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Sound Bites: Best St. Louis Food & Drink Of 2013

In our monthly Sound Bites segment in partnership with Sauce Magazine, executive editor Ligaya Figueras and food critics Michael Renner and Matt Berkley reviewed the standout St. Louis restaurants and bars of 2013.

Michael Renner writes “New and Notable” for Sauce, and Matt Berkley writes “Nightlife.” They maintain anonymity in order to accurately review the experience an average customer might have.

New Venues

Among the restaurants and bars that opened in 2013, two stood out for Renner: Elaia and Olio in the “coolest space category” and Central Table Food Hall in the “this ain’t no food court category.”

The two new restaurants that stood out for Figueras were Cucina Pazzo (“I love it because it’s an Italian restaurant and there’s not a single pie or flatbread on the menu.”) and Element (she liked the collaboration of the four chefs in the kitchen).

As for Berkley, he liked Tripel in Lafayette Sqaure, a Belgian restaurant. Highlights for him were the French-German fusion of the fare, especially the Mussels Normandy, and the Trappist ales.

Best Dishes

Renner’s favorite dishes for the year were both chicken: The fried butter garlic chicken wings at Mi Linh, the new Vietnamese restaurant that opened up in Rock Hill, and the fried chicken at The Libertine.

Figueras also liked a dish at The Libertine, the Three Little Hens featuring three different poultries. “But if had to pick my single favorite, it is the Goji Steamed Sole at Hiro Asian Kitchen,” she said.

A stand out dish for Berkley was the pulled pork barbeque nachos at Hendrix in St. Charles. He also liked their white whiskey moonshine.

Best Cocktails

Figueras lamented the upcoming loss of Little Country Gentlemen, recommending trying the bourbon-based Mal’s No. 3 while you still can. The restaurant closes January 11. She also recommended the manhattans at The Libertine and Planter’s House.

Berkley named Gamlin Whiskey House, Fortune Teller Bar and Atomic Cowboy as places with excellent signature cocktails. “It’s a good time to be a whiskey fan in St. Louis right now,” he said.

Renner’s suggestion was the Mississippi Punch at Juniper.

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer, hosted by Steve Potter and funded in part by the the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

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