It’s music to our ears every autumn when the St. Louis Symphony tunes its instruments, finalizes its schedule and throws open the doors to Powell Hall to kick off another great season. A trip to the symphony gives us one more reason to get a little gussied up and have a night on the town. This year, the St. Louis Symphony will kick things off with Respighi’s Pines of Rome, which lends itself to a great themed date night when you pair it with Bocci Bar.

On Sat., Sept. 29, David Robertson will take the conductor’s stand and lead the orchestra through a piece that is referred to as a “symphonic poem.” The music guides the audience though the majesty and romance of Rome in a way that will make you feel like you’ve taken a trip without ever leaving home.

Before you take your seat in Powell Hall, get in the Italian spirit of evening with dinner at Bocci Bar in Clayton. The warm interior and flavorful menu will add an unexpected dimension of pleasure and inspiration to your evening.

The first bit of tasty inspiration comes when warm, herbed Focaccia bread and a balsamic dipping accompaniment is delivered to the table. Follow that with the Bocci meatballs and you’ve got a lovely start to your evening. Generously portioned, the slightly spicy beef-and-pork orbs are served with a slightly sweet marinara sauce and melted mozzarella. In a bite, you get everything you expect from and enjoy about Italian food.

At Bocci Bar it is easy to keep things a bit on the lighter side, which is a perfect choice before a performance. On the evening we visited, the salmon was an ideal dish. Crispy on the outside, delicate on the inside, the fish is layered over a bed of risotto and spinach. It’s then finished with a tomato relish and honey truffle glaze.


Bocci Bar, 16 North Central Ave., Clayton, 314.932.1040,


Respighi’s Pines of Rome, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, 8pm, Powell Hall, 718 North Grand,

Every Thursday, Amy Burdge recommends a restaurant to attend before a local cultural event for a great night out. Missed one of her Dinner & A Show columns? Get them all here. Outside of FEAST, Burdge writes Eat It, St. Louis!, a blog dedicated to the pure love of food, the artistry and passion of those who create it and the sheer experience it provides.

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