Trip Guide: Top places to eat in Wichita, Kansas

I recently put together this list of favorite restaurant recommendations for someone visiting Wichita, Kan., from the east coast for the first time to pick up his new airplane (read: budget isn’t a concern!). These are mostly my favorites but I also asked for suggestions from my Facebook friends and incorporated those to give our visitor a wide range of options.

Wichita has a ton of restaurants and this list is not meant to be comprehensive. I left off most of the chain restaurants in order to write this from the perspective of unique establishments a visitor should try. I know when I’m traveling to new places I try to eat local rather than at chains as much as possible.

AJs Sports Grill serves the best pizza in Wichita Kansas

We think AJ’s Sports Grill serves the best pizza in Wichita! Lee tries to order the 29-inch SuperDome pizza as often as possible.

Red Rock Canyon Grill — This is probably my top pick even though technically it’s a part of a chain (a very small chain with only 2 other locations). I always try to eat local when I travel, so I don’t often recommend chains but the atmosphere and food are too good here to pass up.

It’s in east Wichita and features southwest-inspired American cuisine in an upscale casual atmosphere. Very cool building with a nice patio, excellent service, non-rushed atmosphere and the food quality is among the best in Wichita. I love their house salad and dressing … the rotisserie chicken is good and I’ve enjoyed their seafood dishes, too. My husband loves the unique meatloaf dish, and I’ve heard the steaks are great, too.

You’re in beef country out here so typically all the steak entrees at the higher-end restaurants are going to be great!

Chester’s Chophouse & Wine Bar — locally owned and very near Beechcraft’s facilities. It’s another beautiful setting with high quality ingredients. It has a fine-dining atmosphere serves classic American dishes. There are lots of steak options, and their sides are interesting and often the favorite part of the meal for me. They also have a raw bar and this is one of the few places here in land-locked Wichita where I’d feel confident I was getting fresh seafood.

Bella Luna – There’s a large Mediterranean influence among our restaurants. You will have many choices and many are good … I’m partial to this one because the hummus is consistently outstanding. You really can’t go wrong on their menu. I love the pastas and also enjoy the tilapia. There are three locations around town: east, west and sort-of east-central. All three are good.

Sabor Latin Bar & Grille — this is a casual upscale spot in Old Town, which is Wichita’s downtown entertainment district. It would be a nice choice if you want to see another part of Wichita since you’ll likely be on the east side most of your time. I like the menu options but will say that service and food can be inconsistent between visits. If you do venture into Old Town, you might stop in at Oeno Wine Bar. They’ve recently expanded their food menu — I’m not too familiar with it — but they are really known for their selection of wines and a comfortable, classy atmosphere.

Taste & See — a newer place and it has an odd location out of the high-traffic areas of town. I’ve not personally been there but a lot of people I know are talking about it and really like it. It’s Latin American food and I’m told the Cuban sandwich is the best in Wichita (not sure how that stacks up against the rest of the world, however!).

Harvest Kitchen & Bar — another place I’ve not yet tried but hear great things about it. It’s in the Hyatt Hotel downtown and is focused on using local, fresh ingredients.

Fizz Burgers and Bottles is a favorite restaurant in Wichita Kansas

You can get bottles of pop like this vanilla cream Carrie is enjoying and handmade burgers and fries at Fizz Burgers and Bottles in Wichita.

Some other casual dining options I enjoy:

If you really just need a burger and fries, go to locally-owned Fizz Burgers and Bottles (they grind their own meat daily and they have great dipping sauces for the fries). It’s fast but not a fast-food/drive-thru type restaurant.

Pizza: Knolla’s and A.J.’s Sports Grill are my favorites.

Old Mill Tasty Shop — it has an old fashioned soda fountain

The Anchor is a fun pub with a large hand-crafted beer selection but the service can be inconsistent.

Thai Tradition

Hana Cafe — I’m not a fan of sushi but I hear Hana’s is among the best in town, I like their Japanese noodle dishes. Another sushi place I hear great things about is Wasabi.

Also for sushi or Japanese hibachi-style meals, try SUMO by Nambara. I’ve noticed this is one of the most-often cited restaurants when Wichita chefs are asked to name their favorite dining out spot.

Cocoa Dolce — OK, so it’s not for a meal but it’s a yummy chocolate shop and the owner, Beth, has an inspiring do-what-you-love-and-good-things-will-happen story. I like to take friends from out of town here, and I also like to buy friends from anywhere gifts here :)

Cocoa Dolce is a favorite dessert spot in Wichita Kansas

Always fun to take out-of-town friends and family to Cocoa Dolce, a locally owned chocolate shop in Wichita. Carrie had gelato and picked out some chocolates to take home and eat later.

Other fine-dining options that are worthy of a meal (check reviews on Yelp and Urbanspoon):

YaYa’s Eurobistro (new American)

Hereford House (steakhouse)

Cafe Bel Ami (french, mediterranean)

Newport Grille (new American, seafood)

AVI Seabar and Chophouse (steakhouse, seafood)

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse (italian, steakhouse)

Larkspur Bistro & Bar (American) — they often have live jazz on their patio

 

How’d I do? Are there any spots that you think deserve to be on the list? Let me know in the comments.

(p.s. I noticed that a lot of these restaurants do not have many reviews on Yelp even though I know they are popular with locals. I’m going to do a better job of reviewing local places and hope my Wichita readers will do the same! Let’s help out-of-towners navigate our city.)

 

This entry was posted in travel.

11 Comments

  1. Ben Redington June 6, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    I was hoping for more burger places on the list. Little hole in the wall places like The Annex Lounge (Inside Out Burger), The Oasis, TJ’s Burger House, Buster’s or Bill’s Charcoal Grill.

    • Melinda June 6, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

      I hear ya, Ben. I should’ve written a more descriptive headline, to match the intro I wrote. This was a list for a business traveler coming to town so I didn’t go into some of the places you mentioned. I will have to create more lists to capture those — just drove by The Donut Whole and was reminded to put that in a list too!

      • Ben Redington June 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

        Sounds good, based on the places I saw it seemed a little more upscale. Maybe I was just hungry for a burger when I made my list. =)

  2. nikki June 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I love that you used Carrie’s picture. :)

    She does love a glass bottle of soda.

    • Melinda June 6, 2013 at 3:24 pm #

      These photos reminded me that I still haven’t gone through all the photos from your visit and that was a YEAR ago!! Sorry, I promise to go through them someday! I think I need an intern :)

  3. Stephanie October 20, 2013 at 10:56 pm #

    Sweet Basil’s lunch buffet is one of my favorites. It might sound strange, but this little Italian place makes a delicious Chicken Teriyaki !
    It was a once a month “must have” while I lived in Wichita (15 years) and a MUST DO every time I come back to visit.

    • Melinda October 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

      Thanks for the addition Stephanie. I love Sweet Basil, too, and the chicken teriyaki is great!

  4. kayla July 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    I always recommends Emperors Japanese Grill to everyone for a quick, cheap, albeit delicious meal. I could scarf down the chicken fried rice for every meal, and I don’t even like rice. Haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Emperors.

  5. Brandon September 3, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Doo Dah Diner is an outstanding place to eat. The only downfall is the hours they are open.

    • Melinda September 3, 2014 at 9:13 am #

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve heard great things about Doo Dah Diner — I need to check it out sometime … and I need to do a few more Wichita dining lists with some updates!

  6. Lindy October 30, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    Hi! If you ever venture down to Wellington, which is about 30 minutes away, the have an amazing resurant called Barefoot Jerry’s. They serioulsy have the best food I have EVER eaten, and everything is homeade, The atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and the wait staff has been good everytime I go.

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