Welcome to our guide to the best downtown St Louis restaurants! Whether you’re a local looking for new dining experiences or a tourist visiting the city for the first time, this guide is the perfect resource for satisfying your culinary cravings. Downtown St Louis is home to a diverse range of restaurants, from classic American fare to exotic international cuisine. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, to help you navigate the city’s food scene and discover some hidden gems along the way. So sit back, relax, and get ready to embark on a mouth-watering journey through downtown St Louis.
The History of Downtown St Louis Restaurants
Downtown St Louis has a rich culinary history that dates back to the early 1800s. In the early years, many of the restaurants in the area served simple, hearty meals for the working-class population. However, as the city grew and prospered, so did its dining scene. The first fine dining restaurant in St Louis, Tony Faust’s Oyster House, opened its doors in 1868 and quickly became a hotspot for the city’s elite.
Over the years, downtown St Louis continued to evolve into a hub of culinary diversity. From the traditional Italian cuisine served at Charlie Gitto’s to the contemporary American dishes at Blood & Sand, there’s something for everyone in downtown St Louis.
One of the most significant events in the history of downtown St Louis restaurants was the opening of the famous restaurant, The Top of the Riverfront, in the early 1960s. Located atop the Gateway Arch, the restaurant offered breathtaking views of the city and quickly became a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike.
Today, downtown St Louis restaurants continue to thrive, with new establishments popping up every year. From trendy gastropubs to upscale steakhouses, the food scene in downtown St Louis is as diverse as it is delicious. Whether you’re in the mood for classic St Louis barbecue or innovative fusion cuisine, you’re sure to find a restaurant that suits your taste buds in downtown St Louis.
Types of Restaurants in Downtown St Louis
Downtown St Louis is home to a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from casual diners to high-end establishments. Here are just a few of the types of restaurants you’ll find in downtown St Louis:
- Classic American: Downtown St Louis is famous for its classic American fare, and there’s no shortage of restaurants serving up burgers, fries, and other comfort foods. Some of the most popular American restaurants in the area include Bailey’s Range, Sugarfire Smoke House, and Broadway Oyster Bar.
- International Cuisine: If you’re in the mood for something a little more exotic, downtown St Louis has plenty of options to choose from. You can sample traditional Italian dishes at Charlie Gitto’s, savor authentic Mexican flavors at Rosalita’s Cantina, or try some delicious sushi at Wasabi Sushi Bar.
- Fine Dining: For those looking to indulge in a more upscale dining experience, downtown St Louis has plenty of options. 801 Chophouse and Ruth’s Chris Steak House are two of the most popular high-end restaurants in the area, offering delicious steaks and elegant ambiance.
- Trendy Gastropubs: If you’re looking for a more casual atmosphere with a modern twist, downtown St Louis has plenty of trendy gastropubs to choose from. The Midwestern and Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar are two popular options, both offering delicious food and an extensive selection of craft beers.
- Food Trucks: In addition to traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants, downtown St Louis is also home to a thriving food truck scene. From gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches at Guerilla Street Food to mouth-watering Korean BBQ at Seoul Taco, there’s no shortage of delicious options to choose from.
No matter what type of cuisine you’re in the mood for, downtown St Louis has something to offer every palate.
Fine Dining Restaurants
For those looking for an upscale dining experience, downtown St Louis has several fine dining options that are sure to impress. Here are a few of the top fine dining restaurants in the area:
- 801 Chophouse: This elegant steakhouse is the perfect place to indulge in a juicy, perfectly cooked steak. The menu also features an impressive selection of seafood and sides, as well as an extensive wine list.
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House: Another popular steakhouse in downtown St Louis, Ruth’s Chris is known for its top-quality steaks and impeccable service. The restaurant also offers a variety of seafood, chicken, and vegetarian options.
- Tony’s: A St Louis institution since 1946, Tony’s is the perfect choice for a special occasion or romantic evening out. The menu features classic Italian dishes and an impressive selection of wines.
- The Capital Grille: This upscale steakhouse chain offers classic American cuisine and an extensive wine list. The elegant atmosphere and impeccable service make it a popular choice for special occasions.
