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Restaurants in Saint Louis

St. Louis restaurants have a lot to live up to. After all, this city is the rumored birthplace of such beloved foods as the hot dog bun, the ice cream cone, cotton candy, and peanut butter, which all made their debut at the 1904 World’s Fair. Since then, restaurants in St. Louis have stayed busy by giving us such modern culinary marvels as toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake, and while it certainly didn’t invent barbecue, St. Louis may be the place that truly perfected the art of the smoke ring. Of course, they may have had a few misses along the way (we’re looking at you, St. Louis–style pizza), but St. Louis restaurants are by and large some of the most innovative in the country, and there’s virtually no place better suited to travelers with adventurous appetites. Below, we highlighted a handful of what we think are the very best restaurants in St. Louis, so grab a TUMS (also invented in St. Louis), and prepare to dig in.

Best Barbecue in St. Louis

Bogart’s Smokehouse


There are two St. Louis restaurants constantly competing for the top barbecue seat in town: Bogart’s and Pappy’s, and you can’t really go wrong with either option. But while Pappy’s may have written the book on St. Louis barbecue, Bogart’s may have taken that script and given it a final polish. For proof, look to the signature ribs. Both places slow-smoke their racks for hours and hours until each meaty rib boasts a perfect pink smoke ring, but only Bogart’s finishes theirs with an apricot glaze that’s then baked on to crispy, crackly perfection with a roofer’s blow torch. It’s that sort of delicious ingenuity that puts Bogart’s over the top and explains why the Soulard location frequently sells out of grub well before closing time.

Best Italian Restaurant in St. Louis

Trattoria Toscana

 

There are many excellent Italian restaurants in St. Louis, most of which are situated on The Hill, also known as River City’s answer to Little Italy. But you’ll be rewarded for venturing outside this Italian food bubble to Sappington, where Trattoria Toscana is giving the storied restaurants on The Hill a run for their money. The menu walks a fine line between authentic Italian cuisine and classic Italian-American fare, which means you can find exactly what you like whether you prefer fried artichokes and chicken parmigiana or a nice wild mushroom risotto. Here’s what some of our satisfied customers had to say about their experience at Trattoria Toscana:

 

Our server, Angela, was delightful. Our meal was delicious. The Trattoria Toscana is one of the best restaurants in St. Louis. We highly recommend this establishment. – Tony A.

 

Food was AMAZING atmosphere was AMAZING and the customer service was some of the best I’ve had... I'll def. be going back there when I come back to St Louis! – Ashley J.


Food and service [were] excellent. I would have to say that Trattoria Toscana is one of the best Italian restaurants my wife and I have been to. Will most definitely be returning. – Antonio T.

Best Chinese Restaurant in St. Louis

Old St. Louis Chop Suey

 

Many St. Louis locals are willing to drive far out of their way to pick up take-out from this much-loved spot. Fans love that the kitchen’s made-to-order approach means that the mandarin chicken, crab rangoon, and fried rice is impeccably fresh and hasn’t been sitting around under a heat lamp. Add in extra-large portions, a notoriously friendly staff, and what some claim are the best egg rolls in town, and you have all the makings of one of the top restaurants in St. Louis for Chinese food.

 

Editor’s Tip

Don’t miss the St. Paul sandwich, a St. Louis specialty featuring an egg foo young patty served on white bread with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.

Best Mexican Food in St. Louis

Chimi’s Fresh Mex


You know you’re in for a special treat when your meal begins with a bowl of fresh tortilla chips that are still warm when they hit the table. That’s the kind of extra touch that puts Chimi’s at the top of the list of Mexican restaurants in St. Louis. From there, things only get better with a menu of authentic dishes that includes many items not often seen this far north of the border, such as chile colorado (beef chunks in red chile sauce) and sopa de mariscos, a Mexican seafood soup. Of course, with a name like Chimi’s, chimichangas are the real specialty here, and the menu offers 16 different varieties, ranging from a green chile chimi to a cheesesteak version.

Best Burger in St. Louis

Sugar Fire Smokehouse

 

The pit masters in St. Louis love a good competition, so it’s no wonder that they’ve thrown their sauce-stained hats into the burger ring as well. Sugar Fire’s masterpiece begins with a patty composed of a mix of boneless short rib and brisket, yielding a burger that’s extra flavorful and extra tender, needing nothing more than a generous kiss of sea salt and pepper when hitting the grill. Of course, you’re free to add whatever condiments you like, including any of the house barbecue sauces. But whether you opt for a slathering of the St. Louie sweet or the coffee bbq sauce, we recommend pairing your burger with a side of pork belly hush puppies and a chocolate peanut butter bourbon shake

Best Pizza in St. Louis

Imo’s Pizza

Pizza in St. Louis is kind of a controversial subject. The city is home to a much-maligned (but also much-loved) style of pizza known for its cracker-thin crust, plentiful toppings, and its use of Provel cheese—a processed mashup of provolone, Swiss, and cheddar. But if you’ve decided to adopt a “when in Rome” philosophy, and want to give St. Louis-style pizza a shot, you must go straight to the source and try it at Imo’s, the pizzeria that is rumored to have invented the style. Just be warned that even St. Louis pizza’s biggest fans will tell you it’s an acquired taste.

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Shannon Grilli

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