Small Plates in St. Louis

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    BARcelona Tapas Restaurant
    One of the St. Louis area's first Spanish tapas restaurants, BARcelona specializes in small plates that pack a big punch. Housemade sangria, quick service and a festive atmosphere make this place a favorite among the happy-hour crowd.
    Bici Cafe
    A neighborhood restaurant with a menu overseen by (very) prominent - and (very) busy - local chef Mike Johnson. Dishes draw inspiration from Mediterranean cuisines, not only European, but also North African and Middle Eastern. Crab cakes are spiced with za'atar and served with a harissa aioli; falafel is served in bite-size "popcorn" form. The menu is dominated by small plates, but there are also sandwiches, soups and flatbread pizzas, as well as a few pasta dishes and traditional entrées. Weather permitting, the patio is a popular seat.
    Bocci Bar
    Bocci Bar, a small-plates wine bar from the owner of BARcelona Tapas restaurant, gives Clayton diners a front-row seat to the hustle and bustle of Central Avenue. The restaurant features an eclectic selection of dishes, ranging from chilled soups to Argentine flank steak. Pan-seared sea scallops with an English pea puree are delicate and well-cooked, while Korean pork is creatively served in a hollowed-out apple. The Parmesan chicken broth is a must-try. The dish features confit chicken legs and thighs with meat so tender that it falls off the bone with only the slightest prodding. The broth is rich and flavorful; kale and rice noodles round out the dish. Bocci has a small but comprehensive wine list with several flights and glass selections available on a rotating basis. Every month, the restaurant offers wines and dishes based on a particular country's theme.
    Bossanova Restaurant & Martini Lounge
    Bossanova Restaurant & Martini Lounge is a bar and restaurant located in Alton, Illinois. It serves contemporary cuisine with a focus on small plates and pizza.
    Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar
    Restaurateur Dave Bailey's The Bridge offers a terrific casual-dining experience in a stylish downtown space. The two-story upscale hideaway in downtown St. Louis celebrates artisanal beers and wines and craft cocktails. Artsy lighting and a sumptuous wooden bar create a classically beautiful atmosphere you won’t soon want to leave. The menu intensely focuses on creative small plates, snacks, charcuterie and cheese, sandwiches, salads and small entrees. The decor, especially the giant bird's-nest light fixtures, is, frankly, awesome.
    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.
    Danno's American Pub
    Danno's American Pub is a bit off the beaten path for the average city-bound 'hood rat, but it's also a good reminder why venturing out of the city is a worthwhile exercise. Danno's is exactly what you expect from a classic American bar, except this one is tended by an adventurous mixologist, not just someone who knows what goes in a cranberry-vodka. Danno's casual atmosphere and comfy club chairs lend a relaxed air that facilitates anonymity -- something that's hard to come by in the big small town that is St. Louis proper.
    Domain Street Wine Bar
    The Domain Street Wine Bar is a fairly new bar to a fairly new part of town. Open just over a year in St. Charles' New Town area, the Wine Bar has an upscale loft feel, along with a list of more than 75 wines, beer, martinis, and food like cheese platters and humus. Its signature drink is an Almond Joy martini, made with coconut vodka, Creme de Cacao, Amarula and Frangelico. On Monday and Tuesday, the Wine Bar offers half-off wine bottles, with karaoke nights and live music alternating most nights Wednesday through Saturday. The Wine Bar also hosts events such as prom night, where patrons come decked out in their prom dresses and tuxedos and dance to a DJ spinning all the hits from Ke$ha to "Don't Stop Believin'."
    Erato
    What began as a wine bar has become one of the more intriguing establishments in the metro east, with a topnotch wine list and beer selection and a tiny kitchen that has been home to such talented chefs as Kevin Willmann (now of Farmhaus) and Jonathan Olson. The menu features thoughtful, often inventive, preparations that utilize as much local product as possible.
    Farmhaus
    Kevin Willmann gained a following for his work at Erato on Main in Edwardsville, Illinois. At Farmhaus he takes his approach - smaller portions, intensely flavored, beautifully constructed - to the next level. The menu changes frequently, but you can't go wrong with seafood: An avid fisherman, Willmann cut his teeth as a chef on the Gulf Coast. Standouts have included escolar poached in butter and wine with grilled blue prawns and a Cajun mahi-mahi dish. An other highlight: the aptly named "Breakfast" dish, featuring a poached egg, housemade sausage and pork belly. An unpretentious but utterly delicious experience.
