inspired restaurant is housed in a century-old bank building. Menu items with simple descriptions (Chicken + Dumplings) give way to thoughtful plate presentations (a smoked half-chicken with potato gnocchi, mushrooms, peas, carrots, and pan jus). In the beer garden out back, pair a fried-chicken waffle sandwich with one of a dozen craft brews.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON– SAT, BRUNCH SUN.
1324 Niedringhaus, Granite City,
618-709-7375
$$
Layla
Bar
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Surprising dishes include smoky mango wings and gooey butter baklava. The extensive burger menu includes beef, lamb, turkey, bison, and veggie. Layla’s adjacent lot makes parking a breeze.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SAT–SUN.
4317 Manchester,
314-553-9252
.$$
Leonardo’S Kitchen & Wine Bar
Italian
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
At this former filling station, owned by Rich LoRusso, order the Italian beef, or opt for vinaigrette instead of mayo on the cold sandwiches. Pay attention to the salads, which are way above what usually comes in a little cardboard container. There’s one size of pizza made to order, with no Provel and a crust that traces its lineage to the legendary Parente’s.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
2130 Macklind,
314-664-1410
$$
Lester’S Sports Bar
Bar
LADUE, FRONTENAC, CREVE COEUR & OLIVETTE
Although there are plenty of big TVs, the name is misleading. It’s less sports bar, more neighborhood eatery. There are house-smoked meats, fine sandwiches, and decent barbecue. Soups and salads are particularly rewarding. Expect a convivial, family-friendly atmosphere.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
9906 Clayton,
314-994-0055
$$
Lewis And Clark’S
American
ST. CHARLES & BEYOND
Expect bustling crowds here, especially on weekends. Why? It offers a charmingly restored 18th-century space, a delightful second-story patio, and superior pub fare, as well as Missouri wines and a fine lemon drop martini. If you’re shopping or wandering old St. Charles, try lunch here for a somewhat quieter experience.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
217 S. Main, St. Charles,
636-947-3334
$$
Little Saigon Café
Vietnamese
CENTRAL WEST END
This snug spot serves Saigon-flavored Vietnamese fare, including pho and other noodle dishes, soft spring rolls, and iced coffee. The outside seating is pleasant, and a wall-length window makes inside seating equally desirable for watching the neighborhood’s movable circus.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
10 N. Euclid,
314-361-8881
$$
Llywelyn’s Pub
Bar & Grill
Multiple Locations
It’s boisterously happy—and not just because of that beer menu that’s longer than a Stephen King novel. It’s suitably pub-ish, with old brick and dark wood. Llywelyn’s serves as a headquarters for all things Celtic in St. Louis.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
4747 McPherson Avenue,
314-361-3003;
1732 South 9th Street,
314-436-3255;
100 N. Main Street,
636-724-8520;
17 West Moody Avenue,
314-962-1515;
7434 Village Center Drive,
636-625-8655
$$
Lucas Park Grille
American
downtown
This is one of few downtown eateries open into the wee hours, and many a night’s revelry concludes here. There’s also an unrestrained menu, including smoked wild boar ribs and lobster ravioli. You’ll find plenty of TVs, but they don’t overwhelm the clubby atmosphere.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
1234 Washington,
314-241-7770
$$
Lucky Buddha
Asian
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
As the Italians say, “Manga!” No, wait—that’s the style of Asian cartoon art that’s all over the walls. Reach for nirvana by trying riffs on ramen, pho, steamed buns, banh mi, and other Asian basics. Or push a bit further with such items as lemongrass ice cream. A restored corner storefront provides a unique frame for the Asian cartoon and culinary artworks.
LUNCH SAT & SUN, DINNER TUE–SUN.
3701 S. Jefferson,
314-833-4568
$$
Lulu Seafood & Dim Sum
Asian
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
A red-and-gold entrance prepares you for the authentic dining experience you’re about to experience. The restaurant’s four chefs hail from Sichuan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. They bring the regions’ best culinary techniques with them. Two chefs are experts in dim sum and pull out all the stops for the weekend carts. And karaoke is available in English, Chinese, and Korean.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
8224 Olive,
314-997-3108
$$
Mai Lee
Vietnamese
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Mai Lee is St. Louis’ go-to for beefy, herby pho. The menu’s big and so is the space, which is always crowded. If you’re adventurous, ask the staff for suggestions, or try the canh chua ca, an addictive fish stew. Make this a Sunday-night dinner stop.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
8396 Musick Memorial,
314-645-2835
$$
Manee Thai
Thai
FAR WEST COUNTY
Manee serves some of the best Thai food in St. Louis. The extensive menu includes several unique options, such as northeastern Thai sausage, as well as seasonal dishes like pumpkin red curry, poached pears in red-wine sauce, and homemade pomegranate ice cream.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
481 Lafayette Center,
636-256-8898
$$
Mangia Italiano
Italian
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
What began in 1983 as a deli and small shop offering fresh pasta has become a neighborhood go-to, offering a menu of inexpensive Italian dishes, including polenta fries, sandwiches, and house-made pastas. Choose a spot on the formal white-tableclothed side or on the casual side, marked by Formica tables, mismatched chairs, and the always-in-progress murals by local artist Wayne St. Wayne. Live music nightly. Late-night menu available.
DINNER DAILY, LUNCH SAT & SUN.
3145 S. Grand,
314-664-8585
$$
Mango
South American
downtown
You don’t always crave Peruvian chow, but when you do, you head for this Loft District eatery. A menu explains the spicy, exotic fare, and servers competently explain the details. Don’t neglect the Pisco Sours. The interior’s chic, beautifully lit, and recommended for a romantic date.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER DAILY.
1001 Washington,
314-621-9993
$$
Marcella’S Mia Sorella
Italian
FAR WEST COUNTY
Named one of Thrillist’s “21 Best Italian Restaurants in America,” this sister restaurant to Trattoria Marcella has a contemporary Italian menu centered by housemade pasta, exquisite risotto, and hand-tossed pizza. Even the cheeseburger is exemplary.
LUNCH MON–FRI, DINNER MON–SAT.
14426 Clayton,
636-333-1015
$$
Mary Ann’S Tea Room
Café
CENTRAL WEST END
Yes, the Central West End has a place to have high tea. But for that experience (which can include such items as petits-fours and caviar), you’ll need to make reservations two days in advance, and it’ll run you at least $30 per person. If that’s not in the cards, you can still have a lovely lunch in a formally set greenhouse space. Do wear something nice, dear.
