Dining by the Alphabet: Il Vicino

One question I always get asked is, how did the Dining by the Alphabet go? Then I realize I’m still five letters away from finishing. The last time we left off, it was Letter U with Usuloteco which is still up and running. So by basic English, that means letter V is next. Now there are not many V restaurants in Wichita so the pickings were slim. I decided to settle for a place I could grub at and even grab a drink.
Il Vicino
2132 N Rock Rd
Wichita, KS 67206
(316) 636-2121
Il Vicino is a wood oven pizza restaurant located in Bradley Fair at 21st and Rock. They also have a location in the College Hill area at Douglas and Oliver (at the Southeast corner). They are most known for their pizzas but also serve pastas, salads, sandwiches, among other items.
I get the word “Il” doesn’t start with the letter “V” but for the long time Wichita By E.B. readers, you’ll know that words like, The, Il, El do not count. For those not fluent in Italian, let me translate the restaurant name for you. Il Vicino translates to The Neighbors.
For the return of “Dining by the Alphabet”, my official guest dinner for Letter V was Taylor. She’s a first time Dining by the Alphabet-or (is that a word?). She’s a fan of all sorts of foods and this was her first time ever visiting Il Vicino so she was rating this restaurant with a clean slate.
We went during the week in the evening and the place was half full of other hungry folks. It does get busier on weekend evenings. Inside, the restaurant has a very polished and upscale look but don’t let that deter you. It’s not super upscale and you could easily show up in jeans if you wanted. I’ve been in before with shorts on. Regarding seating, the place fits just under 90 people and has a very nice patio outside that seats 50.
Upon our arrival, we had a nice gentleman kindly open the door for us where we were warmly greeted by a couple other employees standing at the register. Their menu is posted right as you walk in. (For reference you can also check out their menu here: http://wichita.ilvicino.com/our-menu/food/). Note for those who care, any sandwich or pizza on their menu can be ordered gluten free. After scanning through the menu, you can go up to the register and order your food and beverages and sit where ever there is an open table.
Insalata Cesare
All their food items are numbered on the menu. I went with the #4 which is the Pollo E Pumante (Garlic oil, mozzarella, roasted chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, asiago, fresh basil) and ordered it with light cheese. Taylor had the #8 which is the Angeli (Sweet balsamic marinara sauce, mozzarella, roasted chicken, Portobello mushrooms, artichoke hearts, gorgonzola, fresh rosemary). We also ordered a couple salads. I went with #29 which is the Insalata Il Vicino (Roasted chicken, egg, tomatoes, gorgonzola, artichoke hearts, walnuts, on romaine, house vinaigrette). I felt like I was Italian when I ordered the salad as it sounds so cool rolling off the tongue. Repeat after me……..”Insalata Il Vicino” Taylor had #30 which is the Insalata Cesare (Traditional cesare dressing (blended anchovies, egg, fresh garlic, olive oil, lemon, Dijon) tossed with romaine, croutons, and asiago.) On top of that we had a water, I ordered a big beer and Taylor had a glass of wine. Please note wine and beer are the only adult beverages they serve. They do not serve liquor.
Insalata Il Vicino
We grabbed a table after ordering and our server quickly brought us our drinks. One thing we both noticed is the service is very friendly. The speed throughout the night was well above average. Taylor noted the service was great and the waiter did a good job. Our waters were never empty.
Our salads were quick to come out. Taylor said her salad was awesome. The croutons and dressing made the salad. The Caesar dressing had a little zing to it which she liked. I, too, thoroughly enjoyed my salad. It was a nice break away from the monotony of the regular ranch house salad you get at many restaurants. The artichoke hearts and house vinaigrette really hit the spot.
Hot oil sauce….and beer
Not too long after the pizzas came out. The pizzas come in a 10 inch size and a 6 inch size. We stuck with the 10 inch size and after the salads we just devoured; the larger pizzas were probably a little too big for dinner. My pizza was fantastic. It was not greasy and has the very clean and fresh feeling when you eat it. Taylor and I were both big fans of the thinner crust. I am not much of a crust eater when it comes to pizza. If I don’t have anything to dip it in, then I leave it to the side unless we are having family dinner at my parents’ house and my mom loves to eat the crust of a pizza so she’ll eat mine. That or she hates food to go to waste and takes one for the team and eats it for me. Fortunately Il Vicino has this hot

oil that’s placed at every table that you can put on your pizza or use it to dip your crust in. It’s great and one of my favorite condiments in any Wichita restaurant. After doing some research, it’s made within Il Vicino at their New Mexico location and is shipped to other Il Vicino’s. Many stores have tried to make it but can’t match it. Moving on, Taylor felt her pizza was ok. The two bright spots for her pizza were the crust and the balsamic marinara sauce. At the price of $10 for the pizza, she thought the pizza would have been best if she had shared it with someone else.

#4 Pollo E Pumante
#8 Angeli

Overall we were very pleased with dinner. The most outstanding part of Il Vicino besides the food was the service which is always very important in my book. Plus it should be noted the cleanliness of the place. They really take good care of the establishment from the inside of the building even to the restrooms.

That brings us to rating time. Taylor decided to give Il Vicino a 3.9 out of 5. I decided to give Il Vicino a 4.25. That gives Il Vicino a final score of 4.08. As always, anything over a 4 is a great score for Wichita By E.B. and that means a definite recommendation from us.

Compared to other pizza places in Wichita, this is totally different than my other favorites. The top 3 pizza places I’m a fan of in no particular order are Ziggy’s, Picasso’s and Il Vicino.

Happy Dining!

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