Close Window

- Wichita Restaurant Reviews -

Adrian’s Café (
Caffe Moderne
Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates (
Copper Oven
DeFazio's (
Eggcetera (
The Good Egg
Green Acres Café
Hana’s Café
Harvest Kitchen & Bar, Hyatt Wichita (
Il Vicino
Larkspur Restaurant & Grill
Le Monde
Mead's Corner Coffee Shop
McAlister's Deli (
N & J’s Bakery & Café
O'Naturals in Genesis Health Club
Oeno Wine & Tapas Bar (
Piccadilly Grill
Passage To India
PF Chang’s China Bistro in The Waterfront
Promise Thai
Sabor Latin Bar & Grille (
Thai Tradition
The Donut Whole
The Mediterranean Grill
Watermark Books & Café
Zen Vegetarian Cuisine

Back to top
Adrian’s Café - 2121 N. Rock Rd.

What: International cuisine, emphasis on Mediterranean
Price range: : About $25 for dinner for two, appetizer and tip.
(April 2008) One of Wichita’s little gems, Adrian’s almost gets lost among big retailers like Best Buy and Accessory City right next door. The ivy-laden, lit archway and Italian chef special board will catch your eye as you pass, inviting you to step inside and out of the city. Appropriately ambient music met us at the door. Two local musicians were perched in the foyer, adorned with Spanish and Italian reminiscent tiles, all bathed in an artfully produced twinkling twilight. We were seated immediately and attentive, knowledgeable staff took our order. On our plates this evening were the Vegetarian Moroccan Vegetable Couscous, an aromatic array of melt-in-your-mouth zucchini, squash, carrots, tomatoes and onions marinated in Moroccan spices, served over couscous and garnished with traditional spicy sauce. Our second choice was another Mediterranean favorite, the Falafel Sandwich for $6.79, possibly the best I’ve had in Wichita. I had to try the Baked Red Potato Soup - very homemade tasting, not heavy or creamy. Everything was seasoned beautifully, allowing the individual ingredients to shine through. The wait for the food was very reasonable on a Saturday night, though we would’ve enjoyed an excuse to sit longer gazing at the lovely deconstructed walls and rich, spicy colors complimented by tiles. As we left, we commented that it felt as though we had just enjoyed a mini-vacation to Europe, and we headed home feeling satisfied and refreshed.

Back to top
Caffe Moderne - 300 N. Mead, Ste. 108

What: Sandwiches, pastries, coffees, gelato!
Price range: Small Gelato $2.99; Sandwich $7
I’ll say right up front – I love this place. It’s in the heart of Old Town by the Warren & City Arts & has a great café energy. Small, but trendy, with a few comfy chairs by the window for lounging, tables inside & a sweet patio area out front. You may recognize some of the wait staff from Tanya’s Soup Kitchen (man, do I miss that soup!), which means you can expect quality service. The menu is short and sweet - a page of sandwiches with salad or chips, beverages including wine & coffee, gelato & whatever pastries are on hand. About half the choices are vegetarian. Today we went with The Luciano, a grown up version of the standard tuna sandwich, & The Monaco, goat cheese & pesto, Panini style with red peppers & a tomato tapanade. The Luciano was light & bright with more emphasis on lemon juice in the tuna than mayonnaise, also served Panini style. The Monaco was my favorite, packing a real flavor punch. The salad comes with choice of creamy or vinaigrette dressing. Not just a few leaves of lettuce tossed on the plate – this was a respectable mixed green salad with croutons & freshly shaved parmesan. For a couple of sandwiches, they were thoughtfully put together & presented. The selections may be short, but they leave you with some fantastic sweets. Flavors are plentiful, but if you’ve never tried gelato you may want to start with a simple chocolate or strawberry. The coconut is decadent, the pistachio all natural (not artificially colored green, so don’t be surprised), & the hazelnut surprisingly delicious. If you can’t decide, ask them to do 2 flavors in one SMALL cup (pistachio & chocolate almond rock!). Trust me – a small looks tiny, but is plenty for one. That being said, gelato is actually a healthier option than ice cream with all its additives, thickeners & sugar. Gelato has less ingredients, is smoother (no chunky anything) & actually has less fat than typical ice cream. Before the summer is over, grab a cup of gelato at Caffé Moderne, sit in the square at Old Town & watch the kids playing in the fountains. It’s yum & fun on the cheap in Ta-Town!

Back to top
Cocoa Dolce Artisan Chocolates - 7730 E. 37th St. N.

What: Artisan chocolates, coffees, gelato
Price range: Varies
This is love! While cocoa affection is above and beyond at Cocoa Dolce, the love of life is palpable as soon as you enter the shop. Yes, it’s all about chocolate, but chocolate is all about enjoying the good things in life. Beth Tully, master chocolatier (& celebrity in my world), has created a colorful, decadent playground for the senses. The small space feels warm, inviting and set apart from the busyness of the city. The location is out of the way for most (you won’t stumble across it on your way anywhere), but that’s what allows for a tucked-away get-away. Spicy, ginger tones are accented with cool blues & brushed silver words (enjoy, indulge, dream) on the walls. But of course the real stars are the chocolates themselves…in so many forms. All are handmade by the Vancouver trained Tully and her small staff, and are preservative-free…they have an expiration date. I can’t imagine making a poor choice there, but here are a few truffle recommendations to get you started: Curry – adventurous, exotic; Gray Salt Caramel – twist on a classic sweet-salty; Lemon Thyme – mild, refreshing; Earl Grey or Green Tea & Pomegranate – refined, calming. The standards are awe-inspiring as well (Classic, Mayan, Strawberry). Gelato, coffee & hot/cold chocolate are served as well. The Mayan hot cocoa will make you right with the world by the time your cup is empty! Not to sweet, a definite bite from the chili, & a bit of cinnamon to help balance those blood sugars. Try any cocoa drinks cold for true indulgence. This is a divine place to take a date, linger with a good friend, or have a mini-vacation (I believe they frown on overnight guests). Be advised, they close at 7pm Mon.-Sat., closed Sun., so get there early – once you’re there, you’ll want to take your time.

