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Ian Froeb鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100: The best St. Louis restaurants of 2024
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Ian Froeb鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100: The best St. Louis restaurants of 2024

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This year鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 is brought to you by my car. It's not even two years old yet, but has already been racking up miles in search of St. Louis' best, most exciting restaurants.

2024 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 logo

Seriously, I needed only 18 months to reach my 3-year/30,000-mile maintenance appointment.

I have traveled more extensively than ever before for the 2024 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100, from St. Peters to the Metro East. I ate Vietnamese banh mi with a side of cheese fries in Florissant and pork cracklings with a Gruy猫re fondue in O鈥橣allon, Missouri.

This is the ninth edition of the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100. Choosing which restaurants make the list has gotten more difficult each year. The 2024 edition includes the usual crop of must-visit new spots, but you will also find the return of a few familiar names that have been absent for a while.

Get your own car or bike or most comfortable pair of walking shoes. Let鈥檚 go eat.

Ian Froeb signature
The Top 25
Dining Out at Bulrush

An acorn doughnut filled with potato mousse at Bulrush

1. Bulrush

ContemporaryOzark

Bulrush isn鈥檛 the No. 1 restaurant in St. Louis because, in the course of a dinner during Lent, chef Rob Connoley served an uncanny tribute to the McDonald鈥檚 Filet-O-Fish.

Ian's Top 100: Bulrush

Bulrush chef Rob Connoley poses on Thursday, March 9, 2023, in his restaurant.听

Bulrush is the No. 1 restaurant because Connoley鈥檚 fillet of fish was as inspired as anything I ate over the past year: walleye (one of the few fishes Connoley allows in his rigorously local, historical pantry) with homemade American cheese and tartar sauce听on a cushy Taiwanese style-bun.

In the 2023 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100, I hoped to convey that Bulrush, while a Serious Restaurant, is a hell of a lot of fun. In 2024, Connoley made the point in a single course, maybe three or four bites total. And there were five courses left to go.

Throughout your dinner, you will learn about the important work Connoley and Bulrush are doing 鈥 even beyond the fact of the restaurant鈥檚 existence, that is, a project to resurrect Ozark cuisine and pay appropriate tribute to the enslaved and indigenous persons who called the region home.

Connoley developed a dish that celebrated carrots 鈥 a carrot mousse and a carrot panisse with bacon, hen of the woods mushrooms, pumpkin-seed pesto and grits 鈥 with the Normandy High School students he mentors for their culinary competition. The restaurant鈥檚 commitment to producing zero waste pays off in the actual seasonings used in your food. It鈥檚 exciting, to the point where detailing the zero-waste policy鈥檚 role in a dish of grilled green-meat radish with sausage of duck raised in Florissant would be a spoiler.

Spoiler alert: Dinner at Bulrush is often surprising, always delicious and thought-provoking in the best way. You leave sated, and your satisfaction grows later when your read Connoley鈥檚 essay on Bulrush鈥檚 role in the community.

Connoley also sends you home with breakfast for the next day, a treat I won鈥檛 reveal partly because it might change before your visit, partly because you deserve the shock when you realize, on top of everything else at Bulrush, he has also improved one of St. Louis鈥 most beloved desserts.

Last year: No. 2

  • 3307 Washington Boulevard
  • 314-449-1208;
  • Dinner Thursday-Sunday (closed Monday-Wednesday)
  • $$$$

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Vicia

Turnip tacos at Vicia

2. Vicia

Contemporary

As I write this, Vicia is preparing to shift from its Farmers Feast experience to a conventional a-la-carte menu. The change makes sense in the current dining landscape, not least because it should entice even more people to try the exceptional food and hospitality from Tara and Michael Gallina, the couple鈥檚 business partner and culinary director Aaron Martinez and Vicia chef de cuisine Jane Sacro Chatham. Having said that, I do want to salute Vicia鈥檚 Farmers Feast a final time. Essentially a family-style three-course dinner 鈥 a flurry of snacks, a main course with sides and dessert 鈥 it showcased Vicia鈥檚 range and inventiveness while keeping to the natural rhythm of a meal rather than becoming a steady, potentially stultifying parade of bites. At my recent dinner, it delivered both the fleeting 鈥淲ow!鈥 moments of Vicia鈥檚 vegetable-forward ethos, like carrot 鈥渢artare鈥 atop a bite-size blue-corn masa cake, and the triumphant showstopper of four different cuts of impeccably sourced pork in a sauce with the complex fruitiness of a habanero chile, but intentionally without the overwhelming heat, alongside bowls of late-winter cabbage and potatoes, both tastier than I could have imagined anywhere else.

Last year: No. 3

  • 4260 Forest Park Avenue
  • 314-553-9239;
  • Dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
  • $$$$

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Nobu's goes small in The Loop

Takiawase, a red snapper stew with squid, at Nobu's in University City

3. Nobu鈥檚听

JapaneseSeafoodSushi

The relocated, reimagined Nobu鈥檚 already ranked No. 7 in last year鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100, which was published six months after Noboru Kidera opened the new version of his sushi restaurant in the Delmar Loop. When I returned to Nobu鈥檚 this February, the 75-year-old Kidera 鈥 working alongside his wife, Taeko, and son, George 鈥 had taken this essential restaurant to yet another level of confidence, execution and beauty. The nigiri sushi that made Nobu鈥檚 former home destination dining is still remarkable for the precision of Kidera鈥檚 cuts and the clarity of the fishes鈥 flavors, but nigiri is only one highlight of the restaurant鈥檚 omakase (chef-directed) menus. A seafood salad leads with king crab and shrimp, but dazzles with its bevy of vegetables (young cauliflower, fresh bamboo shoot and arrowroot, to name a few), each prepared in a separate manner.听 A red snapper bone broth is as memorably soulful as a spoonful of Hokkaido uni is ridiculously luscious. George Kidera, who narrates the meal, will extol the virtues of locally grown daikon, sushi ginger from Fiji and the olive oil in which your tempura course has been fried 鈥 perfectly, of course. Dinner at Nobu鈥檚 requires pre-paid reservations, and it is a required experience for any St. Louisan serious about sushi or restaurants, period.听

Last year: No. 7

  • 6253 Delmar Boulevard, University City
  • 314-323-9147;
  • Dinner Wednesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Tuesday)
  • $$$$ 

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Ian Froeb's Top 100: Little Fox

The pork chop at Little Fox

4. Little Fox听

Brunch听鈥 Contemporary

Little Fox has become my go-to destination when out-of-town friends visit St. Louis, and when my wife and I were planning dinner recently with another couple in town who had never visited Mowgli and Craig Rivard鈥檚 Fox Park restaurant, it became the only possible choice. Little Fox is so friendly and its food so inviting that it can appeal to even the most jaded big-city appetites 鈥 it certainly helps in the latter respect that the Rivards moved to Craig鈥檚 native St. Louis from New York City 鈥 yet its vibes and cooking are wholly unique to St. Louis, its neighborhood and Craig鈥檚 kitchen team. Missouri produce can hardly look or taste better than Little Fox鈥檚 grilled Ozark Forest royal trumpet mushrooms over soubise with chive oil and a sherry vinaigrette or the 鈥榥duja-marinated pork chop from Newman Farm in Myrtle. Few restaurants so young have so many dishes vying for the title of signature 鈥 the short ribs, the herb cavatelli, the chicken marinated with anchovy and rosemary to name just three 鈥 and I can鈥檛 think of any place where I would excitedly tell locals and tourists to try the onion soup, distinguished here by roasted bone marrow and a splash of apple brandy.听

Last year: No. 6

  • 2800 Shenandoah Avenue
  • 314-553-9456;
  • Dinner Tuesday-Saturday, brunch Saturday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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Loryn Nalic Balkan Treat Box

Pide (left) and cevapi at Balkan Treat Box听

5. Balkan Treat Box

BalkanBosnianMediterranean

Balkan Treat Box owners Loryn and Edo Nalic have continued their remarkable journey with the January 2024 opening of a second restaurant, Telva at the Ridge. Also located in Webster Groves, Telva expands the couple鈥檚 exploration of the cuisines of Bosnia and, more broadly, the Balkans into cafe culture, with breakfast fare, sweets, coffee and tea. Telva debuted too late for this year鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100, but its arrival speaks to the drive that, over the past seven years, has taken Balkan Treat Box from food truck to brick-and-mortar restaurant to No. 1 in last year鈥檚 list. A smaller example: not two months after the publication of the 2023 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100, I encountered a dish better than anything I鈥檇 eaten here before, a seasonal spin on the pide (a wood-fired flatbread) that captured the fleeting glory of spring with asparagus and pickled ramp. As at my recent visits to Little Fox (see No. 4), I ordered this pide as part of a ridiculously oversized meal to introduce a visiting friend to Balkan Treat Box: the cevapi, of course; the rolled flatbread lahmacun; the kumru, a pressed sandwich. Though not No. 1 in 2024, Balkan Treat Box is unquestionably one of St. Louis' very best restaurants.

Last year: No. 1

  • 8103 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves
  • 314-733-5700;
  • Lunch Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
  • $-$$

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Dining Review: The Mainlander

Supper featuring Midwestern Prime Rib, Coconut Creamed Spinach and Mala Broccoli with a Mohaattan cocktail at the Mainlander

6. Mainlander听馃啎

Contemporary

Mainlander was the best new restaurant of 2023, and for this reservations-only debut behind a virtually unmarked Central West End storefront, "new鈥 is no mere chronological marker. St. Louis has never seen anything like Mainlander, where chef Blake Askew and his partner in business and life, Gordon Chen, build a remarkable dinner experience from a kitsch-risking throwback aesthetic, the dusty canon of Midwestern cuisine and modern touches from Taiwan and beyond. The menu, which changes monthly, might reinvent the old-school, LBJ-approved King Ranch casserole with duck confit and hand-made blue-corn tortillas. Or Askew might serve you the mightiest, beefiest slab of prime rib you鈥檝e eaten in your life. The smaller bites that precede the main event are more subtly stunning, from the porridge congee made with rice from Cahokia and served with late-season produce and a Taiwanese cruller to a fall 鈥渃andy apple鈥 chicken wing glazed with apple cider and apple butter. The praise that has followed Mainlander, including a semifinalist honor as 鈥淏est New Restaurant鈥 nationwide from the James Beard Foundation, makes securing seats here a new, but exceptionally worthy challenge each month.

  • 8 South Euclid Avenue
  • Dinner Wednesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Tuesday)
  • $$$$ 

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Dining review: Sado

The sashimi masu at Sado听

7. Sado听馃啎听

JapaneseSeafoodSushi听鈥 Thai

Mere weeks after the Hill sushi restaurant Sado made the list of the best new restaurants of 2023, chef Nick Bognar announced his next project, Pavilion. This isn鈥檛 another new restaurant so much as an expansion of Sado where Bognar will feature the omakase (chef鈥檚 choice) dinners that were the pre-pandemic showpiece of his first restaurant, Indo. Sado has already restored Bognar to his place behind the sushi counter, forming the nigiri sushi that kindled his rising-superstar reputation at Indo and, before that, at his family鈥檚 late restaurant Nippon Tei. (For Indo鈥檚 current path, see No. 10.) He can mesmerize you with the supple lusciousness of tuna and the funky oceanic sweetness of uni, but his real skill is coaxing brilliant flavors and textures from fish like snapper (madai) or the blackthroat perch (nodoguro). Sado brings this modern approach together with the sushi rolls, crab Rangoon and other crowd-pleasers that defined Nippon Tei, which his mother, Ann Bognar, opened in 2001. You might be tempted to call Sado a greatest hits restaurant, but with a chef as talented as Bognar, I will reserve 鈥渢he greatest鈥 for the future tense.听

  • 5201 Shaw Avenue
  • 314-390-2883;
  • Dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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Louie in Clayton

Grilled Spanish Octopus, Potato, Chickpeas, Soppressata, Calabrian from Louie in Clayton.

