OPINION: Italian food in Wichita sucks

I am an Italian traveler that came to Wichita, “The Land of No Pasta.”

Before I hate on all your favorite “Italian” restaurants, let me establish my pasta credentials.

I grew up in Kansas City and from the moment I was born up until I started working at age 17, every Sunday my entire family would go to my grandma’s house and have her delicious homemade pasta.

My grandma is Italian; she knows her pasta. My tastebuds know pasta.

Also, Kansas City has lots of Italian people with lots of superb Italian restaurants. There are literally Italian neighborhoods and an Italian festival that happens every year. Like I said before, my tastebuds know pasta.

If all this isn’t enough in credentials, I went to Italy in the summer of 2019 and the pasta was life-changing.

When I say my tastebuds know pasta, you better believe I know what I’m talking about.


Albero Cafe

When I first moved to Wichita, I drove past Albero Cafe. I assumed it was Italian based on the name. When my parents came to visit me, we decided to check it out. I got some penne pasta with meatballs.

I didn’t enjoy eating it, but I wasn’t gonna send it back. My mom got a sandwich and it was so fatty that she did end up sending it back. My dad basically just ate meatballs and he’s a fiend for meatballs so you know that he liked what he got.



DeFazio’s is now permanently closed, fitting for what I’m about to say about this place.

Back in 2020, I asked a friend about good Italian restaurants, and he recommended DeFazio’s.

I ended up getting penne pasta with meatballs, which was easily the worst pasta I have ever had — I only ate the meatballs.

Their sauce tasted like it was out of a can. Literally, Walmart-brand pasta sauce tastes better than the sauce I had there. I ended up taking a few bites of the pasta and sending it back.


Pasta Express

Fast Italian food shouldn’t be a thing, but I decided to give Pasta Express a try. It was no exception to the Wichita pasta theme: overcooked, over-sauced, bland out of a can sauce. It was so bad that I almost threw up after eating it. I ate it all only because I was starving.



Despite countless Italian heartbreaks, I wasn’t finished yet. My girlfriend and I went to Angelo’s because I know a guy who worked there.

Long story short, the pasta was as predicted: oversauced and over-cooked.

Out of all the places I’ve been to I was surprised to hear this place has such a loyal fanbase.


Napoli Italian Eatery

Wichita has one saving grace when it comes to Italian restaurants: Napoli Italian Eatery.  It’s a little more expensive, but it’s legit.

They have authentic Italian dishes, and the pasta is cooked to perfection.

Despite being at the top of the list, Napoli comes nowhere near Italian restaurants in Kansas City or Italy, but it’s good enough.

After many disappointing meals, I’ve learned to accept that I’m the only Italian person in this city that understands pasta. If there’s an Italian restaurant where I’m not the only Italian person in the building, let me know.