Locations in St. Louis with Staff Pick

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    Anthony's Bar
    Bohemian meets upper crust when the Bommarito family of five-diamond Tony's fame shakes things up at suppertime. Anthony's Bar extends its power-lunch reputation beyond the dinner hour with appetizers like a pulled pork tamale and entrées like herb-stuffed salmon and a grilled porkchop with roasted tomatoes and potatoes. The menu is brief and reasonably priced, the atmosphere casual -- if frozen in a ´70s time warp. As at Tony's, expect great attention to the food and service (the two restaurants share a kitchen).
    Asia
    Asia reflects only a sliver of the titular continent's size and cultural variety. Instead it focuses on those countries many might think of when they hear the phrase "Asian cuisine": China, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand. Sushi is prepared well, though the fish itself is merely good, not outstanding. Entrées lean toward Chinese and Chinese-American dishes like General Tso's chicken; house specialties include Peking duck and an excellent Cornish hen dish. The Cornish hen is one of the few values on a relatively high-priced menu.
    Burger Bar
    The second outpost of Hubert Keller's Burger Bar concept (the original is in Las Vegas) is one of the acclaimed chef's two restaurants in the Lumiere casino complex. Burger Bar offers countless variations on the standard burger, with nearly four dozen different toppings -- from different cheeses, bacons and vegetables to cranberry sauce, marinated anchovies and even foie gras -- to go with several different kinds of beef, as well as bison, turkey and a vegetable patty. "American Kobe" beef is luscious, but expensive. The menu features six "Chef's Burgers" designed by the kitchen, including the $60 Rossini: American Kobe beef with foie gras, shaved black truffle and a Madeira sauce.
    Carl's Drive In
    Time has stood still for several decades in this sixteen-seat classic burger joint, usually filled beyond capacity during peak hours. The counter staff balances taking orders by way of the pay phone with serving up spatula-smashed fresh ground beef, cooked to order within inches of those lucky enough to have snagged a stool. Custom-brewed root beer, claimed to come from the original IBC recipe, is available in frozen mugs or as part of a float.
    Courtesy Diner
    The Courtesy Diner, like the Dude, abides. Whether you want a hearty breakfast to soak up last night's drinks, a late-night slinger to forestall the morning hangover, the best fast-food hamburger in town or a fix of cheap coffee and jukebox blues to stir your brooding soul, you'll find it here - just like you would have found it twenty, thirty, even forty years ago. Best of all, the Courtesy Diner is not an attic for Americana, and it isn't some kind of shrine to the working class; it's a working restaurant (and be prepared to pay with cash).
    Dave & Buster's
    Riverport's self-proclaimed "largest dining and entertainment extravaganza in Missouri" is like Chuck E. Cheese on growth hormones. On weekends, a tram service takes you from the vast parking lot to a structure so big they give you a map in the lobby. Inside, the place throbs like a hangover after a three-day debauch in Vegas. Dinner in the Grand Dining Room -- a posh enclave richly appointed with Tiffanyesque fixtures, dark wood and white linen -- exceeds expectations: The charbroiled sirloin is good and garlicky, and the barbecued pork ribs are wonderful.
    DB's Sports Bar
    Around 1 p.m. on any given weekday, there are approximately 90 men and two women having lunch at DB's. Since this bar calls a self-effacing little brick building on a stretch of throwaway, near-abandoned street home -- meaning most patrons consider DB's a dining destination -- this ranks as a small phenomenon. But DB's gives its clientele what it wants. A TV set in every corner blares 24-hour sports programming, while waitresses swan around in teeny T's or outfits that require multiple modifiers: itsy-bitsy, neon-pink, strapless, Lycra. Weekend nights find DB's with a boisterous crowd and the ladies clad in naught but lacy underthings—it's as close as you'll get to a skin show on this side of the river. The menu is mostly straight-up bar food -- including DB's Famous, an open-faced sandwich made with melted Provel and ham atop French bread that's actually quite tasty. Surprisingly, there's also a touch of the down-home, thanks to daily, blue-plate-style specials like meat loaf, lasagna or roast beef. What, no breast of chicken?
