Family-owned Bo Lings Chinese Restaurant, on Kansas City's renowned Country Club Plaza, makes this list largely because of its dim sum – a tradition since 1987. Dim sum is available on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11-3 (also at 91st & Metcalf in Overland Park, Kan.), and the Plaza location offers a limited dim sum menu daily. Employees circulate carts throughout the dining room, featuring piping hot and fresh dim sum selections such as steamed pork buns, Beef Chow Funn Noodles; and shrimp, or scallops and chives, and dumplings. Handheld trays feature chef's special plates. Not in the mood for dim sum? Check the enormous menu from which dishes incorporating tender beef have received high marks among guests, as have Hot and Sour Soup or Sweet and Sour Chicken. Beautiful décor provides a modern vibe reminiscent of larger cities.
Recommended for Asian because: One of the Kansas City area's oldest family-owned Asian restaurants consistently delivers quality dishes.
Lisa's expert tip: Available from 3-6 p.m., Monday-Friday, Happy Hour at Bo Lings on the Country Club Plaza features beer, wine and cocktail specials, including Mai Tais and Sapporo Draft, with food specials priced from $2 to $5. In addition order from a sushi menu between 4 and 6 p.m.
Blue Sushi Sake Grill has fast become a favorite dining spot at Woodside Village, a residential and commercial complex in Kansas City, Kan. From Edamame Hummus to decadent, creamy Coconut Crab Soup, fresh sushi and unusual sashimi offerings, the restaurant cut its teeth in the Denver and Lincoln, Neb. restaurants markets. Order options with inventive names such as Blue Balls, Itchy Salmon, raw Lion King or Hawaiian Rolls bathing in mango puree. Vegan options include BBQ seitan and vegetarian lettuce wraps and meat lovers enjoy the Shishito Pepper Filet. Servers often remember 'regular' customers, although service can sometimes be uneven, when the restaurant gets busy. Dine amid hip, modern surroundings with high ceilings and enormous windows, with several images of Godzilla on the walls. The restaurant makes great cocktails and green tea ice cream too.
Recommended for Asian because: One-of-a-kind decor meets fresh and tasty fare at this new Happy Hour hot-spot.
Lisa's expert tip: Sunday 'Happy Hour' at Blue Sushi Sake Grill extends from noon-8. In addition, $12 lunch specials feature your choice of soup or salad plus two Maki rolls.
Local foodies find plenty to like about Asian and Thai dishes served at Spices Asian Restaurant, an unassuming dining spot in a North Kansas City strip mall. Prompt and courteous service characterizes this spacious and comfortable restaurant. Tasty meal starters on this enormous menu include addictive Thai peanut sauce served alongside Thai-style Moo Shu Summer Rolls that enfold a massive quantity of pork inside delicate rice paper; and Crispy Garlic Chicken Wings. Love curry? Try sweet-spicy Massaman Curry with chicken, potatoes, onions and carrots plus coconut milk and curry paste. A popular special, the complex, pan-fried Tilapia filet pairs chili sauce with crispy fish. For a perfect ending to your meal order Mango Sticky Rice and Thai Coffee sweetened with creamy condensed milk.
Recommended for Asian because: Fans of Spices Asian Restaurant rave about its fantastic pho, fried rice and bubble teas.
Lisa's expert tip: Make sure you're looking at the right menu prices; larger portions served in the evening are more expensive. Occasional menu items are only available at one time of day, such as the fantastic basil, chili and black pepper-flavored Roasted Duck Phad Grapow which you can only order at lunch.
Family-owned since 1991, Thai Place provides upscale dining and a friendly, courteous wait-staff amid beautiful Thai carvings and decorative items. Inside this Johnson County, Kan. gem the kitchen deftly balances authentic spices and preparations with proteins and produce. Signature Phad Thai combines delicious sauce and roasted peanuts with chicken and shrimp as well as eggs, fresh bean sprouts, cabbage and scallions. Other favorites include vegetable-rich Crispy Garlic Shrimp, fluffy fried rice with a variety of flavors and crunchy Thai Place Crab Rangoon, or spicy Thai Place Basil Wings served atop fresh sliced cabbage. Panang Curry is a sweet-savory combination of coconut milk and peanut flavors that accompany tender, crisp bell peppers and your choice of protein. For the perfect accompaniment sip a refreshing made-to-order Mai Tai cocktail.
Family-owned Pad Thai Restaurant offers a 'white tablecloth atmosphere' and pleasant outdoor seating. Several favorite dishes include Royal Thai Chicken, marinated in garlic and rum with rich garlic sauce, shiitakes and ginger; and Crispy Garlic Shrimp Pad Thai. Many people praise the restaurant's Pad Thai sauce but some have found it too sweet. Coconut milk tempers culinary heat in Red Curry and Yellow Curry dishes to which you can add your favorite protein, from chicken to shrimp. Shrimp also stars in tasty pineapple fried rice, alongside pineapple and raisins, cashews and roasted garlic. Service at Pad Thai Restaurant is generally friendly, warm and attentive, although it is sometimes slow when the restaurant becomes busy.
Recommended for Asian because: Locals have driven half an hour to dine here and some travelers equate this Thai restaurant with others in New York City or San Francisco.
Lisa's expert tip: The amount of heat at different 'levels' of Thai cuisine can vary widely, so it's a good idea to learn how an individual restaurant grades the spiciness of their dishes. Pad Thai Restaurant provides this information on the menu, with tongue-in-cheek descriptions such as 'Medium (Sriracha is your ketchup).'
