Locations in St. Louis

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    Acero Ristorante
    St. Louis has approximately 1 million Italian restaurants, but nothing like Acero. Here you don't choose between the red sauce or the white, and you won't find Provel on anything. Sample salumi from the nation's top artisanal producers, or share a quartino of Amarone wine with a special someone. Pasta dishes, especially, are exquisite - small portions crafted with incredible attention to detail; polenta is poured tableside onto a marble slab and then topped with one of several sumptuous sauces. You're meant to order in the traditional Italian style - antipasto, pasta, then entrée -- but there are no rules except to celebrate the sheer joy of good food and wine.
    Aggie's Closet & Tea Room
    Aggie's Closet caters to the ladies' day out crowd, complete with fine china and lace inside its Victorian dining room. Aggie's menu includes salads, sandwiches and a quiche loaded with veggies. When the weather permits, guests can enjoy their tea party in the garden.
    Al Smith's Feasting Fox
    Built by Adolphus Busch around 1914, this magnificent example of the beer-baron-bravado style of architecture now features competent lighter, updated versions of classic German cooking mixed in with basic steaks and seafood, along with a quintessential apple strudel for dessert.
    Al's Restaurant
    Al's Restaurant Just north of the flashy Lumière Place downtown lies Al's Restaurant, which has enjoyed its home along the riverfront for 85 years. The upscale restaurant serves all the perennial favorites, including escargot, lobster tails and steak tartar for starters. Al's only serves dinner, which offers a selection of steaks such as steak Diane and filet mignon or the "Italian Dinner" -- a filet alongside veal parmigiano. Not in the mood for steak? No problem: Al's also offers a variety of veal preparations, pork chops seafood and duck breast among their entrees. Reservations are recommended.
    Andria's Steakhouse
    Steak lovers flock to this rambling old farmhouse for good reason -- its eponymous marinade results in a savory searing on the outside of the meat (and seafood, too) and an incredible juiciness on the inside. Offerings also include a succulent prime rib and daily seafood specials.
    Andria's Steakhouse-Chesterfield
    The second location of the popular O'Fallon, Illinois, restaurant brings classic steak-house charm - and Andria's famous steak sauce - to west county. The menu is traditional steak-house cuisine: shrimp cocktail, baked potato and lots and lots of steak. Strip and rib-eye steaks bring a great balance of flavor and tenderness. All steaks, as well as the mammoth pork chop, are brushed with the legendary sauce. Though not cheap, Andria's is more casual and value-minded than many old-school steakhouses: Entrées come with a side and a large salad, and feel free to wear jeans.
    Araka
    Steven Caravelli, formerly executive chef at Hubert Keller's steak house Sleek, now mans the kitchen at Araka. The menu retains a focus on the cuisines of Europe's Mediterranean coast, though Caravelli intends to home in on local produce and sustainable meat and seafood. New dishes include seared diver scallops with pork belly and a quail egg, a "duo" of local beef and a "tartare" made from beets. Standard and vegetarian tasting menus are available.
    Arber brings together Italian and Albania fare from its cozy restaurant on the corner of Gravois Avenue and Blow Street in south city. The menu offers diners a taste of both nations with appetizers that include dolma and bruschetta (and even T-ravs for the St. Louis-centric). Arber also features entrees such as roasted lamb, tilapia and spaghetti with feta cheese, or opt for one a gyro or and Italian beef sandwich. The restaurant features a small dining room and also offers carryout.
    Located in the Bel-Air Bowl building, the Arbor Restaurant serves up salads, soups and specials from its spot right inside the bowling alley's doors. Specials include a cod basket and chicken and dumplings, rib eye and chili mac, or diners can feast on the soup-and-salad bar. On Sundays Arbor offers brunch, complete with an omelet station, waffles, fruit and desserts.
    Atlas Restaurant & Lunch Room
    Like a fine Bordeaux, Atlas grows richer and more noble with each year. The menu is timeless, with attention paid to the quality of ingredients and meticulous preparation rather than pizzazz and the latest trends. Dishes change seasonally, but you'll certainly find excellent lamb and pork dishes as well as a fish of the day and vegetarian selections. The steak frites, a staple, is the best in town.
    Aya Sofia
    "Turkey coma" takes on a whole new meaning at this Turkish/Mediterranean restaurant that relentlessly tempts. Appetizer platters are resplendent with salt-of-the-earth goodness, while main courses are typically beef or lamb over rice or couscous. While most of Aya Sofia's dishes bear a close-cousin resemblance to other Eurasian delicacies such as spanakopita and gyros, the staff is quite fluent at helping to decipher and navigate the menu as needed.
    Bamboo Bistro
    The friendly staff and large dining area provide a quick-fix for downtown 9-to-5ers looking for their midday meal. The lunch buffet offers a taste of the popular menu items at an affordable price. The regular menu includes a large variety of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese choices, including spring rolls, kung pao chicken and curry vegetable tofu.
