Restaurant Guide–Montana

Restaurant Guide Main Index


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Anaconda

Donivan’s–211 E. Park Ave. (American) Open daily (serves breakfast).  Menu has some really good choices including street tacos, French dip, patty melt, steaks, veggie burger, and pasty with gravy. Map (Dining room is open 11-19-21)

Gallicano’s Pizzeria–118 E. Park Ave. (Pizza) Closed Sat lunch & Sun.  Reviewers say the pizza here is the best food in Anaconda, and rates high compared to all other pizza. It is said to be authentic New York style pizza. (Dining room is open 8-14-21)

O-Bella–1515 E. Commercial Ave. (Italian) Open Daily.  Looks like the best choice in town for Italian food from the regular menu (non-pizza). Food is made from scratch (including the pizza dough and sauce and this is also a recommended item). Some say the chicken parmesan is very good. Map (Dining room is open 11-19-21)

Bigfork

Pocketstone Cafe–444 Electric Ave. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  The best reviews are for breakfast–serves Northwest style fresh food (strawberry pancakes, several types of egg scrambles, etc.). Breakfast tacos are also available. (Dining room is open 8-14-21)

Big Sky

Lotus Pad–47 Town Center Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun (in winter might serve dinner only).  Flavors are pretty close to traditional Thai but the spice level is not (order it spicy if you are used to medium spice levels at other restaurants). Reviewers like the curries, but the pad thai is not very popular. Some recommend getting the daily special, whatever it is. (Dining room is open 8-14-21)

Billings

A Taste of Asia–111 S. 24th St. W. (Lao & Vietnamese) Open Mon-Sat 11 am to 8 pm.  Lao food seems to be what they do that is the most authentic, but Vietnamese (particularly pho) is what is most popular with customers. Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Harper & Madison–3115 10th Ave. N. (New American) Open Tue-Sat (breakfast & lunch only).  Popular place for breakfast–somewhat upscale, quiche is one of the recommended dishes. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Imperial Thai–216 N. Broadway (Thai) Open Daily.  Reviews seem to be uniformly positive, saying this is the best Asian food in Billings. Curries are recommended. Some dishes have kaffir lime. Owners also have Asia Garden in Sidney, MT. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

J P Kitchen–805 24th St. W. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Mon).  Probably more authentic style Chinese food than the other restaurants in town. Menu is limited, though. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Okinawa Sushi–1414 Main St. (Japanese) Open Daily.  Has udon and other dishes besides sushi. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Wild Ginger–2713 Montana Ave. (Asian Fusion) Closed Tue.  This is fusion in two ways–it has items from various countries and it combines traditional flavors with new ways of presenting them. Quality seems like it might mean the food is better than at some of the traditional Asian restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 11-19-21)

Black Eagle

Borries–1800 Smelter Ave. NE (Steakhouse) Dinner only (closed Mon).  This restaurant has been open literally for “generations,” and is a “local legend.” It is a steakhouse that also serves Italian food. This is an old style “supper club” restaurant, and serves old style steaks. It appears that they way it works is that you get a steak with minestrone soup, toasted ravioli, and spaghetti (you can also get chicken or fish instead of steak). (Dining room is open 8-14-21)

Bozeman

Jam!–25 W. Main St. (American) Open daily 7 am to 3:30 pm.  Serves upscale breakfast, including fresh squeezed orange juice. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Pakeezah Authentic Indian–34 N. Bozeman Ave. (Indian) Closed Sun (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Some say this is the only authentic Indian restaurant in Montana. Some like it because the food is actually spicy (but I suppose you can have it less spicy if desired). (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Sweet Chili Asian Bistro–101 E. Main St. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Reviewers say this is one of the best Thai places anywhere. Food is described as “fusion,” though, and I’m not sure how authentic it is. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Whistle Pig Korean–25 N. Willson Ave. (Korean) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Good reviews, and many say this is comparable to big city restaurants. Varied menu (not just Korean BBQ, etc.). (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Butte

Annie’s Cafe–815 E. Front St. (American) Breakfast & lunch Tue-Sun; dinner Wed-Fri.  Popular place for breakfast & lunch. Serves typical breakfast dishes, but they do them very well (according to reviewers). From the photos I would say to order the omelet. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Casagranda’s Steakhouse–801 S. Utah Ave. (Steakhouse) Dinner only (open daily).  Seems to be one of the best steakhouses in Montana (but has other items also, such as chicken, etc.). (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Family Roots–22 W. Galena St. (American) Breakfast & lunch Wed-Sun; dinner Fri-Sun (closed Mon & Tue).  Reviewers say it has the best bang for the buck in town for getting good food at low prices. Has special pasties such as the prime rib pasty. Map (Dining room is open 11-19-21)

Freeway Tavern–2001 S. Montana St. (American) Open Daily.  This is a dive bar that is famous for one thing–the pork chop sandwich (the pork chop is battered in what looks like tempura and is called the “Wop Chop”). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Pekin Noodle Parlor–117 S. Main St. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Old style Chinese food (get sweet and sour, ginger shrimp, tofu with veggies, house special fried rice). It’s best if you can order several items and eat them family style. Orders come with a choice of rice or noodles (reviewers say get the noodles). Each table is in an individual room. Go for the experience more than the food (rest. is 100 yrs. old–all with the same family). Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Uptown Cafe–47 E. Broadway St. (American) Lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Beef wellington and duck with huckleberry sauce are some of the recommended items. Has daily lunch specials with items such as chicken pot pie and beef stroganoff. Dinner is more upscale. (Dining room is open–dinner is temporarily discontinued because of staff shortage 9-20-21)

Cameron

Driftwood Bar & Bistro–31 Sagebrush Way (American) Dinner only (closed Wed & Thu).  I’m including it on the list because of its reviews, and the food looks interesting (salmon tacos, reuben, burger with jalapeno & pepper jack cheese). Specials are ribeye steak on Tue, prime rib on Sat, open face prime rib on Sun (which is about half the price as the regular prime rib). Map (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Columbia Falls

Laurie’s Deli–330 9th St. W. (Sandwiches) Open 8:30 to 4 pm (closed Sun).  Recommended place for soups and sandwiches. Uses house made bread, and cuts the meat for your order. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Tien’s Place Oriental–329 9th St. W. (Chinese) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  I don’t really think this is a “recommended” Chinese restaurant–just one of the best choices in the area. Food is Americanized, but the Szechuan style dishes are probably the closest to real Chinese food. (Dinner only 9-20-21)

Conrad

Home Cafe–408 S. Main St. (American) Open daily (breakfast & lunch only).  People say breakfast is excellent. Omelettes are recommended (Denver, sausage, etc.). (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Deer Lodge

Sesame Wok–1007 Village Ln. (Thai) Open Daily.  This is a double restaurant–Chinese Garden (Chinese) and Sesame Wok (Thai). Thai is what most people like–Singapore noodles, pad thai, curry, etc. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Dillon

