Noodle monger, Italian style.


Man it’s been awhile, sorry for being absent for so long but every since I’ve joined Yelp, I’ve been blogging constantly there to keep up with my ‘Elite 12’ status.  So after doing that I sorta get “blogged” out.  I mean in all honestly this post should have taken me 20 minutes but I kept getting distracted so it took a course of 4 days to finalize.  But anyway, since I’ve been eating so much Italian food lately, I thought I should put my favorites down while they are still fresh in my head!

As you know I love noodles.  Whether they be the Japanese Ramen variety or the Italian….I’ll get them breakfast, lunch, dinner and anytime in between.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite Italian spots on Oahu along with a few insights.  For me the criteria was pretty loose.  If you typed “Italian” into the Yellow Pages online search or on Yelp and the restaurant appeared….then I guess we’ll call it Italian . 😛 You can chime in and let me know what your favorites are…..

La Cucina. Yum. A smaller Mom & Pop’s type of joint with homemade noodles, personable people and the tastiest of foods. You’ll need to get a reson because this place is packed.  They take reservations for parties of 4 or more otherwise you’ll have to walk-in which I recommend at a later hour like after 8:30. I have so many photos to post of the place but I’ll limit myself to 1 for each eatery.

Vongole with I believe the fatter and thicker trenette noodles. So good I went back another time and got it with tagliolini noodles.

Arancino Ristorante Italiano.  With 2 locations in Waikiki and a website that pushes the Japanese language, you would figure this restaurant caters only towards the Japanese market with “Japanese Italian” food…. much to the liking of Angelo Pietro’s or Kit-n-Kitchen. Not so, the dishes are strictly Italian and very good at that.  The prices here are also reasonable so if you don’t mind battling the Waikiki crowd or traffic maybe you should think about hitting Arancino’s.

Bernini of Honolulu Despite what everyone thinks, this place is authentic Italian. It may be owned and run by Japanese nationals (Chef Matsumoto & Motoyo Koyata) but it’s more authentic then most Italian eateries in town. Matsumoto-san got his training in Northern Italy, so KCC’s got nothing on that!  What I also like about this place is it’s diversity.  Besides pastas, they also have thin crusted pizza’s, entrée’s, and a variety of appetizers, salads and desserts.  My favorite would have to be the Beef Ragu shown below.

Beef Ragu @ Bernini of Honolulu.

Paesano Ristorante Italiano. It may be of the same family as Assaggio Hawaii but Paesano definitely tops them all in terms of taste and atmosphere.  Love the Vongole and the Chicken Anchovy Olio here. Here’s a tip though, make sure you don’t eat these things if it’s a first date.

Mediterraneo. Very similar to La Cucina. In fact, it should be as Don, the chef at La Cucina actually came from Mediterraneo.  Fresh homemade noodles, great atmosphere and simply great food.  I hear that you should actually try to go earlier for dinner since towards the later part of the evening, chef has a few drinks which may affect your dish lol!

The taragosa with fettuccine noodles. Magical.

Cafe Sistina. A place I always forget about but when I’m there I always enjoy my food. Ironic that it’s right up the street from Mediterraneo.  Good food, good wine, and great paintings…you feel as if you’re eating in Sistina itself.  Sorry no picture but you can check them out on Yelp.

A couple places I have yet to try but based on their reputation, I’ll add them on my “to-do” list. Prima Hawaii in Kailua, Taormina in Waikiki and Sabrina’s in Kaimuki. I’ve heard great things about all of them from credible sources so I’ll honor them here.

Honorable mention aka “A-OK”:  Angelo Pietro, Kit-n-Kitchen, Assaggio, Formaggio, Happy Valley Pasta & Pizza Verbano Ristorante Italiano and Sarento’s Waikiki.

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