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St. Louis Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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#31 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 18 May 2004 - 12:24 PM

Hi Larry,

Try these ongoing threads...

Dining In St. Louis

&

Meet me in St. Louis!

There are likely a few more (which you can access via the Search feature), but those threads were both appended very recently.

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#32 akwiatek

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 02:39 AM

Larry,

I have a few suggestions for you. I was just at a meeting at the convention center last week and went to my favorite lunch place downtown. It is Dooley's LTD at 308 north Eight Street . They have great hamburgers and steak sandwiches in a, kind of shabby, english pub environment in a narrow space. You stand in line to order and watch the meat being grilled through a window. They cook thick burgers to your desired internal temperature and top them with your choice of toppings, I recommend the soft cheddar. The thin fries are great too.

Another suggestion is Kitchen-K at 10th and Washington. This is a good, fairly reasonably priced place for dinner (or lunch) that is located on the ground floor of the recently rehabbed merchandise mart building. The have an ecclectic menu with a latin/oriental mix. The chef/owner, Pablo Weiss, has headed up other great restaurants we always enjoy this place.

For Italian downtown, we usually go to J.F. Sanfillipo's at 705 North Broadway which is a good, family run, Saint Louis style italian place. If you want to travel little farther, You can take the Metro to Union Station and go across 20th Street to Lombardo's Trattoria which is a superb Italian restaurant at suprisingly reasonable prices.

For a real retro treat, if you want steak, go to Al's at 1200 North 1st Street. This is a place that time forgot. It kind of reminds me of Monocle's in DC. It has been around for as long as I can remember. They bring out the platter of steaks and seafood and discuss how each of them can be prepared. We don't get there very ofter, but each time we return, we wonder why we waited so long to come back.

Hope these suggestions help. Enjoy your visit to St. Louis.
Alan Kwiatek

#33 kurl

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 02:45 AM

I would definitely check the "Meet me in St. Louis!" thread, where I posted most -- if not all -- of my thoughts on eating decently in a city where it's hard to do so.

Let me know if you have any questions.

#34 akwiatek

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Posted 20 May 2004 - 03:25 AM

I posted a few downtown suggestions on This Thread which might give you some good ideas. Good luck.
Alan Kwiatek

#35 LARRY WIENER

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Posted 27 May 2004 - 02:15 PM

Thanks for the responses and the recommendations to view other, related, message sites. These all gave us some good ideas of what to look for and what to expect.
LARRY W

#36 hastings

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Posted 02 June 2004 - 09:25 PM

St. Louis offers or offered the following world-class options.

Great burgers and root beer floats: Carl's on Manchester Rd.
World-Class Mexican: Pueblo Nuevo in North St. Louis
Nouvelle Cuisine: Fio's La Fourchette in the old Famous-Barr building. Now closed, it used to offer a 6 course tasting menu with five options per course and the opportunity to repeat a course or portion of a course as often as one wished for about 80 dollars. The food was exceptional and the set-up was unique. Don't know who the new tenant in the space is, but it might be worth a try.

#37 hastings

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Posted 03 June 2004 - 08:58 PM

Best frozen custard: Ted Drewes' on Chippewa
Best toasted ravioli, a true St. Louis treat: The Pasta House or Farotto's
Best music and casual food: Blueberry Hill. By the way, it's owned by Joe Edward's, not Chuck Berry. He just plays there on occasion.

#38 mrandolph

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Posted 09 June 2004 - 11:46 AM

Stay away from The Pasta House, it is a chain restaurant, would not particularly rec. it. Farattos is not too good either. Ted Drewes is known all throughout town, very good custard.

There are lots of good places on The Hill, and in Clayton.

Trattoria Marcella is good, as is Frazers Traveling Brown Bag.

#39 hastings

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 07:56 PM

Again, my comment refers only to Farotto's toasted ravioli, ditto for the Pasta House. While Farotto's and the Pasta House may have all the warmth and personality of an Amoco station, they still score big for this dish. An interesting question, and one I'd love to hear answered by someone more in touch than I, is where to go for better toasted ravioli in St. Louis or elsewhere.

Edited by hastings, 12 June 2004 - 08:11 PM.


#40 hastings

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Posted 12 June 2004 - 07:58 PM

Has anyone ever had better frozen custard than that served at TD's?

Edited by hastings, 12 June 2004 - 08:08 PM.


