The Best Tapas & Small Plates in St. Louis

The Best Tapas & Small Plates in St. Louis

St. Louis’ Top 10 Tapas & Small Plate Restaurants

St. Louis, MO/July 2, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Tapas began as appetizers or snacks served in select bars in Spain. Simple offerings of spiced olives, or a few sautéed shrimp were served both hot and cold. But tapas have evolved into an entire, sophisticated cuisine. Today’s small plates offer more than the traditional Spanish flavors, spanning the globe.  In the hands of American chefs, these simple nibbles have grown into elaborate and eclectic sharable dishes.  Today’s small plates present an opportunity to sample several of the most flavorful dishes on the menu and to build a meal that satisfies your individual tastes.

We wanted to know where St. Louis diners go for their favorite small plate meals.  So, we checked the customer reviews, crunched the numbers, and found the top 10 tapas bars and small plate restaurants in the metro area.  Not surprisingly, many of them are also known as terrific wine bars or craft cocktail bars—meaning tapas in St. Louis is still tied to its beginnings as simple, delicious eats designed to accompany a well-made alcoholic beverage.

Topping the list is the appropriately named, Taste.  This Central West End hangout offers New American tapas and highly acclaimed signature cocktails.  It opened in the summer of 2009 on Sidney Street as Taste by Niche, and was quickly popular for its hand crafted cocktails, intimate setting, and thoughtful nibbles.  After outgrowing its first home, the cozy cocktail lounge moved to the Central West End, offering three times the space, a menu of “sharable” fare, and a new name, now simply Taste.

Today, Taste offers a seasonal menu of New American tapas, as well as a concise list of entrees.  Snacks like their bacon fat fried cornbread, deviled eggs, cheese and charcuterie boards are the perfect accompaniments to the acclaimed cocktails created at the Taste bar.  The small plates at Taste are full flavored bites that blend local produce with global flavors.  The menu includes delectable selections like the Union Loafer’s bruschetta—currently available with arugula/almond pesto, local tomatoes, and sherry gastrique; mussels with white wine, curry, fennel, ginger, lime, and cilantro; a flavorful take on gnudi, the pillowy gnocchi-like dumplings are prepared with corn, cotija cheese, chorizo butter, pineapple, fried onions, and cilantro.  Everything on the menu is thoughtfully prepared and served with care, making Taste St. Louis’ favorite place for small plates.

The rest of the top 10 tapas/small plate restaurants offer a variety of settings and cuisines, ranging from classic tapas bars and market cafes to wine bars and craft cocktail lounges.  Here is the full top 10 list:

1. Taste Bar (4.76 stars/469 reviews) Central West End, 4584 Laclede Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63108, (314) 361-1200.
2. Edibles & Essentials (4.71 stars/101 Reviews) St. Louis Hills, 5815 Hampton Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63109, (314) 328-2300.
3. Bella Vino Wine Bar & Tapas (4.49 stars/287 reviews) St Charles, 325 South Main Street, Saint Charles, MO 63301, (636) 724-3434.
4. Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar (4.31 stars/754 Reviews) Downtown, 1004 Locust Street, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 241-8141.
5. Nixta (4.29 stars/62 Reviews) Botanical Heights, 1621 Tower Grove, Saint Louis, MO 63110, (314) 932-1088.
6. Mango Peruvian Cuisine (4.28 stars/1215 Reviews) Downtown, 1001 Washington Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63101, (314) 621-9993.
7. Remy’s Kitchen & Wine Bar (4.26 stars/337 Reviews) Clayton, 222 South Bemiston Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63105, (314) 726-5757.
8. Farmhaus (4.26 stars/392 Reviews) Lindenwood Park, 3257 Ivanhoe Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 647-3800.
9. Robust at The MX (4.16 stars/260 reviews) Downtown, 635 Washington Ave., Saint Louis, MO, 63101, (314) 287-6300.
10. Público (4.15 stars/177 reviews) University City Loop, 6679 Delmar Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63130, (314) 833-5780.

As often happens when we publish a top 10 list, we found several places that offer great tapas or small plates, but didn’t quite fit into the top 10.  Either they had really high marks, but not enough customer reviews (minimum 50), or they’re already well loved, and better known for something else.  These notable establishments earn Honorable Mentions:

Cellar House (4.58 stars/26 reviews) Oakville, 6039 Telegraph Road, St Louis, MO 63129, (314) 846-5100.  This cozy wine bar and scratch restaurant offers a nice selection of small plates that pair well with wine.  Everything is fresh, and made with locally sourced, organic ingredients whenever possible.  Plus they offer 20 wines by the glass, more than 200 wines by the bottle, a nice selection of craft beers, and craft cocktails.

Polite Society (4.53 stars/47 reviews) Lafayette Square, 1923 Park Ave., Saint Louis, MO 63104, (314) 325-2553.  This contemporary, sophisticated bar and restaurant opened in 2016.  They feature a menu of seasonal small plates that change throughout the year.  From apps like shrimp and grits, to creamy cheese spatzle, and a nice selection of salumi and farmhouse cheese, there are plenty of small plates to keep your interest.  There’s also a great wine-by-the-glass selection, plus several signature cocktails.

Small Batch (4.21 stars/241 reviews) Midtown, 3001 Locust Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63103, (314) 380-2040.  Although not strictly a tapas restaurant, Small Batch offers a very nice selection of small plates to accompany their excellent small batch whiskey offerings.  Customers rave about dishes like cauliflower with bourbon buffalo sauce and bleu cheese, vegetarian rangoon with pineapple cream cheese; and perfectly crispy poutine with chihuahua cheese and peppered white gravy.

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Susan Smith-Harmon

Susan Smith-Harmon is an experienced writer, editor, and broadcast journalist with a strong news background. She’s worked in radio and television news, and for national and international newswire services.

She began her career in public radio while still a student at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (where she earned a B.A. in Communications). She soon made the jump to news/talk radio, handling assignments from field reporting, airborne traffic, and news anchor, to producing and hosting daily talk shows. She’s also worked in television, most recently as the inaugural producer for The Allman Report on KDNL-TV 30, and as a news writer and reporter for national and international newswire services.