Back to top
Copper Oven - 2413 W. 13th

What: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner – soups, sandwiches, omelettes, pizza, baked goods
Price range: Breakfast for 2 was about $15 including tip and coffee
I have previously sampled their vegetarian pizza (Mediterranean style), veggie wraps (fresh & crisp), & salads (large & very flavorful), so opted today for breakfast. We ordered the Garden Omellete which came with ranch potatoes & choice of biscuit, English muffin, toast or cinnamon roll for the first entrée. This is a large meal suitable for two. The omelette was quite large, but did have some good peppers, tomatoes & cheese folded in. The fresh salsa on the side to top it could have been easily doubled & the potatoes less by half. I had one buttermilk pancake, fluffy with good flavor, & 1 poached egg which was prepared well. The pancake was too much to finish. Overall, I would say Copper Oven caters to the standard American appetite, depending on meat & cheese to flavor most of their dishes. There are many vegetarian options here, but they seem to be at a loss for how to season a dish without bacon or cheese, so selections are safe but a bit on the bland side. The flavor is not really "in" the food, but more "on" the food. In short, especially for breakfast, they provide an array of vegetarian/healthy options, but it’s up to you to assemble them in a balanced & satisfying way. The Huevos Rancheros comes closest, but is still too large for the average person. The baked goods are made fresh & yummy if you want to treat yourself. The upside is the creative, warm atmosphere & generally good service. Expect crowds at lunch & dinner on weekdays, & Saturday breakfast; closed on Sundays.

Back to top
DeFazio's Italian - 2706 Amidon Street

What: Homemade Southern Italian
Price range: About $30 for 2 Entrees, appetizer, & 2 desserts
(March 2008) DeFazio’s has been a family owned/operated Italian restaurant in north Wichita since 1982. I have no good excuse for not patronizing this establishment until now! I’m always excited to discover an epicurean gem in my own neighborhood, and it’s even better when it’s a small business. On the advice of a friend whose taste buds and nutritional sense I trust, we decided to give it shot. Located in a small strip mall at 27th & Amidon, it is humble, but inviting from the outside. Once inside, the warm, animated décor joins perfectly with Frank Sinatra crooning amore. The dining area was clean, inviting and not at all resembling an Italian Garden or Olive Garden interpretation of Italian ambience. The wait staff was friendly, efficient and knowledgeable, offering suggestions for vegetarian modifications. We opted for a late lunch, which put us smack in the middle of the early bird special crowd :-), but gave us the opportunity to take in the atmosphere. Very sweet! We started with the Eggplant Rolls appetizer, normally prepared with ham and mozzarella, but modified for vegetarians at our request. A lovely way to introduce ourselves to their cuisine – the eggplant flavor was in tact, the cheese lovely and fresh and the marinara topping it is homemade with the authenticity of tartness. Our main dishes, Pesto Linguine with pine nuts and basil garnish and Cheese Manicotti in Marinara, were straightforward in their presentation. The flavors stood out in the cheese, the sauce the pine nuts and pesto, rather than relying on grease or excessive cheese or artificial flavors. Even the garlic bread was mild and the Manicotti sleeves, al dente, had a distinct fresh pasta flavor, unusual for average Italian food in Wichita. Serving sizes were noticeably smaller than your chain Italian restaurants, allowing one to be reasonable and indulgent at once. For dessert, the Canoli seemed an obvious choice. No disappointment here. Artistic presentation, delicate flavors and a combination of textures made it the cherry on the sundae. This will definitely be our go-to place for homemade Italian. Like most great restaurants in ICT, by 5:30 people were lining up outside and tables were full on a Saturday night. Take-out is available, they are open Wed.- Sun., closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Mangia Bene!

Back to top
Eggcetera - 242 N. Mosley

What: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch
Price range: : $15 – breakfast for 2
(April 2008) Eggcetera is another great place for atmosphere and location, as well as the yummy eats. Located on N. Mosley in the heart of Old Town, you’ll find this quirky spot, a combo of brick walls and studded high back leather chairs. The feel is that of an eclectic neighborhood joint – charming and with a bit of a Wichita insider air to it. The Smoked Salmon and Egg Sandwich looked yummy and did not disappoint. Served on 2 halves of a bagel with cream cheese and a generous portion of a heavenly Waldorf Salad, it is enough to share. Everything tasted really fresh and was plated in an organized and pleasing way. The website boasts of free range eggs provided by local Kansas farms, but the site also lists a selection of cappuccinos and espressos which I was informed they don’t have…ever. I suspect the free range egg claim is accurate as they certainly had a much richer flavor than commercial eggs, but I will still try to confirm. My breakfast mate had the Belgian Malted Waffle, topped with a honey-pecan whipped butter and a poached egg on the side. What an indulgent treat first thing in the morning! It had a defined malt flavor, decorated with the praline tone from the butter. A very well-made dense waffle, not fluffy and puffy and full of sugar like some. The only drawback to our morning was the service we encountered from one particular young waitress. She seemed to be fairly unconcerned with our table, never checked on us or asked if we needed anything, was a bit snippy and confused with our orders. In general, she seemed thoroughly unhappy to be there. We noticed other staff bore more friendly and helpful expressions, so we will not let it hinder us from returning…we will just try to avoid this waitress in the future. After your meal, if you’re still in need of java, you can walk up the street a bit to Dunn Brother’s Coffee, attached to the Courtyard Marriott on 2nd. Not a bad idea to walk off that waffle anyway!

