Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita’s five best cold weather restaurant meals

The bi bim bap in a stone bowl is one of Manna Wok’s best dishes.
The bi bim bap in a stone bowl is one of Manna Wok’s best dishes. The Wichita Eagle

Brrrrrrr. And furthermore, shiver.

It’s cold out there – so cold that I was inspired to come up with a list of some of Wichita’s best freezing-weather dishes. The following five make me warm just thinking about them:

1. Anything at Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, 1725 E. Douglas: Winter is Tanya Tandoc’s season. It’s also when the lines are longest for steaming bowls of soup made at the restaurant, which specializes in inventive soup recipes that range from creamy and rich to vegan-friendly. Arguably her most popular soup is the chicken curry over rice, which she serves every Wednesday. Tanya’s Soup Kitchen is open Mondays through Saturdays for lunch and Fridays and Saturdays for dinner.

2. Build-your-own mac and cheese at Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, inside the Ambassador Hotel at 104 S. Broadway: When he took over the kitchen, Chef Ben George added this option to the menu. It’s available at both lunch and dinner and allows diners to choose add-ins to portions of homemade mac and cheese. Choices include caramelized onions, peas, bacon, mushrooms, pancetta, steak and more. The dish comes toasted or untoasted.

3. Pho at Little Saigon, 1015 N. Broadway: One of the most soothing soups in existence is served at most Vietnamese restaurants in Wichita, and some of the best is at Little Saigon. It consists of flavorful broth filled with sliced beef or chicken and rice noodles, and diners are given plates heaping with bean sprouts, onions, cilantro, Thai basil, limes and fresh jalapenos to add in at will.

4. Bi Bim Bap in a stone bowl at Manna Wok, 4865 E. Harry: This dish is served in a steaming hot stone bowl, and the heat radiates up toward your face as soon as it arrives at your table. It’’s made up of compartments of meat and veggies and noodles, all topped with a fried egg. Best way to eat it: Immediately, and all stirred together.

5. Flaming sushi at local sushi restaurants: Several of Wichita’s sushi places, including Wasabi at 912 E. Douglas and Sumo by Nambara at 11233 E. 13th St. N., serve sushi rolls that emerge from the kitchen with flames leaping from them. It’s not all a stunt, either. The rolls actually taste good and are perfect for warming your hands and then your stomach.