Say ciao to updates at Italian restaurantA La Carte Columns
August 21, 2016
Story By: Yu Shing Ting | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
Since opening 21 years ago, Sarento’s at the Top of the Ilikai has built a solid reputation for fine-dining excellence.
Locally owned and operated, the award-winning restaurant offers tip-top service, high-quality food and a stunning panoramic view of Diamond Head, the Pacific Ocean and the Waikiki skyline.
In an effort to reintroduce the restaurant to kamaaina, general manager Joe DePolis says Sarento’s has updated the lounge menu with more small plates and has a great happy hour special (in the bar/lounge area) offering 40 percent off any menu item when you purchase a signature cocktail. Happy hour is Wednesdays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to closing, and other nights from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
There also is a three-piece jazz band Wednesdays (6-9 p.m.) and Saturdays (6-10), and a piano player nightly. Of course, there also are the bonus Friday night fireworks on display by neighboring Hilton Hawaiian Village, which make for a memorable dining experience.
As for its regular dinner menu, which offers Italian Mediterranean cuisine with local flair, DePolis recommends Osso Buco ($44), Grilled Ahi ($38) and Homemade Pasta and Filet Mignon Meatballs ($30).
“These are all our signature dishes, and the most popular in the categories of meat, fish and pasta,” he says. “The Osso Buco is braised 4 to 6 hours. It’s fork tender and just falls right off the bone. The bone marrow has a creamy, nutty savory flavor to it, and it’s served with our saffron risotto and finished with a citrus gremolata, which brightens up the dish.
“It’s an original dish that’s been on the menu for 21 years, so we’ve tweaked that to the point where we think it’s one of our best dishes,” adds DePolis.
The Homemade Pasta and Filet Mignon Meatballs also is an original menu item. It features 100 percent filet mignon for the meatballs, a tasty pomodoro sauce with rustic chili flakes for a hint of spiciness, and best-in-the-world Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Grilled Ahi is a newer dish featuring locally caught ahi cooked medium rare and served with shiitake mushroom-asparagus risotto, locally grown micro greens and Cabernet beurre rouge sauce.
Sarento’s is located high up on the 30th floor of Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites, and has its own private glass elevator. There also are two private rooms, one that holds up to 18 and the other up to 40.
Sarento’s At The Top Of The Ilikai
1777 Ala Moana Blvd., Waikiki
Sunday-Thursday, dinner: 5:30-9 p.m., bar: 5-10:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, dinner: 5:30-9:30 p.m., bar: 5 p.m.-midnight