Ravioli rules in Rome of the West

Destination Dining

November 17, 2019

Story By: Elima Pangorang |

When taking a trip to the progressive yet historic city of St. Louis, Missouri to catch a major league game by the St. Louis Cardinals or to take in the grandeur of the Gateway Arch, be sure to add getting an order of toasted ravioli to that list.

These fun poppables are most popularly found in the famous Italian neighborhood “The Hill.” There are an outstanding amount of Italian eateries in this region, and at nearly every one visitors can find several versions of this St. Louis (aka the “Rome of the West”) snack.

Its origins are still up for debate as there are a couple of Missouri families who claim the culinary invention. Whatever the story however, these crisp, sought-after delights are a sure crowd-pleaser for everybody involved. (Pro tip: If you want to sounds like a local, order these babies up with the slang, “t-ravs.”)

1. Charlie Gitto’s
5226 Shaw Ave., The Hill, St. Louis
(plus two other Missouri locations)
(314) 772-8898

A t-rav staple of St. Louis is Charlie Gitto’s, which also happens to be widely accepted as the birthplace of toasted ravioli, according to Angel James of Gitto’s. Its roots take diners back to 1947 “when a chef at the restaurant accidentally dropped a ravioli in hot oil instead of water,” shares James. From there, these beloved squares caught on like fire and Gitto’s continues to serve this signature dish to guests, leaving nothing but smiles on their faces. Gitto’s was featured in the Travel Channel’s Bizzarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Food Paradise. If you want to try these at home, check out foodnetwork.com to get Charlie Gitto’s toasted ravioli recipe.


2. Mama Toscano’s Ravioli
2201 Macklind Ave., The Hill, St. Louis
(314) 776-2926

Mama Toscano’s is probably one of the most renowned sources to get an authentic St. Louis t-rav. The charming little Italian shop, which also doubles as a deli, handcrafts its ravioli in house daily and they can be ordered hot and ready to eat or in a take-home box to cook and enjoy. Mama’s Toscano’s ravioli and other products can also be ordered online at its website and delivered. The folks there mention they ship all over the U.S., so there’s definitely no missing out on this! The eatery has been recognized as Food Network’s best toasted ravioli in Missouri in 2018, along with several other accolades.


3. Farotto’s
9525 Manchester Road, Rock
Hill, St. Louis
(314) 962-0048

For a whopping 63 years, Farotto’s has been a loyal constant for the surrounding community and beyond, serving as the oldest pizzeria in St. Louis County. While its foundation is built upon tradition, owner Jim Parrott mentions the continuous growth he and his team work toward, adding exciting new items while giving guests upscale flair. Of course, the perennial toasted ravioli is a mainstay on the menu, and is raved as one of the highest acclaimed t-ravs in the metro area. Its inside contents comprise a beef mix with spinach and seasoning. For the good feels of community paired with tantalizing eats, stop in to Farotto’s.


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