Not sure what you’ve been told previously, but the Ft. Riley area has great food! Yea, so maybe you gotta drive to Manhattan to go to these, but they are well worth it, and seriously…it’s not that far (or you can be like me and live in Manhattan and eat at most of these places all the time!). Wherever you live, here’s a list of some of the area’s best restaurants that you should make an effort to try at least once while you’re here. So, in no particular order….
Also listed in our Best Outdoor Dining article, Taco Lucha is a fun and quirky restaurant in the heart of Aggieville in Manhattan, and specializes in Tea Cakes. No, they specialize in tacos, you nerd. Why would you even ask that? With plenty of tacos to choose from, be sure you try them all at some point as you will be blown away by the flavor of each. Brought to you by the same people who own #10 (So Long Saloon) & #11 (Rock-A-Belly Deli), you will see the same funky fresh and somewhat kitsch décor in all 3 restaurants.
Right and Up Tip: My 3 favorite tacos are the Fish, El Mexicano and Tinga. I only order 3 cuz it’s all I can handle after plenty of Nancy’s (Old Milwaukee and Pineapple Juice) and an appetizer, but my husband gets 5.
I’ve gotta admit, this is probably my favorite restaurant in Manhattan, not just because of the food but also the atmosphere and drink selection. Located in the downtown area of Manhattan on Poyntz Ave., Bourbon & Baker is a tapas-style restaurant (for you uncultured cavemen out there, this means small appetizer-size plates) specializing in Southern cuisine. This place is great for a date night or really any night. Enjoy one of their many bourbon options and don’t forget to check out their bakery during the day (located in the back).
Right and Up Tip: Gotta go with the Chicken & Waffles, American Kobe Slider and Duck Fat French Fries to start. Us ladies can probably handle 3-5 plates, depending on what they are and how many people we are sharing with. Gents will likely need 4-7 plates.
Hands down one of the best kept secrets around Ft. Riley. This place is a serious find if you make your way to Manhattan. Located at the base of Tuttle Creek Lake, The Little Grill, is a Caribbean-style grill with the best jerk-chicken I’ve ever had. With live music on Fridays and a large dining room, it’s a great place to bring a group of friends.
Right and Up Tip: No trip to this restaurant is complete without several servings of their delicious Rum Punch. Also, if they have frog legs on the menu, order them. Seriously good.
Not only does this place have great food, but I would say they have the best service in Manhattan. The wait staff and owner are incredibly professional and are more than willing to accommodate your weird requests…umm, could I please have the pumpkin ravioli without the pumpkin and the ravioli?…While they don’t take reservations, they do want to know ahead of time if any of your guests have food allergies, so the chef can prepare ahead of time.
Right and Up Tip: Bacon-wrapped dates and Calamari are a must! Also, go ahead and order that bottle of wine. If you don’t finish it, they will package and seal the bottle to take home with you!
Located in Aggieville in Manhattan, this restaurant specializes in Indian cuisine, and it’s really really gooooood. More of a downtown feel, this place is perfect for a nice evening out that doesn’t entail driving to the far East side of Manhattan.
Right and Up Tip: If you’ve never had a Lassi (traditional yogurt-based drink with mango) before, you have to try one here. Also, order anything with Paneer cheese on the menu as it’s sure to please. Mutter-Paneer is my personal favorite!
Boasting the same owners as #9 (The Thai Noodle), Baan Thai is a Manhattan town favorite for Thai food. While The Thai Noodle has more of a laid back feel that is great for lunch, Baan Thai has a better restaurant vibe that is perfect for dinner.
Right and Up Tip: Grab some Goong Gra Borg (deep fried shrimp wrapped in spring roll paper) and any of their curry options or pad thai, as seen in this article’s featured photo.
Considered the nicest restaurant in town, Harry’s is definitely one of those places you should check out before you skip town. Located in downtown Manhattan at the base of the historic Wareham Hotel, Harry’s is by far the most elegant restaurant you can find in the area.
Right and Up Tip: Oysters on the half shell are a must! They come with this cocktail sauce sorbet that is to DIE for! Drop your wedding ring off at G. Thomas Jewelers across the street for a cleaning (it’s free by the way) and sip martinis at the Harry’s Bar while you wait! If you ask nicely, the jeweler will even walk your ring over to you when it’s ready.
Gotta admit, I’m a little bothered that this place isn’t actually a Hibachi restaurant. Sorry, no over-excited Japanese chef will be flipping flaming hot broccoli onto your face (not into your mouth cuz let’s be real…you’re the only guy who never catches it. You probably come up with some lame excuse like “I wasn’t ready!”) Anyways…Hibachi Hut is actually a Cajun restaurant. If you like spicy food, this is the place to be!
Right and Up Tip: Cornbread is by request only and it’s goooood. Like real good.
Sister restaurant to Baan Thai, this place is my favorite of the two (not that there’s anything wrong with Baan Thai) mostly because the service is super quick and they’ve got my favorite dish on the menu: Pho (pronounced ‘Fuh’). What’s Pho? It’s a thin-noodled soup with lots of herbs and thinly sliced meat.
Right and Up Tip: Order their bubble tea (it has tapioca pods at the bottom!!) and a big bowl of Pho with beef.
Home to some of the best burgers in town, So Long Saloon is located in Aggieville and typically boasts a full crowd. Would definitely not take a large group here, but check it out with a friend or two and have a few drinks.
Right and Up Tip: Chipotle Raspberry and Black Bean Dip fo’ sho’ and if you’ll bear with me here…the Peanut Butter Burger. Yes it’s good. You just gotta try it.
Perfect spot for lunch if you’re in the area, Rock-A-Belly Deli has a cult-like following by the locals. Every time I go it appears that everyone at the bar is on a first-name basis with the bartenders and owner. Deliciously yummy deli sandwiches are calling your name!
Right and Up Tip: Due to the limited seating, unless you’re eating at the bar, expect to have a quick meal so others get the privilege of a beautiful deli sando in their bellies. Order the Reuben!!!