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Apr 7, 2008 11:32 AM

Impressing the client in St. Louis


I am looking for suggestions for a great place to bring some clients (restaurant people!) to dinner in St. Louis. Fun, top quality food, not too stuffy, wine list. We will be in Creve Coeur but we can drive anywhere (within reason). A group of 7 of us, preferably Italian but could be anything.


Thanks so much!


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  1. There happens to be a pretty good Italian restaurant right in Creve Coeur.

    Ill Bellagio I believe it is called.

    For anything impressive, not in Creve Couer, I think probably the two places being talked about right now most for "impresssive' would be Niche, or An American Place.


    2 Replies
    1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

      As far as inpressing people goes, I don't think you can do better than An American Place. Beautiful space, exquisite food.

      1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

        I think it's Il Bel Lago or some close approximation. There was allegedly some flap with the Bellagio casino in LV. I think for impressive you might also try Atlas in the Central West End.

      2. There are a number of relatively new restaurants that can impress for food or venue or service: Niche, Atlas, An American Place, Harvest, even the remodeled Busch's Grove. But when you headline with "Impressing the client in St. Louis" the first, longest-lived, and most consistent in all respects is Tony's. It is a bit formal and dress-up, has some elegance, and some may call it a bit stuffy, but it has ranked at the top of the St. Louis restaurant list for generations. Top notch all around. And after dinner, you can drink and party on the Riverfront, in the Soulard district nearby, or stop in the Central West End or Clayton on your way back to Creve Coeur. Note: Traffic from Creve Coeur to downtown is complicated by the reconstruction of Highway 40, and Tony's is right next to the ballpark, so don't schedule at 7 p.m. on the night of a home Cardinals game.

        1 Reply
        1. re: nosh

          I certainly agree that Tony's is a terrific restaurant, but it won't satisfy your desire for a restaurant that's "not too stuffy," as it is definitely a traditional white linen, crystal, and silver kind of a place, heavy on the personal service.

        2. If these people are restaurant people, I suggest An American Place. Larry Forgione once publicly stated that he would never ever own a restaurant outside of New York City. Once Forgione saw the space, he broke his vow. I think that makes a great background story to up your clients' interest.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Doug

            You're also within striking distance (out Olive directly, or down 270 and out 40) to Annie Gunn's. Excellent chef, long wine list. The atmosphere can be off-putting -- it's basically an Irish pub, but with very high-end food. But with a party of 7, you can probably reserve one of the enclosed booths.

            1. re: bonwich

              What is the smoking policy at Annie Gunn's? Is St. Louis or the state of Missouri going to join the enlightened world anytime soon and ban indoor smoking in restaurants and bars?

              1. re: nosh

                sadly, there is smoking allowed at Annie Gunn's in the bar area which often drifts over to the dining area. I have heard that recently it's not too bad but I am very sensitive to it. I would also agree on An American Place...also Niche is a wonderful spot. Gerard Craft (owner/chef) was just awarded Best New Chef 2008 from Food and Wine. They have one hell of a tasting menu.

                I'd also say Pomme in Clayton. Centrally located with good food. It is a bit on the small side.

                1. re: nosh

                  To your second question, not unless the legislature is dragged there kicking and screaming. In the meantime, there are some local ordinances that allow restaurants to be "non-smoking", so you can ask when you call to make reservations.

                  1. re: p.j.

                    I believe you mean that there are some local ordinances (Ballwin, I believe) that MANDATE restaurants to be non-smoking. Any restaurant can be non-smoking if it chooses. There's a list at

                    1. re: bonwich

                      Thank you for the link.

                      St. Louis is a wonderful city for its size, and has a lot of great eating options and opportunities. But this smoking thing is just gross and passe. Despite the fears and protests of the bars and restaurateurs, just about every state and city that has adopted non-smoking ordinances has figured out ways to deal with it and business has gotten better. If St. Louis wants to rise above its Bud-drinking, elbows-on-the-table, chain-smoking, hokie stereotype, which is far outdated, it needs to realize that its future lies with the more than 70% nonsmoking (and growing) clientele and risk slight inconvenience to its less than 30% smoking (and decreasing, and dying) population.

                      I'm a huge fan of Tony's, as I posted above. My family has been regular and recognized customers for more than my 50+ lifetime. But I'll admit that on my last visit, a wonderful celebratory meal a couple of years ago, I was astonished to smell cigarette smoke drifting in from the bar area through a curtained entryway. C'mon St. Louis, get with the times.

                      Go Cardinals.

                      1. re: bonwich

                        Thank you for correcting and clarifying, Joe. I work in Clayton, whose ordinance, I believe, mandates non-smoking in restaurants under a certain size. I was too tired yesterday to look up the ordinance, so I fudged my answer, which then became misleading.
                        Sorry. p.j.