Italian in the Islands

November 14, 2013 | By Maya Wong

Find traditional Italian food—and one of the best views high above Waikiki—at Sarento’s at the Top of the Ilikai.

There is nothing better than the first bite into a juicy cut of perfectly seasoned meat. Except perhaps, enjoying your succulent main course with a Waikiki sunset as your appetizer, and evening fireworks as your dessert. Too good to be true? Not at a Waikiki classic, Sarento’s at the Top of the Ilikai.

Located on the 30th floor of the Ilikai Hotel & Suites, Sarento’s has established a name for itself by serving upscale traditional Italian cuisine for 20 years. As 2014 rolls around the corner, Sarento’s is celebrating their 20th anniversary with their newly remodeled interior. The modern decor may be new, but the panoramic views of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head have always been a classic for Sarento’s.

One thing Sarento’s renovation does not include is a changeup of the menu. Guest favorites and long time classics of the Italian restaurant are still available and still just as popular. To start off your meal on the right note, order the Ahi Bruschetta. This is not your average bruschetta—Sarento’s version uses ciabatta crostini, kalamata pesto, avocado and Kamuela tomato. Drizzled with just enough balsamic vinegar, the crisp ciabatta slices and seared ahi are a treat for the eyes and the stomach.

The Local Asparagus is another appetizer that promises to bring the flavor. Executive Chef Paul Feng tops grilled pizza dough with a mix of arugula and asparagus, thin slices of Italian cured meat and an over easy egg. Topped with parmesan shavings, the Local Asparagus will leave you wanting more of Feng’s creations.

When it comes to main courses, a hearty piece of meat is never a bad choice. At Sarento’s, the Osso Buco is so tender that it falls right off the bone. Served on a bed of aromatic saffron risotto and citrus gremolata, this veal dish is a coveted plate by diners.

Sarento’s also offers a wide selection of wine and signature cocktails. For the early birds, happy hour is 5 to 6:30 p.m. daily and serves up featured seasonal cocktails, spirits, small plates and wines by the glass. But the wine and dine doesn’t stop there. The restaurant puts a spotlight on Italian wines and its appropriate food pairings with hosts Chef Feng and Master Sommelier Patrick Okubo’s Italian Wine Series at Sarento’s. Now you can experience the different wine regions of Italy without ever leaving the shores of Waikiki.

Whether it’s the veal, the view or the vino, Sarento’s at the Top of the Ilikai has something to offer everyone. Indulge in true Italian fashion when you’re dining at Sarento’s—your taste buds will surely thank you.

Photos: Jeff Sanner

Sarento’s at the Top of the Ilikai
Ilikai Hotel
1777 Ala Moana Blvd. [D:3 Waikiki Map]
(808) 955-5559