November 10, 2018

33 St. Louis Italian Restaurants Better Than That Crap Over at Olive Garden

St. Louis is stuffed like a cannoli with Italian restaurants. And we're spoiled with options: From the elegance of Tony's to the grab-and-go efficiency of Parm, there is an Italian restaurant in St. Louis to fit every taste and lifestyle. So don't waste your time on dull national chain restaurants. Instead, dip deep into the marinara of the St. Louis Italian restaurant scene. From downtown to St. Peters to your favorites on the Hill, here are all of the best spots to stop and smell the ricotta.

St. Louis is stuffed like a cannoli with Italian restaurants. And we're spoiled with options: From the elegance of Tony's to the grab-and-go efficiency of Adriana's, there is an Italian restaurant in St. Louis to fit every taste and lifestyle.

So don't waste your time on dull national chain restaurants. Instead, dip deep into the marinara of the St. Louis Italian restaurant scene. From downtown to St. Peters to your favorites on the Hill, here are all of the best spots to stop and smell the ricotta.

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O+O Pizza
(102 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-721-5422)
Described as a hybrid of New Haven- and Roman-style pizza, O+O’s version is thinner and crispier than Neapolitan around the edges, but has a similar wood-fired speckle. It’s a wonderful canvas for toppings or is stunning when simply adorned, as is the case with the O+O Original, topped with subtly sweet, rustic tomato sauce, Fior di Latte (a type of fresh mozzarella) and pecorino cheeses. The ingredients are simple but powerful, and show why just a few well-prepared and sourced components can make something magical. - Cheryl Baehr
Photo by Mabel Suen

O+O Pizza


(102 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-721-5422)
Described as a hybrid of New Haven- and Roman-style pizza, O+O’s version is thinner and crispier than Neapolitan around the edges, but has a similar wood-fired speckle. It’s a wonderful canvas for toppings or is stunning when simply adorned, as is the case with the O+O Original, topped with subtly sweet, rustic tomato sauce, Fior di Latte (a type of fresh mozzarella) and pecorino cheeses. The ingredients are simple but powerful, and show why just a few well-prepared and sourced components can make something magical. - Cheryl Baehr

Photo by Mabel Suen
Edera Italian Eatery
(48 Maryland Plaza, 314-361-7227)
Edera's Margherita pie is, hands down, the best version of the classic in town, thanks to its outstanding crust. Simple crushed tomatoes are spread atop the dough, then topped with fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. It doesn't get better, even in the mother country. The restaurant also succeeds with the ricotta pizza, which pairs the garlic herbed cheese with caramelized onion, mozzarella, Calabrian chili oil and pieces of pulled chicken that magically do not turn into chicken jerky in the 900-degree oven. It's masterful. - Cheryl Baehr
Photo by Mabel Suen

Edera Italian Eatery


(48 Maryland Plaza, 314-361-7227)
Edera's Margherita pie is, hands down, the best version of the classic in town, thanks to its outstanding crust. Simple crushed tomatoes are spread atop the dough, then topped with fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. It doesn't get better, even in the mother country. The restaurant also succeeds with the ricotta pizza, which pairs the garlic herbed cheese with caramelized onion, mozzarella, Calabrian chili oil and pieces of pulled chicken that magically do not turn into chicken jerky in the 900-degree oven. It's masterful. - Cheryl Baehr

Photo by Mabel Suen
Pastaria Deli & Wine
(7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-773-7755)
Pastaria Deli & Wine's cold sandwiches are just as delightful. Boldly billing itself as the World's Best Tuna Salad, the restaurant's tuna salad sandwich has no delusions of grandeur. Unlike its mayonnaise-bomb American cousins, this Italian-style salad folds confit tuna together with olives, capers, red onions, a tiny bit of aioli and garlic chili vinaigrette. It's like eating puttanesca sauce in sandwich form. - Cheryl Baehr
Photo by Mabel Suen

Pastaria Deli & Wine


(7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-773-7755)
Pastaria Deli & Wine's cold sandwiches are just as delightful. Boldly billing itself as the World's Best Tuna Salad, the restaurant's tuna salad sandwich has no delusions of grandeur. Unlike its mayonnaise-bomb American cousins, this Italian-style salad folds confit tuna together with olives, capers, red onions, a tiny bit of aioli and garlic chili vinaigrette. It's like eating puttanesca sauce in sandwich form. - Cheryl Baehr

Photo by Mabel Suen
Noto Italian Restaurant
(5105 Westwood Drive, St. Peters; 636-317-1143)
Some of the new dishes Noto diners can expect include gnocchi with guanciale, white wine, tomato conservation, pesto and pecorino Romano cheese and malfada (a ribbon-shaped, wavy-edged pasta noodle) with smoked salsiccia ragu and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. They're also excited about doing composed salads, including a citrus salad with arugula, radicchio, blood orange, orange, grapefruit, pistachio, ricotta salata and honey vinaigrette, as well as house-made charcuterie, a craft he has honed over his many years in the kitchen. - Cheryl Baehr
Photo by Wayne Sieve

