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Johnny Cascone's Italian Restaurant: Molto Buono! (extremely good)
A little thing about Johnny's, if you are expecting or prefer something like Olive Garden or some type of Americanized Italian restaurant, do not come to Johnny's you just might be disappointed.
Come to Johnny's for the authenticity. Papa Cascone is often seen here and likes to visit with you. So if an old guy comes and sits with you, don't worry, more than likely it's Papa. (or a transient - heh)
I recommend going during midday or non-rush times. Johnny's is popular with the locals and the waitstaff gets spread thin. They might seem very rude and stand-offish. If you are not pressed for time this is a great place to drink a little vino and talk with your friends. Very laid back. On a busy day, it's very loud because the the restaurant itself is not overtly huge and Italian music is piped into the sound system.
I saw a review of Johnny's once, the commenter visited Johnny's because they read many good reviews but they were disappointed when they thought 10 mins was too long to get their appetizer, 35 mins to long to get their entrees, they thought the food was too runny, and the waitstaff didn't immediatly tend to their needs, etc., needless to say the review was not good.
If you do go, I want you to picture this......imagine you and your friends going to your grandparents' or fave relative's house and having an impromtu meal. If you have that in mind, then you will not be disappointed.
The portions are generous and the meals are thin saucy, it's not that thick paste sauce look. Stick around for dessert.
Favorite Dish: You know you are at a good restaurant when you can mix and match the entrees.
My favorite is getting the Shrimp Alfredo and have the smoked salmon as a side item. Their house white wine is good with this meal. This of course comes with a price, but I'm willing to pay for it and I'm never disappointed.
Recommend the toasted ravioli or fried mozzarella as an appetizer. Do a double order if you've got more than two people at your table. Try the house dressing if you get the salad.
V's Italiano Restaurant: Old and Stale-Italian Food
The decor is like walking back to 1960's/maybe 1950's. It looks dark and dank inside. This used to be their trademark, but that gets old. The fake flower arrangements are dusty and the tables and chairs seem like they have a few years crud on them. It has been going since 1963 and the "new"restaurant is form 1971-then nothing changed. The original owners still run the operation, and guess what, the wife nick name is V.
Food is average to fair, but none has ever tasted like good. ON the occasions I visited over last 18 years in town, every time the food was luke warm, and nothing to brag about. Ravioli has been what they push, but also pasta dishes, not much substance in the condiment items.
Favorite Dish: Not much I recall.
Located in a renovated railway freight house behind Union Station, and sporting exposed ceiling beams, brick walls, and an outdoor patio, this very popular restaurant (owned by PBS culinary star Lidia Bastianich) specializes in excellent yet affordable Northern Italian cuisine.
Favorite Dish: Try the three-pasta sampler, delivered to your plate straight from the kitchen via a frying pan (you can have as much as you wish) Also try the Tiramsu dessert.
Johnny Cascone's: Italiano Actual Culture
All of the food is good here, and has been quite a tradition for about 10 years at this location. The families created one restaurant in Overland Park and the original up north of the river.
Favorite Dish: Sausage and bell peppers have a stand out taste. I am prone to the sausage flavor. Other good plates are the lasagna that is a very large portion and done with tender touch. The veal is also very good, and fish dishes are a popular item. Pasta dishes are okay, and you get enough to take 1/2 home for another dinner.
CAscone's: The First Italian Place
This Italian restaurant was the first to begin service, and later another started down in the south part of the town/Overland Park. The service is high end and well organized, with attentive waiters handling your needs.
Favorite Dish: The veal here is very good and well presented. Basic pasta dishes are all excellent. Chicken Parmaigiano is an old tradition, as well as the spendini plate. They have been know for the ravioli as a main stay for years.
Both of these Italian theme restaurants are in Country Club Plaza area. They are medium to more upscale in items served and price. Neither is really outstanding, in my opinion, and both are overrated and over advertised. Better Italian can be found in local joints.
Cupini's Fresh Pasta and Panini: Real Italian Bliss
This is a amazing little Italian restaurant that I recently discovered and I'm not the only one cause they are expanding cause buisness is doing so good. The food tastle like it came directly from Italy. The chef is an actual native from Rome. It's not real fancy, you stand in line to order and the will bring you your food. the prices are great esp for the quality of the food. They serve fresh pasta daily and you can watch them make it through the window in the morning. Oh and the staff is very friendly and fun and well the men are hot..
Avelluto's Italian Delight: Inexpensive Italian - Take Out or Eat In
It's actually on the Kansas side of State Line, in the suburb of Mission, but certainly "Italian Delight" lives up to its name. In fact, it has some of the best inexpensive Italian food I've ever had - and darn good pizza, too. It has the feel - and the authenticity - of a neighborhood joint in Queens. My family - third generation Italian American - has been coming here for 20 years now.
Favorite Dish: Pastas, salads, pizzas, calzones - all fresh, wholesome, and tasty. I especially recommend the lasagna - the Avelluto family makes an excellent red sauce!
- Food and Dining
Lidia's: Great Italian
New York Chef Lidia Bastianich opened a version of her east coast restaurant in K.C. several years ago. It is located in the historic freight house district in a remodeled brick warehouse. It can be a bit noisy as it is a popular place for everyone from couples to business groups. It is tastefully decorated with modern colors and unique chandeliers that resemble large grape bunches.
Lidia's has a full range of pasta dishes to grilled intems and two wine lists. The first list has value wines in the $20/bottle range while the second has premium selections. There home made pasta selections are creative and always tasty. They also have the best caesar salad in K.C.
Favorite Dish: Lidias is known for the pasta trio dinner. Every night they have a selection of three pastas (at least one of which is home made) with different sauces. Waiters roam the restaurant with hot pans refilling your plate until you can eat no more. My favorite sauces include a shrimp fra diavalo (spicy) and a very simple garlic and olive oil. Their home made gnocci is also top notch. The dinner comes with a salad and a choice of dessert.
Bucca de Beppo: How does one say "ripped off" in Italian?
It was my birthday so we wanted to go to someplace different. I saw mixed reviews regarding Bucca de Beppo, but a friend said her experience had been really good, so we gave it a try.
We made a reservation for two. When we arrived they seated us in the bar. I wanted a romantic dinner. And talking above the bar noises, including the TV, was not what I had in mind. So we asked for another table. We were told we would have to wait. Strike One.
We were subsequently seated in a room with lots of empty tables....so why the wait. Our server was friendly and he took our order. Little did I know this would be the last time we would see him until he brought the check.
All the fun was delivered by runners. Young, teenaged boys running the plates from the kitchen to the table. Well I hope this is what we ordered and that we don't need anything else. They threw the plates of food on the table and were off. We didn't even have plates to eat off of (everything is served family style) and had to ask for plates from a bus boy.
The food was either poorly prepared or simply had no taste. We ordered the meat platter, it was extremely overprived for what was presented and all the meat was very overcooked and dried out and not hot when it arrived at the table. The salad had been sitting in dressing too long and was wilted. And nothing really had any flavor.
When out waiter appeared with the check and said "wasn't everything delicious?", when I said no, he said "ok" and walked away from the table. No questions about what wasn't right, or what could have been better.
There are too many great Italian restaurants in KC that are the real thing. I won't waste my money in this imitation when the original is just downtown.
Milano Café: Northern Italian
Stylish restaurant serves a wide variety of Italian dishes, but specializes in northern cuisine, and that's what I go for. Pastas and pizzas baked in their brick oven.
Relaxing setting in the bustling Crown Center complex. Ask for a table in the glassed-in section viewable in this photo.
Favorite Dish: My favorite - chicken and artichoke hearts with pasta. I've had some terrific salmon, as well.
- Food and Dining
Great NY style Italian deli and pizza place. Part of the charm is the old hardwood floors, tin ceiling, and graffiti-filled brick walls. Try the pizza, calzone or one of your favorite high-stacked deli sandwiches or subs. Pizza by the slice or pies up to a 30 inch monster size for your group. Huge portions. Great desserts. Very reasonable prices.
Copa Room: Romantic Italian
We went to the Copa Room for the first time on Friday night. It has nice atmosphere for a romantic evening for two, with candles lit on each table, but would be perfect for a small group as well. I had linguine with marinara. The portions were large and the food was flavorful. Salad and all you can eat rolls come with the meals. I can't wait to go back and try the lasagna!
The evening we went they had live music, a gentleman sang Frank Sinatra tunes.
Lidia's Kansas City: Nice place for Italian
The restaurant is in a former railroad house downtown. It's very beautiful inside (can be a bit noisy) and the service is fantastic. On one visit I celebrated a birthday here with family and our server was great about making it a special evening. Both times I've been here I've ordered Lidia's Pasta Tasting Trio. For $26 you get salad and then three different pastas will be put on your plate. The server will occassionally be back to refill your plate if you choose. These are not your usual red sauce pastas. There will be various breads on your table. As your third course you will have your choice of desert. The peach sorbet was outstanding!
Favorite Dish: One of the pasta dishes in the pasta trio had a delicious sage sauce. Different but very good. Did I mention the peach sorbet?
Cupini's is sit-down restaurant where patrons order their meals at a counter. In that sense, it's kind of a cross between fast food and a more traditional dining experience. As of this writing, Cupini's has four locations in Kansas City (the one I tried is downtown). The food was good, but nothing special. As long as you don't go in expecting a great Italian meal, you shouldn't be disappointed.
I recently saw a claim on Cupini's web site that it is one of the top 1000 Italian restaurants in the US. I'm not sure if that's really worth bragging about or how anyone can even create a list like that in the first place. For what it's worth, Cupini's is definitely one of the top 1000 Italian restaurants I've ever tried :)
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