8. Louie

Italian

The blockbuster first year of Wright鈥檚 Tavern (see No. 15) has made it marginally less difficult to score a reservation at Matt McGuire鈥檚 other cozy, can鈥檛-miss Clayton restaurant. Marginally 鈥 I managed to land a bar seat at Louie at 9 p.m. on a weeknight and was thrilled to see a restaurant crackling with energy at a time that, on our weird new post-pandemic dining clock, might as well be midnight. I didn鈥檛 see McGuire himself at his standard post slicing prosciutto di Parma, a first on my dinners here, but he has finely tuned Louie to hum in his absence. Chef Sean Turner hasn鈥檛 needed to tweak Louie鈥檚 signature dishes since the restaurant opened six years ago, but I still marvel at the perfect accent of mint with its hummus, at how the swirl of chermoula seemingly buried under a whopping double-cut pork chop and a plant鈥檚 worth of shishito peppers bursts through the plate with its herbaceous vibrancy. The wood-fired hearth at the back of the dining room blisters the Neapolitan-style pizzas and the hearth bread accompanying the hummus. It also, I like to think, sparks the feeling of warmth that spreads through Louie, embodied by the best server in St. Louis, Jordan VanZandt.

Last year: No. 10

  • 706 DeMun Avenue, Clayton
  • 314-300-8188;
  • Dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
  • $$$-$$$$

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El Molino del Sureste serves Mexican specialties for St. Louisans

Scallops in a white mole sauce are surrounded counterclockwise by the blue crab tostada, dulce de calabaza, tostada de calabaza, kaaxil sikil and beef tongue taco from El Molino del Sureste.

9. El Molino del Sureste, Sureste听馃啎

Mexican

Alex Henry is one of St. Louis鈥 most talented chefs, and his cooking, which bridges local, seasonal ingredients and the cuisine of his native Yucat谩n in Mexico, demands national attention. Sureste, his Food Hall at City Foundry kitchen, is now a three-time 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 honoree. El Molino del Sureste, the restaurant he and his brother, Jeff, opened last year in Southampton, takes his work to another level entirely. Thrill to plates small and large, from squash blossom and beef tongue tacos to brawny venison sausage in tomato-habanero sauce and the tremendous pavo en escabeche, grilled turkey in citrus broth. El Molino features painterly compositions of Sureste鈥檚 signature ceviche, and seafood in general is a must-order. Henry鈥檚 Hokkaido scallops in white chocolate mole are unlike anything I鈥檝e eaten in St. Louis. His restaurants are unlike any other, too.听

Last year: No. 16 (Sureste)

  • El Molino del Sureste,
    • 5007 South Kingshighway
    • 314-925-8431;
    • Dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday) 
    • $$$ 
  • Sureste
    • the Food Hall at City Foundry, 3730 Foundry Way
    • Lunch and dinner daily
    • $-$$ 

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Indo: Lamb ribs

Lamb Ribs at Indo

10. Indo听

ContemporaryJapaneseSeafoodSushiThai

Nick Bognar has moved his acclaimed nigiri-sushi program to Sado, his new restaurant on the Hill (see No. 7). He has announced plans to refine that program further at Pavilion, the ticketed sushi counter opening later this year at Sado. Meanwhile, his original Botanical Heights restaurant Indo makes a compelling argument that Bognar would be one of the most exciting chefs of his 鈥 or any other 鈥 generation even if he had never placed a small piece of aged raw fish on top of a clump of rice. At Indo, you will encounter composed sashimi dishes as thrilling to eat as they are beautiful to behold, like cold-smoked masu 鈥 imagine the best lox you have eaten, but even more luscious 鈥 with an apple relish, lime zest and a finishing touch of salt. Indo finds the intersection of comfort and elegance (fried rice with crab) and new touches to energize dishes that, in only its fifth year, are already classics (the shrimp toast, recently served with a mango-sweet chile garnish). And while you now must visit Sado for nigiri sushi, in its place Indo offers temaki, hand rolls with fillings both simple and luxe.听

Last year: No. 5

  • 1641D Tower Grove Avenue
  • 314-899-9333;
  • Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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The Crossing

The rib chop at the Crossing

11. The Crossing听

Contemporary

About a dozen years ago, believe it or not, Clayton was the most exciting place to dine in St. Louis. Gerard Craft had just moved his flagship Niche there and was cooking his most ambitious food yet. At night, Mike Randolph turned his cafe Half & Half into Little Country Gentlemen, serving anything-goes tasting menus. Meanwhile, Jim Fiala鈥檚 the Crossing did what it has always done 鈥 seamlessly bringing together classic French and Italian influences, top-notch produce and a keen eye for the trends it can embrace and those it will easily outlast. These days in Clayton, you can spend a lot of money on steaks and overpriced hotel food. Thankfully, the Crossing remains exciting, whether you grab dinner at the bar or splurge on the chef鈥檚 grand tasting menu. At a recent dinner, Fiala, chef Thu Rein Oo and their team took umami-jacked black garlic 鈥 an ingredient I saw many times this 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 cycle 鈥 and smartly softened its edges, folding it into a velvety beurre blanc for a gorgeous piece of red snapper. Alongside such can鈥檛-miss Crossing dishes as crudo, tagliolini with mushrooms and fried apple pie, the dinner wasn鈥檛 showy, just spectacular. As always.听

Last year: No. 11

  • 7823 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton
  • 314-721-7375;
  • Dinner Monday-Saturday, lunch Monday-Friday (closed Sunday)
  • $$$$  

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Root Food + Wine offers cozy dining in Augusta

Mushroom soup is poured table side at Root Food + Wine in Augusta December 2021.

12. Root Food + Wine听

Contemporary

Chef Philip Day has brought the attention of the James Beard Foundation to tiny Augusta, scoring a semifinalist nod for 鈥淏est Chef: Midwest鈥 in the 2024 edition of the organization鈥檚 awards. (At press time, this year鈥檚 finalists haven鈥檛 been announced.) In the three years since Day opened Root Food + Wine to acclaim, his cooking has grown only more impressive. A recent visit found his smoked-mushroom consomm茅, a signature winter dish, transformed into a clever play on ramen, minus the noodles: the broth with oyster mushrooms in one small bowl; in the other, more mushrooms and a sous-vide egg yolk over a sesame-chile crunch. Day can plate gorgeous main courses, like roasted duck breast and a confit of duck thigh with beets several different ways and a cocoa gastrique, but he can also floor you with smaller bites like that mushroom consomm茅 or a German-style cabbage pancake with hackleback caviar and green-goddess dressing or even just an amuse bouche 鈥渢aco鈥 of beets in a pecan tuile. If that ballyhooed plan to transform Augusta into the Napa of the Midwest never comes to fruition, you still have every reason to visit to experience one of the area鈥檚 best and most exciting chefs.听

Last year: No. 21

  • 5525 Walnut Street, Augusta 
  • 636-544-1009;
  • Dinner Thursday-Saturday, lunch Saturday (closed Sunday-Wednesday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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The Lucky Accomplice

Herb sorbet with lemon milk crumb from the Lucky Accomplice听

13. The Lucky Accomplice

Contemporary

Logan Ely is one of St. Louis鈥 best chefs and also one of its most restless. For 2024, I caught the Lucky Accomplice a few months after Ely and chef de cuisine Justin Bell had sidelined the a-la-carte format the restaurant had used since its September 2020 debut in favor of a tasting menu 鈥 an ambitious approach anywhere, but downright daunting in post-pandemic St. Louis dining. On the other hand, if anyone can pull off a tasting menu, it鈥檚 Ely, who won acclaim (including a No. 2 ranking in the 2020 edition of this list) at his late restaurant Shift. My tasting-menu dinner at the Lucky Accomplice didn鈥檛 reach those heights, but its highlights showed the combination of inspired techniques, striking plating and unexpected star ingredients that is the hallmark of Ely鈥檚 cooking: fermented wheat berries with chicken skin, maitake mushrooms and Parmesan and deeply charred carrots with grapefruit in duck jus, both of which delivered more swaggering umami than the ostensible showstopper, beef short rib with black garlic. Since then, the Lucky Accomplice has brought back it鈥檚 a-la-carte options alongside the tasting menu, offering two different, equally compelling reasons to visit.

Last year: No. 9

  • 2501 South Jefferson Avenue
  • 314-354-6100;
  • Dinner Thursday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Wednesday)
  • $$$-$$$$

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Sidney Street Cafe

Cavatelli at Sidney Street Caf茅

14. Sidney Street Cafe听

Contemporary

One of the unfortunate realities of even upscale dining these days is the absence of noteworthy desserts. Credit Benton Park institution Sidney Street Cafe for still trusting the final course to an actual pastry chef, and credit pastry chef Amelia Lytle for the spectacular dessert that ended my dinner at Sidney Street this March. This was ostensibly an apricot cheesecake, but the bartender and fellow diners at the bar persuaded me to order the dessert because it included foie gras. The foie-gras torchon practically melted into the cheesecake, elevating its richness and sweetness into decadence. The focus from the beignets at the beginning of your meal through dessert at the end shouldn鈥檛 be surprising at Kevin Nashan鈥檚 flagship, which continues in its groove of old-school touches amid a contemporary sensibility. You can build dinner from a-la-carte main courses and sides, or you can trust the kitchen to subtly enrich hamachi crudo with avocado crema or pair duck breast with a maple syrup jus.听

Last year: No. 13

  • 2000 Sidney Street
  • 314-771-5777;
  • Dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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Dining Review: Wright's Tavern

A wagyu beef听Tavern Burger with Prairie Breeze cheddar at Wright's Tavern听

15. Wright鈥檚 Tavern听

Steakhouse

My research for this year鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 included numerous visits to steakhouses and other old-school restaurants, all of which simply affirmed the magnificence of what owner Matt McGuire, chef Cary McDowell and their team have accomplished at Wright鈥檚 Tavern. A nearly impossible reservation since its late 2022 debut, Wright鈥檚 doesn鈥檛 reinvent the classic American steakhouse, but it takes pains to get it right. That means excellent beef properly seasoned, gorgeously browned and cooked to your desired temperature 鈥 none of those steps a given, my aforementioned research proved 鈥 and generous portions of the best fries and the best onion rings in town. Take away the steaks, and Wright鈥檚 remains a top-tier restaurant thanks to a seafood lineup like the glory days of Pujols-Rolen-Edmonds: sweet oysters, sizzling shrimp scampi and a crab cake to sway this jaded Baltimorean鈥檚 heart.听

Last year: No. 18

  • 7624 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton
  • 314-390-1466;
  • Dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
  • $$$$ 

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Jalea brings Peruvian food to Historic St. Charles Main Street

Ceviche Classico at Jalea听

16. Jalea听

Peruvian

The 2023 edition of the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 celebrated Jalea as 2022鈥檚 standout debut, ranking the Peruvian restaurant on St. Charles historic Main Street No. 20. Last year鈥檚 list also found Jalea鈥檚 chef and owner Andrew Cisneros busy consulting on other restaurateurs鈥 projects. In 2024, Cisneros has focused on his own work, including one of the most exciting restaurants slated to open this year: Brasas in the Delmar Loop, which will feature Peruvian rotisserie chicken and other grilled meats. Meanwhile, Jalea returns to the Top 25 with its modern take on Peruvian fare. Ceviche is the must-order here, thanks to the electrifying leche de tigre marinade that 鈥渃ooks鈥 the seafood. The tuna tiradito version will make a run at your favorite sushi restaurant鈥檚 sashimi (and nods to Japanese cuisine鈥檚 influence on Peru). Main courses might preview the rotisserie chicken at Brasas or pair a tremendous wine-braised pork shank with the potato-peanut stew carapulcra.听

Last year: No. 20

  • 323 North Main Street, St. Charles
  • 314-303-0144;
  • Dinner Wednesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Tuesday)
  • $$$  

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Noto Italian Restaurant

Cavolo pizza at Noto Italian Restaurant in St. Peters

17. Noto Italian Restaurant听

ItalianPizza

You will (still) find the best pizza in the metro area at Noto Italian Restaurant in St. Peters 鈥 and not just because Kendele and Wayne Sieve鈥檚 Neapolitan pies, fired at 1,000 degrees in a wood-burning oven, have received the official stamp of approval from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. That stamp doesn鈥檛 hurt, but Noto had reached the summit of St. Louis pizza even before it arrived, and if it vanishes tomorrow, Noto will remain on top thanks to its puffy, tangy, gorgeously blistered crust and mad-genius creations like the Apricot and 鈥楴duja pizza. Apricot jam is the base of this pie, its peak-summer sweetness ripe but not cloying. Dollops of soft, spicy 鈥榥duja sausage alternate with fresh, cooling ricotta cheese, while hazelnuts and gremolata provide a zippy finishing crunch. If you need even more reason to return to Noto, the Sieves have recently opened a new Italian wine bar, Bacaro, on the lower level.听

Last year: No. 12

  • 5105 Westwood Drive, St. Peters
  • 636-317-1143;
  • Dinner Wednesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Tuesday)
  • $$-$$$ 

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Beast Craft BBQ Co.

