When I visited: March 2018
Location: Hawaii (Honolulu, within the Kalaha Hotel)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not rated in the Guide
What to wear: Could go casual
Ambience: Chilled, beach vibe
Course of the meal: Scampi pappardelle
If I could change one thing: Smaller portions
Hawaii is stunning, and traditional Hawaiian food (which involves a lot of fresh fish and seafood) is delicious, but if you’re in the mood for Italian, Arancino at the Kahala Hotel in Honolulu is a good bet. (The Italian flags outside the restaurant boldly state the intention to go full Italian, and for the most part the dishes are pretty traditional.)
On a dinner visit, my water glass was changed as apparently there was a bug in the glass and I got a very fulsome apology from the manager (I hadn’t even noticed the bug to be honest). We enjoyed a glass each of Franciacorta sparkling wine and Chianti Classico. The bread selection was good but the focaccia cubes were a little dry.
The starters were a Caprese salad with locally grown tomatoes and balsamic vinegar and an olive oil pipette, and an antipasto meat selection, which were both really huge. Maybe it was just coming to Hawaii after Japan (where portions tend to be smaller), but these starters felt quite a lot too big.
The mains were pappardelle courses with Wagyu bolognese, and scampi. My scampi pappardelle was late as they mistakenly brought us both the beef dish at first, but again they apologised a lot and gave us the dish for free, and when it arrived it was AMAZING so I didn’t care. Seriously, one of the best pasta dishes I can remember eating.
For dessert, we shared the ‘bonet’ chocolate caramel dish (which looked like a chocolate torte but also had an amaretto disaronno flavour and a water, cream and fig with gold on top and crushed up amaretti biscuits).
We returned to Arancino for lunch on another day and enjoyed a glass of white Soave wine this time, and sat outside. The linguine (meant to be with clams, but due to ingredient availability actually with mussels from Vancouver) was lovely and not too heavy, and the bucatini with amatriciani was also well-put-together. We shared the coconut mangiare dessert – a remarkable coconut panna cotta with coconut shaved ice and sorbet, in a light-coloured bowl.