Local Flavor Edition in St. Louis, MO
Modestly located in the bottom level of the Soulard Market Loft Apartments, Franco offers premium French food at a very reasonable price. It’s located right across the street from the Soulard Farmer’s Market, which guarantees fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, which in turn dictate a constantly rotating menu. The décor is beautiful, with high bar tables, marble tabletops, padded nook window seating, and beautiful pale blue shades that let filtered sunlight stream in and illuminate the interior. There’s plenty to look at: wood and brick everywhere, with reclaimed barn lumber dominating the ornate bar. The kitchen is situated in such a way that guests can get a glimpse of the actions, but it’s a view that is intriguing, not obtrusive. As for the food? Divine. Try the French onion soup.
Blink and you might miss it. The food is so much more amazing than aesthetics might lead you to believe. Situated on an unobtrusive and frankly unattractive intersection, flanked by a car dealership and an ahem, adult shop, The Bleading Deacon Public House is certainly a place you must be looking for in order to find. You aren’t likely to stumble upon it and cast a wondering glance at it as you drive by. But once you’re inside, everything is different. The food is amazing. Featured are down-home favorites like meat loaf, green beans and coleslaw. There’s also a surprising number of vegetarian options. The setting is cozy and dark, dominated by a huge mirrored bar. If you’re lucky, the dessert menu will feature bacon and chocolate.
Located on a relatively quiet stretch of Locust Street in downtown St. Louis, Bridge serves up imaginative food and more than 60 tap beers. Appetizers are tempting, including a classed-up version of bar nuts. The cheese selection is almost overwhelming and not to be missed. The restaurant's namesake is the bridge of a violin, and this drove the vision for its interior design. A steep staircase separates the bar level from the upper dining room seating; getting food and drink upstairs looks downright dangerous for the waitstaff--although they seem to manage just fine. The central chandelier is breathtaking focal point, fashioned of antlers or a very close approximation. The bar itself is gorgeous, with bottles towering overhead all the way to the ceiling. The multileveled space is deceptively small; this isn’t an ideal location for a large party or happy hour—although reservations for private parties are available.
Though the name has changed many times, one thing has not—the expectation of amazing food in a cozy and eclectic setting. Hand-set tile fragments in a dazzling array of designs dominate the design, softened by throw pillows and cozy nook seating. Nestled in Benton Park near the Anheuser-Busch brewery, the restaurant (formerly Frazer’s Traveling Brown Bag, then Frazer’s Brown Bag, and now simply Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge) provides standout dishes to a healthy contingent of regulars. Daily specials are scrawled on the chalkboard and verbally presented by attentive staff. Spicy Moroccan tilapia is a perennial favorite as is the Salmon Frazer, encrusted with pecans and horseradish and accompanied by red beans and rice. Upstairs seating tends to be a bit loud (fewer decorations mean more echo), but the patio seating, when available, is unparalled. An extensive wine selection rounds out the experience.
Where? That’s the response you might get if you ask someone if they’ve been to I Frattelini. Though it’s existed for close to a decade, its following is largely based on word-of-mouth. Thus, despite its relatively central location in the Clayton business district, it has managed to stay under the radar. It’s got the real, genuine feeling of a north Italian restaurant, and for good reason: its counterpart, I Due Frattelini, is found in the heart of Florence, Italy. I Frattelini is a small restaurant, seating only about 30, and can be noisy when crowded and chilly if you’ve no choice but to sit by the bar. The ambience is dark and subdued; the interior’s focal point is a massive light fixture fashioned from hundreds of light bulbs clustered together and suspended from the ceiling. Bruschetta and lobster ravioli are known favorites; more daring diners might opt for a whole fish, somewhat of a rarity in restaurants these days.