    The Dubliner
    The Dubliner brings an authentic Irish pub experience to Washington Avenue, with one catch: it's too big and too loft-like to pass for the real thing, but those in the mood for a pint of Guinness and a bit of craic won't mind. The menu offers hearty traditional fare, much of it sourced from local farms: beef short ribs braised in stout, a Guinness stew, lamb, fish and chips - and lots and lots of potatoes. Stop in for brunch and enjoy an authentic Irish breakfast, with homemade blood sausage. If restaurant partner Eddie Neill is on the premises, he will greet you enthusiastically with open arms. And to top it off, a few of Eddie's favorite French wines were recommended to pair with our plate.
    Joey B's On The Hill
    Joey B's on the Hill might be more sedate than the original Joey B's on the Landing, but its neighborhood bar-and-grill ambiance is winning. The lengthy menu features standard bar-food fare like wings, T-ravs and potato skins, as well as pasta, burgers and sandwiches. The St. Louis-style pizza is popular, and those seeking a more substantial meal will find steak on the menu. The bite-size soft pretzels are fantastic: buttery sweet and served with a spicy jalapeño-cheese sauce for dipping. The dining rooms offer numerous flat-screen TVs to keep tabs on all the games.
    La Tropicana Market & Cafe
    Lovers of Hispanic cuisine and ingredients travel from all points in the metropolitan area to this old-fashioned corner grocery and deli. The seating arrangement inside is spartan, although an outside courtyard is available when weather permits. The menu features close to a dozen whole-meal plates of classic Mexican specialties, along with chicken roasted in the Cuban style.
    Lemon Grass
    Lemongrass has an attractive new home - check out the silhouettes of lemongrass stalks projected on the walls - but it remains one of the best values along South Grand. Its cafe sua da (iced coffee) is without doubt the strongest and sweetest. The lengthy menu offers the familiar (spring rolls and pho), the hearty (try com thit nuong dac biet, delicious char-grilled pork and an egg fried over-easy atop rice, with a quiche-like eggcake on the side) and even the Chinese (ga Tso's -- yes, General Tso's chicken). Best of all, you can get a generous portion of almost anything on the menu for less than $10.
    The Post Sports Bar & Grill
    A fun and very laidback sports bar replete with tasty grub and cold beer. TV monitors and (mostly) St. Louis sports memorabilia cram the walls, while the requisite snacks - chicken wings, pizza, burgers - fill your tummy. The wings are good: spicy, meaty and crisp-skinned. You can also order the "Blazin' Chicken Dip," which folds together chicken, Buffalo sauce and cheese. Burgers are simply adorned and tasty, while pizzas are amply loaded with cheese and toppings. Stop in for happy hour Monday through Friday for 4 to 7 p.m. and start planning your fantasy sports team strategies.
    SqWires
    Built into part of the renovated Western Wire Products factory in Lafayette Square, SqWires focuses on simple, spirited food. (Seafood, in particular, is a highlight.) The interior is modern-industrial with a cosmopolitan feel, thanks to exposed brick and lofty windows. The happy hour is pretty solid with above average drink offerings group-friendly food -- plates are easy to share, and each offers something for someone. The dips-and-spreads app features warm pita bread fanned among three very distinctively different but complementary dips. SqWires' modern flare fits in beautifully against the historic backdrop.
    Tiffany's Original Diner
    You want dinner theater? Plop your fanny down on one of Tiffany's dozen-plus vinyl-topped stools and eavesdrop on the regulars at this unapologetically greasy spoon, where the dinnerware's made of plastic, the jukebox is filled with Meat Loaf and Johnny Cash, and the menu contains exactly one item that costs more than $7 (that'd be the twelve-ounce T-bone with fries or two eggs for $10.95). While downing a breakfast platter (served anytime), hot cakes (no, not pancakes), country-fried steak, a piece of pie or a tuna melt, listen in as the locals go off about politics, game shows or the exorbitant price of a pair of work boots. Best of all, the show goes on 24/7.

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