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St. Louis Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


joiei
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  • 4 weeks later...

We just spent a lovely weekend in St. Louis and dined at a couple of places mentioned here and on the other St. Louis threads I dug up. We had Saturday lunch at the Boathouse in Forest Park, after a romantic rowboat ride (I sat in front and did the relaxing while DH did the rowing). It was not outstanding but very good for "room with a view" type dining. We had dinner at Trattoria Marcella, which lived up to expectations. We enjoyed everything we ate, and the service was exceptional. We ended up splitting everything, mostly at the suggestion of our server. We had the calamari with fried spinach (which was one of the most divine things I've ever eaten), followed by a house salad, and then the Porcini mushroom tortelloni and the tenderloin with barolo wine sauce. For dessert we had the cherry ice cream. It was just fabulous, and very reasonably priced. My husband continues to be impressed with the places I come up with after reading eGullet recommendations. For brunch this morning, we went to Nadoz, and that was amazing. We had our timing off though - going to Nadoz for 10AM brunch after dinner at Trattoria Marcella was a bit much. We wished we had a 1PM reservation, and had been able to spend the morning walking off our dinner. My favorite parts of the brunch were the divine pastries and the amazing assortment of fresh fruit, including figs. We're already talking about our next trip to St. Louis and it will be hard to pass up the places we tried this time.

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I am driving through St. Louis on Tuesday August 28, around lunch time. I am then spending the night in Kansas City. I am on my way to Seattle, Washington where I will spend the next three years studying, and eating of course. But I want to enjoy the long long ride. So lunch in St. Louis, dinner and possibly breakfast in Kansas city. Any suggestions. I am up for anything that will make a memory out of this trip. I like everything that God put on this earth that has flavor. I am trying to drive the 3,000+ miles without eating any fast food/bad chain food. Thanks for the help, I will try to post some pics of your recomendations. . .if I eat there.

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I am driving through St. Louis on Tuesday August 28, around lunch time. I am then spending the night in Kansas City. I am on my way to Seattle, Washington where I will spend the next three years studying, and eating of course. But I want to enjoy the long long ride. So lunch in St. Louis, dinner and possibly breakfast in Kansas city. Any suggestions. I am up for anything that will make a memory out of this trip. I like everything that God put on this earth that has flavor. I am trying to drive the 3,000+ miles without eating any fast food/bad chain food. Thanks for the help, I will try to post some pics of your recomendations. . .if I eat there.

Budget?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Nothing fancy. I would probably say between five to fifteen dollars per meal. I will be by myself so I won't be budgeting as if it where for a family. But if there is an unbelievable place that runs a little higher I could see myself splurging just once.

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Since you have only one meal, and keeping your desired budget in mind, if you want the true KC experience I would suggest either bbq or going to Stroud's for pan-fried chicken, real smashed potatoes, etc. I don't typically think to eat a big meal like that at this time of year, but it's supposed to cool off considerably this week, so it might work out for you.

There are lots of BBQ threads but here is the most recent. There is (sadly) only one Stroud's now (the original roadhouse having been razed to wide a street); but the food is the same - just a little lacking in the funky atmosphere of the original. Stroud's.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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If you like ethnic food, St. Louis is a culinary gold mine. We really like Cafe Natasha on South Grand.

http://www.cafenatasha.com/

We had a very nice lunch at 1111 Mississippi, but go very early or be prepared to wait.

http://www.1111-m.com/eleven-eleven/main.html

We didn't consider it too expensive.

For a great South St. Louis experience I would highly recommend Iron Barley. The food is first rate and it is simply unlike anywhere else.

http://www.ironbarley.com/

As far as KC, where I live, I haven't found a breakfast place as good as Jerry's Woodsweather Cafe on 9th street in the West Bottoms.

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Hello, I spent the night in Kansas City tonight. I ate at the Iron Barley yesterday for lunch. Fantastic, Prime Rib roasted over oak, with smashed potatos and green beans. Then made it to Kansas City by dinner time, and ate at Arthur Bryants. I am from North Carolina, and I have never had B-B-Q this good. I went to the Royals game, left at about 9:45 and wondered if I could make it back by before they close. Thanks for the advice on these places.

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That budget certainly limits the St. Louis picks

Niche is definitely the don't miss for our city in a higher range, but cheaper, I'll throw these out:

La Pizza - Killer Meatball subs and pizza - http://www.saucemagazine.com/lapizza/

Banh Mi So - Vietnamese - www.banhmiso1.com

Stellina Pasta Cafe - house made fresh pasta, and the best pulled pork (oddly) I've ever had - www.stellinapasta.com

I'll second Iron Barley, though it might be a touch over $15 depending on what you get, and with their limited but excellent beer menu, you'd be hard pressed not to want to have a taste.

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Hello, I spent the night in Kansas City tonight. I ate at the Iron Barley yesterday for lunch. Fantastic, Prime Rib roasted over oak, with smashed potatos and green beans. Then made it to Kansas City by dinner time, and ate at Arthur Bryants. I am from North Carolina, and I have never had B-B-Q this good.