    Bar Louie-Central West End
    Is Bar Louie a swank cocktail lounge or a neighborhood bar and grill? Depends on when you show up. The Chicago-based chain occupies a massive space in the Central West End, and when it's filled with the young and the beautiful on a weekend night, it's got spark. Stop by for lunch or an early dinner, though, and you may feel lonely. Stick with the basics: sandwiches, burgers and fish tacos. Chase your meal with a beer or martini and watch the pretty people play.
    Barney's Bar-B-Q
    Summertime, the livin' is easy and Barney's half-chicken is calling your name. Only partly because it's open May through September, the converted garage that is Barney's Bar-B-Q positively screams summer. Get ribs if you want, but it's the chicken they do most right here, pink and juicy, dipped in your cupful of vinegar-based, cider-tinged barbecue sauce. Sit down at one of the red-painted picnic tables, kick off your sandals and let your feet feel the thick grass underneath. Hot fun!
    BC's Kitchen
    Well-known local chef Bill Cardwell (Cardwell's at the Plaza) and his business partner and executive chef John Kennealy bring modern city dining to the exurbs. Handsome and smoothly run, BC's Kitchen offers generous portions of typical New American bistro fare - short ribs, pork chops, roasted chicken - all of it prepared with the utmost attention to detail. The St. Louis-cut spare ribs are a highlight, the meat more than flavorful enough to stand up to a smoky, tangy barbecue sauce. And Cardwell crafts one of the best burgers in town, with blue and cheddar cheese, bacon and a spicy-sweet tomato relish far superior to ketchup.
    Bek-Hee
    It's easy to drive past Bek-Hee without giving the place a second glance. Set amid strip malls and budget apartment complexes on Page Avenue, the restaurant blends into the north county landscape as "just another chop suey joint." That’s not completely inaccurate. Bek Hee's menu contains all of the Chinese greasy-spoon staples: St. Paul sandwiches, hot braised chicken, pork fried rice with gravy. However, hidden among these inauthentic dishes are some traditional gems that, when word gets out, will put Bek Hee on the map. The small restaurant is owned by the Lin family, expats from Sha County in China, that is famous for its culinary tradition -- legend has it, Sha's cooking style descends directly from the Han royal family that fled to Sha in 221 AD. Some Sha-style gems on Bek-Hee's menu include the housemade pork egg rolls and vegetarian spring rolls, both made from scratch (including the wonton wrappers), overstuffed and fried to a crisp golden brown. The homemade dumplings are also a must try -- the pork filled gems are delicious in their own right, but the accompanying "dumpling sauce," a Lin family secret recipe, is divine. Also noteworthy are the house special lo mein and the Singapore chow mei fun, both made with homemade noodles. Bek-Hee proves why Sha cooking is fit for a king.
    Bellacino's Pizza & Grinders-St. Peters
    The Bellacino's in the Hampton Village shopping center is part of the grinder chain started in 1998, with each location locally owned and operated. Its menu focuses on salads, pizza and grinders (natch), with a section devoted to lighter options that use fat-free mozzarella and fat-free mayonnaise. Not interested in the lighter side of life? Go for the "Bomber" -- thin-sliced rib-eye steak with mushrooms, green peppers, cheese, lettuce, tomato and "thick and hearty sauce" or the Italian grinder which is stuffed with ham, salami, sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.
    Big Sky Cafe
    Mention Big Sky to anyone who's been there, and watch their mouths water. Tim Mallett's Webster Groves eatery is one of those wondrous places where fun combinations of creative ingredients make for highly edible entertainment. Whenever you go, the big bowl of mashed potatoes is obligatory.
    Bistro 1130
    Bistro 1130 brings Mediterranean-inspired cuisine to the shoppers of Town and Country Crossing, albeit with varying degrees of authenticity. Executive chef Karim Bouzammour, a Moroccan native, infuses the menu with specialties from his homeland; Bistro 1130 is at its best when he embraces this rich, North Africa culinary heritage. In particular, the lamb couscous, served in a tagine with assorted vegetables and chickpeas, is the embodiment of authentic Moroccan cuisine. Likewise, do not pass up the fresh sardines when available. These mild, little fish are packed with fresh herbs and drizzled with lemon juice -- an authentic Mediterranean delicacy. Also noteworthy is fig-and-pine-nut-stuffed pork, as well as the excellent phyllo-dough-wrapped goat cheese turnover. Weather permitting, opt for the patio -- Bistro 1130 has a prime, lakeside location.
    The Bistro at Grand Center
    Mid-priced bistro fare is served here, with eclectic influences ranging from the Basque country to the Caribbean. A good excuse to go to Grand Center for something other than a show or the symphony.
    Blue Elephant
    This cozy spot in downtown Clayton serves up the usual Thai suspects with flair. Roasted boneless duck breast with red curry is one of the "house specialties" -- crisp skin outside, moist, succulent and meaty inside, with a sauce that provides a nice, not-too-spicy counterbalance to sweet chunks of pineapple and tomato and fresh basil leaves. Thai barbecued chicken is a tasty, mild and b-i-g half a bird. The heat in the salmon in green curry sneaks up on you, unfolding its layers of flavor -- and that's the appeal of a Blue Elephant meal: a harmony of flavors that are simultaneously subtle and complex.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

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