Hispanic culture and cuisine are integral to Kansas City. The Mexican population — the largest immigrant population in the metro area — has made a profound and positive local impact. And if you’re looking for a good Mexican restaurant in Kansas City, you don’t have to look far.
Mexican food in Kansas City is everywhere. You can find it on the north side and in Overland Park — from the far reaches of KCK to Independence. There are more than 52,000 Kansas Citians of Hispanic descent. The Kansas City Hispanic community has a history that goes back to the 1800s. The most significant boom in immigration occurred when railyards were in their heyday, with Kansas City being one of the most important rail hubs in the country. One major line connected to Mexico and became heavily trafficked by Hispanic immigrants looking to start a life in KC. Over the years, this community has helped mold Kansas City into what it is today, and that is potentially most noticeable in the food scene.
You’re in the right place if you are looking for Mexican restaurants in Kansas City, Mo., and the surrounding area. This guide will point you in the right direction.
A Walk Down the Boulevard
If you want to get to the heart and history of Kansas City’s Mexican restaurants, you have to start on Southwest Boulevard. This historic street cuts through the heart of Kansas City, charting a diagonal path west across the Crossroads, running under I-35 and carrying on for several miles. All along the Boulevard there are local restaurants and businesses — perhaps most famously Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City’s hometown beer.
Southwest Boulevard is also home to one of the best collections of Mexican restaurants in Kansas City. You have plenty of options to choose from:
- La Bodega
- Empanada Madness
- El Patron
- La Fonda El Taquito
- El Pueblito
- Taqueria Mexico
The Historic Northeast
The majority of Kansas City, Missouri’s Hispanic population resides on the northeast side of downtown. This collection of neighborhoods — Pendleton Heights, Scarritt, Indian Mound, Blue Valley — is also home to many great hole-in-the-wall Kansas City Mexican restaurants.
Take a drive down Independence Avenue heading east and you’ll see plenty. You could choose from options like:
- Carniceria El Torito
- Los Altos Jalisco
- Taqueria Super Taco
- La Flor de Chiapas
- El Paso Del Norte
- El Rey Del Taco
We haven’t even reached the end of Mexican restaurants in these neighborhoods, but that’s probably already too much to start with. Plus, we still have one more area of Kansas City to talk about.
Armourdale, Riverview and Kensington
On the other side of the state line, Kansas City, Kansas, (KCK) is full of vibrant and historic Hispanic communities. If you’re looking for authentic Mexican restaurants in Kansas City and neglect the western half of the metro, you’re missing out. These neighborhoods used to be cities of their own until they were joined together to form KCK. Armourdale was one of the main hopping-off points of the major railroad that connected to Mexico, and many Hispanic immigrants settled in this area.
Today, that heritage lives on through the amazing Mexican restaurants you can find in KCK:
- El Pollo Rey
- Daisy’s Mexican Food
- El Camaroncito
- Tapatio Mexican Grill
- Tacos El Tio
- El Jacalito
- El Pollo Guasave
- Burritos La Chiquita
More Mexican Restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri
Southwest Boulevard, Northeast KC and KCK are three great hubs of Mexican food in Kansas City — but there are so many more Mexican restaurants in KC. Not that you need anymore, because you’ll need quite the appetite to cross off the Kansas City Mexican restaurants we’ve already listed. But, for good measure, here are some more Mexican joints around the Kansas City area:
- Port Fonda
- Mission Taco
- KC Taco Company
- Sol Cantina
- Los Alamos
- Rancho Grande Cantina
Mexican Dishes to Try
What should you order at a Mexican restaurant in Kansas City? We all know the basics: tacos, burritos and quesadillas. But if you are willing to dig a little deeper, and be a bit more adventurous, here are a few menu items to keep an eye out for:
- Chilaquiles: Fresh, crisp tortilla chips tossed in either a red or green sauce, sometimes served with pulled chicken or pork
- Huevos Rancheros: fried eggs served on top of corn, rice and flour tortillas, topped with a healthy pour of red sauce and peppers
- Mole: A traditional Mexican sauce with many variations and differing levels of spiciness, served slathered over chicken along with friend rice and black beans
- Enmolada: An old-school Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-ka) dish, shredded chicken and cotija cheese are stuffed inside a rolled, fried tortilla and slathered with mole sauce
Are you hungry now? Good, because there are so many Mexican restaurants in KC waiting for you.