March 06, 2017

10 Delicious St. Louis Restaurants You Should Try Right Now

By Cheryl Baehr From James Beard Award-winning chefs serving inspired Mediterranean fare to humble takeout joints that redefine Asian fusion, St. Louis is blessed with an abundance of eclectic dining options. Here are the places that are currently creating the most buzz.

By Cheryl Baehr From James Beard Award-winning chefs serving inspired Mediterranean fare to humble takeout joints that redefine Asian fusion, St. Louis is blessed with an abundance of eclectic dining options. Here are the places that are currently creating the most buzz.

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Private Kitchen (8106 Olive Boulevard, University City; 314-989-0283)
One of the city’s most sought-after reservations is a hidden gem in Chinatown. Private Kitchen is unlike any Chinese restaurant you’ve ever experienced. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Private Kitchen (8106 Olive Boulevard, University City; 314-989-0283)

One of the city’s most sought-after reservations is a hidden gem in Chinatown. Private Kitchen is unlike any Chinese restaurant you’ve ever experienced. Photo by Mabel Suen.
When you make your reservation, you select your multi-course dinner for the evening, allowing chef Lawrence Chen to put together a customized affair grand enough to deserve a Michelin star or two. The mystique that comes from ordering slow-cooked pork knuckles, Peking duck or sea cucumber rice without ever stepping foot in the restaurant adds a level of intrigue to Chen’s fiercely authentic food.  Photo courtesy of Instagram / michelle26ww.
When you make your reservation, you select your multi-course dinner for the evening, allowing chef Lawrence Chen to put together a customized affair grand enough to deserve a Michelin star or two. The mystique that comes from ordering slow-cooked pork knuckles, Peking duck or sea cucumber rice without ever stepping foot in the restaurant adds a level of intrigue to Chen’s fiercely authentic food. Photo courtesy of Instagram / michelle26ww.
Kounter Kulture (3825 Watson Road, 314-781-4344)
On first glance, this tiny, takeout-only spot may not look like a bastion of modern cuisine, but the folks behind Kounter Kulture want you to question your assumptions. Owned by longtime friends Christine Meyer and Michael Miller, this south-city gem serves some of the town’s most exciting cuisine. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Kounter Kulture (3825 Watson Road, 314-781-4344)

On first glance, this tiny, takeout-only spot may not look like a bastion of modern cuisine, but the folks behind Kounter Kulture want you to question your assumptions. Owned by longtime friends Christine Meyer and Michael Miller, this south-city gem serves some of the town’s most exciting cuisine. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Don’t let the passé term “Asian fusion” turn you off — Kounter Kulture has found a way to make the seemingly dated genre modern again, with dishes like a catfish po’boy steam bun that whispers Asian but screams Mississippi delta. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Don’t let the passé term “Asian fusion” turn you off — Kounter Kulture has found a way to make the seemingly dated genre modern again, with dishes like a catfish po’boy steam bun that whispers Asian but screams Mississippi delta. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Nixta (1621 Tower Grove Avenue, 314-899-9000)
James Beard Award-nominated chef and restaurateur Ben Poremba may have cut his teeth on Mediterranean fare at his three other restaurants, but Nixta proves that he is just as comfortable with the flavors of the Western hemisphere. Photo by Jennifer Silverberg.
Nixta (1621 Tower Grove Avenue, 314-899-9000)

James Beard Award-nominated chef and restaurateur Ben Poremba may have cut his teeth on Mediterranean fare at his three other restaurants, but Nixta proves that he is just as comfortable with the flavors of the Western hemisphere. Photo by Jennifer Silverberg.
His latest concept, Nixta, is a culinary collaboration between Poremba and his former chef de cuisine at the elegant Elaia, Tello Carreon. A native of Guanajuato, Mexico, Carreon has mastered the art of updating traditional Mexican recipes with modern flavors and techniques. Look for dishes like sturgeon fajitas, duck carnitas and charred octopus. Finish with a nightcap in the adjacent Bar Limon, where Poremba has created a sultry atmosphere in hopes that his guests will get up and dance. Photo courtesy of Ben Poremba.
His latest concept, Nixta, is a culinary collaboration between Poremba and his former chef de cuisine at the elegant Elaia, Tello Carreon. A native of Guanajuato, Mexico, Carreon has mastered the art of updating traditional Mexican recipes with modern flavors and techniques. Look for dishes like sturgeon fajitas, duck carnitas and charred octopus. Finish with a nightcap in the adjacent Bar Limon, where Poremba has created a sultry atmosphere in hopes that his guests will get up and dance. Photo courtesy of Ben Poremba.
Olive + Oak (102 W. Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-736-1370)
St. Louis’ dining critics were unanimous in their verdict in 2016: Olive + Oak was the best new restaurant in the city. Led by veteran restaurateur Mark Hinkle and chef Jesse Mendica, the Webster Groves eatery checks every box that makes a great restaurant: thoughtful and impeccably executed cuisine, a contemporary bar program, an inviting atmosphere and warm service. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Olive + Oak (102 W. Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-736-1370)

St. Louis’ dining critics were unanimous in their verdict in 2016: Olive + Oak was the best new restaurant in the city. Led by veteran restaurateur Mark Hinkle and chef Jesse Mendica, the Webster Groves eatery checks every box that makes a great restaurant: thoughtful and impeccably executed cuisine, a contemporary bar program, an inviting atmosphere and warm service. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Whether you’re having cheese curds and a burger or blue crab gratin with a 32-ounce prime rib eye, this wonderful eatery will have you dazzled. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Whether you’re having cheese curds and a burger or blue crab gratin with a 32-ounce prime rib eye, this wonderful eatery will have you dazzled. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Público (6679 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-833-5780) Seeing arepas and tacos listed on Público’s menu might make you think you’re at a conventional Mexican restaurant. Then they arrive, the former crowned with liver mousse, fried sage and maple syrup, the latter stuffed with roasted duck, salsa and duck fat mayo, and you realize this is a place like no other. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Público (6679 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-833-5780)

Seeing arepas and tacos listed on Público’s menu might make you think you’re at a conventional Mexican restaurant. Then they arrive, the former crowned with liver mousse, fried sage and maple syrup, the latter stuffed with roasted duck, salsa and duck fat mayo, and you realize this is a place like no other. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Run by the acclaimed and daring chef Mike Randolph, Público was thrust into the national spotlight last year when it was nominated for the Best New Restaurant award by the James Beard Foundation. One taste of Randolph’s food, and it’s easy to see why. At Público, he cooks exclusively over a wood fire, giving the place a feel of a South American post-sundown beachside barbecue. Photo by Mabel Suen.
Run by the acclaimed and daring chef Mike Randolph, Público was thrust into the national spotlight last year when it was nominated for the Best New Restaurant award by the James Beard Foundation. One taste of Randolph’s food, and it’s easy to see why. At Público, he cooks exclusively over a wood fire, giving the place a feel of a South American post-sundown beachside barbecue. Photo by Mabel Suen.