St. Louis may be famous for its barbecue, but the city can hold its own when it comes to vegetarian and vegan food too. So if you don’t eat meat (or dairy, or eggs, etc.), and it’s your turn to pick where to go for dinner, don’t despair. Here are 10 amazing options that even your steakhouse-club-member friend will enjoy.
Natasha Kwan, who has been a vegetarian for decades, runs Frida’s Deli, and she has built her menu from the ground up, based entirely upon what she’d like to eat. Although Frida’s is just a humble deli, it has won countless local “best-of” awards, including the coveted “no one rolls their eyes at my dietary needs here” award from Sauce magazine.
While not a strictly vegetarian eatery, the beloved Cafe Natasha’s Persian food has plenty of vegetarian-friendly options, such as a kookoo—a soufflé-like pie made with herbs, eggs, walnuts, and spices. A Persian geologist laid off at the height of the Iranian hostage crisis, and who couldn’t find work because of his nationality, opened the restaurant. The same day he was fired, his wife found out they were pregnant with a daughter—Natasha. The restaurant has been a labor of love in all the decades since, delighting vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Nestled in a leafy subdivision near the Central West End, PuraVegan Café & Yoga is a health-conscious community center offering vegan, gluten-free meals, yoga classes, meditation sessions, and even cleanses, for when you need a hard reset. Staff will give you gratis counseling on how to incorporate veganism into your lifestyle or diet, even if you’re not ready to commit fully. Come to downward dog, and stay for a smoothie after.
Vegetarianism can sometimes seem synonymous with asceticism, but not at Small Batch, where the cocktails get equal billing with the killer cavatelli and roasted eggplant. Whiskey, in particular, is a focus at this vegetarian-only restaurant, which occupies an airy Art Deco building in Midtown—the former home of the Ford Motor Company.
Vegan food is made from scratch in this serene space in the DeMun neighborhood, where the focus is on integrating food into holistic well-being. The “Rawvioli” with beets marinated and filled with macadamia and pine nut pesto is a particular crowd pleaser. And although there are plenty of seeds populating the menu, the café’s name actually comes from the Shel Silverstein book, The Giving Tree.