When the Mood Strikes, the Recommendation is ‘More Pasta, Please’
You foodies probably know by now that I absolutely adore spaghetti, as in I could probably eat it every single day for the rest of my life and not get tired of it. Anything “pasta” is my ultimate weakness, something you can probably credit to my Italian upbringing.
This week, the craving for pasta hit again — and it hit hard. I wanted it all, from every restaurant in my path. However — and I want to make this crystal clear — the pasta had to be “Ono, You Know” worthy. After all, it’s important to have high standards — right, foodies?
So, determined to pile on the pounds with mounds of pasta, I ventured out to a new spot this week that was able to cure my pasta urge at basically “anytime” of the day. I also visited a longtime favorite in Waimalu, and was able to devour pasta along with some delicious adobo in town.
Read on and see how this pursuit for perfect pasta was an ultimate success.
When it comes to Italian food — spaghetti especially — I’ve found some of the best at Anytime Cafe. Located in Market City Shopping Center, owners Ken and Cindy Wong have made Anytime Cafe the place to dine when in the mood for anything and everything delicious.
“Seven years ago I owned Hong Kong Orchid Cafe, which was known for its more traditional Hong Kong-style cuisine, and we brought the traditional-style Won Ton Min here,” says Ken, who also previously owned the Banana Leaf Italian Bistro.
“Anytime Cafe is a culmination of cuisine from both restaurants in addition to many local favorites like the Loco Moco, Oxtail Soup and Baked Pork Chop with Fried Rice.”
And although I can attest that everything on the menu is divine, being the pasta lover that I am I gravitate toward the spaghetti dishes time and time again. My favorites, you may ask? The Caprese Spaghetti and Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Garlic, without a doubt.
The Caprese Spaghetti ($8.50) features sauteed fresh tomato and basil tossed with fresh mozzarella cheese in homemade tomato sauce.
Pinch me, I think I’ve arrived in Rome! Yes, with the very first bite my mind was flooded with memories of wonderful meals I’ve enjoyed in Italia.
“Our spaghetti and risotto are imported from Italy, so everything is served in the traditional Italian style,” Cindy explains, reaffirming my notion.
The Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Garlic with Shrimp ($10.50), on the other hand, is a beautiful pasta dished tossed with mushrooms, whole chili pepper and thinly sliced garlic with olive oil sauce. Don’t worry, you don’t need a high tolerance for spice with this dish as it’s not the least bit spicy, but you must be a fan of garlic. But really, who isn’t?
Open from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays; and from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays, Anytime offers patrons plenty of opportunities to visit.
Market City Shopping Center
2919 Kapiolani Boulevard
Paesano Ristorante Italiano
Located within Waimalu Plaza Shopping Center lies an upscale, top-notch Italian Restaurant, and it’s none other than Paesano Ristorante Italiano. I’ve been a fan of Paesano for years, but having always dined at the Manoa location, this was my very first time setting foot here.
Owner Billy Rattanasamay and wife Nila opened the Waimalu location in 2008 and serve all things Italiano — from Gnocchi to Chicken Putanesca and lots and lots of pasta. In fact, Billy says they have 80 types of pasta dishes, to be exact!
“Paesano is the perfect place to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary,” Billy says, taking pride in the pristine restaurant and the fact that all the decor was handpicked straight from Bali.
Excited to bare witness to marvelous pasta, I quickly dove into a pair of executive chef Gerry Quach’s pasta recommendations: the Fettuccine Tutta Dal Mare ($28.90) and the Chicken Portabella ($17.90 small portion; $20.90 regular portion).
The Fettucinni Tutta Dal Mare is a chef’s special and offers a generous portion of fettucinni with sauteed mixed seafood, including Alaskan king crab, island fish, jumbo shrimp, fresh clams and scallops, with a confetti of onion, bell peppers and basil, simmered to perfection in a white wine homemade lobster sauce.
The Chicken Portabella comes straight from the coop and offers boneless, tender chicken sauteed with portabella mushrooms, asparagus, onion, sundried tomato, fresh spinach and garlic paired with just the right amount of garlic sauce and olive oil. It really doesn’t get much better than this when you’re looking for something just as healthy as it is delicious.
“Customers can choose from linguine, fettuccini, rigatoni and angel hair — all our pastas are imported straight from Italy and our sauces are made fresh every day,” Billy says, noting that everything is made to order.
I’m sure that you’ll fall in love with each and every bite. Paesano’s fresh homemade bread also will help you soak up every last bit of that wonderful sauce!
98-1277 Kaahumanu Street (Waimalu Plaza)
2750 Woodlawn Drive (Manoa Marketplace)
(808) 485-8883 (Waimalu Plaza)
(808) 988-5923 (Manoa Marketplace)
Max’s of Manila
Sure, we all love the pancit, adobo, pinakbet and kare-kare found at Max’s of Manila, but what about spaghetti? Well, Italians are not the only ones to serve up yummy portions of this heavenly noodle dish.
Max’s of Manila, a Philippine-based eatery known for its famous fried chicken and Filipino dishes, cooks up some sarap (delicious) spaghetti as well. With more than 120 branches in the Philippines and other locations nationwide, Elizabeth Joven, operations manager of the Dillingham location, says Max’s offers the best spaghetti with Filipino flair.
For only $7.50, hungry diners can attain a substantial meal of spaghetti with sweet tomato sauce, hot dog bits, mozzarella and Cheddar cheese.
Joven says the secret to this sweet taste is found in the hint of sugar and Jufran Banana Sauce added to the spaghetti. Whatever it may be, it’s onolicious. Mahal kita (I love you), Max’s spaghetti!
801 Dillingham Boulevard
(also located in Waipahu Shopping Plaza)