Also known as “The Gateway to the West,” St. Louis stands as Missouri’s second-largest city, giving locals and tourists plenty to see and do during their free time. The iconic Gateway Arch is a sight to behold in person. Many people like passing their time by visiting the St. Louis Zoo and St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park, while others like catching a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium.
In addition, the city has a thriving music scene, particularly jazz, blues, ragtime, and rock and roll. St. Louis serves signature dishes for the hungriest visitors, including toasted ravioli, St. Louis-style pizza, and gooey butter cake.
You can find several restaurants offering these dishes, along with other international dishes. However, it might be overwhelming trying to squeeze time into your schedule to visit each one. I compiled this list of the best restaurants in St. Louis to help you narrow down the city’s top dining options where you can dine alone or with company.
3037 Locust St, St. Louis, MO 63103
The first entry on my list of the best restaurants in St. Louis is The Fountain On Locust, located on the corner of Locust Street and Cardinal Avenue, across from the Red Flag concert hall. This former auto showroom has a modern yet retro feel for enjoying classic American dishes and specialty ice cream.
I like their French Onion Roast Beef Melt, BBQ Church Plate, Fountain Pozole, and Mr. K Special Salad. If you’re in the mood for ice cream afterward, don’t miss out on their Rose Peach Bellini Float, Sweet Annina Twist, Raspberry Zing, or two scoops of Orange Sherbet topped with hot fudge. They also offer a wide selection of ice cream martinis.
706 De Mun Ave. Clayton, MO 63105
This restaurant manages to be casual and high-end at the same time, making it the perfect place for a date or a nice dinner with friends. It’s directly across the street from Concordia Park off De Mun Ave., and it’s surrounded by other local spots like ice cream shops and candy stores. I tried their positively perfect pappardelle bolognese.
The delicate pasta, the meaty and flavorful sauce, and the fresh cheese came together for a strong and balanced flavor in every bite. Everything they serve is sensational, from the pre-meal bread to the homemade ice cream bars, but the charming staff makes this restaurant stand out.
1629 Tower Grove Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
Don’t have time to stop and dine in for lunch or dinner in the Botanical Heights neighborhood? Then, consider ordering your food to-go at Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery on Tower Grove Avenue, minutes from Missouri Botanical Garden.
This modern and casual bakery offers tasty sandwiches and pizza for anyone who prefers something lighter to eat. Their best dishes are Trout Salad Sandwich, Marinara Pizza, Pizza Rossa Mini Flatbread, and Spinach Pizza.
They also have a wide selection of international carry-out wines to spice up your dinner at home. However, I prefer their Coffee Soda or Orange & Vanilla Soda.
4260 Forest Park Avenue Entrance On Boyle
Vicia is a sleek and cozy restaurant located on Forest Park Avenue, near the corner of South Boyle Avenue and Duncan Avenue. Enjoy Executive Chef Micheal Gallina’s seasonal dishes made with locally sourced ingredients for a refreshing dining experience to make your visit to St. Louis unforgettable.
Vicia offers a multi-course seasonal Farmer’s Feast menu brimming with diverse flavors. I had their Prosciutto-Wrapped Pears, Ora King Salmon, NY Strip Loin, Roasted Sunchokes, and Frozen Yogurt during my visit here. If you call ahead, they can craft a vegetarian or pescatarian menu to your liking. You can also enhance your meal with an organic wine pairing.
Fork & Stix
549 Rosedale Ave, St. Louis, MO 63112
Fork & Stix is just a few blocks from the Delmar Loop train stop and Washington University, making it super easy to get to via public transportation. One of my main thoughts when eating here was how fresh everything was, from the cocktail garnishes to the pad thai.
They serve traditional Thai food with an elevated twist and, as mentioned, the freshest and most vibrant ingredients. I ordered their classic mojito, which was the perfect balance of sweet and refreshing.
I also got one of their chicken curries with tomato sauce and a side of spring rolls, which both delivered bold Asian flavors that were umami and salty without being overpowering.
