The bright-red door outside Three Kings Public House acts as a beacon, summoning guests into the tavern—which was named the Best New Bar in 2011 by the Riverfront Times—for a brew and a bite. Once past the vibrant port, though, diners enter an old-school world dominated by brick and wood decor. Though this aesthetic choice gives the Delmar Loop bar a time-honored vibe, the menu reveals that the kitchen’s vision is focused firmly on the here and now. In fact, to keep their dishes as fresh as possible, chefs use only locally sourced ingredients from nearby Missouri and Illinois farms including Twin County, Heil, and Thies Farms. This conscientious culinary choice adds to the bar's effort to keep its carbon footprint smaller, but it also ensures that each handcrafted pub-style entree—from third-pound burgers to traditional fish 'n' chips and barbecue pulled-pork sliders—arrives at tables bursting with flavor. Chefs also toss out a culinary curveball in the form of their not-so-traditional bar eats, including a soy-protein burger and a filet mignon cut into the shape of each diner’s silhouette.
To further enliven Three Kings' eats, meals can be accompanied by a fresh cocktail or any of the "20 craft and locally brewed beers on tap" mentioned by the Riverfront Times. During the warmer months, diners are invited to recline on the outdoor patio; no matter the season, Tuesday and Wednesday nights are dedicated to live musical acts performing on the bar’s built-in stage.
Chef Matthew Galati began his kitchen conquests early, passing after-school minutes preparing meals for his family and apprenticing in the kitchen at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel. These culinary instincts led him north, where he studied at Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Program at Brown College in Minnesota. After graduation, Matt returned to his native St. Louis, where he cut his teeth as an upscale restaurateur and caterer before landing at Rhine Haus.
Now, Matt spends his days crafting comforting pub fare that blends German and American culinary traditions with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Hosting pork and ground beef in equal measure, the Frickadellen burger typifies Germany’s carnivorous cravings alongside Bavarian bratwurst and gravy-smothered sauerbraten. A Sunday brunch service complete with bloody mary bar rolled out in March. German ales from Paulaner and Spaten slosh in 1- and 2-liter mugs as live music fills the air on Saturday nights. Televised sports spill from 23 flat-screen TVs in a sprawling interior that hosts shuffleboard, darts, and a projection screen, which broadcasts homemade Die Hard sequels where the Germans finally win.
Though the Midwest isn’t the most obvious locale for modern latin fusion cuisine, Flaco’s Cocina—from patio to downstairs lounge—proves that dishes can still taste authentic in the middle of the country. Everything about the restaurant exudes a latin ambiance, from the giant fish mosaics, painted beach scenes and live music of El Paraiso Lounge to the bright blue walls and red chairs that play calypso music each time a diner stands up. Amid the vibrant dining room, downstairs lounge, and airy patio, guests dig into fajitas, tacos, and quesadillas that teem with seafood, spices, and citrus touches. To complement the spicy eats, margaritas douse tongues with a choice of handpicked tequilas—such as Don Julio Silver, Patron Silver, and Cabo Wabo—which guests can also enjoy at the full bar in the newly opened downstairs El Paraiso Lounge. Sleek hardwood floors run throughout, supporting a stage that plays home to an eclectic lineup of live music. The downstairs area also hosts special events, private parties, holiday celebrations, and salsa lessons on its spacious dance floor. Live music and DJs are an extra fee.
Stepping into De Palm Tree Restaurant is like stumbling into a portal and ending up in the Caribbean. Exposed-brick walls give way to decorative support beams that end on a vibrant crimson ceiling, recalling a beachside cabana fanned by ocean breezes. Flecks of culture spread across the walls as well, from a framed collection of Jamaican dollars and a national flag to portraits of Bob Marley and metallic replicas of tribal art. But as in Jamaica, the community at De Palm Tree Restaurant forms around the food.
Feasts of fragrant, spicy curries, flaky fish, and hearty bean stews follow frosty glasses of ginger beer and freshly squeezed fruit juices. The menu’s rum cakes, stuffed pastries, seafood, and plantains reflect the lush, tropical landscape of Jamaica, with its abundant fruit trees, teeming oceans, and waving fields of jerk-chicken plants. Well-known dishes such as tender jerk pork or curry chicken anchor the offerings, whereas exotic island delicacies such as akees and saltfish, oxtail stew, or spicy pickled escovitch fish tempt adventurous diners.
Memorialized in paint, ancient Greeks dressed in flowing togas dance beneath the arches on the walls at Momos Ouzaria Taverna. At adjacent tables and pillow-lined booths, dining companions share small plates of Greek cuisine, such as the pan-seared bay scallops in tomato-garlic basil white wine sauce. Other small plates include traditional lamb gyros with feta and tzatziki sauce and grilled shish kababs. The focal point of the main dining area is a flickering fireplace bearing a tile mosaic of a satyr peaking from behind a tree, impatiently waiting for a beautiful sunbathing woman to dive into the river so that he can steal her bowl of hummus. Nearby, bartenders serve drafts and bottles of domestic, imported, and craft brews; mix shakers filled with signature martinis; and decant glasses of ouzo, the traditional Greek liqueur known for its herbal and anise flavors.
Gyros in the Loop’s capable culinarians quell appetite insurrections with a menu of casual Greek goodies. Order up the restaurant’s titular treat, a regular gyro ($5.50), to sail toward savory satisfaction on a pillowy pita raft captained by delicious meat and crewed by lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki sauce. Gyrophobes can also opt for a vegetarian sandwich ($5), packed with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, tzatziki sauce, and feta cheese, or a Greek salad ($6.50), sporting tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, kalamata olives, and other ingredients enjoyed in Greece since Socrates first stole them from the Trojans. The restaurant’s recently remodeled interior catches the eyes of eaters but returns them upon request.