Italian Food

Gian-Tony’s

As a resident of the Hill (the largely Italian neighborhood south of campus), I have tried a lot of Italian food in St. Louis, and Gian-Tony’s stands out for a few reasons. First, the food is phenomenal. Try anything on the menu marked with a mustache — these are the chef’s specials (Tony, the owner and chef, has a big mustache) — and they are phenomenal. Many even have some local flair, incorporating the popular only-in-St. Louis “provel cheese.” Second, the environment is just fun. Tony is always around, and he is super cool. Italian patrons will likely surround you, and the walls are covered with old school Italian-American memorabilia (and a few tributes to Al Capone?), as well as pictures of Tony in his younger days. For the quality and quantity of food, the prices are pretty reasonable. I have been here many times already and would be down to meet anyone there for dinner!

— Andrew Simmerman, M1

Pastaria

Pastaria has seen a lot of key moments in my undergraduate and medical school career, including birthdays, reunions, post-exam celebrations, graduation, White Coat ceremony and basically anytime I want to fill my pie hole with some top-notch Italian food. The interior is modern but rustic, utilizing high ceilings and one main space to give the feel of communal dining while bringing in warmth from the open kitchen. The restaurant definitely draws a crowd, so download the NoWait app to get in line before arriving. The winning formula for a perfect dinner at Pastaria starts with golden-brown crispy risotto balls dipped in herb aioli and marinara. Any one of the salads, like the endive and arugula salad with pistachios, cherries and goat cheese, is a great option to diversify your carb-filled meal. The best way to enjoy the pastas and pizzas is to share among your party. My favorites are the garganelli with braised beef, pappardelle with smoked pork, mascarpone and apples, and the Holmes pizza with prosciutto and mushroom. The pizzas are baked in wood-burning brick ovens, and the pasta is freshly made and cooked to a perfect al dente. Of course, ask for multiple rounds of their freshly baked bread, and finish off with a scoop of the amazing house-made gelato. You can even take home a cute T-shirt to remind you of happy times at this fine establishment.

— Jane Wang, M1