Blending Spanish and Italian Cuisine—Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas
ST. LOUIS, MO: (STLRestaurant.News) – Guido’s Pizzeria & Tapas – Some culinary traditions are rooted in family history. Some are products of the environment where they came to exist. For one restaurant on The Hill, drawing from local culture and ancestry has been the recipe for success. Guido’s Pizzeria and Tapas, 5046 Shaw Ave. in St. Louis, has been owned and operated by the Carretero Family since 1988—owner and Chef Miguel Carretero, his father and Wine Captain Segundo Carretero, who handles the front of house, and his mother Genoveva Carretero, the executive chef are from Madrid. As the name suggests, Guido’s specializes in both authentic Spanish and Italian Cuisine.
In September, customer reviews had put Guido’s at the number eight spot in our list of top 10 pizza restaurants in St. Louis. They offer St. Louis style thin crust with a long list of available toppings that let you create your own masterpiece. Or try one of their combinations, like the simple, but delicious Margherita, with homemade pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomato and basil, to a taco (Fiesta) pizza with salsa, refried beans, seasoned beef and cheddar, topped with lettuce, tomato and jalapenos. With 4.5 stars, they also ranked #78 of 2275 restaurants in St. Louis—that’s the top five-percent of all of the restaurants in the metro area! But that’s what happens when you combine incredible food, excellent wine along with old world charm and hospitality.
Whether you start your meal in Spain or Italy, you should begin with wine. Guido’s wine list is extensive and expertly curated, but still affordable. The choices span the rim of the Mediterranean, with some nice selections from the Western Hemisphere as well—California, Washington, Argentina. They have something for every taste. A customer favorite is the sangria. They blend the wines and fruits themselves, and serve it in a pitcher with more fresh fruit added. It’s perfect for sharing as you dive into some fresh bread and tapas.
Tapas are traditionally small, Spanish, savory dishes often served with drinks at a bar. In recent years they’ve evolved into an entire, sophisticated cuisine. Traditionally diners order these small plates and share them among the table, rather like American appetizers sometimes are. But I find one with a side salad or bread is often enough for a meal, especially lunch.
Guido’s has a delightful selection of tapas frias (served cold) like Pan Tumaca, which is crostini topped with tomato, olive oil, garlic and jamon serrano (ham); Aceitunas Alinadas (imported, marinated Spanish olives); or a Plato de Quesos Variados which features a daily selection of Spanish cheese with fruit. They also do tapas calientes (served hot) very well. Some specialties include the Cordero Lollipops—well-trimmed lamb chops, charbroiled and served with cabrales mashed potatoes; and the Albondigas Caseras, or Spanish meatballs with onions, garlic and white wine topped with fried potatoes.
Their Italian antipasti menu features some local favorites, like toasted ravioli and eggplant parmesan, along with classics like breaded artichokes and antipasto (Sicilian olives, Fontinella cheese, and a selection of cured meats). Then move on to one of their amazing prima piatti, like the Linguini Carbonara, Seafood Ravioli, cheese filled Manicotti with marinara and bechamel, or their classic Tutto Mari. They even have gluten free and whole wheat pastas available by request!
They also offer classic Italian entrees on the menu like Chicken Marsala or Veal Parmesan, along with Spanish favorites like Trucha Meunier (pan seared boneless rainbow trout topped with lemon, butter and capers), or Veal Genoveva (Veal Scallopini topped with crab meat and a sherry Béarnaise sauce). There are soups, salads and sandwiches on the menu as well. It’s surprising that this relatively compact restaurant can offer such a wide variety of choices. Surprising and delightful!
Whether you go for Guido’s Homemade Lasagna or one of their amazing paellas, you’ll want to save a little room at the end of the meal. That’s because the desserts at Guido’s includes classics from both Spain and Italy, like their rich caramelized flan, their tender cannoli with fresh whipped cream, or their luscious Tiramisu.
As if amazing food and service wasn’t enough, this landmark on the Hill is a Green Dining Alliance (GDA) certified restaurants. GDA is a program of St. Louis Earth Day aimed at increasing environmental sustainability through tailored strategies, education and collaboration. In order to earn certification, restaurants must comply with certain core concepts include: banning Styrofoam and #6 plastics; recycling restaurant waste; phasing in CFL or LED light bulbs; and tracking and cutting down on utility usage. Membership is predicated on that effort to protect the community they serve.
That sense of civic responsibility is apparent at Guido’s throughout the year. This family-owned restaurant is quick to join efforts to benefit their community. For instance, Guido’s is among the nearly 90 restaurants participating in the Missouri Restaurant Association’s 2nd annual Scott Knopfel Memorial Dine Out event on Tuesday, November 15, 2016. The event raises funds for scholarships in honor of Scott Knopfel, the Drury Inn night manager killed in an armed robbery in January 2015. Last year’s event raised about $63,000 for scholarships awarded to nine local restaurant and hotel employees. A complete list of participating restaurants can be found online at morestaurants.org/scott-knopfel/.
They’re open seven days a week for both lunch and dinner (11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday – Thursday, and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday – Saturday). They can get busy, but fortunately reservations can be made online or by phone. They also do carryout and delivery.