12 Best Delmar Loop Restaurants To Visit During This Weekend's Loop Ice Carnival
Ranoush (6501 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-726-6874)
Ranoush offers a lively atmosphere (with occasional belly dancers!) and an overview of Syrian cuisine, with an emphasis on appetizers - known here as meze - and grilled meats. The meze range from dishes that will be familiar to those with only a passing knowledge of Middle Eastern cuisine - hummus, of course, and baba gannoujh - to more intriguing fare, like the simple, delicious fava bean dish foul moudames. Entrées include shish kebabs, shish taouk (seasoned, grilled chicken) and both beef and chicken shawarma. Dessert includes knafeh, which brings together baklava and cheesecake.
Al-Tarboush Deli (602 Westgate Avenue, University City; 314-725-1944)
A promised land of milk and honey and falafel, Al-Tarboush is the perfect pilgrimage for hungry folk without much cash. Half grocery, half counter-service diner, it has only a few tables, and some of the menu items (e.g., the tabbouleh) come right out of the refrigerated case. Other Middle Eastern goodies include stuffed grape leaves; meat, spinach and cheese pies; and hummus.
Nico (6525 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-0200)
The "younger brother" of popular and critical Soulard success Franco eschews its older sibling's French-bistro leanings for a broader Mediterranean flavor. Dishes range from tapas like fried almonds to housemade pappardelle in an Italian pork ragu to lamb spiked with a fiery North African harissa sauce. The lamb burger, seved with a fried egg on top, is superb. For a pleasant summer evening, grab a seat on the patio, order a "Jack Buck" (gin, Aperol, ginger beer and lemon) and enjoy all the people watching the Delmar Loop has to offer.