Missouri is coming into its own as a place for delectable international cuisine, and new restaurants are opening all the time. Best of all, you don’t need your passport to visit them. We’ve picket these few to whet your appetite, but this is by no means a complete list.
For a taste of authentic Argentina, head to Piropos Briarcliff in Kansas City and Peropos Grille in Parkville. Argentinean dining is very cosmopolitan, with influences from Spain, Italy, France and other countries. The menu at Piropos features bite-size crab cakes, served with cilantro pesto aioli; chorizo Argentine skewers, served with red pepper and chimmichurri sauce; and sangria, a sweetened red wine with fruit and a touch of brandy.
To feel as though you’re in the Basque region of Northern Spain, head to La Bodega Tapas in Kansas City, for a taste of tapas. Offerings include: rosemary marinated pork loin; grilled skewers of beef tenderloin, served with ancho pepper aioli; and a Spanish chicken sandwich, served with roasted red peppers, Manchego cheese and chipotle cream spread.
For a taste of France, try the two sister restaurants Aixois Bistro and Aixios Brasserie in Kansas City. They serve crepes, quiche, specialty salads, and perennial French favorites such as escargot, frog legs and duck. The Bistro includes a French coffee and pastry shop.
In Clayton, a cross-cultural menu influenced by the Mediterranean is offered at Remy’s Kitchen & Wine Bar. For lunch, try the Grazing Menu, with quick and healthy options. Dinner features classics such as stuffed grapevine leaves, hummus, and braised lamb shank on gorgonzola whipped potatoes. Their wine list is impressive.
If you’re adventurous, hungry and budget conscious, try Al-Tarboush Deli & Market, in the Delmar Loop/University City section of St. Louis. The servings are authentic Lebanese, including, among other choices: falafel; tabbouleh; stuffed grape leaves; kibbees; and spinach and cheese pies. There are just a few tables, but the food is worth a wait.
Grbic Restaurant is a nice restaurant in St. Louis, offering the exotic flavors of Bosnia & Eastern Europe. Their menu includes schnitzel and goulash, as well as fresh seafood.
In St. Louis, Cafe Natasha's Kabob International specializes in Persian (Iranian) dishes influenced by Indian, Arabic and Turkish cuisines, along with American selections: more than 50 choices, including, marinated and grilled meats, savory stews and inventive creations; plus, they offer vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
You can literally taste Missouri’s rich German heritage at hundreds of German restaurants across the state. Among the most notable is Das Stein Haus in Jefferson City. For more than 30 years, Das Stein Haus has served German favorites such as Wiener schnitzel, beef rouladen and sauerbraten, as well as the finest prime rib. German music enhances the atmosphere.
In Hermann, satisfy your craving for authentic German food at the Vintage Restaurant, located in a circa 1847 carriage house on the grounds of Stone Hill Winery. German food, Missouri wine, relaxing countryside . . . a great combination.
Cashew Chicken, a staple in Chinese restaurants in the U.S., was invented in Springfield, Missouri. Springfield claims to have more Chinese restaurants per capita than any city in the United States. Pick one and tray an American Chinese dish.
Don’t miss the original Italian neighborhood in St. Louis, known as The Hill. The renowned district is full of world-class Italian restaurants, groceries and shops; if it’s Italian food you crave, you’ve hit the jackpot on The Hill, where the ever popular Toasted Ravioli was created in 1933.
Arris’ Pizza Palace was the first Greek-style pizza restaurants in the Midwest. This Jefferson City icon has been serving Greek pizza (thin crust, with the cheese on top of the meats and vegetables), gyros and other Greek specialists since September 1961. Other locations are in Columbia, Fulton, Osage Beach and Springfield.
The college town of Columbia–home to the University of Missouri and other colleges–offers a wide range of international choices. Take a seat at Bangkok Gardens and savor the flavors of the ancient country of Siam (Thailand); they offer a “hotness scale” on many dishes. For gourmet sushi and Asian fusion, check-out Jina Yoo’s.
And let us not overlook the U.S.A. and the quintessential American Barbecue. If there is one food Missouri excels in, it is BBQ. A prime example is the Bandana's Bar-B-Q chain of restaurants. Headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri, with 22 locations in the Show-Me State, Bandana’s is Southern Style BBQ, seasoned with a dry-rub and slow smoked (up to 14 hours) without sauce, then hand-cut to order straight from the smoker; several flavors of sauce are offered on the side. As they say: Smell that smoke.
We can’t talk about cuisines of the world without covering a Missouri original Chinese dish: cashew chicken? David Leong, a chef who moved to the United States from China in 1940, was apparently the first to “invent” this famous dish, in 1963. His famous deep-fried cashew chicken recipe has become exceedingly popular throughout the U.S. You can still order a plate of the original Cashew Chicken at Leong's Asian Diner in Springfield. In fact, more than 50 restaurants in the Springfield serve this famous dish and variations of it.
As you might imagine, the list is seemingly endless. Authentic international cuisine is found throughout Missouri. The point is, try different foods and travel the world, right here at home.