Quoting Vince Staten and Greg Anderson in their section on Kansas City in Real Barbecue, referring to Calvin Trillin's comments on Bryant's:

"What other city can boast 'the single best restaurant in the world' -- and it's not even the best in town?"

I'm surprised no other current resident weighed in on the topic, given the embarrassment of barbecue riches the city offers. Store these suggestions for your next swing through town:

Gates' Bar-B-Q (1228 Brooklyn, Emmanuel Cleaver II Boulevard and the Paseo, and four other area locations)

LC's (5901 Blue Parkway -- the original -- and somewhere in Lenexa)

Oklahoma Joe's (47th and Mission Road, on the Johnson-Wyandotte county line)

I know the first from years of delicious dining and the other two on the basis of their reputations. That's right: I've got some catching up to do myself.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Um, you guys, he came through last week. We offered a few recs and some links to previous threads, which included Sandy's bbq listings, but time did not allow for a lot of discourse.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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  • 1 month later...

Hi all, Early in December we are visiting St. Louis, Mo. This will be my first trip and my husband is there on business. I would like some healthy ( low fat, not fried) suggestions for me for lunch and for us for dinner...I am thinking of taking a Gray Line bus tour. Any suggestions are welcome...We are staying at the Marriott and will not have a car. Thanks in advance. :biggrin:

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There are plenty of previous topics on St. Louis dining, but as a first time visitor this time of year, I would also suggest Merriweather's at the History museum. Its a pretty good restaurant (the original chef has moved on and quality dipped) with a super view of the boat yard and the park. If you're lucky there might be snow to add to the view.

And certainly take some time to go to the City Museum which I think is one of the most unique museums anywhere.

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Your best options are probably away from the downtown area.

There are a couple of decent Asian places around, particularly near Clayton west of downtown. They might meet your healthy request, depending upon what you order. One possibility would be Mai Lee, which I've enjoyed. Since Clayton is a business center, there are a number of options in its central district. None that I know of are outstanding, but at least some offer healthier alternatives, like the vegetarian and fish offerings at Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar, which looks like it has some nice Greek dishes, too. (I haven't been there but may try it on my next trip). The Central West End may also offer some dining options that, at least partially, meet your criteria.

Alas, I think the best and most interesting foods the St. Louis area offers violate your low-fat/no-fried criteria. Things like toasted ravioli (which is really fried) and all the Italian delicacies available on "The Hill" (home to Yogi Berra and Joe Gargiola), or the classic Midwestern frozen custard at Ted Drewes (closed in January).

For non-food activities, do stop by the Missouri Botanical Garden (even in winter if you get a break in the weather) and the Art Museum, which I don't think a lot of St. Louisans fully appreciate. The Contemporary Art Museum (Pulitzer funded, among others) is on my must-visit list next time I'm in town. If you are into serious music, the St. Louis Symphony is a fine band with a music director (David Robertson) I wish we could usurp and bring to Philadelphia; they are doing some very interesting programs during the first half of December, before the holiday concerts start.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Your best options are probably away from the downtown area.

There are a couple of decent Asian places around, particularly near Clayton west of downtown. They might meet your healthy request, depending upon what you order. One possibility would be Mai Lee, which I've enjoyed. Since Clayton is a business center, there are a number of options in its central district. None that I know of are outstanding, but at least some offer healthier alternatives, like the vegetarian and fish offerings at Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar, which looks like it has some nice Greek dishes, too. (I haven't been there but may try it on my next trip). The Central West End may also offer some dining options that, at least partially, meet your criteria.

Alas, I think the best and most interesting foods the St. Louis area offers violate your low-fat/no-fried criteria. Things like toasted ravioli (which is really fried) and all the Italian delicacies available on "The Hill" (home to Yogi Berra and Joe Gargiola), or the classic Midwestern frozen custard at Ted Drewes (closed in January).

For non-food activities, do stop by the Missouri Botanical Garden (even in winter if you get a break in the weather) and the Art Museum, which I don't think a lot of St. Louisans fully appreciate. The Contemporary Art Museum (Pulitzer funded, among others) is on my must-visit list next time I'm in town. If you are into serious music, the St. Louis Symphony is a fine band with a music director (David Robertson) I wish we could usurp and bring to Philadelphia; they are doing some very interesting programs during the first half of December, before the holiday concerts start.

Dear Bob..We thank you so much...once again, you are SO helpful. You made wonderful suggestions when we made our annual visit to Southwest Harbor, Maine...and once again you are there with great ideas...so thanks a lot.... :smile::smile:

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There are plenty of previous topics  on St. Louis dining, but as a first time visitor this time of year, I would also suggest Merriweather's at the History museum.  Its a pretty good restaurant (the original chef has moved on and quality dipped) with a super view of the boat yard and the park.  If you're lucky there might be snow to add to the view.