A full rack of ribs with turkey and candied bacon at Beast Craft BBQ Co.

18. Beast Craft BBQ Co.听

Barbecue

Technically, you don鈥檛 have to travel to Belleville to find the metro area鈥檚 best barbecue. Though David and Meggan Sandusky closed Beast Craft BBQ Co.鈥檚 ambitious Butcher & Block location in the Grove shortly after the publication of last year鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100, they have since opened an outpost at Washington University, and they still operate Beast鈥檚 food truck. That said, to experience Beast in full, you currently must visit the original Belleville restaurant, where pitmaster David first staked his 鈥渁ll killer, no filler鈥 claim. It was true when Beast debuted in 2014, and it is true now. Sandusky is unapologetic in his pursuit of barbecue perfection, from the Texas-style brisket smoked over white oak to the signature cherry-smoked pork steak. Beast is one of the very few 鈥 maybe the only 鈥 members of the barbecue-boom generation to pay proper homage to St. Louis-style snoots, and the restaurant鈥檚 sides (fries, mac and cheese with bacon, Brussels sprouts with pork belly) have never been an afterthought. That barbecue boom has ended. Long live Beast, wherever it goes next.听

Last year: No. 14

  • 20 South Belt West, Belleville
  • 618-257-9000;
  • Lunch and dinner daily
  • $-$$ 

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Akar, Garlic Chives Gnocchi

Garlic Chives Gnocchi, a vegetarian dish featuring wood ear & oyster mushrooms, crispy chickpeas, sweet peas, Malaysian coconut curry.

19. Akar听

ContemporaryMalaysian

The cooking at Akar spans the globe while remaining deeply personal. Only a chef and restaurateur as talented 鈥 and hungry and curious 鈥 as Bernie Lee could have created the conditions for these dishes to excel. I鈥檓 still wrapping my head around a special main course on my most recent visit, a whopping, fork-tender lamb shank in a nutty, creamy Thai massaman curry sauce garnished with tart little pops that evoked Persian cuisine. Akar can go big and bold: that lamb, duck breast with a raspberry-hoisin reduction, the signature beef short ribs. But Lee also impresses with a simple appetizer of garlicky ramen noodles without any broth, and few restaurants of this caliber offer as many options for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diners. Akar also boasts a nearly extinct personal touch: For reservations (highly recommended), you must call.听

Last year: No. 17

  • 7641 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton
  • 314-553-9914;
  • Dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$$ 

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Olive + Oak

Whole-roasted Romanesco at Olive + Oak

20. Olive + Oak

Contemporary

I doubt I ever could have given a thumbnail description of Olive + Oak. I certainly can鈥檛 now, eight years and one relocation within the Old Webster district of Webster Groves (brief in distance, significant in scope) later. Chef Jesse Mendica and her team range widely and with confidence across a global palate and larder. A visit this fall found succulent braised boar, itself a notable ingredient in St. Louis' conservative post-pandemic menus,听layered with black-bean puree over a fried tortilla 鈥 part of a menu that also featured goat and nods to Japanese and Korean cuisine. You can still find Olive + Oak standards like steak, oysters and the signature blue-crab gratin to be spread on toast or eaten directly from the spoon. One constant here since 2016: reservations are effectively mandatory, and depending on the day any time, a walk-in seat at the long bar counter is no sure thing.

Last year: No. 8

  • 216 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves
  • 314-736-1370;
  • Dinner daily
  • $$$-$$$$

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Menya Rui

Shoyu with pork shoulder chasyu, scallions, menma, yori, a soft-boiled egg and shoyu ramen in an aromatic rendered fatback at听Menya Rui

21. Menya Rui听

JapaneseRamen

If you were waiting for the buzz about Menya Rui to settle before you tried Steven Pursley鈥檚 ramen restaurant, where you must line up outside for one of the restaurant鈥檚 few seats, I bring bad news. In September 2023, Food & Wine magazine named Pursley one of its 鈥淏est New Chefs鈥 nationwide. A few months later, Yelp declared Menya Rui the No. 2 restaurant in the country. The queue for a table reached new lengths. The great news is that Pursley鈥檚 ramen is more than worth the time you spend in line, and once you are seated, your dinner comes together quickly. Slurp up homemade noodles in drain-the-bowl-delicious pork shoyu, chicken shoyu or tantanmen broth, or try Pursley鈥檚 unique-to-St. Louis takes on tsukemen (dipped) and mazemen (brothless) ramen. Once you finally do partake of Menya Rui, you won鈥檛 hesitate to spread the gospel farther.听

Last year: No. 21

  • 3453 Hampton Avenue
  • 314-601-3524;
  • Dinner Wednesday-Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
  • $-$$ 

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Taberu

A sushi platter for two by Taberu

22. Taberu听

JapaneseSeafoodSushi

Set your alarm and don鈥檛 hit snooze. At 6 a.m. on the first of each month, Heidi Hamamura opens the next month鈥檚 reservation book for her unparalleled sushi-by-delivery service Taberu. Available dates quickly vanish. The fish is exceptional in flavor, knifework and presentation: a platter of tuna, salmon, shrimp, yellowtail and more nigiri in vibrant red, orange, pink and white. Hamamura excels with deft accents like the sake-kombu marinade that imbues red snapper with oceanic sweetness or the smoke that renders octopus shockingly flavorful and tender. Simple albacore tuna jolted with charred garlic is as memorable as luscious medium-fatty tuna with a dollop of brilliant lemongrass-shiso chimichurri. The Taberu experience loses nothing for being enjoyed at home. What it gains in wonder is immeasurable.听

Last year: Unranked

  • Taberu, catering and delivery service
  • $$$$ 

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Bar Moro in Clayton, Mar i Muntanya

Mar i muntanya, Catalan-style roasted chicken with lobster, at Bar Moro in Clayton听

23. Bar Moro听

Spanish

This year鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 finds chef and restaurateur Ben Poremba at an especially busy moment, even by his ambitious standards: relocating three restaurants, opening two more and completely revamping the concept of yet another.听 (And that doesn鈥檛 include Deli Divine, his 2023 debut.) Bar Moro, which opened in October 2022, is suddenly the veteran of Poremba鈥檚 lineup. This sleek, sexy Spanish restaurant is ready for the challenge. Impressive from the beginning, Bar Moro has grown only more confident 鈥 and delicious. That confidence is obvious in the showstopping roasted rabbit with chistorra sausage in tomato sauce, each bite fragrant with cumin and paprika. A restaurant this confident also knows a classic like pan con tomate needs nothing more complicated than perfect Don Bocarte anchovies to become a superior version of itself.听

Last year: Unranked

  • 7610 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton
  • 314-932-1088;
  • Dinner daily
  • $$$$ 

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Pastaria serves up fresh Italian fare

Pistachio ravioliat Pastaria听

24. Pastaria, Pastaria Deli & Wine听

ItalianPizzaSandwiches

This year, Niche Food Group will bring back its fast-casual restaurant Porano Pasta, with the first location set to open in Des Peres. Porano isn鈥檛 a direct spinoff of Gerard Craft鈥檚 Pastaria, but you can see the connections 鈥 beyond the obvious noodle strands. At Pastaria, acclaimed chef Craft learned to meet diners where they are (often with kids in tow) and only then dazzle them with his wood-fired pizzas and big plates of bucatini, tagliatelle and pappardelle. The lesson has benefited all of Niche Food Group, including Pastaria鈥檚 pandemic-born neighbor, Pastaria Deli & Wine, where the sandwiches are no less impressive for being classic combinations. Add in Craft鈥檚 experience curating top-notch restaurant vendors for the crowds at City Foundry and Citypark stadium, and Porano 2.0鈥檚 future looks almost as bright as Pastaria鈥檚 still does.听

Last year: No. 19

  • Pastaria
    • 7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton
    • 314-862-6603;
    • Dinner daily
    • $$-$$$ 
  • Pastaria Deli & Wine
    • 7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton
    • 314-773-7755;
    • Lunch daily

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Dining Review- Charlie Gitto's On the Hill

Bucatini alla'Amatriciana at Charlie Gitto's on the Hill听

25. Charlie Gitto鈥檚听馃啎听

Classic fine diningItalian

I would feel like an idiot for excluding Charlie Gitto鈥檚 from the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 until now if I had eaten nothing more than its bucatini all鈥橝matriciana last year. Here is this iconic Hill restaurant in one dish, generous in serving and spirit, as alluringly simple as pasta in a summery San Marzano tomato sauce with quivering hunks of luscious guanciale. This experience 鈥 let's call it joy 鈥 repeated itself during my overdue visits to Gitto鈥檚, whether I was snacking on toasted ravioli (the supposed original of the species) or tackling the brontosaurus chop of the bone-in veal Parmesan. You could pick any dish to explain why chef Charlie Gitto Jr. continues to draw a full house in his restaurant鈥檚 43rd year. If the bucatini all鈥橝matriciana weren鈥檛 my clear favorite, I might point to the humble Caprese salad, which Gitto takes pains to present in season with homegrown tomatoes.听

  • Charlie Gitto’s
    • 5226 Shaw Avenue
    • 314-772-8898;
    • Dinner daily
    • $$$-$$$$ 
  • Charlie Gitto’s, Hollywood Casino
    • 777 Casino Center, Maryland Heights
    • 314-770-7663;
    • Dinner Wednesday-Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
    • $$$-$$$$ 

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The Rest of the Best

Listed alphabetically

1929 Pizza & Wine

A pizza cooks in the oven Sept. 20, 2023, at 1929 Pizza & Wine in Wood River.

1929 Pizza & Wine听馃啎

ContemporaryItalianPizza

You know St. Louis-style pizza, of course. Amy and Matt Herren want to introduce you to Wood River-style pies. The couple tend a wood-fired oven at 1929 Pizza & Wine, which they opened in late 2022 in downtown Wood River, but their pizza isn鈥檛 Neapolitan. The naturally leavened crust is wholly their own, blistered from the hearth, with a lovely chew and a firm structure. It supports both ideal versions of pizza combinations you expect (sausage and peppers) and new creations that vanquish any skepticism (the Greens, with wilted kale and walnut pesto). 1929 Pizza & Wine creates its own microclimate beyond its signature dish, with produce the Herrens grow themselves, like the green beans that distinguished an end-of-harvest bruschetta last year.听

  • 7 North Wood River Avenue, Wood River
  • 618-216-2258;
  • Dinner Thursday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Wednesday)
  • $$ 

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Acero

The spaghetti alla chitarra at Acero听

Acero听

Italian

This year鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 features the long overdue first appearance of the classic Charlie Gitto鈥檚 and the debut of Madrina, which seeks to remake that classic style for the modern moment. It鈥檚 difficult for an Italian restaurant to stand out in St. Louis 鈥 which makes Acero all the more remarkable. Jim Fiala鈥檚 Maplewood restaurant has made every edition of the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 since the original list in 2015, and it remains unparalleled for its take on traditional dishes like crudo, pasta all鈥 Amatriciana and gnocco fritto (the fabled 鈥渕eat doughnuts鈥 of fried dough layered with prosciutto di Parma) and, of course, for its signature egg raviolo. Fiala and his team prepare Acero鈥檚 main dishes with the same rigor of prime ingredients thoughtfully composed that you find at his even higher-end the Crossing, and Acero鈥檚 $58 four-course prix-fixe dinner is, as ever, an irresistible deal.听

