St. Louis' Enticing Eats
There’s something delicious floating in the air—literally—that residents and tourists alike have been noticing in St. Louis for the last several years. While most of the Midwest’s culinary reputation seems to revolve mostly around county fair food such as deep-fried steaks, deep-fried Twinkies and deep-fried you-name-it, Missouri’s second-largest city has been gaining the sort of restaurant renown more closely associated with such top-chef magnets as New York, Paris and Tokyo. Something very tasty has been stirring in this city’s pots, and foodies have been taking notice. This burgeoning cuisine scene has defied all those decades of “flyover state” jabs, helping transform the region into a must-visit locale for true epicureans.
To be sure, St. Louis’ recent rise to satisfying discerning palates didn’t happen overnight. Like the delicate leavening of a succulent soufflé, it required patience and dedication. But the results are clear. In a 2019 Yelp report, St. Louis ranked as the number two Food City in the United States. And it was only the vaunted foodie destination of San Francisco which beat the city out! Even the venerable Zagat Survey placed the city in its top 20, beating out New York! Take THAT, Big Apple! If this comes as some surprise, don’t worry, you’re just fashionably late to the party. There’s still plenty of food left and we’ve saved a place for you!
If you want to travel all over the world without having to traverse thousands of miles, try an eating tour of the many eclectic international cuisines you can find in St. Louis. Yes, of course, wonderful restaurants representing beloved kitchen traditions such as French, Chinese, Italian and Indian are easily found here. But have you ever had authentic Taiwanese treats? How about typical Indonesian dishes? In fact, several cooking styles that are rare on our shores make it to the Gateway City. Think irresistible Israeli meals. Or perhaps take a bite out of some Balkan victuals in the town’s “Little Bosnia” section. This is a terrestrial tour that your taste buds will never forget.
Seafood and Eat It
Fish lovers rejoice! There is an abundance of seafood eateries and menus catering to wonderful undersea dishes all over St. Louis. To begin with, there are veritable shoals of local sushi joints, enough to try a different one every day for weeks. But there are also places specializing in Cajun gumbos, Mexican marisco dishes and even Scottish fish specialties along with the lobster houses and clam bars. Perhaps less expected offerings include establishments dedicated to different types of seafood stews and even sandwich selections that won’t spare the head and tail of the little critters. If you love a taste of the sea, St. Louis will swim that extra mile for you!
Land Lovers Delight
Let us not forget, however, that Missouri is cattle country, too. Steakhouses here compete against one another for the very best USDA cut. Whether you’re looking for just a slab served up off the grill or more saucy selections like Beef Bourguignon, you will have your carnivore cravings met. And St. Louis-style barbeque is NOT to be missed. Several smokehouses will lead you by the nose to sample their savory meats. No trip here is complete with treating your taste buds to pulled pork and ribs. Finally, it cannot be overstated how serious St. Louis is about their fried chicken. The local cooks here treat their traditions like religion, and you will understand it with every crispy bite you try from one place to the next!
St. Louis Originals
Once you have had the opportunities to try all the fancy offerings of world cuisines on hand in St. Louis, plus the top-of-the-line sirloins and lobster tails, you may be left wondering, what really constitutes the authentic local kitchen traditions. The fact is, there is a whole regional cuisine that will surprise and delight on the menu as well. Ready to try some St. Louis-style pizza? If so, expect cheddar and swiss on your pie instead of mozzarella! Also in the Italian zone is the famous local dish of fried ravioli. Seriously, you can find this dish just about anywhere. The more adventurous may want to try a St. Paul sandwich at one of the city’s Chinese take-out places. It’s basically egg foo young topped with pickles, onion and mayo on white bread. And for dessert, how about some hometown gooey cake? This dense coffee cake is a mainstay that sometimes features a cream cheese topping.