4470 Arco Ave, Saint Louis, MO | Directions 6311038.628572 -90.261022
Neighborhoods: Forest Park Southeast, Saint Louis
Terrible – This was the first time that I used a Groupon (a coupon purchased at Groupon dot com). Unfortunately, this was the first and will be the last time I will ever visit La Dolce Via though. I booked a reservation for nine people a week in advance. Although it was not particularly busy, they sat us at a table made up of two small tables of different heights pushed together in the back of the restaurant just outside the toilet. The waiter came with a marker board with a short list of “small plates” and “large plates,” all priced on the level of fine dining with ambiance and not what I would have expected from a provincial cafe and bakery. My wife and I ordered the goat cheese small plate and the scalops large plate. The silver dollar size dollop of feta and the six small slices of bread were hardly worth the $12 price tag. The four scallops were quite good, but they were paired with instant mashed potatos, which made the $24 price seem outrageous. To top it off, the woman behind the counter who occasionally came to our table wearing a stained tank top and no bra was particularly rude and seemed rather unhappy about the fact that we used the groupon to cover part of the check when we paid for all nine people at our table. There was a resounding “I will never come here again” echoed around our table as we left. So although I love Groupon and will continue buying them, I highly recommend passing on La Dolce Via because there are just far too many unique restaurants in St. Louis to give this place another try.
Family-owned bakery warms an up-and-coming neighborhood with artisanal pastries and hearty Italian pies. – The Scene
La Dolce Via has existed as a bakery for more than 15 years, but only recently opened as a cafe. In addition to providing pastries for some of the city's best restaurants (Bar Italia and Jaboni's, to name two), the mother-daughter owners also dish out delectable treats from this humble storefront in still-emerging Forest Park Southeast. The informal space, packed with mismatched tables and chairs, feels as cozy as a friend's kitchen.
The limited lunch menu includes soups of the day and a basic green salad; the heartier selections are the Italian pies. The savory Spinnaccio, a spinach, onion and cheese mixture in a warmed wheat shell, is a vegetarian's delight, while the heavy Rustica with volpi salami, pepperoni and three cheeses will please any meat lover. Desserts are what keep this place in business: Try the house specialty zabione, a moist, creamy vanilla sponge- and rum-custard concoction.
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