Our favorite restaurants in the West Bottoms of Kansas City

Photo by Katie Currid


Voltaire was making the West Bottoms a hip destination before it was declared such by Kansas City’s cool kids crowd (thanks to recent additions like The Campground and the updated Golden Ox). In 2013, owner Jill Myers and chef Wes Gartner opened with the intention of offering diners something a little unexpected. They didn’t use the word “gastropub,” but that’s essentially what Gartner was getting at. Menu items here hopscotch from continent to continent. You might start with the sigara börek — a savory Turkish phyllo dough pastry that Gartner stuffs with fresh feta and grilled eggplant ajvar — or Thai-style tiger cry beef before moving onto beet ravioli filled with ricotta and goat cheese or smoked lamb ribs served with a raisin-pistachio tabbouleh. Cocktails here are as interesting as the plates, so don’t shy away from Voltaire’s ample bar seating. –NATALIE GALLAGHER

1617 Genessee St., West Bottoms, Kansas City, Mo. 816-472-1200, voltairekc.com

Golden Ox

You’re inside these hallowed walls for one thing: a Kansas City strip steak. Yes, the city’s signature cut was first grilled up right here on the ground floor of the Kansas City Live Stock Exchange, in a space that once served as a clubhouse for newly flush cattle barons. That bone-in, dry-aged strip steak is $42 for 16 ounces. It’s a trophy steak, but be warned the cut steers a little chewy. This restaurant, which was reborn under new owners last summer after a brief closure, is otherwise a classic steakhouse with six different potato-based sides (the $2 baked potato is all you need), Caesar salad and onion rings. If you’re looking to take in the ambiance without springing for a steak, Tuesdays are half-priced burger night. MARTIN CIZMAR

1600 Genessee St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-842-2866, goldenoxkc.com

KC Pinoy

KC Pinoy owner Chrissy Nucum started off with a popular Filipino food truck before opening this fast-casual restaurant in the West Bottoms late last year. Many of the recipes at KC Pinoy come from Nucum’s grandmother, and thus dishes like adobong manuk (chicken thighs stewed in vinegar, soy sauce and spices) retain a pleasant homespun character despite the new digs. The pork-centric menu reflects the traditions of the Philippines and the wild cultural diversity of the 7,641 island archipelago, which has heavy influences from Spanish, Japanese and American colonists. You’ll find everything from steamed pork dumplings to sizzling pork ears on the KC Pinoy menu. Whatever you do, get the halo halo for dessert — it’s a tall pile of shaved iced topped with a symphony of ingredients including coconut milk, red beans, jackfruit, purple yam ice cream and little squares of leche flan.MARTIN CIZMAR

1623 Genessee St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-868-1293, kcpinoy.com

The Westside Local

When in doubt, go to The Westside Local. This neighborhood lunch and dinner eatery has been open since 2009, emphasizing fresh farm-to-table cooking with plenty of vegan, vegetarian and healthy-ish options. The veggie burger is a fan favorite, with a robust patty made with white beans, sweet potato, red peppers, quinoa and panko. There are several burger options — we like the caprese burger, with half-pound brisket patty, mozzarella, balsamic and pesto — and a signature three-cheese mac and cheese that can be upgraded with chicken, salmon, Beyond Meat sausage or Brussel sprouts and kale. In other words, this cozy restaurant (complete with a shady beer garden and patio) is the perfect antidote for any paralyzing meal indecision you might be experiencing. –NATALIE GALLAGHER

1663 Summit St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-997-9089, thewestsidelocal.com


We’ll let you in on a little secret: If you don’t want to wait in line at Messenger Café for a coveted loaf of Ibis Bakery’s rosemary polenta bread, cheese slipper or orchard bread (studded with walnuts, blueberries and apricots), visit Fervere on the Westside instead. Chris and Kate Matsch, owners of Ibis Bakery, took over production at Fervere in 2016. Thursday through Saturday, you can pop into this cozy shop and load up on as many baguettes as you can carry. There are loads of croissants and other artisan pastries, too, plus coffee to go and a fridge full of fine cheese for sale. Fill your cheeks with chunks of bread samples, and enjoy the extra time you earned back in your day.NATALIE GALLAGHER

1702 Summit St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-842-7272, fervere.com

The Campground

Is it a cocktail bar or is it a restaurant? The beauty of this dark-walled, rustically decorated West Bottoms gem is that you can’t really tell, even (especially?) when you’re two fernets deep and tucking into the delicate but decadent Parisian gnocchi topped with shiitake oyster mushrooms and truffle nage. The Campground is one of the city’s more romantic spots, and the food menu is small but serious, focused on seasonal vegetables and well-chosen farm cheeses. If you’re looking for a new school version of the classic KC strip steak you’ll find at Golden Ox across the street, it’s here, served on a sword skewer over a bed of white truffle pomme purre and an ultra-bright topping of chimichurri. The s’mores-inspired dessert is justifiably famous, a super moist brownie cradled in a crust of crushed graham crackers and topped with a fluffy tuft of toasted marshmallow. –MARTIN CIZMAR

1531 Genessee St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-612-3434, thecampgroundkc.com

EJ’s Urban Eatery

“Meat and three” restaurants, where diners choose from a daily selection of meat and pick-three sides, are mostly a Southern thing. We have chef-owner John C. Smith to thank for bringing them to our corner of the Midwest. The menu at EJ’s Urban Eatery rotates, but you can count on some well-rounded choices. The most recent selection includes espresso-rubbed smoked brisket, sauteed chicken breast and blackened catfish, with sides like spicy cream corn, dirty rice, baked macaroni and cheese, summer squash casserole, green beans, sweet potato wedges and creole fries. To call these portions generous would be a gross understatement, so we’ll just advise you to wear your stretchiest pants. –NATALIE GALLAGHER

1414 W. Ninth St., Kansas City, Mo. 816-491-8262, ejsurbaneatery.com.

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