The ever so frequented Chipotle and Qdoba are still great. Fresh ingredients, you know what is going on what you are ordering and there is no questions. Chipotle surprisingly has good margaritas, too. Chipotle still has my favorite guac. I tend to crave it, often.
Manny’s downtown is great. I had a burrito that was covered in white cheese sauce (once again, what can be bad) and they had plenty of room for our whole nursing class to go out to eat and were quick with our food.
Buca di Beppo has huge portions. There restaurant is a maze and one of the tables is in the kitchen. That bothers me, a lot. I have had the sampler which consisted of manicotti, ravioli, stuffed shells (all of those were just filled with cheese) and chicken cannelloni- I was not impressed. My favorite was the spicy chicken rigatoni which is surprising since I usually don’t like hollow tube shaped pastas. The mixed green salad was unimpressive as well. The Limoncello Martini was fantastic, it tasted like the white part of a bomb pop on the 4th of July 🙂 Overall, ok atmosphere in that is in the basement in the plaza but the whole place is a maze and the food is decent.
Lidia’s is known for their fine dining. Beautiful, artsy place but the waiting staff was pretty awkward. I got the pasta sampler which gives you as much of whatever their specialty pastas are that night. Most of the pastas were just that, pasta with very little sauce. They gave us plenty of bread- and not just the standard breadstick, there was an assortment of it with a weak hummus and olive dip. My favorite part about pasta usually is the sauce or the meat, which the sampler lacked in. I would possibly go back but would order a specific dish but even so they are pretty pricey.
Zio’s can kind of be compared to an Olive Garden/ Johnny Carinos. I got the vegetable lasagna and Meagan got the chicken artichoke pasta. Hers was heavy on the sauce, but had a great flavor. Mine was ok. The vegetable were sliced too thin so they didn’t have that satisfying fullness to them. The salad was the standard iceberg joke (can someone tell these italian chains they need to upgrade to some romaine at least?) and the bread was a hard loaf with an olive oil/herb mix. Decent, not too impressive.
Brio’s Tuscan Grill had a nice atmosphere and a great menu with lots of unique options. The lobster ravioli was amazing, as it should be it is pretty expensive there.
Cinzetti’s aka an Italian Feast is delicious. Everything from antipastos, lasagna, specialty pastas and crepes they have it all. You have to try the carrots- they have a honey glaze on them, the tomato soup is awesome, as well as the ribs ( I know!) and the bread pudding.
La cucina de mama/Bella Napoli in Brookside is an authentic lunch/dinner Italian place. For lunch, they have the BEST sandwich. Fresh mozarella, tomato and balsalmic. For dinner? Homemade gnocchi was awesome!!
UMKC campus has a place called Sahara that I always run by. It displays pictures of falafel, hummus and other great looking things on their windows so I finally went. I got the tabouli salad which I was a first and last. It consisted of tabouli, parsley, olive oil and way too much lemon juice. The lemon juice really overpowered the rest of the salad. I would definitely go back to try anything else.
Bo Ling’s off the plaza is similar to PF Chang’s but much better atmosphere. Family style serving with everything you could ever want.
PF Changs has been bashed several times in this blog but because of the atmosphere and staff not the food. The lettuce wraps are awesome, the mongolian beef is amazing and served with green onions and rice.
Bd’s Mongolian Grill is very similar to HuHot. More of a salad/soup buffet there and different sauce options. They give free birthday meals!
The Thai Place was something I had heard about for a while. We went to the one in OP which was a very traditional chinese restaurant set up. Our dishes were tasty, but a warning the spicy is SPICY. I could not taste the flavors because the heat was too extreme. Also, pretty expensive.
Best pad thai? Pei Wei, a smaller version (and much better atmosphere) of PF Changs. Awesome sauce with fresh cilantro and lots of peanuts. Great edamame and lettuce wraps here too!
Lulu’s Noodle House has pad thai, but not as good as Pei Wei. Fun atmosphere in the Crossroads district with lots of noodle options (obviously).
Zen Zero in Lawrence. I know I will catch grief about this, but yuck. I have tried THREE different things and still didn’t find anything that was good. The pad thai there has a ketchupy taste, the curry was too runny. The spring roll salad was the only thing I enjoyed eating.
Domo in Brookside is a walk away so Carina and I tried it out. Maybe I am not too picky of a sushi eater, but I honestly cannot tell a big difference between places. I usually stick with a yellowfin/salmon/some kind of tuna roll. Pickled ginger is such a fun addition.
Nara probably has the best atmosphere for a sushi bar. I went after First Fridays and the low lighting/crowd was fun. I really recomend the seaweed salad- seaweed with a peanut/ginger oil. And when we were there we saw the art of Nyotaimori- google it 🙂
Kona Grill is known for their great happy hour and I have to say it was reasonable. The spicy tuna was a hit, just as it was at Nara.
Yokohama in Lawrence is the only sushi place that stands out, because they had extravagant sauces and huge portions. So many options and you leave feeling full, which is rare with sushi.
Best pizza, if you want standard cheese? D’Bronx. I got a standard piece of cheese pizza, but something about the herbs on top and the way it all went together was just perfect.
Spin. You know, another of those too high expectation places (who would have guessed). I got the sun dried tomato/some kind of margherita pizza. Everything was too dry about it. They are personal sized pizzas and the sauce was lacking. Fun topping options but nothing too extraordinary.
Grinder’s. Ok, gross. I know, I am sure you have seen it on Food Network or like going there for drink specials and good bar food. But when I went, I was so very disappointed. We got the margherita pizza and they had specials on their mimosas. The pizza was greasy and not fresh and the mimosas were sour. I will not be going back.
Tom Foolerie’s might have the second worst Margherita pizza (can you tell it’s my favorite?). It had goat cheese on it, which always makes me a little sick. They had pretty good chicken quesadillas and pico and do have a hamburger with peanut butter on it- a first try for that, and honestly what doesn’t go well with pb?
Papa John’s for delivery is the way to go. Their bbq chicken pizza is really good, and that garlic dipping sauce is dangerous.
Blue Grotto outside and inside has a great atmosphere. Outside in the summer you can sit on cushioned booths with big pillows while in the winter you can sit on the upstairs balcony inside. I was impressed with their margherita (finally!) and funghi pizzas. You can buy wine by the bottle, which they have a wonderful Riesling. This was the first time I unknowingly had foie gras, and possibly last 🙂 Pay attention to what is underneath the name of what you are ordering though. A 30ish yr old guy ordered the “pepperoni’ which underneath said tomato, oregano, mozarella. It came with no pepperonis on it, so he literally threw a fit and while they were preparing him a different one, he “suffered” through the one he had by salting each piece liberally. We ended up trying the foie gras because my dad ordered the “pastrami”. I also recommend the bruschetta sampler, not just your standard tomato bruschetta, so good!
Blanc is popular for their hamburgers, homemade buns and sweet potato fries. They have every kind of hamburger you could ever want. Pretty tasty!