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10 Best Italian restaurants in Honolulu offer traditional dishes in paradise



Italian food is one of the comfort meals that you may crave any time, any place, and that's why we've compiled a list of the top ten Italian restaurants in Honolulu. We'll guide you to Honolulu's best Italian eateries and let you know the inside scoop on each place. The island is home to a variety of Italian restaurant, quaint and homes style bistros, menus that stick to traditional dishes, an restaurants that fuse regional cuisine and fresh seafood with Italian cuisine. 

For an elegant meal of Italian cuisine with the best views in Honolulu, make a reservation at Sarento's Top of the I. Located at the very top of the Ilikai Hotel, the high end eatery offers delicious food and panoramic views of the ocean and city. Out on the North Shore, Lei Lei's Bar and Grill isn't a traditional Italian restaurant, but they make some of the best pasta dishes around as part of their varied menu.

Formaggio Wine Bar combines Honolulu nightlife with great food, and the hip bar provides a wonderful atmosphere for socializing and fun. The adjoining wine shop is the perfect place to pick up more wine to enjoy at the hotel. Also on the list is Assaggio, a tried and true local Italian staple with several locations around the island.

Remember that 10 Best has you covered in your search for delicious Italian food, and enjoy your journey.


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Paesano


A neighborhood staple in the Manoa Valley, Paesano is a perfect destination for a relaxed meal with family or friends. There's nothing pretentious about the place, which offers understated surroundings and courteous service. The food is first-rate, homemade, and made even better by the fact that you're given plenty of it. If there is one drawback, it's that folks have discovered this gem. As a result, it can be crowded at times, but its perks still outweigh a brief inconvenience any time of day. Much of the menu is made in house, including bread, meatballs, sausages, lasagnas, soups, tiramisu, canoli and salad dressings.

Recommended for Italian because: Truly friendly staff who are happy meet customer's unique needs and great food add up to a wonderful restaurant.

Local Expert tip: The chef is happy to customize and dishes to the guest's liking.

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Cafe Sistina


Ornamented with murals painted by the restaurant's talented chef, this charming eatery is a favorite for Italian cuisine. Northern Italian is the name of the game, although the menu encompasses everything from traditional fare to more experimental dishes. You'll find, for instance, an array of fresh pastas, including filled raviolis, gnocchi, and linguine studded with tasty ingredients. Meat dishes also find their place, and everything gets lovingly treated to luscious sauces and top-quality preparation. The intimate and creative atmosphere creates the feeling that your right in the Sistine Chapel in Italy. They validate parking, so don't forget to bring your parking receipt.

Recommended for Italian because: With traditional Italian food and an an atmosphere that makes you feel like you're in Italy, Cafe Sistina is a great experience.

Local Expert tip: They validate parking, so don't forget to bring your parking receipt.

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Lei Lei's Bar and Grill sits right on the golf course at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu. Like a bar and grill would be, it's laid back and casual, yet somewhat upscale and classy. There's a putting green out front where the kids can hang out (in full view) if they get restless, and views of the golf course and the mountain range offer gorgeous sights. Unlike the other restaurants at Turtle Bay, this one isn't right in the resort. The full bar can serve up anything you'd like, but their famous for mai tais and Lei Lei's lemonades. The menu has a broad spectrum of great food - burgers, pastas, salads, local fish specials with sides of mashed potatoes, ribs, and the list goes on.

Recommended for Italian because: Their shrimp and veggie scampi are absolutely delicious pasta dishes and will satisfy those in the mood for Italian.

Local Expert tip: There's a different menu for lunch and dinner.

Read more about Lei Lei's Bar and Grill →


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The age-old combination of food, wine, and music finds expression in Formaggio, the enoteca run by owners of an adjoining wine shop. Retaining the feel of an undiscovered gem, the restaurant features a small but distinguished selection of wines that are poured by the glass and by the flight. Dishes like a Cubano roast pork panini, artichoke and chicken sausage pizza, and osso buco are tasty and priced right. Acoustic and jazz acts liven up the scene every night. They offer over 50 wines by the glass, as well as a full bar. After dinner check out the adjoining wine shop.

Recommended for Italian because: Formaggio Wine Bar is renowned for their amazing Italian food and pizzas as well as over 50 wines by the glass.

Local Expert tip: Try the pesto pancetta pizza.

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Mililani
Assaggio


Honolulu offers an affordable version of southern Italian fare at this eatery, one of the small local chain's branches. The cuisine is traditional Italian - ravioli, chicken parmesan, a variety of pastas, as well as steaks and local fish dishes. The servings are substantial and satisfies regulars with well-priced, delicious entrees. Sicilian chicken, roasted to juicy perfection, is a house specialty, and caesar salads which is made right at your table draw raves as well. This place is good for families, date night, or any celebration. Assaggio has restaurants in Mililani, Kailua, and right in Honolulu at the Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Recommended for Italian because: Assaggio serves up delicious Italian food with great service and an amazing wine list to accent the menu.

Local Expert tip: Don't forget to make reservations, they're always busy.

Read more about Assaggio →


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Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade

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