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September 25, 2013 Slideshows

Best of St. Louis, 2013: Food & Drink 

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With more than 275 winners crammed into this year's Best of St. Louis issue, there's again a lot to see in St. Louis, which is sort of our point. Inside the Food & Drink section of this year's edition, we have plenty of places worth scoping out. Here's a sort-of random sampling of the 2013 Best of St. Louis winners in the Food & Drink category. Congratulations to our winners. Now make your reservations at, or just walk-into, any of these places.
OF 21
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Chinese Restaurant - Famous Szechuan Pavilion

A onetime snow-cone stand, Famous Szechuan Pavilion now draws crowds eager to experience authentic dishes from China's Szechuan province as prepared by owner and chef Xin Lin.

Read full story: Best Chinese Restaurant in St. Louis - Famous Szechuan Pavilion

Pictured: The chicken noodle salad.
Mabel Suen
Best Cupcakes - Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop

Flashy, giant, goo-filled cupcakes with increasingly wacky flavors have been all the rage lately, but they can turn off even the sweetest of teeth.

Read full story: Best Cupcakes in St. Louis - Whisk: A Sustainable Bakeshop
ennifer Silverberg
Best Barbecue - Sugarfire Smoke House

Sugarfire Smoke House may be the new kid on the block, having opened just last September, but it now stands at the very summit of the St. Louis barbecue kingdom.

Read full story: Best Barbecue in St. Louis - Sugarfire Smoke House

Pictured: A display of the brisket, baby back ribs, housemade jalapeno sausage, baked beans and potato salad.
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Deli/Sandwich Shop - Salume Beddu

Does anything more need to be said after the words "guanciale BLT"? This alone makes Salume Beddu worthy of some sort of award, yet it's only one of the opportunities patrons have to sample the housemade cured meats good enough to make an Italian artisan shake in his scarpi.

Read full story: Best Deli/Sandwich Shop in St. Louis - Salume Beddu

Pictured: Speck sandwich with Fontina Val d'Aosta and preserved lemons.
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Local Chef - Cassy Vires

This is Cassy Vires' moment. With a second successful restaurant under her belt and a nomination for Food and Wine's "People's Best New Chef-Midwest," 2013 has been a very good year for the Illinois native.

Read full story: Best Local Chef in St. Louis - Cassy Vires

Pictured: Husband-and-wife owners of Home Wine Kitchen, Josh Renbarger and chef Cassy Vires.
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Italian Restaurant (Inexpensive) - Filomena's Italian Kitchen

Filomena's Italian Kitchen, the charming, fast-casual restaurant housed in a former Wolf Camera shop, combines convenience with the satisfaction of a home-cooked meal.

Read full story: Best Inexpensive Italian Restaurant in St. Louis - Filomena's Italian Kitchen

Pictured: he Meatball Sub is prepared with housemade meatballs, simmered in marinara sauce, topped with provolone and parmigiano cheeses.
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Beer Selection - Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar

The number of excellent craft-beer bars in St. Louis continues to grow, but with 55 taps and more than 200 bottles, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar sits atop the list.

Read full story: Best Beer Selection in St. Louis - Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar
Best New Restaurant - Elaia and Olio

Who would've thought that an abandoned gas station and former drug house in one of the city's most notorious neighborhoods would transform into St. Louis' mecca of gastronomy?

Read full story: Best New Restaurant in St. Louis - Elaia and Olio

Pictured: Owner Ben Poremba in the kitchen.
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Food Truck - Cha Cha Chow

Try one of Cha Cha Chow's seasoned french fries. Maybe two? Oh, you've been so good, why not? Get that hand in there and do what your heart tells you.

Read full story: Best Food Truck in St. Louis - Cha Cha Chow
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Pizza (Thin Crust) - Pastaria

Leave it to Gerard Craft to bring his Midas touch to a beloved St. Louis institution like thin-crust pizza.