    Joyia Tapas
    Tapas has been all the rage for a while now, and that's fine by us, just as long as Joyia keeps serving small plates of Mediterranean-inspired cuisine -- Middle Eastern and Northern African as well as southern European. The sprawling menu includes familiar dishes (hummus, gyros, meat and seafood kebabs), as well as more ambitious fare, like the lamb tagine, with the meat, apricot and orange rind in a broth perfumed with saffron, or try the chorizo rollos: miniature burritos with sausage, bean, onion and more wrapped in phyllo. Tapas implies small plates, but many of the dishes are large enough to share...yeah, that's crazy. We wouldn't share, either.
    Lola
    There's not much they don't do at Lola: live music seven days a week, stellar cocktails, upscale small plates, brunch, crepes. Located just off Washington Avenue, Lola strives to be a joint for downtown denizens that's by the neighborhood, for the neighborhood - balancing loft-district energy with food and drink you actually want. The crêpes are a good bet: the Delilah, stuffed with shrimp, crab and crawfish étouffée, is especially tasty. The lineup also includes sandwiches (these, too, have female names, though not as sexy as the crêpes) and small plates such as polenta fries paired with ratatouille and pan-fried lamb chops with a panko coating. The cocktail list, many of its entries named for downtown buildings, features truly excellent martinis and even mocktails (cleverly named after infamous celebrity rehab facilities) for those on the wagon. You'll never be without live entertainment at Lola, whether it's a hip-hop spin in the Absinthe Bar or up front with the soulful stylings of Mo E or Javier Mendoza.
    CLOSED A handsome new space along Forest Park Southeast's resurgent Grove, Mia Rosa offers cicchetti - essentially, the Italian equivalent of tapas. Both cold and hot cicchetti are available. The latter are mostly smaller portions of familiar entrées, from osso buco to duck breast in a red-wine sauce. Monkfish wrapped in prosciutto is a standout, and the bruschetta of the day makes a fine accompaniment to a glass of red wine from the modest list. A raw bar, flatbread pizzas and an array of soups and salads are also available. At $3 each, desserts present a good value.
    Mojo Tapas Restaurant & Bar
    A large, stylish space serving small plates in the contemporary mold: Ahi tuna, sliders and pork belly all make an appearance on the lengthy menu. Owner and chef Eric Erhard brings Caribbean and Latin American influences to his dishes, which include jerk chicken kebabs in a key lime-yogurt sauce and fried calamari given a welcome lime twist. The "Sexy Gritz" might be embarrassing to order, but paired with shrimp and thick slices of garlic in a fiery sauce, they make for a tasty repast. Dessert includes a tribute to the Chipwich, the ice-cream sandwich made with chocolate-chip cookies.
    Morgan Le Fay's Tapas Bar and Martini Lounge
    Morgan Le Fay's Tapas Bar and Lounge offers a comfortable and contemporary place to socialize with your friends or hold a business meeting. The interior features several areas to -- quite literally -- lounge in, with more than a dozen board games scattered about, just in case. The bar stocks twelve varieties of beer, and the kitchen is known for its Reuben sandwiches and its "American tapas." Lunch fare includes sandwiches, soups and salads, but dinner is when the tapas come out to play. Options run the gamut from "kitten fish and puppies" (small catfish filets and hush puppies - ha ha) to skewers to pork, chicken or beef sliders. Nightly drink specials draw a variety of customers -- from college students (Monday) to teachers (Thursdays). There's live music on Friday and Saturday night.
    Mosaic
    Operating out of a large space on Washington Avenue, Mosaic offers an upscale (read: dress to impress) atmosphere. The "modern fusion" menu means these are not the typical tapas that one may be accustomed to. Options include herb gnocchi, limoncello mussels and lobster-and-crawfish risotto. Mosaic also has late-night lounge hours for those looking for an after-dinner drink.
