The Midwest generally gets a reputation of being the home of fast food, casseroles, and other such unimpressive fare. However, St. Louis has some restaurants that are bound to impress you.

St. Louis Specialties

Believe it or not, St. Louis actually has quite of few dishes that are unique to the city. First off, the pizza is not the type of pie you might be used to. The crust is cracker-thin and yeast-less, and it is topped with a St. Louis-invented cheese called provel, which is quite buttery. Check out any Imo’s location for a taste 

Next up is toasted ravioli. Instead of serving a boiled pasta pillow, St. Louis coats the meat-stuffed ravioli in bread crumbs, fries or bakes it, then serves the tasty morsels with a bowl full of marinara sauce. You’ll find the highest quality toasted ravs in The Hill, the Italian district. Check out Zia’s or Favazza’s and you are bound to leave happy.

You can’t leave St. Louis without making a stop along the historic Route 66 for some frozen custard at Ted Drewes. Ted Drewes is a beloved St. Louis tradition, with custard so good that people line up around the building even in the dead of winter. Order yourself a blizzard packed with your favorite candies and toppings and the employee will flip it upside-down before they hand it over, just to prove that each blizzard has the proper thickness.

For those of you with a sweet tooth, you’ll want to swing by Gooey Louie for another St. Louis dessert, gooey butter cake. Gooey Butter Cake is as gooey and moist as it sounds. The cake itself actually contains more powdered sugar than butter, but it certainly melts in your mouth like butter would. Gooey Louie carries a variety of flavors ranging in sweetness, but the original still holds the #1 spot for most locals.

International Cuisine

St. Louis has its own “Little Mexico” situated on Cherokee Street near the Jefferson intersection. Here you will find restaurants run by friendly Mexican families, as well as grocery stores selling Mexican products, such as that delicious Coca Cola made with cane sugar instead of syrup. Check out Taquería el Bronco (2812 Cherokee St) or Garduños (2737 Cherokee St) for some tasty tacos and traditional dishes. If you happen to be around for any Mexican holiday, you’ll find this place hopping from dawn ’til dusk.

If Asian cuisine is more your style, hit up South Grand near the Arsenal intersection. Here you will find Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese restaurants. For Vietnamese, check out Lemongrass, for sushi and other Japanese dishes, Sekisui is a great choice, and King and I offers some incredible Thai dishes. All these restaurants are within walking distance of each other, so if you want to take a little trip around Asia and taste them all, you can.

Dinner with Drinks

The University City Loop, a six-block stretch on Delmar Blvd, is a great place to have a meal and then keep the fun going with some drinks. Stop by the St. Louis landmark, Blueberry Hill, for some excellent hamburgers and beer. They often have live music, such as Chuck Berry when he’s in town, as it’s his favorite place to play. For Italian Food and more than 150 beers to choose from, Cicero’s is the place to be. They also have a live music venue built in, so you can sometimes catch a show after dinner. The Three Kings Pub House has some unique but delightful cuisine, such as Cap’n Crunch battered shrimp, as well as a full bar. Of course, if you’d like to finish your night with a view, you can grab some drinks at the Eclipse Restaurant and Terrace Bar, which will give a view of the entire Loop area.

When it comes to dining in St. Louis, you just have to know where to look for the best restaurants. Now you know.