Sauce on the Side
When my sister found out I was coming to St. Louis, she insisted I try Sauce on the Side. I took her advice and I was not disappointed. This restaurant sells amazing specialty calzones made from fresh ingredients and a variety of different sauces to choose from. Both locations (Downtown, Clayton) have a really cool vibe, and I always make sure to take friends there when they come into town to visit.
– Michael M., M1
Fork & Stix
Whenever I’m looking for reliable and authentic Thai food, I always head to Fork & Stix. Located near Delmar Blvd., this restaurant looks unassuming but boasts a wide variety of Thai and Japanese dishes. There are tons of rice and noodle dishes to pick from, as well as salads, desserts, and traditional drinks like Thai tea and Thai coffee. The food is always fresh and piping hot, and portion sizes are filling but not too large. Fork & Stix is a great place to go for a relaxing lunch with friends, and the food, along with the restaurant’s charming ambiance (all drinks are served in little mason jars and there’s cool graffiti on the walls!) really add to the experience
– Tina H., M1
Salt + Smoke
Located in the Loop, Salt + Smoke is a reasonably priced barbecue joint with a great craft beer list. During the summer, it has nice outdoor seating, which can be a lovely place for people watching. The burnt ends and white cheddar cracker mac-n-cheese are not to be missed. I think the portions are pretty gigantic (usually enough for lunch the next two days!), but my male classmates are inclined to disagree. No matter what you choose, you will not be disappointed.
– Erin K., M1
U City Grill
The definition of a hidden gem, U City Grill is a hole-in-the-wall Korean restaurant located on the West end of the Delmar Loop. With about only eight stools around the bar, what it lacks in seating it makes up for in the authenticity of its Korean food. From bi bim bap to Korean fried rice, U City Grill’s lone owner and chef will satisfy your fix for a home cooked Korean meal. Within walking distance from the Danforth campus, you will need to catch a ride to find this nondescript restaurant. Prices are reasonable, an order of bi bim bap or Korean fried rice will land you somewhere in the range of $8-10 depending on whether you opt for a fried egg on top. Because it is staffed by just the owner, wait times are longest during its dinner rush but are usually not longer than 15-20 minutes. You may feel obligated to strike up a conversation with the chef given the small setting, but don’t feel bad if you’re unable to break through his stoicism.
– Connor L., M1
Owned by the same group as Tortillaria, Mission Taco has good vibes and great food. I have tried all their tacos and you can’t go wrong with any of them/all of them; the Portobello taco is a particular standout to me. They have a very solid beer list (shoutout to Civil Life American Brown!) that goes all too well with tacos. There is often a significant wait, so you can reserve a spot ahead of time using the NoWait app or just sit it out. I’ve spent some great spring/summer/fall afternoons outside with a beer taking in the sights and sounds of the Loop while waiting for a table. I should also mention that after 10 p.m. they have a deal where you can get $2 tacos and $2 tequila shots; do with that information what you will.
– Rob G., M1
If you find yourself craving some soul food, or just want to study firsthand the atherosclerosis you learn about in physio, you will find few places better than Sweetie Pie’s, located just a few blocks south of the medical school. When you walk in, you’ll probably join a long line (don’t worry, it’s worth it) leading up to a cafeteria-style serving area where you’re faced with enormous portions of fried chicken or fried catfish together with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, fried okra and cornbread, among many other options. Also, be sure to remember to add on an amazing piece of peach cobbler or some bread pudding to round out your visit. You will likely end your meal in a food coma, but it’s definitely worth it to experience this bit of Southern soul in the middle of St. Louis. Added plus: The restaurant is featured on a reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network, so you never know if this will be your path to reality TV stardom!
– Max S., M1
Neighborhoods across St. Louis boast quirky corners where you can load up on caffeinated elixirs and enjoy a laid-back study space. Sit alongside freelancers effusing artistic and journalistic creations. Imagine you are one of them while instead you fill your brain with endless physiological facts. Be sure to take up an aggressive amount of space with your laptop, Netter’s Anatomy flash cards, stethoscope, textbooks, bricks, etc. Some favorite spots, in order of closest to farthest from the Central West End: Northwest Coffee Roasting Company, RISE Coffee House, Café Ventana, Living Room, and Sump Coffee. Sump Coffee, a couple blocks south of Cherokee Street, is an excellent St. Louis experience and your hipster dream come true. Beans are roasted on-site, and adding cream and sugar is prohibited! Also, there is a Starbucks in the Central West End.
– Christine A., M1