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The Basil Leaf Cafe, Lawrence, KS

The Basil Leaf Cafe

4.4
4.4
177 Reviews
$30 and under
Italian
The Basil Leaf Cafe is proud to have built a loyal following in the Lawrence community. We are excited to continue the tradition of amazing food and provide great service as we continue to grow our locally owned restaurant.
We are excited to be introducing an updated menu with all of your favorites and some new items as well. We open at 4:00 P.M every day of the week for dinner with great specials and a daily happy hour!"

Make a reservation

2 people

9:30 PM


Booked 13 times today

Dining areas

Additional information

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Cuisines

    Italian, Contemporary American

  • Phone number

    (785) 856-0459

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Neighborhood

    Lawrence

  • Parking details

    Street Parking

  • Additional

    Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine

Popular dishes

What 177 people are saying

Overall ratings and reviews

Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant

4.4
4.4 based on recent ratings
  • 4.4Food
  • 4.5Service
  • 4.4Ambience
  • 4.3Value

NoiseModerate

Loved For

  • Kansas City / Kansas

    Italian

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  1. BB

    BarbaraB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food and service were great! I had the lemon chicken tenders and my husband had the cordon bleu tortellini. Both delicious with generous portions.
  2. M

    Mema

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 4 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Everything was excellent! We had the sweetest, cutest waitress with beautiful dimples and such a pretty smile! We all four had different entrees and we all loved our dishes! We will definitely be back!! Thank you!
  3. R

    Rosies

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined 5 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Basil Leaf has been a local Lawrence favorite of ours for several years, and we were thrilled to finally get to try out the new location. Superb!
  4. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Chicago

    6 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    6 reviews

    Dined 6 days ago

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    This restaurant was wonderful! Great service and delicious food! Highly recommend.
  5. BC

    BrianC

    Dallas

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 21, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I love the new space and expanded menu
  6. ED

    EmmeD

    Kansas City

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall4food2service4ambience4
    Honestly, I was surprised at how mediocre the food was. My granddaughter ordered the kids spaghetti and meatballs and it was so full of non-fresh garlic she couldn’t eat it. I tried it and agreed it was overdone with garlic. Inedible. The toasted ravioli was good, but overcooked. The pasta used was basic…maybe Kroger brand at best. I had the pasta arrabbiata and it was on level with a pasta I would get at a buffet at a pizza joint. Only that pasta came with the buffet at $9 whereas this dish cost $19 and had no meat or anything justifying that price. I hope it gets better or this place will find yet another restaurant to occupy the space.
  7. EP

    ErikaP

    Kansas City

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 17, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Food and service was excellent! Nice Italian restaurant.
  8. KB

    KathyB

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 16, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    My family has been enjoying Basil Leaf Cafe for many years. It's one of our first choices when having friends in town or for special occasions. Over the past year or so we have been lucky enough to get to know the staff, from servers to the General Manager. Shortly after Basil Leaf moved to their new building we were very excited to check out the new space. Wow, what an upgrade from the 9th street location. We visited shortly after they opened and yikes, it was hectic and chaotic BUT we gave them a break since they just moved. During our second visit, we were visiting with one of our favorite servers and she informed us that Basil Leaf was experiencing a challenging time with staff turnover...including the manager and chef and many others. I can't imagine what that must be like for a restaurant. We decided to give Basil Leaf another visit since we had family in from out of town. We made a reservation for Friday night and to be honest we weren't sure what to expect. It was fantastic! The atmosphere was fun with nice music and great lighting (cute lamps on the tables for an older person like myself). Everyone enjoyed their meal and even my favorite pasta dish tasted better than before. Our server was so sweet and even training a new employee. In fact, we saw several people "in training" which is a nice thing to see. Everyone was smiling and attentive. No chaos. The new manager came by our table and said "welcome back, it's great to have you again". We hadn't seen him before so we asked how he knew we had visited and he said he likes to check out the reservations for the day to see who has been in before. That impressed the whole table and we felt very special. Our server let us know he is the new General Manager that just recently started. Well done Basil Leaf Cafe. We will be back
  9. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    Kansas City

    11 reviews

    vip
    3.0

    11 reviews

    Dined on September 11, 2022

    overall3food4service4ambience3
    Great apps. Good drink. Ok service. Need to have water within 5 min; drinks within 10; never ever leave any dirty plates. She came 3x before we stacked it. Ok meal.
  10. SS

    SheriS

    Kansas City

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The pasta dishes were amazing! Such a cool little restaurant!
  11. KM

    KerryM

    Kansas City

    28 reviews

    vip
    1.0

    28 reviews

    Dined on September 10, 2022

    overall1food1service2ambience2
    Worst Italian food ever! The food was over spiced -too much garlic!!! My daughter ordered the spaghetti without meatballs and was charged for the meatballs $17! Not once did the manager come around to ask how our meal was- that in itself speaks volumes!!! Won’t be going back.
  12. K

    Kath

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Excellent food, service and location. Very pleased some entrees could be made gluten free.
  13. D