Back to top
The Good Egg - 2141 N. Bradley Fair

What: Upscale breakfast - omelettes, pancakes, crepes, etc. & lunch offerings as well.
Price range: About $7/person for breakfast; coffees are about $3-$4
(July 2007) The Good Egg is located in the upscale Bradley Fair shopping center on the far north east end & is opened limited hours: Breakfast & Lunch from 6:30am-2:30pm. We were seated promptly for Saturday breakfast & although it was busy, the atmosphere was relaxed & enjoyable. Being accustomed to pancakes as the main vegetarian option at most breakfast restaurants, I was surprised at the many options here. I opted for the “Light One” Crepeggs, an omelette wrapped in a crepe filled with cheese, avocado, mushrooms & alfalfa sprouts, served with an English muffin, potatoes & poppy seed dressing on the side. It smelled wonderful as it was placed in front of me & they didn’t skimp on the avocado or sprouts. The dressing was very light & made the dish a bit more interesting. Overall, it was very well prepared, nice flavor without relying on the cheese to provide it & portioned just right. Stephan had the Berry Breakfast Blintz, a crepe filled with mixed berries, yogurt, cream cheese & cottage cheese & topped with a warm blueberry compote, whipped cream, pecans & cinnamon. This was lighter than it sounded as it was not overstuffed with cheese & had fresh sliced strawberries & blueberries to fill some of the calories. Again, a lovely colorful presentation & satisfying berry taste. The crepes are not necessarily authentic as they were less airy than dense & slightly too thick/gooey to be freshly made authentic. But…a healthy breakfast, let alone a vegetarian breakfast, in Wichita can be difficult to find, so I have to give a thumbs up overall. The atmosphere was clean, modern & an ideal friendly family setting. The wait staff was attentive & pleasant. My only complaint is that they do not have a website, so I had to just hope they had a decent menu selection. They have a standard al a carte menu of pancakes, eggs, toast, etc., a light Continental Brunch of seasonal fruit, coffee & juice or for larger appetites the Veggie Frittata or Farmer’s Garden Omelette which all made it difficult to choose. Salads, sandwiches & smoothies are also available. The day we dined here, our table neighbors were visitors from France and Spain. Not necessarily relevant, but a little glimpse into the patronage of The Good Egg.

Back to top
Green Acres Café - 8141 E. 21st St. in Bradley Fair

What: Assortment of salads, organic meats & fish, pizza & pasta, desserts, etc.
Price range: Lunch for 2 was $18, including a drink
(July 2007) We had about ½ cup each of the Pharoah Salad & Lentil Salad, as well as a generous piece of Ricotta Pesto Lasagna & about 8 vegetarian stuffed Grape Leaves. The Pharoah salad was a base of cooked quinoa grain, walnuts & red pepper lightly dressed in a slightly sweet oil blend. Very filling & a nice way to try an unfamiliar grain. The lentil salad is one of my favorites (I am frequently quoted as saying this salad ‘resonates with the universe’, though it wasn’t quite up to that standard on this trip). It’s a pretty simple combo of cooked lentils, brown rice, peppers, celery, walnuts & a similar light olive oil dressing with a bit of Balsamic flavor. The lasagna was cooked just right & had a full-bodied pesto kick to it. The nice thing about this dish is that even though it was filled with ricotta, it wasn’t overly cheesy so as to be heavy. Grape leaves are a dish that can easily be messed up, in my opinion. I’ve had too salty, too vinegary, too bland, or even too much nutmeg, but these were the perfect blend of all of the above. The grape leaf wrapping was tender & tasted green & the filling was nicely seasoned. Very refreshing & satisfying. You can order anything to carry out, but can also eat at the dining section at the front of the store. Today it was very clean & sweetly adorned with fresh, bright organic flowers at each table. A really nice touch. All the desserts here are a real treat & made with natural ingredients – no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or trans fats. Eating here is relatively inexpensive considering the quality of the food, freshness & satisfaction quotient at the end of the meal. Since you don’t have to tip any wait staff, you can afford a ginger juice digestive or a warm vegan brownie before you go.
Suggestion: grab something from the café to take on a long drive & avoid the stone in the stomach, sleepy feel of fast food.

Back to top
Hana’s Café – 325 N. Mead, in Old Town by the Warren Theater

What: Sushi and Japanese food
Price range: Between $3 & $5 for a serving of 3-4 sushi rolls; closer to $7 for entrees.
(July 2007) If you think it’s impossible to find decent sushi or vegetarian sushi in Wichita, you need to come here! The chef is meticulous in preparation and presentation. We had the vegetable tempura, which is fried, so only recommended occasionally to be shared with the table. It was, however, light for a fried appetizer and the broccoli & green beans were crisp. The butternut squash & sweet potato were a nice departure from the French fries & onion rings most Americans know as fried foods. We were craving some fresh cucumber rolls so started with a plate of those…Then we couldn’t stop. Very yummy, light & easy enough to eat with chopsticks so that you don’t look like a dork! Next were the Jumbos and they were as advertised. Loads of flavor, but very delicate. These guys stole the show. The squash sashimi was a fun roll. Very crisp & sparky. I have yet to have anything there with which I wasn’t thoroughly satisfied. Veggie sushi makes me happy. If you haven’t given it a try, come to Hana’s. You can order over and over again in the same sitting, try as many rolls as you like, and your only real calories are from the white rice wrapping, very negligible. Pair it with a cup of hot green tea, yes even in the summer, & you will feel the power of this ancient meal before you leave the table. Understated but elegant Eastern décor allows the food to be the focus. Originally located on Rock road, now it is in the heart of Old Town, making it perfect for a post-movie snack or dinner before heading to Final Friday. A thoroughly satisfying meal that is also 100% vegetarian.

