STLGuide

Where To Eat & Drink In St. Louis

Our 16 favorite places to eat and drink in St. Louis.
Where To Eat & Drink In St. Louis image

photo credit: Greg Rannells

In 1904, the hot dog bun, waffle cone, and x-ray were all introduced at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. Two of these inventions forever changed how we spend our summers and cemented St. Louis as a key locale in American food history. The other was the x-ray. These days, you can get some good food in St. Louis, but whether it’s your hometown or you’re visiting for the first time, it can be tough deciding which restaurants are worth checking out. Luckily, that’s where we come in.

Here you’ll find our recommendations for where to eat and drink around St. Louis. We’ve included everything from our favorite barbecue spots to where to go for Italian food and frozen custard, along with some group dinner and date options in between. We’ve only scratched the surface, but this is a great start for the next time you’re here.


THE SPOTS

American

Central West End

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightKeeping It Kind Of HealthyOutdoor/Patio SituationSpecial OccasionsVegetarians

From the all-white interior to the wood tables and chairs, Vicia feels like somewhere that would sell a minimalist vase for $400. But instead, they serve a vegetable-focused menu (with meat options) and cocktails made with things like beets and cardamom. The food changes almost weekly, but the zucchini steak and roast pork with peach mustard are two dishes to keep an eye out for. Or there’s a five-course $95 tasting menu as well, with off-menu dishes and occasional activities, like build your own turnip tacos.

Fresh seafood might not be the first thing you think of in landlocked Missouri, but Peacemaker wants to change that. This Benton Park restaurant flies in high quality fish daily and serves favorites like lobster rolls, steamers, and po’boys in a space that’s basically Restoration Hardware meets Cape Cod. The food is consistently great and it’s the perfect low-key spot to have some oysters and a frozen daiquiri while you plan your next trip to a beach.

Just like summer and that vintage Furby you ordered from eBay, Half & Half’s brunch is worth the wait. Everyone else in the Clayton area woke up with the same idea as you, but if you stick around, you’ll get to basically eat dessert for breakfast. The eggs here are good, but stick with the sweeter breakfast options, like the s’mores french toast or the blueberry pancakes. And if you’re not willing to wait it out for brunch, they serve breakfast during the week too.

If you only eat barbecue once in St. Louis, it should be at Pappy’s. This classic in Midtown is what you wish all barbecue places could be, and since everyone else in a large radius agrees, you’ll have to wait. They serve Memphis-style barbecue and while they do all the classics well, the ribs are their house specialty. Come with a big group and get some ribs, pulled pork, and sausage, along with the Frito Pie and a few sides. There’s always a line, and while waiting is definitely part of the Pappy’s experience, you can call ahead for pick up if you’re in a rush.

Blueberry Hill in the Delmar Loop is what we imagine a hyperactive ten-year-old would come up with if put in charge of a restaurant. There are collections of vintage Pez dispensers and jukeboxes, a basement music venue called the Duck Room that was christened by Chuck Berry, and a wall painted like Pac Man. It’s a great spot to bring kids during the day, especially with the built-in board games on many of the tables. At night, it’s definitely less kid-friendly with its row of dart boards and wide selection of beers. If you get hungry after a few drinks, they also serve things like mozzarella sticks and burgers, and a gooey butter cake for dessert.

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Housed in a former downtown brothel from the 1840s, Broadway Oyster Bar is the kind of place you go to in the early afternoon and end up spending the next 12 hours at. It feels like a little slice of New Orleans right in the middle of downtown, with a big patio and a menu that includes crawfish, po’boys, and jambalaya. They also stay open until 1:30am every night, which means you can still get oysters and wings until 11pm on the weekends when those two things suddenly sound like the right move.

A trip to Crown Candy Kitchen is as close to time traveling as you can get without having to worry about parallel dimensions or screwing up history. This Old North luncheonette opened in 1913 and they make their own candy, have a real soda fountain, and serve sandwiches that your grandparents grew up with. But what they’re best known for is their BLT, which comes with 14 slices of bacon and might make you reconsider some of your decisions. With its white wooden booths, vintage feel, and classic food, it’s the perfect place to go with someone who wishes they were born in a different decade, no DeLorean required.