  • 7266 Manchester Road, Maplewood
  • 314-644-1790;
  • Dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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Jack Nolen's review

A double cheeseburger and fries topped with Style sauce at Jack Nolen's in Soulard听

AJ鈥檚 Smashed and Smoked, Jack Nolen鈥檚听馃啎听

BurgersSandwiches

Jim Grindstaff opened the Soulard smash-burger joint Jack Nolen鈥檚 only a few months before COVID arrived. He has emerged on the far side of the pandemic with a restaurant strong enough to support a second location in Belleville 鈥 a second location with a special tempting enough to draw Jack Nolen鈥檚 regulars to the Metro East. At both Jack Nolen鈥檚 and AJ鈥檚 Smashed and Smoked, the star is the smash burger: juicy griddled patties delicious as a cheeseburger, a patty melt or the Firecracker, with pepper jack cheese, spicy ranch dressing and a jalape帽o relish. Grindstaff also serves a standout specimen from another crowded field, the fried chicken sandwich, and loaded fries crisp enough to stand up to a Busch beer-cheese sauce, bacon and grilled onions. At AJ鈥檚, he also features a Saturday special of Texas-style barbecue, including peppery, tender brisket worth seeking out on its own.听

  • AJ's Smashed and Smoked
    • 6980 West Main Street, Belleville
    • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
  • Jack Nolen’s
    • 2501 South Ninth Street
    • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closes at 5 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday)

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Annie Gunn's

Grilled Marcho Farms lamb loin chops with mushroom chutney and potato gratin at Annie Gunn's

Annie Gunn鈥檚, the Smokehouse Market听

ContemporarySandwichesSteakhouse

I have spent so much of Annie Gunn鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 presence over the years celebrating chef Lou Rook III鈥檚 cooking 鈥 understandably, given his skill with burgers and wings, steaks and sweetbreads 鈥攖hat I have neglected the other half of the Sehnert family鈥檚 Chesterfield landmark, the Smokehouse Market. Yes, this is a small, upscale grocery store, which isn鈥檛 this list鈥檚 typical concern, but with the same culinary acumen as the restaurant next-door, it is also one of St. Louis鈥 best sandwich shops. That sandwich selection would take several uninterrupted months鈥 worth of lunches to research. The French dip sandwich, juicy enough even before you plunk it in the accompanying, deeply savory jus, is a good place to start. Meanwhile, Annie Gunn鈥檚 is looking to the future with its striking new event-space addition, the F谩ilte Room.听

Annie Gunn鈥檚

  • 16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield
  • 636-532-7684;
  • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

The Smokehouse Market

  • 16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield
  • 636-532-3314;
  • 9-a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday) 

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Asador Del Sur

Patacones rellenos, plantain patties topped with shrimp, at Asador del Sur in Maplewood

Asador del Sur

BrunchEcuadoranSeafoodSteakhouseUruguayan

Asador del Sur isn鈥檛 a conventional steakhouse, which is good news for conventional steakhouses in St. Louis. This nearly 4-year-old Maplewood restaurant grills a more succulent, tastier rib-eye than many stuffier restaurants, and here you can pair your steak with verdant, garlicky chimichurri. Maria Giamportone and Daniel Gonzalez鈥檚 restaurant looks to the cuisines of the married couple鈥檚 native Ecuador and Uruguay, respectively. The grill chars sweetbreads, lamb-lemongrass sausages and Uruguayan tira de asado (skinny beef short ribs) as well as rib-eyes, and the seafood selection is as appealing as the steaks. Grilled langostinos might be the seafood specialty, but don鈥檛 overlook the shrimp patacones, an appetizer that serves the tender shrimp and exceptionally fiery chiles on twice-fried plantains.

  • 7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood
  • 314-802-8587;
  • Dinner daily, lunch Wednesday-Friday, brunch Saturday-Sunday (closed Tuesday)
  • $$$-$$$$

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Abound with bagels

Maizel McPhee, 2, of Richmond Heights peers into the bagel case at Bagel Union in Webster Groves.听

Bagel Union听馃啎

Bakeries & dessertsSandwiches

Sean Netzer and Ted Wilson, owners of 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 mainstay Union Loafers, began planning their Webster Groves bagel shop before the pandemic, so the January 2023 opening of Bagel Union would have been highly anticipated even if it hadn鈥檛 also kicked off St. Louis鈥 Year of the Bagel. As you would expect from Union Loafers鈥 wizards of dough, Bagel Union bakes and boils an excellent bagel, glossy and chewy, delicious with or without a schmear of cream cheese. Those bagels also cradle sandwiches as appealing as any at Union Loafers, including dueling salmon creations: the luscious lox of the DeLox and the chili crisp-charged kippered salmon of the Iggy. Bagel Union鈥檚 from-day-one success might not be surprising, but in St. Louis鈥 bagel desert, it has been more than welcome.听

  • 8705 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves
  • 314-320-7556;
  • 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
  • $

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Review: The Bellewether

Pork steak with compressed red cabbage, German potato salad and Carolina mustard barbecue sauce at the Bellwether

The Bellwether听

ContemporaryBrunch

I feel fortunate if I encounter a worthwhile new take on a familiar dish once every couple of months. On a recent visit to the Bellwether, chef Daniel Sammons managed it twice in one dinner. He dared to highlight both the brightness and the essential beefiness of beef tartare, an appetizer, dressing it with a sharp mustard aioli and a spoon-coating, umami-laden black garlic molasses. For an entr茅e, he boldly doubled down on the buttery richness of seared diver scallops by pairing them with crisp chunks of pork belly trembling with fat on a bed of Champagne-splashed risotto. The Bellwether鈥檚 owners are adding the caf茅 Well Met in Shaw to their formidable portfolio (Polite Society and two Food Hall at City Foundry restaurants, Sub Division Sandwich Co. and Intergalactic), but this sleek restaurant in the former City Hospital power plant stands above them all.听

  • 1419 Carroll Street
  • 314-380-3086;
  • Dinner Tuesday-Saturday, brunch Saturday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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The Biscuit Joint stacks up in Midtown

The OG breakfast sandwich at the Biscuit Joint

The Biscuit Joint听馃啎

BreakfastBrunchSandwiches

Elliott Brown has packed a wealth of experience into the Biscuit Joint鈥檚 small Downtown West storefront. He has cooked at some of St. Louis鈥 best restaurants, and he has baked bread and butchered meat as well as worked the kitchen line. Brown鈥檚 experience pays off in golden-brown, buttery biscuits delicious by themselves and outstanding when smothered in gravy or sandwiching sausage and eggs. Even without Brown鈥檚 resume at hand, you know a chef who understands high-end sauces made the Biscuit Joint鈥檚 gravies: silky, fragrant with herbs (the classic sausage), strikingly spiced (roasted chicken with paprika oil) and delicious without meat (mushroom-sage). For the obligatory fried chicken biscuit sandwich, Brown pays tribute to the chicken patties of his youth with a skinny, but juicy piece of chicken sausage. As tasty as the Biscuit Joint鈥檚 biscuits are, save some room for its cinnamon roll.听

  • 2649 Washington Avenue
  • 314-769-9434;
  • 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (Monday)

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Bistro La Floraison in Clayton

Steak tartare with steamed egg yolk, crispy shallots, smoked bone marrow vinaigrette, salt and vinegar potato chips at Bistro La Floraison

Bistro La Floraison听

BrunchFrench

St. Louis, name and history notwithstanding, doesn鈥檛 offer many choices for classic French fare. Take Root Hospitality, the team behind all-world Vicia, could have played it safe with Bistro La Floraison, its successor in spirit to the late, beloved Bar Les Fr猫res and part of the Murderers鈥 Row on Wydown Boulevard in Clayton with fellow 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 honorees Akar, Bar Moro and Wright鈥檚 Tavern. Instead 鈥 unsurprisingly if you know Take Root鈥檚 work over the years 鈥 within its romantic nook, Bistro La Floraison dares to push听 beloved dishes further. A steamed egg yolk renders beef tartare even more luscious atop housemade salt-and-vinegar potato chips, while chicken cordon bleu goes big, delivering all the crunchy, juicy pleasure of a whole fried chicken breast with the added thrill of its bacon-Gruy猫re filling and a classy, meaty side of oyster mushrooms.听

  • 7637 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton
  • 314-725-8880;
  • Dinner Wednesday-Saturday, brunch Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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Black Salt chicken biryani

Chicken biryani, with sides of raita and naan, at Black Salt in Chesterfield

Black Salt听馃啎

Indian

I can hardly keep up with the flourishing Indian-restaurant scene in Chesterfield, but I don鈥檛 doubt that 2023 debut Black Salt is a standout among standouts. Co-owner Raj Pandey and chef Madan Chhetri have cultivated an elegant, though unstuffy ambience in their relatively compact shopping-plaza storefront. Chhetri delivers brilliant flavors and nuanced spicing across dishes from India鈥檚 many regions. He tweaks heat not simply for the sweaty capsaicin rush 鈥 though he can do that, too, if you order anything on the hot end of Black Salt鈥檚 scale 鈥 but for effects as intrinsic to each plate as the main ingredients: the dusky backbeat of rogan josh or the electric ripple through the coconut creaminess of the Andhra sea bass. So many details distinguish Black Salt that you could easily miss one of its signature dishes, an invigorating glass of fresh lime soda.听

  • 1709 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield
  • 636-204-6441;
  • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$-$$$ 

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Ian Froeb's 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100: Blues City Deli

Mike's Spicy Beef N' Cheddar at Blues City Deli

Blues City Deli听

Sandwiches

Blues City Deli turns 20 this year, and the line to order at Vinnie Valenza鈥檚 Benon Park sandwich shop is still likely to snake out the door and down the block. Valenza told me in an interview this January that the anniversary feels like 鈥渁 dream state at times.鈥 Blues City was a hit more or less from the get-go, and Valenza took the restaurant to another level when it began smoking its own pastrami and roasting its own beef. Blues City would be a St. Louis institution if it served only its roast beef and Italian beef sandwiches and variations like the Creole Deluxe (with roast pork, pepperoncini and Creole mayonnaise). If you have come to take Blues City Deli鈥檚 greatness for granted鈥 like, say, a certain restaurant critic when assembling last year鈥檚 list 鈥 this anniversary is the perfect occasion to become reacquainted.听

  • 2438 McNair Avenue
  • 314-773-8225;
  • 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

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Bolyard's Meat & Provisions opens new location

A pulled beef sandwich and potato salad at Bolyard's Meat & Provisions听

Bolyard鈥檚 Meat & Provisions听

BrunchBurgersSandwiches

To appreciate the commitment to using the whole animal at Bolyard鈥檚 Meat & Provisions, you need to study its retail selection. Recently, I asked if a cut of beef Bolyard鈥檚 advertised online was a cut I rarely see in the area, rose meat. It was an even more obscure cut I didn鈥檛 even know, toro. The 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 focuses on restaurants, not butcher shops, but Bolyard鈥檚 menu also showcases its passion 鈥 and not simply because they grind beef for some of St. Louis鈥 best smash burgers. Beef broth is a nourishing drink seasoned with lemongrass, ginger and makrut lime. Tallow is the secret to the extraordinary fries, and the shatteringly crisp pork rinds may make you forget about those fries. The sandwiches showcase owner Chris Bolyard鈥檚 background as a top-notch chef. Even humble fried bologna gets a glow-up courtesy of chow chow, pimento cheese and hot sauce aioli.听

  • 2733 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood
  • 314-647-2567;
  • 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $

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Bowood by Niche

Brioche avocado toast at Bowood by Niche

Bowood by Niche听

BreakfastBrunchContemporary

The food and vibes at Bowood by Niche are so irresistible that even after the end of its excellent dinner program, its return to the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 was a slam dunk. Since its fall 2021 debut, this Niche Food Group restaurant has steadily expanded the canon of great St. Louis breakfast and lunch dishes both savory and sweet: cacio e pepe scrambled eggs, eggs benedict with prosciutto, a stack of blueberry pancakes as daunting to tackle as Mount Everest, a burger to rival the patties at its sibling Brasserie by Niche. More recently, Bowood by Niche has joined the area鈥檚 pastrami renaissance with its Reuben sandwich and has found the groove between savory and sweet in a fluffy waffle subtly tangy with Vermont cheddar cheese.听听