Back to top
Harvest Kitchen & Bar, Hyatt Wichita – 400 W. Waterman

What: Locally sourced, seasonal fare with Kansas roots; elegant, expressive atmosphere.
Price range: About $15 for entrées, $4 individual sides
(February 2009) Harvest is only the 2nd sit down restaurant in Wichita to receive my 5 star rating. Hana is the other. The diverse traditional American menu at Harvest, however makes it more appealing than Hana’s to a wider group of folks. The food at the Hyatt’s newest concept restaurant is more than inspired – it inspires the diner to come back to traditions of simplicity, taste and the natural splendor of the land. Our group sampled as many dishes as possible (without busting!) and came out with a few favorites. The table started with Grape Tomatoes, pickled onion & horseradish cheese atop farmer’s greens – a delicate but substantial winter salad. If you are a cheese monger, you must order the handcrafted Kansas Artisan Cheeses, most from Yoder dairies. Paired with peach chutney and sunflower seed crisps, they awaken and please the palate nicely. The Fire Roasted Shitake Onion Tart was a big bundle of complex flavors in a small package; definitely serves as a full meal when adding a side or salad. The sides were a celebratory meal on their own. The Skillet Cornbread with cheddar and chive butter was sweet and rich. Acorn squash on a menu can reveal a great deal about the chef’s skill. One bite of the roasted acorn squash with molasses, Thyme butter, dried cranberries and pecans lets you know these people are serious about the art of food. We took some leftover squash home and had it the next day for lunch – even better as it marinated in its own sweetness! The roasted half chicken with herbed carrots and baby potatoes was so pride-fully plated that even I felt the chicken would be honored to be at the table. Perhaps the most surprisingly tasty was the Tumbleweed Whole Wheat Penne tossed with vegetable stock. Vegetarian, light and full of in season local veggies this pasta is brought to the table in a small skillet of savory broth. I generally don’t order pasta out, as I feel I can usually make better at home. In my opinion though, the Tumbleweed is the best pasta I’ve had at a restaurant and I would hastily order it on my next visit. (At $12, it seems a bargain considering the value.) There isn’t much chance of leaving the table hungry, between generous servings and generous staff – thank you Marni, our server and Chef Johnson! We closed the meal with an individual Apricot Amaretto Pie (more like a cobbler), one of the many seasonal desserts offered. I don’t like fruit pies. I don’t like apricot. I loved this apricot pie! Everything about the dishes we sampled was so honest and artful – a true reflection of what healthful eating can be. The design and décor was so on point with prairie neutrals and earth tone fabrics. It was at once elegant and relaxed, precisely how I would describe the food. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful, offering vegetarian suggestions and local brews on tap. We were never rushed, but were made to feel as though the experience was all about us. I am so excited to see this class of dining brought to Wichita. Harvest Kitchen and Bar is proof that Wichita is capable of evolving into a sustainable, artistic and healthy food culture. The joy of eating holistically is that you would do it even if it wasn’t good for you. Harvest gets that and passes it on to the customer. Go experience it for yourself!

Back to top
Il Vicino - 4817 E. Douglas

What: Contemporary Italian pizzas & pastas
Price range: $7-$8 per entrée
(October 2007) Lots of luscious vegetarian options here! Step up to the larger than life menu at the front, place your order at the counter and take a seat. The pizzas are the thing to try here, but the Insalate is equally as tempting. On this visit, the Pizza al Pesto and Rustica were up for review. Both were uniquely impressive. The crust is thin, which makes for less carbs. It was difficult to narrow down my pizza choice, but the pine nuts and pesto sold me on the Pizza al Pesto. The pesto announced its presence without too much volume, giving the spotlight to the tangy sun-dried tomatoes. Yum! The Rustica lived up to its name with the help of capers and artichoke hearts – an authentic flavor of Italia. The Margherita & Melanzane are other vegetarian pizza choices; a vegetarian calzone, Giardiniere lasagna & Insalata Spinaci round out the healthy picks. It can get a bit loud during busy times, but on this Sunday at lunch, a conversation was very manageable and the seating comfortable. Great for lunch or dinner.

Back to top
Larkspur Restaurant & Grill - 904 E. Douglas

What: Continental Cuisine/Fine Dining in Old Town
Price range: Under $30 for 3 appetizers & salads
(September 2007) An upscale, fine dining atmosphere meets you at Larkspur; their outdoor patio seating is just as fancy with creeping vines adorning the latticework overhead. The only downside is their meager vegetarian offerings. For this reason, we opted to order 3 appetizers which were acceptably vegetarian and large enough to be an entrée. We started with a side salad portion of the Metro, Larkspur’s signature salad, which was nice, but nothing exciting. Our choices were the Spinach Artichoke Dip (ask to have more blue corn chips than the dyed red ones), Hummus with Pita bread, and cheese and veggie Quesadillas. All were flavorful and filling, our favorite being the Artichoke dip. The Hummus is a house favorite and does seems very well done and light. The desserts are quite indulgent and creative as well as traditional ( Crème Brulee is a classic done well here). Our server (Sean) exemplified the spirit of fine dining and elegant attentiveness, willing to accommodate our requests with a smile. Larkspur is a traditionally appropriate spot to bring a first date, 50th date or impress on a business lunch while staying within the range of tasty, healthy food.

