Contemporary in St. Louis

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    Tucked away near the juniors' section of Nordstrom at West County Center lies Café Bistro, the department store's restaurant. Diners can place their orders with the cashier and then choose a seat in the contemporary dining room. The menu focuses on organic, local and sustainable foods, as well as environmentally friendly cups, bottles and napkins. The café highlights soups, salads and sandwiches alongside a few pizzas and specialties such as roast chicken pommes frites. Café Bistro also offers a brief wine and beer selection.
    Cielo
    Cielo, in Laclede's Landing, is several steps above the usual St. Louis restaurant. Literally: The restaurant is on the eighth floor of the Four Seasons hotel, and the view of the Arch from its floor-to-ceiling windows is certainly one of the city's most striking. The food, too, is impressive. The contemporary Italian menu includes housemade pasta with such uncommon touches as veal cheek and oxtail ravioli. Entrees succeed on balance: A grilled Berkshire pork chop is paired with crisp Bosc pair and wilted chicory, a fantastic blend of sweet, savory and bitter. An excellent destination, provided you just hit it big at Lumiere Place next door.
    Clark Street Grill
    Located on the first floor of the Westin downtown and a stone's throw from Busch Stadium, Clark Street Grill offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast includes the standard options -- French toast, a build-your-own omelet -- and a "SuperFoods" menu, which highlights healthy ingredients, including blueberry orange granola pancakes. Lunch offers a simple selection of salads, sandwiches and pizzas, while dinner brings upscale options such as duck confit-and-pear salad, with entrées including pasta, Chilean sea bass and beef tenderloin. Clark Street Grill also offers a bar menu with appetizers and a small selection of casual fare.
    Copia Urban Winery
    Copia beat the odds, reopening two and a half years after a fire gutted the stylish and popular Washington Avenue restaurant. The look and the menu didn't change much in the hiatus. The space is outsize, with a spacious main dining room and an even bigger "wine garden" (with a retractable roof!). The menu caters to the tastes of St. Louis diners before the economy collapsed. Standout dishes include the smoked spare ribs and duck breast in a sauce of its own pan juices with candied dates and green peppercorns. If a dish sounds too 1990s-early 2000s-ish to be good - like, say, tuna with wasabi-infused mashed potatoes - trust your gut.
    Cork Wine Bar
    Sophisticated Cork Wine Bar offers diners in historic downtown Ferguson a selection of elegant wines and equally elegant food to accompany it. The area’s undisputed date-night spot, Cork serves a thoughtful menu of sharable dishes and larger entrees that go beyond the usual cheese and charcuterie you find at most wine bars — although, of course, it has those too. Not to miss are the bar’s thrilling wine flights, curated around a theme like sparkling, full-bodied reds or sweeter style whites. Don’t worry if you are intimidated about pairing cactus tacos or char sui glazed chicken with something to drink. The approachable wait staff has the know-how to guide you in whatever direction you want to go. $$. Patio. Closed Mondays.
    The Corner Pub & Grill
    The Corner Pub and Grill in Valley Park -- specifically, the intersection of Big Bend and Dougherty Ferry roads -- is owned by the same team who opened the Tavern Kitchen and Bar, a higher-end restaurant whose contemporary take on American comfort foods. Food at the Corner Pub and Grill includes casual American fare including burgers, sandwiches, wings and fries with an emphasis on gluten-free options.

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