When you think about food in Kansas City, the first thing that likely comes to mind is barbecue. And why not? Kansas City’s relationship with slow-smoked meats is rooted deep in its history going back well over a century1, and the local restaurants and barbecue chefs rack up countless awards for their cooking every year. However, often overlooked are the numerous other KC eateries, coffee houses, and microbreweries whipping up mouth-watering delectables on a daily basis.
Kansas City is a foodie town, whether you’re looking for burnt ends or vegan eats, comfort food or high-end international delicacies, a great cup of coffee or a local summer brew. If you’re a KC native and looking for some new restaurants to try with your out-of-town guests or if you’re visiting the area for Grantham’s commencement, we’ve got a list of places you can’t miss. Here are our top four picks in each of three categories.
Best International Fare in Kansas City
Affäre: The options for international food in Kansas City are plenty. To start, Affäre describes itself as “modern German cuisine” and offers locally-sourced meals with a German spin on them. Of course, a staple on the seasonally-changing menu are the brats, but you can find options for all tastes in this upscale restaurant located in the Crossroads District at 1911 Main Street. It’s also a great place for Saturday or Sunday morning brunch!
Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop: Lulu’s is a Kansas City favorite, offering a neighborhood, family feel to your dining experience while you enjoy authentic Thai dishes. Balance the spicy sweet heat of your meal with a refreshing cocktail from their extensive menu of craft cocktails using seasonally infused liquors. You can find Lulu’s in the Crossroads District at 2030 Central Street.
Lidia’s Restaurant: The Crossroads District offers even more of the best international food in Kansas City with this Northern Italian style dining spot. With so many mouth-watering options on the menu, it’s hard to pick just one. That’s why we recommend the signature dish, Lidia’s Pasta Trio, where you get unlimited servings of three of the daily pastas served to you table-side. Located at 101 W 22nd St.
La Bodega: La Bodega serves up authentic Spanish tapas and wine to the delight of its patrons. Its food and culture invite guests to enjoy the camaraderie of one another’s company while relaxing in their vibrant lounge environment. Located at 703 Southwest Blvd.
Best Comfort Food in Kansas City
Anna’s Oven: Located in the 39th Street District near Westport, Anna’s Oven serves up the definition of American comfort food. They use fresh ingredients to craft their menu of macaroni, lasagna, mashed potatoes, meatloaf, fried chicken and more. Not only do they serve great food, but the restaurant donates 50% of all profits to support education in Kansas City and around the world. You can find Anna’s Oven at 1809 West 39th Street.
Stroud’s: Stroud’s has been a staple of comfort food in Kansas City for nearly a century, and is nationally recognized for its fried chicken. The restaurant has been featured several times on Food Network and the Travel Channel. It’s a must-visit restaurant for anyone traveling through the area. They have several locations, but the Kansas City location in an expanded 1829 log cabin and farmhouse is located at 5410 NE Oak Ridge Dr.
Julian: Julian offers upscale comfort from award-winning chef, Celina Tio, who made a name for herself nationally on popular cooking shows, such as Food Network’s “The Next Iron Chef” and Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters.” You can find Julian in the Brookside area at 6227 Brookside Plaza.
Beer Kitchen: Located in the Westport area, Beer Kitchen offers traditional American eats accompanied by the highest quality craft beers. Whether you’re looking for a great place to enjoy lunch, dinner, late night drinks or brunch, Beer Kitchen offers it all. Find the restaurant at 435 Westport Road.
Best Pizza in Kansas City
Il Lazzarone: Kansas City has some great pizza spots, and Il Lazzarone is at the top of our list for its authentic Neapolitan pizza. These artisan pizzas are all hand-crafted with fresh ingredients, and come in traditional and unique topping combinations. Stop by their 412 Delaware Street River Market location to enjoy a wood-fired pie.
Minsky’s: The River Market is home to another Kansas City favorite for pizza, Minsky’s. Minsky’s has been going strong in KC for four decades and has expanded to include locations all over the metro area. The pizzeria proudly boasts of its “gourmet pizzas” that have been voted KC’s best many times over. Wherever you are in KC, there’s bound to be a Minsky’s nearby, but you can find the downtown location at 427 Main Street.
Pizzabella: Pizzabella serves up wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizzas with style. You can find all the traditional toppings, but you’ll also love the more creative fare, such as the potato or egg pizzas. Be sure to save room for dessert; you can’t go wrong with the Italian classics of tiramisu or gelato. Find them in the Crossroads at 1810 Baltimore.
Grinder’s Pizza: If you’re looking for New York style pizza in a funky, fun atmosphere, Grinder’s is the place to go. The great pizza is complemented with great drinks, so if you’re in the mood for pizza and a brew, you can get it here. Grinders is located in the heart of the Crossroads District at 417 E. 18th Street.
We know this list is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot of great food in Kansas City, so let us know – what did we miss? Where’s your favorite spot to eat in KC?
1 – Biography of Henry Perry (1875 – 1940), Restaurateur. http://www.kchistory.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/Biographies&CISOPTR=83.