My wife and I are new to St. Louis and, to be honest, we are foodies. We always eat in when given the choice because we can cook it better than a lot of restaurants we can order it at. But, being new to the area and not having our old gourmet kitchen to work in, we have been eating out a lot.
The other day we walked past Bar Italia and my wife mentioned, we need to go there. That place looks really good. The outdoor eating area (heated in the winter) was very charming with the garden like atmosphere and lighting. My brother was recently in town from Minnesota so we decided we'd go to Bar Italia.
I called and made a reservation and the person who took my call was very charming. I explained to her that we had recently moved and that we had not yet been to the restaurant. She told me she would get us a special table and make sure our server knew we were new to the area.
Our server, Kelly from Kansas, had worked there the past eight years and gave us the history of the establishment, from it's origins back in the 80's across the street. It is now owned by four brothers. She easily rambled through the extensive list of specials from memory and made suggestions. When I ordered the lobster ravioli and she found out they were now out of it, I told her to choose for me since she knew what was good better than I.
We had a goat cheese appetizer and a wonderful broccoli soup, which had its fair share of cream. The soup was to die for good.
Dinner consisted of swordfish for my brother, and pasta dishes for my wife and I. I had a seafood pasta in a marinara sauce with shrimp, mussels, and clams. Wonderfully prepared and seasoned. All three dishes were excellent. Our total bill was $90 for three people, which included appetizers.
I enjoy wine and have a modest number of bottles at home. I generally pay the corkage and bring my own, which I did that night. Corkage was a modest $12. However while there, Robel, one of the four brothers stopped by our table and visited with us. He noticed I had brought wine so he brought over their extensive wine list. From Ornellia and Sassacia to Gaja, Bar Italia has a Wine Spectator quality wine list. Truly a great number of amazing bottles of wine. Next time, which will be this Saturday by the way, we will drink theirs.
Prior to leaving, Kelly showed us their private wine cellar room where you can entertain a small group of people, say 8-16. Robel, also showed us the larger private area, which was filled with people watching the Presidential Debate the evening we were there. Perfect for a wedding reception or larger private party. Of course the location on Maryland in the CWE is perfect as well.
Whether you are new to the area or a life long St. Louis area resident, Bar Italia is a most excellent choice for exquisite dining.