Your weekly Kansas City neighborhood guide
Bright, colorful brick and adobe buildings line Southwest Boulevard between Jefferson and 25th streets.
Along Southwest Boulevard and in the neighboring Westide district, wedged between Southwest Boulevard, I-35 and the Missouri River bottoms, is a sophisticated blend of authentic Latin culture and contemporary urban chic.
Whether one is savoring Mexican churros, empanadas, French crêpes, a savory bison burger or wild salmon, they can rest assured their culinary cravings will be fulfilled at one of the Westside’s eclectic establishments.
Here are a few of my favorite Westside and Southwest Boulevard locales:
La Tropicana- 830 Southwest Blvd.
I never thought pineapple, melon and chili pepper would go well together until I tried the flavorful blend at La Tropicana, but the homemade pistachio ice cream and mouthwatering churros (think twisted, cinnamon-flavored breadsticks), remain my all-time favorites. La Tropicana’s prices are also reasonable; a large serving of pistachio ice cream on a waffle cone costs less than $3.
Ricos Tacos Lupe- 802 Southwest Blvd.
At $1.50 each, Ricos’ delicious tacos are a desirable alternative to Taco Bell’s dollar menu. Rico’s offers a variety of meats (I’ve tried asada and carnitas, both of which are outstanding) and seasonings. Ricos is hands-down the closest to authentic Mexican street tacos one will find in Kansas City.
Taqueria Mexico- 910 Southwest Blvd.
One of Kansas City’s best under-the-radar Mexican restaurants.
Here, one can enjoy a hacienda atmosphere and traditional Mexican music played from the jukebox as they chow down on a generous chimichanga plate. Taqueria Mexico is reasonable in price while edging out some pricier Mexican restaurants in quality.
Chez Elle- 1713 Summit St.
Located in the historic Summit Theatre building, Chez Elle’s mouthwatering gourmet crêpes are enough to make even the most fastidious weight watcher break his or her diet. Prices range from $5-$10 depending on the crêpe.
On my last visit, I ordered the Paris, a crêpe topped with chocolaty Nutella, pureed strawberries, bananas and whipped cream. Yum.
Blue Bird Bistro- 1700 Summit St.
Exquisite, sleek, exotic. Also the priciest of any Westside restaurant I have been to, but well worth it.
If one has a hankering for organic salads, wild caught salmon or bison, Blue Bistro is your place. Blue Bird also boasts an extensive vegetarian selection.
And of course, there are many other Westisde restaurants worth checking out, such as Manny’s, La Bodega, El Pueblito, Ponak’s and Marguerita’s. For a more thorough listing of Westside restaurants, visit www.urbanspoon.com/n/34/5204/Kansas-City/Westside-restaurants.
Up next: Downtown and the Crossroads Arts District.