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There’s never a bad time to ramp up the romance and reserve a table for two. But there is a particularly good time that happens this month: Valentine’s Day. These Kansas City spots deliver alluring ambience, tempting food and wine, and a certain ineffable charm that sets the stage for an unforgettable night out. The rest is up to you.
Beau Williams and Keely Edgington bring the same cool sophistication to Canary that Kansas Citians have come to know and love from the couple’s first concept, Julep. Another shared thread? Incredible cocktails, including a drink named after the restaurant that boasts vodka, pineapple, coconut, turmeric, ginger, and lemon. Food options run the gamut from elegant (oysters with a blackberry champagne mignonette and octopus carpaccio) to approachable (Canary’s Salt
Creek beef burger and hearty pork stew), but all are treated with the same attention and care. Housed on the first floor of midtown’s historic Netherland building, the dining room is filled with blue-grays and pops of oxblood and gold with seating arranged for both lounging and dining but be sure to pay a visit to the rooftop bar, weather permitting. Although it doesn’t serve the full food menu, the twilight views of Kansas City and breezy atmosphere are unmatched.
3835 Main Street | canarykc.com
Kansas City’s recent uptick in hotel restaurants makes staycations more appealing than ever—it’s hard to beat enjoying a topnotch dining and drinking experience and then retiring to a luxurious room. But even if you aren’t staying at Crossroads Hotel, there’s plenty of reason to book a reservation at the hotel’s recently reopened Lazia Restaurant. First and foremost? The darkly glamorous vibe set off by candelabras, floor-length curtains and distressed walls and columns. Each meal begins with a sip of Lazia’s tasty house amaro before guests are shown to a table and can begin choosing from a selection of small plates, Neapolitan-style pizzas, and antipasti—we suggest going big and opting for the hand-pulled mozzarella served with local farm beets, blood orange, arugula, and pistachios. The restaurant also serves up house-made pastas and main courses, a lovely list of wines by the glass, and cocktails such as spritzes and negronis. When you’re staying upstairs, there’s every reason to indulge.
2101 Central Street | crossroadshotelkc.com
A robust Italian meal is often a family affair, but Lidia’s refined ambience and dishes make it an ideal spot to grab a table for two. Exquisite blown-glass chandeliers add a dose of glamour to the more industrial aesthetic of the historic freight house the restaurant calls home. A contagious energy thrums through the open dining room as servers make the rounds serving Lidia’s signature pasta trio to guests tableside, a daily selection that is sure to capture the heart of any carb lover. Naturally, a host of other pasta dishes are also available, from hearty lasagna to the more mellow butternut squash-filled ravioli in sage butter, as well as entrées such as the bistecca, bone-in ribeye steak with garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli rabe. When dessert rolls around, we recommend splitting the surprisingly light and flavorful tiramisu—because nothing says “I love you” like being willing to share.
101 W. 22nd Street | lidias-kc.com
A space can be hip and romantic—just look at Novel’s Crossroads digs. Polished concrete floors, white subway-tiled walls adorned with a moody mural, and a granite bar lend the restaurant an aesthetic edge, but rich wood accents and the intimate feel have made it a go-to for Kansas Citians looking for an intimate evening out. After all, chef Ryan Brazeal and pastry chef Jessica Armstrong send out dishes that feel so lovingly crafted, it’s hard to believe they weren’t dreamt up just for you. The husband-and-wife team emphasizes locally sourced ingredients, so their offerings are constantly evolving, but you can usually find dishes like Brazeal’s crispy farm egg, seared diver scallops, and fresh pastas, not to mention a lineup of unique desserts, such as Armstrong’s heavenly pistachio cream pie. Plus, Novel scores bonus points for having a built-in photo op with a charming swing incorporated into a mural right outside.
1927 McGee Street | novelkc.com
The Restaurant at 1900
The Restaurant at 1900 is a feast for the eyes, from the building’s modernist design and distinctive tulip columns to the blues and grays and polished playfulness of the dining room, accented by organic, colorful art pieces from Lester Goldman. It’s atmospheric but not so dimly lit you’ll need to squint to see the menu. The seasonally based and constantly shifting brainchild of the executive chef, Linda Duerr, food offerings draw influence from French and Italian cuisines as well as her native New England—it might not seem like the most seductive entrée, but we swear the hot Maine lobster roll will you leave in love with at least one thing at the end of the evening. A beverage program led by acclaimed sommelier Doug Frost naturally includes superb wines, however the bar also serves up cocktails, spirit-free beverages, and some tantalizing amaros, cordials, and dessert wines to pair with confections such as the coffee ice cream sandwich.
1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway | therestaurantat1900.com
The recipe for a romantic night out? The seductive flicker of candlelight, cozy seating, and plenty of wine and bubbles. Midtown’s European bistro and bakery Tailleur delivers across the board and then some, with its warm wood-paneled dining room decorated to strike the right balance between eclectic and chic and tables situated so that you can actually hear the person across from you speaking. A variety of wines are available by the glass, along with a handsome reserve list of bottles sourced from around the world, plus French Champagnes and sparkling wines. The menu is just as well suited for date night, whether you’re in the mood for something lighter, like an impeccable charcuterie board, or white wine and garlic-steamed mussels, or a full feast of lamb and risotto. Regardless, you’ll want to save room for dessert—Tailleur’s bakery program serves up an array of confections to end your evening on a sweet note.
3933 Main Street | tailleuronmain.com
You can’t get much more of a wow factor than pulling up to an actual castle for dinner. Wandering Vine, housed in a more than 100-year-old castle in Shawnee, is just as enchanting outside as it is within, where stonework, warm wood, and high ceilings make the space feel grand but welcoming. The menu takes a similar approach with dishes that are beautifully plated and layered with flavor but still approachable—think lamb empanadas, a duck confit and wild-mushroom flatbread, and braised short rib with creamy polenta and bourbon-glazed carrots. And as the name Wandering Vine implies, there’s a particular emphasis on vino. Guests can choose from a variety of wine flights designed around themes, including sweet whites or reds, contemporary rosés, and wines of the world, or opt for a glass or bottle from the impressive wine list featuring a selection from Kansas’s own Grace Hill Winery.
12401 Johnson Drive | wanderingvine.com
If there’s one thing the French are known for, it’s romance—with wine and cheese in the following slots. So, it’s no wonder French bistro and cocktail spot Westport Café is a premier destination for date night with its well-curated selection of vino, tantalizing cheese plates, and cozy ambience, including exposed brick walls and a signature black-and-white checked floor. Traditionalists will find plenty to love, such as the steak frites and croque madame, but the restaurant is also so much more, infusing French techniques and flavors into dishes like the coconut curry mussels and salmon fettuccine with tobiko, black and white sesame seeds, and pickled ginger. And although you can’t go wrong with a glass of wine at Westport Café, the cocktail program is a true standout. With classics available along with a creative list of house specialties (and a hidden cocktail menu you didn’t hear about from us), it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new and discover a future favorite.
419 Westport Road | westportcafeandbar.com