St. Louis, Missouri is a city with a rich culinary history and a growing food scene. From traditional favorites like toasted ravioli and frozen custard to unique dishes like St. Louis-style pizza and sticky buttercake, there's something for everyone in the Gateway City.
Whether you're looking for a late-night snack or a full-course meal, here are ten essential foods to try when you visit St. Louis.
Toasted RavioliIf you're looking for a classic St. Louis snack, then toasted ravioli is the way to go.
This dish consists of breaded and fried pasta filled with meat or cheese, and served with Parmesan cheese and marinara sauce for dipping. The quality of toasted ravioli varies from place to place, so it's worth doing some research before you go.
Frozen CustardFrozen custard is a popular dessert in St. Louis, and Ted Drewes is the place to go for the best of the best.
All of their custard is vanilla flavored, but guests can add sauces, candies, fruits, and nuts for extra flavor. The most popular item on the menu is called The Concrete, which is so thick that it won't fall off if you put it upside down! St. Louis-Style PizzaSt. Louis-style pizza is a unique take on the classic dish that's made with a thin dough like a cookie cut into squares and topped with Provel cheese instead of mozzarella.
Provel is an acquired taste - it's a processed cheese product that combines cheddar, Swiss and provolone cheese with a touch of liquid smoke - but it gives the pizza a unique flavor that many people love. Imo's is the best place to go for St. Louis-style pizza in the city.
Sticky ButtercakeSticky buttercake is one of St.
Louis' most beloved desserts. It's essentially a coffee cake with a sweet cream-like top layer, served sprinkled with powdered sugar. It was reportedly created in the 1930s when a local baker mistakenly mixed the ingredients for a traditional coffee cake - and the rest is history! You can find sticky buttercake at bakeries, pastry shops, and supermarkets in St. Louis, as well as at specialty stores like Gooey Louie and Russell's.
Barbecue Pork SteaksWhen you're in St. Louis, it's time to try barbecue pork steaks - an inexpensive cut of meat cooked on a hot grill and sautéed with lots of sauce. It's usually a home-cooked meal, but you'll find pork steaks on the menu at several restaurants in St. Louis as well.
Pappy's Smokehouse is the best place to go for barbecue pork steaks - they've been voted one of the best barbecues in the country! St. Louis-Style RibsSt. Louis-style ribs are another barbecue staple in Gateway City - they're generally fattier than small ribs and are often simmered for several hours to provide tender, flavorful meat. The ribs are seasoned with a dry dressing as they cook and can also be topped with barbecue sauce.
Salt+ Smoke and Bogart's are two great restaurants in St. Louis that serve delicious ribs - but Pappy's Smokehouse still reigns supreme! Paul SandwichThe Paul Sandwich is another classic St. Louis dish that can be found on almost every Chinese restaurant menu in the city. It consists of a tender foo hamburger with fried egg on two slices of white bread with mayonnaise, lettuce, pickles and tomato - plus many restaurants offer variations with vegetables, chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp as well! Merb's Bionic ApplesMerb's bionic apples are the reference standard for caramel apples in St.
Louis - they've been selling their caramel-coated apples for more than 40 years! Granny Smith giant apples are topped with homemade Merb caramel and then rolled in chunks of salted walnut for an irresistible combination of sour, salty and sweet flavors. Bionic apples are only available seasonally from early September through Thanksgiving - so make sure to get them while you can! The SlingerThe Slinger is another late-night favorite in St. Louis - it's pure restaurant food that consists of French fries, eggs, and a hamburger topped with chili and topped with cheese and diced onions (though variations abound). The best places to get The Slinger are dive restaurants like Eat-Rite Diner near Busch Stadium or Courtesy Diner in South St.
Louis - but more upscale restaurants like Rooster and The Mud House also serve sophisticated versions of this classic dish! Fish FryFish fry is an important tradition in St. Louis due to its large Catholic population that adheres to Church teachings not to eat meat on Fridays during Lent - so many local churches began offering fried fish to feed the masses! Nowadays, going to a fish fry is a tradition for many people regardless of religion - most local French fries offer similar menus of fried or baked fish plus sides like coleslaw, potato salad, green beans, macaroni and cheese - plus dessert and coffee or iced tea!.