One of the best ways to learn about different cultures is through experiencing their food. Visiting local ethnic restaurants can also connect your family with neighbors and help build a strong, diverse community for your children. Introducing young children to a variety of foods can help them develop an adventurous palate and an interest in discovering new things in many parts of their lives. Here are some of the best ethnic cuisines in and around Ellisville, Missouri, from Korean to Mexican and everything in between.

Esther’s Persian Cafe

A delicious-looking kebab from a local ethnic eatery.

Image via Flickr by blondinrikard

You and your little ones will adore this affordable, authentic Persian cuisine! Reza Toghiyany and Esther Spurgeon, a father and daughter duo, opened this quaint cafe in April 2019 after hosting extravagant feasts in a local park. They prepare each dish from scratch, and Toghiyany is particularly fond of his beef koobideh, a ground beef kabob that is grilled so that it develops a delicious char on the outside. You can visit them at 12466 St. Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton for lunch from 11 a.m to 2 p.m. or dinner from 5-9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Jafra Mediterranean Restaurant

Located at 3551 Veterans Memorial Parkway in St. Charles, Jafra Mediterranean Restaurant offers authentic Levantine cuisine, the region that includes Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Palestine. This family-owned restaurant is renowned for its traditional dishes, such as shawarma and beef kafta. You and your family can also try their appetizers of stuffed grape leaves or falafel as well as desserts like baklava, hareeseh, and cheese kolaj. You can enjoy their delicious offerings Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Manee Thai

Manee Thai, located at 481 Lafayette Center in Manchester, offers your family a traditional Thai menu with seasonal and gluten-free options. Owners Tanee and Neon Meeboon take pride in their restaurant’s unique ambiance, and they ensure that all of their dishes are created with only the freshest ingredients. Try one of the specialties on their menu, like the lemon grass teriyaki pork loin or the pine curry duck.

You can eat in, order delivery, or pick up their lunch specials Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5-8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Manee Thai is open until 9:30 p.m. on Friday, from noon to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, and from noon to 8:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Monsoon Vietnamese Bistro

If your family is looking for authentic Vietnamese food, you should visit Monsoon Vietnamese Bistro at 14248 Manchester Road. They offer several styles of rolls and dumplings, and one of their most popular dishes is the cari ga, a Vietnamese curry made with coconut milk, chicken, and sweet potato over rice. They are open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5-9 p.m. You can also come by on Saturdays from noon to 10 p.m.

Wudon Korean BBQ

Wudon Korean BBQ is a popular stop for many South Korean expatriates — a sure sign of great food. If you dine in, you’ll have an interactive all-you-can-eat family experience. The grills for your Korean barbecue are inset into the table, and your whole family can pick whatever meats, sauces, and sides they want. They also offer hot pots and traditional entrees like bulgogi and stir-fried squid, called ojingeo-bokkeum.

You can dine in or order takeout Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wudon Korean BBQ is located at 1261 Castillons Arcade Plaza in Creve Coeur.

Signature India

Signature India is the perfect place to introduce your children to your favorite Indian dishes. Owner Satish Kodebattula is from a state on India’s southeastern coast, Andhra Pradesh, and he fills the menu with his home’s specialties such as gongura goat curry and biryani, a mixed rice dish. On weekends, you can even order Indian breakfast dishes!

In addition to the extensive restaurant menu, Signature India has a full bakery that serves both Western pastries and samosas. You can visit the restaurant and bakery at 14031 Manchester Road Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Astoria Russian Bistro

If you’re in the mood to try some tasty Russian food, you need to check out Astoria Russian Bistro, located at 12949 Olive Arcade Plaza in Creve Coeur. For an appetizer or dessert, order blinsis, which are crepes stuffed with either savory or sweet fillings. Then for your main entree, try golubtzy, a cabbage roll filled with ground beef and rice. You can also enjoy kabobs, stroganoff, or chicken Kiev if you’re looking for more familiar flavors.

This authentic Eastern European restaurant opened in 2001 and is owned by Sveta Podrabinok, who moved to the U.S. from Belarus and has been sharing her regional fare with St. Louis for 15 years. Astoria Russian Bistro is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Don Emiliano’s Restaurante Mexicano

Don Emiliano’s, located at 8600 Veterans Memorial Parkway in O’Fallon, is your best choice for authentic Mexican cuisine in the area. Victor Arellano Guzman opened Don Emiliano’s in 2015, achieving his dream to share his native cuisine with St. Louis. At Don Emiliano’s, you can enjoy traditional dishes like arroz con pollo, camarones al ajillo, and chile verde. They can even adjust any dish to be vegan or vegetarian. Stop by to try some delicious Mexican dishes Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Tucanos Brazilian Grill

Tucanos Brazilian Grill is a small chain with locations in seven states that offers a vibrant dining experience. You and your family will enjoy the traditional Brazilian churrasco service, where the servers deliver a variety of grilled meats throughout your meal. You’ll also experience the Salad Festival, a colorful display of fresh vegetables, hot and cold sides, soup, and sushi.

Both you and your children will love the blended tropical drinks and fresh fruit juices as well as the exotic dessert menu, which includes pudim de leite, a creamy Brazilian flan, and mango butter cake. Dive into this lively experience at 1520 S Fifth Street in St. Charles on Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

These delicious ethnic cuisines will help you and your children discover new flavors and explore new cultures!