These fine dining restaurants in downtown St Louis offer not only delicious cuisine but also an elevated atmosphere and exceptional service. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply in the mood for a memorable dining experience, these establishments are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Casual Dining Restaurants
If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience in downtown St Louis, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the top casual dining restaurants in the area:
- Sugarfire Smoke House: This popular BBQ joint serves up delicious meats smoked to perfection, along with tasty sides like mac and cheese and coleslaw. The casual atmosphere and friendly service make it a great spot for a laid-back meal.
- Bailey’s Range: Known for its delicious burgers made with locally sourced, grass-fed beef, Bailey’s Range also offers tasty sides and creative milkshakes. The rustic-chic decor and friendly service make it a popular spot for families and groups of friends.
- Broadway Oyster Bar: For seafood lovers, Broadway Oyster Bar is a must-visit. The menu features a variety of Cajun and Creole dishes, as well as fresh oysters and other seafood specialties. The lively atmosphere and live music make it a fun spot for a night out.
- The Kitchen Sink: This cozy restaurant serves up classic comfort food with a creative twist, like mac and cheese with bacon and shrimp or chicken and waffles topped with maple bacon syrup. The friendly service and eclectic decor make it a favorite among locals.
- Sauce on the Side: If you’re in the mood for pizza, Sauce on the Side offers delicious pies with creative toppings like prosciutto and fig or roasted garlic and mushroom. The laid-back atmosphere and quick service make it a great spot for a casual lunch or dinner.
These casual dining restaurants in downtown St Louis offer delicious food in a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a laid-back meal with friends or family.
Fast Food and Quick Bite Restaurants
When you’re on the go and looking for a quick bite to eat, downtown St Louis has plenty of fast food and quick bite options to choose from. Here are some of the top options for those in a hurry:
- Subway: This popular sandwich chain offers a variety of freshly made sandwiches and salads, as well as sides like chips and cookies. With several locations throughout downtown St Louis, it’s a convenient option for a quick lunch or snack.
- Chick-fil-A: Known for its delicious chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, Chick-fil-A is a popular choice for a fast and satisfying meal. The friendly service and clean, modern decor make it a comfortable spot to grab a bite.
- Jimmy John’s: This sandwich chain is famous for its “freaky fast” delivery, but if you’re in downtown St Louis, you can also stop in for a quick sandwich on the go. The menu features a variety of tasty subs and sandwiches, as well as chips and cookies.
- Lion’s Choice: For a taste of St Louis-style roast beef, Lion’s Choice is the place to go. The menu also features tasty sides like curly fries and onion rings. With several locations in downtown St Louis, it’s a convenient option for a quick and satisfying meal.
- Shake Shack: This fast-casual chain is known for its delicious burgers, hot dogs, and milkshakes. The bright, modern decor and friendly service make it a comfortable spot to grab a quick bite.
These fast food and quick bite options in downtown St Louis offer convenient and satisfying meals for those on the go. Whether you’re in a hurry or simply looking for a quick and delicious bite to eat, these establishments are sure to satisfy.
St Louis Food Trucks
Food trucks have become increasingly popular in recent years, and downtown St Louis is no exception. Here are some of the top food trucks to check out in the area:
- Seoul Taco: This Korean-Mexican fusion food truck serves up delicious tacos, burritos, and rice bowls filled with your choice of protein and toppings. The menu also features tasty sides like Korean-style fries and dumplings.
- Guerrilla Street Food: With a focus on Filipino cuisine, Guerrilla Street Food offers a unique and flavorful menu that includes dishes like pork belly and chicken adobo, as well as creative sandwiches and sides like lumpia (Filipino-style egg rolls).
- Slice of the Hill: For pizza lovers, Slice of the Hill is a must-visit. This food truck serves up delicious New York-style pizza with a variety of toppings, as well as tasty appetizers like garlic knots and fried ravioli.
- Zia’s On The Hill: This food truck offers delicious Italian fare like pasta, sandwiches, and salads, with a focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. The friendly service and convenient location make it a popular spot for a quick and tasty lunch.
These food trucks in downtown St Louis offer a variety of unique and delicious options for foodies on the go. From Korean-Mexican fusion to Filipino cuisine and loaded fries, there’s something to satisfy every craving.
