From the expedition of Lewis and Clark to the Spirit of St. Louis, St. Louis has always been a city of exploration and innovation.
Countless museums and historical landmarks document St. Louis’ rich history to the fascination of tourists and the pride of locals.
St. Louis’ spirit of exploration extends to its gastronomy. There’s a world of culinary traditions to explore in St. Louis’ vibrant restaurant scene.
While St. Louis may be known for its barbecue, there are plenty of other dining options available. During my most recent trip to St. Louis, my culinary expedition centered around Italian cuisine.
Read on to explore my list of the best Italian restaurants in St. Louis.
7266 Manchester Rd, Maplewood, MO 63143
Meaning “maple” in Italian, Acero earns its name from the Maplewood neighborhood in which it lies.
This utterly charming farm-to-table Italian eatery is owner Jim Fiala’s labor of love for his favorite country. Acero has an old-world feel, with slow-paced service in a rustic meets urban chic space.
Their upscale menu offers an award-winning wine list to pair with beautifully presented multi-course meals made with the freshest local produce, meat, and seafood.
I started with the savory and herby Torchio pasta with pesto, blistered cherry tomatoes, and crispy bacon.
For my main course, I went for the classic Chicken Milanese topped with lemon-caper burro and sweet leeks and served with spinach and Yukon potatoes.
5226 Shaw Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
With over 40 years as The Hill neighborhood favorite, Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill is a fine dining Italian restaurant with old-school glamour.
Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill is the famous birthplace of toasted ravioli, St. Louis’ famous Italian dish. The Gitto family’s Italian restaurant empire dates to the 1940s.
Today Charlie Gitto Jr. is a second-generation owner. The menu has a straightforward Italian American format with all the classics, from Cannelloni to Veal Marsala.
Of course, you must try their signature Toasted Ravioli appetizer, featuring hand-made meat-filled ravioli toasted to a delightful crisp and served with Pomodoro sauce.
Receiving acclaim in St. Louis Magazine and Thrillist, Pi Pizzeria is a fashionable artisanal pizzeria, craft beer pub, and cocktail bar in St. Louis’ Central West End.
Pi Pizzeria has a fun and sociable atmosphere, serving gourmet takes on pub fare and unique varieties of pizza from California-style thin crust to Chicago-style deep-dish.
In my opinion, the star of the show is their deep-dish pizza made with a cornmeal crust, giving it a unique flavor and texture.
You can build your own pizza using any combination of their countless gourmet toppings or choose from an impressive list of specialty pies.
I recommend the deep-dish South Side Classic with mozzarella, Berkshire sausage, mixed mushrooms, green pepper, and onion.
3600 Watson Rd, St. Louis, MO 63109
Named for owners and brothers Steve and Jamie Komorek’s mother, Trattoria Marcella is a romantic and refined Italian soul food restaurant in a large space with a patio in Lindenwood Park.
Trattoria Marcella has excellent customer service and a comforting menu of authentic Italian dishes that consistently wins the highest customer choice ratings on OpenTable and Yelp.
Their multi-course menu uses the finest imported ingredients like Marzano tomatoes and Italian wines for their pasta and entrée sauces.
I started with a wonderfully spring-like dish of shaved Brussels in a lemon-rosemary vinaigrette with toasted almonds and fontinella.
Since Trattoria Marcella describes their food as Italian soul food, I had to try the most comforting of all Italian dishes, the Ossobucco braised pork shank with sofrito and jus over creamy polenta. It was delicious!
It’s no surprise why this is one of the city’s most popular restaurants!
5101 Shaw Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
Adriana’s on the Hill is a quaint and cheerful lunch café owned by Adriana Fazio, who runs the business with the help of her daughters.
Adriana’s has been serving The Hill delicious and authentic Italian fare for 30 years. Fazio’s family is her culinary muse, naming many of her menu items after them.
In addition to a full menu of soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, and pizza, Adriana’s has daily specials announced on its Facebook page.
