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  • October 21, 2014

2011 Platinum List: Dining - Ladue News: Special Features

2011 Platinum List: Dining

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Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 10:51 pm, Tue Aug 9, 2011.

BEST COFFEE HOUSE

Winner: Starbucks

No matter if you’re grabbing a skinny hazelnut latte from a drive-thru on Manchester Road or settling in for a relaxing moment with a caramel macchiato in downtown Clayton, a consistently good brew is what you get at Starbucks. Just ask and the baristas will prepare your favorite just the way you like it.

Runners Up:

2. Kaldi’s Coffee

3. Deer Creek Coffee

4. Northwest Coffee

5. Saint Louis Bread Co.


BEST CATERER

Winner: Catering St. Louis

Whether it’s a wedding, gala or business event, the food is often one of your guests’ most vivid memories. To allow your guests to sit back and enjoy a good time they’ll never forget, many of you choose Catering St. Louis. You’ll know you made the right choice the second you take your first bite.

Runners Up:

2. Butler’s Pantry

3. Steven Becker Fine Dining

4. LaCHEF Catering

5. The Art of Entertaining


BEST PIZZA

Winner: Red L Pizza

Since January 2010, Red L Pizza has offered delicious salads, sandwiches and a handful of entrees, but it’s the pizza, of course, that has LN readers really excited—so much so, they voted Red L Pizza best in town! A take-away service only (and outside dining when weather permits), its ‘designer’ varieties include the meat loaf pizza with fresh basil, which offers comfort-food charm while delivering big on flavor.

Runners Up:

2. Dewey’s Pizza

3. Imo’s Pizza

4. Pi Pizzeria

5. Farotto’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria


MOST FAMILY-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

Winner: Dewey’s

The kids are watching the cooks hand-toss the pizza dough, Dad is having a micro brew and Mom is just glad none of the other customers seem a bit bothered that the baby is throwing pepperoni on the floor. They’re all too busy doing the same thing you’re doing: scarfing down specialty pizza pies with names like ‘Green Lantern,’ ‘Edgar Allan Poe’ and ‘Billy Goat.’

Runners Up:   

2. Brio Tuscan Grille

3. Schneithorst’s

4. Lester’s Sports Bar & Grill

5. Café Manhattan


BEST OUTDOOR DINING SPACE

Winner: Vin de Set

Close enough to hear the excitement from Busch Stadium on a summer night, and intimate enough to pop the question, the rooftop bar and bistro has enchanted our readers once again. Set on the edge of Lafayette Square in the restored Centennial Malt House, the menu is described by executive chef Ivy Magruder as “an approachable interpretation of southern French cuisine.”

Runners Up:

2. Boathouse Forest Park

3. Bar Italia

4. Hacienda Mexican Restaurant

4. John D. McGurk’s Irish Pub (tie)

5. Brio Tuscan Grille


MOST DELICIOUS BURGER

Winner: O’Connells Pub

Everything about O’Connells Pub is classic. From the 106-year-old building in South St. Louis to those lip-smacking burgers. Darrell, the kitchen manager, says the most common first reaction from diners is “Wow!” He oversees shaving the top round off the Italian roast beef and blending it with chopped sirloin to create O’Connell’s 9-ounce charbroiled masterpiece—cooked medium and topped with American cheese. Ask for Darrell. Wow!

Runners Up:

2. Five Guys

3. The Fatted Calf

4. Carl’s Drive-In

5. Sportsman’s Park


BEST ITALIAN FOOD

Winner: Trattoria Marcella

In June 1995, Jamie Komorek and Steve Komorek opened Trattoria Marcella and ever since, have provided St. Louisans with some of the best, imaginative Italian cuisine in town. Known for its Lobster Risotto and Lasagna Napoletana, the eatry has enjoyed critical acclaim from food writers, repeat guests and LN readers, who continuous place it on top of the Platinum List for Best Italian Food.

Runners Up:

2. Cunetto House of Pasta

3. Charlie Gitto’s

4. Café Napoli

5. Tony’s

5. Sugo’s Spaghetteria (tie)


BEST ETHNIC FOOD

Winner: Mai Lee

Know where to find a bowl of traditional Vietnamese goat soup? You can order that—and then some—at Mai Lee, our readers’ fave for Best Ethnic Food. The menu boasts such a mind-blowing selection of fire pots, noodles and spring rolls that it’s not unusual for their regulars to have lunch and dinner there on the same day. 

Runners Up:

2. House of India

3. Olympia Kebob House & Taverna

4. Everest Café & Bar

5. Aya Sofia

5. Pho Grand (tie)


BEST MARTINI

Winner: Sub Zero Vodka Bar

Though they explicitly state that they are not a martini bar, Sub Zero Vodka Bar does offer one of the most extensive martini menus around. And with 350-plus vodkas served on an ice bar, how could you not stop in for a drink? If you’ve never been, we recommend you try it the next time you’re in the CWE.

Runners Up:

2. The Ritz-Carlton

3. The Famous Bar

4. Brio

5. Absolutli Goosed


FRIENDLIEST WAIT STAFF

Winner: Brio Tuscan Grille

It stands to reason that the friendliest waiters have the happiest, most satisfied customers. Satisfied customers usually make good tippers, which leads to making the waiters happy—and very friendly…the circle of life continues. And our readers say Brio is where the customer/waiter relationship is almost always copasetic.