1634 Tower Grove Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
Another restaurant in the Botanical Heights neighborhood that I recommend is OLIO, an easygoing eatery specializing in Mediterranean fare. It’s on the corner of Tower Grove Avenue and McRee Avenue. Their rustic menu offers a variety of flavors to surprise your taste buds if you’re brave enough to try something new.
Don’t miss out on their Chicken Kefta “Sinnia,” Roasted Cauliflower Wrap, Root Vegetable Tagine, or Baba Ganoush after starting with their beet hummus or pickled vegetables. Be sure to pair a Punch 5 Mauresque, Kissed by a Rosé, or Amaro Manhattan cocktail with any of these dishes to enhance their flavors.
Peacemaker Lobster & Crab
1831 Sidney St, St. Slouis, MO 63104
I’m a devout seafood lover, so this place is one of my favorites in St. Louis. Everything here exceeds expectations, from the clam chowder to the freshly shucked oysters to the steamed buns. The casual and rustic environment is welcoming, and I highly recommend the Buffalo crawfish steam buns, which combine unusual flavors for a fantastic taste.
The restaurant is nestled in the Benton Park neighborhood between Route 66 and Highway 55, making it a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. While it’s usually busy, the staff are amazing and offer superb service while keeping tables moving!
You can find Salt + Smoke on Clark Avenue by Busch Stadium, Delmar Boulevard, North Euclid Avenue, and Hampton Avenue. This restaurant has a relaxed and hip ambiance for enjoying BBQ dishes with a St. Louis twist. They also offer catering services for weddings and other small or large parties.
I recommend starting with their Trashed Wings or Fried House Pickles and sampling their St. Louis Cut Ribs, Pulled Chicken, Brisket Sandwich, or BLT with a side of creamed corn or brisket chili. They also offer a menu for anyone following a gluten-free diet and kids’ menus for children ten years or younger.
1000 Mississippi Ave, St. Lois, MO 63104
Planter’s House is near Lafayette Square, a few blocks from Lafayette Park, and a short walk to the train station. The restaurant is sleek and stylish but has a colloquial vibe. I adore the Moscow Mule, which comes with a hunk of ice in a frosted metal cup.
Their pasta dishes and salads are delightful, but the last time I visited, I ordered the duck confit plate and had my mind blown. It offered a stunning poultry flavor with a rich sauce that was decadent and balanced. I thought it would be greasy and heavy, but they delivered the bold umami and salt without overdoing it.
Mac’s Local Eats
5656 Oakland Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
One of my favorite casual eateries in the Cheltenham neighborhood is Mac’s. It’s just off Highway 64, so it’s often busy but not crowded. Once you walk in, you can feel how welcoming and relaxed the atmosphere is.
You can’t go here without getting a fat burger or trying their crispy French fries. I like to keep it classic, so I had a simple cheeseburger, but it was anything but basic. The patty was juicy and seasoned, and the bun was fluffy and toasted. Paired with one of their local craft beers, it doesn’t get any better.
6803 Southwest Ave, St. Louis, MO 63143
I’m always looking for a classic diner with affordable dishes, large portions, and a broad menu full of delicious options. And that’s what I got at the Southwest Diner.
I went for their fried egg sandwich with a generous portion of bacon and gooey melted cheese. It was exactly what you should get from a breakfast sandwich, and the perfectly crisp country potatoes are the ideal side.
It’s in the Ellendale neighborhood between Ellendale Avenue and Highway 44 in a residential area. So, it’s a hidden gem that you now have the inside scoop on.
Balkan Treat Box
8103 Big Bend Blvd, Webster Groves, MO 63119
The Balkan Treat Box is a Turkish restaurant with a few food trucks you can find throughout the city. Or, you can head to the restaurant in between the Webster Groves and Shrewsbury neighborhoods off N Laclede Station Rd! The restaurant is large, with big tables and high ceilings, but it’s very laid back.
I opted for the beef pide, a traditional Turkish flatbread loaded with sauce, cheese, meat, herbs, and more. It combined the freshness of green herbs with the umami and richness of the beef, which was seasoned with traditional Turkish spices for a bold and zesty taste.