Back to top
Le Monde - 602 N. West street

What: Mediterranean
Price range: Entrees range from $8-12ish; salads and veggie plates are about $5
(October 2007) Le Monde is a favorite lunch destination for area businesses, mostly because of their Fattoush salad. The Fattoush is a sure bet – light, but flavorful and if you want, you can add grilled chicken. The Black Bean or Tomato soup is a tasty way to warm up on a cold day. This visit, I got my usual – the Mediterranean Vegetarian Plate, a sampling of Taboulleh, feta cheese, black olives, Fattoush salad, artichokes, and hummus with pita. This is a full plate, usually leaving a little left over for a snack at work. Fresh, light and a great vegetarian option. You won’t need dessert if you savor the powdered sugar biscuits that make their way to every table. There are a few pastas that are vegetarian, a little high-fat, but they don’t have a huge meat-free menu. In the dozen + years Le Monde has been at this location, they rarely change their style, their prices, or their help…and that’s a good thing!

Back to top
Mead's Corner Coffee Shop - 430 E. Douglas

What: Specialty coffees (Fair Trade/Organic), Panini’s & teas
Price range: About $3 for a coffee; $5 for a sandwich
(March 2009) The brick building on the northwest corner of Douglas and Emporia sat empty for some time until the First United Methodist Church moved in. Gone is the sleezy downtown bar energy that used to reside there. Mead’s is very warm and inviting with lots of upscale lounging areas. The view inside and out is historic Wichita. The coffee is all Fair Trade and organic, benefiting local and global causes. This was the original idea the church had in mind. The service is a little slow, but very friendly. Mead’s has wireless available, roomy seating for reading or at tables for working or eating and is appropriate for adults or teens/college kids. Opens early for on the way to work coffee and closes late most nights for a great place to hang out downtown. Check out the live music Friday night (tends to be Christian oriented) or TED night ( Mondays @ 7:30pm.

Back to top
McAlister's Deli - 7130 W. Maple, 306 N. Rock Rd.

What: Traditional, quick deli fare
Price range: $6-$10 for a meal
(November 2007) McAlister’s seems an easy choice for a fast, healthy lunch. The atmosphere was clean and friendly with the kind of old fashioned deli décor not often spotted in Wichita. There are a large number of vegetarian options, marked on the menu by a little tomato. I was anxious to try the Taco Salad with veggie chili as it’s one of the very few things I miss from my pre-vegetarian days. The featured item of the day was the Fresh Alaskan Salmon Caesar Salad – a delicate, properly prepared piece of Salmon on a traditional Caesar salad topped with grilled red peppers. Tasty and quite healthy. The taco salad was presented nicely, tasted crisp, though I did miss the tortilla bowl they normally come in, which was replaced by a bed of white tortilla chips under the salad. Not a bad thing – less greasy. The veggie chili was yummy, though I would’ve like a bit more of it. All in all, both dishes were very healthy choices, fast, convenient and affordable. I plan on testing out the other veg options such as the Veggie Spud, Spud Ole, The Veggie Sandwich and the Chili Nacho. If you get there before I do, let me know!

Back to top
N & J’s Bakery & Café - 5600 E. Lincoln

What: Middle Eastern Cuisine
Price range: Reasonable – around $15 for 2 lunches
(October 2007) Unfortunately, due to a recent experience with N&J I feel I need to remove them from my recommendation list. Their service has been lacking in recent months, but serving beef grape leaves when 2 vegetarian grape leaves are ordered for takeout is a serious mistake. For many people, including myself, this is reason enough to find quality Middle Eastern food elsewhere. I highly recommend Byblos at 3088 W. 13th. They have a larger vegetarian menu, items are made by one of the family members and the service is never disappointing.

Back to top
O'Naturals in Genesis Health Club - 1551 N. Rock Rd.

What: Organic, vegetarian & vegan "fast food"
Price range: $5-$8 for a lunch item, not including drinks or sides; cookies are $2 a piece.
(July 2007) This is a new dining concept to Wichita. You can read the mission statement and history on their website,, but basically it’s an organic fast food establishment. I tried the Rustic sandwich, a combination of marinated soy “chicken” pieces (very good), fresh mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes and basil leaves on a piece of thin freshly made flatbread. The only flavoring was a light balsamic sauce, leaving it with a modest taste and presentation, but satisfying & well-balanced. A very figure-friendly lunch, so go ahead and splurge on one of their yummy cookies made on site. I chose the Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate & my mom chose the Ginger Molasses, but also available were Oatmeal Raisin, White Chocolate Macadamia & Double Chocolate Chip. Our choices were excellent, nowhere near as sugary as the average cookie, a lovely molasses flavor in the Ginger Molasses and made with all organic ingredients & natural sweeteners. My mom had the 5Spice Noodles with spinach, carrots & mushrooms in what looked like a sesame oil sauce. Very fresh, good Chinese 5Spice blend & crisp veggies. This dish was a little more substantial, but still light & healthy. The staff said they only use fresh ingredients, so if a veggie is out of season or unavailable, they will substitute to maintain the integrity. Yay! There are lots of options here: dine-in after your workout, take it home or cater an event or meeting. Dining in? My only caution is that those who have body/food issues may feel a bit intimidated slurping noodles while hard bodies pass through fresh from a workout…also, a glimpse of a sweat-soaked T-shirt is not terribly appetizing. The plus side is that being in a gym, it provides a huge, necessary convenience for a lot of people…& it was entertaining to sit at the tennis court window while stray balls fly past, & into, the window. Must say – new experience for me! All in all, I’m excited O’Naturals has chosen Wichita to set up their 4th restaurant. The staff present on this visit was friendly, knowledgeable & seemed passionate about the menu. Stop by for breakfast, too as they have local organic egg Paninis & organic coffee & tea, though the fresh pastries & pies listed on the website were absent both times I went.

