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St. Louis Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

189 posts in this topic

Okay, sheesh! Sorry about the title. It IS way corny.

I know a fair amount about food, however, St. Louis didn't jump into mind when I found I would be going there. Just wanted to ask folks in the know.

I do agree, the movie, and the play, are nothing to write home about. So, my apologies for the title.

We're going to be spending a couple of nights in Fort Leonard Wood; I'm not thinking of places to eat there, since we'll try to spend as much free time as is allowed with our son, who will get a brief leave.

We will be spending 2 nights in St. Louis, downtown, after that. I'm just looking for a couple of good places (not necessarily high-end, just really good) for lunch or dinner. As mentioned, all suggestions are welcome.

Thanks again,

LB

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Hah, no apologies needed, I was just pointing out that the referenced movie was as poor as the food.

As a Wash U student, I don't know all that much about downtown eatieries, but, if you have a car, it often seems like everything from St. Louis is about 10-20 minutes away from everything else... I'm always amused by hotel conciereges that tell my parents that a certain things is "really far away" when it's like 8 miles.

Did any places I mentioned pique your interest? If so, I could recommend more in the same vein.

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Take a look at the Lowlife Guide to St. Louis. There are a lot of different restaurants there that a food person might love but that a local might not appreciate in the same way.

Likewise, while you are there you might check out some of my favorites from when I visit family.

Kaldi's Coffee (in Clayton) has what I consider to be some of the best coffee I've ever had. They also have nice cookies, etc.

Nearby is Carl's Deli for good pastrami sandwiches at 6401 Clayton Road .

Soulard Market. There is a indoor stall that sells very good loose meat sandwiches.

Go to the Hill and get a cannoli and a ricotta puff (jelly donut pastry with cannoli filling and dusted with cinnamon sugar) from Vitale's Bakery.

There are lots of other good places on the Hill to explore and shop. Volpi Meats is nationally renowned, Viviano's is a nice grocery, Missouri Bakery has good cookies.

Unfortunately I don't know much about the restaurants on the hill.

And lest I forget, go to Ted Drewes.

Hal


Edited by halland (log)

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My wife and I will be in St. Louis for a conference in mid-June--coming in for a couple of days from the Washington D. C. area. We will be staying at the Adam’s Mark Hotel and would appreciate suggestions for places to have dinner and maybe a lunch or two if the conference schedule permits. They can be real good, or maybe OK and above. Our areas of desire are: Italian, French, Steak, Seafood, Oriental, or just fine cooking. We aren't interested in 5* restaurants (mainly on financial grounds), although one 4* would be acceptable. A hidden gem that is a favorite with the eGullett crowd or with St. Louis insiders would be a pleasant surprise. We would like to be able to walk to and from the restaurants, so five or six blocks is an opening bid on the radius from the hotel. Any suggestions that you can provide would be appreciated.

Thanks,

LARRY WIENER


LARRY W

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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.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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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

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


Alan Kwiatek

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 (log)

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


Edited by hastings (log)

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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."

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

LaurieB

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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

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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 (log)

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

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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!

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