#41 bilrus

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 06:58 AM

My favorite toasted ravioli is at a small place in a strip mall in Valley Park called Nicoletti's. The regular ones are very good, but they havea seafood version that is served with drawn butter that is even better. Its a pretty good version of the neighborhood Italian places taht are so ubiquitous in St. Louis.
Bill Russell

#42 LaurieB

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 12:58 PM

Thank you all for your suggestions. I just realized that our trip is only a month away. I'm hoping by then that we'll have a digital camera, so perhaps I can do a mini Clevelander-goes-to-St. Louis Blog for you.

Laurie

#43 sparrowgrass

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Posted 13 June 2004 - 04:03 PM

Come an hour or so south, and I will meet you in Farmington, at the BBQ Warehouse. Best BBQ ribs I have ever tasted. (And good coleslaw, too.)
sparrowgrass

#44 razer

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 10:32 PM

I agree with several of the suggestions you received....Trat. Marcella, Carl's Drive in, Kaldis, InSoo

May I suggest the following:

Arthur Clays Bistro or Monarch in Maplewood

Iron Barley on the south side of the city

Crown Candy Kitchen (can't believe anyone didn't say this!)

Modesto (on the hill) for great tapas.

Goody Goody for the fried chicken and waffle breakfast

If you want barbecue and are a little daring, try Roscoe McCrary's on Parnell or St. Louis Rib Co. on Delmar.

#45 emilymarie

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 08:53 AM

I lived in St. Louis for 3 years and have returned about two times a year since moving to the New York/New Jersey area 5 years ago.

One of the best restaurants in St. Louis, in my opinion, is Harvest (on Big Bend in Clayton). In fact, I just ate there at the end of May. You could describe the food as New American. It's on the expensive side (about $15 to $20 for entrees) but the place is warm and relaxed and the food creatively prepared with precision. Also, the chef delivers dishes to guests, which is a nice touch. I would recommend the fritto misto as an appetizer. On one visit it was comprised of fried calamari with sea beans served with a salty basil aioli. Crunchy, buttery, and delicious! When they have local tomatoes in house, they're always good. I remember the Caesar salad was bland, but all of the entrees I've sampled have been really good--especially a charred hanger steak served with homemade bbq sauce and maytag blue cheese-flecked mashed potatoes. Also, you must try the bread pudding (a house specialty, I believe) for dessert. It is certainly a decadent finish, but honestly, something that will make you roll your eyes back in pleasure. It's made of brioche with a bourbon-butter sauce dripping all over. As you can see, I never forget a good meal.

I also love Pho Grand, on South Grand Boulevard, for cheap, fresh, and very fast Vietnamese food. You must have the eggrolls (and make sure to dip them in the sauce they give you) and I love their curry. The phos are all good. The wait's long, though, so get there early or prepare to wait up to 45 minutes during dinner rush hour.

For cheap Mexican, I like El Maguay. The chile colorado in a roasted tomato sauce, especially. It's also cheap and always good.

Please know that I sing the praises of Harvest because I think it is a place not-to-be-missed in St. Louis--and yet see it so infrequently mentioned when people discuss where to eat in St. Louis.

Enjoy!!!!
"After all, these are supposed to be gutsy spuds, not white tablecloth social climbers."

#46 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 09:19 AM

Welcome to eGullet, emilymarie :smile:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the St. Louis food scene.

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#47 LaurieB

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 10:43 AM

Yes, thanks from me, too! I now have about 3 weeks to map out an eating plan!

LaurieB

#48 LARRY WIENER

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Posted 28 June 2004 - 02:21 PM

To put closure to this topic, we did go to St. Louis, but a friend drove us around, so walking distance turned out not to be an issue. We had two dinners, both delightful. One was at Puck's in the Art Museum and the other was at Bar Italia (did I spell these correctly?). From reading the earlier messages, I got the idea that some of you felt that there wasn't a great deal to choose from in terms of good restaurants. My perception is that there might not be a great number of multi-star places, but what there is is "cherce."

Thanks again to all who responded to the initial query.
LARRY W

#49 ghostrider

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 10:29 PM

Blueberry Hill, on the loop, serves highly competent hamburgers and bar food (and is owned by Chuck Berry).

