For the love of all things Italian and edible, Pastaria is here. James Beard award-winning Chef Gerard Craft has brilliantly merged a modern dining concept with the rich tradition of Italian cooking, and everyone’s a fan. The ceilings are high, the pasta is made in house daily, and the cocktails won’t let you down. Start with the risotto balls and a kale salad (yes, we’re serious), move on to the spicy nduja pizza, then wrap things up with the tiramisu or gelato.
James Beard award-winning Chef Gerard Craft has found his newest muse in Sardella—a “nod to Italy”. It’s trendy and photogenic, with Mediterranean-style blue tile walls, which makes it a great spot for a date (the impressive wine and cocktail lists help, too). The menu changes frequently, but never skip their pastas! Only half the tables are set aside for reservations so drop-ins are always welcome, but expect a wait on weekend nights.
Considered by some the best fine dining spot in Clayton, this prestigious restaurant serves upscale American cuisine and an impressive array of French and Italian wines in an intimate setting. Chef/Owner Jim Fiala is a legend in St. Louis and mentor to many of the city’s top chefs. Everything is cooked to perfection, and their choose-your-own-adventure tasting menus are fun. Don’t forget to order a glass of wine - like their sibling restaurant Acero, the Crossing offers several wines by the quartino (one-third of a bottle), a great way to try out a new-to-you bottle.
There’s a reason the line is so darn long on weekends. This top-notch brunch spot is among the best in the city, with an excellent variety of breakfast options, in addition to coffee, tea, and brunch cocktails.It doesn’t hurt that each dish is also beautifully prepared. Weekend brunch features seasonal dishes like pumpkin custard pancakes in the fall, so there’s always something new to try. This isn’t exactly a hidden gem, so make use of that NoWait app or prepare for a 45+ minute wait on weekends. Get the Clara Cakes with mascarpone and raspberry.
It's easy to find a burger in St. Louis, but it's not always easy to find a good burger. That’s where 5 Star doesn’t just shine—it glows. Whether you’re looking for a classic cheeseburger or a lamb burger with black olive tapenade, they have it all. Pair that with a mixed basket of fries (sweet potato and regular) and one of their many, many great beer offerings, and you’re set to have a great night. If you’re not into burgers, never fear! They offer a number of other sandwiches and salads. Their happy hour is also quite possibly the best deal in all of St. Louis.
You’re not a basic donut eater. You have class, style, and a refined AF palate. After winning the Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown, they’ve been on a tear ever since with their beignet-like fluffy donuts—which, by the way, are YUGE. Extravagant speciality flavors, like lemon lavender, blueberry cheesecake, and maple bacon will keep you coming back again and again, until you no longer fit through the doorway.
Photo courtesy of Vincent Van Doughnut
Know that when you’re in Clayton, you’re in restaurateur Zoe Robinson’s turf. She owns a trifecta of sexy restaurants on Wydown: Bar Les Freres, I Fratellini, and Billie Jean. If you need a spot for a date, you go with one of these. Bar Les Freres feels like you’ve been swept away to a quiet Parisian neighborhood bistro with moody lighting and dishes like duck confit. Fratellini is an escape to the opulence and sexiness of Italy with its black, white, and red color scheme. Billie Jean takes things a step farther—this shotgun restaurant is almost entirely black, with just hints of white. 2 sexy 4 us.
White tablecloths usually feel old school in a steakhouse, but 801 feels decidedly modern and trendy—same goes for its sister restaurant, 801 Fish. A meal at either spot done right will set you back a few bucks, so we suggest making these special occasion places or grabbing a drink and appetizers at the bar after work. Don’t let the fact it’s a (small) chain throw you off: fish and steak entrees are great.