China Garden–130 N. Montana St. (Chinese) Closed Sun.  Most of the menu consists of Americanized dishes, but look for the more authentic ones (such as clay pot dishes). (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Fiesta Mexicana–510 N. Montana St. (Mexican) Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.  Dining room is in a converted bus (this probably saves on heating bills in the winter). Authentic style food–tacos, burritos, etc. (I didn’t see a single picture of anything smothered in cheese). (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Horse Prairie Stage Stop–11800 MT-324 (Bar & Grill) Open daily including breakfast (closed from 2 pm to 5 pm).  Very good reviews and what they have seems to be high quality. Steaks are the most highly recommended item, but it seems to have a full range of items, and reviews for all of them is good. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Sparky’s Garage–420 E. Poindexter St. (American) Open Daily.  This seems to be a favorite with locals. Serves burgers, sandwiches, etc. Has special items such as fried green tomatoes. Everything is made on site (including the salad dressing). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Evergreen

Pho Ly–2141 US Hwy 2 East (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Pho is described as top notch–serves other Vietnamese dishes as well. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Forsyth

The Joseph Cafe–147 N. 9th Ave. (American) Open daily 8 am to 2 am.  Good reviews. Steaks and burgers are popular, but has other recommended items such as tomato basil soup, salad with fresh greens, rosemary fries, hot dog with aioli, etc. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Gardiner

Follow Yer’ Nose BBQ–375 US 89 S. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 7 pm (closed Wed-Fri).  Good reviews for the BBQ. Brisket, pulled pork, and cole slaw are the most recommended items. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Grizzly Grille–1016 Scott St. (New American) Closed Tue & Sun.  This is a food truck (you have to eat outdoors on a picnic table but it has a great view). Eclectic menu including ramen (reviewers say it is not Japanese style but it is good with a less fatty broth). (Takeout only 9-20-21)

Yellowstone Grill–404 Scott St. (American) Breakfast Tue-Sun; lunch Tue-Sat (I think in winter it is closed Tue).  Breakfast is popular–best items are the more upscale ones (eggs Benedict, Mediterranean omelette, blueberry pancakes, etc.). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Great Falls

Maple Garden–5401 9th Ave. S. (Korean) Open Daily.  I don’t know if it has the best Asian food in Great Falls, but it has the greatest consensus of diners that the food is good. Also has Chinese food, but it specializes in Korean. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Pho Vi Tai–3212 10th Ave. S. (Vietnamese) Open Daily. Opened in 2019, so they may still be working out some bugs. Most say the food is good, and some comment that they now have some truly authentic Asian food in Great Falls. Both pho and vermicelli dishes are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Note: Also see Black Eagle and Ulm for steakhouse recommendations.

Hamilton

A Thaiger–102 S. 2nd St. (Thai) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 1 to 4 pm). Good reviews–some say this is the best food in town. I think it started out as a food truck and now has a permanent location with dine-in service. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Helena

Mediterranean Grill–42 S. Park Ave. (Middle Eastern) Open daily 11 am to 9:30 pm.  Good reviews for the food, but they frequently run out of items (probably a result of being located far from large metro areas). Has some unusual items such as Turkish desserts. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Ristorante Bella Roma–22 N. Last Chance Gulch St. (Italian) Open daily except Sun lunch.  Its old location was offbeat–the chef only gave two choices for the entree, and it changed daily. There is now a larger but still limited menu-diners say everything is excellent, cooked from scratch, and authentic. Some recommend the four course meals (expensive but a memorable experience). (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Suki Cafe–15 W. 6th Ave. (Thai) Closed Sun.  This seems to be the only Asian restaurant in town with good reviews that is open for lunch. It has Thai and Japanese food (mainly sushi). Like its sister restaurant in Great Falls, the Thai food looks like a better bet. If you order the Japanese food, the salmon gets good reviews. Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Hungry Horse

Carolyn’s Cafe–8930 Hwy. 2 East (American) Open 7am to 1:30 pm (closed Mon & Tue).  Located in a gas station, it’s especially popular for breakfast (huckleberry pancakes are a local favorite). At lunch huckleberry pie is popular. Everything is made in house. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

Kalispell

Brannigan’s Pub–101 E. Center St. (Irish) Closed Sun & Mon.  Irish pub with food that gets good reviews. (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Knead Cafe–21 5th St. E. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Has the usual breakfast favorites, but with a British twist (scones, corned beef hash, Welsh eggs, etc. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Pho Ly (see Evergreen, MT)

Thai Palace–319 Main St. (Thai) Open 11 am to 10 pm (closed Sun).  Owners are from Thailand and return periodically (so food is authentic). Reviewers say price is an issue, though, and it’s better to go at lunch. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Lewistown

China Garden Kitchen–316 W. Main St. (Chinese) Closed Sun & Mon.  American style Chinese food, but reviewers say it is very good, fresh, and flavorful. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Libby

Smoking Gun BBQ–312 Mineral Ave. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 5 pm (closed Sat-Mon).  Good reviews. Pulled pork with Memphis sauce, cornbread, baked beans are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Livingston

Big Sky Thai–102 Rogers Ln. (Thai) Closed Mon. It is worth taking note anytime there is a five-star Thai restaurant in Montana, and this has the reviews indicating it is one. Curries are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Crust & Crumb Bakery–1106 W. Park St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun).  Open for breakfast & lunch, but most people seem to go for lunch. Chicken soup and turkey bacon wrap are examples of the items served. The pie is very popular. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Faye’s Cafe–415 E. Lewis St. (American) Open 8 am to 11 am (closed Fri).  Upscale restaurant that is popular for breakfast. Web site says they stay open until they have served 40 people or 11 am (whichever comes first). (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

The Wok–102 N. 2nd St. (Chinese) Open Daily.  Reviewers say the owners do their best to offer authentic Chinese food within the limits of being in rural Montana. Good ratings for the food. (Dining room is open 9-20-21)

Yellowstone Valley Grill–3840 US 89 S (American) Dinner only (closed Mon).  This is a steak restaurant located in a lodge that reviewers say is very worthwhile. Not only are the steaks a good taste of Montana food, but they are apparently less expensive than at other restaurants. Other main dishes are served, and the same care goes into the side dishes as the entrees. Note: this is located south of the town of Livingston. Closed in winter. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Lolo

Bamboo Chopstix II–11400 Hwy 93 S (Chinese) Lunch Tue-Fri; dinner Tue-Sun.  This is apparently the new location for the former Hong Kong Chef in Missoula where I ate and really enjoyed the food. Now it has a new name and different hours, but good reviews (and is said to have some authentic dishes). (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Lolo Creek Steakhouse–6600 Lolo Creek Rd. (Steaks) Dinner only (open daily).  This restaurant is more expensive than my normal guidelines, but seems to be worth it for a good example of Montana’s “national food” (steaks). Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Missoula

Edelweiss Bistro (at Bayern Brewing)–1507 Montana St. (German) Closed Sun.  The emphasis is definitely on the beer, but they also serve schnitzels and German cucumber salad (also potato salad). The customers seem to be very satisfied. It also seems that they have the best beer in Missoula. Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Five on Black–325 N. Higgins Ave. (Fast Food) Open Daily.  This restaurant fits the “fast food” category only in that it is pre-prepared and you are served quickly. The food is fresh and good quality, and is Brazilian inspired (has some items with Brazilian flavors). Reviewers say this all works and it is very good. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Masala–206 W. Main St. (Indian) Closed Sun & closed Sat lunch.  Info says it is both Indian and Nepali. Definitely seems to serve some different and unique dishes not normally found in Indian restaurants. Quality is said to be excellent most of the time (with occasional misses). Has good vegetarian options. I don’t think it has a buffet. Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Vietnam Noodle–2100 Stephens Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun (and closed 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Reviewers say there is a large menu selection, and this is legit Vietnamese food. Pho has mixed reviews (reviewers say Vietnam Grill at 420 N. Higgins is better for pho). Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Shelby