Beyond Blue Koi's bright blue door and wall of long windows, amid blue walls with happy red and yellow accents, you'll find innovative and modern Chinese comfort food. Begin with savory seafood soup or Crispy Tofu with Spicy Awesome Sauce and then enjoy Firebird Duck with house noodles (may substitute chicken or tofu) accompanied by tasty bubble tea. Blue Koi is known for making delicious, well-balanced sauces and some of this area's best homemade steamed dumplings. Chili Pepper Wontons and tender, delicious Pan Fried Dumplings, available with chicken, shrimp, seafood, pork, shrimp or combo fillings, are especially popular. With many of the dishes at this colorful and hip restaurant 'off the beaten path,' among local Chinese menus, there are always interesting daily specials too.
Recommended for Asian because: Two locations, wonderful sauces and dynamite dumplings make this a favorite dining spot for locals and visitors alike.
Lisa's expert tip: Beverages play an important role here. Order mixed and specialty drinks, or beer and wine from the full-service bar. Tea-lovers appreciate a wide selection of high quality varieties and the option to purchase small or large individual cups, or small and large pots for sharing.
Don't let its location in a suburban strip shopping center fool you - Sawa Sushi & Hibachi has a clean and sleek interior, if a little dark in some spots. Favorite dishes include raw Twister Roll, a tasty combination of tuna and salmon, topped with yellowtail and avocado and served with ponzu sauce, scallions and masago (processed fish eggs). Fresh and scrumptious, The Splendid Roll combines shrimp tempura with snow crab and avocado in an enormous 12-piece serving. Udon and soba noodle dishes have many fans as do hibachi dinners. Delicious Spicy Seafood Soup, and Spicy Kani salad, featuring crab and avocado, and nigiri, are other customer faves. Enjoy your meal with beer or wine as you plan your next visit.
Recommended for Asian because: Recommended by several California transplants, the restaurant has become a favorite for local sushi lovers who appreciate fresh, well prepared and priced rolls.
Lisa's expert tip: You can get carry-out from Sawa Sushi & Hibachi - and many people do. But be sure to check carry-out hours on the web site, before making a trip. Sushi Lunch is another special offering. Served with soup or salad, the average price is $12-13.
Fresh, authentic and tasty Chinese fare, with consistent seasoning throughout each dish is the hallmark of cuisine served at ABC Cafe, a small suburban restaurant that frequently draws Asian customers. This unassuming dining destination is known for delicious dim sum such as spicy shrimp dumplings or Barbecue Pork Puff. It's also a great place to enjoy tender sauteed greens, and clay pot pork belly as well as Curry Shrimp or Beef Short Rib with Black Pepper. But in a restaurant dedicated to authenticity there are plenty of opportunities for adventurous eating too. Salt & Pepper Shrimp with Head & Tail, Spicy Beef Tendon or firm and perfectly seasoned chicken feet with fall-off-the-bone skin and ligaments are several unusual selections. Good pricing and service enhance this delicious dining experience.
Recommended for Asian because: Whether you dine in or place a take-out order so you can avoid lunch and dinner crowds, ABC Cafe always serves up delicious food.
Lisa's expert tip: Although there's always hot loose-leaf tea available here (at no charge), the only alcohol served is a small selection of beers.
A small 'hole-in-the-wall that becomes packed at dinnertime, with terrific food and a staff who treats customers like family, Bun Mee Phan operates in the metropolitan area's 'Northland.' Banh Mi is a favorite classic Vietnamese dish available here. This combination of toasted baguette and pate with choice of meat, fresh cucumbers, cilantro pickled radish, carrots and onion, results in such taste treats as Lemongrass Chicken or tender Caramelized Pork Belly. For a slightly sweet twist, Banh Tieu substitutes a Vietnamese beignet for the baguette. But there's more to this menu than sandwiches. Ultra-fresh shrimp spring rolls get high marks, and there are even tasty riffs on tacos, including Fried Tilapia with lettuce, daikon radish, cilantro and Sriracha mayo, on a flour tortilla.
Recommended for Asian because: When a customer who has traveled extensively through Vietnam recommends a stateside Vietnamese restaurant, it's definitely worth a taste.
Lisa's expert tip: Infused with chewy tapioca, bubble tea is a must-do at Bun Mee Phan. Choose from more than a dozen offerings with unusual flavors that include taro, lychee and durian; or perhaps blend one of these flavors with watermelon, avocado or pineapple. Either way, you'll enjoy this refreshing Vietnamese 'slushy.'
Comfortable yet simply elegant and featuring lots of natural wood, Bob Wasabi Kitchen has quickly become a 'go-to' staple for sushi-loving locals. Previously residents of Maui, Bob, his wife, two daughters and their son have created a friendly environment whose knowledgeable staff offers great service too. Although some customers have mentioned high prices, the restaurant is known for its enormous servings and ultra-fresh seafood. The Hawaiian Roll – shrimp tempura and kani salad topped with Poke – is a must-try. Customers love TNT Rolls, with just enough heat to bring spicy tuna, hamachi and salmon flavors together, and umami-rich Miso Soup. Watch expert sushi makers at work, when you dine at the sushi bar; you'll avoid the wait for a spot at the restaurant's limited two and four-top tables too. Just don't try to order fried rice. It's not available here.
Recommended for Asian because: Customers can't say enough about the food quality and great staff at this restaurant with Maui roots.
Lisa's expert tip: Accompany your meal with one of many sake varieties, including Snow Maiden Sake, whose flavor resembles honeydew melon; as well as Sapporo beer or sparkling water. An order of green tea comes with free refills.