LUNCH AND HIGH TEA DAILY.
4732 McPherson,
314-361-5303
$$
Mathew’S Kitchen
American
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
The intent here—successful—is to give American standards a kick in the palate. Scallops matched with couscous. Pork chops paired with grilled peaches. It’s a cross between diner and upscale eatery. Sunday brunch features a tater tot slinger that’s weird and a Bloody Mary bar that’s entirely civilized.
LUNCH TUE–SAT, DINNER TUE–SUN, SUNDAY BRUNCH.
5625 Hampton,
314-351-1700
$$
Mcgurk’s
Bar & Grill
Multiple Locations
Chunky Guinness stew steaming in a bread bowl. Live maudlin music. Corned beef and cabbage. Yeah, it’s Irish and a pub. What distinguishes the Soulard spot, however, is a huge outdoor garden with fountains and the traditional Irish music. In O’Fallon, Missouri, there’s also a giant bar and relaxed patio.
Lunch Mon–Sat, Dinner Daily In Soulard; Lunch And Dinner Daily In O’Fallon.
1200 Russell,
314-776-8309,
108 S. Main, O’Fallon,
636-978-9640,
$$
Meskerem
Ethiopian
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Chicken, lamb, and beef—served in ways you never imagined—are all on the menu at this standout in St. Louis’ Little Ethiopia. The décor captures sunny northern Africa. The food—piquantly spiced, eaten with spongy bread—is exotic and appealing.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
3210 S. Grand,
314-772-4442
$$
Michael’S Bar And Grill
Bar
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Traditional Greek flavors can be found in this neighborhood sports-bar setting. Fried zucchini with horseradish sauce is a refreshing twist on French fries. The 10-ounce Michael Burger is a sight to behold, especially when topped with a ball of soft cheddar.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
7101 Manchester,
314-644-2240
$$
Milagro Modern Mexican
Mexican
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
The beautiful interior make this an attractive restaurant, but Milagro’s take on Mexican fare—wild mushroom quesadillas and chili-spiked smashed potatoes, for instance—elevates it considerably. The margaritas are also excellent, and the queso con chorizo is not to be missed.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
20 Allen,
314-962-4300
$$
Modesto
Small Plates
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
Located in a former furniture store, The Hill’s first tapas restaurant lives up to expectations, with wine and small plates, as well as a busy bar pouring lots of sangria.
DINNER MON–SAT.
5257 Shaw,
314-772- 8272
$$
Monsoon Vietnamese Bistro
Vietnamese
FAR WEST COUNTY
Menu favorites at this West County haven for pho aficionados include the “shaking beef,” sizzling Saigon crepe, and Vietnamese coffee. We’re also partial to the Vietnamese curry, green papaya salad, and calamari with flash-fried spinach leaves. And top it off with an Asian-inspired cocktail, like the lychee martini.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
14248 Manchester,
636-256-8838
$$
Nobu’S
Japanese/Sushi
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
At St. Louis’ best Japanese restaurant, the sushi is correctly prepared and presented, with minimal Americanized silliness. Tempura is crisp, golden, and hot. Don’t overlook the noodle dishes—or the kamameshi: seasoned rice, chicken, and vegetables steamed in a pot.
LUNCH TUE–FRI, DINNER TUE–SAT.
8643 Olive,
314-997-2303
$$
Old Standard
Southern
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Owner Ben Poremba’s chicken not-really-a-shack offers happy hens with all the trimmings. Well-seasoned fried chicken stars, but don’t miss the myriad unusual side dishes. Chicken and waffles appear at the all-day Sunday brunch. Lots of bourbons are featured at the bar. LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT, BRUNCH SUN.
1621 Tower Grove,
314-899-9000
$$
Olio
Mediterranean
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Diminutive in size but large in aspirations, the sister wine bar to Elaia is ideal for light snacking, full meals, great drinks, or any combination thereof. Creative cocktails and a broad beer and wine list pair with shareable small plates.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SUN.
1634 Tower Grove,
314-932-1088
$$
Omar’S Italian & Mediterranean Cuisine
Mediterranean
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
This St. Ann spot is an exemplar of affordable Mediterranean fare. Huge bowls of hummus, crispy falafel, and superior pita-stuffed shawarma are served in a converted Taco Bell that fills to capacity on most evenings. The hot rolls are seriously addicting.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SAT. 10111
St. Charles Rock,
314-429-6881
$$
One 19 North
Wine Bar
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
This tapas place gets it right. The atmosphere is romantic, with live music on weekends. The menu is reasonably priced. The plates—baked goat cheese, calamari, smoked Gouda grits—are delicious. And there’s a lovely wine selection. You’ll nibble, sip, chat, fall in love.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER DAILY.
119 N. Kirkwood,
314-821-4119
$$
Onesto
Pizza
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
The pizza is the draw, along with the garlic knots. There’s a focus on the seasonal and local, including craft beer and vegetables grown on-site. Stromboli, sandwiches, and pasta are served in an informal but elegant atmosphere. Mondays are popular for discounted sangrias.
DINNER DAILY.
5401 Finkman,
314-802-8883
$$
Panorama
American
CENTRAL WEST END
Located inside the Saint Louis Art Museum, Panorama is elegant without pretense. A pleasant lunch and dinner menu emphasizes seasonally changing cuisine. There’s also a weekend brunch, with French toast and frittatas.
LUNCH TUES–FRI, DINNER ONLY FRI, BRUNCH SAT–SUN.
1 Fine Arts, Forest Park,
314-655-5490
$$
Pappy’S Smokehouse
Barbecue
MIDTOWN & GRAND CENTER
This award-winning spot serves arguably the best Memphis-style barbecue in its class. Sample the dry-rubbed ribs and pulled pork to see why people don’t mind waiting in long lines and why items often sell out.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT, LUNCH AND EARLY DINNER SUN.
3106 Olive,
314-535-4340
$$
The Pasta House Co.
Italian
Multiple Locations
For four decades, this St. Louis pasta chain has been a go-to for favorite Italian dishes, such as pasta con broccoli, fettuccine Alfredo, eggplant Parmigiano, cannelloni, chicken Marsala, cheesy garlic bread, and toasted ravioli. Pizza, burgers, and sandwiches are also available. Take note of all-you-can-eat pasta Mondays and kids-eat-free Sundays.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
Check website for full list of locations.
$$
Pastaria
Italian
CLAYTON
A wide selection of house-made organic pastas account for the bulk of the menu at this family-focused Italian dining hall. Wood-fired pizzas and veggie-centric apps make up the rest. The reasonable prices mean that you can take the family and enjoy some gelato, too.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SUN.
