Mama Mia! Top 5 Italian Restaurants in Honolulu

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Honolulu boasts a range of Italian eateries, from swanky restaurants to a mobile pizzeria that operates at farmer’s markets.

So narrowing this list down to five was harder than making homemade gnocchi every night.

Here’s our attempt at picking the Top 5 Italian restaurants in Honolulu:

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1 Prima Kailua

Opened in September in Kailua on Oahu's windward side, Prima Kailua is one of the newest Italian restaurants on the island — and quickly becoming one of the most popular. It specializes in good, healthy food on plates small enough to share. It's got a nice array of shareable plates, pizzas and interesting dishes like this pappardelle noodles with a curry meat sauce.

108 Hekili St.

Kailua, HI 96734


2 Mediterraneo Italian Restaurant

It's easy to drive right past this small, hole-in-the-wall restaurant on King Street, but it's worth the effort to find it. The menu boasts simple trattoria-style dishes such as a insalata di mare, a carbonara made with sausage, and the popular veal picatta. Everything is hand-prepared, prices are reasonable, and the ambiance is quaint and charming.

1279 S. King St.

Honolulu, HI 96814


3 Sabrina's Italian Restaurant

There might be a line — and you'll likely wait for your food — but that's all part of the charm of this little family-owned restaurant at the foot of St. Louis Heights Drive. Sabrina's serves up authentic Italian dishes such as a squid-ink linguine with marinara sauce and a risotto with porcini mushrooms. It's BYOB — and no corkage charge — so bring a Chianti, sit back and relax.

3036 Waialae Ave.

Honolulu, HI 96816


4 Taormina Sicilian Cuisine

This isn't your ordinary Italian restaurant. Taormina specializes in Sicilian dishes prepared by Japanese chefs and infused with local flavors. They aren't swimming in cream sauces or butter; instead, they use healthier ingredients such as extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs and vegetables. Signature dishes include the uni (sea urchin) pasta and grilled lamb chops. Its wine list, devised my master sommelier Robert Viernes and boasts more than 125 wines, is impressive.

227 Lewers St.

Honolulu, HI 96815


5 Formaggio Wine Bar

Another non-traditional pick, but Formaggio Wine Bar — there's also one in Kailua — is a nice blend of classic and modern. The menu features everything from roasted foie gras on buttery crostini with port wine to a baked lobster mac 'n cheese. While the house pizzas are uber-popular, folks come for the Kobe burger panini, chocolate bread pudding, lobster bisque and this Formaggio Fonduta with imported cheese, spinach, artichoke and crabmeat served with crostini.

2919 Kapiolani Blvd, # 10

Honolulu, HI 96826


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