Photo by Roberto Rodriguez



Acero, a keystone of Maplewood’s blossoming food scene, will turn 10 years old in 2017. So it might be difficult to remember, as I prepare to recommend its egg raviolo for the who-knows-how-many-eth time, just how revolutionary Jim Fiala’s restaurant was in 2007. Its contemporary, upscale approach to rustic Italian fare brought St. Louis’ Italian restaurants into the 21st century, paving the way for Gerard Craft’s Pastaria and Michael Randolph’s Randolfi’s Italian Kitchen, among others. And under executive chef Adam Karl Gnau and chef de cuisine Eric Gibbs, it continues to rank among St. Louis’ best Italian establishments. While I could easily build a legacy meal out of such classics as the egg raviolo and the porchetta, I find new favorites on every visit, like a light, smart appetizer of prosciutto di Parma draped over gnocco fritto (like hollow doughnut holes). Even that egg raviolo can still stagger me. Can the most sumptuous dish in St. Louis be made even more so? With a little black truffle, it can.

Last year's ranking: 9

Opened: 2007

Must order: Egg raviolo ($15)