Stumbling upon something good
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Where have you been all my life?” It’s a common question one asks after having discovered that one in a million diamond in the rough. And it’s the exact inquiry Dining Out demanded to know after having found Formaggio Wine Bar, a cozy restaurant tavern tucked within the lower level of Market City Shopping Center.
A perfect place to meet up with friends pau hana, owner Niraj Maskey always marvels at how excited customers get when finally discovering Formaggio. “Many people don’t know that we are here,” explains Maskey. “Once they realize we are located on the lower level and in the same center as Foodland, they get here, enjoy a meal, fellowship and a few drinks, and wish they had found us sooner!”
Popular for its nightly happy hour, live music offerings, extensive wine list and enticing eats, Formaggio, with its low-key lighting and casual, convivial vibe, fosters an atmosphere where patrons feel like family, including Maskey.
“I never feel like I’m at work, and that’s what keeps it fun,” says Maskey with a smile. “It’s kind of like welcoming customers into my home.”
And what better way to be welcomed home than with heaping helpings of classic comfort food? Three Kings Panini ($14.99) presents you with a meal fit for royalty, receiving its title from the trio of tempting meats that make up marrow, prosciutto, ham and pastrami. Warm and pressed to perfection, the panini is melded together with the finest Gruyere cheese, mayo and mustard, and served with a side of mixed greens.
For the vegetarian guests, Pizza Primavera ($13.99) presents a New York style pie, its thin crust crisped to perfection and topped with portobello mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, roasted peppers, onions and generous dabs of goat cheese that contributes a creamy, tangy flavor that literally brings (and keeps) it altogether.
Formaggio’s special of the month, Lobster Tail Linguine in Creamy Tomato Sauce ($16.95), is a seafood feast. Its secret lies in its sauce, a luscious concoction laced with subtle tones of chardonnay, pesto, tomato, garlic, onion and heavy cream, which blankets a bed of al dente linguine showcasing a succulent, fresh lobster tail. The dish receives its dazzling denouement with a precise dusting of Parmesan cheese.
Formaggio Wine Bar
Market City Shopping Center
2919 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 106
Monday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight
Friday-Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m.
Sunday, 5-11 p.m