The Golden City of Topeka, Kansas is known for many things, one of which is not culinary accomplishment. *See photo above with pickle and chips. There are a handful of fine-dining restaurants, but if you want a Michelin Star you’re going to Kansas City. On the other hand, if you want some tasty, affordable meals here in town, keep reading and we’ll tell you about the 11 best restaurants in Topeka where a plate is under $20.
Lonnie doesn’t work any more than necessary. He’s open for 2 hours at Lunch, Tuesday-Friday, and two hours at Dinner on Friday nights. In case you’re wondering why… it appears that when you have a line of customers running down the sidewalk 30 minutes before opening such liberties become available.
The most delicious thing we ate in 2023 came from Monsoon Indian Grill. It was an assortment of grilled vegetables called the Monsoon Grill Sampler ($12). Simply mind-blowing flavor. I asked our server what the chef did to those lucky peppers and onions and he replied, “I really have no idea.” So we’re left with a comestible mystery. Thankfully we know exactly where to go for the best Indian Food in Topeka. No mystery there. Website Link.
If you ask folks around town what are the best restaurants in Topeka, you’re gonna hear some hemming and hawing and maybe some audible shrugging. The next thing you hear might be, “The Blind Tiger”. We’re told that in the 1990’s this was the landmark restaurant in town, but it has since dated along with the sauna-wood decor. That said, the food was very good and we left impressed.
For a breakdown of all the best things to do in Topeka, Kansas, click here!
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Thailand or Topeka, Kansas, Thai food is always delicious. Tuptim Thai is no different. The interior of the restaurant is tired — your booth might be sloping; your table is surely wobbling — but the menu is elaborate and the food will spin your taste buds. This is the kind of place that turns the Thai-curious into regulars. The Panang Curry ($11) is recommended. Website Link.
Also known as “Gout Burger”, Prize Package is home to the most delicious, joint swelling, hate-yourself-in-the-morning burger in Topeka. They say the cheese is legit Government Cheese, the kind you just don’t find anymore. Who knows how old it is — who cares? You gotta try it once. Full Disclosure: They sell pipes and bongs — It’s weird in there. Double Cheeseburger and fries ($6). Website Link.
The Wheel Barrel is another NOTO joint with a reputation for having mastered the grilled cheese. Their seductive menu is 17 sandwiches long, something akin to picking an ice cream flavor at Baskin Robbins. We enjoyed their two “award winning sammies”, the Monte Cristo and How Now Bleu Cow. We would recommend the Monte Cristo ($12). Website Link.
One of two recommended restaurants found in the NOTO Arts District (north Topeka), the Norseman is a cavernous, Viking-style restaurant/brewery serving comfort foods. A great place to gorge on an over-cheesed sandwich, burger, stroganoff, or crafty appetizer. They also have a tome of brews to choose from — good luck picking one. We recommend the Cuban Sandwich ($14) with fries. Website Link.
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The Pennant is a very popular establishment, known not just for food, but fun as well. The menu is burger and fries heavy, with pastas, wings, wraps, and salads. If you’re into burgers there is an impressive selection. In addition to the food and brews, the Pennant has about 25 vintage arcade games ($0.50 apiece) and a four-lane bowling alley ($5/ game). Creamy Jalapeno Fries ($10) are recommended. Website Link.
There is no undisputed king of pizza in Topeka, Kansas. Some folks like Glory Days, but it’s a chain establishment and good-not-great. Others say Larocca’s, but they have plenty of nay-sayers. We found the single best pie in town to be at AJ’s Pizzeria. They have a great crust and are above average on all other components. We got an 18″, 3-topping for under $20 after tax. Website Link.
The other exceptional Indian restaurant in Topeka is Indian Bistro. Found on the west side of town in a supermarket strip-mall, the bistro serves some of the best Tandoori, Biryani, Masala, Paneer, Vindaloo, Mutter, and Makhni you’ll find in the state of Kansas. We recommend The Butter Chicken($16). Website Link.
Bobo’s Drive-In is legendary: For 75 years they’ve been slinging cheap-n-tasty eats to the fine people of Topeka. They still take your order from the window of your car; they’ll even help you with the unusual menu. None of it blew our minds, but all of it was good. The Fish Sandwich ($3) and the Cheeseburger ($3) both hit the spot with chili fries. Website Link.
We did our best to sample everyone’s favorite joint around town in order to track down the best restaurants in Topeka. The process has solidified our love of Indian food, officially moving it past Thai food as our favorite. The new order goes (in case you’re wondering): Indian, Thai, Southern Comfort, Burgers, BBQ.
Eating our way around Topeka was a fun adventure. Expectations were low, so we were frequently surprised.
The only place we would strongly recommend is Lonnie Q’s BBQ. Be sure to indulge that Cup of Heaven.
Thank you for stopping by our website! We are the Hoffmann family, a full-time RV family that has split residence in Seattle, Washington and San Antonio, Texas. We have special needs children that we homeschool, and work travel assignments for the Veteran Affairs Hospital. If you would like to learn more about us, check out our Start Here and Biography pages. In the meantime, God bless and travel happy!
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