A table of tapas at Formaggio
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What’s equally impressive as the more than 90 varieties of international wines at Formaggio Wine Bar is the outstanding tapa-style cuisine that comes with it. Much credit goes to sous chef Guillermo Camacho, who has combined Italian and French inspiration with flavors from his native Saipan to create a menu that is both light and flavorful.
Chicken Ceviche ($11.99) is a recurring off-the-menu appetizer. According to Camacho, it’s the perfect start to a meal and aids as a great palate cleanser when sampling a variety of rich foods, as it’s extremely moist and has a welcome citrusy bite. Known as keleguin in Saipan, diced chicken is mixed with lemon, onion, shredded coconut and pickled ginger, and placed in a pocket of romaine heart lettuce. Two dipping sauces of Sriracha aioli and balsamic vinaigrette reduction complete the dish.
Baked Lobster Mac & Cheese ($16.99) pairs well with Chicken Ceviche. A ramekin is loaded with Maine lobster, smoked ham, mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses, heavy cream and topped with a lobster bisque, baked until the exterior obtains a golden crisp. The dish is served with mixed green salad featuring diced tomatoes and house-made balsamic reduction dressing — a concoction that includes 18-year-old balsamic vinegar, spicy mustard and olive oil. The thick dressing is viscous enough to stick to the greens and provides an acidic balance to the entree.
Formaggio Wine Bar also offers an array of artisan pizzas, including Fennel Fennel Pizza ($14.50), which boasts a thin, crispy crust and is adorned with creative toppings. This particular 10-inch pizza is named for its main ingredient, fennel, which appears in a number of ways. The pizza is topped with a light marinara sauce, shredded mozzarella, fennel seeds, fennel leaves and mild fennel Italian sausage. The two-step cooking process begins with the pizza pie placed in a convection oven and then finished in a stone oven. The final result is a pizza that is delicious and satisfying without being heavily rich or overwhelming.
In addition to wining and dining, Formaggio Wine Bar features live music from 8 to 11 p.m. daily, except Mondays.
Formaggio Wine Bar
Market City Shopping Center
2919 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 106, Honolulu
Monday–Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight
Friday–Saturday, 5:30 p.m-1 a.m.
Sunday, 5-11 p.m.
Food service ends one hour before closing