Best Restaurants in the Kansas City Area Feature Memorable and Mouthwatering Eats

In recent years, Kansas City's exciting and evolving restaurant scene has landed on numerous travel and food 'best' lists. Its chefs have also received nominations and awards from the illustrious James Beard Foundation. Out of the area's restaurants, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations among independently owned operations or those with only a few locations. Many chefs also have ownership in their restaurants. And plenty of them are dedicated to using fresh, seasonal ingredients purchased from small producers that operate within a short drive from the front door. You'll also find a wide variety of ambiance, from farmhouse cozy to chic, contemporary surroundings or old-school elegance. Whether you choose to dine at a classic, long-established restaurant or want to check out a more recent entry to the scene there's no shortage of great choices for memorable meals. You'll also find some well-priced and expansive happy hour menus, sumptuous brunch offerings and chef or prix fixe dinners that offer a terrific value; add pre-set wine pairings to create a mouthwatering dining experience. Here, Kansas City's enormous restaurant selection down to 10 popular spots offering a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

The Farmhouse - Kansas City
Photo courtesy of Alistair Tutton

From rabbit ravioli and beet salad to pork confit or chicken with quinoa, The Farmhouse places a premium on locally and regionally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Many of them come from small producers in Kansas and Missouri. Cold weather dishes...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Piropos

The broad menu at this Northland restaurant has an Argentinian flare reflected in grilled meats and seafood as well as fresh salads and vegetables with a touch of Spanish, Italian, French and other ethnic influences. Entrées include Peppercorn...  Read More

Michael Smith
Photo courtesy of Lisa Waterman Gray

Michael Smith restaurant offers a seasonally inspired menu with creative preparations. With previous experience in Denver, Chicago and France restaurants, and The American Restaurant in Kansas City, Chef Michael Smith was 1999 James Beard...  Read More

Port Fonda
Photo courtesy of Port Fonda

Inventive food and fresh seasonal ingredients create a contemporary twist on authentic Mexican flavors. Once owner of a wildly popular food truck, Patrick Ryan brought his culinary passion to this brick-and-mortar spot several years ago. The...  Read More

novel kansas city
Photo courtesy of Paul M. Ingold, Photography by Ingold

Novel's owner/chef, Ryan Brazeal, once worked in New York City restaurants. Today his Kansas City restaurant delivers understated, yet creative cuisine made with fresh, clean, seasonal and simple ingredients. Known for delicious and inventive...  Read More

The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange
Photo courtesy of The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange

Once a favorite hotel for traveling salesmen, railroad workers and others, this renovated classic 1915 building still retains many original tile floors, and vintage bathroom fixtures. Chef Howard Hanna and the staff offer a fresh, innovative and...  Read More


French and Italian influences infuse Story's menu with fresh, local and seasonal ingredients that are used whenever possible. Since opening in May 2011 the restaurant has served appreciative customers amid sleek modern surroundings. A 2013 James...  Read More

Justus Drugstore

A delightful surprise located on Smithville, Missouri's tiny town square, this highly respected restaurant is definitely worth the trip from Kansas City, Mo. Wood and warm colors create an inviting ambiance inside this one-time drugstore. The...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Bonjwing Lee

Elegant and urban without feeling fussy, the restaurant offers a fixed price menu of New American cuisine with three, five or ten courses created under the direction of Chef Colby Garrelts, who received the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef...  Read More


Meet Lisa Waterman Gray

Lisa Waterman Gray moved to the Kansas City area 35 years ago and has written professionally for 20+ years. A member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association, she's excited about the...  More About Lisa