I don't know about you, but the wide variety of European cultures and traditions are fascinating to me, and authentic European food is certainly no exception. Growing up in a Russian household, I came to appreciate international cuisine in all of its unique and delicious glory. So, when I decided to attend college in St. Louis, I was on a mission to find the most authentic European restaurants to meet all of my foodie needs.

Whether you're also from an international household, or whether you just have an affinity for good food, you can't go wrong with European cuisine. After all, Italian food is a must because, well, can you ever actually eat too much pasta or pizza? Who can say no to a light, airy French croissant? And in England, scones can be found on every corner. We may not be living across the pond, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy scones, too.

Based on my personal experiences and some guidance from Yelp and TripAdvisor, here's a handy list of the five most authentic European restaurants in St. Louis to add to your food bucket list. 

1. The London Tearoom

Why you should go: Enjoying some afternoon tea is the best way to make the most of any weekend. You can sip tea out of dainty cups and eat perfectly-cut finger sandwiches. Best of all, you can savor their English scones, which I definitely recommend eating with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry jam. 

Their online menu includes a list of over 60 different types of teas. This list includes Ceylon black tea from Sri Lanka, Maple Walnut Sencha green tea from Japan, and Chamomile herbal tea from Croatia, just to name a few. It's like getting an additional international twist while simultaneously relishing in an authentic, British experience. 

One Google reviewer even commented, "I'm not a tea drinker and they won me over with the 'naughty vicar' tea! They even had a gluten free scone! It was so good!" It sounds like a worthwhile trip to me, as there's something for everybody.

Address: 3128 Morganford Rd, St. Louis, MO 63116

2. La Patisserie Choquette

Why you should go: Just take a look at these Darkness Croissants of chocolate heaven—the picture sells itself. So many people rave about this French bakery's delicious goods. From the macarons to the croissants, Danishes, eclairs, and every perfect carb overload in between, you really can't go wrong. The pastry chef is known for going above and beyond, making art rather than just food. That would explain why La Patisserie Choquette is also known for its beautiful cakes. Why not envision yourself walking down la Rivière Siene, while taking a bite of a French-themed cake? 

You can also join their Macaron of the Month Club to have their macarons delivered straight to your door every month. They offer traditional flavors, as well as out-of-the-box ones (read: although they are still delivered to you in the box). These unique flavors include cotton candy, horchata rum, Vietnamese coffee, and funnel cake macarons. If you're like me and prefer to keep it simple, La Patisserie Choquette still offers vanilla bean macarons and other quintessentially French macaron flavors.

Address: 1626 Tower Grove Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110

3. The Crossing

Why you should go: Whenever my family is in town, we often enjoy a meal at The Crossing, which truly is the crossroads for French and Italian cuisine. The chef combines French and Italian influences into his food while using locally sourced ingredients.

My personal favorites? The roasted beet salad appetizer and the yellowfin tuna entree. That being said, I don't think you can go wrong, and most people who've eaten at The Crossing seem to agree as well. They make their own pasta, so you know your getting a truly authentic food experience every time. The chef's Premium Tasting Menu consists of a 4-course meal, while the Chef Grand Tasting Menu gives all European food enthusiasts the chance to indulge in an 8-course menu. Make sure to bring your appetite and wear a pair of stretchy pants, because you're going to be super full and equally happy.

Before you leave, don't miss out on dessert. There's fried blueberry pie, warm chocolate torte, gelato, and much more. Is your mouth watering yet? I know mine is.

Address: 7823 Forsyth Blvd, Clayton, MO 63105

4. Cielo Restaurant & Bar

Why you should go: Located on the eighth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel, this Italian restaurant is certainly a special occasion destination. With both indoor seating and outdoor seating on a luxurious terrace, you're guaranteed an incredible view of the city, especially of the Arch—talk about an authentic European experience, combined with an authentic St. Louis one. It not only feels magical, but the food is magical as well.

The chef is an Italian native, so he is truly dedicated to making quality, traditional food. Although they also offer a variety of fish and meat such as salmon, branzino, skirt steak, and short ribs, save room for Ceilo's pasta, because it's about as close to authentic Italian pasta as you can get without hopping on a plane. The pastas include a spaghetti bolognese, carrot ravioli, arugula pappardelle, and much more. 

But don't forget dessert (read: never forget dessert). Ceilo offers authentic European desserts ranging from espresso tiramisu, chocolate terrines, and baba rum—a small cake that is usually covered in maple syrup and hard liquor. They also offer what's called a double chocolate, which is basically a sundae of chocolate gelato, chocolate brownie pieces, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. The sundae is enormous, but you'll definitely want to finish it. 

Address: 99 N 2nd St, St. Louis, MO 63102

5. Pastaria

Why you should go: It's always a good time for pasta. As a more casual alternative to Cielo, Pastaria offers pasta and pizza galore. You'll never run out of options. My best friend is obsessed with their caprese salad, which includes heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, and a balsamic vinaigrette. You'll want to get it when it's in season, usually during the summer months.

Pastaria also offers dishes like pistachio ravioli, mushroom lasagna bianca, and Italian ramen. The strozzapreti, a bolognese dish, is absolutely to die for. They also offer a pizza called "The Roman," which has ingredients like tomato, garlic, bacon, and mozzarella. The best part? It's all house-made. Did someone say authentic European food? I think so.

When you're done with your main course, you have to try the tiramisu or a cannoli for dessert. But, if you're in the mood for something a bit lighter, you'll be forgiven if you opt out of those dessert options and head straight toward their gelato bar where you're sure to be smiling from ear to ear. 

Address: 7734 Forsyth Blvd, Clayton, MO 63105

So are you ready? You no longer need a plane ticket to enjoy authentic European food, all you need to do is make your way to these delicious restaurants that are located right in St. Louis. A 10 to 15 minute drive definitely beats the eight-hour plane ride, so what are you waiting for? Make your stomach happy. Bon Appétit!