These influential Kansas City restaurants are sure to become a favorite.
You might be tired of hearing about some of these favorite chefs and popular dinner spots, but the truth is that we can’t talk about the best restaurants in Kansas City without mentioning some of the city’s most influential names. If you’re unfamiliar with any of the restaurants on this list, you’re missing out on the standard-bearers in Kansas City’s culinary scene.
Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room
$$$-$$$$ | 1830 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO | corvino.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF COVINO SUPPER CLUB & TASTING ROOM FACEBOOK
There’s a reason why we keep coming back to Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, and it’s probably the same reason the restaurant won the lauded AAA Four Diamond award and has garnered attention from the likes of Food & Wine Magazine and Thrillist. This place has managed to stir up a fervor and a following in Kansas City unlike any we’ve seen in recent memory because it hits the trifecta of greatness: food, service and ambiance uniting for one incredible dining experience.
Chef and co-owner Michael Corvino, formerly the executive chef at The American, has crafted two exquisite and distinct menus — one for the Supper Club, a lively, sexy dining room featuring nightly local music, and one for the Tasting Room, where patrons sit down for a spellbinding (and frequently changing) 12-course meal. In the Supper Club, guests share plates such as the tuna and octopus tostada, uni toast and steak tartare. In the Tasting Room, they dine on Chinese Kaluga Queen caviar and sous vide Wagyu steak. No matter what part of the restaurant you choose, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable meal.
Best bet: If you’re in the Supper Club, get the seaweed donuts. Sounds weird, we know, but trust us: Once you’ve sampled this inimitable pairing of hot and salty fried dough with creme fraiche and salmon roe, you’ll never look back.
$$$ | 1924 Main Street, Kansas City, MO | theriegerkc.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF ZACH BAUMAN
In 2010 — several years before the Crossroads Arts District exploded into the downtown hot spot it is now — chef Howard Hanna opened The Rieger in the historic hotel building bearing the same name. Over the years, this restaurant has evolved into one of Kansas City’s most beloved originals. Hanna’s menu focuses on regional ingredients, and dishes reflect his mantra: “Beautiful food for the people.”
Best bet: The Rieger’s menu changes four times a year, but you can always count on Hanna’s classic Rieger pork soup to be available. The impressive charcuterie board, laden with house-made terrines and sausages, is well worth the meat sweats it’ll give you.
The Antler Room
$$$ | 2506 Holmes Street, Kansas City, MO | theantlerroomkc.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ANTLER ROOM FACEBOOK
In 2017, we named The Antler Room’s Nick Goellner our chef of the year, and his star has continued to rise since then. (Plate Magazine, Bon Appétit and Food and Wine have all shown the restaurant love.) This cozy, progressive Hospital Hill joint is just the place for delicate pasta dishes, a very shareable whole roast duck or a glass of natural wine.
Best bet: The menu frequently rotates, but if it’s available, get the shokupan — a thick slice of Japanese milk bread inlaid with rich foie gras torchon, candied pumpkin seeds and local honey. It’s listed as a starting plate, but it’s so sumptuous that you might want to save it for dessert.
Michael Smith Restaurant and Extra Virgin
$$-$$$ | 1900 Main Street, Kansas City, MO | michaelsmithkc.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHAEL SMITH RESTAURANT AND EXTRA VIRGIN FACEBOOK
Enjoy Michael Smith Restaurant while you still can: After a decade in business, the popular Crossroads dining destination, helmed by eponymous James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Smith, will soon be relocating and rebranding as Farina, a rustic Italian concept. Smith’s casual tapas eatery, Extra Virgin, will remain open.
Best bet: For a taste of what’s to come at Farina, try any of the handmade pasta at Michael Smith Restaurant. We recommend the rabbit gnocchi, a menu holdover since the establishment’s early days.
Le Fou Frog
$$$ | 400 E 5th Street, Kansas City, MO | lefoufrog.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF LE FOU FROG FACEBOOK
Marseille-born Mano Rafael opened Le Fou Frog in the River Market in 1996, and since then, this comfortable, romantic gem of a restaurant has been delivering refined French cuisine to eager diners. More than two decades in, Le Fou Frog is still one of the best examples of classic French dining in town.
Best bet: Your inner Francophile will adore chef Rafael’s lobster bisque.
$$$-$$$$ | 900 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO | bluestemkc.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF BLUESTEM FACEBOOK
Colby and Megan Garrelts are the king and queen of Kansas City dining. The James Beard Award-winning husband-wife team — chef and pastry chef, respectively — opened Bluestem in Westport in 2004 and have since won national acclaim for their fresh take on fine dining. The dining room at Bluestem seats 35 and offers a seasonal prix fixe menu while the lounge and bar area invites guests to pop in for a more casual experience.
Best bet: If you’re dining at the bar, get the grilled hangar steak with chimichurri sauce and fries; it’s one of the most reliable (and, at $20, fairly priced) steak dinners you’ll find.
$$$$ | 4800 Main Street, Kansas City, MO | stockhillkc.com
PHOTO COURTESY OF ZACH BAUMAN
Stock Hill opened on the West Plaza in December 2016, and since then, the Bread & Butter Concepts steakhouse has landed on several national lists. Executive Chef Kelly Conwell appeals to Kansas City’s meat enthusiasts with a menu that offers 11 different cuts of wet-aged and dry-aged beef. For the truly hungry, there is a caravan-sized 42-ounce porterhouse. Steak aficionados will feel right at home in this sleek addition to Kansas City’s dining scene.
Best bet: If you’re at Stock Hill, you’re getting steak. We’re partial to the Kansas City strip for obvious reasons. Don’t forget to add a porcini rub with a creamy horseradish sauce.