The Top Five–St. Louis Area Restaurants

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Ian Froeb has recently come up with the STL100 list of the 25 best restaurants in the area (ranked), along with another 75 great restaurants to round out the top 100 places to grab a bite to eat. This inspired me to come up with my own list…my five favorite non-chain (unless it’s a local place that has added locations over time), restaurants in the area (in no particular order), plus five honorable mentions, because I can.

  • Seamus McDaniel’s, Dogtown neighborhood of St. Louis–Best burger I’ve ever had, in a really great neighborhood. Seamus will always be number one on my restaurant list!
  • Beast Craft BBQ, Belleville, IL–This is a new location on the St. Louis area restaurant scene, and it’s the place that really got me interested in BBQ. The burnt ends (an item hard to find in Belleville) are fantastic, and their “Big Sammich” series always leaves me wanting to try whatever they think up next!
  • Amighetti’s Bakery and Cafe, The Hill neighborhood of St. Louis–The Amighetti Special, made with turkey pastrami and Amighetti’s secret dressing, is the best deli sandwich I’ve ever had. They also make fantastic cannoli!
  • Olympia Kebob House and Taverna, St. Louis–Best saganaki in town!
  • Eckert’s Country Restaurant, Belleville, IL–If you’re looking for country-style food, this is the place to be. The fried chicken and chicken fried steak are both excellent, and the side dishes (available to pass family style) are just what you’d expect. If you’re still hungry after dinner (doubtful), you can walk next door and get a frozen custard for dessert (in season).

Honorable mention:

  • El Maguey, multiple┬áSt. Louis area locations–Great Mexican food on the Missouri side of the Mississippi.
  • Ted Drewes, St. Louis–Sometimes, you just want dessert, or to celebrate a Cardinals win. If so, Ted Drewes is the place to be!
  • Llywelyn’s Pub, multiple St. Louis area locations–Bonus points go to the St. Charles location, where you can actually eat in an old bank vault!
  • Schlafly Tap Room, St Louis–If the great beer selection isn’t enough of a draw, the food is also excellent. I’m partial to the schnitzel. And while you’re there, make sure to try the sticky toffee pudding for dessert!
  • Gordo’s Margaritas, Millstadt, IL (of blessed memory)–There are other restaurants named Margaritas around town, but my favorite was Gordo’s in Millstadt. The food was excellent (especially the chimichanga!), and the people who work there were great. I’m really sorry to see it closed…we’re going to miss eating there a lot!

Where are your favorite places to eat in St. Louis?

Why I Have the Best Husband Ever

On Monday, after the big ultrasound where we learned we’re having a girl, Ryan took us all out to dinner. Not just any dinner, but our favorite restaurant to go to if we happen to be in St. Louis–Seamus McDaniel’s. Home of the best burger in the metro area, if not the world. We all love going there, so this was a big treat.

That’s not why Ryan is the best husband ever, though…that’s just why he’s pretty great!

After dinner, he stopped at 7-11 to get the children slurpees, (he’s also the best dad ever), a rare treat since we are severely lacking in the 7-11 department in Southern Illinois. But, when we have the chance, it’s one of those things from our childhood that we really like sharing with our children. They really enjoyed their special dessert.

But I still haven’t gotten to the part where he’s the best husband ever.

For the better part of the last week, I had been craving saganaki. What can I say? This baby has a very ethnically diverse palette! This is another food item that isn’t easy to find in our area, though. So, on the way home from 7-11, he stopped at Olympia Kebob House, and got me a “dessert,” too–an order of saganaki!

There are no words to describe how very delicious that cheese was. But, it was exactly as I had been imagining it for the last week, and I enjoyed every last bite.

Definitely the best husband ever!

Anniversary Lunch

Since we spent the evening at Busch Stadium, we decided to go out for lunch on our anniversary. Our restaurant of choice? Olympia Kebob House and Taverna in St. Louis. We’ve always wanted to go there, but never got around to it, plus, it’s located near our first apartment in St. Louis, so it also got points for sentimentality!

We shared an order of saganaki to start, and it was just like I remembered from my childhood when my parents used to take me to a restaurant that, while not Greek, was owned by Greeks. So delicious (and fun to watch)! I especially loved the slight lemon flavor…it’s completely unexpected with cheese, and yet it goes so well.

I chose a pork kebob for my meal, and it was delicious. It was also my first real experience with feta cheese, and while I was apprehensive, it turns out that I really like it. All of the assorted vegetables were also delicious, as were the wonderful Greek olives.

Ryan got the gyros. I gave him a hard time about the lamb, (I tend to have a “no cute food” rule when eating), but I ended up sampling it anyway, and it was also delicious. The tzatziki was especially good. I’d even go so far as to say that I might order the gyros should we ever go back there. Rules are made to be broken, right?

I also got really adventurous and tried the ouzo. It was…interesting. Very strong, much more so than I was expecting. And while I was expecting it to taste like licorice, I wasn’t prepared for just how strong the flavor would be. It was almost like drinking a box of Jingles. I doubt that I would order it again, but it was part of the whole experience, so I’m glad I gave it a try!