    Dorrie

    Kansas City

    12 reviews

    5.0

    12 reviews

    Dined on September 7, 2022

    overall5food4service5ambience4
    It's been a while since I went to the Basil Leaf and their new downtown location is excellent. Food is plentiful, not too salty and very tasty. Service was wonderful as well.
  14. HC

    HelenC

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 7, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    I have always loved Basil Leaf, even when it was located in the gas station! I am so glad they moved to Mass Street because it is so much easier to park. The food is absolutely delicious, and the servings are enough for two. They even still had my sunglasses I had left there a few days ago! I would recommend making reservations since they are always busy.
  15. G

    Grubbsgrill

    Kansas City

    6 reviews

    4.0

    6 reviews

    Dined on September 6, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    The Basil Leaf is one of our favorite restaurants. Last night the dish that I usually order did not taste right. The waitress was great and they replaced it immediately with another item on the menu and then gave us a complementary dessert. Everything tasted wonderful
  16. JW

    JohnW

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 4, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Was a great spot for a date a more relaxed feeling while still being very nice and the food and drinks are both excellent
  17. S

    Shauna

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on September 1, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Basil Leaf has always been the best bang for your buck and they finally have a gorgeous, large location to accommodate more pasta eaters.
  18. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 31, 2022

    overall2food2service4ambience3
    48th Anniversary. Worst anniversary dining experience in 48 years. Not treated like it was a special occasion. We were asked to sit at a high top which we declined. So we were seated at the worst table in the restaurant. Every server going in and out of the kitchen passed by our table. Every customer going to the restroom passed by our table. Food would suggest the restaurant name should be changed to Garlic Leaf. Salmon was fishy and not seasoned that I could tell. Unfortunately, this will be a memorable experience.
  19. MA

    MARYANN

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 29, 2022

    overall2food2service3ambience3
    I ate here once before and it was delicious. I had the wonderful Carbonara. It is no longer available, and so my choice last night was not very good at all. I won't plan to come back.
  20. JG

    JulieG

    Kansas City

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 28, 2022

    overall5food4service4ambience4
    Friendly staff who were responsive and helpful. Clean comfortable environment with great food!
  21. A

    Alex

    Kansas City

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    One of the best spots in Lawrence! I chose it for dinner with my girlfriend before proposing later and was highly satisfied. The service was fantastic (thank you Mira!!!), and the food (shrimp scampi, Caesar salad, chicken fettuccini) came out at great intervals and was delicious (at great value, too). We also enjoyed the wine we had. I can’t wait to come back!
  22. GG

    GeneG

    Kansas City

    5 reviews

    4.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on August 27, 2022

    overall4food4service4ambience5
    Always a good choice. The new place on Mass Street is very nice
  23. MB

    MattB

    Kansas City

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 26, 2022

    overall5food5service4ambience4
    One of our favorite places. First time at the new location and everything made the move including great food.
  24. C

    Caroline

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 26, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Visited for the first time and it was phenomenal! The wait staff were super friendly and helpful, the food was amazing and came out quickly. Super fun and energetic atmosphere too! I highly recommend visiting!
  25. SS

    SteveS

    1 review

    5.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 25, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The basil leaf has settled well into its new location and the food is just as you would expect- delicious and in plenty of it.
  26. R

    Rick

    Kansas City

    31 reviews

    5.0

    31 reviews

    Dined on August 23, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Great food and service in a very comfortable atmosphere
  27. TS

    ThomasS

    Kansas City

    16 reviews

    vip
    2.0

    16 reviews

    Dined on August 20, 2022

    overall2food2service3ambience2
    Historically one of their most loyal customers. However the move to the new location has been in our opinion, more about maintaining quality than trading for new and shiny. The quality we enjoyed for so many years is not there and I hate to say it as Lawrence has zero Italian restaurants.
  28. LF

    LizF

    St. Louis

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on August 19, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Service was excellent! Drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts were all well timed. Good sized portions but not over the top. Prices were very reasonable.
  29. T

    Tami

    Denver

    8 reviews

    5.0

    8 reviews

    Dined on August 18, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Loved the atmosphere of this new location. So many choices on the menu there’s something for everybody. Service was great. All the staff was friendly and attentive.
  30. L

    Lovestoeat

    Phoenix

    57 reviews

    vip
    4.0

    57 reviews

    Dined on August 16, 2022

    overall4food5service5ambience5
    Love the new spot! Sad that they were out of lasagna for the day. Also I think they need to work on the liquor pars- i.e. Out of Aperol and Limoncello.
  31. VM

