Our Guide to Restaurants in Kansas City

Your Ultimate Guide to Kansas City Eateries

Article by Hayley Hyer

Photography by Shutterstock

RELATED: The Best Restaurants in Kansas City

Kansas City has quite the variety when it comes to cuisine. You can find pretty much anything you are looking for with several high-quality options in different areas to choose from.

Of course, every city has its specialty. Kansas City’s is—you guessed it—barbecue!

Learn here about what makes KC barbecue the best and why Guy Fieri can’t stop coming back for more on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on The Food Network.

Want to branch out and travel to other countries through your tastebuds?

Get carried away to:

  • Italy
  • France
  • Mexico
  • Spain
  • Greece
  • Germany
  • India
  • China
  • Japan
  • Vietnam
  • South Korea
  • The Middle East

And the adventure doesn’t end there! Find plenty more places on your tastebud travel itinerary with Kansas City restaurants as your tour guides.

These lists will help you get started with some of the top restaurants across the KC metro area, whether you’re looking for fine dining or something more on the inexpensive side. 

Browse By Location

Where Do Locals Eat in Kansas City?

Plan your food around what you are doing and where you are going to be. Here are all of the places in Kansas City you might end up in and where you should eat while you are there.

Downtown KC Restaurants

There are so many fun events, shops and activities in Downtown KC, so whether you live in or work in or are just visiting KC, you’ll probably end up eating downtown quite a bit! Here’s where you can get some good eats.

Italian Restaurants in Downtown Kansas City

Mexican Restaurants

Restaurants Near Crowne Plaza Hotel 

North Kansas City Restaurants

What should you eat when you’re north of the river? The Northland has its own excellent selection of cuisines, especially in the Zona Rosa outdoor shopping area.

Here are several options to choose from including high-end choices and good food for cheap!

Italian Restaurants in North Kansas City

Northland KC Mexican Restaurants

Kansas City Country Club Plaza Restaurants

The Country Club Plaza in KCMO has a nice variety of brunch and daytime restaurants plus some wonderful choices for date night.

Mexican Restaurants on the Plaza

Other Favorite Cuisines on the Plaza

Kansas City Westport Restaurants

Westport is a great place where you can find both cheap food that’s absolutely delicious or a higher priced, unique twist on foods that blow your mind

Mexican Restaurants

Italian Restaurants

Other Favorite Cuisines in Westport

Kansas City River Market Restaurants

The River Market is in a sweet spot in between the Northland and the Downtown KC areas. It’s not too far away no matter what area of KC you live in.

Plus, it has some fantastic restaurants! You absolutely have to try the legendary Creole restaurant, Beignet. Try your beignets sweet or savory—and don’t forget about the other traditional Cajun dishes that will send you straight to New Orleans!

Other Favorite Cuisines Near the City Market

Kansas City Legends Restaurants

The Legends Outlet Mall is a fun place to shop and score major deals. You can also enjoy some good food too!

Here are some can’t-miss restaurants at the Legends.

Kansas City Airport Restaurants

Oh, the dreaded drive to and from the Kansas City airport! Get some good food in you, and it can make it all better. Here’s a rundown of the restaurants in and around the airport.

You’ll be pleased to find that if you’re looking for Kansas City barbecue as soon as you get off the plane, there are several barbecue joints nearby!

Restaurants Inside the Kansas City International Airport

Restaurants Near the KC (MCI) Airport

Kansas City Power + Light District Restaurants

P+L is known for great nightlife and drinks, but don’t ignore the food! Whether you’re going for dinner before a concert across the street, date night, or a quick bite, there are some great choices for you here.

Kansas City Brookside Restaurants

Brookside is full of charm—and delicious food! Here you can find a lot of local restaurants that have been around for quite some time. Some cuisines you can’t skip are the authentic French menu at Aixois and the cute Italian grocery store and restaurant at Bella Napoli.

With the Brookside neighborhoods just around the corner, you’ll see a lot of families with kids and pets strolling around.

It’s a cheerful area with romantic spots to dine and fun places for happy hour with friends.

Kansas City Crown Center Restaurants

Crown Center holds Kansas City’s aquarium, the Coterie Theater, Legoland, and so much more. While you’re there hanging out, here are some of the top places to eat—including the famous “train restaurant” called Fritz’s!

Kansas City Union Station Restaurants

Union Station has a bunch of cool exhibits that kids love. Plus, there’s Science City, a great place to take the kiddos to learn and play! If you have picky eaters or are looking for some cheap options near Union Station, there are some fast food places you can find nearby.

If you are visiting Union Station on a date or meeting some friends for brunch, there are also some nice restaurants with good food to enjoy.

Fast Food Near Union Station

Good Restaurants Near Union Station

Kansas City Crossroads Arts District Restaurants

You can count on an arts district to have good food!

Here you’ll find tons of creative restaurants serving up food that dazzles your tastebuds. You’re right by all of the restaurants at the Power & Light district, but there’s even so much more to explore.

Browse By Cuisine

What are the Must-Try Restaurants in Kansas City?

If you don’t care what area of Kansas City you go to and are just looking for the best restaurants by cuisine, here’s your guide!

