It’s no surprise that Ben Poremba’s Isreali-inflected wine bar, Olio (1634 Tower Grove Avenue, 314-932-1088) serves up great food. Poremba, after all, is one of the city’s most acclaimed chefs. What might be surprising to first-time visitors, though, is just how much it retains its bar feel, even though the menu items it’s serving are good enough to carry a restaurant. Located in a renovated Standard Oil filling station, the quarters are close, lending an intimate vibe. Something about the mood here makes us want to have another glass of wine and start spilling our intimate secrets — and isn’t that what all great wine bars should do? Poremba’s food isn’t cheap (we’re guessing no one else in St. Louis could get away with charging $14 for hummus), but the quality underpins the pricing (that hummus, we’ll have you know, is studded with almonds, pine nuts and even braised lamb shoulder). Grab a seat at the bar for “spritz hour” and tuck into a platter of mezze, and with or without libations, you’re sure to be feeling fine.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Silverberg