A year ago, we put together a guide called “50 Wichita Restaurants You Should Try.” And trust me, it was nearly impossible to figure out which 50 restaurants to include. Wichita has at least four times that many fabulous places to dine.
This year, we’re getting a tad more specific. This time around, you’ll find a list of 50 dishes you should try. Scratch that - more like “50 Dishes you HAVE TO try.”
The list includes appetizers, desserts, drinks, main dishes and lots and lots of pizza. Many of these are my personal favorites, dishes I order again and again because I love them so much. I also consulted with readers of Dining With Denise to make sure I wasn’t missing any, and they had plenty of ideas, too.
Again this year, I tried to focus on dishes made at locally-owned restaurants, though I would have no trouble coming up with 50 dishes I love from chain restaurants, too.
I suggest you put on your loose-fitting pants and get to work. If you keep at it, you’ll have them all tried by the time I get the next guide out.
I published the first 10 on the list on Monday and 11-20 on Tuesday. Today, you get 21-30, and I’ll share 10 more every day this week. (A booklet containing the whole list was included in Sunday’s Wichita Eagle, and extra copies should be out on racks in Dillon’s in about a month.)
And by all means, let me know what you think I missed. Just go to Dining with Denise on Facebook and leave a comment.
21.The Flying Stove, Truffle Fries
The granddaddy of Wichita food trucks has a true talent in chef Rob Schauf, who is always putting out new dishes on the truck’s rotating menu. But his truffle fries, thin and crispy and tossed with shredded Parmesan cheese, are so popular, they’re almost always on the menu. $3 for a half order, $5 for a full order, food truck, www.facebook.com/theflyingstove, 316-609-9016
22. Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Double Steak Burger
I tried to keep this list chain-free and local. Freddy’s, though a chain, is local because it was founded and is headquartered in Wichita and is still run by Wichitans. And it also happens to serve my favorite burger in town, with patties that are grilled flat until the edges are crispy then glued together with melty cheese. There’s nothing better. $5.26 or $7.84 for a combo meal, many Wichita locations
23. Fusa, Honey Walnut Chicken
The specialty dish at this quick-service Chinese restaurant is unlike anything I’ve tasted and is dangerously addictive. It features bits of crunchy fried chicken plus whole pieces of sweet roasted walnuts all coated in a savory orange sauce and served over rice. The flavor and texture combination is inexplicably good. $7.50, 303 S. Greenwich, 316-618-1818
24. Kamayan Truck food truck, Porchetta
The owner of this Wichita food truck has always dealt in pork, and he knows what he’s doing with his porchetta. The dish, which earns raves at food truck rallies, features roasted pork belly roulade stuffed with lemongrass, garlic, scallions and jalapenos that’s deep fried and cut to order then served with sticky or steamed rice. $10, food truck, www.facebook.com/TheKamayantruck/
25. Kind Kravings, Veggie Burger
Wichita isn’t exactly a hot spot of vegan restaurants, but Wichita’s expert on the cuisine is Rochelle Collins, who along with her boyfriend, Shea West, owns this food truck, set up in a double-decker, dine-in bus. Even meat eaters love her veggie burger, which is made with a black bean patty and topped with smoky chipotle and barbecue sauces, lettuce, tomato, grilled onion and coconut bacon. $9.75, food truck, http://www.kindkravings.com, 316-302-3992
26. Kanai Sushi, Mucho Caliente Roll
Sushi fans tend to agree that Kanai, which is ably headed by master sushi chef David Kanai, is among the top sushi restaurants in Wichita, if not in the state. You can’t really go wrong with any of the restaurant’s rolls, but a favorite is the the Mucho Caliente, filled with spicy snow crab and topped with crunchy tempura flake and unagi sauce. $9.50, 12111 W. Maple, 316-719-2929
27. La Galette, Quiche
This French bakery also has a lunch menu filled with French and Mediterranean style dishes. A standout is the quiche, made individual-sized with a tender, buttery crust and an egg filling that’s so creamy and custardy, you’ll feel like you’re eating dessert. Filling choices include ham, broccoli, spinach, ham and broccoli or seafood. It comes with a small soup or salad (get the fattoush) plus a roll with butter. And don’t leave without trying one of the tempting French pastries that look so dainty in the cabinet. $9.99, 1017 W. Douglas, 316-267-8541
28. La Isla, Ceviche Trio (Tercia)
It’s not easy being a seafood lover in landlocked Kansas, but this find of a Mexican restaurant makes it easier. It serves a variety of Mazatlan-style seafood dishes, including oysters on the half shell. The dish you have to try is the trio of ceviche. It includes three different types of the marinated seafood salads, each one made with different fish, shell fish, avocados, onions and other veggies. It’s served with crispy corn tortillas on the side. $13.99, 748 N. West St., 316-295-2553, and 1935 N. Broadway, 316-833-3424
29. Larkspur, Metro Salad
This fine-dining restaurant, which is a hot spot for downtown business lunches, has plenty of memorable dishes on its menu. But everyone loves the Metro salad, which was created in the 1990s by then-employee Tanya Tandoc. The salad is a well-balanced mix of fresh greens, roasted walnuts, chopped red peppers and blue cheese crumbles. A perfectly tangy balsamic ties all the textures together. If you get it as a meal, be sure to top it with a serving of juicy grilled chicken breast, steak or salmon for an extra charge. And don’t let them forget to bring you a slice of the heavenly, crusty Larkspur loaf bread with dipping oil. $9 for a full, $4 as a side, 904 E. Douglas, 316-262-5275
30. LeMonde Cafe & Deli, fattoush salad
The fattouch is the unofficial salad of Wichita, but every restaurant makes it a bit differently. The top fattouch, though, comes from LeMonde, which tops it with feta cheese, sliced pickle, black olives, crunchy pita chips and a tangy dressing. In fact, so many people love the dressing so dearly, the restaurant also sells it by the bottle, offering a price break if you bring your own. $6.79, 602 N. West St., 316-943-4347