2438 McNair Ave, St. Louis, MO 63104
Blues City Deli is a lively restaurant found on the corner of McNair Avenue and Victor Street, offering tasty sandwiches and po’boys for locals and tourists to enjoy after a long day of touring the city. Their blues-themed decor makes it stand out from other restaurants scattered around St. Louis’ McKinley Heights neighborhood.
Their best dishes are Aporkalypse Pretzelwich, Veggie Reuben, Little Muffuletta, and Black & Blue Roast Beef Po’Boy. Don’t forget to add a side of chili, chips, or potato salad to fill you up on a slow day. Feel free to enjoy these plates with a refreshing, warm cup of fresh brewed tea or Mississippi Mud Coffee.
1934 Macklind Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
Gioia’s Deli is a quaint Italian deli with some of the best salads and sandwiches I’ve ever had. It’s in the center of The Hill neighborhood on the edge of Berra Park, so you can take your food to go and sit outside. I doubled down when I visited, ordering the Italian Trio sandwich and the House salad, which were impeccably made.
The sandwich was loaded with meat and veggies, and the salad had a lovely simplicity that complemented the robust sandwich beautifully. And the menu is massive, so there’s something for everyone!
3106 Olive Sr, St. Louis, MO 63110
You can find Pappy’s Smokehouse right beside the Emerson Performance Center in Midtown St Louis. It’s the ultimate BBQ place in the city, serving Memphis-style BBQ dishes like burnt ends, beef brisket, ribs, and much more.
I got the pulled pork sandwich, and it exceeded my expectations, as the pork was unbelievably juicy and tender, doused in a mouthwatering smokey and sweet sauce. This spot is everything a good BBQ place should be. It’s casual with minimal decorations, creating a no-muss, no-fuss vibe, and they have a wide assortment of BBQ sauces to try.
Sidney Street Cafe
2000 Sidney St, St. Louis, MO 63104
This cozy and intimate diner in Benton Park, on the corner of Sidney St. and Salena St., serves upscale food and drinks in a warm environment.
It’s a lovely place for a date night, with plenty of small plates to share and invigorating cocktails. I love their charcuterie plates and am obsessed with their applewood smoked duck, which has a smokey, woody flavor with a delicate meaty texture.
They have a stunning selection of wine and rotating specials that showcase the freshest local ingredients. Everything from their baked brie appetizer to their bearnaise filet to their chocolate tart plate is to die for, and they give you beignets as a free pre-meal snack!
Stacked Burger Bar, 7637 Ivory St, St. Louis, MO 63111
Don’t know where to find any restaurants in St. Louis offering customizable dishes? Then, stop by for lunch or dinner at Stacked SLT, found on the corner of Ivory Street and Schirmer Street by Fanetti Plaza. This casual eatery lets you craft your own burgers and cocktails for a flavorful dining experience that matches your preferences.
I prefer ordering a turkey burger on a brioche bun with pickles, lettuce, bacon, provolone cheese, BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, and a fried egg. Don’t have any burger preferences? Then, order their Bella Bleus, Wet Nap, or Pigmento burger with a Pink Pineapple cocktail.
4580 Laclede Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
Nestled in the Central West End neighborhood, east of Forest Park, Brasserie by Niche on Laclede Avenue is your top destination for enjoying French cuisine in a setting resonating with the atmosphere of Paris. It’s an excellent option if you’re planning a lovely date night.
During my last few visits to this St. Louis restaurant, I started with their Goat Cheese Tart and ordered their Pan-Roasted Trout, Croque Madame, Parisian Gnocchi, and Mussels. I prefer ordering these dishes with a side of potato purée or glazed carrots and a Monsieur Hulot cocktail. Be sure to try their classic profiteroles as an after-dinner treat.
736 S Broadway St, St. Louis, MO 63102
Can’t find any restaurants in St. Louis offering tasty Cajun dishes in a New Orleans-style setting? Then, consider stopping by the corner of South Broadway Street and Gratiot Street for dinner at Broadway Oyster Bar.
I love coming to this lively restaurant because of its stylish digs, spacious outdoor patio, and live music. In my opinion, they serve the best Oysters Nola, Louisiana Fried Alligator, Fried Catfish Po’ Boys, and Blackened Ahi Tuna Fajitas by the Mississippi River.
