Three Flags Tavern (4940 Southwest Avenue; 314-669-9222)
Chef and owner John O'Brien wanted a simple neighborhood tavern, but he ended up with one of the area's best restaurants. Drawing inspiration from the city's past, O'Brien weaves together an approachable menu of Spanish, French and American dishes, all prepared with veteran polish. A cozy dining room, tree-covered patio and polite, attentive service set the scene for an extraordinary meal. The fried chicken is juicy, the lobster roll (if you can get your hands on one) is buttery and overstuffed, and the brisket burger is sublime. It's hard to imagine another place beating this out for the title of "Restaurant of the Year"...but we're hoping someone tries.