Perhaps it's our shared New York upbringing - or that chef and owner Vito Racanelli Jr. knows how to cook comforting, flavorful Italian food. Either way, Mad Tomato Italian Kitchen feels like home.

Choosing one item from the menu is difficult, but I assure you, you won't be disappointed if you settle on one of the pizzes. The fungi pizze is my favorite. Made by Vito's brother Sam in the pizze oven next to the bar, it's prepared with beautifully fresh mushrooms, smoked mozzarella, garlic, basil, arugula and grana.

And please, do yourself a favor: order it with an egg. The silky yolk, earthiness of the mushrooms and subtle spice of the arugula are a delightful combination that always leaves me wanting more.

8000 Carondelet Ave., 314.932.5733 , Clayton," target= "_blank">

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