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Allergy-Friendly Eateries

Amanda A., M1

I’ve had a severe nut allergy my entire life, so eating out can be challenging sometimes. But so far I’ve found a bunch of restaurants in St. Louis that are safe and super accommodating! Some of my favorites are Mission Taco, El Burro Loco, Salt and Smoke BBQ, Charlie Gitto’s, and The Post Sports Bar & Grill. In general, there is a wide variety of restaurants to choose from and you should have no problem finding places that fit your dietary restrictions!

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Barbecue in STL

Jenna B., M1

You may not think of St. Louis as being known for its food scene, but it really comes through with its barbecue! In fact, last year a renowned local favorite, Pappy’s, was ranked #1 for ribs in America by the Food Network — it is definitely the place to go if you’re craving an authentic barbecue experience. Salt and Smoke is another top choice, and one of their locations is conveniently located in the Central West End, just a 15-minute walk from the Medical Campus. This is a personal favorite of mine because of their abundant options of delicious sides — their white cheddar cracker mac is to die for! There are plenty of other amazing options as well, such as Sugarfire and The Shaved Duck, among others.

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MaeMae H., M1

If you’re ever in need of a sweet fix, there are tons of places around St. Louis to find ice cream, cookies, pastries, and more. 

For ice cream, one of my favorites is Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery, which is about a 10-minute drive from the Central West End. They have some great specialty flavors (with my favorite being their Italian Butter cookie which tastes like the Biscoff cookies you get on airplanes). If you’re in the mood for something a bit more ~wild~, Ice’s Plain and Fancy uses liquid nitrogen to make their delicious ice cream. Lastly, a classic WashU go-to is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, which is a short walk from the Medical Campus and offers some pretty unique options such as goat cheese and berries. 

As for other sweet treats, John’s Donut’s in Soulard has some of the best apple fritters in STL and they’re only a dollar. Meanwhile, La Patisserie Choquette has some beautiful and tasty macarons, along with some crepe cakes and eclairs. 

Lastly, and most importantly, some classic St. Louis desserts include frozen custard and gooey butter cake. Ted Drewes offers some of the best custard in St. Louis, so I would definitely recommend checking out their selection first. Gooey butter cake can be found pretty much everywhere, but some of my favorites are from Park Avenue Coffee and Russell’s on Macklind.  

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Clementine’s has some of the best ice cream in St. Louis.

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Eating Vegan

Nora A., M1

Whether you’re a day, a year, or a whole decade into your vegan lifestyle, or you’re just trying to adopt a more whole food plant-based diet, St. Louis can satisfy your taste buds (& your wallet) to help you stay on track. The most popular vegan restaurants near campus include Lulu’s Local Eatery, PuraVegan Café, Frida’s, and Seedz Café. Also, although not exclusively vegan, almost all CWE favorites, including Pi Pizzeria, Medina’s Grill, Mission Taco, Rasoi, and Retreat Gastropub have vegan-friendly options, which has made it more than convenient to tag-along on foodie adventures with my omnivore classmates. For local produce, the Soulard Farmers Market is open year-round, and there are more than a dozen other markets in the city that are active between early spring and late fall. Conveniently, Trader Joe’s is just in a ten-minute drive west from campus, and if you ever find yourself missing an essential ingredient last minute, or you’d simply like to bring cookies for your coaching group, you can easily find it at our campus-adjacent Whole Foods!

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Eating Vegetarian

Sarah R., M1

So many restaurants in St. Louis have great vegetarian options! Some general favorites include Lulu’s Local Eatery, The Mud House, and Treehouse, and my personal favorite for brunch is Rooster (which has GREAT vegan sausage). Even restaurants that don’t have a lot of different vegetarian options usually have at least a few, so almost anywhere you go you will be able to find really tasty meatless meals.

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Food Around Campus for When You’re Feeling Lazy

Joshua T., M1

There are many amazing restaurants in the Central West End and the rest of St. Louis to explore.  But we’ve all had those times when we are either too busy or too lazy to go far for our food. Fortunately, Wash U’s medical campus also has some great options. The medical school has Shell Café and Farmstead Café that are open during the day. We also have food trucks that come about once a week offering foods from local St. Louis restaurants, including Blues fired Pizza, K-bop (most peoples’ favorite!), and Guerilla Street Food. There are a couple of options right near the medical school too, including the cafeterias at Barnes-Jewish and Children’s hospitals (great for late at night when everything else is closed) and a Chick-fil-A on the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy campus right next door.

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Places for a Birthday Dinner

Jared G., M1

Congratulations on surviving another year! Now that’s time to celebrate, here are some of my favorite places. For the high rollers, or if someone is paying for you, Olio does fantastic Mediterranean small plates, and iNDO, headed by one of Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs in Nick Bognar, is a Southeast Asian fusion place with incredible cocktails and wine pairings. For a reasonably priced night, check out Drunken Fish for sushi and sashimi or Salt + Smoke for St. Louis-style barbecue. And if you really just want a low-key time with friends, El Burro Loco’s margaritas (and portion sizes) are comically large!

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Places to Brunch

MaeMae H., M1

Brunch is probably one of the best meals, and STL definitely has its fair share brunch places. The Clayton area offers some great options including Half & Half (an all around classic brunch place) and City Coffeehouse and Creperie (excellent sweet and savory crepe options). East of campus, Egg on Gravois offers an industrial, contemporary vibe with some great shakshuka and cornbread + egg options. If you’re in the mood for a fancy brunch, The Polite Society is a great choice for a sophisticated, classy outing that is still within a medical student’s budget.

