Where do you go in Kansas City for the best melt-in-your-mouth queso? Everyone knows there are some chips-and-dip serving restaurants where you’re content to just stick with the free salsa, and there are those special restaurants where you have to splurge on the queso. When it’s that level of delicious, you not only use it as a dip, you pour it over your entree to get every drop.
When you think of those restaurants where you order queso, you shouldn’t think first of chain restaurants. There are plenty of local options in Kansas City where you can satisfy your craving.
Here is the top of the list of best quesos in Kansas City. Taste-testing these will take you to some Mexican restaurants and some Mexican fusion or Tex-Mex restaurants. Each place has their own take on what makes amazing queso, and the results are all delicious.
If we were rating quesos based on uniqueness along with the ability to impress, the best queso you could order in Kansas City is Queso Fundido from El Patron Cocina & Bar. It comes in a little boat of white queso with a row of toppings down the center– chorizo and pico de gallo. This isn’t simply a thin bowl of cheese dip. The queso is deliciously stringy and thick, to go along with the thick toppings, and it’s served with flour tortillas. When it’s the first item you order at El Patron, it makes a big impression, and you’ll be sure to order it every time you go back.
This restaurant is more in the fusion food category than authentic Mexican. While Mission Taco has locations in Kansas City, St. Louis, and St. Charles, MO, once you taste the food, you still know you’re getting a quality, local experience. They offer Queso Con Chorizo, which is creamy queso with crumbled chorizo on top, and it’s described on the menu as made with tastes of cerveza, which is beer. Whether or not you notice the cerveza, you’ll finish every bite you can reach with a chip.
You can choose from a few locations of Margarita’s in Kansas City, if that shows how much of a staple this Mexican restaurant is locally. Margarita Dip is their signature queso and a strong recommendation if you haven’t tried it before. It’s made with plenty of peppers throughout, no toppings like the previous quesos on this list, but the taste is everything you dream of when you order queso. They also offer Tres Amigos so you can try three dips in one order– Margarita Dip, bean dip, and their regular queso, which is gold versus the white queso of the Margarita Dip. You might have trouble choosing your favorite!
Kansas City Taco Company near the River Market has a wonderfully local atmosphere. Their fusion flavors show all kinds of creativity, from Thai to American, including in their queso items– Skillet Nachos and Loaded Queso Fries– but even the standard Queso Blanco is exceptional. It’s baked in a small skillet so you get a layer of golden, baked cheese to plunge your chip into, and it has a few chunky toppings like pico de gallo. They even give the optional chorizo if you prefer a little more to your already-bursting skillet.
Some people come to Brookside Barrio just for the queso, with plenty of reason; it’s a crowd-pleaser. They offer both regular and loaded queso. The regular is perfect if you’re wanting the classic, sprinkled with fresh herbs on top, but the loaded queso is another level, as it’s filled with chorizo, corn, guacamole, and probably a few other ingredients hiding inside the cheese dip. You should stir it around, and try not to break your chip!
The Meaning of the Word “Queso”
Some of the Spanish terms on the menu surrounding queso can be unclear if you haven’t asked your waiter before, even if you do speak a little Spanish or try entering the words into a translator. Most of us know “queso” means “cheese” in Spanish, but of course, when we order “queso”, we are expecting more than just a serving of cheese. Let’s make sure nothing is lost in translation with the following terms.
Chile Con Queso
The term “chile con queso” is where “queso” comes from, as a shortened version of the phrase. “Chile con queso” is literally “chili peppers with cheese,” as “chile” (pronounced “chee-lay”) means chili peppers in Spanish. This means the queso you order should technically always have chopped green chile peppers mixed in, even though it’s been shortened out of the name “queso”.
The Kansas City Taco Company has an item mentioned earlier called Queso Blanco, or literally “white cheese”, but the fact that this restaurant is not an authentic Mexican restaurant should be a clue on their meaning. They’re calling the cheese dip with chili peppers “queso blanco” due to it’s white color, but in Mexico, queso blanco is something different. Queso blanco is a type of cheese that wouldn’t melt into something entirely dip-able. The queso that we know, that IS dip-able, is made from processed cheese that is completely different from authentic queso blanco.
At El Patron you can order Queso Fundido, as previously described. “Fundido” means “melted” or, in a more loose translation, “liquid.” (Think of Swiss cheese “fondue,” if you’re familiar with that food dish.) Queso fundido is typically served with chorizo on top, which is ground pork sausage, and eaten with soft tortillas rather than corn tortilla chips. It’s a slightly different queso experience than simply chips and dip.