The Griddle–311 Main St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sat & Sun).  Everything for breakfast is said to be good, but eggs, bacon, muffins, and omelettes are the most popular. Burgers are popular at lunch. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Saint Mary

Johnson’s Cafe–21 Red Eagle Rd. (American) Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.  Fried chicken, bison steak, veggie burger, omelette, and huckleberry ice cream pie are recommended. (Operates mid-May to late September only 9-5-21)

Sidney

Asian Garden–115 E. Main St. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Serves Chinese food (Americanized), but the thing to get here is the Thai (green curry, yellow curry, chicken coconut soup, etc). (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Stevensville

Marie’s Italian–4040 US 93 N. (Italian) Dinner only (open Fri-Sun only).  For some reason there are several Italian restaurants in town, but this restaurant north of town is the one that gets the most rave reviews, serving upscale food that you will likely remember for some time (I don’t know the prices here–they are likely to be fairly high but lower than comparable restaurants in major cities). (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Mission Bistro–225 Main St. (American) Dinner Wed-Sat; brunch Sun.  Reviewers say it has very high quality food. Menu changes all the time. Salads are not to be missed. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Three Forks

Iron Horse Cafe–24 N. Main St. (American) Open Daily.  Casual restaurant that serves steaks, but seems to specialize in sandwiches and other popular items such as Sunday night all you can eat catfish. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Peking–10 N. Main St. (Chinese) Open daily except Sat lunch.  The food is described as authentic (in the flavors, etc.) and can legitimately be called the best food in town. (Dining room is open 8-23-21)

Pompey’s Grill–5 N. Main St. (Steaks) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  Expensive, but I think the food here qualifies as a “local specialty.” Steak, prime rib, bison, etc., but also has some less expensive items. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Ulm

Beef N Bone–19 Ulm N. Frontage Road (Steakhouse) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Voted by readers of the Great Falls Tribune as the best steakhouse in the area (Ulm is about 10 miles SW of Great Falls). The premise of the restaurant is that the best meat is that which is close to the bone (and this is what they serve). Some of the steaks are quite large (enough for at least two people). The steaks here are less expensive than similar cuts at other restaurants, though. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

West Yellowstone

Euro Cafe–237 Firehole Ave. (International) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  This would probably be a better breakfast than at other places because you get more variety (such as crepes, scones, etc). However, some reviewers say not to expect European quality–just a good choice for a tourist town in Montana. Place is small (only has 8 to 10 tables). Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Red Lotus–19 Madison Ave. (Chinese) Only open May-Oct.  In addition to the Americanized menu they have a Chinese menu (with authentic food such as ma po tofu and Chinese green beans). Photos of the food honestly look like something from San Francisco (and get excellent reviews). Map (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Whitefish

Cafe Kandahar–3824 Big Mountain Rd. (Modern American) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  World class food that I imagine is very expensive, but it’s on this list because the restaurant is very highly recommended. Food is fusion style, and everything is local and organic. You can come in jeans. Some reviewers describe it as small with limited seating. (Located at the ski area north of town). (Dining room is open 8-10-21)

Loula’s Cafe–300 2nd St. E. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (open daily).  Probably the most popular breakfast place in town. Food looks fresh and organic (although reviewers don’t say it is organic). Chicken pot pie is one of the recommended dishes. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Orient Express–6155 US 93 S. (Chinese) Closed Mon.  Best Asian in the valley–goes beyond standard (Americanized) Chinese dishes. Satay beef noodle soup is popular. (Dining room is open 6-28-20)

Willow Creek

Willow Creek Cafe–21 Main St. (American) Dinner daily (closed Mon & Tue).  Best known for its ribs, but people rave about the steaks also. Serves good vegetarian meals as well. Willow Creek is a short distance SW of Three Forks. (Dining room is open 9-5-21)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

Note About “50 States, 50 Cuisines” (Condé Nast)

Condé Nast published an article on Sep. 14, 2020 explaining how they set out to go beyond a previous article that had identified the signature dish for each state, and to find food that goes beyond the classics and “to highlight a cuisine worth traveling to each state for, much of which you truly can’t get anywhere else.” For Montana it was Cornish Cuisine which was brought to mining camps in the upper Midwest then to Butte, Montana. They brought pasties, a turnover filled with beef, potatoes, and onions whose portability made it ideal for taking into the mines.

Pasties are available in bakeries in Butte, Helena, Anaconda, and other cities (some of which specialize in this particular pastry). In addition, Condé Nast says several restaurants in Butte have pasties on the menu and turn them into a hearty supper by covering them with gravy or chili, cheese, and onions.

 

Sources:

Condé Nast Traveler (50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Every State)

Google Maps

Great Falls Tribune (Great Falls Steakhouses)

Trip Advisor

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Montana)

Zomato (Missoula)

 

Restaurant Guide–Kansas City

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Kansas | Missouri


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Independence, MO

Gates BBQ–10440 E. US 40 Hwy. (BBQ) Open Daily. Many of its fans consider it to be “the world’s best barbecue.” Gil’s favorites are ribs and chicken. Some say the service is not as good here as at the other Gates locations (which usually translates into people having to wait a long time for things). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Thai Kitchen–19321 E. US 40 Hwy. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Seems to be the best Thai restaurant on the east side of KC. Curries are very popular. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Kansas City, KS

Bonito Michoacan–1150 Minnesota Ave. (Mexican) Open daily 7 am to 10 pm (store hours).  Tacos al pastor and a number of other types of tacos (but probably pastor is best). Has barbacoa, gorditas, Mexican sodas (in other words, it is more than just tacos). Not a restaurant but you can order at the counter and eat at the tables. (Also in Olathe at 1231 E. Santa Fe St). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

El Pollo Rey–901 Kansas Ave. (Mexican) Open 10 am to 7 pm (10 to 5 on Sun).  Mexican style chicken. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Joe’s Kansas City BBQ (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s)–3002 W. 47th Ave. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Ribs, brisket, chicken (Bill Hensley’s blog rates Billy Sims as having better ribs). Gil says the pulled pork is best–the rest is disappointing overall. Most people say the burnt ends are excellent. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Noodle Bar–10940 Parallel Pkwy. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun (closes 7 pm weekdays).  Very good reviews. Serves pho, ramen, pad thai, and other types of Asian cuisine. All of them seem to be good, even though this is not usually the case when they do not stick to one cuisine. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Slap’s BBQ–553 Central Ave. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 7 pm.  A very highly rated restaurant with locals, but seems to be under the radar on the national barbecue lists. Brisket, pulled pork, and burnt ends are recommended (some are disappointed with the ribs). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Vietnam Cafe–2200 W. 39th Ave. (Vietnamese) Open 11 am to 7:30 pm (closed Mon).  Recent reviews say it has gone downhill but is still good for certain items. Lemongrass chicken and bun (vermicelli bowl) are recommended. This is a branch of Vietnam Cafe in KCMO. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Kansas City, MO

Andre’s–5018 Main St. (Swiss) Open 7 am to 5:30 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Authentic Swiss lunches and pastries are the specialty (this looks like a deli). Chocolates are popular for dessert or for takeout. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Arthur Bryant’s–1727 Brooklyn Ave. (BBQ) Mon-Sat 11 am to 8 pm (11 to 7 on Sun).  Ribs, burnt ends. Gil likes burnt ends, pork sandwich, and baked beans (this is Gil’s favorite BBQ). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

