Restaurant Review: Lona's Lil Eats
Lona's Lil Eats focusing on "fresh Asian cuisine with a soul-food flare" is a gem in the Fox Park neighborhood of St. Louis. I love it so much that I am always so excited every time I get to eat there and look forward to the next visit. I will openly admit that I don't often stray from my consistent menu favorites because they are just too good. More on those items in a bit. Lona's has Thai and Chinese influences and brings it all together by using fresh ingredients and scratch making everything from roasting peanuts to mixing up the tastiest sauces (there are 5 delectable sauces).
When inside, you walk up to order at the counter and seat yourself. They've expanded the interior seating and there are also benches with umbrellas outside. It's all very quaint and the building has character. As you wait patiently (typically not too long), they bring out your meal on a large tray covered in paper. My go-to pairing is the Lemongrass Turkey Wrap ($10.25) with a side of Lime-Ginger Peanut Salad (included w the wrap).
I also love the Spicy Tofu Wrap ($9.25) with spicy tofu, stir-fried rice, smoked vinaigrette (amazing flavor!), all wrapped in that giant rice paper wrap. My husband's favorite meal which I don't believe he's strayed from is the Lona-Q Chicken Plate ($9.25) which comes piled high with grilled chicken, stir-fried glass noodles, and Lona-Q sauce. The sauce is a reminiscent of the best sweet and savory sauce you've ever had. He usually goes with a different side each time like the spicy eggplant, chopped vinaigrette salad, or more of those delicious stir-fried glass noodles because they are addictive. Our toddler agrees about the noodles so we always order her a side ($3) of them! I like that they have little bits of egg and veggies mixed in.
I know I dove right into the main menu items but don't skip the starters. Spring Rolls (steak, chicken, veggie) - 3 for $5.75 with a peanut dipping sauce and the Pan Fried Dumplings (mushroom, steak) - 6 for $7 with a spicy soy sauce based dipping sauce.
Another part of the charm of this restaurant is that you know the owners' story. They have great information on their website which gives some history and shows how they've been inspired to create Lona's. This care and sourcing also extends to their tea menu. There is so much more for me to explore on their menu but I just can't help myself with the go-to items I've mentioned above. I crave them! This place is a winner for me because the food is fresh and flavorful without weighing you down.
*Family Friendliness Rating: 8/10 - There is a $5 kids menu offering a protein (chicken, turkey, tofu, steak +$1, shrimp +$2) with a side of salad, rice, or noodles. Since our daughter is only 3 years old with a hit or miss appetite (and doesn't eat much meat) we've never ordered her a kids meal here, but opt for the side of stir-fried glass noodles ($3) because we know they are a hit. The noodles save and reheat easily at home if she doesn't eat them all. Now with the expanded seating, there are more options inside, but I do find that sometimes it's a little quiet inside even with a full dining room. A toddler with periodic voice immodulation (Will Ferrell skit, anyone?) + small quiet room = not ideal. I don't recall music for ambient noise, which might be nice.
The food is so good that I would happily eat my food while sitting on the floor in complete silence! Haha! And, no worries if the dining room is full, it also works well for carry out which we've done quite a bit.
Open Tues-Sat 11:00am - 9:00pm, Closed Sun and Mon