Get Ready To ‘Wolf’ Down Italian FareCover Story Features
March 5, 2017
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
A truly authentic Italian culinary experience is brought to fruition via a host of delectable dishes and more than 500 varieties of wine that have diners crying wolf — a positive result after visiting Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar.
Appropriately, Il Lupino translates to “little wolf” in Italian and bears the childhood nickname of restaurant owner Wolfgang Zwiener.
Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar offers stellar customer service, authentic Italian cuisine and an astounding wine collection, all within a sophisticated-yet-casual atmosphere at Royal Hawaiian Center.
The restaurant sits directly below Zwiener’s highly acclaimed Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and is nestled alongside a tranquil garden behind the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel in the heart of Waikiki.
“We want our guests to have a memorable experience and we accomplish this by providing great service, a good time and excellent cuisine,” says general manager Heela Mottus, who also oversees Il Lupino’s wine program. “We utilize as many local products and ingredients as possible,” she added.
Il Lupino serves breakfast, lunch, tapas and dinner in addition to Happy Hour specials and weekend brunch, and represents an inviting oasis for kamaaina and visitors alike.
Zwiener notes that one of his favorite menu options is Cherry Braised Short Ribs ($32), with crispy polenta cake and a rich cherry demi.
While enjoying one’s favorite wine selection, diners are encouraged to mix and match selections of artisanal cured meats and cheeses imported from Italy within the salumeria menu. Choices include Prosciutto di Parma (dry-cured ham), Hot Dry Salami and Salami Toscana, as well as Gorgonzola Dolce, Cambozola and Delice di Bourgone cheeses. Guests may make one choice for $5, three for $15 or create a small platter ($28) with three meats and three cheeses, or a large platter ($45) with five meats and five cheeses.
Lobster Ravioli ($25) remains a top seller on Il Lupino’s menu, and includes Maine lobster, goat cheese, chives and a rich truffle cream sauce. Pasta lovers also rave about Lasagna ($28) crafted with a hearty veal, pork and beef ragu, and Spaghetti Carbonara ($20, add $7 for scallops) made with pancetta, reggiano, cream and organic free-range eggs.
The aforementioned dishes are inspired by Chef Diego Pacuruco, who focuses on authentic Italian cooking. By utilizing farm-to-table produce from local vendors, imported Italian cheeses, hand-cut meats and a variety of fresh seafood accented with Italian olive oils and hand-made pastas, the heart-of-the-house team brings the flavors of Italy to life in each dish.
Pacuruco encourages diners to try his new Chef’s Special Pasta ($28), which is not yet on the menu, but features fresh-made rigatoni, grilled shrimp and pesto sauce.
“We offer more pastas that we create in house, including the lasagna sheets with spinach and our lobster ravioli,” Pacuruco says. “We work hard to serve a quality product and remain consistent in the taste and presentation of our selections.”
Wine of the Times
Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar is known for its extensive wine collection, which features more than 500 bottles and vintages of vino.
The restaurant was honored in 2016 with Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” for offering one of the most outstanding and extensive restaurant wine lists in the world.
“Our wine list is global, and because we have a lot of travelers and visitors, we have something for everyone and cover all tastes,” says general manager Heela Mottus, who also heads up Il Lupino’s wine program. “We are very conveniently located, within walking distance from Waikiki Beach.”
From 3 to 5 p.m. daily, diners can enjoy afternoon tea at Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar. Guests may select from multiple varieties of loose-leaf teas ($8 each), including Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Oolong and Moroccan Mint.
Il Lupino also offers MajesTea ($53), a choice of the restaurant’s classic tea selections served with a variation of rustic almond-flour mini cakes and mini pastries. Also included are mini sandwiches with mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes; prosciutto and cucumber; cream cheese and smoked salmon; as well as mini bruschetta with salmon roe and fresh uni. The collection also is accompanied by a glass of Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico, Pio Cesare Gavi or Bele Casel Prosecco.
Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar
Royal Hawaiian Center
2233 Kalakaua Ave., Ground Level, Waikiki
922-3400 / IlLupino.com
Breakfast: 8-11:30 a.m.; Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; Happy Hour menu available: daily, noon-5 p.m. on the patio and 6:30 p.m. at the bar; Dinner: 5-10:30 p.m. and until 11 p.m. (Friday and Saturday); Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m.