BB’s Lawnside BBQ–1205 E. 85th St. (BBQ) Closed Mon.  This is a very highly rated, but not the highest rated barbecue restaurant in KC. When I ate there, though, it made quite an impression on me, and I am even more surprised that it is still around (I won’t tell you how many years later). To me you can’t do much better than this place. Burnt ends are especially popular but everything seems to be good (according to reviewers). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Blue Nile–20 E. 5th St. (Ethiopian) Closed Sun dinner; closed Tue.  Traditional Ethiopian food. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Browne’s Irish Marketplace–3300 Pennsylvania Ave. (Irish) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Unlike Irish pubs, this focuses on being a restaurant and sandwich shop, with a wide variety of Irish food. Has been operating since 1900 (so they must be doing something right). Map (Outdoor patio and takeout available 11-10-21)

Bun Mee Phan–4011 N. Oak Trafficway (Vietnamese) Open 11:30 am to 7 pm–12 to 5 on Sun (closed Mon).  Generally good reviews, but banh mi sandwich seems to be especially popular. Caramelized pork banh mi or spring roll is said to be especially good. Lemongrass chicken vermicelli bowl look like another very popular item here. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Cacao–1046 W. 103rd St. (Mexican) Open daily 10 am to 9 pm.  Upscale Mexican food with authentic Yucatan style dishes. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Cafe Europa–323 E. 55th St. (Modern European) Open 10 am to 7 pm (closed Sun).  Does not specialize in authentic food from any particular country, but reviewers say the food is really good. Not to miss is the dessert (such as lemon cake, key lime pie, pecan pie, etc.). Map (Outdoor seating is available; otherwise takeout only 11-10-21)

Fannie’s West African Cuisine–4105 Troost Ave. (Nigerian) Open 11 am to 7 pm–1 to 5 on Sun (closed Mon).  Small restaurant and food is made from scratch. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Garozzo’s–526 Harrison St. (Italian) Open daily except Sun lunch.  KC old style Italian (this is supposedly the best one in town). Chicken spiedini is a favorite. (Also in Overland Park). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Grunauer–101 W. 22nd St. (Austrian) Dinner daily; lunch Thu-Sun.  German food served Austrian style, with other German dishes also available (reviewers say all of it is good–or at least most of the reviewers). I know German food is not cheap, but this is not overpriced–just fairly priced (it definitely looks upscale though). I think some of the negative reviews may be because Austrian food is a little different, and may not be what many expect when they get German food, although some say the only negative was the service. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Hien Vuong–417 Main St. (Vietnamese) Open 10 am to 8 pm (closed Tue).  Some say if you want authentic Asian in KCMO, come here or Vietnam Cafe (otherwise the closest is at Overland Park & Shawnee KS). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Il Lazzarone–412 Delaware St. (Pizza) Dinner daily; lunch Sat & Sun.  Restaurant says they are serious about following the traditional way of making Neapolitan pizza. Has the VPN seal for Neapolitan pizza. (Also has a restaurant in St. Joseph). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

iPho Tower–3623 Broadway St. (Vietnamese) Open daily 11:30 am to 8 pm.  This seems to be an exception to the belief that the only good Vietnamese is downtown. Reviewers say the broth of the pho is very flavorful, and they give you a good choice (chicken, vegetarian, etc.). Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Island Spice–10 W. 39th St. (Jamaican) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Authentic Jamaican food. Curry chicken, jerk chicken, brown gravy chicken, etc. are popular. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Jubaland–1315 Independence Ave. (Somali) Closed Mon.  Downscale restaurant that serves food in styrofoam containers. Reviewers say the flavor is very good. A popular dish is the curry chicken. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

LC’s BBQ–5800 Blue Pkwy. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun).  Burnt ends, ribs. Said to be one of the best BBQ places in KC, and may have an edge over the others because of the sauce. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Mesob–3600 Broadway Blvd. (Ethiopian) Dinner only (closed Mon).  An African and Caribbean fusion restaurant which reviewers say works perfectly to give you great food. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Olive Cafe–9530 James A. Reed Rd. (Middle Eastern) Open daily except Sun evening. Halal restaurant. Some say this is the best Middle Eastern food in KC. Is in a small building with a grocery store & restaurant. Lunch buffet is very popular because you can try a number of dishes (and reviewers say they are all good). Note: during the pandemic the buffet has been discontinued. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Pot Pie–904 Westport Rd. (American) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Upscale food at lower prices than similar restaurants. Chicken pot pie is very good, but the menu includes many other great choices. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Q39–1000 W. 39th St. (BBQ) Open Daily.  Serves KC barbecue that rivals or may even be better than in the more well known places (most reviewers seem to think it is better). Brisket, burnt ends, and ribs are popular (these three come on the combo plate). (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

Queen Sweets and Mediterranean Grill–4107 N. Cherry St. (Jordanian) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Small restaurant that reviewers say tastes home made and is very good. Middle Eastern food including hummus, falafel, and kabobs. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Seva–8674 NE Flintrock Rd. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2 to 4:30 pm).  Every dish is prepared to your personal taste. Reviewers also say they get the spice level right (not too spicy or too timid). Has a buffet that commenters say is pretty good. Mostly seems to be the standard north Indian dishes for vegetarian items, but has an extensive menu of meat items that go well beyond the standard items. (Dining room is open 7-29-20)

Stroud’s–5410 NE Oak Ridge Rd. (American) Dinner daily; lunch Fri & Sun only.  Fried chicken is famous here. Also try the cinnamon rolls. (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

Sweet Siam Thai–4130 Pennsylvania Ave. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  This may be the best Thai rest. in KCMO. The spice levels are predetermined, so you get the best blend of flavors according to the chef’s experience. (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

Taj Palace–1706 W. 39th St. (Indian) Closed Tue (and closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Looks like the type of Indian food I like (authentic food from family recipes). For the best results, though, order from the menu (don’t get the buffet). Does not have a thali dinner (except dinners for two people). (Dining room is open 7-29-20)

The Farmhouse–300 Delaware St. (New American) Breakfast & lunch Wed-Sun; dinner Fri & Sat.  Farm to table restaurant that does not look too expensive. Reviewers seem to particularly like breakfast (opens at 8 am weekdays and 9 am weekends). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Vietnam Cafe–522 Campbell St. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue; closed Sun evening.  Reviewers from Vietnam say this tastes like home (so it is not Americanized). Menu is full of items that you probably won’t find other places. Also in KCK. (Dining room is open 7-29-20)

Wah Gwan–6228 Troost Ave. (Jamaican) Open 11 am to 7 pm–12 to 5 on Sun (closed Mon).  Owner is from Jamaican but also loves Nigerian food, and serves it in the restaurant as well. Reviewers say all of it is good. Map (Dining room is open 11-10-21)

Note: W. 17th & Summit St. is the center of a cluster of interesting looking restaurants for those looking for “New American” (organic, farm to table, etc.) and other high quality (but not necessarily very expensive) places to eat. These are ones I have found (updated 7-29-20):