And certainly take some time to go to the City Museum which I think is one of the most unique museums anywhere.

thanks a lot..I will read the thread you sent and we look forward to our visit... :smile::smile:

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I just returned from a trip to St. Louis, and identified three restaurants I wanted to try based on their goal to offer regional, seasonal food: Terrene, Niche and Balaban's. Due to constraints of my host, I only dined at one, Balaban's. It was a very nice setting, we were promptly seated at the time of our reservation on a Friday night, and the service was excellent. We ordered four dishes to share, and the quality was quite mixed. The beet salad suffered from poor seasoning and poor conceptualization; it earned a B. The crispy sweetbread with ham cubes was an interesting presentation and flavor combination; probably a B+ or A-. The duck confit ravioli in mushroom cream sauce was the best dish, but still suffered from some poor seasoning; A-. The disaster of the night was the "special," a shrimp linguine with sun dried tomatoes with a wine sauce and roasted garlic ... a C or C-. However, the restaurant did receive several excellent reviews online, so perhaps we just made poor choices. I'm still curious about Terrene and Niche. Enjoy St. Louis, and I echo the suggestion to visit the Missouri Botanic Garden (world class) and the St. Louis Art Museum, if you have the time and inclination.

Bret S. Beall, MS, PhD (Cand), CEO

Global Organic Designs Lifestyle Services

www.god-dess.com

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My pleasure, Shmily. I'm not nearly as expert on the St. Louis area as Mount Desert, but in the course of visiting my sister in the Clayton-University City area over the past 25 years I've picked up a few things.

I've only been to Balaban's once, about 10 years ago. At the time, I thought it was considerably better than average food and probably one of the area's better establishments. I would imagine more places have caught up with it by now and, of course, 10 years ago is a long, long time in a restaurant's life and things do change.

I'm waiting to hear a report from my sister who tomorrow plans to visit Cafe Brasil, a Churrasco/Rodizio outpost. Given the copious amount of meat, it may not fit your definition of healthy, though some of the chicken, fish and bean dishes off the a la carte menu may fit your needs. Again, it's located in a nearby suburban area just west of the city limits, about halfway between Clayton and Webster Groves.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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We are staying at the Marriott and will not have a car.

Just noticed this aspect of your post. This complicates things considerably. There are only two Marriotts I'm aware of: at the airport, which is about 10 miles northwest of downtown and seven or eight miles north of Clayton, and the Marriott out on I-64/US 40, which is about 15 miles west of downtown and maybe six miles west of Clayton.

Either way, a car is your best bet to get around, since cabs are scarce compared to big East Coast cities and public transit is not as good as Boston, NY or Philly. I haven't tried it, but with a new extension to Clayton the Metrolink light rail might be useful. It will get you from the airport to downtown St. Louis in about 40 minutes or, via a transfer, to Clayton in the same amount of time. At the very least I would imagine either Marriott can provide courtesy van service to a Metrolink station or downtown Clayton.

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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We are staying at the Marriott and will not have a car.

Just noticed this aspect of your post. This complicates things considerably. There are only two Marriotts I'm aware of: at the airport, which is about 10 miles northwest of downtown and seven or eight miles north of Clayton, and the Marriott out on I-64/US 40, which is about 15 miles west of downtown and maybe six miles west of Clayton.

Either way, a car is your best bet to get around, since cabs are scarce compared to big East Coast cities and public transit is not as good as Boston, NY or Philly. I haven't tried it, but with a new extension to Clayton the Metrolink light rail might be useful. It will get you from the airport to downtown St. Louis in about 40 minutes or, via a transfer, to Clayton in the same amount of time. At the very least I would imagine either Marriott can provide courtesy van service to a Metrolink station or downtown Clayton.

Hi, Actually, we are staying at the Marriott Renaissance which is at 800 Washington Avenue and I was told that was downtown. Any and all suggestions you make are welcome..thanks

... :biggrin:

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Red Moon is a fun asian-fusion type place right in your neighborhood.

The City Museum is also nearby, and it pretty much defies description.

For a cool street scene, ride the Metrolink train west to the University City Loop, St. Louis' hippest neighborhood by far. There are dozens of fine places there, including the superb and incredibly casual Riddle's Penultimate Cafe and Wine Bar, Saleem's (Where Garlic is King), and the excellent Al-tarboush Deli.

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The best restaurant in St. Louis is actually four hours west in Kansas City, but...

I've had great meals at Sidney Street and 1111 Mississippi.

Try Aya Sofia for Turkish/Mediterranean food.

www.saucemagazine.com is a great source for information on St. Louis restaurants.

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Riverfront Times is also a good source of food info. Google their website.

It's tough in StL w/o a car, they've had abysmal public transport for decades, & have focused on that (the above-mentioned Metrolink) only in recent years. The Metrolink might be your best hope if you don't want to run up taxi fares & truly don't want to rent a car.

If pizza's not off your list & you do find selves in Clayton, I'll recommend Il Vicino. This is decidedly NOT St. Louis-style pizza (Google "provel cheese" for an education in that); rather, it's as close to true Italian pizza as you're likely to find in the Heartland, and to my taste it's better than 90% of New York's pizzerias.

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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