Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s time to rebury the fine china and prepare yourself for a different kind of unforgettable feast. With today’s Groupon, $5 gets you $15 worth of time-tested, famous homemade sandwiches at Gioia’s Deli. The nobility of turkey has met its match in the boldness of handcrafted hot salami, in a sumptuous face-off between the two meats once improbably proposed as ingredients for the National Sandwich.Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.
The days of exporting your tomato seeds and basil plants to grow in authentic Italian soil are coming to an end. With today's Groupon and the forces of globalization, $15 gets you $35 worth of homemade, mouth-enticing Southern Italian cuisine at Gian-Tony's Ristorante, which is open for dinner seven nights a week. The dedicated hands of executive chef Tony Catarinicchia will save you time, energy, and international postage on your next authentic Italian meal.
Mama Campisi's serves up enticing Italian eats for lunch and dinner, with a menu of enough authentic entrees and big bowls of noodles to fuel a triathlon, as well as the grueling and now-illegal sesquicentathlon. Before you attempt to ascend the "Hill" of Spaghetti ($9.75), though, hire some Sherpas and work your way up to it with an order of toasted ravioli ($7.25) or crab-stuffed mushrooms ($7.95) sprinkled with asiago cheese. The abundant entree selection serves up classic Italian favorites in a variety of meaty or seafoody varietals, such as the tender veal picatta ($16.95)—which lets you savor the sautéed slices in a lemon-butter-caper wine sauce—or grilled salmon drizzled with Mama's own Chianti-balsamic glaze ($17.25). Otherwise, commit to a torrid, short-term summer fling with Mama Campisi's signature dish: pollo spedini ($15.75), a breaded boneless chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto, provel, and veggies. Pizza pies ($8.95 and up) offer ease of dining for large groups, small children, and post-pubescent reptiles skilled in the martial arts.
According to many members of the close-knit Italian community on The Hill, it was at a restaurant called Oldani's in the early 1940s that a clumsy chef dropped a piece of pasta in frying oil and created the first toasted ravioli. That dish went on to become a Saint Louis specialty, and Oldani's went on to become Mama's on the Hill, rechristened by matron Mama Campisi, who took it over in 1982. When Mama's sons, John and Frank, had to give up the restaurant in 2005, Lance and Andrea Ervin jumped at the chance to take over the culinary landmark. They reopened it in 2006, retaining many of Mama's original recipes as well as the crisp signature pasta. Ivory and black stripes upholster padded chairs in the understated dining room, where a set of glowing candles are ensconced in a stone fireplace. Here, Mama's special recipes still serve as blueprints for many of the house sauces, including the marinara and parmesan cream. Salmon entrees are drizzled with her chianti-balsamic glaze, and deep-fried shrimp do cannonballs into her cocktail sauce.
Mama's famous fare also lures avid diners to enroll in culinary classes taught by kitchen staff. In the currently running sauces class, up to 20 students set pots a-simmer in groups of five, fueled by appetizers, snacks, and pep talks given by freshly cracked bottles of wine.
Named best gelato by the Riverfront Times Restaurant Guide 2010, Gelato Di Riso tempts St. Louis-area denizens with a massive menu of frozen flavors, plus espresso, smoothies, baked goodies, and more. Eighteen flavors of gelato ($2.75 for 2.5 oz., $4.25 for 5.5 oz.) out of a total of 70 that rotate in and out make even the most decisive of diners pause in consideration, giving each order the suspense-fueled drama of a feline paternity test. Try the fruity felicity of blackberry, strawberry, or lemon, or overwhelm pleasure receptors with the decadence of chocolate hazelnut, dulce de leche, or classic chocolate. Sufferers of spoon blindness can beat the heat with the sippable satisfaction of a shake or smoothie ($4.95), and those who've already had their bones chilled by horror movies and college tuition estimates can warm up with a latte ($4.25 for a medium) or espresso ($1.75 for one shot).
Paul McCartney. Luciano Pavarotti. Ronald Reagan. Besides being household names, these icons all have something else in common??they've all had the honor of dining on Chef Giovanni Gabriele's authentic, award-winning cuisine. While his passion for cooking was born in his native Sicily, it was Giovanni's other great love??his wife, Fina??that eventually led him to St. Louis, where he opened his restaurant in 1973. Just six years later, he found himself cooking for President Reagan at Reagan?s inaugural dinner, and the dish he made??a creamy bow-tie pasta topped with salmon and parmigiano??was renamed farfalline del Presidente Reagan in the commander in chief's honor. Today, it remains one of the most popular items on Giovanni's menu, alongside a host of other Italian pastas named for the celebrities who supped upon them.
But you don't have to be a celebrity or a politician to get the star treatment at Giovanni's. The restaurant has earned an AAA Four Diamond Award for 27 years running, and a 4-Star Mobil Travel Guide Award every year since 1983, in part due to the careful attention lavished upon each and every guest. Today, nearly 42 years after its inception, Giovanni's son Frank runs the kitchen, blending its iconic sauces and forming the housemade crepes, but Giovanni still commands the show, supervising in the kitchen, greeting patrons tableside, and mining the pepper and salt from nearby mountains himself.