The 20 Best Restaurants in St. Louis

For the last 10 years, St. Louis restaurants have seen an almost exponential uptick in national food media attention. Local chefs have been featured in major food magazines. Area restaurants have popped up on cable food programs. News came frequently that a restaurant received an important nomination, award, or honor. Non-locals seemed surprised by the diversity and caliber of cuisine to be enjoyed in The Lou — but they were catching on.

The mid-sized city has a curiously inordinate preoccupation with food and drink. If good food exists anywhere in the 314, St. Louisans will come. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the breadth of the city’s culinary talent, bolstered in recent years by chefs with impressive resumes from high-profile restaurants in New York and Los Angeles who have opened their own places in St. Louis, where the cost of launching a new venture — not to mention the cost of living — is markedly lower than on either coast. Perhaps it’s simply the quality of the food: a James Beard-winning chef plating cerebral presentations of pink radishes, a Korean takeout spot serving snow crabs smothered in gochujang butter from the back of a pinball bar, or Chiang Mai specialties from a northern Thai expert.

It may be time for the rest of the country to stop flying over St. Louis. Just look for the beautiful, mid-century monument by Eero Saarinen and you’ll know you’re in the right place. You can’t miss it.

Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the City of St. Louis Department of Health.

After almost two decades as a chef and chef educator, Holly Fann hung up her apron to write full time about food and dining. She hopes to pet every dog in the world and let them know that they are very good.

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