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Food & Drink

Best Restaurant District 

Central West End

Perhaps you recall sipping a sweet, bracing iced coffee as you studied the menu at a Thai place on South Grand. Or letting a tangle of onion rings cool as you shouted over the bleating saxophone at a joint in U. City. Maybe you remember tasting your first black truffles at a white-napped table in Clayton or downtown. Each part of the city has exceptional restaurants that turn ordinary moments into blithe memories. Yet one colorful neighborhood surpasses all others in culinary diversity and aesthetic appeal. It has splendid pubs, bistros and cafes, from ethnic to eclectic. It has a dynamic sidewalk scene and serried outdoor tables perfect for idling in the wistful autumn sunshine. It has blues and bookstores, architecture and antiques, artists and panhandlers. It's the Central West End. This flourishing historic neighborhood occupies a treasured niche in our city's collective memory and imagination. Whirl and glide about the Starlight Roof at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, just as Jazz Age minxes and their suitors once did. Then sup in one of the handsome hotel's two restaurants, Anton's and the Tenderloin Room. Culinary innovation thrives in eateries along the Central West End's restless thoroughfare, Euclid Avenue, and on its tranquil cross streets. Loaf on Bar Italia's breezy terrace as you uncork a bottle of Montepulciano and spread caponata on a heel of crusty bread. Inhale the heady perfume of amber-glazed roast duck at Zoë's Pan-Asian Café. Feast on seasonal indulgences, such as Balaban's fried soft-shell crab in the summer and Chez Leon's earthy wild-boar stew in the fall. Somehow the Central West End has a way of giving sustenance the giddy flavor of indulgence.

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