Runners Up:

2. Annie Gunn’s

3. Dewey’s

4. The Crossing

5. Tony’s


BEST CHEF

Winner: Bill Cardwell

Chef Bill Cardwell and his team operate two restaurants in town: Cardwell’s at the Plaza and BC’s Kitchen. At both establishments, Chef Cardwell offers something for everyone, using only the finest ingredients and locally grown produce. His restaurants are known for sumptuous soups, salads, hearth-baked pizzas, naturally-raised meat and fresh seafood entrees.

Runners Up:

2. Chris Turek  (Maggiano’s Little Italy)

3. Josh Galliano (Monarch)

4. Gerard Craft (Niche)

5. Brian Hardy (The Gatesworth)


MOST SUCCULENT STEAK

Winner: Citizen Kane’s Steak House

While the menu at Citizen Kane’s Steak House offers classic steakhouse favorites, as well as unique signature dishes, it’s known for its famous Filet, New York Strip and Ribeye Delmonico-earning Citizen Kane’s the honor of Most Succulent Steak by LN readers. Located in the heart of Kirkwood, the restaurant has provided exceptional service and fine dining since 1993.

Runners Up:

2. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

3. Ruth’s Chris Steak House

4. Annie Gunn’s

5. Morton’s The Steakhouse

5. Tucker’s Place (tie)


BEST SUSHI

Winner: Wasabi Sushi Bar

Sushi lovers know that they can find consistently good nigiri and maki at Wasabi. With items like Kamikaze, Rasta and Batman on menu, dining is sure to be an adventure. And Wasabi’s four locations throughout the St. Louis area guarantee that you’ll get your sushi fix, no matter where you are!

Runners Up:

2. The Drunken Fish

3. Oishi Sushi & Steakhouse

4. Tani Sushi Bistro

5. Miso


MOST ROMANTIC DINING

Winner: I Fratellini

Hoping to fall in love over your Tagliatelle? Think ‘intimate’ and ‘Italian’ and you’re definitely headed in the right direction. Indulge in a romantic dinner at this cozy Clayton favorite and you’ll have to stop holding hands to indulge in the Coconut Roulade. Marscapone anyone?

Runners Up:

2. Tony’s

3. 1111 Mississippi

4. Sidney Street Café

5. Vin de Set


BEST HOT SPOT

Winner: Farmhaus

The restaurant business in St. Louis is incredibly tough—there are so many great options that you really have to stand out if you want to make it for the long haul. But since opening last year, Farmhaus has made a splash with its use of fresh, local ingredients and attention to detail. We expect to see them around for years to come!

Runners Up:

2. The Tavern Kitchen & Bar

3. Sugo’s Spaghetteria

4. Prime 1000

5. DeMun Oyster Bar


BEST CLASSIC ST. LOUIS RESTAURANT

Winner: Tony’s

Tony’s has garnered a reputation both locally and abroad for its exquisite cuisine and personal service. In fact, they say if owner Vince Bommarito walks up to your table and calls you by name, you’ve arrived—and if he doesn’t know your name when you walk in, he will by the time you leave.  

Runners Up:

2. Crown Candy Kitchen

3. Charlie Gitto’s

4. Annie Gunn’s

5. Blueberry Hill


BEST BRUNCH HOTSPOT

Winner: Bixby’s

Eggs Benedict, bread pudding, an omelet made to order, or Belgian waffles? Don’t worry if you can’t decide—you can always hit the buffet! 

Runners Up:

2. Cardwell’s at the Plaza

3. Yia Yia’s Euro Bistro

4. Scape American Bistro

5. Bristol Seafood Grill


DINING SPOT WITH AMBIENCE

Winner: ARAKA

Not only is it tough to spell, ‘ambience’ is pretty tricky to define, too. Check the Oxford dictionary and you’ll get “the character and atmosphere of a place.” ARAKA took first place honors, so apparently our readers feel the Clayton restaurant has the best of both.

Runners Up:

2. Bissinger’s

3. Tony’s

4. The Ritz-Carlton

5. Monarch Restaurant & Wine Bar


BEST PLACE TO BLOW YOUR DIET

Winner: Ted Drewes

If you’re going to blow your diet, you might as well blow it BIG time! Hmm…okay, how about a signature 24-ounce Cardinal Sin con crete with cherries and hot fudge? Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Runners Up:

2. Crown Candy Kitchen

3. Bissinger’s

4. The Cheesecake Factory

5. Bailey’s Chocolate Bar


MOST UNIQUE DINING EXPERIENCE

Winner: The Melting Pot

A dining adventure awaits every time you step inside The Melting Pot, where the signature ‘Big Night Out’ four-course meal and other tableside fondues will have you dizzy with delight. So sharpen your skewers and start the dippin’!

Runners Up:

2. Tony’s

3. Vin De Set

4. The Lemp Mansion Restaurant & Inn

5. Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge


BEST PLACE FOR VEGETARIANS

Winner: Terrene

You know you’ve had a good vegetarian meal when your carnivore friends don’t even miss the meat. At Terrene, locally sourced ingredients are used in inspired, creative dishes…just make sure you leave room for the handmade donuts and coffee.

Runners Up:

2. Local Harvest

3. Whole Foods Market

4. The Terrace View

5. The Shangri-La Diner

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