Bite through a crispy, golden-brown exterior on your way to the melted cheese and other goodies inside. This is the toasted ravioli experience — St. Louis style! It’s an epicurean journey that you’ll absolutely, positively want to take.
The Hill in St. Louis is one of America’s foremost “Little Italy” neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, it is also home to some of the best restaurants for toasted ravioli. Today, The Hill is one of St.Louis’ more popular neighborhoods. It is a walkable place with vibrant street life, great shops, and popular restaurants.
Toasted ravioli is elegant in its simplicity. Chefs coat meat and cheese-filled pasta with breadcrumbs flavored with traditional Italian seasonings. After the ravioli is deep-fried, it is sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and served with marinara sauce.
St. Louis-style toasted ravioli now graces menus at Italian restaurants throughout the Midwest. Read on to learn more about toasted ravioli and where you can find it in St. Louis.
The History of Toasted Ravioli
St. Louis lays a legitimate claim to a variety of flavorful innovations. At the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, an enterprising vendor came up with ice cream wrapped in a waffle. Today you know it as the ice cream cone. Slow-cooked, smoked
Where did these golden-crusted pillows of dough first come from, you ask? Well, the origin of toasted ravioli is the stuff of legend. The various stories, like the ravioli, are filled with flavor. Most feature a tipsy chef accidentally dumping ravioli into a deep fryer somewhere on The Hill.
Mickey Garagiola was the older brother of baseball great Joe. In his day, he was arguably the most famous waiter in St. Louis. He swears he was sitting at the bar at Oldani’s (now Mama’s on The Hill) when the staff served him the first toasted ravioli. The staff made an effort to save the “damaged” ravioli by dusting it with a generous coating of Parmesan cheese. Mickey would back up his claim by declaring that he’d “bet his house on it.”
In the end, the story of the birth of toasted ravioli is a little like the debate over who invented Chicago deep-dish pizza: there are competing claims. What is most important is that we let these indulgent pleasures excite our taste buds at a favorite Italian restaurant.
9 Great Places for Toasted Ravioli
The New York Times makes another comparison when it says, “What spicy chicken wings are to Buffalo, toasted ravioli is to St. Louis.” Consider these restaurants when you’re in the mood for toasted ravioli, St. Louis style.
2225 Macklind Avenue
Anthonino’s Taverna serves both Italian and Greek dishes. The Food Network featured the restaurant on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” Savor handmade toasted ravioli loaded with ground beef, Pecorino Romano, and ricotta cheese.
Mama’s on The Hill
2132 Edwards Street
Mama’s on The Hill is a classic Italian cafe that has been serving toasted ravioli since the 1940s. Mama’s serves traditional, meat-filled ravioli fried to perfection, dusted with Parmesan cheese.
Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill
5226 Shaw Avenue
Charlie Gitto’s offers upscale Italian dining on The Hill. There’s valet parking and a dress code worth noting. The toasted ravioli comes with the restaurant’s famous Pomodoro sauce. Trip Advisor rates more than 1,300 St. Louis restaurants, and Charlie Gitto’s in the top 10.
2201 Macklind Avenue
201 South 20th Street
Lombardo’s Trattoria has been a mainstay for Italian cuisine for more than seven decades. Oversized ravioli comes in a unique half-circle shape. It comes with romano cheese and a special house marinara sauce. The restaurant’s award-winning toasted ravioli graces the top spot on the appetizer menu.
3145 South Grand Boulevard
Mangia Italiano takes the dipping sauce for its toasted ravioli to another level. The picante red arrabbiata, white garlic aioli, and fresh basil pesto sauce represent the colors of the Italian flag.
804 Russell Boulevard
Devotees may view meatless ravioli with a skeptical eye, but vegetarians certainly don’t see it that way. At Joanie’s, you can order lightly fried ravioli filled with either meat or with veggies. The spinach and artichoke version is one meatless option.
Stellina Pasta Cafe
3342 Watson Road
Stellina Pasta Cafe also offers vegetarian options. It serves toasted ravioli stuffed with spinach and ricotta cheese. There are also seasonal selections: toasted ravioli with cauliflower or a three-onion filling.
3600 Watson Road
Trattoria Marcella offers lightly fried, pillow-shaped ravioli. Oversized creations get stuffed with beef, pork, veal, spinach, onions, and carrots. The house marinara sauce is thick and rich.
So where do you plan to go for toasted ravioli? Can’t decide? Then why not consider a grand tour of toasted ravioli hotspots in The Hill and beyond? It’s a culinary journey you’ll long remember! And don’t forget: March 20 is National Ravioli Day!
Moda at The Hill: Luxury Apartment Living
In Spring 2022, Draper and Kramer’s Moda at The Hill opens in this historic St. Louis neighborhood.
The development is part of an 11-acre master-planned community at 2100 Boardman Street. Moda includes a four-story, 225-unit apartment building and a 250-car parking garage. One and two-bedroom apartment homes include balconies. Kitchens come with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. The pool courtyard includes cabanas, grilling stations, and fire pits.
Dozens of destinations — including markets, restaurants, shops, and parks — are within walking distance. The St. Louis Zoo and St. Louis Art Museum are less than four miles away.
Draper and Kramer is a full-service real estate company founded in Chicago in 1893. Moda at The Hill will join other Draper and Kramer luxury apartment properties in the middle of the country, including EVO Apartments in Richmond Heights. Visit our website to browse all of our properties.