Argentina is a diverse South American nation with a rich history of delicious cuisine. The country’s food is reflective of its population — behind the United States, Argentina has the second highest population of immigrants of any country in the world. The dishes that come out of this culture have influences ranging from Mediterranean to French, Italian, Latin American and even indigenous populations.
Argentinian food is most known for its wine and beef, and its most famous dish internationally is the asados, which Argentinians will defend with the sort of tenacity that Kansas Citians treat our barbecue. But, Argentinian cuisine doesn’t end with beef. Far from it, there are elaborate dishes with vegetables, pastries, pastas, pizzas and more.
You’re likely to find a wide-ranging menu featuring many of these options at any Argentinian restaurant in Kansas City. Even though your options are slightly limited — there just aren’t that many Argentinian restaurants in Kansas City — you can still find delicious dishes throughout the metro area from this unique genre of cooking.
Where to Find an Argentinian Restaurant in Kansas City
Argentinians make up a very small portion of the Kansas City population. According to data collected in 2016, there may be less than 1,000 residents in Kansas City from Argentina. Argentinian restaurants in Kansas City represent a small slice of the whole food scene, but you can still find great options if you know where to look.
- Piropos KC: Piropos is the most authentic Argentinian restaurant in Kansas City. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is your first stop. The name comes from a Spanish word that translates roughly as an expression of gratitude for beauty. The vibe at Piropos is laidback and warm. You’ll find grilled meats and seafood, fresh salads and vegetables and more on the extensive menu. You can stop by for lunch or dinner, and you’ll have a great view of the KC skyline from the hilltop location on Briarcliff in North Kansas City.
- Empanada Madness: The empanada is a somewhat ubiquitous dish across Latin America and South America. It pops up in culinary culture from Mexico to Argentina, with each claiming it as a signature dish. Empanada Madness doesn’t bill itself as a specifically Argentinian restaurant in Kansas City, but it does take pride in serving this traditional South American dish. You can find Empanada Madness on Southwest Boulevard in the Crossroads District or in south Kansas City at the corner of Blue Ridge Boulevard and State Line Road.
Traditional Dishes from Argentina
The diversity of flavor in Argentinian cooking offers something for everyone. It’s similar to American food in that way — there’s no single, clear-cut definition for this cultural cuisine. When you think about Argentinian food and Argentinian restaurants in Kansas City, there are a few signature dishes that stand above the rest.
If you have the opportunity, these are the meals you have to try:
- Asados: As we said earlier, many consider this to be the signature dish of Argentina. It takes on different forms regionally, but it is, generally speaking, an elaborate dish of meats grilled on an open flame. A plate of Asados typically includes steak, ribs, chorizo, sweetbread, chitterlings and blood sausage, all cooked together and served steaming hot.
- Empanadas: There are many ways to prepare great empanadas. This traditional finger-food dish is prepared by making a breaded crust from scratch and filling it with a mix of meat, veggies and sometimes cheese. They can be baked or fried, and they can be stuffed with just about anything the cook prefers. Empanadas are also flavored with a handful of spices like cumin, paprika oregano and cayenne.
- Alfajores: These sandwich cookies are irresistible to anyone with a sweet tooth. Unlike many other baked treats, alfajores are made with a base of cornstarch. They are soft and crumbly when made right, and the two sides of the cookie sandwich are held together by Dulce de Leche.
- Carbonada Criolla: If you translated an all-American pot of chili into an Argentinian dish, it would be carbonada criolla. This beef stew originated in Patagonia, where cattle ranches are plentiful. It is one of Argentinians’ many efforts to find creative ways to use all the beef produced by their country. The beef is cooked in a pot with sweet potatoes, onions and squash. It’s a great cold-weather dinner.
- Fugazza: There are strong elements of Italian influence in many Argentinian creations. Nowhere is that more true than fugazza, which is a South American take on the classic focaccia, or flatbread. Unlike its Italian counterpart, fugazza doesn’t use any tomato sauce. Instead, the fresh crust is topped with cooked veggies and cheese, and is typically cooked in a cast-iron skillet. Fugazza can be served as an appetizer or a main dish at an Argentinian restaurant in Kansas City.
A night out at an Argentinian restaurant in Kansas City without wine would be like going to Joe’s KC and not ordering meat. It’s just not right. Argentinian wines, specifically Malbec, are revered around the world.
The Malbec is Argentina’s signature grape. It originated in France, but found the perfect habitat in Argentina’s sun-soaked vineyards. While Malbec wines are made all over the world, no other country matches the production or quality that comes out of Argentina.
Flavor profiles can vary significantly based on the vineyard. Generally, a Malbec will be a dark, dry wine. The darker red fruits — black cherries, blackberry, plums — shine through alongside a medium body. If you visit an Argentinian restaurant in Kansas City, you can’t leave without enjoying a glass or bottle of Argentinian Malbec.
Even though the options for an Argentinian restaurant in Kansas City are limited, you can still find a great traditional dish and glass of wine.