Ian Froeb's STL 100

Photo by Hillary Levin (Post-Dispatch)

Sultan Mediterranean Restaurant

Few restaurants brought me as much happiness in 2019 as Sultan Mediterranean Restaurant, from the complimentary bowl of curried lentil soup that begins a meal to the strong Turkish coffee and square of Turkish delight that make for a perfect final course. Chef Jenar Mohammed, a native of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, draws from family history and recipes from the broader region for a menu united by her impressive technique. Lamb is a standout — a shank cooked with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and black pepper; the signature Sultan pilau, with lamb-shank meat, rice, raisins, carrots and nuts in a phyllo shell — but Mohammed also impresses with eggplant (baba ghanoush or with beef in the ali naza kebab) and chicken (biryani, saffron curry, musakhan). At Sultan, Mohammed and her family impress, period.

Hours: Lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday)

Last year's ranking: New this year

Opened: 2019

Many St. Louis-area restaurants are closed or limiting their dining options during the coronavirus pandemic.