7734 Forsyth,
314-862-6603
$$
Pearl Café
Thai
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
The traditional Thai menu is filled with chicken, beef, pork, and seafood dishes. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the King of Spice Challenge by sampling dishes of increasing hotness. There are also more than 200 beers and 125 single-malt Scotch selections.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
8416 N. Lindbergh,
314-831-3701
$$
Peel Wood Fired Pizza
Pizza
Multiple Locations
The aroma coming from that oven makes waiting for a table a delicious agony. The pizzas are topped with innovative ingredients: BBQ pork, duck sausage, roasted sweet potatoes… In O’Fallon, Ill., there’s an entire brewpub upstairs; at the Edwardsville location, the patio is enjoyable.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
921 S. Arbor Vitae, Edwardsville,
618-659-8561;
104 S. Cherry, O’Fallon, Ill.,
618-726-2244
$$
Peshwa
Indian
LADUE, FRONTENAC, CREVE COEUR & OLIVETTE
The buffet here is splendid, featuring regional dishes from all over India. Alternately, the menu has dozens of specialties, including a sprawling assortment of vegetarian offerings and chaat, or street snacks. Fragrant, fluffy rice biryani are outstanding. It’s a modest place, with few frills but lots of first-rate Indian fare.
LUNCH AND DINNER WED–MON.
10633 Page,
314-428-8888
$$
Pi Pizzeria
Pizza
Multiple Locations
President Barack Obama’s favorite pizza comes in thin-crust and deep-dish styles, with Pi’s distinctive cornmeal dough. It’s worth trying the inventive neighborhood-themed specials
. Lunch And Dinner Daily.
6144 Delmar,
314-727-6633;
400 N. Euclid,
314-367-4300;
10935 Manchester,
314-966-8080;
610 Washington,
314-588-7600;
14870 Clayton,
636-527-5070
$$
Piccadilly At Manhattan
American
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
High-five worthy fried chicken is served with sides like Grandma used to make. Piccadilly’s fried chicken sports a crisp, salty crust that begs for a generous slathering of hot sauce and honey. Extra napkins are a must, as are the complimentary wet naps.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SAT.
7201 Piccadilly,
314-646-0016
$$
Pirrone’s Pizzeria
Pizza
Multiple Locations
Rectangular thin-crust pies are made fresh, from the dough to the toppings. Sandwiches, pastas, salads, and more are available, too.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
1775 Washington,
314-839-3633;
299 Salt Lick, St. Peters,
636-278-3800
$$
Pizzeoli
Pizza
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
The house-made dough takes three days to prepare before being topped with mouthwatering ingredients like arugula, yellow trumpet mushrooms, cashew ricotta, and Fontina. It’s then baked in a 900-degree wood-fired oven. The sauce is certifiably Neapolitan, made only with crushed tomatoes and salt. No meat is served, but the vegan sausage is a savory treat that even non-vegetarians will love.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SAT.
1928 S. 12th,
314-449-1111
$$
Pizzeria Mia
Pizza
CENTRAL WEST END
One benefit of the huge Bosnian migration into St. Louis has been the opening of some excellent pizzerias. Here’s another, sharing an owner with Cafe Milano, a neighborhood coffee shop near Bevo Mill. With a bake time of roughly six minutes at 650 degrees, the pies here are not quite Neapolitan, not quite American. The dome-shaped oven is faced with repurposed red brick.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
4501 Maryland,
314-400- 7706
$$
Pizzeria Tivoli
Pizza
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
The blistered and blissfully Provel-free pies pulled from a hand-built wood-burning oven at this South City treasure continue to fly below the radar, leaving us to wonder, “How long can a hidden gem stay hidden?”
DINNER TUE–SUN.
5861 S. Kingshighway,
314-832-3222
$$
Plank Road Pizza
Pizza
ST. CHARLES & BEYOND
Bespoke pizzas are worth the drive to Cottleville, the little burg that’s become a dining destination. The setting is enjoyable: rustic meets pizzeria. It’s informal, with enticingly fresh ingredients, folksy service, and no-frills simplicity. And the patio is ideal during nice weather.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
5212 Highway N, Cottleville,
636-477-6155
$$
Planter’S House
American
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
Cocktail House is more like it. The drink menu is stunningly extravagant. But don’t overlook the food, from nibbles such as duck pastrami to full meals of buttermilk fried quail and seared ribeye. The interior’s magnificent, a step back in St. Louis history.
DINNER TUE–SUN.
1000 Mississippi,
314-696-2603
$$
Private Kitchen
Chinese
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
The concept’s unique: a bespoke Chinese eatery where you must call ahead, not just for reservations, but to consult on the menu. It’s tiny, intimate, more like eating in the chef’s home than a restaurant, with exquisite service. The dishes are predominantly Shanghai-style, with subtle sauces. Seafoods are particularly attractive, but everything at this unusual place is memorable.
DINNER NIGHTLY, BY RESERVATION ONLY.
8106 Olive,
314-989-0283
$$
Pueblo Nuevo
Mexican
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
This 30-year-old mainstay delivers such memorable Mexican specialties as birria, a hearty goat stew. Try chilaquiles, a layered tortilla casserole, or the classic rojo posole.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
7401 N. Lindbergh,
314-831-6885
$$
Pueblo Solis
Mexican
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
A delicious merger of traditional Mexican dishes and Tex-Mex favorites is a mainstay here. Locals can be seen sipping potent margaritas and sharing from plates of tamales filled with simmered black beans, pork, cheese, and jalapeño.
DINNER DAILY.
5127 Hampton,
314-351-9000
$$
Pw Pizza
Pizza
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
The history of St. Louis breweries is on giant labels on the walls. Many of the ingredients are local, and you can supervise your own pizza construction. Calzones, hot sandwiches, and salads won’t disappoint. And the beer selection is myriad.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
2017 Chouteau,
314-241-7799
$$
Quincy Street Bistro
American
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
This everyday corner pub and dining destination serves from-scratch, comfort-food classics such as Southern fried chicken and a gravy-covered meatloaf that rivals Mom’s.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
6931 Gravois,
314-353-1588
$$
Randolfi’S
Italian
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
Enjoy chef Mike Randolph’s imaginative interpretations of classic Italian dishes, rooted in his family traditions. From sauce to soups, pastas to pizzas, Randolph and his crew execute each dish from scratch, using fresh, local ingredients. The menu changes seasonally. Don’t miss the Italian-inspired cocktails.
