Here are the Best Onion Rings in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO (STL.News) Onion rings may be the perfect restaurant dish. They’re difficult enough to make that most home cooks don’t bother with them. Yet they’re delicious enough to lure us into our favorite purveyor’s place. They’re like the French fries bolder, more sophisticated cousin. They’re crispy, savory, and oh-so-delicious! Onion rings are terrific served as an appetizer or alongside burgers, sandwiches, and steaks. For me, onion rings have always been an eating event. When they are done well, they stand on their own. A plate or tower of rings makes a great shareable happy hour munchie. And everyone knows, a perfectly golden ring or two can elevate a burger or steak to new flavor heights.
In our fair city, it seems that opinions about onion rings can be almost as contentious as pizza crust debates. There are two basic schools of thought regarding these delectable rings—whether to bread them or batter them before deep frying. Breaded rings offer a deep bronze color and flavorful crunch. Battered rings are lighter in color and texture, having a completely different kind of crispiness. Both blend the unmistakable sweetness of onion with a savory saltiness. Whether milk-bathed and hand breaded, or dipped in beer-laden batter, onion rings are a culinary treat that St. Louis diners (myself included) eat by the plateful.
According to customer reviews, St. Louis’ favorite place for onion rings is a casual steakhouse known for its beefy mains, seafood, and comfortable, rustic decor. Twisted Tree Steakhouse opened in July 2016 at Watson Road and Lindbergh in Sunset Hills. This is a classic, old school steakhouse without pretense or haute-cuisine intimidation. It’s just great food, thoughtfully prepared, and attentively served in a warm, hospitable environment. Nice.
The restaurant instantly distinguished itself by offering extremely flavorful tenderloin, ribeyes, and strips that they’ve aged much longer than other restaurants—and with their most popular appetizer, onion rings. These are the onion rings the owners perfected at The Pear Tree, their restaurant in Macon, Missouri. At Twisted Tree, the rings are large, hand battered, golden, crispy, and piled high on a plate. The light batter is an old recipe that creates a tenderly crisp ring that is slightly sweet and salty. The combination is addictive. It’s no wonder most diners start their meal with a plate of the Pear Tree Onion Rings. Twisted Tree also has a terrific patio, so once it warms up, this will be a great pick for dinner, or a plate of rings and drinks under the stars.
Onion rings are a popular dish, and our top 10 list shows that when they’re done right, this is a dish that crosses culinary lines. We found St. Louis’ favorites at diners, take-out stands, bars, drive-ins, brewpubs, and even fine dining establishments. That’s a versatile dish and these are the restaurants that do it best in St. Louis, according to customer reviews:
1. Twisted Tree Steakhouse (4.44 stars/261 reviews) Sunset Hills, 10701 Watson Road, Saint Louis, MO 63127, (314) 394-3366.
2. Southwest Diner (4.37 stars/574 reviews) Ellendale, 6803 Southwest Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63143, (314) 260-7244.
3. The Shaved Duck (4.35 stars/1850 reviews) Tower Grove East, 2900 Virginia Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63118, (314) 776-1407.
4. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (4.29 stars/306 reviews) Frontenac, 1855 South Lindbergh Blvd, Saint Louis, MO 63131, (314) 567-7610.
5. Chuck A Burger (4.27 stars/106 reviews) St. John, 9025 St. Charles Rock Road, Saint Louis, MO 63114, (314) 427-9524.
6. The Piccadilly at Manhattan (4.27 stars/270 reviews) Ellendale, 7201 Piccadilly Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63143, (314) 646-0016.
7. Seamus McDaniel’s (4.26 stars/399 reviews) Dogtown, 1208 Tamm Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63139, (314) 645-6337.
8. Ferguson Brewing Company (4.21 stars/287 reviews) Ferguson, 418 S Florissant Road, Saint Louis, MO 63135, (314) 521-2220.
9. Friends Bar & Grill (4.18 stars/72 reviews) Bridgeton, 12207 Natural Bridge Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044, (314) 739-3000.
10. Cousin Hugo’s Bar & Grill (4.09 star/56 reviews) Maplewood, 3233 Laclede Station Road, Saint Louis, MO 63143, (314) 645-8484.
As usually happens when we look for the very best, we find a couple restaurants that offer exceptional fare, but don’t quite qualify for the top 10 list. Sometimes they don’t have enough reviews (minimum 50). Sometimes, they’re a little too far outside the St. Louis metro area. But these places are still worth your attention, especially if you’re looking for crave-worthy food. So, to these fine establishments, we offer Honorable Mentions:
The Malt Shop (4.43 stars/35 reviews) Peerless Park, 1751 Smizer Station Road, Fenton, MO 63026, (636) 825-2121. This tiny take out stand has been serving ice cream, malts, burgers, and sides since 1973. Their onion rings are first rate, and they’re just one of the hand-breaded, fried veggies on the menu. They also do fried zucchini, fried cauliflower, fried mushrooms, and some terrific jalapeño poppers—all hand breaded, golden brown, and crispy. Hope for warm weather, because The Malt Shop is seasonal, and won’t reopen until at least mid-February.
Lewis Cafe (4.45 stars/192 reviews) Franklin County, 145 South Main Street, Saint Clair, MO 63077, (636) 629-9975. This place has been around since the 1930’s serving home grown Angus beef (they raise the cattle themselves), homemade pie, and deliciously crispy, hand-battered onion rings. They serve them piled high as an appetizer or as a side. Lewis Cafe is a bit of a drive from St. Louis (more than an hour from the city), but it’s the kind of place folks drive out of their way to visit, and the onion rings are one of the reasons why.