Post-Dispatch file photo



The chicken-little reaction to January’s news that Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood and Harry’s Restaurant and Bar were closing was overblown — downtown dining isn’t dead or dying — but it did touch upon an important point. Some restaurants become such institutions that you can forget they are also still day-to-day operations. St. Louis has no greater culinary institution than Tony’s, and it remains the place to pamper yourself with the extraordinary hospitality of Vince Bommarito Sr. and his staff and, of course, to indulge in caviar, foie gras and other old-school luxuries. That Tony’s doesn’t change its menu in the frequent, comprehensive way many of the other restaurants in the Top 25 do is beside the point. You wouldn’t want it to. Yes, for most of us this is very-special-occasion or generous-expense-account dining, but if you want to experience the Bommarito spirit without breaking the bank, visit the adjacent, much more casual Anthony’s Bar.

Last year's ranking: 8

Opened: 1946

Must order: Beef tenderloin with foie gras ($48)