Paesano Jump-starts Any and Every Appetite

Columns Pupu Picks

March 17, 2012

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Sitting with Billy Rattanasamay, owner of Paesano Ristorante Italiano, while dining on delicious appetizers, you begin to understand why the name fits so well. The inviting atmosphere and good service are just what you would expect with a meal among friends. For 20 years, Rattanasamay has been serving some of the best Italian food on the island at his Manoa Marketplace restaurant and, at its newest location, Waimalu Plaza in Aiea.

  • Cold Carpaccio ($12.90)
  • Buffalo Mozzarella ($10.90)
  • Manager Noi Malavona
  • Kahuku Shrimp ($14.90)
  • Homemade Hot Antipasto ($15.90)
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Kahuku Shrimp with a spicy diablo sauce ($14.90) is a nice way to kick off a meal and the conversation. The shrimp is sweet and has a mild spicy flavor thanks to the diablo sauce that mixes cayenne pepper, olive oil, paprika, salt, pepper and butter to create an added dimension to the shrimp without overpowering its naturally light flavor. Don’t be afraid to suck the heads, shells or just eat the whole thing. There is a lot of flavor hidden within the cracks.

Another appetizer with kick and flavor is Homemade Hot Antipasto ($15.90). The clams, shrimp, calamari and mussels come bathed in the diablo sauce that adds flavor, and makes for great dipping sauce with Paesano’s warm, soft bread that one familiar diner called “the best ever.”

Such full-flavored treats often benefit from some cooler accompaniment, and Paesano has two very good ones, Homemade Cold Carpaccio ($12.90) and Buffalo Mozzarella ($10.90). I’ll save my favorite for last.

Homemade Cold Carpaccio is a simple dish of raw, thinly sliced filet mignon served with cut lettuce and a slightly spicy dipping sauce made from Tabasco, olive oil, capers and a French soy sauce. The carpaccio by itself is soft and buttery, and with the lettuce it is crunchy and fresh.

Finally, add the dipping sauce and it’s just, real good!

Great Italian food comes from fresh ingredients that are handled correctly. A perfect example of this is Buffalo Mozzarella — it’s simple. Fresh tomato, basil, mozzarella, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar that mix to create a colorful swirl of flavor on top of each tasty morsel. Oh, so good!

Paesano Ristorante Italiano

  • Where
    • Waimalu Plaza Shopping Center
    • 98-1277 Kaahumanu Street
    • Aiea, HI 96701
    • Manoa Marketplace
    • 2752 Woodlawn Drive
    • Honolulu, HI 96822
  • Call
    • (808) 485-8883 (Aiea)
    • (808) 988-5923 (Manoa)
  • Hours
    • Open Daily
    • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    • 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.

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