Onesto is Italian for "honest," so it's no surprise the owners of Onesto Pizza & Trattoria strive for transparency when it comes to their food. They proudly showcase the list of more than 10 local farms from which they gather their menu's organic and seasonal fruit and antibiotic- and hormone-free meat. They even reveal the secrets behind their wild-mushroom- and Gulf-shrimp-topped pizzas by letting diners watch as each pie is hand-tossed. Pasta, from the housemade fettuccine to the macaroni and cheese served with lobster in a cast-iron skillet, joins elaborate seasonal entrees such as pan-seared wild striped bass, accompanied by a pumpernickel-crusted saffron risotto cake and sautéed spinach and apples in a lemongrass-butter broth. In addition to sourcing its ingredients locally, Onesto strives to reduce its carbon footprint by recycling, serving to-go orders in compostable containers, and asking diners to take off their carbon shoes at the door so as not to leave a footprint.
The gourmet ingredients and eco-friendly attitude seem to overshadow the restaurant's decor, which the Riverfront Times describes as "unassuming … with no obvious flash or flair." But subdued is sometimes best, as the paper named Onesto's "simple" patio as Best Outdoor Dining of 2010, hailing it as "an escape from the hustle and bustle of other St. Louis restaurant patios."
The doughsmiths at Cecil Whittaker’s Pizzeria craft thin-crust pizzas bubbling with an untouched surface of cheese or loaded with toppings such as jalapeño peppers, bacon, and shrimp. It’s their specialty and what they’re known for—“This is the place to go if you like St. Louis-style, thin-crust pizza (though they do offer a thick crust pizza, too) or just want to kick back and have a beer,” raves Metromix.
But the menu isn’t limited to pizzas. Each day, the kitchen roasts and slices tender beef for roast beef sandwiches dipped in savory au jus. The au jus is prepared in house, as is the meat sauce that graces Cecil Whittaker's pasta, chicken parmesan, and meatball sandwiches. There’s also a hearty selection of smokehouse dishes such as ribs, pulled pork, and brisket served with homestyle sides of green beans and coleslaw. A weekday lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. gives diners a chance to sample different entrees and sides–along with a salad and pizza bar–and creative additions the chefs cook up like sloppy joe's one day or bacon cheeseburgers the next.
Once a groundbreaking idea, gyro meat on pizzas has become a familiar trend. But not at Pizzeria Tivoli?here, the gyro pizza is more than a gimmick. As the Riverfront Times attests, this pie "actually attempts to recreate the experience of eating a gyro." How? By cooking the meat with the pizza, and adding the rest of the toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, tzatziki sauce) after the fact. That way, the pie's mix of hot and cold ingredients emulates the sensation of feasting on a gyro sandwich more accurately than any virtual reality helmet yet invented.
It's these thoughtful touches that have endeared locals to Pizzeria Tivoli, a cozy spot where they can sit in chatting range of chef Sam Racanelli. As Sam monitors the custom-built wood-burning oven, he's as likely to toss a friendly comment to visitors as he is to toss discs of fresh mozzarella onto a pie. The cheese goes onto several of Sam's 20 pizzas, including the Castel Madama, where it mingles with olives, prosciutto, arugula, and shaved parmigiano.
Domino’s has been decorating dough canvases with flavorful sauces, an assortment of cheeses, and high-quality toppings that range from classic to unconventional since 1960. Domino’s dough is tossed daily and stretched by human hands, not by clumsy catapults and model airplanes flying in opposite directions. Treat friends to a tasteful feast by checking the online menu and crafting a custom masterpizza with Domino's wide range of ingredients. Famished diners too starved to choose their own toppings can select from Domino’s American Legends, featuring signature flavors from throughout the land. Pizzas such as the Pacific Veggie, Honolulu Hawaiian, or Wisconsin 6 Cheese impart all the delicious diversity of a road trip without the hassle of decoding an atlas. Nonpizza fare includes pastas, sandwiches, and breadsticks.
To replicate the thin-crust pies found in New York's Italian-American neighborhoods, Giovanni's chefs make everything from scratch and bake their five-borough recreations atop a toasted hearthstone. They load their slices with layers of fresh mozzarella and an eclectic mix of toppings. Tables, draped in classic red-and-white checkered cloths, buckle under the weight of the pies, including the Coney Island piled with freshwater clams, garlic, and spices.
In addition to baking circular eats, the cooks marinate Sicilian-style chicken in extra-virgin olive oil and herbs before fire-roasting it on the rotisserie. Forks excavate the lasagna's layers, burrowing through strata of imported pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and housemade tomato sauce, to unearth hearty pieces of meat or veggies.
Winner of Mid Rivers Magazine's 2009 award for Best Pizza, A'mis Italian Restaurant garners compliments from area natives and transplants for its kitchen's mastery of regional pizzas ranging from hand-tossed New York?style pies to Chicago?style pizzas baked in a deep pie dish. St. Louis pizzas sport a thin-crust base that's sprinkled with a blend of provel cheese and mozzarella. All pizza dough is baked fresh every day in a brick oven. Entrees also include steak and pasta dishes, as well as lighter dinner options, such as grilled chicken or poached cod, that give diners fewer calories and grant increased aptitude for speaking in fishtongue.