Sorry, must set the record straight. Chuck Berry plays a monthly gig with his son at Blueberry Hill but does not own the place. It's owned by my former high school - I was about to say classmate but he was 1 year ahead of me, so I guess it's schoolmate - Joe Edwards, always has been. Joe almost single-handedly revitalized The Loop by opening Blueberry Hill.

It's a fun place (the bar & the neighborhood).

Somewhere nearby on Delmar is a great little Thai place - I think it's called Thai Country Kitchen, been close on 2 years now since I've been there.

Edited by ghostrider, 19 July 2004 - 10:38 PM.

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#50 mcport

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Posted 21 July 2004 - 03:00 PM

I'd like to second the rec for Harvest. They do a uniformly beautiful job. If you aren't in the mood to drop lots of moolah, go for drinks and a basket of onion rings. Trust me, you won't be sorry. It is a fairly fancy place, so I don't mean to mislead you by recommending a casual staple like onion rings, but these are excellent. Served with a nice blue cheese dipping sauce...maybe Maytag blue? Perhaps the perfect bar food to pair with a classic martini.

Also, I'd explore downtown Clayton. BARcalona always impressed me more than Modesto for tapas. The Blue Elephant is usually quiet and very good Thai.

The Schlafly pub downtown does a decent job if you need to stay downtown, but be aware of their hours on Sunday. I recall they close a bit early...even earlier than the usual early St. Louis closings. Also, sometimes the cigar smoke gets a bit heavy.

If you do end up at Blueberry Hill, be aware that at some fairly early point in the evening, it shifts from a family restaurant (kids running laps around the place, literally) to a more straight up bar atmosphere. This change is heralded by the servers stripping the tables of ketchup and an abrupt end to table service. Stick with the burgers and fries. Very decent fries.

Have fun!

#51 Daniel

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 11:29 PM

Sorry if there are posts already.. Going to St. Louis tomorrow after spending the day in Kansas City.. Would love some suggestions for the best bbq in town..


Thanks.

#52 sladeums

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 08:14 AM

Haven't been there personally, but I understand one of the specialties is 'snoot' - that is pig snout.

Smoki O's had them on offer at the Big Apple Block Party 2004...if you dig up that thread there is some commentary there, I believe. Don't know if they serve them in the restaurant or not.

I recall from the PBS 'Sandwiches That You Will Like' special that
C & K BBQ Restaurant #3 features snoots on the menu.
Also featured in that special was a bit on the 'St Paul Sandwich' served in several St Louis Chinese restaurants (Kim Van was the restaurant featured) . It's a egg foo yung patty served on bread slathered w/ mayo and topped with tomato, lettuce - sometimes pickle.
...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

#53 Sweet Willie

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Posted 22 May 2005 - 10:17 AM

Sorry if there are posts already.. Going to St. Louis tomorrow after spending the day in Kansas City.. Would love some suggestions for the best bbq in town..

What did you find?

I had dined at Phil's Bar-B-Que @ 9205 Gravois Rd. in south St. Louis. 314-631-7725. Place I understand has been going for 40 years now, too bad IMO they don't understand BBQ, not memorable.
"I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be"

#54 ghostrider

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 03:54 PM

Also curious to know what you found, seeing as I'll be in the neighborhood shortly.

This comes way too late, but it looks like you should have gone here:

Lampert's Plush Pig
Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

#55 Jaymes

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 04:27 PM

My son used to live in St. Louis. He's a BBQ aficionado, like the rest of his family. He often remarked on the puzzling lack of good 'cue there.

As he put it...

When the world was created, the gods sent the Great BBQ Barge down the Mississipi. It stopped at Kansas City and Memphis and quite a few other river towns, but it seems to have sailed right by St. Louis.

Edited by Jaymes, 23 May 2005 - 07:57 PM.

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#56 RyuShihan

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Posted 23 May 2005 - 06:33 PM

I work in St. Louis but live in o'fallon illinois. I wish I could say I have had great bbq but aside from super smokers right on the corner from where I live, I havn't found a whole lot in St. Louis but that does not mean they do not exist. I also don't try to run out and eat BBQ here, I will ask around work tomarow and see what people suggest.

#57 RyuShihan

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 08:15 AM

well if anyone is in St.Louis this weekend they are having a bbq bash on the landing. Should be some competition style bbq goiing on all weekend long. I think I will try to check it out on sunday personally.