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Here’s a photo of some tasty Chakchouka from Egg!

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Places to Take a Date-date

Birk E., M1

iNDO in Tower Grove is a great restaurant to dine at if you are celebrating something special. Award-winning chef Nick Bognar leads the kitchen and has created some creative (and delicious) Southeast Asian dishes. My partner and I were able to grab some street food-style dishes and have a picnic outside due to COVID restrictions, but we look forward to trying iNDO again to experience the full dine-in menu when restrictions are eased. 

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Puerto Rican/Caribbean Food

Frances A.S., M1

Knowing how difficult it is to find good and authentic Puerto Rican food, I was skeptical when a restaurant called MayoKetchup came up in a cursory Google search. A group of Latinx students got together to try it out, and I can say that I was not disappointed. Their pernil bowl with arroz con gandules and tostones reminded me of home! While it may not taste exactly like my abuela’s cooking, it is a great spot to try out here in St. Louis if you’re craving Puerto Rican/Dominican/Cuban style dishes at a decent price.

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St. Louis Greatest Hits

Erika S.S., M1

If you’re looking forward to trying some St. Louis cuisine, you won’t be disappointed. Personally, when I first moved here, I was most excited about barbecue, and I was not let down. Probably the most famous option is Pappy’s Smokehouse (try the ribs), but I also love BEAST and Salt + Smoke.

If you’re not a barbecue person, St. Louis has no shortage of other cuisines to try. Pick up some ćevapi from Balkan Treat Box, or head over to The Hill for Italian. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a St. Louis specialty, toasted ravioli (a misleading name it’s actually deep fried). You can find it at any number of Italian restaurants including Mama Toscano’s or Charlie Gitto’s.

When it comes to dessert, you can’t go wrong with another St. Louis original: gooey butter cake. I pick mine up at Kaldi’s Coffee on Euclid because of its convenient location, but you might try Park Avenue Coffee for their huge flavor selection.

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Trendy, Reasonably Priced Restaurants To Catch Up With A Few Friends

Ify I., M1

The Medical Campus is surrounded by some of the coolest parts of town, which each house some real gems of restaurants and bars. In The Grove, my favorites for hanging out with friends are Rockwell Beer Co., Urban Chestnut Brewing, Seoul Taco, and Layla. In the Central West End, Mission Taco Joint and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are also frequent go-to’s as well.

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When you’re craving … Burgers

Wilson W., M1

What is a burger but two pieces of bread intimately cuddling the main nutrition meant to sustain you for the next few hours? In St. Louis, there’s a decent number of burger joints that Covid has prompted me to try during numerous lazy takeout nights, and so I leave you my humbled Yelp reviews. I’m partial to Shake Shack in Central West End as a New Yorker, but the best burgers I’ve had were downtown at Mac’s Local Eats. Other favorite joints: Grace Meat and Three, West End Grill and Pub, Stack’d Burger Bar, and Layla’s for an added shawarma component.

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When you’re craving … Chinese

Rohana G., M1

As an international student from Beijing and a former New Yorker who had Chinatown as her backyard, I was a little worried about my food options after moving here to STL. BUT, I was pleasantly surprised! STL actually has a decent amount of Chinese restaurants that taste like home. There’s a great variety too — Shanghainese, Szechuan, Dim Sum, Taiwanese, and even hot-pot! Corner 17, Tai Ke, Cate Zone are some of the places we frequently order takeout from. I also highly recommend Private Kitchen, a hidden gem that specializes in Shanghainese cuisine yet their best dish is Peking Duck.

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When you’re craving … Ramen

Rohana G., M1

Recommended by my roommate who has lived in St. Louis for the past four years, Nippon Tei’s tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen is a must try. The restaurant is a bit out of the way (20-minute drive from campus), but it’s near Pan-Asia supermarket so we would sometimes make a stop for ramen after grocery shopping. Nudo House and Nami Ramen are also great choices and they’re closer!

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Tonkotsu Ramen take-out from Nippon-Tei

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When you’re craving … Sushi/Poke

Melinda S., M1

There are quite a few good sushi places — some in the Central West End like Drunken Fish, and some within a ~10-minute drive, like Sushi Ai (which normally also has all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner specials) and Blue Ocean. PokeDoke is also a very good poke place, conveniently right across the street from campus

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When you’re craving … Tacos

David C., M1

There are plenty of fine places to fulfill your taco needs in St. Louis. Seoul Taco provides a great twist on the classics with their Korean-Mexican fusion fare. El Burro Loco has great food and great ambiance for a Friday night with your friends. Mission Taco is a chic cantina with a diverse menu of delicious tacos and top-shelf Margaritas. But above them all, a few blocks north of CWE, stands the crown jewel of St. Louis’ taco scene, The Bell. One would think that when the indigenous peoples of the Valley of Mexico first invented the taco, it was a finished product; there was no possible way to improve upon what seemed like a flawless culinary design. And yet, The Bell has done just that. One bite of a mouthwatering Nacho Cheese Doritos® Locos Taco followed by a refreshing sip of Mountain Dew® Baja Blast is enough to make anyone a believer. So when you’re craving tacos in St. Louis, think of The Bell, and live más.

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When you’re craving … Thai

Melinda S., M1

St. Louis has some great Thai food options. A big favorite — especially amongst people who went to WashU for college — is Thai Country Café, which is located on the Delmar Loop, near the Danforth Campus. If you’re looking for something close to the Medical Campus, Thai 202 is a good and convenient option located in the Central West End. Other options include Fork & Stix, King & I, and Chao Baan.