ST. LOUIS – Toasted ravioli has been a St. Louis sensation for decades. It’s a common appetizer for hundreds of restaurants in the region, often complemented with dipping sauce.
Legend has it, the appetizer first gained popularity in St. Louis on accident. In the 1940s, a chef for popular Italian restaurant Mama’s on The Hill reportedly dropped an order of ravioli into hot oil instead of water. The chef quickly removed it, though decided to hold onto it.
Historians say Mickey Garagiola, older brother of baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe Garagiola, enjoyed ravioli in that form before most. With some slight adjustments, the delicacy became known as toasted ravioli, popularized by Mama’s, Charlie Gitto’s and several other eateries in The Hill neighborhood of St. Louis.
The toasted ravioli concept, also known t-ravs, has seen significant growth nationally in recent years and was dubbed “The Secret of St. Louis” by the New York Times in 1987. People who travel to St. Louis often try to find a place that serves it.
The best toasted ravioli experience really depends on who you ask. It’s a topic brought forth by Twitter user @JoshuaLawrenc_ earlier this week. Joshua claims that “Anthoninos on the Hill usually hits the spot,” but wanted more suggestions. Responses ranged from places in The Hill to St. Louis county restaurants and chain foods.
Inspired by that discussion, The digital team at FOX 2 recently asked its Facebook viewers, “Who makes the best toasted ravioli in St. Louis?” Fans chimed in with their favorites.
Popular picks included…
“Anthoninos has amazing homemade toasted ravs!,” says Debbie.
“As former residents of the hill and toasted ravioli lovers, we tried toasted ravs from all over STL and the winner, hands down, is Anthonino’s on the Hill,” says Brianna.
“Anthoninos Taverna has the best!,” says Karen.
“Anthonino’s, And Mama Tuscanos (sad they closed). I hear Trattoria is really good too,” says Justin.
“Mama’s on the Hill is good,” says Annette.
“Mama’s on the Hill!,” says Nicole.
“Mamas on the Hill, Bommarito’s on Gravois, Michael’s on Manchester,” says Jim.
“Lombardo downtown,” says Debbie.
“Lombardo’s. Homemade,” says Jennifer.
“Lombardo’s next to Union station. Handmade everyday. Best I’ve ever had,” says Mike.
“Charlie Gittos are my favorite,” says Marie.
“Charlie Gitto’s are the best I’ve had,” says Jane.
“Where they began. Charlie Gittos on the Hill. Outstanding,” says Sarah.
“My forever favorite toasted ravioli are from Rigazzi’s,” says Angela.
“Rigazzis and the meat sauce is awesome my opinion,” says Randy.
“Rigazzi’s or Sybergs,” says David.
“Louisa’s toasted ravs and sauce are the BEST! If you like what you get in most STL restaurants, you’re probably eating Louisa’s,” says Melissa.
“Louisa makes the best,” says Darren.
Other fan-favorites around the St. Louis area include…
“Farrotto’s on Manchester, yummy,” says Sandy.
“Nonnas hands down the best place,” says Dan.
“My dad took me to Garavelli’s down town for toasted rav, and then we went up the street to a pool hall and watched Minnesota Fats play! (50s early 60s),” says Nan.
“Trattoria marcella is the best. carmines is a second awesome choice,” says Beckie.
“Favazza’s on the Hill,” says Rosemary.
“Mia Sorella in Town & Country. Freshly made not frozen- very tasteful,” says Steve.
“Blarney Stone in Oakville,” says Anne.
“Bj’s bar in Florissant,” says Heather.
“Burnt end toasted ravs at Salt and Smoke,” says Jeff.
“Ravanelli’s Italian Steakhouse and Wine Bar in Collinsville,” says Cindy.
“Frozen ones from Schnucks,” says Brian.
“McGurk’s spinach and artichoke toasted raviolis. I just want a huge plate of them,” says Lisa.
“Imo’s are one of my favorites,” says Julia.
“Handmade at Serra’s Pizzeria,” says Nelson.
“Toasted at the Foundry,” says Katie.
“Trax Pizza Company,” says Anne.
“Lemp Mansion. They don’t look like your traditional toasted ravs, but they are the best I have ever had and I’ve had them all over STL,” says Athena.
“Castelli’s Moonlight in Alton,” says Donna.
“Joe Baccardis in Eureka, really good,” says Jolean.
“The old spaghetti factory,” says Martina.
“Chuck-A-Burger used to have great toasted rav’s too!,” says Kyle.
“St. Louis Pizza and Wings has the best everything,” says Nacole.
“DiCarlo’s Pizza & Pasta, A little drive from STL but so worth it,” says Jerrica.
“Annthony’s Taverna on the hill. They’re big and tasty,” says Karen.
“Cunetto’s on the Hill,” says Steve.
“Pirrone’s, Florissant,” says Diane.
“Ferguson Brewhouse,” says Susan.
“My personal favs are from Castelli’s Moonlight in Bethalto,” says J.P.
“Montebello’s,” says Jeannie.
“Cafe Manhattan,” says Wendy.
“Nick & Elainas Pizza,” says Steven.
“Ravinelli’s in Granite City,” says Adam.
“Circa Pub in West County,” says Joi.
“Mama Campisi’s,” says Suzanne.
“Del Pietro’s off Big Bend. Yummy,” says Vince.
“Fratelli’s in St Charles. The Best,” says Donna.
“Bella Milano in Edwardsville,” says Sam.
“Timber Creek Grill,” says Talina.
“New York Tom’s Foodtruck,” says St. Louis Hero Network.
“I’ll vote for anyone that serves homemade,” says Gregory.
“Any place in St. Louis will have the best toasted ravioli,” says Danielle.