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). (Takeout only 7-29-20)

Thai Kitchen–19321 E. US 40 Hwy. (Thai) Open Daily.  Seems to be the best Thai restaurant on the east side of KC. Curries are very popular. (Takeout and delivery only 7-29-20)

Kansas City, KS

Bonito Michoacan–1150 Minnesota Ave. (Mexican) Open daily 7 am to 10 pm.  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). (5-18-19)

El Pollo Rey–901 Kansas Ave. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Mexican style chicken. (5-18-19)

Joe’s Kansas City BBQ (formerly Oklahoma Joe’s)–3002 W. 47th Ave. (BBQ) 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. (Takeout only 6-27-20)

Noodle Bar–10940 Parallel Pkwy. (Vietnamese) Closed Sun.  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. (5-18-19)

Slap’s BBQ–553 Central Ave. (BBQ) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun evening).  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). (5-18-19)

Vietnam Cafe–2200 W. 39th Ave. (Vietnamese) Open 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. (Takeout only 6-27-20)

Kansas City, MO

Andre’s–5018 Main St. (Swiss) Open 7 am to 5:30 pm (closed Sun).  Authentic Swiss lunches and pastries are the specialty (this looks like a deli). (Dining room is open-masks required to enter 6-27-20)

Arthur Bryant’s–1727 Brooklyn Ave. (BBQ) Open Daily.  Ribs, burnt ends. Gil likes burnt ends, pork sandwich, and baked beans (this is Gil’s favorite BBQ). (Takeout only 6-27-20)

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). (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

Blue Nile–20 E. 5th St. (Ethiopian) Closed Sun dinner; closed Tue.  Traditional Ethiopian food. (Dining room is open 7-29-20)

Browne’s Irish Marketplace–3300 Pennsylvania Ave. (Irish) Open 9 am to 3 pm (closed Sun).  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). (Takeout only 7-29-20)

Cacao–1046 W. 103rd St. (Mexican) Open Daily.  Upscale Mexican food with authentic Yucatan style dishes. (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

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.). (Outdoor seating is available; otherwise takeout only 7-29-20)

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. (Dining room is open 7-29-20)

Grunauer–101 W. 22nd St. (Austrian) Dinner only (closed Mon & Tue).  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. (Dining room is open 6-27-20)

Hien Vuong–417 Main St. (Vietnamese) Open daily except Tue dinner.  Some say if you want authentic Asian in KCMO, come here or Vietnam Cafe (otherwise the closest is at Overland Park & Shawnee KS). (Takeout only 6-27-20)

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.). (Dining room is open 7-29-20)

Island Spice–10 W. 39th St. (Jamaican) Open 11 am to 8 pm (closed Sun & Mon).  Authentic Jamaican food. Curry chicken, jerk chicken, brown gravy chicken, etc. are popular. (I don’t know whether dining room is open 7-29-20)

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. (Takeout only 6-27-20)

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. (Dining room is open 7-29-20)

Olive Cafe–9530 James A. Reed Rd. (Middle Eastern) Open Daily. 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). (I think it is takeout only 7-29-20)

Pot Pie–904 Westport Rd. (American) Closed Sun & Mon; closed Sat lunch.  Upscale food at lower prices than similar restaurants. Chicken pot pie is very good, but the menu includes many other great choices. (Takeout only 6-27-20)

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)

Seva–8674 NE Flintrock Rd. (Indian) Open daily (closed from 2 to 4:30 pm).  Has a flavor that meets the expectations for both those who want it authentic and those who are merely looking for good flavor. Reviewer also they they get the spice level right (not too spicy or too timid). Has a buffet that commenters say is pretty good. Dishes served are the most common ones found at Indian restaurants (such as chicken tikka masala) but with a better flavor than most. (Dining room is open 7-29-20)

Shio Ramen–3605 Broadway (Japanese) Dinner only (closed Sun & Mon).  Ramen is rated highly (has 5 kinds). Note: Sama Zama is also highly rated but it seems to be more expensive and only serves one type of ramen (you can get it regular or spicy). (Takeout only 6-27-20)

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) Lunch Thu-Sun; dinner Thu-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). (Takeout only 7-29-20)

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)

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

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)

Olathe, KS

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). (Takeout only 6-27-20)

Spin Pizza–14230 W. 119th St. (Pizza) Open daily 11 am to 8 pm.  Wood fired European style pizza. (I do not find info saying the dining room is open 6-27-20)

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)

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). (Temporarily closed 6-27-20)

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). (Takeout and delivery only 6-27-20)

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) Closed Sun.  Reviewers say it is authentic and delicious (but main dishes are limited to a few items such as chicken, beef, goat stew, vegetarian, etc.). (Takeout only 6-27-20)

Shawnee, KS

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). (Takeout and delivery only 6-27-20)

 

 

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)

 

 

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