#58 bilrus

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Posted 30 June 2005 - 07:38 AM

Bumping this thread up for a question. It has been nearly a decade since I left my hometown of St. Louis. My mom is still there and is looking for suggestions of a place that is "Something new and different" to buy a gift certificate for a friend's birthday.

My caveats - "different" doesn't necessarily mean really funky or "too" ethnic. We're talking about two women in their 60's here. They both live in West County, but anything not too far north or south (in between 70 and 44) is a good guideline.

Thanks for the help in advance.
Bill Russell

#59 butterfly

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Posted 15 July 2005 - 08:20 AM

Just visited STL (my hometown, though I've been away for almost two decades...). I'm living in Spain now, so I went mostly for the food that I can't get here and my old childhood favorites.

I was dying for Vietnamese food. I had a great meal at Truc Lam (Vietnamese). Excellent grilled/barbecued pork. Some of the best pho broth I've ever tasted with a nice array of extras. Not much on ambiance, but I highly, highly recommend the place for the food. If you are coming down Grand from 44, you make a right on Gravois and go a few blocks or so and it is on the corner right.

For STL pizza and comfort food, I still like Talayna's (now on Debaliviere, unfortunately not nearly as atmospheric as their old spot on Skinker). They now offer other kinds of crust, so be sure to get the STL style. You can get it with provel or mozzarella or a combination (which I prefer). Their caesar salad is an abomination to any purist--huge, cheesy, salty, and chock full of anchovies--but I love it. Also, of course, toasted ravioli.

O'Connell's roast beef sandwiches are still a delicious mess. It's nice to see that they haven't given into the fear of rare beef.

Sadly, as all of my family has lamented, I found that Pratzel's bagels have changed. They are lighter and have lost their chewiness. They still have a nice flavor, but they aren't what they once were. But what a transformation has taken place on this stretch of Olive (from the inner belt to U City)--an explosion of Chinese grocers and restaurants.

About fried brain sandwiches... When I was a kid, you could always find them in South St. Louis in all of the taverns up and down Gravois. This leads me to think that they were a German thing, though my family loved them, as well.

#60 bilrus

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Posted 22 August 2005 - 11:34 AM

This weekend marked my first attempt to return to my hometown, and in addition to visiting my mother and catching my last game at Busch Stadium, to seek out good restaurants rather than the old favorites in my West County neighborhood. I made a list of ten or twelve places culled from here, www.mouthfulsfood.com, www.saucecafe.com, the Riverfront Times and the Post Dispatch.

We ended up at 1111 Mississippi in the Lafayette Square Park neighborhood and Modesto, a tapas place on the Hill. And I had a few surprises.

My first suprise was finding the vibrant Lafayette neighborhood in an area that for all my memories was a little too close to the now demolished Darst-Webbe hi-rise housing projects on the Near South Side. 1111 Mississippi is a small renovated warehouse with a small bar, open kitchen and two levels of tables - a more casual area by the bar and a slightly more formal feel in the upper level. The food, especially the fish entrees we had - potato crusted grouper with feek fondue and flash fried trout with chile soy vinaigrette - were excellent. This kitchen appears to have a way with fish. I also especially liked the surprisingly zippy kick at the end from the fresh tasting heirloom tomato gazpacho. A bread pudding that ended up like an overdressed TGI Friday's brownie and a white chocolate torte with the texture and taste of cheesecake (are you sure that isn't actually cheesecake?) were disappointing. I wish I would have gone with my gut and ordered the very St. Louis slice of Gooey Butter Cake with a glass of milk that was on the menu. This is the type of neighborhood restaurant that every neighborhhod wants but most can't quite pull off.

My second surprise is that a Spanish restaurant could survive and thrive amidst the red sauce, veal and Italian statuary on the Hill and the conservative dining habits of St. Louisans. 10 years ago this place could have never gotten off the ground, but this Saturday, they were full four years after opening. Like most any Tapas place, there were a few dishes that were better than others but only a tasteless trio of housemade sausages in an overpowering mango barbecue style sauce was a real loser. And my first experience with white Sangria was a pleasant one. This was every bit as good as Jaleo here in DC where Jose Andres has a reputation as one of the best, even hosting his own show on Spanish television. Jaleo may have a deeper, more authentic menu, but for the basics Modesto did well.

My third surprise is that I'm already trying to figure out how to get back to try some of the others from my list.
Bill Russell