Food finds from the other side of Waikiki.
Named after Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole—a prince under the reign of King Kalakaua and figurehead in the Territory of Hawai’i—Kuhio Avenue can sometimes be viewed as the little brother of Waikiki avenues. Sitting on the shoreline, Kalakaua Avenue hosts many of the more prestigious and historic resorts and restaurants, but let’s not write off Kuhio Avenue. It is a pathway to many up-and-coming shops, boutiques, restaurants and eateries.
Tilia Aloha Cafe is a complement of Tilia Expansive Aloha, a retail emporium of handmade craft items inspired by nature and island lifestyle. Tilia, which means “small bird” in Indian, matches the retail store’s regal finesse with a simple, natural and elegant menu in a luxuriously casual atmosphere.
“Our taste is unique and distinct. Our preparation of how we handle all our ingredients is very intricate and delicate. We handle each dish independently with care,” says manager Scott Barlow.
A prime example of Tilia’s hand-made trademark is their Waffle Sandwich. Prepared with Tilia’s own macadamia nut and taro batter formula, the waffles are delightfully light with the right touch of sweetness. Accompanying the waffles are freshly sliced pastrami, Swiss cheese, avocado and greens in an appropriately delicious manner.
“The handmade themes in the retail shop matches the handmade touch in every dish,” adds Barlow— who is right on cue with the presentation and taste of the Waffle Sandwich.
Agostino Trentacoste knows the value real ingredients and genuine, from-scratch preparation can have on the entire pizza experience. And, he should. Born and raised in Sicily, Trentacoste spent much of his youth and adolescent life working in and around his family’s Palermo pizzeria. Trentacoste comes to Hawai’i by way of Seattle, where he first introduced his 90-year-old, family-style thin crust recipe to America for the first time. “Pizza is like a woman. She needs to be beautiful on the inside and outside,” says Trentacoste.
“When you take the first bite you taste the difference. Pizza comes from my heart, I enjoy making people happy.”
Even with fresh ingredients and a traditional style of cooking, a key to Agostino’s Pizza’s mouth-watering taste lies in the oven.
“Every pizza chef in Sicily builds their own fire oven, designed to the way they like to cook their pizza,” adds Trentacoste. He constructed Agostino’s wood fire piece by hand.
Designed to Trentacoste’s specifications, an Agostino’s pizza needs only 99 seconds in the kiawe wood fire oven to cook to perfection.
Sold by the slice or pie, Agostino’s Pizza has 15 specialty pizzas for you to choose from, including his family dedicated Agostino’s, topped with cherry tomatoes, salami, artichoke, mushroom, calamata olives and oregano.
Agostino’s Pizza is open from 6 to 11 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday, weather permitting, as preparation and cooking is best served without rain.
Owner Dominique Quinette—originally from Switzerland, and by way of Kaua’i— has found a way to revolutionize the hot dog taste and experience, trademarking her dogs and original relishes as a true Hawaiian-style hot dog. Combining the popularity of American hot dogs with a European cooking technique, and infusing Hawai’i’s tropical fruits into the mix, creating your perfect Hula Dog is an approach that will leave your taste buds jumping.
A Hula Dog starts with your choice of a veggie dog or polish sausage. You then have your choice between three Hawaiian sweet breads, including the ever-popular taro and bacon flavor. The real fun begins as you choose which relish and sauce to complement the juicy and sweet flavor of the puka bread and dog. Relishes include mango, pineapple, papaya, star fruit or traditional pickle. Sauces of your choosing include mild, spicy jalapeno, hot chili pepper or hot-hot habanero. Wash it down with one of Hula Dog’s freshly squeezed lemonades and your day in paradise just got that much better.
With 13 locations in Japan and one in Singapore, ownership knew it was time for Bene Pesce to expand to the U.S. and Hawai’i was a good a place as any to start that expansion. With a mostly Italian based menu, Bene Pesce carries a cozy, home-style feel, fit for an intimate date or family affair.
What helps separate Bene Pesce from others is that any of their pasta dishes can be served with freshly made and pressed pasta.
“We have a really good blend of traditional and some unique dishes. All our sauces, breads and dressings are made in-house,” says general manager Jaron Takumi—who recommends the Lobster Fritta appetizer and Pescatore entree. “If you like pizza, pasta or Italian food you’re sure to find something here. We have quite a mix.”