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Wine and Dine in Fashion at Ever-cozy Formaggio

By Yu Shing Ting Photos By Anthony Consillio
February 23, 2014

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Niraj Maskey was a regular at Formaggio Wine Bar in Honolulu and loved the restaurant so much that when its (former) owners decided to sell it about a year and a half ago, he took it under his wing. Since then, Maskey has made a few changes to the menu, but has kept much of it the same.

Known for its cozy, comfortable and intimate ambiance, Formaggio is perfect for a fun ‘girls night out’ or a romantic date. However, it also is family-friendly and a nice place to simply enjoy good food and wine.

The menu is mostly Italian, French and Mediterranean style, and among the most popular dishes is Boneless Short Ribs in Red Wine ($15.99).

“The short ribs are braised for up to four hours and topped with red wine cabernet demi,” explains chef Christian Monzano. “The taste is very bold and strong, and the texture of the short ribs are very soft and tender. You don’t need a knife to cut through it.”

Monzano also recommends Smoked Salmon Carpaccio ($13.99). “It has a smoky flavor, and when the capers pop in your mouth, it mixes well with the red onion and salmon,” he says. “And it’s usually eaten with a half-baguette.”

There also are some new items on the menu, such as Nepalese Chicken Curry ($14.99), which features a tomato base with coconut milk, ginger, garlic and spices, served with basmati rice.

“We included it as a special for a couple of months, and people really liked it, so we put it on the regular menu,” says Maskey, who is originally from Nepal. “The curry is medium-spiced, the chicken is very tender, and the sauce is very rich and creamy. It’s how we eat it in Nepal.”

As its name suggests, Formaggio Wine Bar also offers an extensive wine list with about 80 different wines by the glass. Happy hour runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and again from 10 to 11 p.m., daily featuring five wines for $5 each, well drinks for $4.95, and a happy hour menu starting at $4.95.

There also is live music every day except for Monday, and wine tasting events are hosted throughout the month in partnership with Fujioka’s.

Not to be confused with Formaggio Grill in Kailua, which is under different ownership, Formaggio Wine Bar is located on the bottom level of Market City Shopping Center on Kapiolani Boulevard, across from Kaimuki High School.

Formaggio Wine Bar

Market City Shopping Center
2919 Kapiolani Blvd, Suite 106, Honolulu
739-7719
Monday–Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight
Friday–Saturday, 5:30 p.m-1 a.m.
Sunday, 5-11 p.m.