  • Swoon Cookie–now moved to 924 E. 5th (Cookie shop)
  • The Westside Local–1663 Summit (Farm to table)
  • Los Alamos–1667 Summit (Mexican–authentic and somewhat upscale)
  • Chez Elle–1713 Summit (Crepes)
  • Blue Bird Bistro–1700 Summit (Farm to table)
  • Fervere–1702 Summit (Artisan bakery)
  • Goat Hill Coffee & Soda–811 W. 17th (Coffee, baked goods, Italian soda)
  • Novel–now moved to 1927 McGee St. (Seasonal–Dinner only–prob. the most expensive rest. in the area)

Lenexa, KS

Aso Sushi–8615 Hauser Ct. (Japanese) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  One of the few Japanese restaurants that seems to have a traditional menu (not just sushi or hibachi). Not a very extensive menu but has salmon teriyaki, tempura udon, etc. (Dining room is open 10-9-21)

KC Grill & Kabob–8611 Hauser Ct. (Persian) Open daily except Sun evening & Mon.  Persian restaurant that specializes in kabobs, but apparently many other Iranian dishes are served on the buffet (buffet served Thur, Fri, Sat & Sun from 4 pm to closing). (Dining room is open but there is no buffet 6-27-20)

Lanna Thai–7775 Quivira Rd. (Thai) Closed Tue.  Serves food from northern Thailand (the Chiang Mai region). Has very good reviews. (Dining room is open 10-9-21)

Olathe, KS

Aoyama Ramen–14960 W. 119th St. (Japanese) Closed Mon.  Specializes in tonkotsu ramen, but has several kinds. (Dining room is open 10-9-21)

Carmen’s Cocina–15926 S. Mur-Len Rd. (Mexican) Open 7 am to 2 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Fresh tasting and made from scratch. Has a flavor that people from the Southwest like as well as the locals. People particularly like the breakfast items. (Dining room is open 9-9-21)

Chapala–105 S. Clairborne Rd. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Authentic Mexican that serves upscale food like mole (this is not a street food restaurant, although I think you can order that if you want). (Temporarily closed 10-9-21)

Hong Kong Star–918 Old 56 Highway (Chinese) Open 11 am to 9:30 pm (closed Tue).  Authentic Cantonese food that gets very good reviews. Hot pot is recommended. (Dining room is open 9-9-21)

Spin Pizza–14230 W. 119th St. (Pizza) Open daily 11 am to 9 pm.  Wood fired European style pizza. (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Thai Rice by Rizutto–1103 E. Santa Fe St. (Thai) Open noon to 8 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  This is the ultimate small family owned Thai restaurant serving Thai style food. Pad thai, curry, and fried rice are popular. Ginger stir fry is possibly the best item. The down side of the restaurant is that the hours are erratic. Reviewers strongly recommend that you call the restaurant and find out if they are open before you go. (Dining room is open 9-9-21)

Yuva Eats–14967 W. 119th St. (Nepalese) Open daily except Mon lunch.  Food looks authentic, although restaurant says it is a “Progressive Nepalese Indian Kitchen.” In any case, it looks good. (Dining room is open 10-9-21)

Overland Park, KS

ABC Cafe–10001 W. 87th St. (Chinese) Closes at 9:45 pm (closed Tue & Wed).  Authentic Cantonese menu–hot pot, congee, etc. Made to order dim sum (siu mai is recommended). Dim sum is served all day until closing. It has recently surpassed Pine & Bamboo for dim sum and Jen Jen’s for menu items in the opinion of many Yelpers. It is said that the reason it’s open late is that the employees of the other Chinese restaurants come here to eat after they get off work. (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

Anousone–7315 W. 80th St. (Lao). Located in the Strang Hall food court (has Japanese food as well as 4 non-Asian food stalls). Chef has Lao food as the base, but also has fusion dishes. Google Maps gives it five stars (with 20 reviews) so whatever they are doing, customers like it. (Dining room is open 10-9-21)

Desi Bites–8542 W. 133rd St. (Indian) Dinner Tue-Sun; lunch Sat & Sun (closed Mon).  This is a Midwest chain with a restaurant in Oklahoma City (which I really like and is the reason I added it to the list). The KC restaurant gets mixed reviews but the food I tried tasted authentic. In OKC people recommend some items more than others (and that may be a reason for the mixed reviews here). Some good items in OKC are dal makhani and ginger paneer. There are so many items on the menu that I am sure there are other good choices. (Dining room is open 9-9-21)

Jack Stack Barbecue–9520 Metcalf Ave. (BBQ) Open Daily.  One of KC’s legendary barbecue restaurants, but the one here is supposedly better than the one in Kansas City. Ribs and burnt ends are recommended. (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

Jen Jen’s–9066 Metcalf Ave. (Chinese) Open 5 pm to Midnight (closed Mon).  Authentic upscale Hong Kong style food that reviewers say is authentic. Good for a special occasion (when you want something authentic). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Pad Thai–14319 Metcalf Ave. (Thai) Open Daily.  Several reviewers say this is the best Thai restaurant in the KC area. It looks upscale, and while some people may like it mainly because of the setting, the food seems to be the real deal. People especially like the curry (red, yellow, or pad prik king). (Dining room is open 9-3-21)

Sichuan Dynasty–7206 W. 119th St. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Authentic Sichuan style cuisine. (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

Taste of Africa–11240 W. 135th St. (East African) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon); lunch on Sat.  Reviewers say it is authentic and delicious (but main dishes are limited to a few items such as chicken, beef, goat stew, vegetarian, etc.). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

Thai Place–9359 W. 87th St. (Thai) Closed Mon.  Good reviews, and they say the spice level is appropriate for real Thai food. Menu has interesting items such as basil stir fry (available on the lunch specials) and phad phet (on the dinner menu). (Dining room is open 10-9-21)

Wiener Kitchen–9645 W. 87th St. (Sausages) Breakfast & lunch only (open Wed-Sat only).  Artisanal sausages that are made using local ingredients. Reviewers say this is a destination restaurant (not fine dining but very flavorful with interesting hot dogs and sausages that you will not find elsewhere). (Dining room is open 9-9-21)

Yafa Cafe–13475 Switzer Rd. (Mediterranean) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Very good reviews. Reviewers say kabobs, falafel, and hummus are some of the best anywhere. (Dining room is open 9-9-21)

Shawnee, KS

Hawaiian Bros Island Grill–11600 Shawnee Mission Parkway (Hawaiian) Open Daily.  Hawaiian plate lunches and soft serve ice cream. Has 9 locations in the KC area. (Dining room is open 10-9-21)

Pine and Bamboo Garden–10915 Shawnee Mission Parkway (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Although many people order the Americanized Chinese food, the Chinese menu is what sets this restaurant apart from others (specializes in Cantonese food). Has dim sum until 3 pm (2:30 pm on Sat & Sun). (Dining room is open 8-20-21)

 

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Sources:

Gil’s Thrilling (and Filling) Blog

KansasTravel.org

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Kansas)

Yelp (Missouri)

Zomato (Kansas City)

 

 

Restaurant Guide–Kansas

Restaurant Guide Main Index


Kansas City


  • Date indicates the most recent update of the restaurants listed
  • Bold indicates my recommendations; others come from what I consider to be good sources (see bottom of page for further explanation)

Abilene

Ike’s Place–100 NW 14th St. (American) Closed Tue.  Restaurant with memorabilia about President Eisenhower, and also is considered to have excellent food. Some recommended items are ribeye, fish & chips, grilled vegetables, and street tacos (especially the tacos). (Dining room is open 9-3-21)

