Chilispot - Satisfying Spicy Schezwan

4.22/5 stars Review Philosophy

Chilispot Takeaway. The Opposite Of Chilly. Spicy Szechuan food that's great, but not the best in town. Mapo Tofu stars as a supple spicy surprise. You'll find plenty of social posts featuring the Spicy Popcorn Chicken that hits a 4+ on the spice meter. Huge portions of at least 16 oz for $15-20.

Food is always better in the restaurant when it's hot, fresh, and plated, but take-out still tastes good.

Wait times for pickup are in the twenty-minute range, fast for this neck of the woods. Parking is super easy in a giant lot. Part of the "Chinese Dive Bars" on Olive, the inside has a much more up-to-date vibe than the outside.

Table Of Contents: Experience | Food | Atmosphere | Receipt

Chilispot whole dinner


  • 7930 Olive Blvd, University City, MO 63130
  • (314) 925-8711
  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Yelp - 4.5 stars - 216 ratings
  • Google Maps - 4.5 stars - 452 ratings


Monday11 AM–2:30 PM, 4:30–8:30 PM
Tuesday11 AM–2:30 PM, 4:30–8:30 PM
Thursday11 AM–2:30 PM, 4:30–8:30 PM
Friday11 AM–2:30 PM, 4:30–9:30 PM
Saturday11 AM–9:30 PM
Sunday11 AM–8:30 PM


Chilispot Experience Summary

Chilispot is one of the places on Olive that I affectionately refer to as "Asian dive bars" due to their unassuming exteriors but amazing food and experiences.

Chilispot front

Other places that meet that criteria include Wonton King, the Wei Hong Bakery, Soup Dumplings STL, Pho Long, and, importantly for this review, Cate Zone.

I'm going to be talking a lot about how Chilispot compares to Cate Zone because they're both Szechuan Chinese restaurants less than half a mile apart. I ordered many of the same dishes so that I could accurately compare.

Chilispot Menu Front

In my opinion, and the opinion of the four of us who tried it, Cate Zone is strictly dominant to Chilispot - every dish that both serve, Cate Zone is better.

That's not to say Chilispot is bad, but Cate Zone stands as some of the best Chinese food I've ever had. Chilispot would be the top local spot in 99% of America, it's just half a mile away from the 1%.

Chilispot Menu Back

The Food At Chilispot

The first thing to know when you go to Chilispot is that everything is going to be spicy.

I mean Chili.

I'll break down the four items we got from best to still good.

Mapo Tofu - $14.95 - ~30 oz

Chilispot Mapo Tofu

I love, loved this dish.

The tofu must have been marinating in the spicy sauce all day because it's so tender you can't even chew it. The slightest pressure melts the tofu into the sauce and rice and delivers, to me, an excellent combination of taste and mouth feel. This dish starts and stays spicy all the way through, delivering an excellent chili sauce flavor at a 4+/5 spice level.

My mouth is both salivating and fearful of the spice at the same time thinking about it.

10/10 would do it again.

However, the rest of the gang wasn't as gun-ho as I was on the dish. They all enjoyed it, but my buddy called the tofu too supple. Yes, supple. That's a perfectly accurate description of how it melts in your mouth, and I guess I like supple food more than most.

For all my comparisons to Cate Zone, I actually haven't had their Mala Tofu to compare, but it's the reviewed thing on Yelp, so I'm guessing it's in the same class.

Chongqing Popcorn Chicken - $17.95 - ~16 oz

Chilispot Chongqing Popcorn Chicken

The Chongqing Popcorn Chicken is a dead ringer for the Chengdu Chicken at Cate Zone. This version hits the same peaks on the spicy scale of 4+, with an occasional 5 if you catch a pepper straight up.

Unlike the chicken at Cate Zone, the Chilispot version comes with green onions and peanuts. The peanuts can help alleviate some of the spice if you strategically add them to your bite.

We all agreed that the Popcorn Chicken was excellent, but not Cate Zone level. The pieces were smaller and a little bit less juicy, while the sauce didn't quite compare in taste.

The Chengdu Chicken at Cate Zone is just on another level tastewise.

Dry Fried Green Beans - $14.95 - ~10 oz

Chilispot Green Beans Weight

I don't have a direct comparison here to Cate Zone, just to the ones I've had in San Francisco. The dry fried green beans at Chilispot were the only dish we had with zero spice, and they provided a way to give your mouth a break from the spice.

They are not drenched in sauce or oil, and the flavor of the green bean comes through. They make an excellent side dish but act more like an unremarkable supporting character in the meal. I'd take the bok choy at Cate Zone over this.

Chilispot Dry Fried Green Beans

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce - $14.95 - ~22 oz

Chilispot Eggplant With Garlic Sauce

The eggplant was forgettable. While it came in a bright red chili sauce, it somehow was both sweet and spicy, with sweet being the dominant flavor. I was expecting something more garlicky and clear in terms of sauce.

No one really ate it, although it wasn't bad per se.

It did not compare to the awesomeness of the sizzling eggplant at Cate Zone.

Chilispot Atmosphere And Miscellaneous

Chilispot Seatting

Beyond the food, Chili Spot distinguished itself with its rapid service and convenient parking--a stark contrast to the longer waits and parking challenges often faced at Cate Zone.

My pickup order was ready in an astonishing 20 minutes, making Chilispot a much faster option, seeking high-quality Chinese food without the headache of getting into and out of Cate Zone.

Chilispot entrance

Additionally, the generous portion sizes, particularly the tofu dish, which weighed almost two pounds and cost just $15, are considerably better deals than Cate Zone, which has upped the price tremendously over the last twelve months.

Inside, Chilispot boasts a clean and appealing dining area, immediately dispelling any initial reservations one might have based on its exterior.

Chilispot pickup

While it may not dethrone Cate Zone in my personal ranking, Chilispot offers a good meal that's both less stressful and faster, perfect for when time is of the essence.

Chilispot hours

Parking At Chilispot

Chilispot parking

Parking is super simple in a giant dedicated lot. The building next door is boarded up and waiting for a new owner or tenant, so there are essentially two parking lots for the one restaurant.

It's also easier to turn back onto Olive from this lot than Cate Zone, but it takes concentrating in the dark, nonetheless.

Chilispot signage

Chilispot Receipt

Chilispot receipt

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