The Riverfront Times
Biologist and molecular geneticist-turned-chef Dawn Wilson was well into her second career as a culinarian when a stint in Italy set her on the path to Vicini Pastaria. There, at a slow-food-focused restaurant in a small town in Tuscany, Wilson found herself immersed in Italian food culture — not simply the cuisine but the art of eating, drinking and how it fit into the larger food system and community. It was a formative experience and one she has deftly recreated at her delightful Lafayette Square restaurant and pastaria. Though she originally opened Vicini as a gourmet foods and pasta market in May 2020, she brought the spot up to her full vision last November, welcoming guests into a stunning, gilded dining room with touches of both Venice and Tuscany, where they are invited to relax over her outstanding handiwork. This includes a small rotating menu of delicious handmade pasta, including her specialty pici, usually done cacio e pepe style, along with panini, salads and not-to-miss Tuscan-style focaccia with some of the best pesto you'll have outside Liguria. Counter service and only open through the afternoon, it's the embodiment of Old-World magic.
Address: 1916 Park Avenue in Lafayette Square, St Louis, Missouri