Must-Try Dishes in Downtown St Louis
Downtown St Louis is home to a diverse range of restaurants, each offering its own unique take on local and international cuisine. Here are some must-try dishes to add to your list:
- Toasted Ravioli: This St Louis classic is a must-try for anyone visiting the city. These crispy, breaded ravioli are typically filled with meat and served with marinara sauce for dipping.
- BBQ Ribs: St Louis-style BBQ ribs are another local favorite. These tender, fall-off-the-bone ribs are typically rubbed with a blend of spices and slow-cooked until they’re melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
- Gooey Butter Cake: This sweet, rich cake is a St Louis specialty that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Made with a cake mix base and a cream cheese filling, it’s the perfect dessert to share with friends or family.
- Pizza: Whether you prefer thin crust or deep dish, there are plenty of great pizza places in downtown St Louis to choose from. Be sure to try a local favorite like Imo’s Pizza, which is known for its unique, cracker-thin crust and tangy Provel cheese.
- Tacos: Downtown St Louis has some great taco spots to choose from, including the popular Mission Taco Joint. Whether you’re in the mood for classic carne asada or something more adventurous like duck confit or fried avocado, you’re sure to find a taco that hits the spot.
- Seafood: With its proximity to the Mississippi River, it’s no surprise that downtown St Louis has some great seafood options. Be sure to check out places like Broadway Oyster Bar for fresh oysters and other delicious seafood dishes.
No matter what your tastes are, there’s something for everyone in downtown St Louis. So why not try something new and explore the culinary delights of this vibrant city?
St Louis-Style Pizza
St Louis-style pizza is a beloved local specialty that’s a must-try for anyone visiting downtown St Louis. This unique style of pizza is known for its thin, cracker-like crust and distinctive Provel cheese.
Provel cheese is a processed cheese that’s made by combining cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses. It has a tangy, slightly smoky flavor and a smooth, velvety texture that melts perfectly on top of the pizza.
In addition to the Provel cheese, St Louis-style pizza is typically topped with a sweet tomato sauce that’s made with more sugar than traditional pizza sauce. The sauce is often seasoned with oregano and garlic for extra flavor.
One of the most popular places to try St Louis-style pizza is Imo’s Pizza. This local chain has been serving up its signature pies since 1964 and has become a beloved fixture in the St Louis culinary scene.
So, if you’re in downtown St Louis, be sure to stop by Imo’s or one of the other local pizzerias to try this unique and delicious style of pizza. You won’t be disappointed!
Toasted ravioli is a St Louis classic that you simply can’t miss when you’re visiting downtown St Louis. This dish is made with deliciously crispy breaded ravioli that are typically filled with meat and served with a side of tangy marinara sauce.
The origins of toasted ravioli are a bit of a mystery, but one popular story is that they were accidentally created by a St Louis chef in the 1940s. The story goes that the chef was making ravioli, but accidentally dropped some of the pasta into the fryer. Rather than waste the ravioli, he decided to serve them up to his customers, and toasted ravioli was born!
Today, toasted ravioli is a beloved local specialty that’s available at many restaurants throughout downtown St Louis. You can find it served as an appetizer or even as a main course, and it’s a great dish to share with friends or family.
So, the next time you’re in downtown St Louis, be sure to try some toasted ravioli for yourself. You’ll love the crispy texture and flavorful filling, and the tangy marinara sauce is the perfect accompaniment to this delicious dish.
When it comes to BBQ ribs, St Louis has got it covered. The city is known for its mouth-watering, fall-off-the-bone ribs that are smothered in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce.
The key to great St Louis-style BBQ ribs is the dry rub that’s used to season the meat before it’s slow-cooked to perfection. The rub typically includes a mix of spices like paprika, garlic, onion, and cumin, which give the ribs their signature smoky flavor.
Once the ribs are seasoned, they’re slow-cooked over low heat for several hours until they’re tender and juicy. Finally, they’re slathered in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce that’s made with a blend of ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, and spices.
There are many great restaurants in downtown St Louis where you can try these famous BBQ ribs, including Pappy’s Smokehouse and Sugarfire Smokehouse. Both of these restaurants are known for their delicious ribs, as well as their creative side dishes and friendly service.
So, whether you’re a BBQ lover or just looking to try something new, be sure to add St Louis-style BBQ ribs to your list of must-try dishes in downtown St Louis. Your taste buds will thank you!