This classic Richmond Heights ice cream stand is a must-visit during the summer. They have everything from slushies to frozen custard concretes and once you order, grab a spot at one of their picnic tables and debate with your group if it makes sense for you to all go in on a soft serve machine together. As a heads up, Mr. Wizard’s converts into a Christmas tree lot in the winter, so plan accordingly.

St. Louis has plenty of barbecue spots, but Salt & Smoke is the move when you want to eat great ribs, and still go somewhere nice. This Delmar Loop staple is always slammed, but just go grab a seat at the bar and work through their pages-long bourbon menu or drink a cocktail while you wait. Once you get seated, go for the the prime brisket and ribs, along with the white cheddar cracker mac and cheese and green beans, if you’re truly in need of vegetables.

We all have that one friend who went to Paris once and hasn’t stopped making unsubtle comments about how much better the bread is there or how there are no good places to get escargot in “the States.” Take this person to Brasserie By Niche, and we bet they’ll be impressed. This Central West End restaurant has a menu full of French classics like mussels and steak frites, and it’s thankfully not excessively expensive. We’re also fans of their brunch, especially the beignets, quiche, and cocktails.

This South City spot is both a Persian restaurant and a gin-themed cocktail bar, where you can still order from the full menu. On warm nights, sit on their patio and start off with a cocktail and a few dips, like the walnut-olive feta spread, tart pomegranate eggplant, and hummus. The Gormeh Sabzie, a lamb stew, should be on your table too, and make sure you save room for their freshly baked baklava.

Hi-Pointe Drive-In in Richmond Heights makes all of the classic burgers, sandwiches, and shakes that come to mind when you think of a “drive-in,” but with food that’s a little higher quality and more interesting than you might expect. All of the ingredients are locally sourced and the menu includes everything from a cool ranch Dorito burger and grilled cheese tacos to a salmon banh mi. The space itself is made out of colorful shipping containers too, and is where you should go before seeing a movie at the Hi-Pointe Theatre next door.

Located inside a former car showroom from 1916, The Fountain on Locust is a great spot for a casual lunch or weeknight dinner. But either way, make sure you finish your meal with one of their ice cream cocktails. If you do come for lunch, the french onion roast beef melt and Polish dill pickle soup are two things you should try, along with an egg cream. Between the art deco murals and diner counter, it’s hard to tell which era The Fountain belongs in. But regardless, it’s worth checking out.

Between the classic comfort food, little patio, and friendly service, eating at The Piccadilly feels a little like eating in someone’s house, minus having to do any dishes afterward. This neighborhood spot in Ellendale serves classics like meatloaf, ribs, and fried chicken, and has been owned by the same family for more than three generations. It might not be the first restaurant you think of in St. Louis, but when you want to eat somewhere that feels a little like home - minus your family asking you to explain Twitter - The Picadilly is the answer.

With its dark lighting, pinball machines, and rotating beer specials, the Crow’s Nest in Maplewood is the perfect place to go on a first date, or to just stop by with your friend who moved here for college and never left. Play some arcade games over a few beers, and if talking about your job and your favorite constellation develops into an actual connection, you can get a burger and some chili cheese fries to share. But if instead your date can’t stop talking about his or her podcast about their cat, hope that the bar turns on the large projector they use to play old movies so the two of you can take a break from talking.

This bar in Central West End looks like a standard ice cream shop, but instead of soft serve, the machines are full of boozy slushies with names like Thai Collins, Rhubarb Paloma, and Hurricane Tony. You can also grab a “Flight of the Narwhal,” which comes with three different flavors on a wooden platter and deserves a medal just for the name alone. Or commit to a fishbowl if you’re feeling ambitious before their Tuesday trivia night. And since downing boozy slushies without food might not be the best idea, grab something from BLK MLT Eats next door or order delivery and eat it on their patio.

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