Back to top
Oeno Wine & Tapas Bar - 330 N. Mead

What: Imported & domestic wines, assorted tapas/appetizers, desserts
Price range: Between $8 & $16 for a tapas plate
(September 2007) Very hip, modern nightlife atmosphere. If you’re not into the club scene and enjoy a place where you can still hear your own conversations, Oeno (pronounced “eeno”) is a sophisticated & romantic solution. The lighting is very dim, which keeps the energy more calm, and the plush, roomy seating encourages you to stay a while. Our group shared a Cheese Flight, which is an assortment of imported cheeses (you choose 5 from their menu) paired with fresh baguette and fruit. Reminiscent of a presentation you might encounter on a Parisian picnic, this was a nice snack for a group and of course goes nicely with a glass of red wine. We also tried the Mayan Chocolate Fondue, which comes with fruit and pound cake for dipping. It was fun and the spiced chocolate made it unique, but the quality of chocolate wasn’t worth $15. This menu has lots of vegetarian options for tapas (Tapas = popular appetizers in Spain which generally accompany an aperitif; may be as simple as olives and cheese or more robust such as cold omelettes or stuffed peppers). Oēno makes for a classy date destination and its Old Town location means you can catch a movie, shop at Lucinda’s, and stop by City Arts on Final Friday without ever leaving the square. Before the summer is over, enjoy the outdoor patio seating – it reminds me a bit of downtown Chicago…just a bit.

Back to top
Piccadilly Grill - 7728 E. Central

What: Gourmet International Deli & Grill; Market offers imported cheeses, etc.
Price range: Under $15 bought lunch for 2 in the Deli, with desserts.
(September 2007) Piccadilly is not a newcomer to Wichita (it’s part of the well-known Latour management group of eateries) and you may have been there before. But if it’s been a while I suggest reacquainting yourself with their east side location. Their Salad Trio for $4.99 (without meat, $5.99 with) is a fabulous deal for a vegetarian lunch. As soon as I walked in, the deli case lured me away from the restaurant section with so many delectable offerings. We assembled an Orzo salad with tomatoes and herb seasoning, a conventional, but lovely pasta salad, and a Tomato Artichoke salad dressed with feta cheese and black olives in a light marinade for our Trio. All were fresh, tasty & satisfying. Also on the table were vegetarian Grape Leaves (a simple rice filling, but very punchy in a good way), Mediterranean Vegetables (a homemade blend of zucchini, potatoes, squash, carrots & Garbanzo beans in a spiced broth that could heal a broken heart!), and a surprising Wheat Berry salad (cold cooked wheat berries, walnuts, dried cranberries and currants in a barely sweet-and-sour vinaigrette). All the items seemed well-thought out in pairings and seasonings and the freshness of each ingredient was easy to taste. We couldn’t leave without testing the pastry case, which did not disappoint, and also claiming a loaf of Challah bread with raisins. All their bakery items looked fresh and yummy. The Deli offers a few more health-conscious and vegetarian friendly options in a quaint 4-top table setting with friendly service. It’s just as easy to stop in Piccadilly to grab lunch as it is Dillon’s Marketplace Deli across the street. Don’t delay – get the 10% off while construction is under way.

Back to top
Passage To India - 6140 E. 21st, Ste. 140

What: Moderately traditional North Indian food
Price range: About $7-8 for entrees; a tad more for the buffet
(September 2007) PTI is the go-to restaurant for vegetarians. Want comfort food, but don’t want greasy take-out? PTI. In the mood for exotic fare that won’t bust your budget? PTI. Craving flavor, spice & variety? PTI answers the call every time. This is not the place to take a first date or impress a client – ambience is lacking here. Though they have rearranged their buffet room with a fountain and unique lighting, neither was operating and it was so dark I almost couldn’t read the buffet signs. But once the spicy Aloo Gobi (cauliflower & potatoes) touches your tongue, you will be entirely focused on the food. The buffet (T-Sun. 11am-2:30pm; Dinner 5pm-10pm) varies as to what is available, but the surprises are always pleasant. Today, the Dahl (traditional lentils) was extra savory and the Navrattan Korma sets everything right in the world. The Basmati rice is nicer than a sticky refined white rice and lighter than a dense brown. Also on the buffet were vegetable pakora, lentil soup, plain naan (bread), and a few curries with chicken. Be sure to grab a serving of Raita, a refreshing yogurt/cucumber sauce very useful if your tongue catches fire! Try the chutneys on the naan, not too spicy, but a nice flavor departure from bread and butter. For dessert, the traditional dairy based Kir is satisfying. A bit like custard with noodles, it sometimes is served with currants and pistachios, but today was plain. PTI caters, accommodates dine-in or carry-out; either way, you must make this one of your regulars. A tasty meal here will make you redefine comfort food.

Back to top
PF Chang’s China Bistro in The Waterfront - 1401 Waterfront Parkway

What: Modern Chinese Cuisine in a high energy upscale environment
Price range: $7 for appetizers; $8-$11 for entrees
(July 2007) I've only had 2 experiences at PF’s – the first time was a couple of years ago seated at a booth with a small group, the second was this week with a large group seated smack dab in the middle of the room. The restaurant accommodated our group of 15, but it was elbow to elbow & I didn’t envy the wait staff trying to deliver around us. Being in the midst of very high energy & loud conversation didn’t make for a great environment. The décor was very interesting – modern Asian – dimly lit with warm tones. For me, it was too loud & busy to enjoy the detailed designs. My only comment on the service was that they did seem more irritated than willing to serve our large group, & less than knowledgeable about their menu. But – it’s possible that a smaller party may be served more attentively & with greater accuracy. On to the food! We started with Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps as an appetizer – light & flavorful, but a touch salty. I probably could have had this as my entrée & been content. Our entrees were served with a family style bowl of brown rice (you have to ask for white rice if you want it, but why would you?). The Vegetarian Ma Po Tofu is a generous bowl of crisp broccoli served in a Vegetarian Oyster Sauce with soft fried tofu. This one was way too salty for my taste, overwhelming the broccoli, but it was very green & lightly stir-fried. The Vegetable Chow Fun consisted of a plate of flat broad noodles topped with mushrooms, shaved carrots & snow peas in a vegetarian oyster sauce. This one was less salty & nicely seasoned, but far too largely portioned. I had a taste of the Spinach Stir-fried with Garlic & would say it is a fresh, healthy option; the Sockeye Salmon salad was also nicely presented on a bed of greens & veggies. In short, if I had a business lunch here I would order light (spinach or lettuce wraps) & feel I’d done pretty well, but I wouldn’t drive across town for dinner. Their corporate office did confirm they use no MSG in any of their menu items, & ingredients are listed on their website in detail.

