We asked 320 Wash U students about their preferences in 8 different restaurant categories to choose which STL eateries to give the official Spoonie award. Next time you’re craving some guac and chips, the perfect omelette or an ideal BBQ pulled pork sandwich, check out this list of local STL restaurants to lead you in the right direction.


1. Best Mexican Restaurant: Mission Taco

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best restaurants wash u

Photo courtesy of missiontacostl.com

Located on the far end of the Loop, near the Lofts apartments, Mission Taco is known for its fresh takes on modern Mexican cuisine, with unique taco varieties including portobello mushroom and tofu and mouthwatering tortas (Mexican sandwiches) complemented by chile-dusted french fries.  With numerous vegetarian and gluten-free (hello, soft corn tortilla) options, Mission Taco has something for every Mexican-food lover, but regardless, make sure you taste their guacamole because its creaminess and flavor is simply unrivaled.  Mission Taco is also a prime spot for a late night craving because the full menu is served until 1am on all nights of the week except Sunday.

6235 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130 
(314) 932-5430
Tues-Sat 11am-1am, Sun 11am-12am 


2. Best Brunch Spot: Half & Half

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best restaurants wash u

Photo courtesy of riverfronttimes.com

Arguably the source of the most brunch foodie Instagrams for Wash U students, Half & Half’s culinary creations are just as delicious as they are photogenic.  With a breakfast menu stocked with sweets like Clara cakes, pancakes topped with raspberry sauce, mascarpone and granola, as well as savory items like omelets and eggs Benedict, Half & Half will please any morning taste. On Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant serves a special brunch menu combining elements from their breakfast and lunch menus and incorporating seasonal ingredients.

8133 Maryland Ave
St Louis, MO 63105
(314) 725-0719 
Tues-Fri 7am-2pm, Sat-Sun 8am-2pm


3. Best Frozen Yogurt: FroYo

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best restaurants wash u

Photo by @spoonuniversity_washu

Because of its convenience on the Loop and variety of flavors, FroYo is easily students’ go-to choice for frozen dessert.  And with frozen yogurt’s health benefits over ice cream, including lower sugar and fat as well as probiotics, it’s easy to convince yourself that it’s not even dessert.  Even if the Oreos and cookie dough you pile on top say otherwise.

6329 Delmar Blvd
University City, MO 63130
(314) 862-1717
Sun-Thurs 12pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 12pm-11pm


4. Best Coffee Shop: Kayak’s

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best restaurants wash u

Photo by Erica Sloan

It’s no wonder that Kayak’s swept the board in this category. You can always bet on seeing a friend or classmate there, either enjoying a latté with breakfast while catching up on reading or meeting with other students at lunch to work on a group project. Besides the fact that Kayak’s serves Kaldi’s local coffee, expertly brewed and transformed into lattés, cappuccinos and frozen beverages, it is also home to a fresh and delicious array of breakfast items, as well as sandwiches, salads and pizzas. The distinct local coffee shop atmosphere, complete with cabin-like wooden furniture and a friendly staff seals the deal.

270 N Skinker Blvd
St Louis, MO 63130 
(314) 862-4447
Mon-Sun 6:30am-10pm, kitchen closes at 9pm


5. Best Italian Restaurant: Pastaria

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best restaurants wash u

Photo courtesy of pastariastl.com

A more affordable and student-friendly Italian offshoot of the upscale New American restaurant Niche, Pastaria succeeds in the simplicity and freshness of its menu. It boasts traditional Italian pastas and pizzas like Chitarra al Pomodoro and Margherita pizza, alongside some more inventive creations like pistachio ravioli and butternut squash and sage pizza. Located in nearby Clayton, Pastaria easily draws a large crowd of Wash U students any night of the week. Even though take-out is an option, students rave about the open and inviting atmosphere, which allows guests to see chefs tossing pizzas and cooking them in the large wood-fire oven.

7734 Forsyth Blvd
Clayton, MO 63105
(314) 862-6603
 Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-9pm


6. Best BBQ/American Restaurant: Salt + Smoke

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best restaurants wash u

Photo courtesy of saltandsmokestl.com

I was amazed that this brand-new addition to the Loop edged out classic STL staples like Pappy’s and Bailey’s Range, but after tasting Salt + Smoke’s in-house smoked and cured meats or anything from the list of homemade sides, including white cheddar mac-and-cheese and garlic and herb fries, it’s really no surprise.  The yellow awnings sporting the restaurant’s tagline, “BBQ Bourbon Beer,” practically visible from the Greenway, quickly drew students to the new establishment, which took the place of Nico this past summer.  With a smoker out back, the restaurant’s prime attraction is clearly St. Louis style BBQ, but the menu’s other options, including fish sandwiches, a falafel burger and classic St. Louis appetizers, like toasted ravioli, cannot be discounted. Check out a full review here.

6525 Delmar Blvd
St Louis, MO 63130
(314) 727-0200
Tues-Sun 11am-close (whenever they run out of fresh food!) 


7. Best Quick/Nearby Bite: Seoul Taco

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best restaurants wash u

Photo by Grace Lee

Seoul Taco, which started out as a food truck, settled into its hole-in-the-wall location just off the Loop in 2011 to meet the high demand for its unique Korean BBQ Tex-Mex menu. In 2015, due to its success, Seoul Taco will be expanding into a large-scale restaurant with a DIY component in the location where Ginger Bistro used to be.  Chef David Choi attributes his success to delivering authentic Korean BBQ in easily recognizable Tex-Mex dishes like tacos and quesadillas.  It’s like the best of both worlds – and with incredibly low prices, it’s every college student’s dream.

571 Melville Ave
St Louis, MO 63130
(314) 863-1148
Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm


8. Best Pizza: Pi Pizza

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best restaurants wash u

Photo courtesy of pi-pizza.com

Pi Pizza is STL’s culinary claim to fame: President Obama said it was favorite pizza. Okay, we know Obama is no pizza expert, but we can see why Pi takes the cake on this one…or should we say pie? Whether you’re yearning for a hearty Chicago-style deep-dish or prefer thin crust New York-style pizza, Pi has got you covered. Toppings range from traditional Italian meatballs and sausage or vegetables to more inventive flavor combinations, including a Korean-style brisket pizza and a Mexican style pizza, complete with black beans and avocado.  For those with a sweet tooth, the “apple pi” is simply decadent, baked in a cornmeal crust and topped with salted caramel ice cream. Although many Wash U students know Pi from its location on the Loop, the restaurant also has locations in Central West End and downtown, as well as other locations in Missouri, Cincinnati and Washington, D.C.

6144 Delmar Blvd
St Louis, MO 63112
(314) 727-6633
Mon-Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-11pm

Central West End:
400 N. Euclid
St. Louis, MO 63108
(314) 367-4300 
Mon-Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-11pm, Everyday: coffee and pastries 6am-11am

610 Washington Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63101
(314) 588-7600
Mon-Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-11pm