If you’re in the downtown Kansas City area to catch one of the Kauffman Center’s legendary performances, you’re in for a serious treat. The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is unlike any other arts venue in the Midwest. While you’re here, you’ll likely want to grab a bite to eat before or after the performance.
There is one restaurant that’s actually inside of the building. The Kauffman Center restaurant, The Dining Experience at the Kauffman Center, is located inside of the venue itself and offers a seasonal three-course dinner menu for $39 per person, as well as a selection of small plates, seasonal craft cocktail and a curated wine selection.
However, some of the best restaurants near the Kauffman Center are found outside of its unique walls. If you’re willing to take a short walk, all of these restaurants are within just a few minutes of the venue. Here are 25 of the best restaurants in Kansas City near Kauffman Center, sorted by type of cuisine:
Mexican Restaurants Near Kauffman Center
If you’re looking for Mexican restaurants near Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, you’re in luck. The venue is located just a few blocks from Kansas City’s best neighborhood for local, authentic Mexican food.
This place is directly across the street from the Kauffman Center — you could throw a rock and hit it. Family-owned and -operated, Los Tules has something for everyone. You can expect fantastic pitchers of margaritas, spicy and mild salsas for the table, hot and fresh chips and meals to suit everyone. This is easily one of the best restaurants near Kauffman Center.
Part store, part restaurant, you won’t want to miss their buffet. It’s one of the better lunch restaurants near Kauffman Center if you’re looking for a quick, affordable meal within walking distance of the venue.
A Kansas City staple located in the heart of the Crossroads for years, Manny’s is your standard Mexican place, especially if you’re on the hunt for family restaurants near Kauffman Center. There is plenty of seating, so you’ll be in and out in time for your show.
Right on the Southwest Boulevard strip, don’t overlook La Fonda if you’re looking for restaurants near Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Their tortillas are so fresh, and this little taqueria serves some of the most authentic Mexican food in the city.
One of the most delicious restaurants near the Kauffman Center, Taqueria Mexico is truly number one when it comes to amazing and authentic Mexican food. Their fajitas are some of the best in the neighborhood.
Italian Restaurants Near Kauffman Center
The area has no shortage of great Italian restaurants near Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. These are all more upscale and often require a reservation, especially on weekend evenings. However, when it comes to restaurants around the Kauffman Center, they can’t be beat when you’re hoping to truly make your event feel special.
At Farina, you can reserve private dining if you want to have a memorable evening with your friends and family. Enjoy a full-course gourmet Italian meal before walking up the hill to the Kauffman Center in time for your show.
One of Kansas City’s most popular upscale Italian restaurants near Kauffman Performing Arts Center, Lidia’s has been curating and cooking up comforting Italian favorites for years. Be sure to enjoy one of their fantastic cocktails at the bar while you wait for a table.
A new and hip modern Italian restaurant located in the Crossroads Hotel, Lazia specializes in candle-slash-neon-lit dinner in an artistic setting.
Fast and Casual Restaurants Near Kauffman Center, Kansas City
Sometimes you just need a quick and tasty meal that’s affordable, so you don’t have to worry about crowds or not making it to the show on time. These fast and easy options are all close to the Kauffman Center for a no-fuss meal before or after curtain:
All-day and all-night breakfast, lunch and dinner, Denny’s diner is just across the street from the Kauffman Center, within eyesight. It’s always open, and all you have to do is walk across the street.
A Kansas City tradition, Town Topic has been slinging hamburgers, fries, onion rings and milkshakes since 1937, and not much has changed since. They’re open 24/7 and both of their two little diners are located just down the hill from the Kauffman Center.
Hot and cold sandwiches made to order, Quiznos always hits the spot. This particular location is a few blocks away from the venue, so it’s one of the faster, easier restaurants near Kauffman Center that KC has to offer.
Since 1932, they’ve been serving up hand-battered pork tenders, and the Pork Snoot Sandwich has had the same recipe since they opened. Have a seat at one of the nine stools at the counter and order some extra of their secret sauce.
Japanese Restaurants Near Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
If you’re looking for something a little lighter and that moves away from the typical burgers and fries, check out some of these fantastic Japanese restaurants near the Kauffman Center that Kansas City locals love:
Fresh and made-to-order poke bowls are all that Pokesan does. With a huge list of proteins, grains and toppings to choose from when creating your bowl, there are also a few drinks you’ll want to sip on alongside your meal.
Not far from the Kauffman Center, Drunken Fish is preparing fresh and delicious sushi alongside Thai and Chinese dishes. They also have a great selection of wine, beer and spirits, including an impressive array of sake.
Make your own comforting bowl of ramen at Mama Ramen. Choose your type of noodle, your broth, proteins, toppings and level of spiciness to achieve your perfect bowl. They have a kid’s menu, too, for littles who have less-adventurous tastes.
Thai Restaurants Near Kauffman Center, Kansas City, MO
There’s nothing quite like some spicy Thai noodles or light rolls. Luckily, there are several restaurants within walking distance of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts that satisfy that Thai craving, each in unique and delicious ways.
In a cute location in the heart of the Crossroads, Lulu’s is fresh, fast and friendly. They’ll kindly customize your order of Thai staples like pad thai, pad see ew, drunken noodles and more to suit your tastes and needs.
Delicate, flavorful and authentic Thai dishes like crispy tofu, spicy Tiger Cry beef, shrimp rolls and more are always wonderful at Baramee Thai Bistro.
American Restaurants Close to Kauffman Center
These nearby options for a pre- or post-performance meal are always a hit. You might want to snag a reservation, as these can get a little busy during peak days and hours, but it’s well worth it!
This second location of Buffalo State Pizza is just a few blocks away from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. They have every kind of pizza you could hope to see on a menu, in addition to customizable slices. They also have plenty of sandwiches, salads, appetizers and more, so come hungry.
This upscale wine bar also has fantastic cocktails and carefully curated dishes. You’re always sure to find your perfect pairing here.
One of the best restaurants near the Kauffman Center, Westside Local focuses on fresh ingredients from local farms, as the name suggests. Their incredible menu is always changing, but you’re always going to need to have some dessert while you’re there. It’s one of their specialities.
A fun, classy steak place, you can’t miss Anton’s bright sign. They’re within sight of the Kauffman Center, so it’s just a short walk after you’ve enjoyed your hearty meal.
Vegan, organic and local, Cafe Gratitude is one of Kansas City’s favorites. Their meals are as satisfying as they are healthy for you (and for the Earth), and they find every opportunity to give back to the community, so you know your meal is actually helping others. To top it all off, they’re located less than a five-minute walk from the Kauffman Center.
Another restaurant that exclusively works with local farmers and food providers, this is a satisfying, gourmet experience you won’t forget. You’ll be shocked at how flavorful and fresh the food is when it comes straight from farm to table.
A hip and trendy spot, Fox and Pearl has a selection of gourmet snacks and meals like local lettuce, pickles, potted cheese, grilled duck meatballs, carbonara and more.
A few blocks away from the Kauffman Center, you’ll find Extra Virgin — a full tapas restaurant with a great selection of cocktails, wine and beer on tap. Its cuisine is a melting pot of flavors inspired from places around the world.