  • 4605 Olive Street
  • 314-454-6868;
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. daily
  • $$ 

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Brasserie

Roasted chicken with shiitake mushrooms and chicken jus at Brasserie by Niche

Brasserie by Niche听

BrunchFrench

I could list any number of reasons to celebrate Brasserie by Niche, not least the Central West End restaurant鈥檚 15 years of consistent excellence at cassoulet, onion soup and other beloved French dishes. This year, though, I must focus on the Brass Burger, a dish with enough swagger to launch the spinoff concept Brasswell at Rockwell Beer Co. in Botanical Heights 鈥 and to have made news twice this year already, first when Brasswell left Rockwell, then when Brasswell announced a pop-up at the Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. Biergarten in Grand Center. It鈥檚 a mighty burger: two patties, skinny but not smashed to oblivion, gilded with the high-low combo of Dijonnaise and American cheese, garnished with onion and pickles. If the Brass Burger looks like nothing you would find in Paris, it is further proof that Brasserie, for all its classic touches, is still uniquely St. Louis.听

  • 4580 Laclede Avenue
  • 314-454-0600;
  • Dinner daily, brunch Sunday
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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Restaurant Review of Cate Zone Chinese Cafe in University City

Sweet-and-sour pork at Cate Zone Chinese Cafe

Cate Zone Chinese Cafe, Cate Zone Chinese Cuisine听

Chinese

The debut of Cate Zone Chinese Cafe was a key moment in last decade鈥檚 blossoming of regional Chinese restaurants in St. Louis. Within its small University City storefront, Cate Zone focused on the fare of China鈥檚 far north, most of its dishes previously unavailable in the area. Not all of those regional Chinese restaurants have survived 鈥 RIP, Bing Bing, Famous Szechuan Pavilion and Private Kitchen 鈥 but Cate Zone has continued to pack its original home, and earlier this year it expanded to Chesterfield. The new Cate Zone Chinese Cuisine features a significantly bigger dining room. The menu follows the original, which has expanded over the years to include Sichuan and other regions. Choosing one dish is difficult at a restaurant that handles cumin lamb and Chengdu spicy chicken with such aplomb, but newcomers should start with the light, crisp sweet-and-sour pork, Cate Zone鈥檚 signature from the beginning.听

  • Cate Zone Chinese Cafe
    • 8148 Olive Boulevard, University City
    • 314-738-9923
    • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
    • $-$$听
  • Cate Zone Chinese Cuisine
    • 24 Four Seasons Shopping Center, Chesterfield
    • 314-392-9624
    • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
    • $-$$听

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Chao Baan restaurant in the Grove

Gaeng som at Chao Baan

Chao Baan听

Thai

The Prapaisilp family has relocated their beloved original Thai restaurant from Tower Grove South to Richmond Heights, streamlining its look and feel in the process. Meanwhile, Chao Baan, which they opened in 2019 in the Grove, has become an even more interesting and appealing restaurant. The debut menu brought together dishes from founders Sue and Suchin Prapsaisilp鈥檚 respective homes in the northeast and south of Thailand, like khao tod nam sod (a smashed rice cake with pork sausage) and kua kling (stir-fried ground beef with lemongrass and makrut lime). Those dishes remain available at Chao Baan, but the menu has expanded to include red and green curries, the Four Kings of Thailand and other King & I classics. On a recent visit, I tried Chao Baan鈥檚 version of khao soi, the Chiang Mai specialty of noodles in a curry broth, for the first time 鈥 and found another reason to return.听

  • 4087 Chouteau Avenue
  • 314-925-8250;
  • Dinner daily (closed Tuesday)
  • $$ 

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Jerk chicken, Chez Ali

Jerk chicken at Chez Ali

Chez Ali听

Afro-CaribbeanCaribbeanIvorianSenegalese

If I ranked the 10 best individual dishes over the Food Hall at City Foundry鈥檚 first two and a half years, there is a good chance Alioun 鈥淎li鈥 Thiam鈥檚 West African and Afro-Caribbean restaurant would land four of the spots. Ask me to rank the top 5, and Chez Ali still probably scores two or three. Which of Thiam鈥檚 dishes would I place highest, though? I could argue for either the fork-tender (practically spoon-tender) oxtails or the smoky, peppery jerk chicken. Let鈥檚 give it to the oxtails, if barely, because your side of rice and beans is perfect for sopping up all of that braising gravy. Chicken curry and Senegalese yassa chicken round out the restaurant鈥檚 must-orders, and Chez Ali鈥檚 cafeteria-style set-up means that whichever you choose, you won鈥檛 need to wait long to devour it.听

  • Food Hall at City Foundry, 3730 Foundry Way
  • Lunch and dinner daily
  • $-$$ 

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Chiang Mai serves up traditional, regional Thai food

Khao soi with chicken at Chiang Mai听

Chiang Mai

Thai

This Webster Groves restaurant continues to set the standard for Thai cuisine in the metro area. Dishes from Chiang Mai鈥檚 eponymous city and Thailand鈥檚 north are the go-to orders here: hung lay curry with pork, sai oua (grilled sausage) and khao soi, egg noodles in a coconut-curry broth with chicken. The kitchen lets you set your own heat level on a five-point scale, though you should err on the side of your personal limit, especially when ordering the brightly flavored larb. Since opening in 2020, Chiang Mai has expanded its menu beyond Thailand鈥檚 north to include curries red, green and yellow, among other familiar dishes, but first-time visitors should begin with the signature oven-roasted pork ribs with honey and garlic (gra dook moo).

  • 8158 Big Bend Boulevard, Webster Groves
  • 314-961-8889;
  • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
  • $$

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Chicken Scratch restaurant

Whole chickens turn on the rotisserie听at Chicken Scratch at the City Foundry Food Hall

Chicken Scratch听

Rotisserie ChickenSandwichesWings

Chicken Scratch already touts top-notch rotisserie chicken and fried chicken sandwiches (spicy or not) at its original Food Hall at City Foundry location and its Glendale brick-and-mortar location. Do owners Nate and Christine Hereford really need to muscle into the wing game, too? They do indeed 鈥 to our benefit. Thanks to Chicken Scratch鈥檚 signature dry rub, the wings are just as flavorful as those rotisserie birds, and the exterior might be even crisper. (You can also order them trashed in barbecue sauce or with both the house Scratch and hot sauces.) Fans of Chicken Scratch鈥檚 rotisserie chicken have been practicing for these wings since the beginning, grabbing every last bit of meat from the bone with fingers and teeth.听

  • Food Hall at City Foundry, 3730 Foundry Way; Lunch and dinner daily
  • 9900 Manchester Road, Glendale; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday-Sunday (closed Tuesday-Wednesday)
  • $-$$ 

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ChiliSpot

Chongqing-style fried chicken at ChiliSpot

ChiliSpot听

Chinese

ChiliSpot鈥檚 name notwithstanding, not every dish at this Sichuan-focused Chinese restaurant is spicy, and not every spicy dish is incendiary. The Chongqing chicken delivers a truly fearsome number of dusky red chiles with its crisp bites of fried chicken, but the dish is as much about the chiles' fragrance as the heat they impart. And while your brow will dampen, your lips and mouth will also tingle with Sichuan peppercorns 鈥 the traditional mala effect revered in this cuisine. Pair this with a simple cucumber salad to see how heat can transform a dish through brightness rather than mere punch. Another of ChiliSpot鈥檚 signature dishes, fried tofu, will impress you with its crunchy-creamy texture and the deep savoriness of its sauce, without even a whisper of heat. ChiliSpot isn鈥檛 the best Chinese restaurant in the metro area because of its heat; it鈥檚 the best because, hot or not, it doesn鈥檛 compromise.听听

  • 7930 Olive Boulevard, University City
  • 314-925-8711;
  • Lunch and dinner daily (closed Wednesday)
  • $$ 

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Clara B's Kitchen Table in Belleville

An open-faced Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich featuring house smoked turkey, bacon, fried green tomato, and cheese sauce on sourdough bread

Clara B鈥檚 Kitchen Table听

BreakfastBrunchCajun/CreoleFood TruckSandwichesSouthern

The third consecutive 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 appearance for Clara B鈥檚 Kitchen Table finds chef Jodie Ferguson finally cooking inside her restaurant鈥檚 brick-and-mortar location at LongStory Coffee in Belleville. When I visited last year, Ferguson had moved to LongStory, but was still operating from Clara B鈥檚 original food truck. Not that location has ever mattered for her singular blend of influences from Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere in the South. I once tracked down her truck in the parking lot of a marijuana dispensary and would do so again for her signature breakfast burrito or shrimp and grits. The permanent kitchen does allow Ferguson to expand her menu, and this year I found a stunning riff on the Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, perfect in its expected ingredients of tender, smoky turkey and silky cheese sauce, brilliant in her addition of crunchy, tart fried green tomatoes.听

  • 732 South Illinois Street, Belleville
  • 618-416-1812;
  • 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (closed Tuesday)

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Clementine's

Three scoops of Clementine's ice scream, Buttermilk Black Berry, Kick Ass Chocolate and Gooey Butter Cake

Clementine鈥檚 Naughty & Nice Creamery听

Bakeries & desserts

The return of one of my favorite flavors at Clementine鈥檚 Naughty & Nice Creamery鈥攕trawberry subtly accented by balsamic vinegar and white pepper鈥攊s an occasion to celebrate the return of Tamara Keefe鈥檚 ice cream parlor to the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100. So is a less subtle, but no less delicious strawberry ice cream tricked out with bits of gooey butter cake. So too is Clementine鈥檚 new Central West End location, a lovely, spacious dining room to sit and enjoy ice cream decadent with butterfat in an ever-changing array of flavors: the swanky duo of brown sugar and butter pecan in Grandma Marie鈥檚 Butter Brickle or the sophistication (and cookie bits) in the Italian Butter Cookie. In recent years, Keefe has also gained attention for her vegan ice cream. Don鈥檛 take my word for it. Comedian and practicing vegan Marc Maron has shouted out Clementine鈥檚 vegan offerings on his influential 鈥淲TF鈥 podcast.听

  • Multiple area locations, including 308 North Euclid Avenue
  • 314-858-6100;
  • All locations open daily 

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Cleveland-Heath

Jerk chicken with cilantro-coconut rice, black beans and passion fruit boba at Cleveland-Heath听

Cleveland-Heath听

BrunchContemporary

Evan and Gina Buchholz, the married duo that took over Cleveland-Heath in 2022, have put their own stamp on the downtown Edwardsville fixture 鈥 including a retro-groovy new logo 鈥 without sacrificing any of the restaurant鈥檚 charm. Here you will still find dishes that have been Cleveland-Heath highlights since the eponymous Ed Heath and Jenny Cleveland founded the restaurant in 2011, like the pork chop with jalape帽o cornbread and the cherry pie for dessert. Evan Buchholz cooked here before he and his wife took over, so he knows what works. But he isn鈥檛 afraid to play with the menu, whether using, say, boba as an accent to a dish, as I discovered last year, or more subtly tweaking the smash burger with an intensely savory black-garlic aioli. Cleveland-Heath is one of a vanishing breed, a neighborhood restaurant that is also destination dining.听

  • 106 North Main Street, Edwardsville
  • 618-307-4830;
  • Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, brunch Saturday (closed Sunday)
  • $$-$$$ 

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Review: Curry Club

A cook prepares a dosa on the grill at the Curry Club听

The Curry Club听

Indian

Five-year-old the Curry Club anticipated the boom in destination Indian dining in Chesterfield, and while newer restaurants might boast more expansive menus or more elegant settings 鈥 or both 鈥 no one has yet to match the Curry Club鈥檚 combination of convenience and quality. The restaurant鈥檚 small cafeteria-style counter compels frequent visits for the rotating selection of curries and other dishes and the lunch combination that gives you two of those curries with rice and naan. Made-to-order dosas are also available, and Curry Club regulars know to look out for special versions of the restaurant鈥檚 biryani and pulao as well as weekend breakfast. The Curry Club also anticipated the expanded availability of dishes from the south of India; the heat level and the spicing in general is uncompromising.听

  • 1635 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield
  • 636-778-7777;
  • Lunch and dinner daily, breakfast Saturday-Sunday

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DD Mau in Webster Groves

A vermicelli bowl with steak at DD Mau听Vietnamese Eatery in Webster Groves听

DD Mau Vietnamese Eatery

Vietnamese

For the second time in my 18 years covering St. Louis restaurants, my search for the area鈥檚 best chicken wings has brought me to a Vietnamese restaurant. Years ago, it was a small Tower Grove South spot, since shuttered, called Linh Mi Gia. Today, it is DD Mau Vietnamese Eatery, the fast-casual restaurant chef and owner Julie Truong founded in Maryland Heights and later expanded to Webster Groves. At both locations, you can find the crackling-crunchy, exceptionally juicy Thai chile pepper wings, which don鈥檛 hold back on the chile punch. These are a 鈥渟nack鈥 on DD Mau鈥檚 menu, so feel free to order them alongside soup (beef pho or the sensational vegan lemongrass broth), banh mi or vermicelli bowl. Those main courses would earn DD Mau a spot on the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 even if those wings disappeared tomorrow. (Please don鈥檛.) While 鈥渇ast-casual,鈥 the food here is vibrant and fresh 鈥 serious cooking.

