sole scampi photo by david kovaluk

Review: Roberto's Trattoria in Sappington

This unassuming restaurant is located in a large strip mall, but inside the ambiance is cozy with a fireplace, tablecloths and a rose floating in a wine glass on each table – not to mention Ol’ Blue Eyes crooning through the speakers. In a city with more old-school Italian restaurants than you can shake a stick at, Roberto’s distinguishes itself in one simple way: It makes better food.

Fried calamari
The fried calamari was exceptionally tender with light, perfectly seasoned breading. The tomato-based dipping sauce served on the side wasn’t necessary to add flavor to the dish, but it was satisfying nonetheless with a nice hint of heat.

Flash-fried spinach
Don’t miss the flash-fried spinach. Rich, light and crispy all at the same time, it had an ephemeral, melt-in-your-mouth fragility. A sprinkling of Parmesan added a layer of savory complexity, and a squeeze of lemon brightened it up. This dish might be on my last meal wish list, and it’s spinach.

Sole scampi
Sole scampi was moist, delicate and flaky, served atop a bed of sauteed spinach with a classic, slightly tart sauce of white wine, butter, lemon and capers. The dish came with a refreshing side of roasted zucchini, carrots and cauliflower – a welcome alternative to the ubiquitous, soulless steamed vegetable medley.

fettucine alla romano // photo by david kovaluk

Fettuccine alla Romana
Fettuccine alla Romana is fettuccine Alfredo topped with a dollop of Bolognese. The pasta was al dente with an enthusiastic Italian accent. The rich, red, slightly sweet (but not cloying) Bolognese’s encounter with Alfredo was a marriage for the ages. Cioppino
Cioppino is a seafood stew served here with fresh tagliatelle pasta. The bowl was brimming with frutti di mare, including clams, fish, squid, mussels and shrimp the size of a tangerine. The subtle seafood flavors were in no way overpowered by the light, tomato-y broth.

House-made gelato
House-made gelato is available in a number of flavors. Get the amaretto for a boozy, creamy treat.

gelato // photo by david kovaluk

Roberto’s Trattoria
145 Concord Plaza Shopping Center, Sappington, 314.842.9998,