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going to St. Louis... recommendations???

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i am going to St. Louis for the weekend, Friday and Saturday, and was wondering what the food culture has in store? I was looking for suggestions of: a) fine/upscale cuisine b) varying ethnic or unique type restaraunts, from small to any size. nothing is too weird, i prefer it c) where the locals eat? places that serve something unique to St. Louis or i wouldn't be able to have elsewhere etc. d) various foodie related places to visit or hit up, markets or food stores or specialty shops d) bars e) any neighborhoods or areas that would be good for finding these types of places.
many thanks in advance

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  1. a. Fine dining: Vin de Set - they have a $29 plat du jour. I had a wonderful meal there on Saturday
    b. Unique: Iron Barley, which specializes in barley dishes cooked in iron skillets
    c. Local: The frozen custard stands are still open: I prefer Fritz's, but Ted Drewes is very popular
    d. Bar: Absoluteli Goosed - their drink menu is worth the visit alone

    3 Replies
    1. re: Doug

      For e) I'd go to Lafayette Square in the city, Clayton, or Maplewood.

      In addition to what Doug mentioned, there is 33 Wine Bar in Lafayette Square. It is quite tiny and easy to overlook but I've had nice times there before.

      1. re: shannoninstlouis

        I second 33. Great wine AND beer selection! I think well over 400 wines and 100 beers, most of which you won't find everywhere. The owner, Jake, is also really helpful and you can sense the passion he has for wine and his customers. I've never been there when he isn't behind the bar.

        1. re: mattybaz

          I'll third 33. It's a great neighborhood if you want to park your car for the evening and hit three or four spots. Jake is great, especially if you're a Riesling person, he has a very nice selection.

          Also in the area is Bailey's Chocolate Bar, which is exactly what you'd expect (and the triple chocolate ice cream is one of the best things I've ever eaten).
          Square One is a fine brewery with pretty good food.
          All of these are within walking distance to Vin de Set, which has an incredible patio.

          I can't recommend Iron Barley high enough. There are several mentions on the thread if you search it. If you read their menu (ironbarley.com), also note that they always run 5 specials or so.

          For more upscale, you may try Atlas (on Pershing in the Central West End), for classic dishes done well.

    2. Check out Suace magazine Wbsite at http://www.saucemagazine.com/restguid.... Search on Lafayette Square, Soulard or Central West End, The Hill in the City.. As as mentioned Clayton or Maplewood, or the Loop
      A. 1111 Mississippi in Lafayette Square or Pomme in Clayton.
      B. Search South Grand in Sauce
      C. Blueberry Hill, Ted Drewes for Frozen Custard, Some place on the Hill (e.g. Giovannni's $$$$ or Favazza's $$
      )D. Agree with other suggestions in Lafayette Square.
      E. See above.

      1 Reply
      1. re: stealth

        C. Agree with Blueberry Hills, Ted Drewe's. And if you can get to it, try Crwon Candy Kitchen. For the Hill, go for Gian-Tony's. Try Delmonico's for soul food.

      2. I don't have time tonight for an epic length response but here are some ideas:

        On South Grand, Pho Grand and Mekong are longtime favorites for Vietnamese restaurants. Some on this board don't like these places but surviving 15 years in the ST. Louis market is an accomplishment. I would also recommend Bahn Mi So which is down the street and may be even better than the first two.

        At S. Grand and Meramec, is the Feasting Fox, which serves above average German cuisine in a restored German bierhaus.

        Also on Grand is Jay's International Market which has a great variety of world foods.

        Near St. Louis University on Manchester is a great soul food place called Sweetie Pies. The place is known for their food. They'll have a half dozen entrees and a dozen sides on most days.

        Gus's Pretzels across from the brewery on Pestalozzi St. is an institution.

        1. Saturday morning at the Soulard Farmer's Market in the old Soulard neighborhood is a quintessential St. Louis experience.