My Favorite Kansas City Restaurant


Article by Molly Buchanan

Photography by Stock Images

It’s Friday night. It’s been a long week. And by some stroke of luck, the adulting gods have secured you childcare. It’s time to ESCAPE! Then begins the dance. The “What sounds good for dinner?” dance. The next thing you know, you’ve spent two hours debating what to eat, only to cancel the sitter, order pizza, and binge your night away on cheese and Netflix. Allegedly…

Knowing that I am a big foodie and explorer of all things food, people ask me all the time for my favorite restaurant in Kansas City. People! This is like asking me my favorite child! (Okay, I only have one child, but I can imagine the choice would be impossible.) Can you give me categories? Favorite pizza? Favorite ramen? Favorite bakery? Those I can at least narrow down a bit. But overall? TOUGH! 

But I actually do have an answer. 

Because that “hypothetical” anecdote that I shared at the beginning has a solution—Tapas. 

The history of Tapas is actually quite fascinating and has me wanting to immediately relocate to Spain. (I mean, I am working remotely these days…) Tapas is a daily event in Spanish culture, and it is a way of eating and socializing, and it is almost always accompanied by wine. It’s more than the actual food, it’s a way of life, and it celebrates leisure, friendship, and a really good time. 

And although most of my tapas experiences seems aligned with those sentiments, we more commonly associate tapas with a series of small plates to be shared among the table at an unhurried pace.

So when that Friday night fiasco starts to ensue, there’s only one answer—La Bodega. 

With two locations in the Kansas City area (the original on Southwest Boulevard and the JOCO locale in Leawood), residents from around the metro know La Bodega well. It’s our go to for happy hour, celebrations, a sangria fix, or the aforementioned date night. Their menu is a perfectly curated collection of plates for all tastes, dietary needs, and cravings. They venture from a creative spin on a menu staple to a uniquely signature dish that can only be ordered within their walls.

The team at La Bodega is all about service, and their founder, James Taylor, strives to add “a little something extra” to every visit. From the second you walk in the door, you are greeted with smiling faces, gorgeous colorful surroundings, and all of the delicious aromas. You will be escorted to your seat through their moody dining room, and you will be quickly greeted by a server that is ready to create a memorable experience.

The bar menu is extensive, and they offer a host of local and imported beers and liquors. I will never miss out on ordering a glass (or pitcher…) of their housemade sangria. 

Then it is time to decide on the plates! We like to order a lot and share, and we always do a good mix of favorites, while focusing on trying at least one new to us dish. Our top recommendations are the Alemandras Marconas, Pan Con Tomate, Papas Fritas Con Ajo, Champinones A La Plancha, and the Patatas Bravas. And if you’re not into sharing your food, that works too. Grab some small plates for yourself, or I also highly recommend any of their Paella dishes.

If you’ve saved room for dessert, La Bodega does have an extensive offering of options made in house. But no matter what, you cannot leave without a Spanish Coffee. This is their special blended coffee, with 151 rum, that is set ablaze with cinnamon and sugar right before your very eyes. It’s a sight (and taste) you simply cannot miss.

La Bodega is currently open seven days a week for dine in and carry out. They offer Happy Hour, Dinner, and a weekend Brunch.

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