Looking to try something new? Here are some recommendations from restaurant critic Ian Froeb’s recent reviews.
Where 7641 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton • More info 314-553-9914; akarstl.com • Hours Dinner Tuesday-Saturday, lunch Tuesday-Friday, brunch Sunday (closed Monday)
The cuisine • Bernie Lee draws inspiration from his native Malaysia and his global travels at the small, sophisticated Akar.
What to order • The beef short rib in a sambal demi glace is a dinner standout; at lunch, consider the bibimbap.
Where 3131 South Grand Boulevard • More info 314-282-0840 • Hours Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
The cuisine • Creative, artfully plated Mexican fare from the team behind the Maplewood restaurant Las Palmas.
What to order • The vegetable-centric fare (black-bean hummus with raw and pickled vegetables and fresh herbs) is especially impressive, as is the chicken with pepián mole verde.
Where The Bellwether, 1419 Carroll Street • More info 314-380-3086; thebellwetherstl.com • Hours Dinner daily
The cuisine • The team behind the excellent Lafayette Square bistro Polite Society returns with more contemporary American fare in a sophisticated, “date-night” atmosphere.
What to order • Chef Thomas Futrell’s standout dishes include a scallop carpaccio and a range of pastas.
Where 3307 Washington Boulevard • More info 314-449-1208; bulrushstl.com • Hours Dinner Thursday-Sunday
The cuisine • At one of the best new restaurants of recent years, Rob Connoley presents modern interpretations of historical Ozark foodways from 1820-1870.
What to order • The oft-changing tasting menu ($100 per person, tax and service included) provides the full Bulrush experience, but there is also an a-la-carte food menu at the bar.
Where 4087 Chouteau Avenue • More info 314-925-8250; chaobaanstl.com • Hours Dinner daily, lunch Monday-Saturday
The cuisine • You likely know the Prapaisilp family from their South Grand anchor the King & I. At Chao Baan, they are serving homestyle fare from Thailand’s northeast and south.
What to order • Go with a group and order many dishes to share family-style: the whole fried fish, nam tok and khao tod nam sod among them.
Where 508 North Euclid Avenue • More info 314-696-2294; facebook.com/cocinaslatina • Hours Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)
The cuisine • The restaurant Maritza Rios has dreamed of opening since she moved to St. Louis from New York City almost 20 years ago. Here she serves lomo saltado, ají de gallina and more dishes from her native Peru.
What to order • Ceviche, mahi mahi “cooked” in lime juice and punctuated with the chile heat of ají limo, is an energizing start to any meal here.
The Curry Club
Where 1635 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield • More info 636-778-7777; stlcurryclub.com • Hours Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday (closed Monday)
The cuisine • A counter-service Indian restaurant with a focus on the cuisines of south India. The lunch special features your choice of two curries with rice and naan for $5.99.
What to order • The lunch special is hard to resist, but the chef making dosas to order to one side of the counter will tempt you.
Where 2704 Sutton Boulevard, Maplewood • More info 314-261-4708; elmwoodstl.com • Hours Dinner Tuesday-Saturday
The cuisine • Acclaimed chef Adam Altnether returns to restaurant cooking with an eclectic menu of modern, coal-fired fare.
What to order • Silken Bangs Island mussels with the punch of Aleppo pepper and Szechuan peppercorns are the best mussels I’ve eaten in St. Louis.
Where 1250 Strassner Drive, Brentwood • More info 314-932-1354; hanlaostl.com • Hours Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
The cuisine • Thom Chantharasy showcases the cuisine of his native Laos. In addition to Lao fare, some Thai dishes are also available.
What to order • Khao poon is a spicy soup (pork broth, red-curry paste and coconut milk) with ground pork, vermicelli noodles and fresh herbs.
Where 222 South Bemiston Avenue, Clayton • More info 314-224-5331; ilpalatoclayton.com • Hours Dinner Monday-Saturday, lunch Monday-Friday
The cuisine • Seafood is the focus of this Italian restaurant from Michael Del Pietro (Del Pietro’s, Sugo’s Spaghetteria, Tavolo V) and chef Tim Adams.
What to order • Basil, lemon and thyme perfume a whole grilled branzino in a basil-lime vinaigrette.
Where 1641 Tower Grove Avenue • More info 314-899-9333; indo-stl.com • Hours Dinner Tuesday-Sunday, lunch Tuesday-Saturday (closed Monday)
The cuisine • Nick Bognar, who electrified the area sushi scene at Nippon Tei, stakes his claim to the highest rank of St. Louis chefs at the wondrous, four-star Indo. Here he matches his peerless nigiri sushi with thoughtful cooking drawn from family history, the traditions of Japan and Thailand and his own restless creativity.
