Chef Kengo Matsumoto got his chops in northern Italy before opening three restaurants in Tokyo. Bernini is his first eatery in Hawaii — and one of a slew of Japanese-owned Italian restaurants that dot the culinary landscape in the Islands.
It’s pretty evident just look at its menu that Bernini serves its signature brand of Italian fare: fresh sea urchin spaghetti, king crab atop linguine with a tomato cream sauce, penne with swordfish and an oregano tomato sauce and the Vongole Bianco (shown) consisting of fresh clams in a white wine sauce.
And if you love authentic Italian-style pizza, Bernini won’t disappoint, offering 18 different varieties of pie all cooked in a WoodStone pizza oven.
Our recommendations: Vongole Bianco (fresh clams in white wine sauce), half-chicken Al Forno (crispy roasted chicken, Bernini style), Norcia pizza (mozzarella, sausage, mushrooms, walnut and truffle oil) and the Japanese-style panna cotta with a fresh fruit-white wine gelee for dessert.
Bernini Honolulu, 1218 Waimanu St., Honolulu. Hours: 5:30-11 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday. Phone: 808.591.8400.