Ian Froeb's STL 100

Photo by Ian Froeb (Post-Dispatch)



I have enjoyed all of my visits to Sardella since Gerard Craft opened the Italian restaurant in late 2016 in place of his acclaimed flagship Niche. This includes meals from inaugural executive chef Nick Blue and his successor, Ashley Shelton. Lately, though, under current executive chef Brian Moxey, with pasta specialist Giovanni Brex, I feel as if Sardella has found its true identity. Each touch is exactly right, whether the bold, briny doubling-down of accenting hamachi crudo with black olive and caper, or the bitter broccoli accent sharpening hearty beef short ribs over risotto in beef jus. Nothing I ate last year soothed me as much as Moxey's straightforward Tuscan bread soup, a burst of tomato-basil summer freshness on a cold autumn evening.

Hours: Dinner daily, brunch Saturday-Sunday

Last year's ranking: No. 12

Opened: 2016

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