10 Restaurants in St. Louis to Eat Well (and Cheaply!)
St. Louis’ relatively low cost of living enables artists, creatives, entrepreneurs, millennials and more to set up shop here without having to worry about massive rents and overhead costs, and the mentality extends further when you’re looking to grab a bite on a budget. The city is full of skilled chefs and artisans looking to hone their skills while lowering cost barriers so everyone can test out their creations. Keep reading for a roundup of restaurants we love to where you can grab delicious eats at reasonable prices.
The Vine Mediterranean Cafe and Market
The Vine is a South Grand staple where you can find authentic Lebanese cuisine and groceries, which fall on the spectrum of the Mediterranean diet. We love the vegan falafel sandwich, made with a blend of chick peas, garlic, spices, tahini sauce, tomatoes, parsley, onion, pickles and pickled turnip. Add a side of fries sprinkled with Mediterranean spices, which costs less than $10. You can also get several types of shawarma sandwiches at similar prices.
Lona’s Lil Eats
Another affordable vegan-friendly option, Lona’s Lil Eats is a beloved Fox Park locale with a focus on Asian-fusion fare. Try one of the Lona’s platters or create your own, with your choice of filling, protein and sauce. We love the rice paper wraps, which are large enough to last for at least two meals without draining your wallet. (And note that chef-owner Lona Luo was a semifinalist for a James Beard Best Chef: Midwest Award in 2018, making this food a seriously good deal.)
Image courtesy of Lona’s Lil Eats.
BLK MKT Eats
This Midtown eatery’s burrito-sized sushi roles, poké bowls and loaded nachos are a fresh, fusion spin on fast food. Wrapped in nori and a halo of rice, BLK MKT Eats’ burritos are brimming with your favorite sushi fillings and big on flavor. We recommend the OG Fire with spicy ahi tuna or salmon, avocado and veggies, or the Krilla Krunch with shrimp tempura, avocado, unagi slaw and eel sauce.
We’d be remiss not to mention Adriana’s on The Hill, run by Adriana Fazio and her daughters since 1992. As a stalwart pillar of The Hill neighborhood in St. Louis with historically Italian roots, this cafe’s sandwiches are the stuff of legend. You’ll likely be encouraged to try one of their famous beef or meatball sandwiches—which, trust us, will not disappoint.
St. Louis Kolache
If you’ve never tried this classic Czech pastry, it’s time to visit St. Louis Kolache’s Creve Coeur, Ballwin or O’Fallon, Missouri, locations. This delicious baked good can come sweet or savory, with either fruit, meat, cheese or vegetable filling wrapped in dough and baked. For a savory breakfast or lunch, try the mac-n-cheese and bacon or egg and cheese. If you’re craving something sweet, we recommend the blueberry with lemon zest or the house favorite apple pie.
Image courtesy of Blues City Deli.
Blues City Deli
If you stop by here for lunch, don’t be deterred by the line stretching out the door. It’s been happening since Blues City Deli opened more than a decade ago in Benton Park, and the restaurant proprietors know how to handle a crowd. Try out one of their po’boy, Italian or New York-style pastrami sandwiches with a fountain soda, surrounded by jazz- and blues-themed decor (and frequent live music).
It’s tough to get in on weekends as there is nearly always a large line and long wait, but if you aren’t pressed for time or can make it on an unsuspecting weekday, Southwest Diner in Maplewood is worth your trouble. Diners love the reasonably-priced omelets, pickle fries, grits, burritos and other fare inspired by the Southwest region of the U.S. Pro tip: For vegetarians, the homemade chorizo and black bean burger are to die for.
With a fusion of Korean-Mexican fare, Seoul Taco began as a food truck and has now opened several brick-and-mortar locations in several cities, which speaks to its well-loved menu. All entree options are under $10, but the volume and quality of delicious ingredients will leave you feeling sated. Choose steak, chicken, pork or tofu as your protein and order three tacos for $8 or a burrito or gogi bowl for $9.
Image courtesy of Pizza Head.
One of just a handful of restaurants in St. Louis where you can order pizza by the slice, Pizza Head on South Grand is a quick and affordable spot to grab a bite that doesn’t skimp on quality ingredients. Nothing hits the spot like a slice of the classic margarita with fresh basil, but the all-plant-based menu also offers faux pepperoni and sausage and dairy or house-made cashew cheese. Order a combo and you’ll get two slices and either a pint of local beer or a soda for under $10.
Guerilla Street Food
Guerilla Street Food began as a food truck offering authentic Filipino-style cuisine, and popular demand led to multiple brick-and-mortar locations, in The Delmar Loop, The Hill, Webster Groves and South Grand neighborhoods. Expand your palette with dishes like the Arroz Caldo, Tempeh Adobo, Veggie Ukoy and Sisig Taco. Less adventurous diners can be eased in to this cultural cuisine with dishes like the All-City Burger, crafted with a Filipino twist.
Fozzie’s Sandwich Emporium
For another delicious, classic spot to grab an artisan sandwich or burger, St. Louis locals love Richmond Heights‘ Fozzie’s Sandwich Emporium. You’ll find favorites like roast-beef dip, Italian beef and chicken Parmesan, as well as gyros and two different types of veggie burgers, all at affordable price points. And don’t forget the shake—we recommend the Chocolate Julep with Oreos, fresh mint and fudge.
This post has been updated from the original version, published May 24, 2018.
Cover image courtesy of BLK MKT Eats.