Top 12 Best Restaurants in Kansas City

Last Updated on February 7, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Kansas City’s dining culture shines bright through creative chefs putting fresh twists on Midwestern cuisine across dramatically different concepts from folksy barbecue joints to delicate tasting menus utilizing hyperlocal ingredients.

RestaurantSpecialty
Q39Barbecue, smoked meats
Corvino Tasting RoomModern American, seasonal menus
Café SebastienneFrench fare, breakfast, and brunch
AffäreContemporary European, German specialties
Webster HouseNew American, seasonal dishes
Rye LeawoodComfort foods, artisanal twists
ManifestoSeasonal tasting menus, local ingredients
NovelLiterary-themed dishes, quirky cuisine
Trezo MareItalian, housemade pastas and seafood
Stock HillSteakhouse, USDA Prime beef
Gram & DunSteak with impressive sides
Café ProvenceRustic French cuisine, classic staples

Beyond quintessential barbecue, visitors taste Kansas City’s adventurous culinary spirit across chef-driven eateries and cozy neighborhood gems scattered downtown, within City Market, along Country Club Plaza and beyond. These 12 best KC restaurants showcase the city’s range of palate-pleasing flavors.

Q39

Name and Location: Q39 is a popular barbecue restaurant located on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.

History and Significance: Opened in 2014, Q39 quickly earned acclaim for its slow-smoked Kansas City-style barbecue crafted by award-winning Pitmaster Rob Magee. Known for exceptional ribs, brisket, sausage and more, Q39 epitomizes contemporary regional barbecue. Its success has expanded into multiple locations across the metro area.

What to Expect: Expect melt-in-your-mouth, hickory-smoked meats like ribs, pulled pork, brisket, sausage and chicken wings at Q39. Sides like baked beans, cole slaw, fries and cornbread round out the true barbecue experience in a rustic modern dining room. The bar offers local beers and specialty cocktails. Take-out and catering also available.

Visitor Information: Q39 is open for lunch and dinner daily. Being a popular spot, reservations are recommended. Approximate entree costs range from $10-$30. Paid parking garages surround the Country Club Plaza area. The restaurant is also wheelchair accessible.

With lines often extending out the door, Q39 proves Kansas City serious barbecue cred meshing Texas smokehouse traditions with contemporary culinary innovation across Winner of Food Network’s Best Barbecue Spot. The pecan wood-smoked meats like St. Louis spare ribs need no sauce to impress thanks to painstaking attention ensuring ideal tenderness. Beyond melt-in-your-mouth brisket and pulled pork, Chef Howard industries local flavors into starters like burnt end poutine fries or grilled lamb belly banh mi sliders. Save room for their oversized meaty burnt ends wrapped in foil for that car ride home.

Corvino Tasting Room

Name and Location: Corvino Tasting Room is an Italian restaurant and wine bar located at 1830 Walnut St. in Kansas City, Missouri in the Crossroads Arts District.

History and Significance: Led by award-winning Chef Michael Corvino, Corvino Tasting Room opened in 2018 as an extension of the fine-dining Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room. The vibrant space offers a more casual take on Italian cuisine alongside an approachable wine program that invites exploration of lesser-known Italian vintages.

What to Expect: Corvino Tasting Room serves shareable small plates showcasing seasonal Italian fare. Menu highlights include pastas, bruschetta, panini sandwiches, carpaccios and cheese boards. An extensive wine list spotlights Italian bottles, available by the glass or bottle. The atmosphere is lively, modern and welcoming.

Visitor Information: Corvino Tasting Room serves dinner nightly, plus weekend brunches. Reservations recommended, especially on weekends. Street parking is available, and the restaurant is wheelchair accessible via ramp. Entrees range $15-$25 per plate. The Crossroads Arts District offers plenty to explore before and after dining.

Gain VIP access to sample modern American progressive cuisine from lauded Executive Chef Michael Corvino inside his intimate downtown Corvino Tasting Room highlighting choice ingredients impeccably prepared. The single communal table shapes a convivial atmosphere across ten seats getting personalized explanations of each artful dish—perhaps Hawaiian blue prawns or tender greens harvested from Kansas City urban farms that morning. Multi-course menus change seasonally but consistently stimulate both the palate and intellect through playful flavor juxtapositions like popcorn soup under squid-ink cracker. It’s a culinary journey rather than standard dining experience.