  • 20 Allen Avenue, Suite 120, Webster Groves; 314-926-0900
  • 11982 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights; 314-942-2300
  • Lunch and dinner daily
  • $

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Dressels

The Porchetta Louie sandwich with fries at Dressel's Public House听

Dressel鈥檚 Public House听馃啎

Pub Fare

After a three-year pandemic hiatus, Dressel鈥檚 Public House emerged from its chrysalis in 2023 as a thoroughly refreshed version of the pub that has been a Central West End institution since 1980. Owner Ben Dressel, son of founder Jon, has added a small brewhouse to Dressel鈥檚 basement, among other structural and cosmetic changes, and he has returned the menu to its roots, albeit with a contemporary gloss. The fish in the fish in chips is sustainable haddock in a crunchy beer-batter jacket, and the burger is now a double-patty riff on the Big Mac. No updates are required for the signature rarebit with potato chips or an oversized pretzel, nor for the Porchetta Louie鈥檚 brilliant St. Louis take on Philadelphia鈥檚 roast pork sandwich.听听

  • 419 North Euclid Avenue
  • 314-361-1060;
  • Dinner Tuesday-Sunday, lunch Friday-Sunday (closes at 6 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday)
  • $$ 

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El Toluco Taqueria & Grocery

Torta carnitas at El Toluco Taqueria & Grocery

El Toluco Taqueria & Grocery听

Mexican

You won鈥檛 find birria tacos at El Toluco Taqueria & Grocery. This is a relief, frankly. I love birria, but the dish has soaked up so much oxygen at taquerias and Mexican restaurants more broadly over the past few years that you sometimes need the reminder that there is a vast universe of other tacos out there. You can find many of them under the roof of Maggie and Fausto Pizarro鈥檚 small restaurant and grocery store, where seven years after I first reviewed it, I know better than to ask the secret behind the exceptional al pastor pork with pineapples. (You can guess there is probably citrus, vinegar and a generous dose of garlic in the recipe, though.) The al pastor might not even be the best taco here if the tender lamb barbacoa is available, and El Toluco is as deservedly renowned for its monster tortas as for its tacos.听

  • 14234 Manchester Road, Manchester
  • 636-686-5444;
  • 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (restaurant closed Sunday-Monday, store hours vary)

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Special request : Ozark Forest Roasted Mushroom Salad at Farmhaus

Ozark Forest Roasted Mushroom Salad at Farmhaus

Farmhaus

Contemporary

Farmhaus returns to the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 after its departure from the list last year. When I returned to Kevin Willmann鈥檚 Lindenwood Park restaurant during my research for the 2024 edition, I found an energy and precision to the cooking that harkened back to Farmhaus鈥 early days 鈥 qualities that had been only intermittent in more recent years. The restaurant鈥檚 format hasn鈥檛 changed, with often-changing a-la-carte and chef鈥檚 tasting menus from Willmann and his top lieutenant, Dillon Witte. The tasting menu when I ordered it in February moved with confidence from a firecracker amuse bouche of grapefruit and lardo to a palate-tickling citrus tarte for dessert. Along the way, Willmann paired his signature ingredient, Florida red snapper, with one of his signature dishes, spoonbread, in a silken serrano anglaise sauce. The bold duo of a soubise and a black-truffle bordelaise further enriched flatiron steak (and Ozark French horn mushrooms that were nearly as meaty). I was thrilled with my entire meal 鈥 and happy to be back in the restaurant of one of St. Louis鈥 most acclaimed chefs of the past 20 years.

  • 3257 Ivanhoe Avenue
  • 314-647-3800;
  • Dinner Wednesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Tuesday)
  • $$$-$$$$

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Fattened Caf

The Kamayan Box from the Fattened Caf

The Fattened Caf

BarbecueBrunchFilipino

If you pay attention to barbecue, you pay attention to Texas, which has emerged as the dominant style of the 21st century鈥檚 smoked-meat obsession. Central Texas-style brisket is still that state鈥檚 most famous dish, but in recent years, you are just as likely to meet 鈥榗ue aficionados raving about barbecue influenced by the pitmaster鈥檚 Ethiopian or Vietnamese heritage. While the conventional barbecue boom in St. Louis has petered out 鈥 in no small part due to conformity 鈥 Fattened Caf owners Charlene and Darren Young have dared to introduce a wholly new approach to smoking meat, fusing traditional American barbecue with Charlene鈥檚 Filipino background. The restaurant鈥檚 Pinoy Pork Steak is one of the few truly new takes on specifically St. Louis barbecue I鈥檝e encountered, and the Fattened Caf is the unquestioned champion of smoked sausage thanks to its longanisa, both spicy and subtly sweet, like all great barbecue should be.

  • Earthbound Beer, 2724 Cherokee Street
  • Dinner Thursday-Saturday, brunch and lunch Saturday
  • $

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Fire Chicken

Chicken gangjeong at Fire Chicken听

Fire Chicken听

Korean

Overland is the epicenter of must-visit takeout-only Korean dining. Yes, the category is niche, but it鈥檚 no less essential for that. Unlike Sides of Seoul, its fellow to-go 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 honoree a quarter of a mile east on Page Avenue, Fire Chicken is a destination for one dish, the spicy chicken gangjeong that inspired the restaurant鈥檚 name. Owners Michelle and Sungmin Baik do offer variety, though. The heat level of the chicken gangjeong鈥檚 sauce ranges from Fire to Red to no-fooling Buldak (the most recent time I ordered this, Michelle made sure that was really what I wanted), and there is a mild teriyaki version, to boot, as well as a shrimp version of gangjeong and a few other dishes. The chicken remains crisp within that sauce, but you can hardly resist opening your takeout as soon as you exit Fire Chicken鈥檚 small building.听听

  • 10200 Page Avenue, Overland
  • 314-551-2123;
  • Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

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Fleur 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 offers scratch made food in old Eat-Rite building

A double cheeseburger with house-cut fries at Fleur 老澳门六合彩开奖结果听

Fleur 老澳门六合彩开奖结果听

BreakfastBrunchBurgersDiner

A year and a half after replacing the famed, occasionally infamous Eat-Rite Diner, Fleur 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 has made this tiny building just south of downtown its own. Chef and owner Tim Eagan Jr. moves deftly in the galley kitchen, which affords him just enough room to turn 360 degrees where he stands. He flips patties for Fleur鈥檚 burger, holds those cheese-slicked patties at temperature while he toasts the bun halves, then puts everything together and 鈥 Fleur鈥檚 signature move 鈥 sticks a steak knife through the center of the stack. At some point, Eagan also manages to cook and season your side of fries and prepare another diner鈥檚 seasonal eggs benedict with crab cakes. Eagan and his small staff seem to know half of the dining room by name, and once you鈥檝e sampled the compact menu, you鈥檒l want to be a regular, too.听

  • 622 Chouteau Avenue
  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday-Sunday (closed Monday-Wednesday)
  • $-$$ 

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Fordo's Killer Pizza

Supreme pizza at Fordo's Killer Pizza

Fordo鈥檚 Killer Pizza听

Pizza

The grilled cheese & tomato pizza, a special at Fordo鈥檚 Killer Pizza at the beginning of the year, wasn鈥檛 the most visually striking creation from this Food Hall at City Foundry restaurant 鈥 which makes the pie鈥檚 wizardry all the more impressive. Put it another way: How often is the sauce the most exciting part of a pizza? Executive chef Joe Luckey began with a spicy tomato bisque as its base, and this replicated the velvety creaminess of a great tomato soup without turning the wood-fired pizza itself soupy. The sauce stood out even under its gooey blanket of American, Parmesan and fontina cheeses and its accents of garlic, basil and 鈥 the unexpected, but brilliant finishing touch 鈥 brown butter. Luckey is yet another example of one of the hallmarks of Gerard Craft鈥檚 Niche Food Group, placing talented young chefs in positions to thrive.听

  • Food Hall at City Foundry, 3730 Foundry Way
  • Lunch and dinner daily
  • $$ 

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100 Best Restaurants: Gioia's on The Hill

The hot salami sandwich from Gioia's

Gioia鈥檚 Deli听

Sandwiches

Once again this year, the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 welcomes a new location for Gioia鈥檚 Deli. In May 2023, Gioia鈥檚 opened a storefront near the bustling Highway 141-Interstate 44 interchange in Valley Park, which joins the venerable Hill original, the Creve Coeur outpost and the Maryland Heights walkup window. The signature hot salami is just as meaty or tender in Valley Park, just as likely to meld with your sandwich鈥檚 garlic-cheese bread into the ultimate pork-carb hybrid. Owners Alex and Amanda Donley have expanded Gioia鈥檚 aggressively (don鈥檛 forget the pandemic-launched line of frozen pizzas) but have focused on delivering a consistent product and experience. This makes for even smarter business than you might think, given the trends in diner preferences for value, convenience and familiar names.听

  • 1934 Macklind Avenue; 314-776-9410; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
  • 623 North New Ballas Road, Creve Coeur ; 14-776-9410; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
  • 11855 Adie Road, Maryland Heights; 314-776-9410; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday (closed Saturday-Sunday)
  • 922 Meramec Station Road, Valley Park; 314-776-9410; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
  •  

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Golden Chicken in St. Peters

Kebab plates at Golden Chicken

Golden Chicken, Mazaj Mediterranean听

MediterraneanMiddle EasternPalestinianRotisserie Chicken

Three years after Amjed Abdeljabbar and his uncle Mahmoud Abualizz opened now three-time 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 honoree Golden Chicken in St. Peters, they have brought their spit-roasted magic to the Food Hall at City Foundry with Mazaj Mediterranean. Chicken shawarma takes the starring role at the duo鈥檚 new venture, where a generous portion of juicy, golden-brown meat is wrapped with crisp pickles and garlic sauce. The kebabs 鈥 chicken, beef and kefta (lamb and beef) 鈥 will tempt you from the vertical shawarma spit.听The mixed grill featuring all three styles is a solid value. Not every dish has taken the journey from St. Peters, though. You still must visit Golden Chicken for beef shawarma and, especially gorgeous, citrus-kissed rotisserie chicken, the dish that put the restaurant on the map.听

  • Golden Chicken
    • 632 Jungermann Road, St. Peters
    • 636-244-3031; goldenchickenstpeters.co
    • Lunch and dinner daily (closed Thursday)
    • $-$$ 
  • Mazaj Mediterranean
    • the Food Hall at City Foundry, 3730 Foundry Way
    • Lunch and dinner daily
    • $-$$ 

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Fried bologna sandwich from Grace Meat + Three

A fried bologna sandwich from Grace Meat + Three

Grace Meat + Three

BrunchFried ChickenSandwichesSouthern

By now, you know what to expect from Rick Lewis鈥 Grace Meat + Three 鈥 which is more than enough when one restaurant can claim top-notch fried chicken (spicy or not, by itself or in a sandwich), fried catfish and fried bologna. You can also add the smash burger and, when it鈥檚 available on the weekend brunch menu, the Egg Rick Muffin breakfast sandwich to that honor roll. This year, though, as a longtime supporter of the Grove restaurant and even longer-time supporter of Lewis as a chef, I finally learned how best to appreciate Grace. Supplement your existing favorites with the monthly specials, where Lewis and his team stretch their talents. This September, they reminded me of Grace鈥檚 barbecue prowess with a smoked version of an Italian beef sandwich, and they whipped up an apple-butter milkshake so perfectly pitched for fall and winter, it could have stayed on the menu for months.

