For a city like St. Louis who loves their Italian food, Peno delivers simple elegant flavors of Italy’s Calabria region with emphasis on fish dishes and house made pasta’s and pizza that is all made from scratch. Peno has a list of uniquely Italian and very affordable wines by the glass and bottle.
During one of our visits we started off with the Bruschetta; two thick slices of toasted bread served with an olive tapenade that had pine nuts, olives, tomato and authentic spices that was perfectly prepared and delicious. Next we shared the mushroom ravioli made in house served in a beautiful bowl with a garlic broth and oven roasted tomatoes and spinach. We paired each of the above with Pinot Noir-Elena Walch from Alto Adige, Italy affordably priced at $38.00 for the bottle.
We then decided to try the pizza which is also made from scratch. I have a huge problem with many places serving pizza made in expensive imported Italian ovens that is simply burnt black on the crust. Peno’s pizza has just the right amount of char with out being burnt and the crust and toppings are all excellent. Peno has several suggested pizzas including the Pepe, the Giuseppe, the Roberto, the Don Michael but they also let you make your own from a list of numerous toppings. We had the wild mushroom and oven roasted tomato which was mouthwatering and so large we took some to go.
On both our visits the staff were extremely friendly and knowledgeable from the moment we walked in until the time we left. The restaurant has a good vibe of sound and lighting with a nice outdoor dining patio.
The restaurant’s owner Pepe Kehm is always seen working the room and we had a chance to talk to him. He is passionate about his Italian food, made from scratch pizza and loves to chat with his guests. With flavors that danced on my palate, an affordable wine list in the walkable Clayton neighborhood, Peno Southern Italian Soul Food is definitely a neighborhood gem.