St. Louis' neighborhoods are gems in their own right: full of history, great people and, as far as Gut Check is concerned, fantastic food. Each week we'll take you into a specific neighborhood and point you in the direction of the best places to grab some bites.
One could easily argue that aside from the Delmar Loop, the heart of South Grand is the most-visited street in St. Louis -- and for good reason. South Grand Boulevard offers a cornucopia of shops, not to mention a tattoo parlor, all within walking distance of beautiful Tower Grove Park and the surrounding neighborhoods.
It's also extremely easy to eat your way across the globe on South Grand, with its ample American, Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern and Ethiopian options. Let's dive in.
First up, The King & I...
The King & I (3157 South Grand Boulevard; 314-771-1777) A mainstay of South Grand Boulevard's impressive array of ethnic restaurants, the King & I has introduced countless St. Louisans to Thai cuisine. The menu offers several dozen selections, and all your Thai favorites are present: pad thai and other noodle dishes; fried rice; the classic tom yum and tom kha soups. The red and green curries are very good. (As always, hotter is better, but the kitchen will tweak to your preference.) The restaurant is an ideal spot for families looking for a more adventurous destination, with a few crowd-pleasing Chinese dishes and a brief, Western kids' menu.
City Diner (3139 South Grand Boulevard; 314-772-6100) The food at this cheery South Grand spot is so homey, you half-expect it to turn back your sheets and draw you a warm bath. You can get your three squares at City Diner, and you can - joy of joys - have mashed potatoes with all of 'em. Get mashed spuds with your meatloaf omelet in the a.m. (take that, hangover!). Find them nestled next to an open-face roast beef sandwich at midday. In the evening the taters buddy up with some of the best country-fried steak in town. The City runs circles around typical diner fare with items like grilled polenta, a house roasted pork loin and pesto chicken salad. Tuck into a plate of mac 'n' cheese. You simply can't go wrong here.
See also: - RFT's Around the Clock Diner Marathon
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