    VickyM

    Kansas City

    19 reviews

    4.0

    19 reviews

    Dined on August 11, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    We enjoyed Basil Leaf for years & happy that they've moved to Mass. Only had a few little things to note. First, service was stellar - as always. Ambiance was great. Loved the idea of the battery operated mini lamps (rather than candles) @ the table. Something was up with the smell of the restaurant - nothing too off putting but still enough to not seem 100% right. Hoping it was just the Brussels sprouts or something. The food was awesome. We started with the Caprese salad - very fresh & flavorful. We had St. Michel Reisling wine & one of their signature cocktails - an Espresso Martini, of which was perfect! I had the Lemon Chicken Tenders with risotto & Brussels sprouts. To be honest - way too much chicken for being tenders. I think they could serve maybe 1 or 2 of their tenders (which are nearly the size of chicken breasts) and still charge the same. They wwre fried perfectly & the sauce they had with it was so good I could've drank it. LoL all of that dish was tasty just way bigger than necessary. My husband had the Tortellini with chicken. Another big dish that could probably be scaled down but, still very tasty/creamy. We finished with Tiramisu for dessert. Spot on! Not too sweet but rich & creamy. Great way to end the meal. We're excited to go back again! Looking forward to eating @ a table on the patio once the weather cools off.
  32. TC

    TChap

    New York Area

    54 reviews

    vip
    5.0

    54 reviews

    Dined on August 10, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Outstanding meal as always! Great location in downtown Lawrence. A little disappointed did not get any points on OpenTable for the reservation. It won’t keep us from returning however.
  33. RR

    RaveR

    Kansas City

    1 review

    1.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 2, 2022

    overall1food2service2ambience1
    I was looking forward to trying the Basil Leaf in it's new location, but honestly, the entire experience was disappointing and fell flat. The tables were too close and I lost track of how many times I was hit or bumped into by others, and I felt uncomfortable and 'in the way.' The food was bland, and basic - which was sad, because I recal visiting Basil Leaf in the past and it was delicious. The space was loud, and there was loud 'rock/pop' music playing - not the best for the style of the restaurant.
  34. LK

    LaurieK

    Kansas City

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on August 1, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience4
    Love the new location! Bright and welcoming- but we missed the more intimate atmosphere of the prior location. Our server did an excellent job. Our appetizer was served only two or three minutes before our entrees, don't know if that was a result of server or kitchen timing. One thing felt out of place-the mason jar water glasses- they don't fit the new look. Overall, a great experience.
  35. SV

    SueV

    Houston

    1 review

    2.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 30, 2022

    overall2food2service2ambience3
    We did not enjoy our visit at Basil Leaf. We thought it was a new restaurant and brought out of town guests with us! We learned later that they had just changed locations! The service was extremely slow, the food was way overpriced and mediocre at best! I’m sorry to say we will not recommend this restaurant!
  36. DW

    DavidW

    Kansas City

    33 reviews

    4.0

    33 reviews

    Dined on July 29, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    Grandson's birthday
  37. DK

    DonK

    Western NC

    5 reviews

    5.0

    5 reviews

    Dined on July 27, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    The Basil Leaf has been around Lawrence for a long time. We used to get food from them when they were operating out of a tiny sort of pilot operation and the food was good then too. We had the meatballs as an appetizer and it was fantastic. I just love the house made marinara. I had the Cajun Penne, it was hot but very well done with lots of andouille sausage and shrimp. My wife had the tortellini and panko chicken. She said it was delicious as well (I stole some off her plate and it was very good). For dessert she had the cheesecake and I had the tiramisu. We would recommend either one but the tiramisu is some of the best I have ever had. Overall great experience and service. Since this was our first time at this location, we were wondering if we would be underdressed and that was not the case at all. In fact, saying that most of the customers were casually dressed would be an understatement. Great selection of wine and local beers here as well. I hope that they do way better than their predecessors at this location.
  38. BF

    BlessedFromIndiana

    Indiana

    2 reviews

    5.0

    2 reviews

    Dined on July 25, 2022

    overall5food5service5ambience5
    Have all the Italian cafés I’ve had the joy of eating in this one is the best I have ever experienced. I will be returning as often as I am able to enjoy the ambience and the delicious food!
  39. OT

    OpenTable Diner

    San Antonio

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 23, 2022

    overall4food4service3ambience4
    The food was great, but it took way too long to get drinks. We finally canceled the last round.
  40. AC

    AndrewC

    1 review

    4.0

    1 review

    Dined on July 22, 2022

    overall4food4service5ambience5
    Had a nice time. Food could have been warmer but great taste. Service was good. Will be back for another date night.

Safety precautions

  • Cleaning & sanitizing

    • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
    • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
    • Common areas deep-cleaned daily
    • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Physical distancing

    • Limited number of seated diners
    • Distancing maintained in common areas
    • Extra space between tables
  • Protective equipment

    • Waitstaff wear masks
    • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
  • Screening

    • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace

FAQs

The Basil Leaf Cafe is rated 4.4 stars by 177 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable.

Make a reservation

2 people

9:30 PM


Booked 13 times today
Google Map for The Basil Leaf Cafe

801 Massachusetts St, Lawrence, KS 66044

Dining areas

Additional information

  • Neighborhood

    Lawrence

  • Cuisines

    Italian, Contemporary American

  • Dining style

    Casual Dining

  • Dress code

    Smart Casual

  • Parking details

    Street Parking

  • Payment options

    AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

  • Additional

    Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Cocktails, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Wheelchair Access, Wine

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