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Ethnic Restaurants in Kansas City

My friends and I are wanting to start a monthly lunch group to try various ethnic and unusual restaurants in the Kansas City area. We were first looking for a Cuban restaurant, but will take all kinds of suggestions!

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  1. What a great idea! We have a never ending supply of ethnic restaurants in the KC area. I would recommend El Pulgarcito in Merriam, KS for very good Salvadorean.

    Pho 97 at Independence Blvd. and Prospect, and Vietnam Cafe at 5th and Missouri for good Vietnamese.

    Habashi House in the City Market for wonderful Arabic/Middle Eastern food.

    El Taco Nazo at 4th and Kansas Ave, KCK for Mexican.

    Korma Sutra in Westport for Indian.

    I'm sure many more suggestions from posters will pop up.

    1. I agree with the recommendation for Korma Sutra (although I'm not an Indian food expert).

      I also recommend the Aladdin Cafe at the corner of Wyoming and 39th. Some of the best Middle Eastern food I've eaten outside of the Detroit area. It's also a great value--you get a ton of food for what you order.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rweater

        I would add Hien Vuong Vietnamese in the River Market, it's my favorite vietnamese and just about my favorite restaurant in KC.

        Some others that I can think of: Blue Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant located at the river market. There is Colombian food at Rincon Columbiano in KCK as well as the Venezuelan Cafe on Central in KCK.

        For real Mexican I would suggest Laura's on Central in KCK and El Camino Real for tacos on 7th(?) and in the Argentine District, also in KCK.

        Korean-Chosun Korean restaurant in O.P.

        Please keep us informed on your group's outings!

      2. Thanks to everyone's replies so far.....these are great suggestions! I will post our progress and reviews as we explore KC's ethnic restaurants.

        1. I'd suggest One Bite for Japanese bar and grill food. Be sure to share an okonomiyaki or two! http://onebitegrill.com/

          1. I definitely agree on Korma Sutra for Indian

            Also try Saigon 39 for Vietnamese, on 39th and state line
            and right across the street try
            Blue Koi, im not sure what this would be considered, definitely some sort of chinese fusion, but best dumplings ever.

            1. Try that German restaurant in Independence, MO. I've never been. Make sure you post your findings.

              And, I know I am beating a dead horse here, if you find an Eastern Euro or Russian restaurant make sure you post it!!!

              4 Replies
              1. re: stellamystar

                On 79th Street in Shawnee Mission (around the 7200-7300 block) there's a restaurant called "A Taste of Russia", I've never had the chance to try it--but it appears to be the only Russian restaurant in KC. I passed it last year while looking for Penzey's spices--I don't know for certain if it's still open or not.

                1. re: acmassie

                  We've heard it is a grocer only -but, I havent been there - so, dont know 100%. Next time I'm over there, I will check.....

                  1. re: stellamystar

                    I haven't been in a year or so, but it was just a grocer. And oddly, it's owned by Egyptians.

                2. re: stellamystar

                  The German Restaurant in Independence is the Rheinland. It is great- but slightly expensive for my current budget. Typically a meal for 2 is about $40-50. Love the sauterbratten and the roulatten. Desserts are to die for and house salad is good.

                3. I'd vote for One Bite as well- its very unique and delicious. It could easily be the most unique food in the city. and the atmosphere/service is perfect with the food.

                  Also try El Pulgarcito- Salvadoran food, very good and consistant. Merriem Ln and Johnson Dr (South of the intersection)

                  1. Since this thread has been revived, I will second the recommendation of El Pulgarcito. It should be just what zataar was looking for.

                    A few others worth a visit:

                    Ari's Greek Restaurant in Olathe
                    Bangkok Pavilion in Overland Park (particularly the weekend lunch buffet)
                    KC Grill and Kabob in Lenexa (Persian)
                    Marircos Veracruz restaurant in Olathe (try the beef head & tongue tacos)
                    Chung's Rainbow Restaurant in Overland Park (Korean)
                    Choga Korean Restaurant in Overland Park

                    There are several excellent Indian restaurants in the area including Rushi, India Palace, Flavor of India, Paradise India, and Swagat.

                    Has anyone tried Korean Restaurant Sobahn, the latest Asian restaurant at the Shawnee Mission Parkway location just west of Metcalf?

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: KansasTravel

                      Is Sobahn the new name of what used to be Royal something or other restaurant? Next to Joon Ang market? I haven't tried them since it was renamed, and I assume is under new management. I did like the food the few times I ate there under the old name. It's just not on my beaten path, while Rainbow and Cho Ga are. Royal whatever's servers were generous with banchan at the time, almost seemed surprised that we liked spicy radish, etc. and kept it coming without even asking.

                      1. re: amyzan

                        The Royal Korean Japanese Restaurant (I may have the order of words wrong) was 2 or 3 restaurants ago at that location. Up until a few months back, it was Four Seasons Asian Restaurant - which had an enormous Korean buffet when it first opened a few years back.