Read full story: Best Pizza (Thin Crust) in St. Louis - Pastaria
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Restaurant Neighborhood - Clayton

Just getting into Clayton can be a traffic nightmare: There's Hanley Road, Brentwood Boulevard, the Interbelt — to say nothing of the labyrinthine streets, impossible parking, and cheerless concrete-and-glass structures that greet you once you've arrived. But oh, to just live there, to be an a.m. regular at Half & Half, to somehow write off pricey wine at Cafe Napoli during a two-hour weekday lunch, to throw back a couple of after-work beers at Barrister's and then duck into Bar Les Frères for a tete-a-tete before driving home to the missus, who's waiting for you at home on the deliciously WASPy-sounding Polo Drive.

Read full story: Best Restaurant Neighborhood in St. Louis: Clayton

Pictured: Half & Half on Maryland Avenue in Clayton.
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Coffeehouse - The Mud House

The Mud House serves some of the best breakfasts in town, though there can be a wait any morning of the week.

Read full story: Best Coffeehouse in St. Louis - The Mud House
Chicken Spedini at The Haven Source
Best Neighborhood Bar (City) - The Haven

Like any good neighborhood bar, the Haven (family owned since the late '40s) feels just like home.

Read full story: Best Neighborhood Bar in the city of St. Louis - The Haven
Mabel Suen
Best Bakery - La Patisserie Chouquette

To call La Patisserie Chouquette a bakery is like calling Cristal grape juice — somehow, the moniker just doesn't do justice to such elegance and refinement.

Read full story: Best Bakery in St. Louis - La Patisserie Chouquette
Best Bar Bar - Colorado Bob's Ship of Fools

Colorado Bob's Ship of Fools anchors the southern end of the Morgan Ford Business District, and so it's appropriate enough that the shipwrecked sailboat and wild elephant ears growing out front give whispers of what's just beyond: a bar worthy of Key West's Duval Street.

Read full story: Best Bar Bar in St. Louis - Colorado Bob's Ship of Fools
Best Steak - Tucker's Place in Soulard

Sometimes it's nice to get all gussied up and head out to a fancy steak house with its expensive cuts of beef, shamefully pricey wine lists and sumptuous surroundings. Other times you just want meat. On a plate. Unapologetically simple. At these times, there is no better option than Tucker's Place in Soulard.

Read full story: Best Steak in St. Louis - Tucker's Place in Soulard
Best Italian Restaurant (Not Cheap) - Giovanni's on the Hill

With a guest list that includes Oprah Winfrey, Frank Sinatra and multiple presidents, Giovanni's is not exactly the place to go for some t-ravs and pizza. It is, however, the place for diners who want to experience classic Italian cuisine, impeccable tableside service and an atmosphere that oozes old-school elegance.

Read full story: Best Upscale Italian Restaurant in St. Louis - Giovanni's
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Place for Daytime Drinking - Gringo

Step 1: Pull up a bar stool. Step 2: Leave your sunglasses on. (The rays pouring through the wall-to-wall windows of this new, Central West End cantina allow for the legitimate use of indoor shades.)

Read full story: Best Place for Daytime Drinking in St. Louis - Gringo
Mabel Suen
Best Burger - Iowa Buffet

Iowa Buffet cooks up the best little affordable burger between buns that you've probably never heard of — until now. Sorry, regulars, but this old-fashioned hideaway is just too good to not share.

Read full story: Best Burger - Iowa Buffet
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Place to Meet Women - Blood & Sand

Many a young lady can be found unwinding here after a long day at the office, waiting demurely for a gentleman who is bold enough of spirit to implore the barkeep to allow his approach. It may be gimmicky, but hey, whatever works.

Read full story: Best Place to Meet Women in St. Louis - Blood & Sand
Sarah Rusnak
Best Doughnuts - World's Fair Doughnuts

World's Fair Donuts generally has a line out the door in the mornings, but it's well worth the wait.

Read full story: Best Doughnuts in St. Louis - World's Fair Doughnuts
Jennifer Silverberg
Best Chinese Restaurant - Famous Szechuan Pavilion

A onetime snow-cone stand, Famous Szechuan Pavilion now draws crowds eager to experience authentic dishes from China's Szechuan province as prepared by owner and chef Xin Lin.

Read full story: Best Chinese Restaurant in St. Louis - Famous Szechuan Pavilion

Pictured: The chicken noodle salad.

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