Considering most people only know St. Louis for the Cardinals and the Arch, it might come as a surprise that the midwesternly charming citizens of STL can make some seriously good chow (including these 11 hotspots).
Along with the barbecue classics, we’re talkin’ authentic Filipino cuisine and absolutely ridiculous Italian food that might make you consider ditching Milan and studying abroad in the Lou. Don’t waste any of your precious time Yelping and wandering — we’ve got 20 dishes guaranteed to blow your mind (listed in no particular order).
1. Risotto Balls at Pastaria
These cheesy fried balls of goodness are the best way to set your stomach up for the huge bowl of homemade pasta you’re about to devour.
2. Crispy Roll at Drunken Fish
This ridiculous roll will have sushi fanatics drooling… it’s tuna, eel, and avocado, deep-fried with a drizzle of eel sauce and spicy mayo as the finishing touch.
3. Jaeger Schnitzel at Grbic
A dreamy combo of schnitzel and mushroom cream sauce makes this a can’t-miss German classic in the heart of the Midwest. Looking for some more upscale places to take your parents to when they visit? Check these out.
4. Apple Pie at Salt & Smoke
Finish off your bone-stickin’ barbeque feast with freshly cut apples perfectly stacked inside a flaky and buttery crust (not to mention the pool of delicious caramel sauce it comes in).
5. Chorizo Taco at Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen
If you’re looking for a twist on the same old Mexican classics, give these funky tacos a try. Homemade tortillas filled with chorizo, sour cream, mango salsa, and queso fresco. ¡Olé!
6. Bacon Fat Fried Cornbread at Taste
The name explains it all. If this dish is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
7. Croque Madame at Brasserie by Niche
If you like sandwiches filled with cheese, ham, eggs, and even more cheese, then this is the dish for you. Find a little taste of Paris in the 314, no French required.
8. Bo Luc Lac (#89) at Mai Lee
Steak eaters, rejoice! We’ve found you some perfectly marinated steak cubes seared and served simply with salt and pepper sauce. Sometimes less really is more.
9. Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks Ice Cream at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
This innovative yet simple flavor has a surprising extra kick of salt that will make you consider sprinkling salt on all your ice cream. Don’t be put off by the small scoops, it’s about quality (not quantity) here.
10. Gogi Bowl at Seoul Taco
Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the Gogi Bowl is the stuff of hangover legends. You’ll find a huge bowl full of rice, veggies, spinach, and your choice of meat, topped off with a perfectly fried egg.
11. Pulled Pork at Sugarfire Smokehouse
All St. Louis BBQ politics aside, Sugarfire makes some badass pulled pork. While you’re in the area, stop by Sugarfire Pie for a sweet end to your Southern feast.
12. Apple Fritter at John’s Donuts
The hours start at 11 pm, so getting a hot, fresh apple fritter from John’s is the ultimate late-night experience. While the apple fritter itself is incredible, the fact that you drove through downtown St. Louis at midnight with your friend navigating from the passenger seat makes it all the more satisfying. Find some more deets on the donut scene here.
13. Chicken Adobo at Guerrilla Street Food
Who knew you could get some serious Filipino food straight out of a St. Louis food truck? Your mind will be blown by these chicken thighs braised in soy sauce and garlic. Make sure to check their website so you can follow the truck’s every move (not creepy right?). Check out some more STL food trucks here.
14. Queso de Cabra al Horno at BARcelona Tapas Restaurant
This is a tapas classic done right, with baked goat cheese in a sweet and tangy tomato sauce. Now imagine dipping garlic bread in that pot of gloriousness… Enough said.
15. Toasted Ravioli at Zia’s on The Hill
Only Nelly is more from the Lou than toasted ravs, and Zia’s on the Hill has some of the best in town.
16. Chocolate Banana Malt at Crown Candy Kitchen
If you’re feeling extra adventurous try their malt challenge, which is downing five malts in 30 minutes. Good luck.
17. Gooey Butter Cake at Park Avenue Coffee
There are 76 flavors of gooey butter cake, so the goodness never has to stop. If you go to St. Louis and don’t have gooey butter cake, did you even go at all?? Check out some more foods that are local to the Lou here.
18. Flavored Margaritas at Chava’s Mexican Restaurant
Can’t decide where to go for happy hour? Try their $2 off margaritas every Monday-Friday from 4 pm-6 pm.
19. Smothered Fries at The Shaved Duck
Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this pork, cheese and fries combo will have you thinking you’re in heaven for a hot sec.
20. Caramel Apple Sundae at Ted Drewes
We’re finishing off the list with a classic STL institution: Ted Drewes. Their world-renowned custard is dreamy on its own, but when they pile it on top of apple pie and drown it in caramel, you’ll be begging for mercy.