Ian Froeb's STL 100

Post-Dispatch file photo



I like when a restaurant serves bucatini. It suggests the kitchen is confident in the sauce that will not only coat each noodle but also find its way through each noodle's narrow tube. At Pastaria, the confidence is earned. The bucatini all'Amatriciana is already a signature dish of Gerard Craft's Italian restaurant. On a visit this January, a new (to me) dish of bucatini rigate in a garlicky lamb ragu punctuated by Calabrian chiles challenged the all'Amatriciana's spot in my heart. Jai Kendall took over as Pastaria's executive chef in 2019, and it is a credit to her and to the buoyancy of the restaurant's approach to pastas and wood-fired pizzas that Pastaria is as fresh and exciting as when it opened eight years ago.

Hours: Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Saturday-Sunday

Last year's ranking: No. 10

Opened: 2012

Many St. Louis-area restaurants are closed or limiting their dining options during the coronavirus pandemic.