Diners who like fish have become resigned to our landlocked fate: Wichita is just never going to be a seafood destination.
But that doesn't mean that Wichita diners are sentenced to a life of steak and 'taters.
In observance of Lent — a time when some people abstain from meat for religious reasons — we offer this list of restaurants that offer classy, exotic and deep-fried fish and seafood dishes.
* Newport Grill, 1900 N. Rock Road, 316-636-9555: Wichita's newest seafood restaurant flies it in fresh six days a week and offers a menu filled with everything from shrimp and scallops to trout and salmon. One of the restaurant's chefs will be putting on a seafood cooking demonstration and meal on Sunday at Cooking at Bonnie's Place. Make reservations right away at www.wichitatreehouse.com or by calling 316-686-2600.
* Gaslamp Grille, 550 N. Rock Road, 316-260-1432: The new fine-dining restaurant offers a raw bar featuring fresh shucked oysters, prawns, king crab legs, oyster shooters and peel-and-eat shrimp.
* Legends, in the Airport Hilton at 2098 Airport Road, 316-945-5272: The restaurant offers a Saturday night seafood buffet overflowing with snow crab legs, peel-and-eat shrimp, seafood crepes and seafood pasta. It's offered from 5 to 10:30 p.m. and is $29.95 a person.
* Bonefish Grill, 10250 E. 13th St., 316-315-0299: Visit this seafood chain and you may find yourself tempted to give up all food except Bang Bang Shrimp for Lent.
* The Seafood Shop, 6470 E. Central, 316-425-8862: This retail fish market serves lunch to go from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and dinners to go Tuesdays through Saturdays, featuring dishes such as salmon with lemon cream sauce and mussels with tomato sauce over linguine. Call-in orders are encouraged.
* Red Lobster, 555 S. West St. and 333 S. Towne East Mall Drive: The seafood chain is in the midst of an amazing event called Lobsterfest, which offers customers several lobster specials, including a lobster, crab and shrimp trio. Lobsterfest continues through April 25.
* Kanai, 12111 W. Maple, 316-719-2929: The fancy west-side sushi restaurant offers a menu that focuses almost exclusively on seafood, served raw, in rolls, tempura-fried, etc. Hana Cafe at 325 N. Mead and Sumo at 11233 E. 13th St. are also good sushi options.
* Sabor, 309 N. Mead, 316-201-4880: The Latin restaurant is one of many local purveyors of fish tacos. Theirs are among the best, though, and they'll also make a vegetarian taco upon request. On the Border also serves great fish tacos.
* Pho Hot Bistro, 306 N. Rock Road, 316-440-6698: Vietnamese cuisine showcases fish nicely, and few do it better than Pho Hot, which offers seafood pho, grilled shrimp, crab fried rice and charcoal-grilled fish, among other dishes. Saigon at 1103 N. Broadway also offers good Vietnamese seafood options.
Fried and fabulous
* The Wichita Fish Co., 1601 W. Douglas, 316-265-3474: The restaurant serves a whole array of fabulous fish, both fried and grilled. Among the crispy options: popcorn shrimp, battered clams, fried oysters, breaded scallops and Southern-style catfish.
* Fat Ernie's, 2806 S. Hydraulic, 316-554-7371: This Wichita diner serves all-you-can-eat fried catfish nuggets from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday. It's $6.95 and comes with all-you-can-eat salad and choice of potato.
* River City Brewery, 150 N. Mosley, 316-263-2739: The pub offers some of Wichita's most popular fish and chips, coated in a beer batter made from the restaurant's own brewed beer. Other respected fish and chips in town: The Anchor and Old Chicago.
* Freddy's Frozen Custard, several Wichita locations: Freddy's is bringing back its fish sandwich and fish and chips, but they'll be on the menu only until April 27.