DINNER TUE–SUN.
6665 Delmar,
314-899-9221
$$
Red-L Pizza
Pizza
LADUE, FRONTENAC, CREVE COEUR & OLIVETTE
Order a chopped salad and a “designer pizza” in a telephone booth–sized portico, then eat at an outside table or take your food home. The toppings include such unusual options as meatloaf, Thai chicken, and cremini mushrooms. This is a Provel-free zone.
DINNER DAILY.
9769 Clayton,
314-997-7070
$$
Reeds American Table
American
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Led by former Taste chef Matt Daughaday and the city’s most credentialed sommelier, Andrey Ivanov, a crackerjack team of culinarians serves amped-up “neighborhood restaurant” fare with a beverage program to match. The main dining room is upstairs, but we prefer the action on the ground floor.
DINNER WED–MON.
7322 Manchester,
314-899-9821
$$
Retreat Gastropub
American
CENTRAL WEST END
The menu is described as “scratch-made American pub food with a modern twist,” one being that half the items are vegetarian (the veggie ragout with trout is flat out delicious) while the other half are g’pub staples like poutine and porchetta. Even the house salad (with butternut squash and green apple matchsticks) is superior. And if you think concrete bar tops are sooo turn of the century, wait until you see this one.
LUNCH AND DINNER WED–MON.
2 N. Sarah,
314-261- 4497
$$
Rigazzi’S
Italian
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
Rigazzi’s has long offered sustenance to folks getting off night shifts, as well as the rest of us. Pizza and meatball sandwiches seem reasonable at that early hour; whether the trademark fishbowls of beer are, well, that’s a matter of individual preference.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
4945 Daggett,
314-772-4900
$$
Riverbend Restaurant
Cajun
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
It’s reminiscent of New Orleans—without the corruption and drunken collegians. Spicy, smokyCajun-Creole flavors are authentically rendered in a place that has the feel of a relaxed neighborhood eatery. The specials, such as our town’s best turtle soup, are always worthwhile, and regular fare, such as gumbo, po’ boys, and jambalaya is delectably perfect.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
1059 S. Big Bend,
314-664-8443
$$
Robust
Wine Bar
Multiple Locations
In many cases, tapas has become synonymous with “overpriced little plates.” Not at Robust. Exquisite cheeses and cured meats are matched with an extraordinary wine list.
Lunch And Dinner Daily Downtown; Lunch Mon–Sat, Dinner Daily In Webster.
635 Washington,
314-287-6300;
227 W. Lockwood,
314-963-0033
$$
Rooster
Café
Multiple Locations
At downtown’s top breakfast destination, guests line up for the cheese-laden crêpes, loaded scrambles, and suitably lavish French toast. The setting’s light and comfy but loud. The South Grand location is a stunner, with a communal layout and pictures of roosters drawn by local children.
Breakfast And Lunch Daily Downtown; Breakfast, Lunch, And Dinner Daily On South Grand.
1104 Locust,
314-241-8118;
3150 S. Grand,
314-772-3447
$$
Ruiz’ Mexican Restaurant
Mexican
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
At one of St. Louis’ oldest Mexican eateries, the fourth-generation owners serve tacos, burritos, and fajitas, along with Pueblo specialties. The main draw is the cemita de puerco, a hefty sandwich loaded with barbacoa pork, avocadoes, and cheese. Oh, and the margaritas are almost big enough to swim in.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
901 N. Highway 67, Florissant,
314-838-3500
$$
Saffron Indian Cuisine
Indian
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
Here you’ll find Northern Indian fare: fist-sized samosas, fragrant tandoori, creamy sauces, and exquisite nan bread. From the outside, it’s strip mall ordinary. Inside, it’s colorful and friendly. The staff is helpful in explaining (and moderating) the spice levels, from mild to rocket fuel explosive.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
2137 Barrett Station,
314-965-3822
$$
Salt + Smoke
Barbecue
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
A singular focus on “barbecue, bourbon, and beer” translates to loads of meat (pulled pork, pulled chicken, ribs, brisket, and smoked trout), craft and barrel-aged cocktails, and more than 40 bourbons. Don’t-miss sides include fried house pickles with flaxseed mayo, hush puppies with maple butter, and burnt-end toasted ravioli. Craft beer is plentiful, and meat is available to go by the pound.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
6525 Delmar,
314-727-0200
$$
Sameem
Afghan
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
This small restaurant in The Grove serves up big taste and affordably priced Afghan and Persian food. The dish names roll off the tongue: sambosas; lamb, shrimp, or chicken beriani; beef koobeda; chicken masala; and more. The exquisite flavors will bring you back for more.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
4341 Manchester,
314-534-9500
$$
Sanctuaria
Small Plates
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Drink in the unusual religious artwork. Peruse an unreal menu of cocktails and an uncommon “wild tapas” menu. And consider reserving the garden patio and its refurbished French conservatory.
DINNER TUE–SUN.
4198 Manchester,
314-535-9700
$$
Sasha’s on De Mun/Sasha’s on Shaw
Wine Bar
MULTIPLE LOCATIONS
Both locations are known for their great patios and wine selections. On Shaw, there’s a tree-covered patio, two rooms with rough-edged marble tables, an eclectic assortment of chairs from the Grandma’s Dining Room collection, and walls of wine bottles stored at acute angles in long columns. On De Mun, a window wall opens with the first hint of spring and stays that way until fall. Cheese plates, crepes, and other light fare are fine accompaniments to the always-lively crowd.
Lunch and dinner daily.
706 De Mun Ave,
314-863-7274;
4069 Shaw,
314-771-7274
$$
Schlafly Bottleworks
Bar
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Schlafly offers 20 beers on tap and hearty pub food created from local provisions. Consider the beer bread, the elk chili, or the bison chorizo meatloaf with a Fitz’s root beer–tomato glaze. An outdoor farmers’ market runs Wednesdays from April through October, and there’s an indoor market from November through March.