What to order • The limited-availability omakase menu is the greatest Indo experience, but the a-la-carte menu also dazzles with nigiri sushi, laab, short-rib curry, crab donabe rice and more.
Where 2016 Salisbury Street • More info 314-601-3871; facebook.com/jerksoulstl • Hours Noon-8 p.m. Sunday-Friday (closed Saturday)
The cuisine • Jerk chicken, braised oxtails and more stellar Caribbean fare from a carryout-only storefront in the city’s Hyde Park neighborhood.
What to order • Jerk chicken is the star here, either as a standalone dish or as the featured ingredient in pizza or other fusion dishes.
The Last Kitchen
Where 1501 Washington Avenue • More info 314-390-2500; thelasthotelstl.com • Hours Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
The cuisine • Chef Evy Swoboda traveled states bordering the Mississippi River for inspiration for the restaurant inside the new Last Hotel.
What to order • Frog legs with red beans and rice are a standout from the dinner menu; from the all-day bar menu, try the smoked and then fried chicken bites.
Malinche Mexican Culinary Experience
Where 15939 Manchester Road, Ellisville • More info 636-220-8541; malinchestl.com • Hours Dinner daily, lunch Saturday-Sunday (closed Tuesday)
The cuisine • The family behind the late Mexican restaurant Señor Pique returns with a selection of dishes inspired by memories of their native Mexico City.
What to order • There are no misses on the tight menu, but definitely don’t miss the Del Trompo (an oversized taco al pastor) and the Arrechera Calavera (a steak taco accented with bone marrow).
Pie Guy Pizza
Where 4189 Manchester Avenue • More info 314-899-0444; pieguystl.com • Hours 4:30 p.m.-midnight Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight Wednesday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-3:30 a.m. Friday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)
The cuisine • New York-style pizza by the slice or whole pie is the focus of Pie Guy Pizza, Mitch Frost’s pizzeria in Forest Park Southeast’s Grove district. Bonus: The restaurant’s walk-up window is open until 3:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday
What to order • Pizza, I guess? The crust, based on a sourdough starter and cold-fermented for three days, is terrific however you top it.
Where 1915 Park Avenue • More info 314-241-8100; popstlouis.com • Hours Dinner Wednesday-Sunday (closed Monday and Tuesday)
The cuisine • A new venture from the prolific Dave and Kara Bailey, Pop specializes in sparkling wine paired with contemporary fare.
What to order • Look for off-the-beaten-path sparkling wines and try the burger (good) and fries (the closes to old-school McDonald’s fries I’ve eaten in St. Louis).
Rockwell Beer Co. (Brasswell)
Where 1320 South Vandeventer Avenue • More info 314-256-1657; rockwellbeer.com • Hours 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday)
The cuisine • This new craft brewery in the city’s Botanical Heights neighborhood includes Brasswell, a casual dining concept from acclaimed chef Gerard Craft serving burgers, brats and other beer-friendly fare.
What to order • Craft’s Brasserie by Niche provides the template for Braswell’s griddled burger.
Sides of Seoul
Where 10084 Page Avenue, Overland • More info 314-942-8940; facebook.com/sidesofseoulfoods • Hours Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
The cuisine • The Lee family serves delicious Korean fare in a fast-casual format.
What to order • The Spicy Pork Bop is a signature dish, and the soups, especially seolleongtang (ox-bone broth) and kimchi jjigae, are outstanding.
Where 4232 South Broadway, Suite A • More info 314-449-1505 • Hours Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday (closed Sunday)
The cuisine • At this small Mount Pleasant storefront, owner Jesus Rojas features dishes from his native Mexico City.
What to order • The Big Quesadilla is a Mexico City-style quesadilla: a long, oblong corn tortilla folded over its fillings. Opt for the cochinita pibil as the meat.
Where 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood • More info 314-449-6919; thaitablestl.com • Hours Lunch and dinner daily (closed Tuesday)
The cuisine • Natthinee “Joy” Teerakawanid serves a personal selection of Thai dishes, including recipes she learned growing up in Buriram in northeastern Thailand.
What to order • Nam tok beef delivers grilled steak with cilantro, red onion, scallion and toasted rice in a very spicy, lime-sharpened dressing.
By Ian Froeb