Bar Les Frères: Coziness Meets Sophistication at This French Bistro

 In Food, Guide

When this enchanting jewel box of a restaurant opened in Clayton in 2012, it filled a yearning St. Louisans didn’t even know they had for a place of romance and luxury. But restaurateur Zoë Robinson knew, and she delivered, with lobster tail and caviar, duck confit and filet mignon, brioche toast points and soufflés.

The cozy world of Bar Les Frères, its golden fixtures gleaming in candlelight, is only one facet of Robinson’s restaurant universe. Across the street is her flagship, I Fratellini, an Italian eatery which opened in 2001. Nestled nearby is two-year-old Billie-Jean, where Robinson lets her hair down a little, playfully evoking the famous Michael Jackson song—even though the restaurant is actually named for her parents—and accentuating the mood with black-and-white décor and minimalist artwork.

Robinson and her longtime collaborator in the kitchen, executive chef Ny Vongsaly, ensure that each restaurant’s food is just as memorable as the setting. At French-influenced Bar Les Frères, customers savor the elegant sauces, the richness of the broths, the perfect accent of flavors in each bite of salad. The cocktails and wines were ahead of their time when the restaurant opened, and between the food, the drinks and the ambience, Bar Les Frères continues to fend off would-be challengers to its title as the city’s most romantic dining destination.

7637 Wydown Blvd.

Bar Les Frères: Coziness Meets Sophistication at This French Bistro

While you’re in the neighborhood …

Bernie Lee’s Clayton restaurant pays homage to his roots in Malaysia, his family’s recipes and comfort food the world over.

7641 Wydown Blvd.

UKRAFT Café and Catering
Build-your-own options—grain bowls, salads, sandwiches and avocado toasts— with a healthy flair, just like the food truck that came before the café.

8182 Maryland Ave.

The Bao
This “bun bar” specializes in Chinese steamed buns from a signature dough recipe with both traditional and Americanized fillings—even for breakfast.

14 N. Central Ave.

This story originally appeared in Guided: Clayton, available now in a digital issue and in print at these locations.

Images courtesy of Carmen Troesser.

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