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Eating near Washington University

We will be taking my son to Washington University for a college visit. Any suggestions for an interesting ethnic restaurant in the area? We will be there tomorrow night!

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  1. "Ethnic" means different things to different people. Do you mean Chinese, soul food, Thai, Italian, Bosnian....? You may want to get a flavor (no pun intended) of Wash. U. community life by wandering over to the Delmar Loop area. Unfortunately it will be a bit too cool to sit outdoors, but there are several good ethnic restaurants, including Mirasol and Thai Cafe in that neighborhood. The people watching is first-rate throughout the loop. If ethnicity is not critical to your enjoyment, go to Riddle's Penultimate. First-rate food, great wine list, emphasis on local ingredients, all in a low-key atmosphere. Other options would be to head a bit west to the Chinese community on Olive where there are numerous dining options. I'd do some searching on this board for good choices. Enjoy your stay.

    5 Replies
    1. re: alan

      I agree with the loop, that is part of the Wash U experience. I always liked the Thai Country Cafe but the other Thai place was alright too. Blueberry Hill is alright but he'll eat there enough by the time he's a junior to be sick of it...they used to have $5 all you can eat spaghetti one day a week. Make sure to make the drive out to Ted Drewes, even if just for your own benefit.

      I've heard they sucked all the life out of Wash U the last few years, so as a parent that should make you happy.

      1. re: luniz

        Thanks for your ideas, I'm not exactly sure why I would be happy about the life being sucked out of Wash U that sounds unfortunate, although I am not sure what you mena by that.

        1. re: luniz

          It was Cicero's, not Blueberry Hill, that had the pasta special as far as I recall. They may still, but I can't recommend that place at all.

          "They sucked all the life out of Wash U????" Huh?

        2. re: alan

          Yes, go to the Loop. And I second Riddle's Penultimate. Be sure to walk around and see what else is there. I had great Ethiopian a few years back, can't remember the name of the place. And if you have time go to the Central West End. I used to like Balaban's a lot, but it may have changed. For the better? Or not? Anyway, check out the area along Euclid north of Maryland over to McPherson and around that intersection. Maybe someone else will recommend specific restaurants. This area and the loop both have good vibes.

          1. re: CilD

            The chef from Harvest moved over to Cafe Balaban a few months ago, many agree that it was about time for Balaban's to rethink itself. I haven't heard anything yet about the revamping of the menu.

        3. The loop is a popular spot. There are numerous restaurants there.

          Ethiopian: Blue Niles (I think there is a Blue Nile isn just about every city.)
          Thai: The aforementioned Thai places, all owned by the same family.
          Sushi: I forget the name, haven't been there in a while
          Faux mexican: Tomatillo. Flour tortillas, and watery salsa.
          The Melting Pot: fondue place.
          Bars/grills: Blueberry Hill, Cicero. Nothing to write home about.
          Wine Bar/continental: Riddle's Penultimate. Pretty good food. Decent wine selection.
          Brewery: Well, root beer brewery. Fitz's. Generally good food but has been up and down.
          Eclectic: Brandt's. Good sunday brunch.
          NY Pizza place: Racanelli's. One of my favorite pizza places in St. Louis, even though I am a Chicago pizza kind of guy.

          And a ton of Subway's, etc.

          The U city area is lovely, and there are many little out of the way places in these neighborhoods. check out DeMun, there is a wine bar and a great coffee shop there and a so-so restaurant. If you went a couple of blocks north a a mile east, you can get to the Deboliver neighborhood and Atlas restaurant is there. Quite possibly the most unostentacious gem of a french restaurant you will find in town. Great food. Go east on Delmar and you can find vietnamese, Mirasol, which is a tapas bar around the Pageant. if your son does attend Warsh U he will spend some time at the Pageant, its a live music venue. And right next to it is a bowling place that is the late night hangout for a lot of the Warsh U people. Go west on Delmar, next to I-170 are another gathering. There is an Indian Place, Taj Mahal. There is Mai Lee, it is the self proclaimed first vietnamese place in St. Louis. And there is a kosher place in the same strip as My Lee's.

          1. What about Saleem's on the Loop? That seems kind of ethnic.

            2 Replies
            1. re: steveb

              Where garlic is King. I forgot about that. The braised lamb dish was outrageous and garlicky.

              1. re: steveb

                It's fun, the food is alright, nothing special (other than being garlicky) if you're used to good arabic food. There's actually a little arab deli around the corner on the other end of the block iirc that sells decent tabbouleh and the like.

              2. For convenience, cost and taste I would go with Saleem's. I'm a huge fan of the simple garlic pita chips and hummus

                2 Replies
                1. re: chateauneuf

                  Definitely park your car anywhere on Delmar (the Loop) and walk to one of the suggested places. The strip being talked about is within a 10 minute walk from campus, so it's a great resource that students use all the time. It'll give a real feel for what's easily available. My son the Junior lives in university owned apartments a block off Delmar. Also, I've no clue what that "sucked the life" comment means. My kid loves it there. If you are a frozen custard fan (or have never tried the stuff), definitely get directions to Ted Drewe's. It's about a 15 minute drive and it's a St. Louis institution.

                  1. re: jjo

                    I would venture to say that "sucking the life" from the University means that the kids there now no longer party as they used to, as the administration has cracked down on them (or the kids are now too "serious"). That's why luniz says you parents should be "happy."

                2. If this is primarily your son's college visit, then contact the admissions dept. or perhaps a high school alum currently at Wash U and turn your son over to them. Hanging out with students and eating at least a meal in a dorm cafeteria will expose him to a lot. Wash U has always been a good school, my dad's alma mater and the self-proclaimed "Harvard of the midwest," and it has gained prestige and become more competitive in the last few years. Sure the students still like to talk about the torching of the ROTC building early '70s but times change. For you, make reservations for a leisurely dinner at Harvest, Cardwell's, or Zinnea's.