The salads and pasta are reminiscent of an Italian deli counter. The bulk of the menu consists of sandwiches.
Their signature sandwiches are the hot roast beef sandwiches. I got the Italian beef sandwich with hot roast beef, roasted peppers, onion, and cheese.
2225 Macklind Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
Featured on the hit Food Network show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Anthonino’s Taverna has received praise and awards as the best Italian eatery in St. Louis from St. Louis Magazine, Spoon University, and the Washington Post, to name a few.
Located in a beautiful industrial-chic space in The Hill, Anthonino’s Taverna is Italian comfort food at its best.
Anthonino’s has a varied menu of fresh pasta, pizza, and antipasti, along with salads, soups, burgers, and sandwiches.
The owner is Greek, so they also offer authentic gyro pitas and fresh Haloumi. Their handmade ravioli was incredible. I had the ricotta cheese stuffed ravioli in pesto with sundried tomatoes.
7754 Forsyth Blvd, Clayton, MO 63105
Café Napoli started as owner and couple Tony and Kathy Pietoso’s humble family project in 1989 in a basement restaurant space.
Over the past thirty-plus years, their small family-owned Italian eatery has grown into one of the most successful restaurant empires in St. Louis. Café Napoli is the flagship eatery in the city.
Café Napoli serves high-end scratch-made multi-course Italian meals from Chef Jon Berger. The menu has a raw bar selection, hand-made pasta, meat, chicken, and seafood entrees, and a family-style menu for larger parties.
I started with the Calamari Saporitti in sherry-lemon tomato sauce. For the main course, I had a decadent Penne Vodka with smoked salmon, peas, onion, and dill in a rich tomato cream sauce.
5453 Magnolia Ave, St. Louis, MO 63139
Yet another Italian institution in The Hill, Cunetto House of Pasta, has been a local favorite since 1974.
Brothers Vince and Joe Cunetto sold the family pharmacy in pursuit of their dream to open a family restaurant that has since become an iconic fixture in St. Louis’ Italian restaurant scene.
Cunetto House of Pasta is now in its second generation of family ownership, led by Vince’s son Frank Cunetto. It still has a mom-and-pop, old-school feel serving hearty family recipes.
I started with the classic vegetable minestrone, followed by the tastiest plate of Bucatini with Bolognese I’ve ever tasted.
Lower Level of Drury Inn, 201 S 20th St, St. Louis, MO 6310
Owned and run by the Lombardo family, Lombardo’s Trattoria is an authentic Italian bistro in downtown St. Louis across Union Station.
Located a few blocks from Fox Theater, Lombardo’s Trattoria is a romantic and upscale atmosphere for a high-end pre-concert meal.
Lombardo’s Trattoria is the oldest restaurant on my list, opening in 1934. Lombardo’s has a fancy Italian steakhouse menu with a wonderfully curated multi-course format.
I recommend going with a date and splitting pasta and entree. I loved the Rigatoni Seafood with shrimp, scallops, crab, peas, mushrooms, and white sauce.
Their hand-cut steaks were perfectly cooked and served in an elaborate presentation. I had the filet gorgonzola featuring a breaded tenderloin with white wine gorgonzola cheese sauce.
St. Louis has a long history of Italian immigrants, with The Hill acting as its veritable “Little Italy.” The majority of my favorite Italian restaurants are decades-old institutions in the Hill, with a few equally wonderful choices in the surrounding St. Louis neighborhoods.
Whether you want fine dining or a quaint lunch eatery, the best Italian restaurants in St. Louis will not disappoint.
Check out these Thai restaurants while you’re in town as well for even more great cuisine!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!
- Charlie Gitto’s On the Hill
- Pi Pizzeria
- Trattoria Marcella
- Adriana’s on the Hill
- Anthonino’s Taverna
- Cafe Napoli
- Cunetto House of Pasta
- Lombardo’s Trattoria