Alma

El Corral–327 Missouri Ave. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Food looks very authentic (south of the border style). Has tacos al pastor and enchiladas with either red or green (tomatillo) sauce. (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

Arkansas City

M&M Meals for the Soul–621 N. 1st St. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Sun).  Soul food and barbecue restaurant (I think in this order). It has such good reviews I had to add it to the list. Meatloaf sandwich, fried chicken, rib dinner are among the recommendations. (Dining room is open 8-21-21)

Arlington

Carolyn’s Essenhaus–104 E. Main St. (German) Closed Tue evening, Sat evening, & Sun.  Mennonite food (I discovered how wonderful this is one time when I was in Newton). Homemade bread and pies are very popular. (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

Assaria

Renaissance Cafe–210 N. Center St. (Italian) Open 5 pm to 9 pm Thu-Sat only.  This appears to be very well prepared Italian food in a small town that has a loyal customer base from surrounding towns who want to enjoy a special dinner. (Dining room is open 8-11-21)

Atchison

Paolucci–113 S. 3rd St. (Italian) Open daily (closes at 1 pm on Sun).  Old school Italian restaurant that has operated for a number of years and still gets good reviews. (Dining room is open 8-21-21)

Coffeyville

El Pueblito–600 Northeast St. (Mexican) Open daily except Sun evening.  From the photos, it looks like pretty decent Mexican food. (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

Gen Hibachi–1415 W. 8th St. (Japanese) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  Good reviews for the hibachi dishes. Also has sushi but most people do not get this (the hibachi is very popular). (Takeout only 9-19-21)

Copeland

Copeland Cafe–201 Main St. (American) Open 8 am to 2 pm (closed Sun).  Reviewers seem to be unanimous that it has good food. Wide variety of items are recommended. Copeland is on US 56 w. of Dodge City. (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

Dodge City

Chu Mys Kitchen–2208 W. Wyatt Earp Blvd. (Vietnamese) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Reviewers say it is excellent with rich flavors. (Dining room is open 8-11-21)

Tacos Jalisco–412 E. Wyatt Earp Blvd. (Mexican) Open daily (open late night).  Authentic taqueria style Mexican food. Reviewers like the tacos al pastor (among others) and the horchata (Dining room is open 8-9-20)

El Dorado

Moe’s Grill–710 S. Main St. (American) Lunch Mon-Fri; dinner Tue-Fri.  I have to include a restaurant in El Dorado because my mom says this city is the first place where I ever ate at a restaurant (starting a long tradition which I now blog about). It was not Moe’s Grill (reviewers say it opened recently) but Moe’s does have very good reviews, with its hamburgers and barbecue seeming to be “legit” (to use terminology that did not exist in my early days of eating out). (Dining room is open 9-3-21)

Emporia

Amanda’s–702 Commercial St. (American) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Not Mennonite food, but seems to be similar quality. Popular for its breakfasts, sandwiches, and home made bread. (Dining room is open 6-17-21)

Chi Em Eats–11 E. 6th Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Good reviews–has lemongrass vermicelli bowls. (Dining room is open 6-17-21)

Fredonia

The Kitchen Table–114 S. 3rd St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Some say it has the best breakfast buffet ever. People have equally good comments about lunch, but there is not a consensus about which is the best item (it seems that everything is good). There is a consensus, though, that you should try the pie (or cinnamon roll for breakfast). (Dining room is open 9-3-21)

Garden City

La Estrella–305 E. Kansas Ave. (Mexican) Closed Sun (open late night Fri & Sat).  Said to be authentic, very good, and cheap Mexican street food. (Dining room is open 8-9-20)

Pho Hoa One–713 E. Fulton St. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun evening & Wed.  Reviewers say it is authentic and delicious (several say it may be the best Vietnamese in Kansas). (Dining room is open 8-11-21)

Goodland

Westport on Main–1218 Main Ave. (American) Lunch Wed-Sun; Dinner Fri & Sat.  Somewhat upscale soup & sandwich restaurant (reuben, tuna melt, sloppy joe, etc.). Also has pasta dishes, hamburgers, and hot dogs. (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

Great Bend

Mary’s Kitchen–2416 10th St. (Mexican) Breakfast and lunch only (closed Sun).  Good reviews. Food in the photos looks like what you would find in El Paso (complete with green chile). Looks very promising. People especially recommend the breakfast burrito. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Sarocha Thai–30 S. Patton Rd. (Thai) Closed Sun.  Good reviews–say the spice level is as it should be if you ask for it to be hot. Curry is recommended. Photos make it look like the real deal. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Hamilton

Holmes Sundry–101 Main St. (American) Open 9 am to 7 pm; 10-9 on Sat (closed Sun).  Soda fountain and ice cream is what brings people here. Serves food, but I think the big draw is the ice cream. Hamilton is on SH 99 s. of Emporia. (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

Hays

Gella’s Diner–117 E. 11th St. (Mennonite) Open daily except Sun evening.  Home cooking. Mennonite cuisine (sauerkraut soup, homemade brats, bierocks, brebble fry bread, homemade potato & dumpling soup). Also has a brewery. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Hoxie

The Elephant Bistro & Bar–732 Main St. (American) Open Wed-Sat.  Many reviewers say there is enough variety to please everyone. One says it is a one of a kind restaurant in northwest Kansas because no one else has dared to try what they have here. Photos indicate that the food is very fresh and colorful. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Hutchinson

Casa Azteca–2803 N. Lorraine St. (Mexican) Closed Mon.  Probably has some Americanized dishes, but some seem authentic. Mole is made in house (not from a mix, according to a reviewer). Many say to order the molcajete. (Dining room is open 8-9-20)

R-B Drive In–201 E. Ave. A (Fast Food) Lunch only (closed Sun).  Specialties are a smashed burger with crispy edges, fried mushrooms, meatloaf, pork tenderloin sandwiches, and onion rings. (Dining room is open 8-9-20)

Roy’s Hickory Pit Bar-B-Q–1018 Nickerson Blvd. (BBQ) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon).  Reviews say this is excellent BBQ–comparable to Kansas City. Opens at 11 am every day and closes when it runs out of meat. (Dining room is open 8-11-21)

Skaets Steak Shop–2300 N. Main St. (American) Closed Mon.  Good place for breakfast, especially the pancakes. Open flame broiler opens at 4:30 pm (for steaks and hamburgers). (Dining room is open 8-11-21)

Junction City

Korean Garden–310 Grant Ave. (Korean) Lunch only (closed Sun & Mon). Dinner is said to be more authentic than lunch. Serves Korean (barley) tea. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Negril Caribbean–127 W. 7th St. (Caribbean) Open daily except Sun evening.  Jerk chicken, ox tail, dinner, sweet potato pudding. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Lawrence

Culinaria–512 E. 9th St. (Mediterranean) Dinner only (Thu-Sat only).  Is not an ethnic restaurant, but looks as if they are concentrating on healthy food (lots of vegetables and meat included also). Upscale but not too expensive (main dishes are currently in the $18-$20 range). I think you get a lot for your money here. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Hawaiian Brothers–1501 W. 23rd St. (Hawaiian) Open daily to 11 pm (midnight on weekends). More than just a plate lunch restaurants-looks somewhat upscale. Huli-huli chicken is popular. Note: this is a chain with restaurants in several states. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