Gooey Butter Cake
No visit to downtown St Louis is complete without trying a slice of the city’s famous gooey butter cake. This rich and decadent dessert is a St Louis specialty that’s been enjoyed by locals for generations.
Gooey butter cake is made with a simple, yet deliciously indulgent combination of butter, sugar, eggs, and cake flour. The result is a soft and chewy cake with a gooey, buttery center that’s impossible to resist.
Legend has it that the recipe for gooey butter cake was created by accident in the 1930s when a St Louis baker accidentally mixed up the ingredients for his cake batter. Rather than waste the batter, he decided to bake it anyway, and the result was a deliciously gooey and decadent cake that quickly became a local favorite.
Today, you can find gooey butter cake at many bakeries and cafes throughout downtown St Louis, including Park Avenue Coffee and Russell’s Café and Bakery. Some even offer unique variations, such as chocolate or pumpkin spice flavors.
So, whether you have a sweet tooth or just love trying new desserts, be sure to indulge in a slice of St Louis’s famous gooey butter cake during your visit to downtown St Louis. It’s a delicious treat that’s sure to satisfy!
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
No trip to downtown St Louis is complete without a visit to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. This iconic St Louis establishment has been serving up delicious frozen custard since 1929, and it’s a must-visit for anyone who loves sweet treats.
Ted Drewes is famous for its signature “concrete” – a rich and creamy frozen custard that’s blended with various mix-ins, such as Oreos, hot fudge, and candy bars. The result is a thick and indulgent treat that’s the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day.
In addition to its famous concretes, Ted Drewes also offers classic sundaes, milkshakes, and floats, as well as seasonal treats like pumpkin pie custard and peppermint stick concrete during the holidays.
Ted Drewes is a St Louis institution that’s beloved by locals and visitors alike. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see a line of customers stretching around the block on a hot summer day, all waiting for their chance to indulge in a delicious frozen custard treat.
So, if you’re in downtown St Louis and looking for a sweet and refreshing treat, be sure to stop by Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.
Foodie Neighborhoods in Downtown St Louis
Downtown St Louis is a foodie’s paradise, with a wide variety of delicious restaurants and food options to explore. However, there are certain neighborhoods in downtown that stand out as must-visit destinations for anyone looking to indulge in some seriously delicious food.
One such neighborhood is The Grove, which is located just a short drive from downtown. This up-and-coming neighborhood is known for its trendy bars and restaurants, many of which offer unique and creative takes on classic dishes. From artisanal pizzas to spicy Korean fried chicken, The Grove has something for everyone.
Another neighborhood that’s worth exploring is Cherokee Street, which is home to a vibrant and eclectic mix of restaurants and food establishments. Here you’ll find everything from traditional Mexican street food to innovative fusion cuisine, all served up in a laid-back and welcoming atmosphere.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more upscale, then head to the Central West End. This elegant neighborhood is known for its upscale restaurants and fine dining establishments, many of which offer stunning views of Forest Park and the surrounding area. From classic French cuisine to innovative modern dishes, the Central West End is a foodie’s dream come true.
Finally, no foodie tour of downtown St Louis would be complete without a visit to the historic Soulard neighborhood. This lively and bustling area is home to some of the city’s oldest and most iconic restaurants, many of which have been serving up delicious food for generations. From classic barbecue to hearty pub fare, Soulard has something for everyone.
Whether you’re a die-hard foodie or just looking for a delicious meal, these neighborhoods in downtown St Louis are definitely worth exploring. So why not grab a few friends and set out on a culinary adventure through this amazing city?
The Loop is another vibrant and eclectic neighborhood in downtown St Louis that’s well worth exploring. Located just a short distance from the downtown area, this funky neighborhood is known for its artsy vibe and creative energy.
One of the highlights of The Loop is the variety of restaurants and food establishments that call this area home. Here you’ll find everything from cozy cafes and casual bistros to elegant fine dining establishments and upscale cocktail bars. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite or a multi-course feast, The Loop has something to satisfy every craving.