  • 4270 Manchester Avenue
  • 314-533-2700;
  • Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday, brunch Saturday-Sunday
  • $-$$

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The Gramophone

The When Pigs Fly at the Gramophone听

The Gramophone

Sandwiches

I have found a new reason to love the Gramophone. New for me, that is. In last year鈥檚 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100, I mentioned that being a dad with young kids, I could only imagine what the Grove sandwich shop and bar鈥檚 night business is like. This summer, able to escape from the house for an actual concert and desperate for dinner after 11 p.m. 鈥 always a challenge in St. Louis 鈥 I ordered dinner from the Gramophone online, drove back to the city from far out in the 鈥榖urbs, and was eating a terrific sandwich by midnight or thereabouts. The Gramophone offers any number of specific sandwiches to highlight, from cold cuts to cold-smoked salmon to house-roasted meats, from chicken Parm (the Chicka Chicka Parm Parm) to pulled pork (When Pigs Fly), but an underappreciated, unsexy aspect of the restaurant鈥檚 success is its consistency. Whatever volume the Gramophone is doing, and I鈥檝e never seen it not busy, the quality of my sandwiches never diminishes.

  • 4243 Manchester Avenue
  • 314-531-5700;
  • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $

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Review: Havana's Cuisine

The Cuban sandwich at Havana's Cuisine

Havana鈥檚 Cuisine听

CaribbeanCubanSandwiches

More of St. Louis鈥 acclaimed chefs should open downtown. I will save further thoughts on that subject for another time. The post-pandemic convention throngs abhor a vacuum, though, and over the past few years, the absence of Big Names has allowed several rising stars to stake their claims. Among the first was Tamara Landeiro, who turned her food truck Havana鈥檚 Cuisine into a brick-and-mortar lunch destination on Washington Avenue. Landeiro brings in bread from the famed La Segunda Central Bakery in Tampa, Florida, for her Cuban sandwiches, but her actual secret weapon is roasted pork marinated with garlic and Seville orange. The succulent result anchors the Cuban sandwich and takes center stage in pan con lechon. With its sandwiches, empanadas and black-bean soup, Havana鈥檚 Cuisine argues that downtown鈥檚 newer restaurants might really signal a changing of the guard.听

  • 1131 Washington Avenue
  • 314-449-6771;
  • 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday-Saturday (closed Sunday)

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Ian Froeb's Top 100 - J's Pitaria

The spinach pita at J's Pitaria

J鈥檚 Pitaria听

Bosnian

Big, bright photographs of Bosnian scenes adorn one wall of J鈥檚 Pitaria. Their colors are nearly as vivid as the flavors at Josi and Zamir Zahic鈥檚 restaurant. If you order J鈥檚 Stuffed Flatbread 鈥 ground beef, cheese and spinach stuffed inside a blistered, crisp and very lightly chewy shell roughly the size of two standard calzones 鈥 you might think your food is as big as one of those photos. J鈥檚 has expanded its menu from its original Bevo Mill days in its current South County home, but the Zahics鈥 spirit of abundance has been a constant. The Sarajevo-style cevapi, the beef sausages still fragrant from the grill, roll out of their cradle of somun bread. Tender spit-roasted beef and its garnishes spill from the doner kebab. Even the lahmacun, or Turkish pizza, isn鈥檛 wrapped tightly enough to contain its ground beef, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce (and more) in a mere flatbread.听

  • 91 Concord Plaza Shopping Center, south St. Louis County
  • 314-270-8005;
  • 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
  • $-$$ 

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Ian's 100 best:  Katie's Pizza & Pasta

The Coppa pizza at Katie's Pizza & Pasta

Katie鈥檚 Pizza & Pasta Osteria听

ItalianPizza

Last year, Katie Collier debuted her biggest restaurant yet at Ballpark Village. The new downtown location of Katie鈥檚 Pizza & Pasta would be impressive if it were just the dining room and patio, but here you will see the open kitchen and a separate pasta-making station as well as a retail counter for Katie鈥檚 frozen pizzas and jarred sauces. (The availability of those pandemic-pivot frozen pizzas also continues to grow.) As breathtaking as the Ballpark Village Katie鈥檚 is 鈥 especially for those of us who remember the ad hoc style of Katie鈥檚 Pizza Cafe, the restaurant she once ran with her late father, Tom Lee 鈥 and while the new location鈥檚 menu has expanded to such swanky main courses as lobster thermidor and filet mignon, the appeal remains simple: elegant, often seasonal pastas and pizzas, like charred broccolini and sweet dollops of buffalo ricotta over a silky tomato-buffalo ricotta spread.听

  • 9568 Manchester Road, Rock Hill; 314-942-6555
  • 14171 Clayton Road, Town and Country; 636-220-3238
  • 751 Clark Avenue; 314-942-2416
  • Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Saturday-Sunday
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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Khanna's Desi Vibes

Goat biryani at Khanna's Desi Vibes in Chesterfield

Khanna鈥檚 Desi Vibes听

Indian

Khanna's Desi Vibes will permanently close after lunch service April 30.

Stop the presses! Khanna鈥檚 Desi Vibes, one of the standout examples in Chesterfield鈥檚 buzzing Indian-dining scene, has added a buffet to its lunch repertoire. The buffet is modestly sized, and those of you who have already fallen for Pravin Khanna鈥檚 restaurant know the full menu features more great dishes than any buffet could hold. Still, whatever brings more diners into Khanna鈥檚 is fine by me. Once here, you will discover a kitchen that finely calibrates spice and heat for such signature dishes as chicken curry, Amritsari chole (chickpea curry) and smoky, creamy tandoori chicken malai. The expansive menu also makes room for chaat, Indo-Chinese dishes and its own take on Indian fusion cuisine, drawn from Khanna鈥檚 travels, with pizza, tacos, wings and fries.听

  • 13724 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield
  • 314-392-9348;
  • Lunch and dinner daily (closed Wednesday)
  • $$ 

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Kreis' Steakhouse and Bar

The dining room at Kreis' Steakhouse & Bar in Frontenac听

Kreis鈥 Steakhouse & Bar听

Classic Fine DiningSeafoodSteakhouse

Since the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 returned from its pandemic hiatus, I have expanded my year-round research to include more of St. Louis' old-school institutions, the classic steakhouses and Italian restaurants that for so many people are synonymous with special-occasion dining. That project finally brought me to Kreis鈥 Steakhouse & Bar in Frontenac for the 2023 list, and my research since then 鈥 and my recent return to Kreis鈥 鈥 only reinforced how special this chophouse remains in its 76th year. You could argue Kreis鈥 belongs here for its prime rib alone: juicy, luscious and daunting even when you order the smallest queen cut. I would argue with equal passion for the peppery Colorado double lamb chops, which in true old-school fashion come with a side of mint jelly.听

  • 535 South Lindbergh Boulevard, Frontenac
  • 314-993-0735;
  • Dinner daily
  • $$$$ 

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La Patisserie Chouquette

Macarons at La Patisserie Chouquette

La Patisserie Chouquette

Bakeries & desserts

For the second consecutive year, Simone Faure鈥檚 La Patisserie Chouquette is a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation鈥檚 鈥淥utstanding Bakery鈥 award. Any nod from the James Beard Awards is prestigious, but it is especially so in La Patisserie Chouquette鈥檚 case, as the Botanical Heights gem stands honored among bakeries nationwide, not just in the Midwest. I can鈥檛 speak to how Faure鈥檚 pastries and baked good compare to those other semifinalists, but La Patisserie Chouquette has been a mainstay of the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 since the inaugural edition because Faure celebrates the joy in every sweet bite, from a straightforward croissant or the signature macaron (available, during the bakery鈥檚 annual National Macaron Day celebration, in a wider variety of flavors than you thought possible) to lemon tarts precariously, precisely bejeweled with blueberries and freshly whipped cream.

  • 1626 Tower Grove Avenue
  • 314-932-7935;
  • 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
  • $-$$

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Dining review: Le Ono of O'Fallon, Il.

The octopus at Le Ono听

Le Ono听馃啎

ContemporaryPolynesian

How best to describe Le Ono鈥檚 self-proclaimed French-Polynesian fusion cuisine? I鈥檓 going to put away the thesaurus and urge you just to go to this standout O鈥橣allon, Illinois, newcomer from chef Talani Mo鈥檈 and his wife, Lisa Udasco-Mo鈥檈. Mo鈥檈鈥檚 cooking can be elegant and playful, reverential and ridiculous, sometimes in a single dish, like pork cracklings dusted with herbs de Provence and served with a crock of Gruy猫re fondue for dipping. He ranges from Filipino lumpia to Korean bao to a swanky lobster version of St. Louis鈥 beloved crab Rangoon. His signature dish is a recurring special: meaty grouper encrusted with macadamia nuts and pineapple salsa. If this casts a shadow over Le Ono鈥檚 more conventional main courses (chicken, short ribs), it is only because here Mo鈥檈 is writing the first draft of his own, very exciting culinary language.听

  • 101 South Cherry Street, O’Fallon, Illinois
  • Dinner Wednesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Tuesday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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Lefty's Bagels opens in Chesterfield

The Lox o鈥 Love bagel at Lefty鈥檚 Bagels in Chesterfield

Lefty鈥檚 Bagels听馃啎听

Bakeries & dessertsSandwiches

Remember early pandemic bread baking? While you were Googling how to cultivate your sourdough starter, Scott 鈥淟efty鈥 Lefton was burning out a mixer trying to perfect his home bagel game. With his brother-in-law Doug Goldenberg on board, he sold those bagels to the public, and demand led to the 2023 debut of the brick-and-mortar Lefty鈥檚 Bagels. One bagel, by itself or with cream cheese, justifies the hype. Lefty鈥檚 bagels are properly chewy and full of your selected flavor (I鈥檓 an everything bagel partisan myself), with a hint of malty sweetness from the boiling kettle. A selection of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, including one with egg, pastrami or corned beef and a latke (the I Want It All!), rounds out the appealing menu.听

  • 13359 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield
  • 314-275-0959;
  • 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)

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Levels Nigerian Cuisine serves up  West African cuisine and culture on Washington Avenue (copy)

Grilled whole tilapia marinated with sauteed bell peppers and onions, jollof rice and plantains at Levels Nigerian Cuisine听

Levels Nigerian Cuisine听馃啎

Nigerian

You might not guess it from the sedate exterior, but Downtown West newcomer Levels Nigerian Cuisine has infused its neighborhood with a vital burst of culinary and artistic energy. On the first floor, first-time restaurateurs and married couple Ono Ikanone and Justice Johnson guide diners through the fare of Ikanone鈥檚 native Nigeria. Take the menu鈥檚 advice: Kick off your party with the Party Jollof, smoky rice cooked with tomato and the fruity, potent heat of Scotch bonnet chiles. Pairing goat with your jollof is worth the marginal upcharge, and the meat also stars alongside a bracing medley of herbs in the pepper soup. Though compact, Levels鈥 menu shows exceptional range, from traditional, melon-seed based egusi soup to a whole grilled tilapia. On its second floor, Levels becomes a gallery of African and African-inspired art curated by Ikanone and Johnson.听

  • 1405 Washington Avenue
  • 314-571-9990;
  • Dinner Wednesday-Saturday, lunch Wednesday-Friday, brunch Sunday (closed Monday-Tuesday)
  • $$-$$$ 

