Just got back from my first visit to St. Louis in a while. Some nice development/rehab going on various areas, but still a lot to do. The city is still pockets of activity, with some deserted areas.
Anyway, some rec's:
Italian at Trattoria Marcella (Hill) is excellent, clearly a place filled with locals and visitors. Traditional Italian, the veal scallopini is excellent, as are the salads. Try to get a table in the newer portion. While it may not have the charm of the old, tables are less crammed together.
Had a nightcap at Bailey's Chocolate Bar in the Lafayette Square area, which is coming along nicely. This place was great....cool vibe, very crowded even when we got there after midnight, post-concert. The raspberry chocolate martinin and banana split were great!
Had brunch at Nadoz in Midtown, in the old Coronado Hotel. This was great, too. Beautifully rehabbed, large 20's hotel. The brunch entrees were several notches above the usual fare, with nice fish and meat selections. Desserts, esp. beignets, are a must.
Had dinner at Niche, which I could see was populated with mostly affluent-looking patrons. Beautiful space in the Benton Park area, near a pretty dense residential area with nice feel and rowhouses, mixed with industrial. Kind of a gritty feel, but I liked it. A little hard to find (don't trust Mapquest!). The 3-course for $35 is a good option. Salad course with Maytag blue cheese excellent and well-plated, as others have mentioned. Good house red, The hangar steak with dipping sauces (YUM!!) was very good. Too long a wait for the dessert course, even though they ask you for the order at the beginning. Service friendly, but server a little too scarce for my taste. Dessert, the apple crisp, was excellent. I would recommend the place.
St. Louis is interesting. These were neighborhoods I hadn't been to, and I like the vibe and sort of gritty feel to some of them. Clearly some good things are happening, but there arr still a number of areas, esp. around Midtown, that clearly need work. Notable was an almost total absence of street life or traffic, even on Sunday. Stayed at Napoleon's Retreat in Lafayette Square, which I highly recommend.
Just doing my little part to help the St. Louis economy. I live closer to Chicago, and for obvious reasons usually go there. This was a nice change.