7260 Southwest,
314-241-2337
$$
Schlafly Tap Room
Bar
downtown
. St. Louis’ first brewpub knew that in this town, it would have to get food right, as well as the beer. It’s done it. Fish and chips, mussels and ditto, and, above all else, stickytoffee pudding. There’s space to stretch out, live music, and frequent festivals. What else do you need?
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
2100 Locust,
314-241-2337
$$
Seamus Mcdaniel’S
Bar
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
This popular Irish pub has a large covered patio in the rear. Many opt for the immense burger, but we yearn for the pork tenderloin sandwich. Onion rings trump the fries by a country mile.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
1208 Tamm,
314-645-6337
$$
Sen Thai Asian Bistro
Asian
downtown
All of your favorite Thai dishes—noodles, curries, and soups—are served in an elegant setting. This lunch destination is popular with downtown workers; you’ll get a table faster at dinner. Try the Bamee BBQ Pork, a Thai street food classic that’s found in few local Thai places.
LUNCH MON–FRI, DINNER DAILY.
1221 Locust,
314-436-3456
.$$
Señor Pique
Mexican
FAR WEST COUNTY
A solid taco menu’s accompanied by flavorful tilapia ceviche, enchiladas de mole, and grilled steak. Everybody’s favorite Mexican desserts—sopaipillas and fried ice cream—round out the menu. Stop by during the day for $1.99 margaritas.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
14870 Manchester,
636-394-3455
$$
Seven Sushi Bar
Sushi
METRO EAST
Simple, nearly austere, and small, this sushi-ya excels in its particularly extensive menu of toppings. Prices are reasonable. House-special rolls are inventive. Lunch specials are varied and affordable. Open until 2 a.m., Seven is a late-night favorite.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER DAILY.
28 E. Main, Belleville,
618-277-6702
$$
Siam
Japanese/Sushi
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Siam rocks as a dance club and as a cocktail venue. When dancers work up an appetite, it offers Asian cuisine from Goku Sushi, including such classic sushi as California rolls, as well as more exotic house specialties like the Serpent Roll, dressed with broiled freshwater eel.
DINNER WED–SUN.
4121 Manchester,
314-533-7426
$$
Simply Thai
Thai
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
This little joint has the best Thai in North County and some of the tastiest Thai dishes in the region. The noodles are a favorite, but try the authentic, delicious pla sam rod, with three flavors of catfish.
LUNCH AND DINNER WED–MON.
2470 N. Highway 67,
314-921-2179
$$
Sister Cities Cajun & Bbq
Barbecue
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Louisiana native Travis Parfait and his partner, restaurant veteran Pamela Melton, link the Gateway City and Crescent City with a combination of barbecue and New Orleans comfort food—and perhaps the ultimate hybrid, a Cajun Slinger (only available on Sunday). The Cajun smoked wings are among the best in town.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
4144 S. Grand,
314-875-9653
$$
Small Batch
Vegetarian
MIDTOWN & GRAND CENTER
A vegetarian menu is paired with dark spirits inside a former Ford Model T showroom. House-made pastas, smoked Brie, and mushroom–and–blue cheese egg rolls stand up well to 60-plus whiskeys, served neat or mixed with house-made bitters, tonics, and tinctures.
DINNER DAILY, LUNCH FRI–SUN.
3001 Locust,
314-380-2040
$$
Smoki O’S
Barbecue
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
It’s a barbecue place run by a couple named Otis and Earline. What else do you need to know? Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern dubbed the pork snoots “one of the 10 best BBQ dishes in the USA.” It’s takeout tiny, so plan on taking your bounty home.
LUNCH AND EARLY DINNER TUE & WED, OPEN UNTIL 9 P.M. THU–SAT.
1545 N. Broadway,
314-621-8180
$$
Social Gastropub
American
METRO EAST
Come for the 20 or so draft beers. Stay for a menu that includes Cuban sandwiches, lobster rolls, and sirloin topped with bacon, blue cheese, and onion straws. If you used to visit the raucous bar Shenanigans in the same space, you’ll be stunned at what the owners have done with the place.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
2 157 Center, Edwardsville,
618-692-5156
$$
Soha Bar And Grill
Bar
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Plenty of beer options head up the attractions at this gastropub. Top your burger with a plethora of toppings, including unexpected options like fried goat cheese. It’s noisy, fun, and a fine place to watch a ballgame.
DINNER NIGHTLY.
2605 Hampton,
314-802-7877
$$
Spare No Rib
Barbecue
Multiple Locations
The barbecue joint delivers top-drawer ribs, pulled pork, burgers with pit beans, and fries hand-cut the same day by a human. Throw in tacos, including carnitas, the pork charred perfectly, and cachete (braised beef cheeks), with made-to-order guac and a ton of beers, and somehow it all works.
Hours Vary By Location.
2200 Gravois,
314-202-8244;
13 Maryland Plaza,
314-360-7010
$$
Sportsman’S Park
Bar
LADUE, FRONTENAC, CREVE COEUR & OLIVETTE
It’s beloved for its happy hour. Locals know the tiny watering hole for its attractive bar food: wraps, sliders, wings, and some fine curly fries. The walls are plastered with sports memorabilia; every seat has a TV view. It’s always crowded, enjoyable, and a solid lunch choice.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
9901 Clayton,
314-991-3381
$$
Square One Brewery And Distillery
Bar
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
Square One delivers on many fronts. Flights of spirits distilled in-house and craft beers brewed on-site gladden the heart. The arched-window back bar and winsome, dog-friendly brick patio (one of the most charming in the city) delight the eye. For pub staples like pot roast sandwiches and fish and (homemade) chips, the first distillery brewpub in Missouri is a solid choice.
LUNCH MON–SAT, DINNER NIGHTLY, BRUNCH SUN.
1727 Park,
314-231-2537
$$
Stellina Pasta Café
Italian
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Despite the name, it’s not quite all about the house-made pasta here—but it could be. The shapes and sauces are out of a dream, and there are textures to match. There are also excellent sandwiches and a few serious entrées on the menu. The dining room is small, so reservations are almost mandatory.
DINNER TUE–SAT.
