Locations in St. Louis

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    Blue Nile Market and Cafe
    The diminutive Blue Nile Market and Café is half grocery store, half restaurant. The modest menu works as a primer on Ethiopian cuisine, with each dish served atop injera, a spongy bread that's employed in lieu of a utensil. Dishes include tibs (sautés) with mildly spicy beef and, for the truly adventurous, kitfo (raw, finely chopped beef). The vegetarian combo brings small servings of four excellent vegetable dishes.
    Eleven Eleven Mississippi
    One of the most popular restaurants on the square (though technically, it's a few blocks away), Eleven Eleven Mississippi is the perfect spot for a dinner party or an intimate dinner date for two. The restaurant bills itself as a "Wine Country Bistro," and the wine list is up to the challenge along with a menu featuring variations on casual Northern Italian and California fare. Wild boar is a house specialty -- that's right, wild boar. The soft lighting and graceful décor helps create an intimate atmosphere to ensure things go well on that first date.
    Filomena's Italian Kitchen
    What do you get if you cross the fast-casual concept with your Italian grandmother's kitchen? The answer might be Filomena's Italian Kitchen. Owner Filomena Angelucci-Dean grew up in Castel Frentano, Italy, but her menu is rooted in the broad, popular tradition of Italian food in America. The lasagna, one of four entrées offered, is excellent, as are the chicken marsala and chicken Parmigiano. Simple pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches are also available. The highlight is the arancini, flash-fried balls of risotto with a molten cheese core.
    Saffron
    Saffron might not differ much from the standard Indian-restaurant template, but it still affords all the pleasures of a complex cuisine prepared well. Standout dishes include the chef's "signature" biryani: lamb, chicken and vegetables with saffron rice and a blend of spices both comfortingly familiar and alluringly exotic. The kitchen handles lamb very well, whether subtle (lamb rogan josh) or fiery (lamb vindaloo). Vegetarian dishes include creamy palak paneer (spinach with homemade cheese) and a mash of roasted eggplant known as baingan bhartha. The lunch buffet lets you sample more than a few classic Indian dishes, and -- a nice touch -- each table receives its own serving of freshly baked naan.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

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