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Bohemian meets upper crust when the Bommarito family of five-diamond Tony's fame shakes things up at suppertime. Anthony's Bar extends its power-lunch reputation beyond the dinner hour with appetizers like a pulled pork tamale and entrées like herb-stuffed salmon and a grilled porkchop with roasted tomatoes and potatoes. The menu is brief and reasonably priced, the atmosphere casual -- if frozen in a ´70s time warp. As at Tony's, expect great attention to the food and service (the two restaurants share a kitchen).
The downtown outpost of Charlie Gitto's has been cooking since 1974. The menu includes the staples of Italian meals - spaghetti bolognese, fettuccine alfredo, osso bucco - and some St. Louis-specific selections, including T-ravs and the option of Provel on sandwiches. Fans of Gitto's red sauce and house dressing can purchase either at many local grocery stores or at the restaurant.
Gio's Ristorante on Market Street downtown offers a combination of fine and casual dining across from Kiener Plaza. With its entrance along Seventh Street, this Italian eatery prepares familiar, traditional fare as well as some American favorites. Diners can start their meal with braised mussels or with onion rings. Their lunch menu includes several pasta dishes, for example penne carbonara, pizzas and a number of grilled sandwiches, such as meatball sliders topped with cheese and arugula. The dinner menu includes lamb chops with a cumin yogurt sauce as well as a 32-ounce bone-in rib eye. In addition to their comfortable interior seating, Gio's offers a few tables and chairs seated outdoors in the courtyard of the Gateway One building. They also offer free garage parking at Eighth and Chestnut streets.
Lombardo's history in St. Louis dates back to 1934 with a fruit-and-vegetable stand at Riverview Boulevard and Florissant Avenue in north St. Louis. Today the restaurant family includes Lombardo's Restaurant, Carmine's and Lombardo's Trattoria. The trattoria offers the white linen-tablecloth experience for lunch and dinner. At lunch, Lombardo's menu offers fare such as a turkey club, salmon BLT and a steak burger, while dinner serves up a concise menu of upscale Italian options, with pastas as well as chicken, steak, veal and seafood entrées.
Dives usually aren't this spacious; there are enough tables and chairs set up in Maurizio's to make it look like a cross between a sports bar and a corporate cafeteria. Dives also never boast menus this expansive: New York-style pizzas, strombolis, lasagna, manicotti, rib-eye steak, lemon chicken, pork steak, subs, burgers, salads and -- the icing on the cake -- tiramisu. And while the tons of food at cheap prices is great and all, what makes Maurizio's a don't-miss is the late-night people-watching. Open till 3 a.m. seven days a week, Maurizio's is the place to cap off a night of downtown debauchery -- and to witness all walks of Lou life in their after-hours glory.
Portland, Oregon-based chain the Old Spaghetti Factory serves up plenty of options besides its namesake pasta. Diners can start with olive tapenade and toasted ravioli, among other appetizers, and then select from a variety of entrées including meat loaf, vegetarian lasagna and, of course, pasta. Pasta dishes are available with either angel-hair, whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta, and sauces include meat sauce, white clam sauce and Sicilian meatballs with marinara. Or try one of the restaurant's specialties, Mizithra cheese and browned butter pasta. At the Old Spaghetti Factory guests can enjoy a complete meal: Entrées come with bread, soup or salad, coffee, tea or milk and spumoni.
The trio of Brendan Maciariello, Ryan Mangialardo and Daniel Porzel has made the calzone the focus of the imaginative downtown fast-casual concept Sauce on the Side. The menu lists fourteen varieties, from the pizza-like “Costanza” (pepperoni, basil, garlic, eggplant, mozzarella and ricotta) to the intriguing “Figgy Piggy” (bacon, figs, balsamic-glazed onions, mozzarella and Boursin). You can also build your own calzone from an extensive roster of meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. The concept is smart, the execution excellent.
10th Street Italian out, Stefano's in. Located on Tenth Street just south of Washington Avenue, this downtown restaurant fills the area's casual Italian dining niche. Stefano's opens at 6 a.m. serving up a variety of sweet and savory breakfast items such as pancakes, eggs and pizza topped with cinnamon, apples and nuts. Their lunch and dinner menus offer the standard Italian fare, featuring antipasto, soups, pastas, wraps and thin, crispy New York-style pizzas. Indoors, they have a large, full bar area with a couple of large televisions, as well as an ample dining room. When the weather is nice, patrons can enjoy their meals al fresco with plenty of seating along Tenth Street. To close your meal, Stefano's offers an assortment of coffee and espresso drinks and a page full of dessert choices.
In St. Louis, most restaurant discussions begin and end with Tony's, for very good reason. The Bommarito clan, which owns the restaurant, is positively fanatical about perfection in every aspect of the meal. Entrées are not particularly elaborate but are perfectly balanced. Lobster Albanello is considered something of a signature dish, but nowhere will you find a better veal chop. There is generally something available either on or off the menu to please any mood, including a layering of roasted fresh vegetables for the non-carnivore. Throughout the meal, patriarch Vince Bommarito wanders and schmoozes.
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