Kansas City BBQ Restaurants

What Food is Kansas City Known For? Barbecue!

Sure, there’s a lot of great barbecue across the country, but KC has its own unique styles of smoked meats, sauces, barbecue beans, coleslaw, and so much more.

Henry Perry is credited as the father of Kansas City barbecue, who started a stand in the Garment District called Perry’s Barbecue in 1907. He turned his stand into a restaurant in 1908 and trained the Bryant brothers, Charlie and Arthur, in KC barbecue.

Charlie and Arthur took over Henry’s businesses after he died, and that’s how we have the Arthur Bryant’s in KC today.

A Kansas City tradition you have to try? Burnt ends. They are the second cut of the brisket, cooked longer to get them nice and tender. If you haven’t had burnt ends before, you’re probably either a vegetarian or you haven’t been to Kansas City!

Speaking of vegetarians, don’t worry; you aren’t going to feel left out in Kansas City.

Most KC barbecue restaurants in the area offer a variety of vegetarian options from grilled or smoked jackfruit to homemade veggie burger patties, pasta salads, and mac ‘n’ cheese.

Classic KC Barbecue: The Restaurants That Made KC Famous

Each barbecue restaurant on this list has paid its dues and then some. These are the legendary places that created their recipes from scratch and started making barbecue before anyone else in Kansas City, dating back as far as the early 1900s.

You can get a true taste of what made Kansas City barbecue so famous here:

KC Barbecue with a Twist: Modern Restaurants Take a New Approach

Many new barbecue restaurants have been popping up in recent years after finding success in food competitions. They’ll enter a homemade sauce or specific dish, and after performing well, become inspired to start a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

With that being the case, each restaurant on this list has its own unique twists that makes it stand out among the rest.

Visit each one and put your tastebuds to the test! See if you can figure out the differences between their barbecue baked beans, coleslaws or whatever else it is so you can brag to your friends about being an expert on KC barbecue.

Italian Restaurants

In no particular order, here are some of Kansas City’s top Italian restaurants from Italian buffets to Milano style.

Kansas City Mexican Restaurants

There are so many good Mexican restaurants in Kansas City that it’s hard not to select all of them for this list! Just drive west down Southwest Boulevard in the Crossroads Arts District, and you’ll see one amazing, authentic option after the next.

However, there has to be a list, so here are some of the KC local favorites.

Vegan Restaurants

If you’re looking for strictly vegan restaurants or restaurants with a vegan-friendly menu or some tasty vegan options, here are some of the best places to get vegan food around KC.

Indian Restaurants

All you need is love—and curry!

Kansas City has delicious Indian food near almost every neighborhood, so you never have to be without Indian takeout on a Saturday night in. Or, venture out and dine in at one of these great restaurants for the whole experience!

Chinese Restaurants in KC

Whether you are looking for Chinese restaurants that deliver in Kansas City or to dine in, here are some of the top places around the Kansas City area.

Seafood Restaurants

We may not be near a coast in Kansas City, but we still have some excellent seafood restaurants. Satisfy your seafood cravings and transport yourself to whichever beach or island you’re dreaming of right now.

German Restaurants Around KC

German fare is not quite as common as Mexican, Indian, or Chinese in KC. But the few places that we do have are well worth your visit. Each menu is carefully crafted, and each dish is authentic and made special.

French Restaurants

There is something so magical about visiting a French restaurant.

One minute you’re walking around Downtown KC or Brookside, and the next minute you are in Paris!

Enjoy the authentic French cuisine at any of these restaurants.

American Restaurants

If you are ever craving a classic steak or other American cuisine, you can find that in Kansas City too. Check out some of these places that range from casual to elevated.

New Restaurants in Kansas City 2020

Here’s what just popped up this year that you should check out soon!

Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Kansas City

Being in the Midwest, Kansas City is a pretty family-friendly place in general. The kids menus always have high-quality options, and as long as your kid is respectful to other patrons, you typically don’t have to worry about bringing your family with you when you dine.

However, if you’re looking for some great places that your kids will love, here are some of the top restaurants in KC for kids.

Romantic Restaurants in Kansas City: Nice Restaurants to Treat Your Date

It doesn’t have to be an anniversary or prom to take your partner to one of these nice restaurants in Kansas City.

However, if you’re looking for a romantic restaurant for a big celebration or a marriage proposal, these fine dining restaurants are all perfect choices.

Choose from nice steak restaurants, nice Italian restaurants and other cuisines set in a perfectly romantic environment.

KC Restaurant Week

When is Kansas City Restaurant Week?

Restaurant Week in Kansas City always kicks off the new year in January. In 2021, the dates will be Jan. 8-17. 

What Makes KC Restaurant Week So Special?

The top restaurants around the Kansas City metro area put together exclusive menus with discounted rates so you can try a taste of all of their best appetizers, entrees and desserts for an extremely affordable price.

Restaurant Week is a great time to try some new places or indulge in your favorites that you typically reserve for special occasions. 

Make sure you book your reservations early! The Kansas City locals have been waiting all year and are ready to plan out where they are dining each day of the week.

You don’t want to miss out on spots at your top choices, so stay up to date with announcements and menu releases as they come so you can plan ahead.

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