I’m Talkin’ Tiramisu

Columns Ono, You Know

November 23, 2014

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Anthony Consillio

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, because to be honest, I’m pretty sure you couldn’t care less about this intro. Why read when you could be stuffing your face with tiramisu? Legit tiramisu, at that! It’s all or nothing, right?

And being that Italy is an absolute favorite travel destination of mine, I know good tiramisu when I eat it.

So, just what components make up stellar tiramisu? Strongly pronounced coffee and liqueur flavors (I’m not impressed by weak hints of coffee), mascarpone cheese and ladyfingers (I’m not about that sponge cake either).

Though I’m a traditionalist when it comes to classic tiramisu, I’m also not one to snub modern takes on it, because … Tiramisu Martini. Ever had one? Complete with authentic tiramisu flavors, this dessert cocktail has been modified to make it extra-special (ahem, chocolate vodka!)

With that, the following OYK hot spots are waiting for you with sophisticated versions of tantalizing tiramisu.

Fresco Italian Restaurant

Fresco Italian Restaurant has raised the bar when it comes to intertwining island-style fusion with the rustic flavors of Italy.

Nestled atop Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Rainbow Bazaar, Fresco already is gearing up for the holidays, as the restaurant’s open yet cozy dining space attracts diners from near and far. In addition to the dining area, Fresco’s other amenities include a full bar and relaxing lounge area. And while the antipasti and entree selections are mind blowing, executive chef Rodhel Ibay’s Tiramisu Hawaiano ($9.95) is over the top. You’d be silly not to save room for dessert. Just imagine Kona coffee bean espresso laced with a ladyfinger cookie, toasted macadamia nuts sprinkled atop mascarpone cream and dusted with cocoa.

“Tiramisu is commonly served at Italian restaurants, but to set mine apart from the rest, I infused it with local ingredients,” explains Ibay.

The dessert is rich but airy, velvety smooth yet crunchy, sweet though not too intensely sweet — basically, every bite is heaven on earth. Trust me, try it for yourself; no exaggeration is needed. You will love it. The perfect tiramisu.

Fresco Italian Restaurant
Hilton Hawaiian Village, Rainbow Bazaar
2005 Kalia Road


Kissaten's Tiramisu Martini ($8, $5 during happy hour)

Kissaten’s Tiramisu Martini ($8, $5 during happy hour)

Kissaten’s original locale on Piikoi Street has claimed its spot as the go-to 24-hour cafe and dining establishment. And on the heels of such success, Kissaten expanded its presence to Waterfront Plaza, offering its signature favorites, including Tomato Bisque Soup, local-style Fresh Island Poke and more. A crowd-pleaser is most definitely the fully stocked bar. Rylen Komeiji serves as head bartender. A pro at what he does, he took my love for tiramisu, and worked his magic. Voila! All of a sudden there was a Tiramisu Martini right before my very eyes.

Available for $5 during happy hour, Monday-Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. (regularly priced at $8 from 10 a.m. to close), Tiramisu Martini gives me a sweet, sweet buzz. Now, I’m usually not one to drink, yet I couldn’t help but take a sip of this dessert-like concoction made of chocolate vodka, Kahlua, almond- and vanilla-flavored syrups, and a splash of heavy cream.

Komeiji is the mastermind behind Kissaten’s Tiramisu Martini, and shares the different components of the drink.

“When chocolate vodka is chilled, it takes on a cake-like taste and texture; the Kahlua provides the coffee flavoring; vanilla and almond syrups provide the sweetness; and the heavy whipping cream is comparable to the cream filling in tiramisu.

“Basically, our Tiramisu Martini is the best. It’ll leave you happy, satisfied and drunk,” says Komeiji with a laugh.

Tell me, after a long day, there’s really nothing better than that?

Now, raise your glass.

Waterfront Plaza
500 Ala Moana Blvd.

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best