Café Sebastienne

Name and Location: Café Sebastienne is a French restaurant and bakery located in Kansas City, Missouri’s Country Club Plaza district at the corner of W 48th Street and Belleview Avenue.

History and Significance: Open since 1997, Café Sebastienne brings rustic French country cuisine to Kansas City under Chef Patrick Ryan. Acclaimed for its scratch-made French classics, pastries and breads, it started off modestly but has expanded over 25 years into a Plaza icon with a vibrant sidewalk bistro vibe. Its authentic cooking highlights quality regional ingredients.

What to Expect: Café Sebastienne’s seasonally inspired menu includes French onion soup, escargots, roasted chicken, steak frites, seafood stew, duck confit, crepes and quiches alongside an impressive pastry case. Breakfast, lunch, weekend brunch and dinner served daily in a casual-elegant setting, with patio seating when weather allows.

Visitor Information: Hours run 7am-9pm Sun-Thu, staying open later on weekends. Reservations recommended. Entrees $15-$40. Paid public parking garages nearby off Belleview Ave. Wheelchair access via sidewalk ramp through the front entrance. Walk-ins welcomed if space allows.

Transport to Paris at quaint Café Sebastienne nestled within Kansas City’s Loose Park serving authentic French fare for breakfast, lunch and weekend brunches perfect for al fresco wining and dining on the patio. Visitors indulge in flaky almond croissants, rich onion gratinee soup or traditional steak frites while admiring park lake views and the cafe’s adorable gingerbread architecture. For special occasions, order the sautéed chicken stuffed with brie, prosciutto and mushrooms exquisitely creamy and full of finesse—much like dining at Café Sebastienne itself promises.

Affäre

Name and Location: Affäre is an award-winning modern European restaurant located in downtown Kansas City, Missouri at 1911 Main St.

History and Significance: Since opening in 2011, Affäre has made its mark on Kansas City’s fine-dining scene by infusing contemporary flare into Austrian and Germanic cuisine. Wildly creative dishes from Chef Martin Heuser have landed Affäre on multiple national “best restaurant” lists while pioneering downtown Kansas City’s dining renaissance.

What to Expect: From poached pheasant to venison schnitzel to duck breast with purple cabbage, Affäre’s seasonally inspired tasting menus offer bold fusions of flavors and textures in a sleek, modern setting. Multicourse meals focus on updated Central European cuisine using regional ingredients. Reservations are essential for this intimate upscale experience.

Visitor Information: Affäre serves nightly 5-10 pm. Jacket recommended but not required. Valet parking available outside, and the restaurant is wheelchair accessible. Tasting menus run $115-$165 per person. Extensive wine pairings can be added for $60-$100. Gratuities not included in menu pricing.

Led by Chef Martin Heuser, cozy Affäre021 Restaurant consistently delights guests through contemporary European cuisine highlighted by fresh pasta, German specialties and culinary creativity utilizing locally-sourced ingredients. Tantalize taste buds with potato soup under Nuremburg bratwurst or ethereal butternut squash agnolotti dressed in brown sage butter before sampling schnitzels sautéed to crisp perfection. For indulgence, share the bittersweet chocolate soufflé cake oozing with molten caramel paired with Affäre’s seasonal digestifs. Worth a splurge for memorable dining, Affäre brings Mitteleuropa to the Midwest through delicate yet deeply satisfying cuisine in a romantic Victorian atmosphere.

Webster House

Name and Location: Webster House is a contemporary New American restaurant and bar located in Kansas City, Missouri’s Crossroads Arts District at 1644 Wyandotte St.

History and Significance: Opened in 2011 under Chef Matt Arnold, Webster House brings seasonal, modern cuisine to the Crossroads in a historic renovated building. Its loft-like ambiance with exposed brick has become a neighborhood staple, with Chef Arnold earning multiple nods for his ingredient-driven philosophy focusing on Midwestern farms and purveyors.

What to Expect: Expect a seasonally inspired menu at Webster House ranging from snacks to salads to creative wood-fired pizzas to entrees highlighting beef, poultry, seafood and pasta. Cocktails incorporate herbs and garnishes from their rooftop garden. Brunch and lunch also served in the lively, high-ceilinged space.

