“What’s the best restaurant in St. Louis?”

I don’t know how many hundreds of times I’ve been asked this question over my nine years as a restaurant critic in St. Louis, but I’ve never felt entirely comfortable answering it.

I can’t find a perfect solution (a few important notes on that here), but I can offer you the inaugural edition of my STL 100: the Top 25 restaurants in St. Louis, ranked, plus 75 more spots that make up the Rest of the Best.

These are the 100 most vibrant, most exciting places to eat in St. Louis in 2015.

How will 2015’s best new restaurants stack up against this list? Check back in March 2016.

Until then, happy eating.

— Ian Froeb






Stone Soup Cottage






The Crossing


Sidney Street Cafe








Five Bistro


Fork & Stix


Sugarfire Smoke House


Quincy Street Bistro


The Libertine








Guerrilla Street Food


Bogart's Smokehouse


Mai Lee


Annie Gunn's


Pappy's Smokehouse




Mission Taco Joint

The Rest of the Best

in alphabetical order

801 Chophouse

Adam's Smokehouse

Asian Kitchen

Aya Sofia

BaiKu Sushi Lounge

Baileys' Range

Banh Mi So #1

Bar Les Frères


Big Sky Cafe

Blood & Sand

Blues City Deli

Brasserie by Niche

Cafe Natasha's

Cardwell's at the Plaza

Comet Coffee & Microbakery

Crown Candy Kitchen

Death in the Afternoon

The Donut Stop


Ferguson Burger Bar

Five Star Burgers

Fozzie's Sandwich Emporium

Gioia's Deli

The Good Pie


Grbic Restaurant

Hiro Asian Kitchen

Ices Plain & Fancy

Joy Luck Buffet

Kitchen Kulture

Kitchen Sink

La Patisserie Chouquette

La Tejana Taqueria

Linh Mi Gia

Lona's Lil Eats

Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant

Milagro Modern Mexican

Nobu's Japanese Restaurant

Old Standard Fried Chicken


Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.

Pearl Cafe


Pho Long

Pi Pizzeria

Pint Size Bakery


Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar

Restaurant at the Cheshire

Salt + Smoke

Salume Beddu


Sauce on the Side

Schlafly Tap Room

Seoul Taco

The Shaved Duck

Sister Cities Cajun and BBQ

Smoki O'S

Soco's Gyros

Southwest Diner

Spare No Rib


Steve's Hot Dogs

Taqueria Durango

Tavern Kitchen & Bar

Three Flags Tavern

Tienda El Ranchito

Trattoria Marcella

Tree House


Urban Chestnut Bierhall


The Vine Mediterranean Cafe

World's Fair Donuts

A few important notes:

  1. The STL 100 is, by design, an egalitarian list. Yes, the restaurants in the upper reaches of the Top 25 are expensive, but most of the STL 100 honorees are not. Alongside special-occasion splurges, you’ll find barbecue, fried chicken, pizza, Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.
  2. Newer restaurants received as much scrutiny as older establishments. Maybe more. Case in point? Of the 10 restaurants on my list of 2013’s best new spots, three missed the STL 100 cut. One had already closed, but the two others — both of which were among the top five of 2013’s top 10 — have suffered after chef changes.
  3. There are no legacy points, either. Just staying in business, building a loyal customer base and a local reputation, wasn’t enough to earn a spot on the STL 100. I dined at more than a few well-known restaurants that, while not bad, are clearly on auto-pilot.
  4. No vast gulf exists between the restaurant ranked No. 25 and the Rest of the Best. At a certain point, choosing which restaurant would be No. 37 or No. 51 or No. 83 seemed arbitrary and unnecessary.
  5. Restaurants that opened after Oct. 31, 2014, weren’t eligible for this edition.