    The Old Bakery Beer Company
    Old Bakery is currently offering six house-brewed beers, which are made with 100 percent certified organic malts and hops made in the U.S. Right now, there's a porter, an English pale ale, India brown ale, rye pale ale, magnum pale ale and a dark mild. The brewery was founded by two Urban Chestnut alums, Lauren Pattan and James Rogalsky, who are both from Alton.
    Olio
    Olio sits in a brilliantly re-purposed service station in the McRee neighborhood. With the Midwest’s top sommelier Andrey Ivanov at the helm, you can expect a topnotch wine list, which Olio has, including some odd varietals and a great Rosé made just for them. But the cocktails, too, are first rate. The menu changes each month, and bar manager John Fausz pays homage to classic cocktails from every era. The drink list is an eloquent little history lesson on the origin of each selection. Olio has nothing on draft, but it does offer a carefully curated list of beers in bottles and cans. Be sure to order a bite from the small kitchen, which is visible from the bar. From snacks like marinated olives, toasted nuts and hummus to heartier fare like tartines and rotisserie chicken, the food is every bit as good as the drinks.
    Pan D'Olive
    Pan D'Olive takes over the swank Franz Park address that Mihalis Chophouse vacated a few years ago. The space still looks like a million bucks, but this Mediterranean restaurant (mostly Italian, with a few Greek, Turkish and southern French touches) carries a decidedly less upscale price tag. Only a few entrées cross the $20 mark, and more than dozen appetizers are priced $10 or less. Dishes include shareable plates like hummus, fried calamari and arancini. Entrées feature crowd-pleasers: pastas, a massive lamb shank, a charbroiled rib-eye steak. A humble dish of baked cannelloni conveys surprising soul thanks to its hearty Bolognese sauce and properly made béchamel.
    Red Kitchen & Bar
    On the first floor of the Hyatt Regency at the Arch lies the RED Kitchen & Bar. While the bar area opens out to the lobby, guests seeking a more private setting can opt for one of the tables tucked away in the main dining area. On weekdays during lunch, RED features a "farmers' market" buffet, with seasonal soups and salads as well as a pasta bar. The lunch menu also includes pizzas and sandwiches. At dinner, RED offers a variety of small plates to start the meal, such as polenta fries and pancetta-wrapped prawns. Entrees include various pastas (penne pomodoro, shrimp scampi), pork chops, steak and chicken.
    Robust
    An elegant new wine bar in downtown Webster, Robust offers a wide selection of wines by the bottler or the glass. The list is categorized by the wine's profile - that is, robust or generous reds, crisp or luscious whites - rather than varietal or region, and each dish on the menu is matched to a specific profile or two. That menu features small dishes, most of which are meant to be shared: cheeses, cured meats and flatbreads. Items that sound like traditional entrées (roasted chicken, flatiron steak) are served in small portions.
    Sasha's on Shaw
    The second location of Sasha's (the original is in Clayton) sits in the Shaw neighborhood near the botanical garden. When you’re greeted with a novel as a wine list, you know you must be in the right place. Clever descriptions introduce each of the more than 60 wines available by the bottle or the glass. It’s also one of only a few places in town to offer Coravin tastings right out of the bottle without removing the cork—a great way to taste an expensive wine for just a few dollars. The appetizer menu features delicious wine bar fare, such as charcuterie, pate and smoked salmon plates. Made-to-order crepes and pizzas are perfect for grazing, while the lamb chops, beef brisket and grilled tenderloin will satisfy a heartier appetite.
    Shiver Vodka Bar & Champagne Lounge
    Shiver Vodka Bar and Champagne Lounge is an ultra hip bar that's the first of its kind in St. Louis. The well-appointed establishment in the heart of Washington Ave.'s club-strewn strip features an ice chamber (complete with ice furniture) where patrons can imbibe their 150+ premium vodkas out of ice shot glasses. If that thought doesn't send a shiver up your spine, you're probably Russian.
    Part of the Michael Del Pietro family of restaurants, which includes adjacent restaurant Sugo's Spaghetteria, Via Vino serves up a brief menu of small plates, such as olives, a cheese plate, gnocchi and a fried Jerusalem artichoke. Bigger plates include steak au poivre, Chilean sea bass and a pork chop. As its name suggests, Via Vino also offers an ample selection of wines by the glass and the bottle.

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