Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Five Best (Cheap) Italian Restaurants in St. Louis

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Selecting Riverfront Times' Best of St. Louis 2011 was no picnic. Choosing the winner meant several worthy candidates would go unmentioned -- until now. In this Gut Check series, we are chewing our way through notable runners up in a number of categories. To see hundreds more winners and finalists and download the Riverfront Times Best of St. Louis mobile app, visit our Best of St. Louis homepage.

Meatballs at this year's "Best Italian (Cheap) Restaurant" - JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • Meatballs at this year's "Best Italian (Cheap) Restaurant"

Last week, we shared our finalists for the five best (not cheap) Italian restaurants in St. Louis. This week, we look at the cheap options. And by cheap we mean only "not expensive." It's a term of endearment, we promise.

Page through to see the four finalists and our pick for the "Best (Cheap) Italian Restaurant" in St. Louis.

A salsiccia sandwich at Adriana's - SARAH RUSNAK
  • Sarah Rusnak
  • A salsiccia sandwich at Adriana's

Adriana's (5101 Shaw Avenue; 314-773-3833)

This lunch spot on the Hill has been drawing crowds for twenty years now. The housemade meatball and salsiccia sandwiches are the main attraction, and the Sicilian salsiccia, served on garlic cheese bread, is so filling you might not need to eat again until lunch the next day. (Which is good because Adriana's doesn't serve dinner.) Deli sandwiches both hot and cold as well as thin-crust pizza and penne pasta in a simple tomato-basil sauce are also available.

The arancini at Filomena's Italian Kitchen - JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • The arancini at Filomena's Italian Kitchen

Filomena's Italian Kitchen (9900 Manchester Road, Glendale; 314-961-9909)

What do you get if you cross the fast-casual concept with your Italian grandmother's kitchen? The answer might be Filomena's Italian Kitchen. Owner Filomena Angelucci-Dean grew up in Castel Frentano, Italy, but her menu is rooted in the broad, popular tradition of Italian food in America. The lasagna, one of four entrées offered, is excellent, as are the chicken marsala and chicken Parmigiano. Simple pasta dishes, salads and sandwiches are also available. The highlight is the arancini, flash-fried balls of risotto with a molten cheese core.

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