It may not be the best (that's why I started this thread) but let's start with the Bluebird Club for best?
Bluebird: Nice atmosphere, good service, high prices, mediocre food.
Sakura: Very clean, poor service, even higher prices, good food.
Bangkok Cafe: A "dive", good service, bargain prices, great food.
MaMa Fu's: Mediocre "tourist" atmosphere, poor service, high prices, awful food.
For a comfortable restaurant with a pleasant atmosphere, excellent service and reasonable food, I would suggest the "Spanish" (or Mediterranean) restaurant at 24 Cuihu North Road.
An Afterthought: A restaurant doesn't usually get into my 'good book' unless wine-by-the-glass is available.
I'm a huge fan of the Teppanyake chain Fei Yang (飞阳). There are two that I know of, one in Kundu and the other on Jiao Ling Lu. Cheap enough, great food, pitchers of beer for 15 kuai.
Ummm....and look out for Indian food at Chapter One! (it's a plug but hey that's my job!)
I would like to agree totally with 'Ahmet' about the restaurant on Cuihu North Road, No.24 (Green Lake) that calls itself 'Espana Restaurant' -- it has a menu that is broad enough to justify the name displayed outside, 'Mediterranean'' . . . and there's wine by the glass.
What about late-night grub? All I know is the Halfway House kitchen is usually open til twoish and the Jinbi Lu McDonald's is 24 hours... anywhere else for the post-midnight munchies?
Arrgh! No sooner do I agree with Ahmet about the 'Mediterranean' restaurant (see above) when I visit again and find the need to put it into the 'Bad' catagory. Why? I took a student to learn something about 'Western' etiquette, we ordered salad starters and (expensive) beef main courses. The Salads And The Main Courses Arrived At The Same Time! -- immediately complaining, I noticed that the staff simply removed the main courses to a small table at the back of the room -- then, still before we had quite finished the salad, the staff brought back the main courses (probably because they were getting cold). Moral: In future, just order the first course, then, when finished, order the main course. Am I being too picky? No, not at those prices!
At the risk of hearing, once again, the phrase, 'Bernie, this is China', new expats to Kunming may find the recent experience quite interesting (or amusing). The restaurant in question, 'Golden Bay West' on Cuihu North Road, received three visits: (1st Visit) A common problem -- charging for providing paper tissues which were not used, because cloth napkins were used -- result, bill amended. (2nd Visit) Once again, an undescribed one yuan charge appears -- complaining reveals that the charge is for the newly-provided (and used) warm hand towels -- result, charge paid, and manager made aware of bad practices. (3rd Visit) No warm hand towels and no extra charges -- result, suppressed mirth!
Now (while I'm on a roll) I recently visited (with some trepidation) the Red Star restaurant with some Chinese friends following a recommendation that it was the 'best' western-type restaurant in Kunming -- I have no hesitation in reporting that, notwithstanding many Chinese restaurants, I would describe it as the worst western-type restaurant in Kunming -- in other words, good beer and cheap food does not a good restaurant make.
My experience in Kunming has taught me that the so-called Western restaurants here all tend to be fair to bad at best. I've found that each one can at least do one menu item within reason. Experiment with the menus and remember which place can make this one item. Then just remember where you have to go depending what you fancy that day. Service? Forget it. Nothing anywhere comes close to western standards. But... this is China!
After that being said, I have found a couple of places in Kunming that are actually surprisingly good in value and taste. If I was in the states, I wouldn't hesitate to go there to eat. Sorry, but I'm keeping them to myself. Now they are new, not crowded, the food is great, and even the service is good. I'm going to enjoy it while I can.........