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Dining choices in Central West End St. Louis

Hi! We will be attending the Muny for Miss Saigon three evenings while in St. Louis and are staying at the Chase Park Plaza. This is our first visit to St. Louis and need some experienced opinions on where to dine within walking distance of our hotel. I have bookmarked Atlas, which I read about here. I like light, fresh, innovative cuisine. Possibly al fresco, if it's not too hot and on the quiet side so we can talk. Any suggestions for me?

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  1. b'fast? Kopperman's.

    you'll be at the heart of the STL cafe 'hood, just stroll up and down Euclid. see what's likely and appealing - lot's of choices and a very comfy area (some used to call it the West Trend)

    while you're at it if you want the full STL experience, pretend you're a couple of miscreant teenagers from Brentmoor or Carrswold who just raided the folk's liquor cabinet and boosted the Rolls to go swim at the Chase (coulda used the pool at home, but that either wasn't as much fun or the upkeep was abandoned years ago after the divorce) and see what happens. charge your drinks to somebody else's room.

    1. Thanks for the tip on Kopperman's. That will be a great help, since we have a kitchen in our suite and will most certainly want to stock it with goodies. LOL, is your advice on the full STL experience a little trip through memory lane???

      1 Reply
      1. re: maggiwun

        not directly - friends of friends.

      2. For a diner-esque breakfast, head down a couple of blocks to The Majestic. Great neighborhood place with atmosphere.

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        Majestic Restaurant
        4900 Laclede Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63108

        1 Reply
        1. re: alan

          Thanks Alan, I'll check it out

        2. On a recent visit to STL, I enjoyed a wonderful al fresco dinner at Moxy Bistro and al fresco lunch at Bar Italia, both an easy walk from the Chase. At Moxy, two of us split an appetizer (butternut squash tortellini), salad and entree (a halibut special). The food was excellent, the quantity was perfect, the service was very good, and the wine selection was perfectly adequate. At Bar Italia, the caponata appetizer was sublime, but after a bottle of champagne (a decadent lunch), I remember little else. Enjoy -- I was very impressed with the Central West End, and with St. Louis in general -- and make sure you stop in Basinger's (a block from the Chase) and buy some of their amazing chocolates!

          3 Replies
          1. re: ClevelandRandy

            Oooh, those all sound sublime - especially the bottle of champagne, lol. I have bookmarked them all - thanks a lot!

            1. re: ClevelandRandy

              It's Bissinger's, by the way, a classic St. Louis institution, which has been making chocolate in the Central West End since 1927 (http://www.bissingers.com/). Definitely worth a visit.

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              Bissinger's Handcrafted Chcltr
              32 Maryland Plz, St Louis, MO

              1. re: alan

                That's going on my agenda for sure.

            2. I second Moxy for a lunch outside. The mushroom risotto is to die for. I prefer Chez Leon for French. It is on the expensive side, but if you are looking for classic French fare prepared well and great atmosphere...Chez Leon is it. There is a great coffee roaster on Laclede Ave: Northwest Coffee Roasters...all done on site. I really prefer them over any other coffee spots in the area. I also recommend The Scottish Arms. Classic pub fare, great beer selection, outdoor seating and a great atmosphere. Atlas is a definite in our book. Good choice!

              I would have to disagree with the recommendation of Majestic. Had a meal there a month ago and it was not a good one. The food was sub par, cold, service was bad and the dishes were dirty. I prefer Tom's Bar and Grille if you are looking for a 'joint' type place. They have some tables outside as well.

              Since you have a little kitchen area in your room be sure to check out Straub's Market.

              Have fun!

              1 Reply
              1. re: CheesemongersWife

                Thanks, Cheesemongerswife. Chez Leon and Northwest CR have been added to my list for sure, as well as Straub's! What an amazing selection to choose from so far.

              2. y'know on one hand you're wise to want to stay in walking distance as cabs can be unreliable at best. but there's a metrolink station not far that can take you Downtown and the Loop. There's lots of good things to find. But I wouldn't point you to one area for a single destination.

                I'd search this board/ask for recs. to consider hitting a neighborhood for a crawl (you're not doing Ms. Saigon ALL 3 nights, right?) and waiting out the cab over a few nightcaps.

                the Muny does have an _enormous_ stage, and often the shows are blocked a little differently. p/u some DEET ointment while at Straub's.

                but given the unfortunate proportions of the park the Muny really isn't walkable to or from the Chase unless walking is your thing. but at that point you're really already halfway to the Loop (Delmar near Skinker) I could point you in other directions, but I don't think you would want the headache of getting back to the room.

                Downtown has lots of new options and is really only a 5-15 minute drive back to your hotel (well, longer if you're among said miscreants taking side streets and trying to be inconspicuous)

                if you do want to jump into the "hipper" nightlife, Riverfront Times and KDHX may be able to offer suggestions. Way-Out rarely fails.

                4 Replies
                1. re: hill food

                  Actually, we are going to the show (Miss Saigon) all three nights (a friend is headlining) so we are somewhat limited in how much we'll be able to see outside of our immediate area. But thanks for the recommendation of bug spray. I'll make sure I have some with me. I guess we could take a cab to the theater from the Muny and have him pick us up later. We'll try it one night and see how it goes. I'm a walker, my husband not so much. We can check out the downtown areas during the day perhaps. Thanks for the reply!

