Since 1981, the pizza specialists at Elicia's Pizza have zipped through St. Louis's tangled roads delivering piping-hot pies to households in 30 minutes or less. At the shop, marinara masters stretch house-made dough into the shape of a mad professor's monocle and lavish each thin-crust disk with fresh sauce and the house's three-cheese blend. Additionally, the pizzeria's menu celebrates casual eats, such as wings, baked pastas, sandwiches, and crisp salads.
When founders J. Kim Tucci, Joseph A. Fresta, and John P. Ferrara first opened The Pasta House Co. in 1974, they wanted to elevate pasta to an art form. “Some artists sculpt, some paint, and some sketch,” they write on the restaurant’s website. “But, at The Pasta House Co., we create authentic Italian culinary delights.” A few of the locations even have giant, exhibition kitchens so you can watch as pizzas, pastas, and entrees come to life.
Naturally, The Pasta House Co.’s menu revolves around the Italian staple from which it gets its name. There are more than 25 varieties of pasta to choose from, including linguine with chicken livers and the signature lasagna, plus weekday specials such as stuffed manicotti. Meanwhile, the mangia bene menu—which translates to “eat well” in Italian—showcases the more wholesome side of Italian eating, with dishes low in fat and calories that won’t peer pressure you to break curfew.
Mazara's executive chef Todd Bale uses fresh ingredients to whip up a menu of authentic Italian tastes and feelings, such as abbondanza, mamma mia, and operatic heartbreak. In the process, he puts creative twists on traditional dishes throughout the dinner menu, including vitello alla Marsala (breaded veal cutlets with Marsala mushrooms over roasted-garlic and herb risotto, topped with truffle oil, $24), tutto mare (spaghettini pasta, scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, and lump crab tossed in white wine, tomatoes, and crushed red pepper $25), and involtini spaghettini (eggplant involtini rolls served over spaghettini pasta with mixed, grilled vegetables and marinara, $18). In addition to à la carte entrees, Mazara offers a three-course dinner menu for $25 and features daily lunch and dinner specials to keep your mouth on the edge of its booster chin.
Though they all begin with similar hunks of dough, the pizzas at Manhattan Express rarely wind up resembling one another. To start, chefs prepare thin crusts, whole-wheat crusts, or New York-style crusts to serve as the foundation for any of their 9-, 12-, or 16-inch pies. On top of that, they pile your choice of 25 toppings, from jalapeno peppers and shrimp to low-fat mozzarella cut in the shape of mushrooms. Pizzeria staples such as sandwiches, salads, and pastas round out Manhattan Express' savories and dessert options include eight flavors of snow cones, such as cherry and orange.
Through an elegant menu and an extensive wine list, founders J. Kim Tucci and Joseph Fresta make it easy and delicious for Missouri locals to celebrate the regional traditions of Italy. With each week punctuated by a special Sunday-brunch menu, Tucci & Fresta’s regular offerings range from its trademark pork chops milanese to Italian-style grilled cheeses at lunch. Traditional drinks and desserts, including lemoncello and pistachio gelato, lend meals a sweet finish.:m]]
Fortel's Pizza Den was founded more than 30 years ago by pizza enthusiast Bob Fortel, giving the restaurant plenty of time to develop a compelling formula for creating its hand-tossed pies. It starts with the crust: the dough is made fresh daily, and—since eating pizza, like playing Battleship against yourself, shouldn't involve too many tough decisions—it's formed into a single, medium-thin thickness. Chefs then slather this crispy foundation in one of seven sauces, including pesto, gravy, or Bob Fortel's original sweet-and-spicy tomato sauce. Topping choices number in the dozens, ranging from sweet chicken sausage and eggplant to corned beef and sauerkraut. While waiting for their pizza masterpieces to arrive, diners nibble on beer-battered mushrooms, toasted ravioli, and other appetizers.