Ian Froeb's STL 100

Photo by Hillary Levin (Post-Dispatch)

The Benevolent King

The Benevolent King is the most elastic of Ben Poremba’s restaurants. You could describe the fare as Moroccan or, more broadly, North African, or even more broadly, Mediterranean, with a definite Israeli influence. Your approach to this Maplewood nook can be elastic, too: a full meal or maybe a grazing selection of salatim (olives, the farmer’s cheese j’ben) and snacks (crisp Moroccan briouat, the hummus variation masabaha). With Poremba himself back at his flagship Elaia, chef de cuisine Anne Fosterling ably leads the tiny kitchen. My most recent dinner featured baba ghanoush popping with pepitas and pomegranate and a lamb-neck tagine, the lamb’s natural flavor deepened with black garlic and currants and served with fried almonds over Israeli couscous.

Hours: Dinner Tuesday-Saturday (closed Sunday-Monday)

Last year's ranking: Rest of the Best

Opened: 2018

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