We took advantage of our recent friends and family visit to Kentucky, Missouri and Nebraska to try a lot of different restaurants… They ranged from upscale to diners…and from quite pricey to a real bargain.
One type of cuisine that we really lack in East Tennessee is high quality Italian. Since we were visiting the St. Louis area…a mecca for Italian food…we decided to take advantage of that fact!
This fairly non-descript looking storefront with blacked out windows in a modest strip center is the home of Paul Manno’s Café. The fact that it’s in a suburban area instead of near the “Italian Hill” neighborhood of St. Louis might throw off some out of town diners. But I did a little research… Trip Advisor ranks it #1 out of the 188 restaurants in the Chesterfield Missouri area. It had a ratio of 92 Excellent/Very Good reviews vs. 2 Poor or Terrible reviews. 82 of the 92 positive ratings were ‘excellent’!
The interior of Paul Manno’s Café is dark…with sparkly lights…and with The Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, on the walls and as background music. The atmosphere reminded us of an old time Italian restaurant on the “Hill” or up in Chicago…
We did have a hard time taking photos. Lighting was a major factor and we tried to minimize the use of our flash. So the pictures aren’t the greatest, but don’t let that negatively impact our food related observations.
To start, our server brought us some crusty bread and a nice dipping sauce. The bread was decent and the dipping sauce was very good.
We both ordered a nice glass of wine with our meals. Laurie had the Pinot Noir ($10.00) and I had the Sauvignon Blanc. ($8.00)
Instead of the usual Fried Calamari, we opted for something we’d never tried before. The Calamari Luciana ($15.00) sounded great and it was different and perhaps even bit healthier than the usual version. In this instance the calamari is cooked in a spicy tomato sauce with capers. As usual, we added a lot of parmesan over the top… This was an excellent choice!
Frank Sinatra is everywhere in Paul Manno’s Café… But he wasn’t the only celebrity in the dining room. Bob Gibson, the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher was having his supper at the table next to ours! (Laurie pointed out that Bob Gibson is a very good looking man to this day!)
For the uninitiated, Bob Gibson played for the Cardinals from 1959 – 1975. Among his many accomplishment, 'Gibby' was on 2 World Series winning teams, won the Cy Young Award (pitching) twice, he was the National League’s most valuable player on one occasion plus he was voted into Baseball’s Hall of fame with 84% of the vote on the first ballot.
For her entrée, Laurie went with one of her favorites, the Veal Piccata. ($26.00) This dish, consisting of thin slices of veal with wine, lemon, capers, and mushrooms was excellent. ($26.00)
OK… I admit it! This is a terrible photo. Nevertheless, it was a great entrée! I ordered the Jumbo Shrimp, or more properly the 'Gamberoni Fra Diavolo'…very large prawns in a spicy tomato sauce. ($29.00)
Since other than the bread and spiced oil for dipping, we’d had a fairly healthy meal and relatively modest quantities of food, we decided to split an order of tiramisu. ($8.00) It was excellent and it was a perfect ending to a very nice meal…
I did think that service was a bit slow. We do expect slower service in upscale dining establishments because everything is being prepared to order. In addition, the restaurant was very busy despite the fact that it was a Wednesday night.
Paul Manno’s Café is located at 75 Forum Shopping Center in Chesterfield Missouri. Phone: 314-878-1274. To the best of my knowledge, this restaurant doesn’t have a website. To view additional reviews, you can go to http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g44233-d441445-Reviews-Paul_Manno_s_Cafe-Chesterfield_Missouri.html.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave