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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

REVIEW: Italian food in Wichita still sucks

%28Illustration%29
Preston Caylor
(Illustration)

In my search of good pasta in Wichita, I’m starting to feel lost and hopeless. Are there really no gold standard restaurants in Wichita for what good Italian food tastes like? As a continuation of my exploration of some of the most popular Italian food in Wichita, I went to four new restaurants, some of which you readers recommended to me.

In case you missed the first part of this series, I’m an Italian-American who grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. I have been to Italy and have tasted the authentic food of my people. In my last story, some ignored the fact that I said Kansas City has good Italian restaurants and made the obvious point that Italian food in Italy is better than it is here.

Every Sunday until I started playing sports on the weekends, everyone in my family would go over to my grandma’s house, and we’d eat pasta.

I know what good Italian food tastes like, and my opinion is valid because I grew up eating this shit. It’s not Italian food to me; it’s just food.

One more thing before I get into the restaurant reviews. In Kansas City, when I go to an Italian restaurant, usually my family and I aren’t the only Italian people there. In Wichita, I’m almost always the only Italian person there. There are very few Italian people in town, so it makes sense to me why Italian food here isn’t that good.

Albero Bistro

This time I visited Albero Bistro, the sister restaurant to Albero Cafe. I was initially very impressed while reading the menu. It had traditional Italian dishes and seemed legit. I got the steak ravioli with a side of meatballs. The ravioli was decent enough to finish, but the meatballs I was disappointed with. They tasted like they were frozen before they served it to me, which really sucked because the texture and taste were good. I really wish I could have tried them fresh. They had other items on the menu that I would like to try, like some of their sandwiches, but I probably wouldn’t come back here.

For dessert, I ordered the limoncello cheesecake. I got to say I don’t know where they got that cheesecake or who made it, but that was probably the best cheesecake I’ve ever had in Wichita. This place is worth going to just for the cheesecake. But cheesecake isn’t pasta, so if you want pasta, maybe try somewhere else.

Savute’s Italian Ristorante

A lot of the people who read my last story recommended the oldest Italian restaurant in Wichita: Savute’s. I got there and was pretty interested in the menu because it presented the restaurant’s story, and I was like, “Damn, this place must be good then.” I was wrong. All I had to do was turn the page to the actual food part of the menu. This menu was very Wichita, which isn’t a good thing if you didn’t know.

I ordered the spaghetti with sausage, and following the theme in my last story, this pasta was overcooked and oversauced. It was also super watery.

That’s not all that was wrong with this restaurant. I went with my girlfriend, and she ordered a steak fillet because they had steak on the menu, and it wasn’t very expensive, so I was like, go for it. This steak was so rare it was disgusting. I felt bad for her for getting it because I suggested it. I don’t know why this place has been open for so long, or why they have such a big fanbase, but please don’t go there.

FioRito Ristorante

Last time, I said Napoli Italian Eatery was the saving grace of Italian food here. This time, I bring you FioRito, which is owned by the same people. I personally like FioRito more than Napoli’s, but one thing that threw me off about this place is that the menu was very out there. None of the dishes were traditional at all, so I was very worried about that, but I gotta say that it was pretty good. I would go back if I wanted some Italian food, but I probably wouldn’t go because it is a little pricey for the value of food.

Something this place buys into is the stereotype that Italian restaurants are supposed to be fancy. I hate this so much. I used to take pasta in a thermos to school everyday for lunch and it was better than most places I have been to. Nothing fancy about eating pasta out of a thermos in a high school cafeteria.

Luciano’s

This next restaurant is hands down the best Italian restaurant in Kansas. This restaurant is in Mulvane and it’s called Luciano’s. This place is phenomenal.

I got the seasonal course special and it was amazing. Every course was phenomenal. My girlfriend got my favorite dish, which is lobster ravioli, and you have to try it, because it was probably the best I’ve had since it became my favorite dish.

Everything about this place was amazing, except for one thing, it’s in crusty old Mulvane.

If this restaurant were in Wichita, it would be the hot commodity of popular restaurants there. And that leads me to my conclusion that, since this place is in Mulvane, I can still say Italian food in Wichita city limits sucks.

Please go to Luciano’s; it’ll change your life, especially if you think restaurants like Angelo’s and Savute’s are your taste in Italian restaurants.

View Comments (20)
About the Contributors
Victor DiMartino, Reporter
Victor DiMartino is a second-year reporter for The Sunflower. DiMartino is pursing a degree in creative writing with a certification in digital animation.
Preston Caylor, Illustrator/Designer
Preston Caylor is a freshman at Wichita State majoring in animation, and this is his first year on staff at The Sunflower. Caylor grew up in Wichita and has always been fond of drawing, animation and music. In the future, he plans on making his way to a big animation company such as Disney or Pixar to either be an animator or animation director. Fun Fact: Caylor plays eight instruments: guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, horn, trumpet, alto saxophone and tenor saxophone. Caylor uses he/him pronouns.

