For this mouthwatering piece, I’ve decided to go all-Greek because Hawaii’s climate is ideal for a Mediterranean diet filled with fresh vegetables, fish, yogurts, oils, spreads and unleavened breads. We’re also fortunate enough here in the Islands to have some truly authentic spots to get your Greek on. Got a craving for Slovaki, Spanokopita or Tyropita? Check out: Opa! The Top 5 Mediterranean Restaurants in Hawaii.
1 Olive Tree Cafe
In my humble opinion, Olive Tree really put Greece (and its cuisine) on the map here in Oahu. The intimate (only 10 tables) and authentic Greek restaurant is one of the most favored date-spots among couples not to mention places for groups of friends to share plates over BYOB. The order-at-the-counter, cash only, and low-key spot is a huge hit with its selection of slouvakis, perfectly textured hummus and mussels to die for. It’s no secret that snatching a seat can be challenging. But, while you wait, pop next door to their well-stocked wine store for a little Greek-friendly shopping and a bottle of wonderful Mediterranean white. Olive Tree is well worth any wait; you’ll be in Greek heaven once you dig in to the baba ganoush, falafel and homemade baklava.
2 The Fat Greek
My personal favorite of this bunch is Fat Greek. Knowing the European trained-chef and owner, Francois Provenza does sway me yes, but I also adore its ambiance and of course, the authentic Greek cuisine. The Special of the Day here always stands out; it’s typically a fresh-catch fish aside Greek salad, hummus and pita. A bevy of the sauces are homemade daily and infused with Provenza flair like the feta mixed with hot sauce that’s made for dipping your garlic, parsley Greek fries. And, the platters here are perfect for sharing. Choose from the perfect for two, Royal Platter comprised of four lamb chops, 8 garlic shrimp, Greek Salad, Greek fries, hummus, pita and baklava. Or, opt for the King’s Platter that serves four and comes complete with falafel, shawarma, expanded to include an express location in the Ala Moana Shopping Center food court.
3 Pita Paradise
Kihei, Maui’s own Pita Paradise is just as kitschy as its Valley Isle locale. This charming hole-in-the-wall spot takes an innovative, delish approach to Greek cuisine. Featured menu items such as swordfish kabobs and Kalua pork pita tastefully blend Hawaiian favorites with Mediterranean classics. The fish is caught fresh daily and the Zakiki bread is an ideal start to your Pita Paradise experience. Order a glass of wine or grab a beer out of the fridge for washing down your bites. But you’d better save room; the Baklava Ice Cream Cake is really the highlight that keeps patrons with a “Greek tooth” coming back for more.
4 Greek Marina
Greek Marina is located in the quaint East side Oahu neighborhood of Hawaii Kai overlooking the (you guessed it) marina. Its waterfront location makes Greek Marina ideal for ambiance. It’s romantic and peaceful unlike some of its more bustling restaurant neighbors with seating both al fresco or indoors. The calamari, dolmades and Saganaki (fried cheese) are highlights here. And take advantage of their BYOB drink option so you can really enjoy the night fade away with your wine and Greek eats. On Sunday’s, catch live music from a neighboring location and be sure to take advantage of the daily Happy Hour from 2-5 p.m. Everything is 25% off! Sounds like a Greek treat to me!
5 Mala Wailea
Located at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Hawaiian Islands of Lanai and Kaho’olawe, Mala is truly a special occasion worthy restaurant with its breath-taking ocean views. Mala offers an authentic menu of Mediterranean and Pacific Rim plates. Start with the Quartet of Hummus, Raita, Olives Babaganoush, Fried Chickpeas and Feta that is served with grilled Pita Bread and Flax Seed Lavosh. The Lamb Pita is prepared with house-made lamb meatballs, raita and garlic aioli. Enjoy fresh salads like the My Big Fat Greek served with lemon tahini vinaigrette or Kamuela Tomato and Pea Shoot Salad. On the entrée side of things, sample the Steamed Clams and finish with the Cous Cous Pineapple Upside Down Cake drizzled with Pina Colada sauce.