La Parrilla–712 Massachusetts St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Looks like a somewhat upscale Mexican that is more authentic than most, and that has good food. Menu is limited, but includes street tacos and enchiladas suizas among others. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Red Pepper–821 Iowa St. (Chinese) Closed Tue.  Seems to be close to authentic and very good (reviewers say it is not Americanized). Specialties are noodles and tofu dishes (Sichuan spicy tofu is recommended). Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Leavenworth

Baan Thai–301 S. 4th St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Reviews say it is outstanding. Pad thai is not rated as highly as the curries. (Dining room is open 9-3-21)

Excellent Choice–1000 N. 7th St. (Soul Food) Open Tue-Fri 11 am to 5 pm.  Is the “real deal” soul food. Catfish seems to be the favorite item. Gumbo and fried chicken are also popular. (Takeout only 9-3-21)

Hyundai–749 Shawnee St. (Korean) Open to 7 pm (closed Sat & Sun).  Authentic. Seems to have dishes not available at many other Korean restaurants (Dining room is open 8-21-21)

Liberal

Pancake House–640 E. Pancake Blvd. (American) Open until 1 pm (closed Mon).  This is no joke-the main street in town is called Pancake Blvd. Quite a popular restaurant-Swedish pancakes is one of the choices (Dining room is open 8-21-21)

Lindsborg

Crown and Rye–121 N. Main St. (Swedish) Open daily except Sun evening.  Formerly the Swedish Crown but now has new owners and a new name. Serves traditional Swedish food at lunch & dinner. (Dining room is open 6-17-21)

Drom Sott–112 W. Lincoln (Swedish) Breakfast only. Formerly the Swedish Country Inn–now has new owners. Used to have a traditional Swedish breakfast–now I’m not sure but at least has the Swedish pastries. Breakfast is free to hotel guests (I am not sure if it is open to the public). (Dining room is open 6-17-21)

Manhattan

Baan Thai–1620 Ft. Riley Blvd. (Thai) Open Daily.  Good, flavorful Thai (but they have a location in Leavenworth that some say is even better). (Dining room is open 8-21-21)

El Patron–429 Poyntz Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Food looks pretty good and reviewers say the same about it. Is not Tex-Mex, has sauces such as green sauce (I don’t know how spicy it is). (Dining room is open 8-1-20)

Fridas The True Mexican Taste–900 N. 3rd St. (Mexican) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun).  This is a food truck that serves takeout only, but Mexican food seems like the real deal. Specialties are gorditas, tamales with mole, carnitas, milanesa, street tacos, and others. (Takeout only but has outside tables 9-19-21)

Little Grill–6625 Dyer Rd. (Jamaican) Open 5 pm to 9 pm (closed Mon).  Good reviews–people like the food and it seems to be authentic. (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

McPherson

Braum’s–2106 E. Kansas Ave. (Ice Cream) Open Daily.  I do not think the hamburgers are great but I love the ice cream desserts (such as the sundaes). I also particularly like the raisin bread sold in the store. I think this is the northernmost outpost of the chain. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Woodies Smokehouse–2100 E. Kansas Ave. (BBQ) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Reviewers say this is a hidden gem (especially the ones traveling through and visiting town). Ribs are apparently very special, and pulled pork is also very good. A weak point seems to be the sauce, but they have a southern mustard based sauce that is said to go well with the pulled pork. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Newton

The Breadbasket–219 N. Main St. (American) Breakfast Mon-Sat; lunch daily; dinner Fri & Sat.  Mennonite style food. Best known for its breakfast buffet and its Fri & Sat night German buffet. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Ottawa

Smoked Creations BBQ–222 E. Logan St. (BBQ) Open Daily.  Reviewers say this is among the best BBQ around (and this includes the nearby Kansas City BBQ). Everything is good, but the standout items are pulled pork and a pulled pork sandwich with bacon and cheese on top named the “pig out.” Baked beans are also recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Piedmont

Jim & Lila’s Cafe–100 Main St. (American) Breakfast & lunch Mon-Sat; Dinner Fri & Sat (closed Sun).  Reviewers say it has good country style cooking, and service is good as well. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Pittsburg

Pichler’s Chicken Annie’s–1271 S. 220th St. (Chicken) Dinner Tue-Sun; lunch Sun only (closed Mon).  Pan fried chicken, German cole slaw, German potato salad. Located about 3 mi. s. of Pittsburg. Note: there is another restaurant listed on the Internet called Chicken Annie’s Original located e. of Frontenac. I do not know if some of the reviews and info. I have found are actually for this restaurant, but Yelp seems to indicate that the one people are reviewing is the one on S. 220th St. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Typhoon–1014 S. Broadway St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Curry is recommended, but it is in general said to be a very good Thai restaurant. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Protection

Don’s Place–230 N. Broadway Ave. (American) Breakfast & lunch Tue-Sun; Dinner Tue-Sat.  Reviewers say everything tastes home cooked. Breakfast, chicken fried steak, and pie are especially recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Quinter

Melanie’s Kitchen Asian Cuisine–321 Main St. (Filipino).  Has Chinese food that mostly looks Americanized but has Filipino dishes that are probably more authentic Quinter is on I-70 w. of WaKeeney. May have limited hours but I don’t have enough info. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Russell

San Juan–740 E. Wichita Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Seems to be at least reasonably authentic, and perhaps more than I think. Reviewers recommend the California burrito, carne asada taco, and tamales among others. Rice and beans are said to be good (one of the best signs that the other food is good as well). Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

The Barrister’s Bar and Judge’s Grill–804 N. Main St. (American) Open Fri-Sun only (11 am to 2 am).  Has several types of burgers including the “Ice” which is really a green chile cheeseburger. Has a green chile soup (spelled with an “e”) and a red chili soup (spelled with an “i”). Has New Orleans shrimp and a Thai salad (really lots of choices that sound good). Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Salina

Auntie Rita’s–1315 S. Santa Fe (Jamaican) Closed Sun evening & Mon.  Good reviews (even though this cuisine is unfamiliar to many locals, they like the flavor of the food). Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Seoul USA–750 S. Broadway (Korean) Closed Sun evening & Mon (and closed from 3 to 5 pm).  Authentic with a large menu (including some vegetarian dishes). Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Sharon Springs

Towns End Tavern–117 N. Main St. (Steakhouse) Open Fri dinner & Sat dinner only. More upscale steakhouse than most in rural Kansas (has prime rib, brussel sprouts, bananas foster bread pudding, etc.). Burger is also said to be very good. Map (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

Strong City

Ad Astra–318 Cottonwood St. (Modern American) Lunch Fri-Sun; dinner Thu-Sun.  Good, inexpensive food–most popular is hamburger. Reuben sandwich and sliders are also favorites. Focuses on locally produced produce & meat. Also has good vegetarian options. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Topeka

Lonnie Q’s BBQ–3150 SE 21st St. (BBQ) Open 11am to 1 pm Tue-Fri and 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Fri (closed Sat-Mon).  Most reviewers say the food is “fantastic” or “amazing.” Only has brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and turkey. Most say it is comparable to Kansas City BBQ. Customers say it is best to arrive right after 11 am in order not to wait in a long line. The Kansas style BBQ sauce here is darker and richer than other styles served throughout the US. Map (Dining room is open-check web site for the menu and hours, and sometimes is takeout only 11-7-21)