Visitor Information: Webster House serves lunch, dinner and Sunday brunches, plus weekday happy hour specials in the saloon-style bar. Reservations recommended, especially for weekend dining. Street parking readily available. Entrees range from $15-$36.

At Webster House restaurant owned by local Chef Vaughn Good, native Heartland ingredients find new expression across daring New American dishes vibrant with unexpected textures and colors that delight both the eye and palate. Menus fluctuate with the seasons but recent standouts include heirloom tomato panzanella salad or creamy corn ravioli with sweet peppers and summer truffles. Cocktail enthusiasts appreciate their extensive list of unique signature libations like One Hot Cookie mixing habanero-infused tequila with Mexican chocolate bitters and orange liqueur for the perfect amount of heat. Expect adventurous cuisine in a relaxed renovated Victorian space on Webster House’s lovely open-air patio.

Rye Leawood

Name and Location: Rye Leawood is an upscale New American restaurant located in the Leawood Town Center plaza at 10540 Mission Road in Leawood, Kansas.

History and Significance: Open since 2014, Rye Leawood makes seasonal, sustainable cuisine its passion under executive chef Devin Hanney. Focusing on relationships with regional farmers, the restaurant brings creative flair to Midwestern ingredients. Its rustic-refined ambiance has made it a Leawood favorite for special occasions.

What to Expect: Menus shift with the seasons at Rye, but carry through a theme of American dishes prepared with modern techniques – from dry aged steaks, to kombu-cured salmon, coal roasted duck and more. Handcrafted cocktails, noted wine selections and desserts such as house-churned ice creams exemplify attention to detail.

Visitor Information: Rye serves dinner nightly starting at 5pm, with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations strongly recommended, especially on weekends. Valet parking available outside, with garage parking beneath the shops. Entrees $15-$45.

Familiar comfort foods get upgraded with artisanal twists at RYE Leawoodfrom exemplary Executive Chef David Scott pulling inspiration from global cuisines to keep flavors consistently exciting. Their signature handmade gnocchi entices under Gorgonzola cream with candied walnuts and sweet potatoes while the sweet and spicy General Tso’s cauliflower wings appeal to vegetable lovers craving Asian zing. Daily freshly baked breads precede creative plating like honey fig pizza with La Quercia prosciutto or whole roasted red snapper showcasing Rye’s knack for Full Service culinary art behind a convivial neighborhood atmosphere.

Manifesto

Name and Location: Manifesto is a contemporary American restaurant located in downtown Kansas City, Missouri at 1924 Main St. in the Crossroads Arts District.

History and Significance: Since opening its doors in 2010, Manifesto has made local, sustainable New American cuisine its heart and soul. An open kitchen lets diners view the talented chefs hard at work – led by executive chef Ryan Brazeal, a multiple James Beard award nominee for his inventive preparations and seasonally inspired plates.

What to Expect: Manifesto serves creative fare ranging from snacks, salads and flatbreads to heartier plates of meat, seafood and pasta. The dining room embodies sleek-but-cozy, accented with reclaimed wood tables and subway tiled walls. Their bar mixologists focus on seasonal craft cocktails featuring herbs and garnishes from Manifesto’s rooftop garden.

Visitor Information: Manifesto operates Tuesday through Saturday for dinner from 5-10 pm, and brunch on Saturday and Sundays 10 am-2 pm. Street parking readily available, valet parking offered as well. Reservations recommended. Entree costs range from $17-$40.

Chef Ryan Brazeal helms game-changing Manifesto restaurant utilizing consciously sourced local ingredients to craft memorable seasonal tasting menus spanning anywhere from inventive small bites to multiple decadent courses. Depending when visiting, sample handmade tortellini in delicate chanterelle broth or chili chocolate Kansas City strip steak with tempura avocado. The polished subterranean space matches Manifesto’s culinary poise through global wine pairings and impeccable hospitality. For special celebrations or simply enjoying one of Kansas City’s most creative emerging chefs, Manifesto executes Progressive American cuisine flawlessly.

Novel

Name and Location: Novel is a contemporary restaurant and bar located in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District at 1909 Wyandotte St. It resides inside the Regnier Apartments building.

History and Significance: Open since 2016 in a converted 1917 warehouse, Novel made an immediate impact on Kansas City’s dining scene with its hyper-seasonal New American cuisine crafted by executive chef Greg Collier. The two-story industrial-chic space also functions as a neighborhood eatery and lively bar. Novel exemplifies the revitalization of downtown KC.