3342 Watson,
314-256-1600
$$
Sub Zero Vodka Bar
American/Sushi
CENTRAL WEST END
Burgers and sushi are paired with 500-plus vodkas. It’s enough to please even the most discriminating connoisseur. A frozen-drink rail, sports TVs, and energetic music add up to a hip atmosphere.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
308 N. Euclid,
314-367-1200
$$
Sugarfire Smoke House
Barbecue
Multiple Locations
Yes, we have other phenomenal barbecue joints, but none matches Sugarfire for inventive dishes and the most exquisite brisket outside Texas. Portions and quality are astounding. It’s fun and decidedly informal, with patrons eating daily specials off metal trays.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
9200 Olive Blvd.,
314-997-2301;
3150 Elm Point ,
636-724-7601;
932 Meramec Station Rd.,
636-825-1400;
9955 Winghaven Blvd.,
636-265-1234;
512 West Front Street,
636-432-5550
$$
Sugo’s Spaghetteria
Italian
Multiple Locations
There are affordable Italian specialties with startlingly big portions. It’s southern Italian, whipped up by a well-known St. Louis chef who can duplicate Nonna’s classics.
Hours Vary By Location.
10419 Clayton,
314-569-0400;
243 Harvard, Edwardsville,
618-659-4640
$$
Sushi Sen
Japanese/Sushi
ST. CHARLES & BEYOND
Among the top tier of local Japanese eateries, this family-run restaurant is relaxed. Ignore the sushi rolls that you can get anywhere. Instead, go for splendid, expertly presented sashimi, grilled yellowtail jaw, or tempura—presented as it’s meant to be: crisp, greaseless, and awesomely fresh. Sushi Sen is located in an out-of-the-way strip mall, but it’s well worth the trip.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SAT.
161 Civic Center, Lake Saint Louis,
636-561-4449
$$
Tani Sushi Bistro
Japanese/Sushi
CLAYTON
After a recent move, the popular sushi spot now benefits from a larger space that retains the lounge-like feel of the original. Sushi is fine, particularly the rolls; consider, though, specialties like tempura and teriyaki.
LUNCH MON–FRI, DINNER MON–SAT.
7726 Forsyth,
314-296-8069
$$
Taste
Small Plates
CENTRAL WEST END
This speakeasy-inspired spot combines cool and romantic. Pair excellent tapas-style noshables with fabulously creative cocktails. Note: The place is small; waits are usually shorter on weeknights.
DINNER DAILY.
4584 Laclede,
314-361-1200
$$
Tavern Of Fine Arts
American
CENTRAL WEST END
There’s a mix of local art, affordable entrées, and a nightly menu of off-radar entertainment: poetry readings, chamber rehearsals, flamenco dancers, and the like. We love the soups, the respectable little wine list, and the house-made tonic water. ToFA is wonderfully quirky—in the best sense of the word.
LUNCH SAT, DINNER MON–SAT.
313 Belt,
314- 367-7549
$$
Thai House
Thai
METRO EAST
When an unassuming Asian joint in a small town attracts customers from around the region (and beyond), it’s noteworthy. When standards like Pad Thai, Tom Yum soup, and even crab rangoon draw near-universal raves, it’s visit-worthy. And when a couple can dine there for less than $30, return trips get planned.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
109 S. Main, Columbia, Ill.,
618-281-2777
$$
The Bbq Saloon
Barbecue
CENTRAL WEST END
Owners Phil and Tracy Czarnec, who also run Wild Flower Restaurant across the street, take a nonconformist approach to barbecue. Here, you’ll find spare ribs instead of baby backs, spice pastes instead of rubs, and boutique meats (wild boar, ostrich, kangaroo burgers) in addition to the usual suspects. A back bar with 600 whiskeys sparks conversation and supplies liquid courage. Our favorites include the beef ribs and the coleslaw with blueberries.
LUNCH TUE–FRI, DINNER TUE–SUN.
4900 Laclede,
314-833-6666
$$
The Block
American
Multiple Locations
“Meat-friendly” hardly covers it. The place has its own meat-for-sale butchery, just in case the braised pork, beef ribs, and bacon jam aren’t enough. The thick-cut bacon in the to-go case at the Webster location is as good as any in town. And on a nice day, consider the patio at the CWE location.
Dinner Mon–Sat, Lunch Mon–Fri In The Cwe; Lunch Mon–Fri, Dinner Daily In Webster.
33 N. Sarah,
314-535-5100;
146 W. Lockwood,
314-918-7900
$$
The Boathouse
American
CENTRAL WEST END
Beloved by locals, The Boathouse offers charming vistas of Post-Dispatch Lake. The classic meeting spot serves up sandwiches, pizzas, and a fine Sunday brunch. It’s often crowded, but you can paddleboat up an appetite before admiring a gorgeous sunset from the restaurant’s deck.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SUN.
6101 Government Forest Park,
314-367-2224
$$
The Dark Room
Wine Bar
MIDTOWN & GRAND CENTER
The perfect complement to Grand Center’s fine-arts venues, this place is both wine bar and photography gallery, and it regularly offers live music. The emphasis is on wine and paired comestibles—cheese boards, flatbreads, and charcuterie—but be sure to save room for a boozy affogato.
HAPPY HOUR AND DINNER TUE–SAT.
615 N. Grand,
314-531-3416
.$$
The Dubliner
Bar
downtown
Order a Black & Tan, poured just right, and a shepherd’s pie, along with a glass of Jameson for dessert. Yeats isn’t this Irish. Invariably packed and dark, The Dubliner’s full of nooks for intimate moments between you and your whiskey.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
1025 Washington,
314-421-4300
$$
The Pat Connolly Tavern
Bar
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
Better known as Pat’s, this bar has been feeding families for decades. Fried chicken is the star, but there are also tasty sandwiches and desserts from Sugaree Baking.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SAT & SUN.
6400 Oakland,
314-647-7387
$$
The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Company
Seafood
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
A lobster shack fell in love with a crab house and produced this rustic local favorite. Crab boils, lobster, mussels, clams—it’s a taste of the coast transplanted into a historic Midwest space.
LUNCH MON–FRI, DINNER DAILY.
1831 Sidney,
314-772-8858
$$
The Purple Martin
Mediterranean
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Pair the Tunisian specialty lablabi (a chickpea stew dressed with a poached egg) with one of a wide selection of local beers. Despite several chef and menu changes, The Purple Martin has quickly become a gathering place in Fox Park.The restaurant’s easy to find; just look for the purple glow.
DINNER TUE–SAT.