Back to top
Promise Thai - 313 S. Greenwich Rd.

What: Fairly standard Thai food; advertised "No MSG"
Price range: About $7 per entrée; $20 bought lunch for 2 with dessert
(Aug 2007) I had the Pad Thai lunch special which came in a smaller portion with a large scoop of fried rice & a bit of salad on the side. A modest cup of egg drop soup was a traditional and tasty appetizer. The fried rice was more reminiscent of Spanish rice with a bit of veggies tossed in – mild & natural. Sweet & savory, the pad Thai was yummy & complimented well with fried tofu & green onions. I did miss the fresh lime slices & crushed peanuts other restaurants use as garnish for this dish. There was so little fried egg tossed in, I wished it would have been left out all together & the salad was ho-hum lettuce. But, the meal was nicely presented, well portioned & not greasy. My mom had the Chop Suey with rice. Lots of veggies & fried tofu here. The primary flavors were mild garlic & a hint of natural sweetness from the cabbage. Very good. We tried the day’s dessert special – sweet rice & custard. A little scary at first sight, but surprisingly refreshing. Solid sweet custard on a bed of coconut milk sticky rice, but impossibly sweet even for dessert! The service here is very friendly & helpful, facilities (including the bathroom) are very clean & by dining here you will be supporting yet another independent, family owned/operated business. Good food, none terribly spicy unless requested, (lots of vegetarian options) & reasonable prices.

Back to top
Sabor Latin Bar & Grille - 309 N. Mead (Old Town Square)

What: Upscale Latin specials & a long list of cocktails & wines
Price range: Anywhere from $8 for salad to $20 for the Chilean Sea Bass
(Oct 2007) "Tango with your tastebuds" is Sabor's catch phrase and, as it turns out, an effective pick-up line. I found myself an unintentional diner here, swayed by a unique menu handed to me as I walked by. Bellini’s formerly occupied this space in Old Town, near The Warren Theater, but it has been reworked to evoke a chic, playful ambience. Tasteful black and eggshell table/chair sets contrast the splashes of vivid color in art on the walls. Lighting at the bar also sets a flirtatious mood. The wait staff is still a bit green as they’ve only had one week open, but is courteous and helpful. Vegetarians won’t find an abundance of options (no surprise – Latin food..), but what is available is well worth ordering. The Palmito Salad, with hearts of palm & yucca, is likely the only of its kind here. The house salad, Sabor Ensalada De La Casa, is dressed with a coconut ginger vinaigrette and garnished with traditional plantain chips. Grilled Atlantic Salmon can be added to any salad for $5, making it a generous meal. In the mood for Fish Tacos? I can’t imagine a better place in Wichita to try them – fried Grouper is combined with cabbage, cilantro & avocado crema in a soft flour tortilla, and spiked with just enough heat. Fabulous! The Vegetarian Tacos are a bit less imaginative, but still a treat – roasted peppers, onions and avocado in similar packaging. Both dishes come with surprisingly delish black beans over seasoned Latin rice. The real “wow” was from the starter menu – Queso with Corn. A warm, cheesy “Hola”! A really unusual blend of seasonings and cheeses melted and blended with sweet corn – this puts your average queso dip to shame! The normal red and blue tortilla chips are served with it in addition to heavenly grilled rosemary herb flatbread. Take this appetizer and pair it with the beans and rice and you have perfection!

Back to top
Thai Tradition - 650 N. Carriage Parkway

What: Traditional Thai/Asian food in a moderately formal setting
Price range: About $7 for lunch; $10 for dinner entrees.
(Aug 2007) I've been to dinner at Thai Tradition many times in the past several years, but this was my first lunch here. It was right at noon, but we didn’t have to wait at all for a nice quiet booth. We decided on the Zucchini & Eggplant with fried Tofu & the Mushrooms with fried Tofu. At lunch, these dishes come with a side of sticky rice, an eggroll & a crab Rangoon; nicely presented & portioned just slightly smaller than dinner’s serving. (Entrees are served in a family-style manner for dinner without the eggrolls & crab rangoons.) The mushroom dish would probably only be appreciated & savored by a true “fungi enthusiast”, but since I am one I was happy to see about 4 different varieties on my plate. They were dressed in a savory garlic brown sauce – not a generic overly-salty soy sauce – with a scattering of rich scallions. Perfectly portioned for me, I would also recommend it as a good protein option for vegetarians. The Zucchini Eggplant was lightly stir-fried with other veggies & basil leaves in a similar delicate garlic sauce. The eggplant was tender & smoky with no hint of bitterness. Service was, & always has been courteous, helpful & unobtrusive to dinner conversation. The ambience was dimly-lit & slow instrumental music played softly in the background. Their full menu is available online, as well as a large vegetarian menu. Also exceptional are the soft Vegetarian Spring Rolls heaped with basil &, my personal favorite, the vegetarian Yellow Curry. The Pad Thai is sweet, but fabulous comfort food & the K’s Special is loaded with crisp veggies & decadent cashews. The fare & atmosphere are ideally suited for a romantic dinner as easily as a casual family meal, but there is no child’s menu so parents beware. This is definitely a perennial favorite in my social circle! Give it a try for lunch or dinner, but be prepared to make 2 meals out of the dinner servings.