What to Expect: Novel’s ever-changing, farm-to-table dinner menus highlight Midwest-sourced duck, rainbow trout, strip steak, vegetables, etc. prepared through modern techniques and flavor pairings accented by house-made pastas and breads. Their bar shakes up seasonal cocktails using house-grown herbs and garnishes. Weekend brunch served too.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday through Saturday 5-10 pm for dinner, Saturday and Sunday 9am-2pm for brunch, and weekends for lunch 11am-2pm. Closed Mondays. Reservations recommended, especially on weekends for dining. Free parking garage behind building. Entrees $22-$42.

The 1927 Union Horseshoe Post building provides a fittingly unique backdrop for Chef Caleb France’s quirky Novel restaurant bringing literary themes to life across fun dishes showcasing France’s prowess for making flavors pop playfully. Apple pie soup meets mac-and-cheese inside bookshelf-lined rooms while the “Got ‘Em” halibut cheek tempura heaps delicate fried cubes next to wasabi peas and carrots over vibrant sauces. Those preferring heartier plates appreciate the double pork chop sharing a skillet with baked beans, ham and redeye gravy for downhome satisfaction. Celebrate reading and eating with good company at Kansas City’s literary cuisine gem Novel.

Trezo Mare

Name and Location: Trezo Mare is an upscale Italian seafood restaurant located in Kansas City, Missouri’s Country Club Plaza district at 4105 N Mulberry Dr.

History and Significance: Opened in 2008 under Chef Michael Foust, Trezo Mare brings elevated Italian cuisine focusing on fresh seafood inspired by the coastal regions around Sicily and Sardinia. Its sleek-yet-inviting ambiance quickly made it a go-to Plaza destination for date nights and special occasions. Chef Foust’s Mediterranean-influenced preparations have earned numerous accolades.

What to Expect: Trezo Mare’s dinner menu centers around fresh-catch seafood ranging from salmon and tuna to lobster to whole branzino prepared in various Italian styles. Complementing pastas, beef and chicken provide options for non-seafood lovers. Extensive wine selections further enhance the upscale meals in their candlelit contemporary dining room.

Visitor Information: Trezo Mare operates from 5-9 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays. Reservations strongly recommended. Valet parking readily available in the shopping plaza. Appetizers from $14, entrees topping out around $45. Extensive gluten-free and vegetarian options as well.

Transport straight to sunny Italy through fare masterfully executed by Chef Michael Foust at intimate Trezo Mare specializing in fresh housemade pastas, seafood and desserts paying homage to Foust’s traditional training in Tuscany and Veneto. Locals flock for the signature squid ink linguine radiating the briny ocean topped with spot prawns and uni butter. Contorni sides like the delicate potato terrine layered with buttery mushrooms and truffle cream make impressive appetizers too. Everything shines brighter when paired with regional Italian wines expertly selected to complement Trezo Mare’s authentic coastal preparations, especially Foust’s standout interpretations of tiramisu and panna cotta.

Stock Hill

Name and Location: Stock Hill steakhouse is located on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza at 4800 JC Nichols Pkwy, within the historic Wishbone restaurant space.

History and Significance: Opening in 2021, Stock Hill brought contemporary steakhouse dining back to the Wishbone site, which housed Kansas City’s original fine dining steakhouse starting in 1944 before a remodel in 2020. Under Chef Tamara Stanger, Stock Hill serves premium Black Angus steaks broiled at exacting temperatures alongside classic sides and table-side preparations.

What to Expect: Expect exceptional cuts of aged Black Angus beef expertly prepared to desired doneness alongside classic steakhouse sides like creamed spinach, hashbrowns, mac’ n’ cheese, gratin potatoes and more. Enhance the steak with options like béarnaise butter, bordelaise sauce or crab oscar topping. An extensive bourbon selection in a classic steakhouse setting completes the dining experience.

Visitor Information: Serving dinner from 5-10pm nightly, Stock Hill accepts walk-ins but reservations strongly recommended. Extensive gluten-free menu available. Valet parking readily available. From $15 appetizers up to $118 for a 28oz porterhouse meant for sharing.

