You must be a brave person.
Many diners avoid seafood in Kansas City. There’s a stigma to Midwestern seafood restaurants and a perceived risk of eating potentially dated cuisine that has traveled to Kansas City from the coasts. And that’s unfortunate, because you can find some great seafood restaurants in Kansas City.
Seafood isn’t at the top of Kansas City’s restaurant scene, and it’s certainly not something KC is known for. Despite that, there are some great places to try. This guide to seafood in Kansas City will prepare you for a night out with fresh seafood.
Eating Seafood in the Midwest
Kansas City, obviously, does not touch an ocean. It’s not particularly close to one, either. Seafood, a type of food that notoriously spoils easy, has to travel hundreds of miles inland before showing up on your plate at a Kansas City seafood restaurant. That fact alone is enough for some people to avoid eating seafood in Kansas City.
However, our inland location doesn’t mean you can’t find delicious, safe seafood in Kansas City. Here are a few tips on making sure you’re getting the best (and safest) seafood in Kansas City.
- Look at past experiences: Google reviews and Yelp can be extremely helpful tools when you are looking for fresh seafood in Kansas City. See what other customers have said, and then contribute your own review to help future diners.
- Find the health rating from the city: Seafood can be especially susceptible to micro-bacteria that cause illness. If the restaurant hasn’t received a high rating from a city health inspector, the chances of the food being contaminated are higher.
- Budget isn’t always best: Sometimes hole-in-the-wall spots are hidden gems. That can be true with seafood, but the risk is higher, especially this far away from the coast.
- Look local: Missouri and Kansas don’t have immediate access to seafood, but we do have a lot of lakes. Look for restaurants serving bass, catfish, trout and other native fish.
Seafood Restaurants in Kansas City
It’s always good to follow these steps for yourself so that you can feel confident while enjoying your fresh seafood in Kansas City. But, we also thought it would be helpful to do some of the work for you. Following these steps, here are some places to get seafood in KC:
- Gilbert’s: An upscale steakhouse and KC seafood restaurant in Overland Park
- Jarocho South: Fresh seafood with a Mexican flair
- Charlie D’s Seafood and Chicken: A laid-back diner serving classic seafood in Kansas City, Mo., like fried catfish
- Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar: An upscale restaurant on the Plaza with a beautiful dining room and even better food
- Pearl Tavern: Lee’s Summit’s newest seafood spot offers quality meals at a reasonable price
- Eddie V’s Prime Seafood: Kansas City’s premiere elegant seafood dining experience, perfect for a romantic evening out
- Meshugga Bagels: A laid-back café serving New York-style bagels with seafood like smoked salmon and nova
- Café Sebastienne: Grab brunch, lunch or dinner at this café inside the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Seafood to Try in KC
Each restaurant may have its own specialty. If you are eating at Jax Fish House & Oyster Bar, you may want to try the oysters. But, there are other Kansas City seafood restaurants with large menus and no particular recommendation on what to try. Here, based on your level of risk-tolerance, are some dishes to order:
- Beginner: There’s no better place to start than a fish and chips basket. It’s the closest thing to chicken tenders on a seafood menu.
- Intermediate: Shrimp is a step up. It’s not too risky, and it’s a good on-ramp to some of the more unique textures on menus of seafood restaurants in Kansas City.
- Experienced: Octopus is prepared in a variety of ways. It can be battered and fried for a more familiar taste and texture, or it can be served raw for a truly exotic experience.
- If You Dare: Eating raw oysters or scallops is not incredibly rare, but we’re putting it at the top of our rankings system. If you have any sensitivity to texture, this is not for you. If you’re up for a unique dining experience full of flavor, then give it a try.
So, what level are you going to try? No matter if you’re a beginner or experienced seafood connoisseur, you can find good fish somewhere in Kansas City.