Michael Smith has been one of Kansas City’s most respected chefs for the past two decades. If the stalwart chef now wishes to distinguish himself as our own neo-Italian nonna, he’s well on his way. Farina, the modern Italian concept he opened in the Crossroads in February, features impeccable housemade pastas, an impressive raw bar and house-cured meats. You’ll be tempted to load up on pasta dishes, and you should (the squid ink spaghetti, $16, will haunt your dreams), but don’t skip the burrata with caviar ($28) and the grilled sardines ($11). Make reservations well in advance for this stylish new addition to the Kansas City dining scene.
Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room
Corvino hits the trifecta of greatness: Food, service and ambiance are combined into an incredible dining experience. Chef and co-owner Michael Corvino has crafted two exquisite and distinct menus — one for the Supper Club, a lively, sexy dining room featuring nightly local music, and one for the Tasting Room, where patrons sit down for a spellbinding 12-course meal. In the Supper Club, guests share inventive plates like hot, savory seaweed donuts with salmon roe and creme fraiche ($18). In the Tasting Room, they dine on Chinese Kaluga Queen caviar and sous vide Wagyu steak. No matter what part of the restaurant you choose, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable meal.
Before the Crossroads Arts District exploded into the downtown hot spot it is now, chef Howard Hanna opened The Rieger in the historic hotel building bearing the same name. Over the years, this restaurant has evolved into one of Kansas City’s most beloved originals. Hanna’s menu focuses on regional ingredients, and dishes reflect his mantra: “Beautiful food for the people.” The Rieger’s menu changes four times a year, but you can always count on Hanna’s classic Rieger pork soup ($6 cup, $9 bowl) to be available. The impressive charcuterie board ($33) is laden with house-made terrines and sausages.
With its three disparate restaurants, the Crossroads Hotel is a triple-threat of coolness. On the high end of the spectrum, you’ve got Lazia, an ultra-sleek Italian fine dining experience where chef Remy Ayesh wins guests over with dishes that are intricate and delicate — even when she’s serving a Milanese-style bone-in pork chop ($32) that’s been pounded flat, breaded and deep-fried then served on a plate that’ll barely hold it. XR offers all-day dining centered around artisan wood-fired pizzas ($12–$16) and small plates, and you’ll find the lounge buzzing with the energy of Kansas City’s fashionable crowd late into the evening. And there is no better view than the one from Percheron, the Crossroads Hotel’s rooftop bar and restaurant, where a 360-degree panorama of the city and craft cocktails are sure to keep you in good spirits.
Parlor is a foodie’s playground. This two-story building features several independent local restaurants that can cater to just about any flavor you’re feeling. Craving some gold-star ’za? Hit up Providence Pizza for Detroit-style slabs ($15). We can’t get enough of the empanadas ($12) from Karbon, featuring Yucatan and Turkish fusion dishes. And Sura Eats has the best kimchi fried rice bowl ($10 small, $16 large) we’ve had the pleasure of polishing off. Each floor of Parlor also features a full bar stocked with local spirits and craft beers, plus plenty of nooks and crannies for guests to huddle for meetings and share (or not share) their dishes.
Baramee Thai Bistro
If you’re looking for a cure — to your cold, allergies, hangover or ennui — go for the tom kha soup ($6.95–$18.95) at Baramee Thai Bistro. When you taste the coconut broth infused with lemongrass, kaffir leaves, fresh chili and galangal (a citrusy root similar to ginger), you are tasting joy. And the flavor explosion doesn’t stop there. This menu is packed with plenty of the Thai classics you’re used to (plus a few that might surprise you), and we’re happy to report that, should you be craving a spicy seafood pad Thai ($18.95) with a side of crispy spring rolls ($6.95), Baramee will satisfy.
City Barrel Brewing Co.
Lip-puckering sours and hazy IPAs are just the tip of the iceberg at City Barrel Brewing Co., where guests can choose from 20 different taps to wet their whistles. Around half the taps present a well-curated selection of guest kegs, but it’s the City Barrel stuff that’ll really get you excited. A standout extra-bubbly Brut IPA, an all-new category of beer, is crisp and satisfying; the Ahoy! Gose offers a tropical escape with notes of guava and lime. Everything on City Barrel’s food menu is designed to complement the brews, which means there’s a little something for every palate, from an elegant Jarlsberg and brie grilled cheese ($12) to the ceviche marinated in Ahoy! Gose ($12).
City Barrel Brewing, 1740 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-298-7008. https://www.loc8nearme.com/missouri/kansas-city/city-barrel-brewing/4994918/ 11 am-11 pm Tuesday–Thursday, 11 am-midnight Friday and Saturday, 11 am-9 pm Sunday, closed Monday.