Monsoon Grill–2040 SW Wanamaker Rd. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm). Reviewers say quality compares to Kansas City or other large cities. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Porubsky Grocery–508 NE Sardou Ave. (American) Lunch only (closed Sun).  Small grocery store in the “Little Russia” section of Topeka that serves chili which is on Roadfood’s list of the best chili in America (and I believe this list because of what they have listed in El Paso and New Mexico). This is a chili made with ground chuck and covered with optional horseradish pickles (which makes it hotter than the typical Midwest chili). Chili is only served from October to the end of March (Apr-Sep they have lunch trays with sandwiches but the pickles are still available). They do not serve lunch on Fri. but the grocery store is open this day. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Saigon–3200 SW 29th St. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun & Mon (and closed from 2:30 to 4:30 pm).  Highest rated Asian restaurant in town that I have found–seems to be better than the Chinese food and less expensive than the Thai. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Tup Tim Thai–220 SW 29th St. (Thai) Open daily (closed from 2:30 to 5 pm).  Reviewers suggest the lunch specials as a good bargain. Good items include the curries and the “Money Bags” appetizer. They do not make the food as spicy as at other Thai restaurants, but they will do so if you ask for “Thai hot.” Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Wichita

Chiang Mai Thai–3141 S. Hillside St. (Thai) Open Daily.  Reviewers say it is authentic, and I believe this is true because it is located near the Air Force base (this is usually where the authentic Asian food is found). Some people indicate that it is Thai & Lao. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Gabby’s Peruvian–1713 W. Douglas Ave. (Peruvian) Closed Mon & Tue.  Food is authentic with a wide assortment of dishes (not just ceviche). Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Lemongrass–300 N. Mead (Vietnamese) Closed Tue.  Pho and other menu items are recommended (has a pretty extensive menu). Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Little Saigon–1015 N. Broadway (Vietnamese) Closed Mon.  Noodle dishes are recommended but reviewers like just about everything. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Malaysia Cafe–7777 E. 21st St. N. (Malaysian) Open to 7:30 pm (closed Sun).  Has Chinese and other Asian cuisines, but the Malaysian menu is recommended (you’ll get the dishes that are popular in Malaysia). Fast food style, and orders come in styrofoam containers, but the food is high quality. Urbanspoon reviewers recommended char kuey teow and Hainanese chicken rice. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Mediterranean Grill–335 S. Town East Mall Dr. (Lebanese) Closed Sun.  May be the best Middle Eastern food in Wichita (and the only one I found on Yelp that looked worth recommending). Fatoosh, hummos, tabouli, and falafel are good. Any of the meats are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

M&M Bierock–2065 E. Central Ave. (German) Open 10:30 am to 6 pm (closed Sat afternoon & Sun).  A drive-through restaurant serving bierocks (a local specialty sandwich stuffed with ground beef, cabbage, and sauerkraut) with the option of a ham and cheese topping. Locals are very passionate about how much they like this sandwich. Map (Drive-through only 11-7-21)

Molino’s–1064 N. Waco (Mexican) Open Daily.  This is authentic Mexican style (not Americanized) “alta cocina” Mexican food. I can’t vouch for how good it is, but it looks very good from the photos and reviews are very good (I think it’s the real deal). Just so you’ll know, though, it’s more expensive than most other Mexican restaurants. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

My Tho–500 E. Central Ave. (Vietnamese) Closed Tue & Wed.  Authentic and downscale (home style). This is the type of restaurant you would find in the typical Asian district rather than the (more Americanized and upscale) ones that would be found in the suburbs. Map (Temporarily closed 11-7-21)

Pig In Pig Out–1003 E. 13th St. N. (BBQ) Closed Sun & Mon (open for lunch only).  Reviewers say this is one of the top BBQ restaurants in Wichita (and many say it is the best). Ribs and pulled pork are recommended. Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Prost–2721 E. Central Ave. (German) Open 11 am to 9 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Authentic German food, including German style pretzels. Jagerschnitzel is popular (although some say the breading is not as good as the meat). Side dishes are said to be quite good. This is also a place where you can get the German-American bierock at a dine-in setting (instead of drive-through). I don’t see things like sauerbraten on the menu (only schnitzel, bratwurst, and sausage). Map (Dining room is open 11-7-21)

Wilson

Made from Scratch–527 27th St. (American) Breakfast & lunch only (closed Mon).  Chicken (only on Sun), sandwich, omelette, pie (desserts are especially recommended here). Map (Dining room is open 8-21-21)

Note: Al’s Grill (a Czech restaurant) is now closed. Supposedly kolaches are available in Wilson, though (apparently at Grandma’s Soda Shop). Czech sausages and meats, formerly available at Al’s Grill, may also be available in town. (8-21-21)

Woodbine

Brigitte’s Country Cafe–101 N. Broadway (American & German) Open 9 am to 2 pm (closed Sun).  Home cooking with very good reviews. Has German specials such as schnitzel on Wednesday and bratwurst on Friday. Facebook page says it is on Kansas Ave., but the town is so small I am sure it is not hard to find. Map (Dining room is open 8-21-21)

Zenda

Lumber Yard Steakhouse–311 N. Main St. (Steakhouse) Lunch Tue-Sat; Dinner Thu-Sat.  Very good reviews for steaks and prime rib. Has other items (such as ribs). They mainly say steaks & prime rib are the items worth a trip to this small town. Should get reservations on weekends. Map (Dining room is open 9-19-21)

 

Notes About This List:

This is a “master list” of restaurants that I have seen on the Internet or other sources and would like to try, or that I think would be of interest to others.  I do not mean for this to be an exhaustive list of every good place to eat, but it should represent a good sample of the most interesting or unique restaurants, along with a few that best represent an area’s regional cuisine.  My own recommendations are in Bold.

I am not looking to include:

  • Fine dining (unless they are unique because of regional specialties)
  • Low end restaurants that are popular with locals but may not be of much interest to travelers or people in general (everyone will have to use their judgment on this one)

Extra consideration for the following:

  • The food is organic, fresh, healthy, or farm to table
  • The restaurant serves a relatively hard to find type of ethnic food and reviews are good

In addition to the regular guidelines I try to include:

  • The best Asian restaurants in the area even if they are not totally authentic
  • Particularly good Mexican restaurants (this usually means the food is from a particular state in Mexico or it is one of the best examples of a U.S. regional style)

Please feel free to leave your own comments or suggestions.

 

Note About “50 States, 50 Cuisines” (Condé Nast)

Condé Nast published an article on Sep. 14, 2020 explaining how they set out to go beyond a previous article that had identified the signature dish for each state, and to find food that goes beyond the classics and “to highlight a cuisine worth traveling to each state for, much of which you truly can’t get anywhere else.” For Kansas it is the bierock (called runza in Nebraska) that was developed by the Volga River Germans who settled throughout Western Canada and the Great Plains, with a sizeable number coming to Ellis County, Kansas.

Some places to find bierock are drive-throughs (including M&M Bierock in Wichita), beer gardens (such as Prost in Wichita), and brewpubs (such as Gella’s Diner in Hays).

Sources:

Condé Nast Traveler (50 States, 50 Cuisines: The Food Worth Traveling For in Every State)

Culture Trip (Top 10 Barbecue Restaurants in Kansas)

Dine Rank

Google Maps

KansasTravel.org

Roadfood (Kansas)

Urbanspoon.com (former web site which I used for preliminary research)

Yelp (Kansas)

Zomato (Wichita)