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Inside Feature

There’s Nothing Little About Il Lupino’s Wolf-Sized Flavors

By Nicole Kato Photos By Lawrence Tabudlo
September 23, 2012

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While Il Lupino means “little wolf” in Italian, all the dishes here have a presence that exudes a big and bold essence.

And with breakfast being one of the most important meals of the day, you can be sure that this “little wolf” restaurant has delightful morning meals that will fill you up and leave you wondering how the talented chefs in the back blend all those flavors into one beautifully crafted dish.

Chef Lawrence Nakamoto cooked up some great breakfast creations off the menu to share with Dining Out readers.

The pancakes are made with sour cream and egg whites that make each flapjack lighter, and Nakamoto says they’re some of the best he’s ever had. Diners can choose from the classic Short Stack ($12), which comes with two pancakes, two eggs in any style you choose and maple syrup. If you’re craving a richer flavor, then Buttermilk Pancakes ($12) served with fresh, in-season fruit are for you. Of course, there are readers out there with a sweet tooth that’s out of this world, and Il Lupino Trattoria and Wine Bar has a pancake breakfast just for you — Macadamia Nut Pancakes ($12).

To top it all off, chef Nakamoto prepared Bacon & Eggs Benedict ($14) — and we all know that everything tastes better with bacon. Each ingredient from the perfectly poached eggs and Boar’s Head bacon to the grilled tomatoes and hollandaise sauce complements each other so well that you might even consider ordering another plate.

Scottish Smoked Salmon Bagel ($15) takes the concept of a bagel sandwich to a whole new level. The Scottish smoked salmon and cream cheese sit happily between the toasted bagel halves, and if you wish, there are red onions and capers on the side for your enjoyment.

Local papayas are the ringleader of Half Papaya & Fresh Berries ($10), and sit in the center of an assortment of sweet, fresh berries. And all that great-tasting fruit also can be found in Il Lupino’s Acai Bowl ($14).

“We talked to the Il Gelato company, and they made a special acai blend just for us,” Nakamoto says. “So that’s pretty special for our restaurant.”

And this acai blend is to die for. Normally, people have a love-it-or-hate-it relationship with acai, but the taste of Il Lupino’s acai and berries topped with granola will make a lover out of everyone.

It’s always noon somewhere in the world, and this establishment serves up great beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) all hours of the day.

For those who need their coffee fix, Macchiato ($4), Cappuccino Cafe Au Lait ($5), and Lavazza Coffee ($3) will satisfy that need. And Mimosa ($9) and Sangria ($7 happy hour; $13 regular) are tasty and refreshing.

Breakfast is served from 8 to 11 a.m., and happy hour runs from 3 to 6:30 p.m. daily.

Everything is made fresh, and nothing is ever precooked at Il Lupino. The decor and top-notch service amplify your dining experience, and its almost-hidden location ensures a peaceful (and quite delicious) meal with loved ones and friends that you’ll all remember.

Il Lupino

Royal Hawaiian Center
2233 Kalakaua Ave., Building B, Honolulu
922.3400
Open daily
8 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Sunday – Thursday
8 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Friday – Saturday
illupino.com