                  1. re: maggiwun

                    Another place we dined on our recent trip, technically in the CWE but not walking distance from the Chase, was Terrene. Check out their website http://www.terrene-stlouis.com/ and see if you like the menu. They specialize in locally sourced and organic items. We both had great meals (starting with the mixed fry appetizer, that was perfectly prepared, crisp and piping hot, unlike so much poorly done versions that give fried food a bad name), and the patio was lovely. It wouldn't suprise me if the Chase had some type of shuttle service (it seems like such a high-service place).

                    1. re: maggiwun

                      MW: a friend is headlining? that does make a difference. CRandy is perhaps right about a shuttle - ask at check in. The Chase has gone through so many evolutions and changes over the last 30 years - grande dame to practically closed to part condo and back it's hard to say.

                      If you have time before the performance, a LOT of effort and money has been invested in restoring the lakes/lagoons (downhill-North) by that entrance.

                      1. re: hill food

                        Hill, yes he's the reason we're coming down to St.L in the first place. (Eric Kunze in Miss Saigon). I'm happy to be discovering the area. It sounds like it's going to be great fun. The last time, 20 years ago, we just blew through for a day on our way out west. We were able to get a great rate through him at the Chase. Looks like a great hotel - I will ask at the desk about a shuttle. It doesn't mention it on the website.

                  2. I would agree with most of these. For breakfast I would definitely add Duff's, next door to Kopperman's. My last experience at Kopperman's wasn't my best, but generally have a great meal there. I think Bar Italia might be the best experience in the CWE. Great food and outdoor seating and if you hit the right night they will be showing a movie on the patio a la Cinema Paradiso. If they have the ragu bolognese, it's a no brainer. Liluma is a good choice also. They have a patio and a great menu. Maybe a touch more upscale than Bar Italia but tasty. Italian also.

                    If you like Indian, the new India Rasoi is a great option. New location and decor and my meals have been right on the few times I've been there.

                    Gotta eat!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: greggold

                      GG:

                      Duff's - I'd forgotten about them. back in the day an acquaintance's parents owned that. (that was the place that stood in for a NYC joint in "White Palace" right?) nabe still had the 70's/80's urban reclaimer attitude then.

                      sorry to hear K's may not be up to the old days, still always had the best lox then.

                      I always liked Bar Italia - prob. one of the few places to find espresso and gelato in 1983.

                    2. moxy is quite good and reasonably priced.

                      I've heard very good things about liluma.

                      avoid whatever asian-fusion place is next to llewelyn's -- it used to be called zoe and I think changed names a few months ago.

                      if you make it over to the loop, 609 is a bit hidden (1/4 block off delmar) but very good.
                      If you want to hit up some bars as well down there, Tom's on the corner of euclid and laclede has kareoke fri/sat nights. Llewelyn's also is good for the laid-back bar scene. Avoid Bar Loie unless you like the meat market feeling.

                      Coffee Cartel on maryland & euclid is open 24hr and a nice place to hang out.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rllevy

                        thanks, rllevy - making notes here.

                        1. re: rllevy

                          Liluma is co-owned by the same owner as The Crossing in Clayton which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. They ran an amazing special -- a four-course menu with several choices for $25 -- that has since been continued at that restaurant and extended to Liluma. They allowed a certain amount of mixing and matching of the $5 starters, pastas, and desserts and $10 entrees so you didn't have to order all four. Hard to go too wrong at those prices!

                        2. Since you'll be needing to eat pretty early to make it to the Muny on time, you may want to consider lunch spots vs. dinner spots. You can take a snack and drinks into the Muny in a soft sided cooler or tote. No cans or glass allowed but cheese and crackers and plastic bottles of water or soft drinks are fine.

                          There's pre-show entertainment nearby and lots of people bring picnic dinners and eat on the lawn. That could be a good option especially with Straubs next door to the Chase... love the deli at Straubs!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: lrstl

                            lrstl, showtime is at 8:15, so we would probably do an early dinner, about 5:30 or so. But if there is pre-show entertainment I might be enticed to come early. I like to dress nicer for the theater (summery dress, strappy sandals), even if it is outdoors, so I can't see myself lugging snacks and drinks along. Straub's looks amazing. Looking forward to checking that out.

                            1. re: maggiwun

                              Oh, I'm familiar with the start time. :o)

                              We always find it difficult to have a nice dinner before going to the Muny due to the time constraints. Of course, we like to be there by about 7:15 or so to park and settle into our seats. Anything goes at the Muny- you'll see women in cocktail dresses carrying their little coolers so no one would look twice at you in a sundress and sandals and a tote of snacks.

                              It's a great theater and has wonderful productions. I hope you enjoy your visit! (this is off topic, but if you need to use the restroom at intermission- walk as quickly as you can OUT of the theater on either side toward the stage to use those ladies rooms. The ones in the theater have a long line but for whatever reason, the lines move much more quickly at the little restrooms in the corridors that lead up to the seating. )

                              1. re: lrstl

                                That's valuable information lrstl, esp to us women! The kind of stuff only insiders can clue you in on. I'll remember you at intermission :-)

                          2. If you would rather eat within walking distance of the Muny: The Boathouse in Forest Park is considered a romantic restaurant because of its lakeside setting. It is very close to the Muny

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Doug

                              I love the setting, Doug, and the proximity to the theater. Not sure about the menu, but perhaps it will be an option for us on one of the nights. Thanks for the suggestion.

                              1. re: maggiwun

                                Taking lrstl's comments seriously about it being difficult to have a nice dinner before the theater, what about after theater options in the area?