Comments (20)

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  • J

    JL de GrasseApr 4, 2024 at 9:23 am

    I grew up in Maine and The Peoples’ Republic of Massachusetts (yeah, it’s an attitude) I’ve eaten in Boston’s North End and Italian family homes – mostly Southern Italian in style, but some Northern, too. I gave up on the Italian food places in Wichita after years of disappointment. Completely agree about overcooked watery pasta and overly sweet, thin “Chef Boyardee” – level sauces. Encouraging to read these reviews and new recommendations. I’ll have to check out Luciano’s and some of the others mentioned here. Thanks!

    Reply
  • J

    JenniApr 3, 2024 at 10:17 pm

    I rarely like Italian restaurants because they usually too Americanized with bland, mediocre food. I wasn’t impressed with Luciano’s, but maybe it’s just what I ordered or the night I was there. Luigi’s in Winfield is very good, though. It’s the only Italian restaurant around I ask to go to. They also have some of the best calamari I’ve had anywhere.

    Reply
  • D

    DApr 3, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    I agree, Luciano’s is the best in the area & I’ve also traveled to Italy. But, Mulvane is far from “crusty” sure it’s a small town feel but they’ve updated their downtown and now have two Mexican cafes as well as an Ice cream parlor (Open during late Spring/Summer). You might not be able to do dinner and a movie but, it’s a nice quaint town.

    I think Albero Bistro is the best in Wichita proper.

    If you haven’t been to Salina, their downtown is a great spot for a date and dinner at Martinelli’s (It’s fabulous).

    Reply
  • M

    Marla WallaceApr 3, 2024 at 4:43 pm

    Come to St. Louis, MO if you want excellent Italian cuisine!

    Reply
  • B

    Brian C WilliamsApr 2, 2024 at 2:52 am

    Everything in Wichita sucks. Literally EVERYTHING.

    Reply
  • N

    Nancy MApr 1, 2024 at 5:57 pm

    You need to try Marcello’s on South Seneca and Angelo’s and I think you will be more impressed with Wichita Italian cuisine.

    Reply
  • J

    Jon EApr 1, 2024 at 10:15 am

    The language didn’t bug me but the grammar did.

    Reply
  • R

    ReviewingthereviewerApr 1, 2024 at 7:35 am

    Your quality of writing is equal to or less than the quality of the Wichita Italian cuisine.

    Reply
    • N

      NancyApr 2, 2024 at 9:24 am

      The writing was bland at best.

      Reply
  • C

    CraigMar 31, 2024 at 10:30 pm

    I know of a couple that moved to Wichita from Manhattan N.Y., They said the food in Wichita tastes like canned tomatoes and ramen noodles.

    Reply
  • J

    JordanMar 31, 2024 at 8:52 pm

    Napoli and FioRito aren’t owned by the same people just as a heads up. The opening chef at Napoli left and opened FioRito with his brother.

    Reply
  • L

    lived here all my lifeMar 31, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    go to bel vita

    Reply
  • H

    HollyMar 31, 2024 at 6:11 pm

    I’ve had pasta at yayas and to me it was good. Maybe try Bella vita? Pasta around here is hit or miss.

    Reply
  • V

    VelmaMar 31, 2024 at 5:54 pm

    Drive a short distance to Newton, KS. Authentic and wonderful Italian cuisine….. Genova. Owner is Rosie…from Italy!!

    Reply
    • A

      albert costaApr 2, 2024 at 9:35 pm

      She’s from Spain.

      Reply
  • A

    Antonio Surname-withheldMar 31, 2024 at 4:56 pm

    You should probably be following Wichita by E.B..

    Had you been doing so already, you would have been already aware of Wichita’s latest and (arguably) most authentic Italian restaurant:

    Amorè Italian Restaurant
    2315 W. 21st N.

    This joint was started by a literal Italian. So if you can still complain after eating there, I would then go out on a limb and understand that you’re not craving Italian food — you’re craving Americanized Italian food.

    p.s. I note you failed to venture on over to Bella Vita Bistro. I can only assume the reason for this is due the price.

    Reply
  • M

    Michele WebsterMar 31, 2024 at 3:51 pm

    If you want the best food in Wichita it has to be Mediterranean. There are too many to list, but they are authentic, and all reasonably priced if I do say so. We have a very diverse population.

    Reply
  • M

    Michele WebsterMar 31, 2024 at 3:41 pm

    You are right about Angelo’s and Savute’s. You are too young to remember how great they were when they run by the original owners. Those owners were Italian too. People get old and pass the reins to someone who doesn’t have the same passion and then the business begins its slow decline. Thank you for not giving Angelo’s a direct hit in your piece, no matter how much it is deserved.

    Reply
  • J

    JMar 31, 2024 at 2:19 pm

    Negative much? It seems like Victor is very anti-Wichita.

    Reply
    • C

      CraigMar 31, 2024 at 8:34 pm

      He’s not wrong, Italian food sucks in Wichita.

      Reply