We just spent an excellent weekend in St. Louis, and I wanted to add some reviews.
For background, I went to school near Clayton, so I went to most places on memory. Have relocated to the east coast for the past 8 years, so it was a treat to head back to St. Louis where we can enjoy great food and hospitality with very little sticker shock. We stayed downtown (Hilton points), but really didn't venture out too much there. A run down of where we wined, dined and cocktailed follows:
Lumiere Casino bar: We enjoyed cheap and strong martinis and margaritas at this fairly swank new casino. We were a bit taken aback by smoking in bars since our city banned it years ago, but since it's a casino they pump in oxygen keeping the air relatively clean, and we didn't notice it too much. Went on to win $5 in the slot machine-bonus! before we hopped a cab to
Cunetto's House of Pasta on the Hill: Basically picked this place for nostalgia purposes--my parents always took me here when they came to town, and I remembered that they had pretty good pasta. We waited for about an hour at the bar, and the bartender made me an excellent lemon drop martini which helped the time go by.
This place is your typical old school, wood paneled, well known Italian place, and quite frankly I wouldn't go again. It is totally worth the experience, and the food delivers what it promises, but they are so busy it feels kind of like you move down an assembly line while you enjoy your food. If you aren't sentimental about the Hill and are looking for serious Italian, I would skip this spot. If you want good food (& lots of it) at a good price, and have time to wait for it, head on in.
Caveat: If you're taking a cab in St. L, call about 10 minutes before you're ready to leave and be prepared to pay about 15-25 a ride. This city is spread out!!
Coffee Cartel: Fun, casual spot for coffee in the Central West End, at Maryland and Euclid Make a good strong latte. Dislike the styrofoam. About 1/2 a block from a Starbucks. Please, by all means, go to the Cartel instead. I promise it will be worth your while.
Scapes: Had a pretty good brunch at this little American bistro located in Maryland Plaza in the CWE. Beautiful atmosphere with lots of spots for private parties. A little pricey (comparable to what we pay out east). Had the Farmer's Cheese pancakes and husband had the California Benedict. Bloody Mary's and Mimosas also good.
Kaldi's on De Mun: Still the best coffee shop I've ever been to. Darling atmosphere, really good coffee, comfy chairs. Great strolling on the grounds of the seminary before during and after your coffee. Perfection on a pretty weekend day. I love this place (I have no affiliation with the place, just a big fan). However, it's probably beyond time for them to get free wifi.
Bailey's Chocolate Bar in Lafayette Park: Apparently LP was a not so desirable 'hood when I lived in St. L. 8 years ago--I had never heard of it--but I wouldn't hesitate to invest in property here now. It's just gorgeous, and places like Bailey's are certainly doing their part to make your investment worthwhile. Give yourself sometime to walk around the park before heading in to choose from their wonderful beer list, 16 (or so)chocolate martinis, great little menu, not to mention a gorgeous, totally swanky atmosphere. Please go. It was amazing. we were there early on a Sunday evening, I'm sure it's packed on Saturdays, but if you want to chill with a great drink, by all means, send them some Sunday business. Drink orders: The Mexican, The Dark, and a Red and Black (Framboise and stout mix). we ate the Spinach Artichoke dip, made in house, and it was fabulous
Harvest in Clayton: This was a fabulous spot--beautiful restaurant, wonderful service and delicious food. We started with the sweetbreads, which we've never had before but they were very good to us. I had fish, wish I could remember what it was (too many aperitifs I guess), but it was very good. Husband had duck breast, which he also really liked. Ate the chocolate cake for dessert-very tasty but not out of this world. Sit near the fireplace if you can. They also have a great, innovative cocktail menu.
Hope this helps you! Have fun!