2800 Shenandoah,
314-898-0011
$$
The Rib Shack
Barbecue
Multiple Locations
Perfectly named, The Rib Shack serves such sides as collards and yams, and they’re just as delicious as the ribs and other slow-smoked meats. Crowds are the norm, so don’t be in a hurry. And though industrial steel tables aren’t exactly homey, it’s a terrific place.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
8642 Natural Bridge,
314-427-1777;
1300 Cass,
314-241-2223
$$
The Shaved Duck
Barbecue
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Fans line up early for the eats at this cozy 40-seater, where you’ll find live guitar music every night. The St. Louis–style ribs are worthy of attention, but we’re partial to a serving of smoked chicken, frites prepared in duck fat, and the homemade sides.
DINNER MON–SAT, LUNCH TUE–FRI.
2900 Virginia,
314-776-1407
$$
The Vine
Mediterranean
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Pita is baked in this Lebanese restaurant’s attached bakery. Middle Eastern fare, from shawarma to kabobs, are authentic and generously portioned. The tabouli salad is famous. Oh, and two words: chocolate baklava.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
3171 S. Grand,
314-776-0991
$$
The Wine Tap
Wine Bar
METRO EAST
An impeccable wine menu is the draw, but a roofed patio and 80 craft beers don’t hurt. Sit near the outdoor oven, and order baked Brie with a Rombauer Chardonnay.
DINNER TUE–SAT, LUNCH SAT.
223 E. Main, Belleville,
618- 239-9463
$$
The Wood Cask
American
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
A something-for-everyone menu ranges from an upscale grilled cheese sandwich to a $30-plus ribeye steak, with flatbreads and Scotch eggs and lots of other stuff in between. But what do you expect at a place called Wood Cask? Whiskey, of course, and there’s plenty of it here, with more than 70 choices.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SUN.
10332 Manchester,
314-858-1085
$$
Three Flags Tavern
American
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
The dining room’s classic vibe, always-professional service, and delicious food make Three Flags seem as if it’s been around for decades. From the lobster roll to the lamb burger, the fare is always top-notch.
DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SAT & SUN,
4940 Southwest,
314-669-9222
$$
Three Kings Public House
Bar & Grill
Multiple Locations
The menu includes upscale pub grub, as well as seafood stew, pan-roasted chicken, and a pub chips platter with Irish cheddar rarebit. An impressive tap list features an ever-rotating selection.
Hours Vary By Location.
6307 Delmar,
314-721-3355;
11925 Manchester,
314-815-3455
$$
Three Monkeys
Bar
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
This anchor tenant along Morgan Ford has been serving up fine pub grub for eight years. The diverse menu of shareable appetizers, sandwiches, entrées, and pizzas has something for everyone, and the outdoor seating is a great place from which to observe the lively neighborhood.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY, BRUNCH SAT & SUN.
3153 Morgan Ford,
314-772-9800
$$
Three Sixty
Small Plates
downtown
Famous for its wraparound vistas, Three Sixty has fire pits and cocktails that make for convivial gatherings. The menu’s a modern take on tapas, with fish tacos and individual pizzas. It’s hip, chic, and often busy.
DINNER DAILY.
1 S. Broadway,
314-421-1776
$$
Tortillaria
Mexican
CENTRAL WEST END
Fresh ingredients, homemade tortillas, and appetizingly presented plates separate Tortillaria from many Mexican restaurants. It’s informal, bright, and bustling. Fish tacos and giant burritos are specialties. Don’t miss the street corn or salsa bar.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
8 S. Euclid,
314-361-4443
$$
Trailhead Brewing Co.
American
ST. CHARLES & BEYOND
This happy, beautiful place is airy and light during the day, romantically shadowy at night. It’s the perfect place for dinner or a drink before a leisurely stroll down South Main Street. The on-site brewery turns out superior suds. Burgers and specialty sandwiches are served in one of the city’s most delightfully restored vintage spaces.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
921 S. Riverside, St. Charles,
636-946-2739
$$
Trattoria Marcella
Italian
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Owned by the brothers Komorek (Steve and Jamie), Trattoria Marcella started out hot and has morphed into a classic, still-popular place. Lobster risotto is still the headliner, but almost anything on the menu swings. Remember reservations.
DINNER TUE–SAT.
3600 Watson,
314-352-7706
$$
Tree House
Vegetarian
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
The atmosphere couldn’t be sweeter. With its lively patio, well-designed dining room, and a quirky third-floor walk-up bar, the space charms. The vegan and vegetarian fare—with such inspired dishes as paella, “chorizo” tamales, and sliders—even satisfies a carnivore’s soul.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN, BREAKFAST TUE–FRI.
3177 S. Grand,
314-696-2100
$$
Triumph Grill
American
MIDTOWN & GRAND CENTER
This motorcycle-themed restaurant has a menu with lots of twists and turns. The Build Your Triumph Burger option provides plenty of choices for carnivores (beef, turkey, and bison) and vegetarians (black bean) with such “premium accessories” as caramelized bacon and seared wild mushrooms.
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH DAILY, DINNER TUE–SUN.
3419 Olive,
314-446-1801
$$
Tucker’s Place
Steakhouse
Multiple Locations
Portions way past “generous” are standard at this longtime favorite steakhouse. The ribeyes, buttery prime rib, and suitcase-size baked potatoes are legendary. It’s justly renowned for amazingly low prices on protein.
Lunch And Dinner, Mon–Sat, Dinner Daily.
2117 S. 12th,
314-772-5977;
3939 Union,
314-845-2584;
14282 Manchester,
636-227-8062
$$
Twin Oak Wood-Fired Pizza And Bbq
Pizza/Barbecue
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
Wood-fired pizza and barbecue? If this place had local beers and good cocktails, it’d be the perfect restaurant. Oh, wait—it does. The relaxed ambience makes for an ideal gathering spot. Don’t overlook the salads; ingredients are fresh. Two musts: the wood-fired wings and the deep-dish chocolate-chip cookie dessert.
LUNCH TUE–SUN, DINNER NIGHTLY.
1201 Strassner,
314-644-2772
$$
Vernon’S Bbq & Catering
Barbecue
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
At Vernon’s, you’ll find a whole lotta barbecue for your dollar: baby back ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken wings, and even smoked tofu. You’ll also notice unexpected flavors: tequila-lime green beans, smoked seasonal fruit, and barbecue nachos. Rolling garage doors in the dining room are open when the weather is nice.
LUNCH AND DINNER TUE–SUN.
