Food, Travel

STL Food and Drink: Noto Italian Reataurant

One of our favorite activities as a couple is exploring local restaurants and bars. Luckily, St. Louis has an ever-evolving food scene that rivals what’s happening in much larger cities. Yeah, the BBQ here is good… but St. Louis has a plethora of chefs and restaurateurs that are creating innovative global fare. I keep a long list of restaurants to try in my planner… and it never seems to get any smaller.

One St.Louis food spot we happened upon last spring was Noto’s Pizza. Noto’s was a local food truck that had a wood burning pizza oven loaded right onto their trailer! Just the smell of the smoke coming from the chimney was delicious. The couple who owned the truck were cranking out creative, delicious Neapolitan style pizzas just like the ones we had eaten in Italy years ago. We loved the pizza and started following them on social to make sure we knew where to find them in the future.

Imagine our excitement when we found out that Noto was becoming a brick and mortar restaurant… right down highway 94! They combined their savory dishes with the wonderful sweets from J. Noto Bakery (which we have known since their days on St. Charles Main Street) to create a masterpiece. We have been anxiously following their social media for progress updates and immediately grabbed a reservation for their soft opening.

Noto was started by a local husband and wife team. While Neapolitan pizza remains their main staple menu item, they now offer pasta, soup, and salads along with a variety of appetizers, desserts, and a fully stocked bar. The pasta dishes are handmade and have light amounts of sauce and ingredients… much more authentic to real Italian food than what St. Louisans think. The pizza has a thin crust that gets deliciously crisp and smoky in the 1,000-degree wood burning oven.

On our first visit, we started our dinner with a couple of cocktails. I tried the Sinatra, made with gin, red wine, and egg white foam. Sounds a bit strange, but it was absolutely amazing! My husband, Jeff, had the Stallion, a refreshing bourbon and grapefruit cocktail. The menu has several other cocktails to offer, along with a selection of wines and local beers. On our way out, we had the chance to compliment the owner on the experience, especially the drinks. She told us that they have a passion for using Italian flavors in creative ways and have some great menu ideas for the future. It’s their love letter to their travels abroad.

For dinner, I ordered the Americano pizza with the house salad. The salad is made with bright mixed greens, artichokes, olives, peppers, and freshly shaved parmesano reggiano cheese, tossed in a creamy dressing. The salad was crisp and slightly briny with lovely, salty cheese. It was a delicious starter. The pizza was topped with tomato, pepperoni, pepper flakes, and hot honey. It was sweet, spicy, and crunchy… a really great twist on a traditional pizza.

Jeff had the Palla pizza with a cup of Italian Wedding Soup. The soup had a broth with enough flavor that you could sip it with no other ingredients like Baby Yoda during a fistfight. The vegetables, sausage and salty cheese in the broth made for a hearty, lingering taste that made you want to finish every last drop. The pizza had the standard base of tomato sauce, mozzarella, and chewy crust. The crumbled meatballs had a nice, balanced spice and weren’t mealy or bready. The pesto drizzle provided a bright citrus contrast to the usual pizza flavor.

The restaurant itself is a bit small, but lively. It is simply and cleanly designed with a beautiful bar and the pizza oven as its central focus. We will definitely be frequent diners at Noto. Their menu has so much to offer, it will take us many visits to try everything that we were craving!

Noto is located just off Highway 94 in St. Peters, MO at 5105 Westwood Dr.

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