Noto Italian Restaurant


(5105 Westwood Drive, St. Peters; 636-317-1143)
Some of the new dishes Noto diners can expect include gnocchi with guanciale, white wine, tomato conservation, pesto and pecorino Romano cheese and malfada (a ribbon-shaped, wavy-edged pasta noodle) with smoked salsiccia ragu and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. They're also excited about doing composed salads, including a citrus salad with arugula, radicchio, blood orange, orange, grapefruit, pistachio, ricotta salata and honey vinaigrette, as well as house-made charcuterie, a craft he has honed over his many years in the kitchen. - Cheryl Baehr

Photo by Wayne Sieve
Del Pietro's
(1050 S. Big Bend Blvd., 314-224-5225)
The Del Pietros have been reigning over one of the city's dining mainstays for more than three decades by serving up unapologetically American-style Italian comfort dishes like veal parmigiana, chicken piccata and sweet Italian-dressed salads. - Cheryl Baehr
Photo by Mabel Suen

Del Pietro's


(1050 S. Big Bend Blvd., 314-224-5225)
The Del Pietros have been reigning over one of the city's dining mainstays for more than three decades by serving up unapologetically American-style Italian comfort dishes like veal parmigiana, chicken piccata and sweet Italian-dressed salads. - Cheryl Baehr

Photo by Mabel Suen
Katie's Pizza & Pasta
(Two locations, including 9568 Manchester Rd., 314-942-6555)
Stylish Katie's serves thoughtful, approachable food with near-flawless execution. Chef Katie Lee-Collier's restaurants don't just hand-make their pasta and pizza; they also prepare it perfectly.
Photo by Mabel Suen

Katie's Pizza & Pasta


(Two locations, including 9568 Manchester Rd., 314-942-6555)
Stylish Katie's serves thoughtful, approachable food with near-flawless execution. Chef Katie Lee-Collier's restaurants don't just hand-make their pasta and pizza; they also prepare it perfectly.

Photo by Mabel Suen
Anthonino's Taverna
(2225 Macklind Ave, 314-773-4455)
The menu reflects both the Italian and the Greek heritage of owners. The selection tilts toward the former, with numerous pizzas and pastas available, while the Greek board focuses on the cuisine's best-known dishes, like saganaki (flaming cheese), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and gyros. - Ian Froeb
Photo by Jennifer Silverberg

Anthonino's Taverna


(2225 Macklind Ave, 314-773-4455)
The menu reflects both the Italian and the Greek heritage of owners. The selection tilts toward the former, with numerous pizzas and pastas available, while the Greek board focuses on the cuisine's best-known dishes, like saganaki (flaming cheese), dolmathes (stuffed grape leaves) and gyros. - Ian Froeb

Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Charlie Gitto's
(Three locations, including 5226 Shaw Ave., 314-772-8898)
Our food critic once wrote that Charlie Gitto's sticks with the St. Louis Italian basics (like toasted ravioli) and nails them. You won't have any complaints at Charlie Gitto's classic Hill location -- or check out the Charlie Gitto's location downtown (207 N. 6th; 314-436-2828) or in Chesterfield (15524 Olive Blvd., 636-536-2199).
Photo courtesy of Eugene Kim

Charlie Gitto's


(Three locations, including 5226 Shaw Ave., 314-772-8898)
Our food critic once wrote that Charlie Gitto's sticks with the St. Louis Italian basics (like toasted ravioli) and nails them. You won't have any complaints at Charlie Gitto's classic Hill location -- or check out the Charlie Gitto's location downtown (207 N. 6th; 314-436-2828) or in Chesterfield (15524 Olive Blvd., 636-536-2199).

Photo courtesy of Eugene Kim
Peno Soul Food
(7600 Wydown Blvd., 314-899-9699)
With the exception of a few dishes, Peno's menu is what you'd expect to be served if you were a guest in someone's Calabrian beach house. Mussels fra diavolo pairs the fresh bivalves with delicate, chili-spiked tomato sauce that begs to be soaked up scarpetta-style with a slice of housemade crusty bread. The same sauce accents sautéed calamari. Served without breading in all of its tentacled beauty, the appetizer is a far cry from the deep-fried rings you'll find on most menus. -- Cheryl Baehr
Photo by Mabel Suen

Peno Soul Food


(7600 Wydown Blvd., 314-899-9699)
With the exception of a few dishes, Peno's menu is what you'd expect to be served if you were a guest in someone's Calabrian beach house. Mussels fra diavolo pairs the fresh bivalves with delicate, chili-spiked tomato sauce that begs to be soaked up scarpetta-style with a slice of housemade crusty bread. The same sauce accents sautéed calamari. Served without breading in all of its tentacled beauty, the appetizer is a far cry from the deep-fried rings you'll find on most menus. -- Cheryl Baehr

Photo by Mabel Suen
Cunetto House of Pasta
(5453 Magnolia Ave.; 314-781-1135)
This old-school Italian joint on the Hill is an RFT favorite year after year thanks to its generous portions and delicious food. Try the signature “Cardinale” sauce, a creamy decadence that always feels right at home in St. Louis.
Photo by Eric Frazier

Cunetto House of Pasta


(5453 Magnolia Ave.; 314-781-1135)
This old-school Italian joint on the Hill is an RFT favorite year after year thanks to its generous portions and delicious food. Try the signature “Cardinale” sauce, a creamy decadence that always feels right at home in St. Louis.

Photo by Eric Frazier