6707 Vernon,
314-726-1227
$$
Via Vino Enoteca
Small Plates
LADUE, FRONTENAC, CREVE COEUR & OLIVETTE
It’s romantic, classy, and intimate. A compact menu is balanced between small plates and larger courses, both exemplary. Grab a seat away from the bar, which swiftly fills with those waiting for a table. The warm apple tart is a must for dessert.
DINNER MON–SAT.
10427 Clayton,
314-569-0405
$$
Vincenzo’S Italian Restaurant
Italian
NORTH CITY & COUNTY
Warm and intimate, Vincenzo’s features a classic Italian menu, a full-service bar, great beers, and a manageable wine list. Daily specials and “soups of the moment” provide a lively counterpoint to Italian standards. Seasonal patio dining and a private room for 60 guests are available.
LUNCH MON–FRI, DINNER DAILY.
242 S. Florissant,
314-524-7888
$$
Vito’S In The Valley
Italian
FAR WEST COUNTY
Chef Gianfranco Munna serves up pizzas, pasta, and calzones, plus steak and seafood selections. The stellar wine list is focused on Sicilian wines.
DINNER MON–SAT.
138 Chesterfield Towne Center,
636-536-3788
$$
Vito’S Sicilian Pizza & Ristorante
Italian
MIDTOWN & GRAND CENTER
A favorite among SLU students and faculty, Vito’s serves Sicilian-style pizza and other family recipes. The Quattro Formaggi pizza, with mozzarella, Fontina, Gorgonzola, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, won’t disappoint. Happy hour specials on beer, wine, and drinks can be found 3–6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
LUNCH MON–FRI, DINNER DAILY.
3515 Lindell,
314-534-8486
$$
Wang Gang Asian Eats
Asian
METRO EAST
First-timers should consult the staff here. The menu boasts a tantalizing but bewildering collection of Asian-influenced dishes: stir fries, noodles, and sandwiches. The emphasis is on bold flavors and creative interpretations of foods from all over the East.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
1035 Century, Edwardsville,
618-655-0888
$$
Wasabi Sushi Bar
Japanese/Sushi
Multiple Locations
The popular local chain serves up sushi, noodles, and other Japanese fare. Go with the Wasabi combinations, or consider the generously portioned bento.
Check website for hours and locations.
$$
Water Street
American
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
You’re gonna pass on a place with a Corpse Reviver cocktail? We didn’t think so. Light meals such as grilled polenta and chicken pot pie go great with a long selection of mixed drinks and wine. The feel here is sleek, swank, and stylish. (Oh, and Fridays feature a rollicking combination movie night/happy hour.)
DINNER MON–SAT.
7268 Manchester,
314-646-8355
$$
Wheelhouse Bar & Restaurant
American
Multiple Locations
This sports bar offers a from-scratch menu of pub favorites, tons of TVs, and a great beer selection. It’s enough to keep any sports-lover happy.
Lunch And Dinner Daily.
1000 Spruce,
314-833-3653;
15 N. Central,
314-726-7955
$$
Winfield’S Gathering Place
American
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
Co-owned by former Cardinal Jim Edmonds, Winfield’s bridges the gap between sports bar and restaurant—complete with its own cell phone-charging station. You can watch the game on big-screen TVs and enjoy a meal of linguine with roasted-garlic cream, gumbo, or smoked chicken. The atmosphere’s almost always lively, but each table’s quiet enough for conversation.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
10312 Manchester,
314-394-2200
$$
Winslow’S Home
American
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
Winslow’s Home offers locally sourced food and home goods. Much of the menu features organic fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs grown on Winslow’s Farm. Breakfast includes buttermilk pancakes and corned beef hash; for lunch, order the torta rustica or the Brie and brisket sandwich.
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH TUE–SUN, DINNER TUE–SAT.
7213 Delmar,
314-725-7559
$$
Wonton King
Chinese
UNIVERSITY CITY & THE DELMAR LOOP
One of the most authentic Chinese restaurants around, Wonton King offers more than 100 items. Standout entrées include Cantonese dim sum, Hong Kong braised noodles, roast duck, congee, Singapore-style fried vermicelli, and cashew chicken.
LUNCH AND DINNER DAILY.
8116 Olive,
314-567-9997
$$
Yaqui’S On Cherokee
Pizza
SOUTH CITY & COUNTY
Sit near the window to enjoy a wood-fired pizza and people-watch along Cherokee Street. Or cozy up to the bar; discuss world affairs; listen to live music; and savor the wine, pizza, and warmth of the oven.
DINNER DAILY, LUNCH SAT, BRUNCH SUN.
2728 Cherokee,
$$
Yemanja Brasil
South American
SOULARD, BENTON PARK & LAFAYETTE SQUARE
After a couple of caipirinhas, you won’t care about the food. Even so, it’s delightful and authentic. Traditional feijoada is meaty, starchy, gloriously indulgent. Other offerings, such as shrimp empanadas, offer a taste of Brazil. The ambience is low-key Carnival. In warm weather, the patio is magic.
DINNER TUE–SUN.
2900 Missouri,
314-771-7457
$$
Yen Ching
Chinese
MAPLEWOOD, BRENTWOOD & RICHMOND HEIGHTS
A tribute to grand Americanized Chinese food, Yen Ching beautifully strikes every note: sizzling rice soup, pot stickers, Szechuan beef… It’s family-friendly, yet bigger and more formal than most Chinese restaurants. Even when other places are packed, you can almost always get a table.
LUNCH MON–FRI, DINNER DAILY.
1012 S. Brentwood,
314-721-7507
$$
Zia’S
Italian
DOGTOWN & THE HILL
A Hill stalwart with legions of fans for whom it’s the fall-back restaurant, Zia’s offers up plenty of pasta options, always a good idea, with forays into chicken, veal, and beef. Loud and hearty rather than cozy and intimate, it’s popular with midsize groups, so be sure to reserve on weekends.
LUNCH AND DINNER MON–SUN.
5356 Wilson,
314-776-0020
$$
Zydeco Blues
Cajun
KIRKWOOD, WEBSTER GROVES, ROCK HILL & DES PERES
Weekend nights rock with live music at this welcome addition to the West County dining scene. The Cajun/Creole specialties include étouffée, jambalaya, po’ boys—and some don’t-miss sugar-dusted beignets with raspberry coulis. Favorites here include crawfish pot stickers, creole fisherman’s stew, and a bourbon pecan pie that registers at about 80 proof.
DINNER TUE–SAT.
1090 Old Des Peres,
314-858-1188
$$
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