The upscale Stock Hill Steakhouse pleases Kansas City’s most discriminating carnivores with USDA Prime beef and top-grade chops expertly prepared by Chef Tammey Young and team against a swanky background of leather booths, marble and dark woods. Custom order the cut and thickness desired from juicy filet mignon to colossal 22 ounce bone-in ribeyes then pair your pick with classic creamed spinach side, truffle fries or jumbo sea scallops to satisfy surf ‘n turf cravings. Handcrafted sours and Manhattan cocktails hit the right notes before finishing sweetly with bananas foster cheesecake or caramelized apple tart baked a la mode topped in cinnamon Chantilly.

Gram & Dun

Name and Location: Gram & Dun is an intimate New American dining experience located inside the Luxury Apartments building in downtown Kansas City, Missouri at 1020 Baltimore Ave.

History and Significance: Opened 2021 within a converted 1920s power and light building, Gram & Dun specializes in multicourse tasting menus evolving with the seasons under Chefs Nick and Claire Goellner. Its checkered tablecloths and jazz music channel downtown KC’s artistic heritage in a refined yet approachable manner as an innovative fine dining entrant focusing on Midwestern purveyors.

What to Expect: Gram & Dun offers nightly-changing 5 and 7-course tasting menus of New American cuisine accented by international influences, wine pairings and palate cleansers. Sample dishes include trout crudo, chicken veloute, quail ballotine, diver scallops, wagyu shortrib, chocolate pave and more depending on ingredients sourced locally that week. Reservations essential.

Visitor Information: Two seatings available Tuesday through Saturday, at 5:30 pm and 8 pm. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Valet parking available, with handicap spaces via protected garage. Tasting menus range $85-$125 per person excluding wine. Reservations required weeks in advance.

Splurging on steak in Kansas City typically means bypassing sides but that’s not the case at sleek downtown destination Gram & Dun where Chef Vaughn Good carefully crafts accompaniments as impressive as the certified Angus beef mains. After sampling starters like kale salad with cornbread croutons and pickled onion, graduate to sublime shareable entrees such as dry-aged ribcap showing gorgeous marbling beside confit potatoes in red wine jus for a fork-tender meal done extraordinarily right. Brown sugar bourbon cream brûlée or gooey chocolate chip cookie skillet provide sweet punctuation marks for an overall beef-centric meal handled with pure Midwest mastery.

Café Provence

Name and Location: Café Provence is a classic French restaurant located in Kansas City, Missouri’s Prairie Village neighborhood at 3800 W 69th Terrace, near the KC border with Mission Hills.

History and Significance: Open over 25 years, Café Provence brings rustic countryside French fare to Kansas City under Chef and owner Michael Kemps. Its quaint nondescript facade belies an impressive scratch-made French cuisine showcasing escargots, salads niçoise, coq au vin, bouillabaisse stew, rack of lamb, profiteroles and daily specials befitting the Provence region.

What to Expect: Signature classics like French onion soup, trout almandine, and steak frites please loyal regulars inside the small, charmingly decorated French country dining rooms. An excellent wine list complements the rotating classic dishes at Cafe Provence from France’s southeastern province. Dinner reservations recommended due to its cozy space.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday through Saturday evenings from 5-9 pm; reservations recommended. Closed Sundays and Mondays. Street parking available. Entrees range from $22 to $45, excluding wine. Mastercard/Visa accepted but no personal checks.

No visit to Kansas City uncovers more authentic rustic French cuisine than cozy Café Provence continuously operated by original chef owners for over 40 years. Find classic staples like roasted lemon chicken, escargots drowning in garlic herb butter and textbook renditions of beef bourguignon or steak au poivre filling the quaint checkered-tablecloth bistro daily. Devour creamiest flan or chocolate mousse cake for dessert then watch the sunrise over Paris’s skyline which is actually skillfully handpainted across the restaurant’s back wall. It’s Kansas City’s enduring French cafe gem worth return trips.

Conclusion

Barbecue may reign supreme as Kansas City’s culinary claim-to-fame but the Paris of the Plains impresses at every level from James Beard honorees to neighborhood holes-in-the-wall matching any craving or special occasion. Use this curated list highlighting innovative chefs and restaurants to pinpoint exceptional dining when exploring districts like The Plaza, Power & Light or Crossroads Gallery. Beyond barbecue, Kansas City’s independent restaurant scene sets an inviting table through eclectic neighborhood eateries, multiethnic mom-and-pops and some seriously tasty fine dining well worth crossing state lines.

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