|Written by Bill Hanks|
The Hill in St. Louis: A Guide to the Top Italian Restaurants. One of the best-known restaurant areas in the Midwest, is "the hill" in south St. Louis. The area has a combination of homes, businesses, specialty shops and, of course, restaurants. Not just any restaurants; we are talking "five-star restaurants. Although there are a few chain store restaurants, the most classic restaurants are that of Italian cuisine. The Hill was slowly developed between 1890 and 1920. It is actually geographically located on a large hill area. It is south of Interstate 44 and River des Peres. The population of the area is predominately of Italian descent. It is bounded on the East by Kings highway and on the West by Hampton Avenue.
Many visitors, when they come to St. Louis, make their way to the Hill for fine dining. There are 23 major restaurants on the Hill. This is a review of many.
Amighetti's is a sandwich shop that uses its own fresh bed that they have been making since 1921.
Anthonino's Taverna has both an Italian and Greek taste to it.
Charlie gitto's is located on Shaw Avenue. It is a premier dining experience in St. Louis. Their menu has everything from specialty salads, assorted pasta, seafood, and entrees. They have a daily seafood special. Their entrees have everything from chicken, beef, and veal. It is not unusual to see someone like Tommy Lasorda, of Los Angeles Dodger fame visiting on occasion.
Cunetto's has been doing business since 1972. They are located at 5453 Magnolia. It is known as a restaurant for locals as well as visitors. Many professional performers from the sport teams of St. Louis, performers from the Muny Opera, and politicians often frequent the stylish eatery. They serve over 28 different types of Pasta along with an extended entree menu.
Favazzi's is located at 5201 Southwest Avenue. They are a 300 seat full service restaurant. It is often referred to as "The Rose of the Hill."
Another outstanding restaurant with a lot of class, is Giovanni's Although their menu is written in Italian, it is also translated into English under each item. The romantic evening restaurant has been in business for over three decades. Recently, they even served Oprah Winfrey.
Located at 3121 Watson Road isÂ LoRusso's Cucina. They have been in business for over twenty years. In 2004, Rich Lorusso was selected as Restaurateur of the year in St. Louis. Besides great Italian cuisine, they also have a Vegetarian menu.
The Pasta House was founded in 1974. They have more than 25 pasta specialties and 15 different entrees. They cater to children 12 and under. They have 29 locations throughout St. Louis and the Midwest.
Rigazzi's is another fine dining establishment. It is 10 minutes from the Arch and 15 minutes from the Airport. They are the home for the famous Frozen Fish Bowl. They are also considered to be the oldest restaurant on "the hill."
Something a little different is Shaw's. They are located on Shaw Avenue and next door to Giovanni's restaurant. although they are not a restaurant, they do have different pastries and many brands of coffee.
Our last restaurant to review isÂ Zia's. They serve both classic Italian cuisine and St. Louis style food as well. The Chiodini brothers started the business in 1984 at the corner location on Edwards and Wilson. Zia's specialty is salad dressings, and sauces. They even sell specialty Olive Oils.
These are only a few of the establishments and businesses on the hill. The history of the Hill is a strong part of the history of St. Louis itself. St. Louis is a very diverse city that is made up of ethnic groups of all types. However, the families located on the Hill have bonded together over the long haul of time. In many of these restaurants, the business has been passed down from generation to generation.
There are two major web sites that help support the different businesses on the Hill. They areÂ Shop the HillandÂ The Hill. Both of these sites can lead you more in-debt history of the Hill and it's development down through the years.
If a visit to St. Louis, the Muny Opera, Forest Park, Science Center, or a Rams, Blues, or Cardinal sports event is in your future, taking in a dinner at one of the Hills famous restaurants is a trip worth enjoying. Experience Italian cuisine at it's best.
It is wise to check ahead of time to see if a reservation is in order. That way your table is assured.