                        1. re: KansasTravel

                          Well, what can I say? Yup, definitely off my beaten path...sorry to be so out of touch!

                      2. re: KansasTravel

                        How does KC Grill and Kabob compare to Caspian? I've eaten at Caspian several times, and although the quality has seemingly deteriorated over the past couple of years, it is the only Persian place I knew of.

                          1. re: jhojati

                            I 've never been to Caspian, so I can't compare.

                            I liked the food at KC Grill & Kabob when I first ate there about 4 years ago and it has only gotten better since then. Last year they added a Tandori oven nd the breads really improved.

                            The owner makes a point of coming by the tables and thanking people for coming.

                            I usually go when they have the buffet, since it allows me to sample many items. They have it as lunch on week days and all day on the weekend. They don't do a great job of labeling the dishes, so I am not sure of the names of some of my favorites.

                            CHECK, PLEASE! KANSAS CITY (KCPT's restaurant review show) visited there a few weeks back and all three of the "ordinary" eaters raved about it.

                            1. re: KansasTravel

                              Awesome, thanks for the input. I grew up eating Persian food (my dad is Iranian) and I would ultimately like to open a Persian restaurant in Des Moines (where I'm from). Although I'm not a fan of buffets, I've found that some of the Middle Eastern and Indian buffets tend to hold up better than, say, a Chinese buffet. Were the dishes kept fresh? Is the buffet stocked mostly with khoresh (stew) or kabob?

                              Likely dishes on a buffet could include:
                              Ghormeh Sabzi (a green stew with kidney beans, beef or lamb, and mixture of herbs including cilantro and parsley)
                              Fessenjan (a brownish red stew that is made with pomegranate and typically includes chicken)
                              Gheimeh (eggplant stew, sometimes with beef or lamb)
                              Kabob Koobideh (ground beef kabob)
                              Jujeh Kabob (either boneless chicken breast chunks or cornish game hen, usually with a light citrus and saffron marinade)
                              Kabob Barg (usually filet of beef, pounded thin and marinated in saffron and other seasonings)
                              Baghali Polo or Sabzi Polo (rice cooked with herbs, and in the case of baghali, lima beans)
                              Tahdig - crispy rice crust (Persian favorite)
                              Mast o khiar or mast o musir (yogurt with either cucumber (khiar) and herbs or garlic/shallots (musir)
                              Kashke bademjan - Eggplant "dip"

                              I have now gotten thoroughly hungry. If it weren't so darn snowy today, I'd make a trek over there.

                              1. re: jhojati

                                FYI - I ate the buffet today and was pretty impressed. It is hard to make some of these items to serve in a buffet. Items that were included were both beef and chicken koobideh, gormeh sabzi, ghemieh, zereshk polo (rice with barberries, although the zereshk polo here didn't use barberries and wasn't the best I've had), cornish game hen, falafel, hummus, mast o khiar, dill rice, saffron rice, plain rice, a very salty lamb dish that I'm not familiar with, and a couple of other items I did not sample. The fresh naan (pronounced noon in Farsi) was very good, although a little bit dense. Overall, I would say the food is better at KC Grill N Kabob than at Caspian Bistro, the kabob in particular. The owner was very friendly and greeted each customer as he or she walked in, even though he was sitting down to eat lunch. The hot tea is also fantastic. If you've never had Persian food, definitely give this place a try (although if you have the opportunity to try Persian food in Los Angeles, Toronto, or even Chicago, try those first so you KNOW you're getting very good food)

                          2. re: KansasTravel

                            It's really too bad that so many of the best places are in the Southland. I live near the airport and work downtown, so I practically never get to Johnson County.

                            However, I think the rarest gem among these is on Barry Road just east of I-29: Malay Café. I've never had anything that wasn't prepared with exceptional care and skill. Malaysian food has something for any taste, and this restaurant has a wide cross-section of dishes.

                            1. re: dmd_kc

                              I have been loving red-cooked dishes at the Lucky Wok, at 87th & Lackman in Lenexa. The pork belly with taro is the warmingest yummiest thing I can think of to eat in frigid weather like we're having. I'm pretty sure it isn't a diet food, but who cares when it is below zero?

                              1. re: Teague

                                **note, red-cooked casseroles are only on the chinese menu, not the american one (I think) - I'm not very knowledgeable about chinese cooking, for those of you who also arent, red-cooked things are braised in a rich brown stock or sauce, slightly tangy but not as much as say bbq sauce. really good, and very approachable to a midwestern palate. Think pot roast, only they also have fish and other meats cooked this way.

                          3. Princess Garden for Chinese
                            The Thai Place or Hot Basil for Thai
                            Poco's on the Boulevard for Latin American (open 7 days a week, but dinner is only served Thurs-Sat)
                            Carmen's Cafe for Italian
                            El Pulgarcito for Salvadoran
                            Fiesta Azteca for Mexican
                            Kaiyo for sushi