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Chew On This

Bask in Breakfast at Il Lupino

By Dining Out Team Photos By Rachel Breit
March 17, 2013

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BY RACHEL BREIT

We all know that Hawaii is a melting pot of different cultures, so it’s no wonder that Italian restaurant Il Lupino decided to take a famous local breakfast classic and put an Italian spin on it.

While it may look like your typical Loco Moco, this one is quite different. The burger patty is not actually a burger, but a meatball patty. It’s made with the same veal, pork, beef and Italian seasonings that go into Il Lupino’s special meatballs. The gravy is not the traditional brown gravy, either. It’s made from marsala wine and Hamakua-grown mushrooms: shiitake and what appear to be pioppini, both meaty and robust with a hint of smokiness, which makes them the perfect mushrooms to pair with red meat and red wine. But you don’t need a degree in mycology to taste how the components of the dish create complexity and depth. Fresh eggs (prepared any way you’d like) top off the Loco Moco ($15), and of course rice provides the base to soak up all the rich flavors. The Loco Moco — a dish recognized and desired by locals and tourists alike — is pleasant and definitely unique.

To visit the other side of the breakfast spectrum — the sweet, fluffy side — go for the Belgian Waffle ($12) topped with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, and served with maple syrup and whipped cream.

The thick, toothsome waffles have a light crispy texture, perfect for loading each bite with fresh fruit, real maple syrup and whipped cream.

Dining alfresco at Il Lupino is the perfect opportunity to sit back and practice dolce far niente, the sweet act of doing nothing. Look out over the lush courtyard at Royal Hawaiian Center, watch the international mix of people walking by and take your time to indulge in breakfast.

Il Lupino

Royal Hawaiian Center, Bldg. B, Level 1
922-3400
Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Thursday-Sunday, happy hour until 2 a.m.