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St Louis Airport Area - Dinner?

St. Louey hounds, can you recomend a good spot for an early dinner (5:30 - 6:00) that's not too far from the airport? I'll need to head towards Hannibal, so anything en route would be appreciated, although I know that could be a stretch. I am willing to back track into the city a bit if need be, but probably not as far as downtown, especially as I don't want to get bogged down in the rush hour traffic heading out. I'm not looking for anything fancy and don't have time for a three hour dinner, but rather more upscale casual, maybe French bistro-ish...but, I'm open if there's something good. We'll be looking to fortify ourselves for four days of eating in a culinary dead zone.

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  1. Have you looked at the several recent threads on this topic? It's not as dead a zone as it once was.

    1. Apologies, I committed a cardinal sin on the boards - not adequately searching before posting. I searched St. Peters/St. Charles (and came up with little), but not Lambert (duh). Still now that I do, it's still looking pretty bleak. I'll probably just head to the U City/Delmar area.

      Oh, and the culinary dead zone I was referring to is not St. Louis, but an area two hours north.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dinersaurus

        I am afraid you're pretty much right about that, i.e., the dead zone.

        1. re: lemons

          Actually...several choices. India Palace right off Lindbergh, overlooking the airport is very good. If you get off on the Florissant exit just past North Hanley, there are several decent choices and one very good one. Decent: Hill Brewing and Vincenzo's, very good is Cork, a wine bar across from Hill. Worth a drive in fact. Lombardo's, adjacent to the Drury Inn off Natl. Bridge, is decent Italian. There is a good Mexican place in a strip mall (older) in Woodson Terrace just of Natural Bridge, perhaps someone can help with that name.

      2. Actually, if you are able to get to Quincy for dining, several recs there I can give you, used to live there and parents still live there. Hannibal has a few higher end places and not much in between.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ddfry3

          Actually, I'll be in that area (roughly), and that is the dead zone I was referring to.

          I looked up your other post on Quincy and found a number of recommendations. I might need to be in there for at least a day. Thanks.

        2. You are not far from Clayton and, for the bistro-ish place, you may well enjoy Pomme.

          Pomme Restaurant
          40 N Central Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63105

          1. Not sure how much experience you have with St. Louis dining. St. Louis has a lot of good Italian places and very unique pizza. The beauty of Chowhound, over Zagat or whatever, is that you find out the local places... St. Louis is not the town for an abundance of French-Bistroish places and I don't think there are many semi-upscale places near the airport. I would go down and dirty... pizza!!!! (and toasted ravioli!)

            - Pirrones Pizza has 2 locations. One in Florissant (original) and one in St. Peters, which you will drive right by. This is classic St. Louis Style pizza. Provel Cheese and a pizzeria atmosphere. Ultra-thin rectangular pizzas that get really crispy. I would stick with pepperoni. I strongly contend that St. Louis pizza should be lightly topped to stay crisp. IMHO Pirrone's puts on too many toppings (except pepperoni). I'd especially go "light" sausage or olives, etc. http://www.pirronespizza.com/

            - Nick and Elena's Pizza - On Woodson Rd. off of St. Charles Rock Rd. near the airport. St. Louis-Style pizza with a slightly thicker (by STL standards) and chewyer crust. Really good, but my first recommendation in that area is Pirrone's

            - Lombardo's has been mentioned. It has the largest Toasted Ravioli in town. They are great, but atypical for Toasted Ravioli, which is a St. Louis tradition and are typically rather small. Lombardo's is not my favorite place in St. Louis, but it is good and literally right across the street from the Airport and these Big and very tasty Toasted Ravioli can only be had at Lombardo's.

            Chowhound Recommendation of the DAY: If I was you, I'd stop off at the Lombardo's bar and have a beer and order of T-Ravs, (not pizza!) then head over to Pirrone's for another order of more typical T-Ravs (with meat sauce), a nice and very simple house salad and a large Pepperoni Pizza. This will have you indoctrinated in 2 of the most unique St. Louis specialities.

            You can get semi-upscale anywhere... you can't get St. Louis style pizza or toasted ravioli anywhere else....

            Happy Eating!

            1. You might consider going towards St. Louis. You could jump on the highway and barring some unforeseen accident, traffic would not be that bad that time of day because most of the traffic is outbound. By the time you finished dinner, traffic westbound would be gone.
              Everybody has an opinion about what the best St. Louis pizza is and my favorite is Fratelli's which is also along the way to Hannibal. They also have other stuff including great chicken spedini on certain nights. We like Nick and Elena's too.
              If you are in Quincy, try Thyme Square Cafe for breakfast or lunch.

              1 Reply
              1. re: wekick

                I second Thyme Sqaure Cafe as well.

                Other places worth visiting are The Pier,Tiramisu, The Patio, and Lakeview. First 3 are downtown, the other on East Boadway past the mall and not far from I-172 Broadway Exit.

              2. Thanks to all for the recommendations. I'm hearing a lot of Lombardos on here, and given the proximity to the airport, might be just the ticket. But, I'll keep the other recs in my back pocket for my next trip into town. If I can ever return the favor, feel free to hit me up for recs for Raleigh-Durham, DC, or Charleston.

                5 Replies
                1. re: dinersaurus

                  I almost forgot that Lombardo's also has a seldom seen specialty called "Flash Fried Spinich" .. check it out.


                  1. re: Uncle Luigi

                    News: Yesterday got a report of flash-fried spinach being found at a restaurant in Springfield, MO. But yes, if one gets a chance, it's a great thing to try, even for the non-spinach fancier.

                    1. re: Uncle Luigi

                      flash-fried spinach? how do they handle/dress it? I have had it at a stellar Indian place in DC where it was called palaat chaak and it was in a simple chutney, balsamic something or other dressing.

                      1. re: hill food

                        They dry it well and toss it in the hot grease. No batter, no breading. Usually showered with shaved Parm or (less pleasing, to me) asiago cheese and a lemon wedge on the side. Even our picky eater kids in the family love it.

                        1. re: lemons

                          I'd eat that. I spend some time with an aunt in that area every month or two.

                          and I think I mixed up the name of what I had, I think it's palaak chaat.

                  2. if you do track down to Clayton or U City, your dinner plans could be ruined by a speeding ticket on I-170 btw I-70 and about Page. East of I-170 on Olive, Lulu's has pretty good Cantonese/HK/Shanghaiese.

                    I've never been to Mai Lee (VN) a little farther down near Brentwood and I-40, but given what I've heard it is on my list.

                    U City
                    , Saint Louis, MO 63101

                    Mai Lee
                    Musick Memorial Dr, St Louis, MO 63144