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Best Tapas/Small Plates St. Louis 2013 - Sanctuaria

Sanctuaria

Sanctuaria

4198 Manchester Ave.

St. Louis, MO 63110

314-535-9700

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Craft cocktails have taken on such prominence on restaurant menus that they often steal the show from the food. Certainly, no one can say that Sanctuaria falls short in the mixology department — this dark and cozy Grove spot has achieved well-deserved national acclaim for its libation prowess. At a place with such focus on the beverage department, it would be easy to treat food as an afterthought. Luckily, Sanctuaria brings its tapas to the same level as its drink list. The restaurant bills its bites as "wild" tapas, serving a limited but eclectic array of small plates. Try the cornbread, studded with jalapeños slathered with honey butter, or the more ambitious piquillo peppers stuffed with goat cheese. The "Wicked Good" shrimp evoke Spanish seaside dining; the plump camarónes are simmered in a thick, garlicky, peppery tomato sauce that begs to be sopped up with some crusty bread. Also decadent are the "Cabrales Cigars" — blue cheese and leek fondue rolled in phyllo and pan fried. So one must ask the philosophical question: Which came first, the food or the drinks? Luckily, patrons do not have to choose.

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