Back to top
The Donut Whole - 1720 E. Douglas

What: Take a guess!
(February 2009) Talk about an eclectic collection of art, murals, and various kitchy décor. This place means business with the donuts, but play with the atmosphere. The menu is pretty straightforward – how confusing can donuts be? Unlike most of the commercial donuts, these are made from cake, not bread and are far less heavy and not at all greasy. Flavors are the most fun part of the Donut Whole – everything from Maple Bacon (most popular, but being a vegetarian I haven’t tried it) to PB&J to Root Beer Float. The traditional powder and chocolate and vanilla glazed are there, as well as most certainly the only vegan donut option in ICT. Who knew? The Whole is created and run by recognizable Wichitans Michael Carmody and Angela Etter and opened just a couple months ago. They do their best to prepare the fare from scratch with natural, high-quality and local ingredients. Local art and weekly live music can be found amongst some of Wichita’s most unique folks. I’m not endorsing the random eating of donuts, but if you’re having a craving this is the way to go. You know that person in your office who always brings Krispy Kremes or Dillon’s doughnuts? Tell them you’ll get it next time and show up with Donut Whole treats. For some, it may be an easy-does-it nudge towards healthier choices. At least you’ll be supporting a local, made from scratch business. The Donut Whole is open 24 hours; the drive-thru is open between midnight and 6am. Free wireless internet is available.

Back to top
The Mediterranean Grill - 335 S. Armour

What: Mediterranean food
Price range: $30 for dinner for two
(February 2008) A nice sized place with booths and tables, there is a small back room for larger gatherings. Ambience consisted of fresh flowers on the tables, nice lighting. The waitstaff was mature and attentive, (none of the “whatcanIgetchaguys” that the Applebees of the world are noted for!) and the atmosphere quiet (as opposed to so many new places that seem to want things to be noisy to seem “alive”). They offer an excellent, medium-priced Mediterranean-based menu (without wine, our dinners, including an appetizer would have been about $30). There was a “Positive Plate” award on the entry counter from the Wichita Dietetic Association acknowledging their healthy menu choices. We had a nice visit with the owner, Mustafa Sawli, who said they have been open about 6 months and are now starting to have waiting lines on Friday and Saturday nights as word of mouth spreads. We will definitely return soon – and often. (Review by Kathy Miller.)

Back to top
Watermark Books & Café - 4701 E. Douglas

What: Pastries, coffee & tea, sandwiches, salads, soup, limited breakfast menu
Price range: Sandwiches are $6.75, salads $3.50, pastries approx. $2
(July 2007) Generally, 3 quiches are available for breakfast. One, the Strata, is always vegetarian & sounds very tempting. After the clerk described how large the quiche was – picture fishing story measurements of “thiiis big!”- I opted for something lighter. The Peach Nutmeg Scone was a mess-free version of homemade peach cobbler, complete with a slightly browned top. It went nicely with a Latte & the total bill was about $6. Not too bad. Vegetarian lunch/dinner options include a Veggie Cream Cheese Sandwich, Grilled Portobello Sandwich & a whole host of a la carte salads. (My fave is the Black Beans & Corn Salad – tasty! Vegetarians aren’t just limited to sandwiches here. Try the Salad Sampler for $6.75 – your choice of 3 a la carte salads served with focaccia & cheddar. Beware the Broccoli Salad – it has bacon in it. Great atmosphere, quiet but good creative energy – it is a book store after all. Free wireless, plenty of café seating & an opening time of 6am makes this a great breakfast meeting location or working lunch spot. Watermark is a Wichita institution, privately owned & our only independent bookstore/café. A few great reasons to support them.

Back to top
Zen Vegetarian Cuisine - 3101 N. Rock Rd.

What: Pan-Asian Vegetarian/Vegan (lunch & dinner)
Price range: Lunch - $6-$11/ Dinner - $9-$15
(March 2009) Opened just a couple of months ago, Zen is Wichita’s only exclusively vegetarian restaurant. Menu items are pretty straightforward, mostly Americanized Chinese with a handful of Thai & Vietnamese dishes. I have been awaiting the opening of Zen since I first heard rumors of it last year. Unfortunately, it was not the treasure I was hoping for. A fairly unimaginative menu could’ve been overlooked, but the entire concept and business seems poorly thought out and/or managed. Where my recent review of Harvest Kitchen speaks of a truly holistic experience, a restaurateur that “gets it”, Zen is really just a place to be sure you can get a vegetarian entrée. That’s it. The Spring Rolls were tasty, but nothing spectacular, which is basically how I would describe the whole evening. It was nice to have a Wonton soup made without chicken/beef stock or MSG, but our entrees were just alright. The Mu Shu Vegetables had a nice smoky flavor but halfway through the dish I was over it. So too, with the Sizzling Bean Curd with Tofu, a Szechuan special. The first few bites of everything were tasty, but beyond that became one dimensional and boring. Worse than that was us having to turn their “open” sign on for them and walking in to an overpowering stench of floor cleaner (which outlasted and outshone any food aroma). I may have given the food a better rating had I not had an obnoxious perfume in my nose throughout the visit. Our waitress was very friendly and capable, but her manager and co-workers engaged in extremely audible arguments at the front of the restaurant over schedules. The manager continued to conduct restaurant business over the phone, arguing with vendors about bills, in front of the entire restaurant. We felt as if we were intruding on a business by having dinner there. They would do well to focus more on making the experience about the customer and less on the running of the business during peak hours. The good news is that Zen offers possibly the largest vegan menu of any restaurant in Wichita and will be appealing to the less adventurous or newly vegetarian diner. Unfortunately, my first impression leads me not to expect to see Zen operating this same time next year.


Close Window