One of the reasons St. Louis was included in a recent "World's Greatest Places" list compiled by TIME magazine staffers was due to the new Casa Don Alfonso restaurant -- the first stateside outpost of Michelin-star Italian restaurateur Mario Iaccarino. Located in Clayton within The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, this upscale casual establishment features a menu with a charismatic approach to traditional Mediterranean dishes.
The culinary offerings at Casa Don Alfonso tell stories of traditions passed down for generations in the family homes of Southern Italy and the charm of the Sorrento Coast. Timeless recipes come from this magical place, ripe with culture and beauty, inspired by the Iaccarino family's hospitality. Chef de cuisine Sergio Chierego honors the culinary customs of Italy’s Campania region with carefully chosen ingredients that closely resemble the sun-kissed produce harvested at the Iaccarino family’s farm.
In creating this new menu, Mario says he spent hours paging through his grandmother’s recipe books for inspiration to ensure the outcome represents 2,000 years of Mediterranean history, spices, wine, pasta and vegetables. The restaurant opened at the end of this March.
Others, even outside of the St. Louis region, notice this restaurant's Italian authenticity. During June, Forbes also paid compliments to this new dining spot for both its food and décor via an article “America’s Best New Italian Restaurant Is In St Louis.”
Bringing international experience to the restaurant, Chef Sergio grew up in Sardinia, Italy, and has worked around the world, including Germany, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean. Before working in Clayton, he was chef de cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton’s restaurant in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His definition of Italian fare is anchored by organic ingredients and day-of preparation.
With the goal of being a neighborhood repeat dining location as well as a broader, sought-out restaurant destination, Casa Don Alfonso's ambiance starts with décor that reflects the enjoyment of a Mediterranean sea breeze, such as 600 hand-blown glass leaves hovering over the main dining room and custom curtains. A large, open kitchen sports a hand-painted tiled backsplash and copper-clad ceiling. Seating and sound-proofing millwork is handled in a manner that provides connectivity but quiet acoustics.
"We're truly blessed, and we want our guests to have amazing food experiences in the heart of Clayton, ones with the vibe and comfortable, family home elements of the Sorrento Coast," assures Alen Tanovic, Casa Don Alfonso general manager. "That's why we've chosen to wow our guests with true-to-Italy adornments, such as wisteria chandeliers, which are like those actually seen in the Iaccarino's family garden, and even weaving in wisteria-inspired leaf garnishes for cocktails along with wearing lavender and pastel uniforms."
He says they pay attention to authentic details, such as using saffron rice, for example, as a nod to the influence that the Arabic world had on Italy.
Alen witnessed engaging hospitality from his parents and his upbringing in Croatia. His firsthand knowledge of handmade cuisine and the food industry started at an early age. His goal at the restaurant now is to ensure the highest service levels create an unforgettable atmosphere.
With the restaurant only being six months young, Alen says diners already have traveled from both U.S. coasts to soak up the elevated service and experience.
"We're in the midst of testing and developing some new, one-of-a-kind recipes for this fall, and as always, Chef Sergio is doing it in collaboration with the Iaccarino family," reveals Alen. "All of our Casa Don Alfonso ambassadors are waiting with smiles to welcome guests warmly and to encourage everyone to feel like part of our family."
Current Hours of Operation
Tuesdays-Fridays A La Carte Breakfast: 6:30-10 a.m.
Saturday Signature Breakfast Buffet: 6:30-10 a.m.
Sunday Signature Breakfast Buffet: 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Saturday Lunch: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tuesdays-Thursdays Dinner: 5-9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday Dinner: 5-10 p.m.
100 Carondelet Plaza