— RESTAURANTS IN KANSAS CITY — Kansas City crosses over from Kansas to Missouri state lines seamlessly. Both states offer world-class cuisine just waiting for you to try.
In Kansas City, Kansas, you will find over fifty taquerias serving authentic street tacos and tortas. The Kansas City Kansas visitor’s bureau created a Taco Trail, where you can check in at restaurants and receive prizes such as stickers and a jar of salsa.
Having a list of places to enjoy makes the decision of where to eat so easy. The Kansas City Kansas Taco Trail is a great way to support small local businesses and try a one-of-a-kind place. Check out KCK Taco Trail to find restaurant hours and create an account to get your check-in awards.
I would be remiss if I did not encourage barbecue. The Kansas City area offers many competition-winning options. But, more than tacos and barbecue, Kansas City provides worldwide cuisine, showcasing a rich culture and many locally owned businesses to support.
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Grab your appetite and dive into these 8 restaurants in Kansas City.~ Erin Jones
1. GG’s Barbacoa
GG’s Barbacoa is part of the KCK Taco Trail and offers various options, from street tacos to tortas. The restaurant is in the heart of Kansas City, Kansas. It is located off the highway, about a 10-minute drive from downtown Kansas City.
Open for breakfast, the huevos rancheros are a filling way to start your day. The restaurant is a walk-up window with outside seating. The picnic tables have an awning that provides shade for the summer heat.
GG’s has a steady online ordering business, and you’ll see many customers grab their takeout orders. The tortillas are fresh and come out warm and wrapped in foil. With the huevos rancheros, you get rice and beans to load onto the tortilla. So, if you are in the mood for a hearty breakfast, you will not be disappointed.
2. Joe’s KC Barbecue
Every Kansas City local has their favorite barbecue location, but Joe’s KC is a classic. You will find a line out the door even on a weeknight, but it is well worth the wait. The original restaurant is in a gas station in Kansas City, Kansas. It has expanded to the suburbs with two additional locations.
The vivid green sign of the building shows up brightly, and the inside offers plenty of seating. Displayed proudly are several barbecue championships signs and trophies. No need to grab a table right off, as one will always be available by the time you get through the line.
In a rush? Order online and go straight to the front to pick up your takeout order. They offer several barbecue delights, including ribs, brisket, and burnt ends. Go for the Z-Man sandwich, smoked brisket, provolone cheese, and an onion ring between a Kaiser bread roll.
The brisket is smoky perfection, and you can choose between regular or jumbo size. If you are not in the sandwich mood, get the burnt end dinner with meat so tender some refer to them as “meat marshmallows.” Joes’ KC offers a variety of sides, including coleslaw and baked beans.
3. La Bodega
Crossing over to Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, near the Crossroads Art District, is La Bodega. The restaurant offers Spanish tapas in an environment encouraging chatting with friends and family and taking your time.
The menu offers a wide range of cold and hot tapas that are authentically Spanish. The patatas bravas are perfectly roasted potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce and flakes of parmesan cheese.
The baguette with tomato reminded me of a meal I had on the island of Mallorca, bringing back some happy memories as I munched.
The montaditos del Carne de cerdo are braised pork ribs with an olive tapenade. The flavors mix so well together.
Save room for dessert as choosing between churro’s, goat cheese, and apricot cheesecake is challenging. Sharing plates with friends and trying different options is a great experience. I dream about the next time I will be back.
4. Vested Coffee
Tucked away on a quiet street in downtown Kansas City, Missouri’s Garment District, Vested Coffee offers a beautiful setting to get your caffeine fix and snack on a delicious pastry.
Exposed brick walls are accented with navy blue and gold wallpaper; the interior is a welcoming space to enjoy a cup of onyx lab coffee. The front of the coffee shop has large windows to look out onto the street and a blue velvet couch that provides a homey feel.
The shop offers a full range of coffee and specialty drinks. If the temperature outside is cold, get a hot chocolate that includes a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.
The pastries are from a local scratch bakery. You will find scones, donuts, and muffins. The strawberry cream cheese muffin is my favorite, but it is always a tough decision. The owners are friendly and kind. The atmosphere is welcoming. You will want to be a repeat customer.
5. Il Lazzarone
In Kansas City’s River Market, you will find locally-owned restaurants and shops and a lively farmers market each weekend. Il Lazzarone is next to a Streetcar stop, so you can conveniently be dropped off. Il Lazzarone offers authentic Neapolitan pizza with the freshest ingredients.
The restaurant is an open concept. You can see the bakers building your pizza and putting it into the hot oven for baking. The restaurant has hardwood floors and exposed brick walls, and each table has a bright red metal chair offering a pop of color.
The Margherita pizza is classic, with fresh basil mozzarella and tomatoes. If the weather is nice, sit on the patio, and people-watch as Delaware street is one of the prettiest in Kansas City.
6. El Camino Real
El Camino Real features some of the best al pastor street tacos on the KCK Taco trail in downtown Kansas City Kansas. The restaurant offers plenty of dine-in seating and has a good weekday and weekend crowd.
The dine-in restaurant offers an open concept kitchen so you can observe the delicious taco goodness before it is brought to your table.
The Al Pastor marinates all day and is shaved off a spit. The perfectly tender meat with cilantro and diced onions in a house-made tortilla is served fresh. If you need some additional spice, add some of the homemade salsa and enjoy.
7. Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop
Sitting on the edge of the Crossroads, Lulu’s Thai Noodle shop serves up a variety of Thai noodle dishes that will have you slurping for joy. Parking can be at a premium in the area, so allow some time to find alternatives if the parking lot is filled.
Lulus offers a lunch menu Monday through Friday. It is a great way to try a new dish. Try the drunken noodles, a bowl full of rice noodles with chicken, Chinese broccoli, green and red peppers, Thai Basil, bean sprouts, scallions, lemongrass, peanuts, and egg. The dish provides such a good flavor profile, and the vegetables and chicken will keep you full.
The pan-fried dumplings with pork or vegetables taste fresh and are a great appetizer to share with friends.
8. Slap’s Barbeque
Ready to combine two Kansas City classics in delicious food form? Slap’s Barbeque in downtown Kansas City has its own Taco Tuesday special and is part of the KCK taco trail. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating.
If it is a pleasant evening, climb up to the roof deck, and you will have a fabulous view of the city. The line can go out the door on the weekend. The weekdays have a steady volume, but they offer quick service.
Available on Tuesdays, Slap’s offers burnt end and Pork tacos with a side. Three tacos in flour tortillas with perfectly tender meat is a sight to behold. The taste is out of this world. They keep the traditional taco by adding some grilled vegetables, cilantro, and a light sauce.
The tacos are very filling, so bring your appetite. You can choose a side with your tacos, and you cannot go wrong with the baked potato casserole. It is not time to count calories as the side dish is full of cheese and baked potatoes, but the taste is so quality.
You will never need to go hungry as you discover the various Kansas City, Kansas, and Missouri neighborhoods. Discover the KCK Taco Trail or enjoy some world-class barbeque. Enjoy authentic cuisine from across the globe as you try Thai food or delicious Spanish tapas.
Go beyond the chain restaurants, and you will find locally-owned restaurants that provide Kansas City with a fantastic food scene. I hope you traverse across the Kansas and Missouri state lines, find your appetite and enjoy these eight restaurants in Kansas City.
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