A renowned chef stands feet away, chatting with you as she carefully prepares your meal. The man behind the counter at your local barbecue joint opens the smoker, releasing an irresistible fragrance throughout the restaurant. And one glance at a totally different establishment’s menu reveals that nearly every ingredient is sourced from around the region.

Diverse in style, influence and cuisine, Kansas City’s dining scene thrives on innovation, yet maintains a reverence for classics that keep diners coming back day after day.

Here’s everything you need to know about dining in Kansas City:

Upscale Outings

Well-known chefs and buzzy dinner spots provide perfect dining options for any occasion, from first dates and anniversaries to client meetings and birthday celebrations.

Try Bluestem or Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room for intricate, coursed meals featuring thoughtfully constructed menus. Want something a little more relaxed? Settle in at the Bluestem Lounge or the Supper Club side of Corvino to sample more choices.

Head to Novel or The Rieger—both firmly entrenched in the Crossroads Arts District—for creative takes on American standbys.

Cozy surroundings make for magical evenings at The Antler Room, a Mediterranean small plates establishment in KC’s Union Hill neighborhood. For bustling nightlife, hit up seafood specialist Bristol in the Power & Light District.

Kansas City’s storied history as a steakhouse haven lives on in contemporary concepts like Stock Hill and Anton’s, as well as familiar names, such as The Majestic and Pierpont’s.

Barbecue

Barbecue in Kansas City is more than a menu item or a method of preparation. It’s an institution, rich with history and culinary tradition that shapes the city’s dining landscape every day—and has since the early 1900s.

Sample the signature cuisine—including burnt ends, a local specialty—at a handful of area joints:

International Cuisine

There’s no shortage of authentic global flavors in Kansas City.

Those in search of sushi will find Bob Wasabi to be one of the most popular shops in town, while Ethiopian-Caribbean fusion awaits at Mesob.

Craving noodles? Try Columbus Park Ramen or Boru to satisfy your appetite.

In the Crossroads, diners can choose between a trifecta of European flavors: Northern Italian at Lidia’s, Austrian at Grünauer and German at Affäre.

Treat your palate at Krokstrom Klubb, a Midtown restaurant featuring Scandinavian comfort food. Kick back and relax at Modern Mexican hotspots, including Jarocho in KCK and Port Fonda in Westport.

Locally Sourced Specialties

Where better to find fresh, locally sourced food than the place in which its produced? Kansas City’s position in the Heart of America makes it an essential farm-to-table favorite.

Black Dirt in the South Plaza neighborhood makes the most of local ingredients with notable small plates and larger, shareable dishes.

Lunch or dinner, The Westside Local offers an eclectic menu with plenty of options for vegetarian and gluten-free patrons.

A brunch favorite, The Farmhouse in River Market works with dozens of local producers to put especially fresh dishes on plates seven days a week.

Room 39 changes its offerings seasonally, meaning new dinner options every day, plus breakfast and lunch items you can always count on. 

Kid-Friendly

Kansas City touts a wide variety of kid-friendly breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert spots, so parents can rest easy when visiting the City of Fountains.

Child-sized cheese or pepperoni pies plus delicious gelato is perfect for kiddos visiting Spin! Neapolitan Pizza, a regional favorite available in Crown CenterOlathe and Overland Park, among other locations.

Have your meal delivered by toy train at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, an ideal family hangout since 1954. Top it off with a milkshake or Oreo sundae to really treat the young ones.

At Donutology, kids of all ages can pick from thousands of different flavor combinations to perfect their own mini donut creations.

Travel east and you’ll find Independence, home to a number of historical sites, including Clinton’s Soda Fountain, an old-fashioned soda and malt shop where President Harry S. Truman worked in his youth.

Casual Favorites

Not every meal calls for a special occasion. But that doesn’t mean the food itself can’t still be stellar.

Late-night diner Town Topic has been treating customers to griddled burgers and hash browns since 1937. After so many years, they must be doing something right.

Another decades-old classic, The Peanut specializes in buffalo wings. And not the rinky-dink kind you’d find at a chain—drumstick and wing arrive attached, so you’re sure to get your fill when accompanied by fries.

Neapolitan to New York-style, Kansas City pizza has its own collection of popular slices.

French-inspired gourmet classics are staples at Pot Pie, a Westport bistro known for its welcoming environment.

Contact Visit KC