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Lona's Lil Eats

Dumplings with beef filling at Lona's Lil Eats

Lona鈥檚 Lil Eats听

ChineseThai

Lona鈥檚 Lil Eats has transcended the counter-service category since its debut 10 years ago, and it鈥檚 one of the dwindling number of restaurants to make every edition of the 老澳门六合彩开奖结果 100 since the inaugural list in 2015. Still, without deviating from its core menu, Lona鈥檚 has retained the capacity to surprise. Most recently, I tried a new (to me) take on the dumplings that have been chef Lona Luo鈥檚 signature dish since she was a vendor at Soulard Farmers Market, as plump and pan-crispy as ever, but now stuffed with pastrami, Napa cabbage and bok choy. Then again, if you know Lona鈥檚 smokes a mean beef brisket, it won鈥檛 shock you to learn the restaurant鈥檚 pastrami can hold its own against anyone else鈥檚. Still, after a decade of dumplings, rice paper wraps with brisket or lemongrass turkey and the Hill Tribe Soup, I appreciated the reminder of Lona鈥檚 unparalleled range.听

  • 2199 California Avenue
  • 314-925-8938;
  • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)

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Madrina serves Italian in Webster Groves

Ahi tuna and foie gras crostini at Madrina

Madrina听馃啎

Italian

Call it the Wright鈥檚 Tavern theory of restaurant design: Take a beloved, but tired style of dining and invigorate it with finesse and tremendous steaks. Madrina, a new joint venture from the owners of nearby Robust Bistro & Wine Bar and the Parkmoor Drive-In, applies this idea to the Sinatra tunes and (synthetic) leather booths of the old-school Italian restaurant. Chef Max Crask can deliver an outstanding take on classic chicken marsala and a real-deal carbonara sauce (eggs yes, peas no). He can also bring you up to the moment with an audacious appetizer of tuna crudo over foie gras mousse on toast. Madrina鈥檚 tremendous steaks include a 鈥渢hree-finger-thick鈥 porterhouse for two for $175, but the 12-ounce prime ribeye is deliriously overwhelming enough for one.听

  • 101 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves
  • 314-963-1976;
  • Dinner daily
  • $$$$ 

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Ian Froeb's Top 100: Mai Lee

Stir-fried lamb at Mai Lee

Mai Lee

ChineseVietnamese

Of its many distinctions, Mai Lee holds one that is particular to me 鈥 though I bet something similar is true for more than a few of you as well. I can鈥檛 think of a restaurant I鈥檝e visited more times in the 21 years I鈥檝e lived in St. Louis, where so much of the menu remains for me to explore. The menu at the Tran family鈥檚 Brentwood institution numbers some 200 Vietnamese dishes, plus several more pages of the Chinese fare that Lee Tran has served since she first opened her restaurant鈥檚 original location nearly 40 years ago. I can鈥檛 resist favorites from spring rolls and pho to deeper cuts like truu xao xa ot, lamb stir-fried with chiles and lemongrass, knowing I have yet to dig into, say, the selection of firepot soups, and unable to remember when I last ordered the deliriously spicy bun bo Hue instead of the signature, warmly spiced pho.

  • 8396 Musick Memorial Drive, Brentwood
  • 314-645-2835;
  • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$

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Malinche Mexican Culinary Experience

Arrachera Calavera at Malinche Mexican Culinary Experience

Malinche Mexican Culinary Experience听

Mexican

Ellisville gem Malinche Mexican Culinary Experience has given itself a makeover for 2024, with millennial-pink accents and a pinkish-purplish glow. Malinche鈥檚 approach to Mexican cuisine has not changed, with Angel Jiminez-Guti茅rrez and his mother, Mar铆a Guti茅rrez Molina, and their team presenting beautifully composed dishes that can put a delicious, personal spin even on such overexposed fare as quesabirria. This year, I want to highlight the taco-only menu that Malinche features on Monday and Tuesday. Though these tacos are scaled down in size from the restaurant鈥檚 standard dishes, each one bursts with the same brilliant flavors and thoughtful accents, from the dusky guajillo chile spice of the El de Chicharron to the hibiscus-led El Vegano to a smoky, spicy chipotle note to the ground beef in the El Gringo. As on the regular menu, the highlight is Del Trompo, a tribute to and top-notch example of the pork-pineapple al pastor taco.听

  • 15939 Manchester Road, Ellisville
  • 636-220-8514;
  • Dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
  • $$ 

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Mayo Ketchup

A jibarito at Mayo Ketchup听

Mayo Ketchup

CaribbeanCubanDominicanPuerto Rican

Mandy 鈥淧lantain Girl鈥 Estrella and her partner, Bradley Payne, opened a second restaurant in 2023, Salsa Rosada, featuring Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine. Salsa Rosada is a welcome addition to Midtown 鈥 try both the Colombian- and Venezuelan-style hot dogs 鈥 but it鈥檚 no insult to Estrella鈥檚 newer venture to say her Lafayette Square restaurant Mayo Ketchup set a high bar to match. Cuban, Dominican and Puerto Rican dishes are the focus of the counter-service Mayo Ketchup. Estrella鈥檚 nickname notwithstanding, pork is the star ingredient here: luscious citrus-roasted pernil served as a bowl with arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas); pork and ham in a classic Cuban sandwich; pork and potato sticks in the puerquito sandwich. The jibarito sandwiches pork 鈥 or steak, chicken or a vegan option 鈥 between slabs of twice-fried green plantains, bringing together Mayo Ketchup鈥檚 two essential ingredients.

  • 2001 Park Avenue
  • 314-696-2699;
  • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closes at 4 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday)
  • $

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New bakery in Kirkwood is finding sweet success

The Sambava, a chocolate, vanilla and hazelnut cake at听 Nathaniel Reid Bakery听

Nathaniel Reid Bakery听

Bakeries & dessertsSandwiches

By now, you know you can walk into Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood, close your eyes and point and end up with one of the best desserts of your life, from a simple one-bite macaron to a double-chocolate brownie to share to one of the eponymous Nathaniel Reid鈥檚 signature pastries, each an intricately crafted bauble like a piece of jewelry the world鈥檚 most famous actress can only borrow for the Oscars. (You might actually point to the display case of savory sandwiches, in which case you鈥檒l also be happy, though you鈥檒l still want to pick out an actual dessert.) On a recent visit, though, I experienced that rarer thrill at Nathaniel Reid鈥檚: a pastry I had never tried or even seen before, the Angelo, sophisticated even by Reid鈥檚 reckoning, with the texture of a cloud and the lingering, grown-up sweetness of hazelnut, coffee and caramel.听

  • 11243 Manchester Road, Kirkwood
  • 314-858-1019;
  • 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
  • $-$$ 

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Review: O'B Que's

The rib plate at O'B Que's

O鈥橞 Que鈥檚听馃啎

Barbecue

The St. Louis barbecue boom might have ended, but every now and then, a new barbecue joint can kindle excitement. O鈥橞 Que鈥檚, which opened last summer, leads with its unlikely location: adjacent to a gas station鈥檚 convenience store in Chesterfield. It benefits from the O鈥橞 in its name, the family behind Brentwood institution (and impromptu 2019 Stanley Cup celebration site) O鈥橞 Clark鈥檚. The key, though, is co-owner and pitmaster John Maness, who boasts more than 30 years of experience at the iconic Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, Texas. Yes, there is brisket, smoked over post oak and a bit of cherry wood. At its best, this ranks with the best Texas-style brisket in the metro area. The burnt ends might be even better, and O鈥橞 Que鈥檚 is no slouch with pork ribs, pulled pork or turkey, either.听听

  • 158 Long Road, Chesterfield
  • 636-778-9675;
  • 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
  • $-$$ 

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O+O Pizza

The "OG" Pepperoni pizza at O+O Pizza听

O+O Pizza听

ItalianPizza

I have appreciated the talent of chef Mike Risk for the better part of two decades now, since my quest for St. Louis鈥 best cheesesteak led me to his version at a small Soulard deli. At O+O Pizza in Webster Groves, Risk and his team push the boundaries of what a modern, ostensibly conventional Italian restaurant can be. On a recent visit, they threaded a line from Italy to the American South via Maryland鈥檚 Chesapeake Bay, serving gnocchi in a tomato-cream sauce larded with smoked pork and seasoned with Old Bay. O+O Pizza doesn鈥檛 stint on more straightforward fare, either, from a simple, beautiful piece of grilled swordfish to such house signatures as toasted ravioli and pizza. And for those intrigued by Risk鈥檚 cheesesteak, you鈥檒l find the modern edition, still the best in town, at O+O Pizza鈥檚 next-door sibling, the Clover and the Bee.听

  • 102 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves
  • 314-721-5422;
  • Dinner daily
  • $$$ 

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Ian Froeb's Top 100: Parkmoor Drive-In

The gumbo at Parkmoor Drive-In听

The Parkmoor Drive-In听

BrunchBurgersContemporarySandwiches

A family-friendly restaurant that appeals to kids and adults alike is a rare specimen. Even more so, to get personal, when you are a restaurant critic, but your children are picky eaters. The Parkmoor Drive-In gets my professional and parental thumbs up, even when I succumb to my kids鈥 demand for sno-balls for dessert and await the inevitable sugar rush. Veteran restaurateur Frank Romano and his wife, Laura Burns, rebooted the classic Parkmoor Drive-In concept but have made the menu their own, from griddled burgers and onion rings to less obvious standouts, like the Turkey Club Melt with tender turkey smoked in house, guacamole and chipotle mayo. The Parkmoor has remained dialed in over the past year even as Romano and Burns have worked to debut the upscale Italian restaurant Madrina up the street.听

  • 220 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves
  • 314-938-5554;
  • Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday, brunch Saturday-Sunday (closed Monday)
  • $$ 

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Ian's Top 100: Pappy's Smokehouse

A burnt ends sandwich at Pappy's Smokehouse听

Pappy鈥檚 Smokehouse

Barbecue

You can easily imagine a St. Louis with a dozen locations of Pappy鈥檚 Smokehouse, if not more. The restaurant that sparked the area鈥檚 barbecue boom in earnest 鈥 and has now outlasted that boom 鈥 has kept itself relatively contained. There are only two locations, and the St. Peters spinoff of the Midtown original was a long time coming. I might as well count the larger Pappy鈥檚 Smokehouse 鈥渇amily鈥 as one unit, adding Bogart鈥檚 Smokehouse in Soulard and Dalie鈥檚 Smokehouse in Valley Park, each a worthy, distinct barbecue joint in its own right. That鈥檚 still just four restaurants. John Matthews, who co-founded and operates Pappy鈥檚, focuses on the barbecue, still among the area鈥檚 best 16 years later. The pork ribs themselves demand return visits, and while you鈥檙e there, you should order the pulled pork, turkey and tender burnt ends, too.

  • 3106 Olive Street; 314-535-4340; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday (closes early if sold out, closed Tuesday)
  • 5246 North Service Road, St. Peters; 636-244-5400; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday (closes early if sold out, closed Monday-Tuesday) 
  •  
  • $-$$

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Review: Paul Manno's Restaurant

Shrimp diavolo at Paul Manno's Restaurant

Paul Manno鈥檚 Restaurant听

Classic Fine DiningItalian

A trip through the time portal from the unassuming shopping-plaza storefront of Paul Manno鈥檚 Restaurant into its perpetually packed Sinatra shrine of a dining room might not persuade you to dress up for dinner 鈥 some lost causes are truly gone forever 鈥 but you鈥檒l feel compelled to go big even before you open the menu. Lamb chops drunk on oregano lead the main courses, and the only dish that might tempt you astray is the stonking bone-in veal chop smothered with melted fontina cheese. Paul Manno鈥檚 doesn鈥檛 stint on its (relatively) affordably priced dishes: chicken Parmigiana sprawls across your plate beneath a heart-shaped blanket of blistered mozzarella and Parmesan, and even a simple scampi appetizer sets two plump shrimp in a lemony, buttery sauce popping with capers. Paul Manno Jr., leading the restaurant his parents founded, runs a time machine to when restaurants put the diner鈥檚 pleasure first.听

  • 75 Forum Shopping Center, Chesterfield
  • 314-878-1274;
  • Dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
  • $$$-$$$$ 

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