One of the most popular spots in The Loop is Fitz’s Root Beer, a local institution that’s been serving up delicious food and drinks for over 60 years. In addition to their famous root beer, Fitz’s offers a wide variety of tasty burgers, sandwiches, and salads, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, then head to Salt + Smoke, a stylish and trendy restaurant that specializes in traditional barbecue and Southern cuisine. From juicy brisket to crispy fried chicken, everything on the menu at Salt + Smoke is sure to satisfy even the most discerning foodie.
For a truly unique dining experience, check out Blueberry Hill, a quirky and eclectic restaurant that’s been a staple of The Loop for decades. From the retro decor to the extensive collection of pop culture memorabilia, Blueberry Hill is a one-of-a-kind dining destination that’s not to be missed.
Overall, The Loop is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the vibrant food scene in downtown St Louis. So why not plan a visit today and see for yourself what all the fuss is about?
Soulard is a historic neighborhood in downtown St Louis that’s known for its lively nightlife and thriving food scene. With a rich history dating back to the early 19th century, this charming neighborhood is filled with beautiful architecture, tree-lined streets, and a vibrant community of residents and visitors alike.
One of the highlights of Soulard is its wide variety of restaurants and food establishments, which offer everything from classic pub fare to upscale dining experiences. One of the most popular spots in the neighborhood is Bogart’s Smokehouse, which serves up some of the best barbecue in the city. With mouthwatering dishes like brisket, pulled pork, and ribs, it’s easy to see why Bogart’s is always packed with hungry patrons.
Another must-visit spot in Soulard is 1860’s Saloon, a lively bar and restaurant that’s been a staple of the neighborhood for over 150 years. With its old-school vibe, extensive beer selection, and delicious pub food, 1860’s Saloon is the perfect place to unwind with friends after a long day.
If you’re looking for something a bit more upscale, then head to the cozy and intimate Franco, which serves up delicious French-inspired cuisine in a charming, romantic atmosphere. From the beautifully presented dishes to the carefully curated wine list, everything about Franco is designed to delight the senses.
Of course, no visit to Soulard would be complete without a stop at Soulard Farmers Market, which has been a fixture of the neighborhood since 1779. With its bustling atmosphere and wide variety of fresh produce, meats, and other goods, the farmers market is a must-visit destination for foodies of all stripes.
Overall, Soulard is a wonderful neighborhood to explore for anyone looking to experience the vibrant food scene in downtown St Louis. So why not plan a visit today and see for yourself what makes this neighborhood so special?
Central West End
Central West End is one of the most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods in downtown St Louis. With its tree-lined streets, historic homes, and bustling commercial district, it’s a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike.
One of the highlights of Central West End is its incredible food scene. Whether you’re in the mood for upscale dining or casual eats, there’s something for everyone here. One of the most popular spots in the neighborhood is Brasserie by Niche, which serves up delicious French-inspired cuisine in a cozy and romantic atmosphere.
For a more casual dining experience, check out Mission Taco Joint, which offers a wide variety of creative and delicious tacos, along with a great selection of craft beer and cocktails. And if you’re looking for something sweet, be sure to stop by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which serves up some of the best ice cream in the city.
In addition to its great restaurants, Central West End is also home to a number of cultural and entertainment destinations. The world-renowned St. Louis Art Museum is located here, along with the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel and the trendy and upscale Maryland Plaza shopping district.
For those who love the outdoors, Forest Park is just a short walk or bike ride away, offering miles of scenic trails, beautiful gardens, and numerous recreational opportunities. Whether you’re looking to go for a jog, have a picnic, or simply enjoy a peaceful stroll, Forest Park has something for everyone.
The Central West End is a vibrant and exciting neighborhood that’s well worth a visit for anyone interested in exploring the rich culture and delicious food scene of downtown St Louis.
Bon Appétit St Louis!
In conclusion, downtown St Louis is a foodie’s paradise, with an incredible variety of dining options to suit every taste and budget. From upscale fine dining to casual eats, food trucks, and everything in between, there’s something for everyone here.
Whether you’re a local or just visiting the city, be sure to check out some of the must-try dishes like St Louis-style pizza, toasted ravioli, BBQ ribs, gooey butter cake, and Ted Drewes frozen custard. And don’t forget to explore some of the fantastic neighborhoods like The Loop, Soulard, and Central West End, each offering its own unique culinary delights and cultural attractions.
So come on down to downtown St Louis and experience the amazing food and culture for yourself. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed!