Ready for a culinary adventure that will lead you all the way around the globe? Prepare to feed your adventurous spirit.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
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Although 417-land is just a little speck in the middle of the United States, our restaurant scene is filled with gigantic flavors from all around the globe. And we’re talking about more than just the typically popular Chinese, Mexican and Italian spots (although we highlight some of those, too). Local diners can dig into Lebanese food, Korean cuisine, Peruvian treats and Australian fare. They can feast on Thai food made by Thailand natives, and authentic Mediterranean dishes made from recipes brought here generations ago. And the list goes on. Whether they came here for business, a vacation or to actually open a restaurant, chefs in our corner of the state hail from all over the world, and they’re serving up some of the tastiest fare around. Ready for a culinary adventure that will lead you all the way around the globe? Prepare to feed your adventurous spirit.
[ Chinese ]
2058 S. Glenstone Ave., Springfield, 417-799-0215, eatoceanzen.com
5 Spice won over the hearts of 417-land foodies years ago when it first started serving modern Chinese food, delivering carefully compiled, beautifully presented dishes to every customer. And in May 2014, the restaurant gave us all yet another reason to come back: it introduced an authentic Chinese menu. The authentic dishes here are prepared by Bob Tan, the father of brothers and co-owners John and Johnson Tan. “He’s from Taiwan originally,” Johnson says. Highlights of the authentic menu include a soy-braised pork belly, salt and pepper pork, salt and pepper fish and the hot pot fish, which is a Szechuan dish with white fish and assorted fresh vegetables that are stewed in a spicy hot pot sauce. If you’re looking for a more daring authentic dish, Johnson recommends you try the pork chitlins with jalapeños and onions.
India Clay Oven
[ Indian ]
2005 W. 76 Country Blvd., Suite 209, Branson, 417-973-0044, indiaclayovenbranson.com
Just as its name suggests, this Indian restaurant specializes in serving mouthwatering dishes that are cooked to perfection in a tandoor oven. The clay oven mix grill entrée with tandoori chicken, lamb and seafood is served with sizzling onion and bell peppers and is a great option for those new to Indian cuisine, and the shrimp korma dish featuring shrimp swimming in a delectably creamy almond and saffron sauce is a favorite of the regulars. You’ll find the usual favorites here, too, like chicken tikka masala. Owner Gurmit Ram moved to the United States in 2002, and he runs the restaurant with his sons, chef Surjit Saroya and front manager Jit Saroya. The family-owned spot offers distinctive Indian flavors that range from mild to exotic, and they can be as spicy as you’d like. If you’re extra-daring, order a dish extra-hot. (You can always order the spice on the side, if you don’t quite have the guts.)
Mijuri Sushi & Grill
[ Japanese ]
2710 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-889-9593
This Japanese restaurant is owned by Jong Lee, a South Korea native who purchased it in 2010. It’s a hot spot for sushi, selling a wide variety of nigiri, sashimi and maki rolls, but the restaurant also has a handful of authentic Japanese dishes on the menu. If you’re looking to start your meal with some out-of-the-box flavors, look to the appetizer menu and try out the tako—an octopus salad. Then, consider ordering the Mijuri Chicken Katsu for dinner. This dish features breaded chicken that’s topped with Asian barbecue sauce and served with steamed rice and salad, pairing the familiar chicken with a one-of-a-kind sauce that’ll have you licking your plate.
[ Italian ]
3631 E. Sunshine St., Springfield, 417-886-3700, nicolasristorante.com
Originally from northern Italy near Lake Como, Chef Nicola Gilardi’s days in the kitchen started when he was just a young boy. In fact, his parents even owned an Italian restaurant. “I cooked with my mother for years,” Gilardi says. Next, he went to culinary school in Italy, and after cooking at a few spots around the world, he eventually settled down and opened his own gourmet Italian restaurant in Springfield. Gilardi and his wife, Monica, own and operate Nicola’s Ristorante, which offers a variety of pastas (including a gluten-free pasta), freshly made ravioli, seafood entrées, pizzas, lamb, pork and veal shanks, tenderloins and even bone-in rib-eye steaks. With recipes created by the life-long chef, nearly everything served at Nicola’s is as authentic as Nicola himself, and whether you order a pizza with his signature sauce or an entrée with ravioli that were just made that morning, you’re going to go home happy.