Award-winning wine lists, authentic Greek eats, and gourmet Asian fusion fast food; Chesterfield, Missouri’s, dining scene is putting the St. Louis suburbs on the map. Here, The Culture Trip rounds up the city’s best local restaurants, from fine dining bistros to casual, laid-back joints.
Combining inventive American cuisine with one of the best wine lists in the area, Edgewild Restaurant & Winery is a contemporary, upscale-casual restaurant ideal for foodies and budding oenophiles alike. Executive chef Aaron Baggett mixes his southern Missouri roots and New York City culinary training to craft innovative dishes like pancetta-wrapped bison meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes, roasted garlic haricot verts, and rosemary jus, and smoked chicken tacos with pico de gallo, cumin aioli, jalapeno-avocado crema, and shaved cabbage. Edgewild’s extensive domestic and international wine list features something to suit every plate; live music every Friday and Saturday sets the ambiance.
One of suburban St Louis‘s most raved about restaurants, Annie Gunn’s sophisticated, rustic American cuisine and world-class wine list have been enticing guests since the restaurant opened its doors in the early 1990s. Owner Thom Sehnert and executive chef Lou Rook work closely with local farmers and producers to bring guests dishes brimming with local flavor, like roasted Troutdale Farm rainbow trout with wild rice pilaf and locally raised heritage hog chop with sweetcorn maque choux, braised collard greens, and crowder peas. Annie Gunn’s wine list comes highly recommended, too; resident sommelier Glenn Bardgett’s carefully selected wines have been awarded Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence for the past thirteen years.
A popular, long-standing haunt located at Chesterfield’s Hilltown Village Center, Gianfabio’s Italian Café opened in 1987 and is well-known throughout the city for its authentic, traditional Italian cuisine and signature dishes. Guests can whet their appetite with tempting starters like hand-breaded toasted ravioli with meat sauce or crab-stuffed mushrooms and follow with one of Gianfabio’s specialty pizzas, hand-tossed and cooked in an open-flame brick pizza oven. Naturally, plenty of pasta dishes are served, too, alongside signature entrées like veal and shrimp Gianfabio, veal sautéed in sherry cream sauce with mushroom, artichokes, and jumbo shrimp and homemade desserts.
Barbecue connoisseurs Paul Lamer and Mark Ruck had already gained quite the following at local competitions and farmer’s markets when they decided to open PM BBQ in 2010; they have since won a whole host of awards from local magazines for their slow-smoked, Memphis-style barbecue. Local favorites include the juicy, tender brisket (winner of the Riverfront Times’ Best Beef Brisket of 2011 award) and the smoked chicken, but plenty more barbecue staples, like baby back ribs and pulled pork, are served alongside sandwiches, salads, sides, and a few specialty dishes like smoked chicken and sausage gumbo or spicy brisket chili.
A bistro, wine bar, and wine store rolled into one, Balaban’s calls itself ‘the absolute authority on wine in St Louis,’ and with over 600 carefully selected fine wines on its award-winning wine list, that isn’t just bragging. Balaban’s flatbreads and small plates are perfect for a light meal with friends, while its appetizers and entrées (think trout pancake with horseradish crème fraiche and pan-seared scallops with carrots and heirloom grains) mix both French and American culinary influences. Better yet, once a month Balaban’s hosts a five course wine dinner which offers its classic bistro dishes with wines from a particular vineyard or wine-producing region.
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Unique cuisine and a commitment to doing fast food right has made Kimcheese, a family-owned and -operated joint that opened in 2012, one of Chesterfield’s most popular casual restaurants. Asian fusion fare (with a focus on Korean, Mexican and American flavors) is Kimcheese’s specialty, and with several nods of approval from St. Louis Magazine, including being named one of 2014’s Best Very Casual Restaurants, guests are guaranteed a great, but affordable, meal. Choose from dishes like steak and cheese burger or kimchi pork belly burritos and team them with sides like wings, cheese fries, and pot stickers or go for a traditional Korean bibimbap.
Serving some of the best-loved pizza pies in all of Chesterfield, East Coast Pizza is the place to be for casual Italian-American eats in laid-back surroundings. All pizzas feature hand-tossed dough, homemade sauce, and fresh mozzarella, and guests can choose from New York-style pizzas, calzones, stromboli, and a number of specialty pizzas. East Coast Pizza also serves hearty sandwiches, soups, salads, and sides and offers a beer list, featuring both big name domestics and locally brewed craft beers from the likes of St Louis-based Schlafly Beer, bound to impress any dedicated ale fan.
Its name translates as ‘hello,’ and a trip to Thai Sawadee is just that; a perfect introduction to authentic, traditional Thai cuisine and its typically exciting and exotic flavor combinations. Alongside familiar staples like pad Thai (rice noodles with chicken, shrimp, egg, beansprouts, and scallion, topped with ground peanuts) and beef panang curry with bell peppers and basil leaves, guests will find tempting specialty dishes like seafood-lemongrass hot pot and crispy golden frog legs with Chinese eggplant and Thai spices. Authenticity extends to Thai Sawadee’s dessert menu, too, with sweet treats like fried bananas and honey sauce or coconut sticky rice with fresh mango.
A laid-back, modern restaurant serving a mix of classic and contemporary eats, Fin Japanese Cuisine is a local dining go-to for creative sushi and other authentic Japanese fare. The restaurant’s sushi offerings range from the traditional (think salmon roe nigiri and futomaki rolls) to creative specialties like the Chesterfield roll (shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and asparagus, topped with salmon smelt eggs, eel sauce, scallion, and tobiko), while heartier entrées include the likes of steak teriyaki and spicy seafood hot pot. Wash down your food with an authentic drink or two; there’s premium sake, sake cocktails, and Tokyo-brewed beers available alongside wine and martinis.
Serving St. Louis deliciously authentic Mediterranean meals since setting up shop in 1975, Spiro’s is the place to go for eclectic Greek and Italian fare. Start your meal with a tempting Greek appetizer of saganaki (beer-battered, fried kasseri cheese) or tzatziki with toasted pita bread, and follow up with a hearty pasta, seafood, or grill dish. There’s an ‘Old World Mediterranean’ menu section, too, featuring dishes like moussaka and beef souvlaki. The restaurant’s specialty dishes include Grecian-style rack of lamb with jumbo scallops, perfect when washed down with one of Spiro’s authentic Greek wines.