Don’t forget to stop by the bar for a Tchoupitoulas Tea, Sazerac, Horny Gator, or SoCo Hurricane cocktail before finishing with their signature bread pudding dessert.
1641D Tower Grove Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
Nestled in the Botanical Heights neighborhood stands iNDO, an elevated Southeast Asian restaurant on Tower Grove Avenue. If you book a dinner reservation here, you can try their a la carte or omakase menus indoors or outdoors. They also have a wide selection of wine, sake, and other boozy favorites for unwinding after touring the city.
Try their Hamachi, Nodoguro, or Masu Nigiri if you prefer a lighter meal. But, if you want something else, order their Chili Garlic Noodles, Short Rib Red Curry, or Seafood Polenta Deluxe. Be sure to wash your meal down with a Kamado Toddy, Quiet Night Thought, or Golden Torii cocktail.
6105-A, Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63112
Nudo House is a short walk from the Delmar Loop station and Washington University, putting it in the heart of the University City neighborhood. I live for Asian flavors, and this place delivers. They offer an array of Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese dishes, including cozy ramen and generous sandwiches.
I ordered the Banh Mi sandwich,which was super flavorful, with the umami and salty taste of hoisin and perfectly cooked pork that fell apart in my mouth. This is the best spot if you’re hungry and looking for an affordable but tasty meal. With huge portions, outstanding flavors, and low prices, it’s my St Louis go-to for a hearty lunch.
The Lucky Accomplice
2501 S Jefferson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63104
The Lucky Accomplice is in the Fox Park neighborhood, on the corner of Victor St. and S. Jefferson Ave. This bar has a wonderful menu with unusual treats like Mafalda, quark dumplings, Missouri rice, and even late-night pancakes.
But the star is the immense and innovative cocktail menu, with sensational drinks like the ginger mint smash, jungle bird rum, and milk punch bourbon. From refreshing to creamy to potent, they have everything you could want. I tried several of their cocktails, including the caramelized pina colada and espresso martini, but my favorite was the citrus mint smash, as it was light and airy without being bland.
Guido’s Pizzeria and Tapas
5046 Shaw Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
Guido’s is a charming little spot on The Hill off of Hereford Street. It’s near many other small local eateries but outshines most of them with its innovative and distinct menu. I had their toasted ravioli appetizer, and I’ve always been wary of toasted ravioli because they can be chewy and dry. But these were out of this world, with a crispy outside and moist, creamy filling.
I love the diverse menu here because picky eaters can default to one of their brilliant pizzas, but adventurous eaters can go wild with the tapas menu, which includes items like fried artichokes, bruschetta, and much more.
7823 Forsyth Blvd, Clayton, MO 63105
Next up on the list is The Crossing, located on Forsyth Boulevard in Clayton, blocks away from Shaw Park. This elegant and imaginative space has some of the best French and Italian fare in the state, expertly crafted by Executive Chef Jim Fiala. They also have a wide selection of wines procured from wineries across the globe.
The Crossing offers several enticing farm-to-table meals for lunch and dinner. Consider trying their Tagliolini, Roasted Amish Chicken, Hawaiian Ahi Tuna, or Australian Lamb Chops. I also recommend their four-course tasting menu and wine flights. After dinner, try indulging in their Warm Chocolate Torte or Fried Apple Pie.
599 St Denis St, Florissant, MO 63031
If you’re in the mood for quality American cuisine, Hendel’s on St. Denis Street’s got you covered. Although it’s roughly 17 miles from central St. Louis, the restaurant’s upscale, vintage atmosphere makes the drive worth it. They’re open every day, except Sunday and Monday, for lunch and dinner.
If you’re dining with friends, consider starting with a shareable chicken bacon flatbread or toasted ravioli. Then, try their Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich, Portobello Burger, Cheese Tortellini, or Salmon Power Bowl with fries or broccoli.
I like ordering an Apple Mule or Dark Cherry Old Fashioned cocktail with my meal, but they also offer several wines, spirits, and gluten-free beverages to sample.