Best Italian Restaurant (Not Cheap)

Cielo

In Italian, "cielo" means "sky," but it's also a word commonly used for heaven. Both translations are appropriate when referring to Cielo, the homage to Italian gastronomy that sits on the eighth floor of downtown St. Louis' Four Seasons Hotel. Through the restaurant's floor-to-ceiling windows, diners sit awestruck by the city's best view — the Arch seems so close it's as if you could reach out and touch its west leg. This alone is enough to distract the most hungry of diners, but chef Gian Nicola Colucci's cuisine gives the vista a run for its money. Colucci is no stranger to having his food compete with views. As executive chef at luxury hotels in Venice and Capri, the Italian expat is well-versed in Italy's flavors. Nightly, he converts Cielo into a taste of the Amalfi Coast with delicacies such as octopus carpaccio, seared scallops with vanilla agro dolce and caponata-topped tuna. Housemade pastas and risotto are as fresh as those in the old country, and hearty steaks and chops evoke a Florentine spread. (Those with a rich uncle willing to pick up the tab should indulge in the dry-aged rib eye with balsamic.) This feast for both the palate and the eyes is well worth the splurge.

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