Making Romano’s Part of Your FamigliaCover Story Features
May 26, 2015
Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Bodie Collins
When looking for the perfect spot to take out the whole family — kids and all — for a nice meal, most patrons agree it takes the right recipe of comforting cuisine, a warm atmosphere, friendly service and affordability to ensure everyone in your ohana goes home happy. Romano’s Macaroni Grill at Ala Moana Center is one of those rare dining gems that truly understands this concept and whole-heartedly embraces it, cordially opening its doors for all to revel in soul-soothing Italian-inspired fare.
It’s not surprising that the nearly decade-old eatery is an ideal place to gather with loved ones, as the culinary team led by talented executive chef Nawai Kekoolani treats guests as if they all were part of one large, extended family. And while the familiarity of Romano’s cozy ambiance and rustic, made-from-scratch food is enough to make you feel as though you’re dining at a mom-and-pop trattoria, the restaurant isn’t afraid to push the envelope to ensure its loyal patrons constantly have new ways to fall in love with memorable Italian-American specialties.
Taking the opportunity to show its appreciation for the scores of devoted patrons who have welcomed Romano’s cuisine into their hearts — and tummies — the restaurant recently unveiled a host of promotions available through June 30.
A comfort-food lover’s dream come true, the Pasta Infinita special presents unlimited pasta for a mere $15.95 every Wednesday from 4 p.m. Diners may indulge in endless amounts of lusciously creamy Fettuccine Alfredo, zesty Spaghetti Pomodoro or sweetand- spicy Penne Arrabbiata. “We thought of doing something fresh for our loyal guests,” shares Kekoolani. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”
While Mom and Dad enjoy boundless strands of fresh pasta, Romano’s also ensures keiki are taken care of at the dinner table with its Kids Eat Free deal, available every Tuesday through the end of June. When patrons purchase one adult entrée, they’ll receive a complimentary selection from the kid’s menu for children up to 12 years old.
“You need to take care of the future, and the future is our kids,” says Kekoolani, expressing the sentiment behind this promotion. He adds that Romano’s children-approved ambiance — in which crayons are provided for them to draw on paper table-cloth coverings — only supplements the dining experience. “The kids always love it because they come here, they draw on the table — where else can you draw on tables without getting in trouble?” he says with a laugh.
As is showcased throughout its menu, Romano’s is adept at offering incredible value for the handcrafted cuisine it delivers. Mama’s Trio, for example, highlights a little bit of everything — drool-worthy Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna Bolognese and Cannelloni Bolognese — for only $23. Diners also can taste the exquisite quality of a 12-ounce Tuscan Ribeye, served with a rosemary, Italian parsley and garlic compound butter as well as asparagus and roasted potatoes, for a more than reasonable $27.
When it comes to balancing adored house favorites with exciting new bites, Romano’s excels. Recently added Butternut Asiago Tortellaci ($17) bursts with inspiring flavors, spotlighting ravioli-like four-cheese tortellaci in an Asiago truffle sauce, all accented with butternut squash, prosciutto and Parmesan.
And while enjoying best-sellers such as Pasta di Mare ($22) — a colorful mix of scallops, mussels, shrimp and fettuccine swirling in white wine, pomodoro and garlic flavors — customers may partake in Romano’s ongoing Vino Thursdays special, when diners receive 25 percent off wine bottles.
The welcoming restaurant also is ideal for upcoming Father’s Day celebrations June 21, as dads will receive a special gift and will be eligible to win a staycation complete with dinner for two at the eatery and hotel accommodations for one night.
Be sure to drop in for Happy Hour in the Lounge (daily from 3 to 6 p.m. and again from 8 to 10 p.m.) as well, featuring beer and wine specials, not to mention an array of pupus ranging from $5 to $13.
Diners are encouraged to learn more about the eatery’s specials via its Facebook page (see contact info). So don’t be shy; gather your friends and family for an Italian feast they won’t soon forget at Romano’s.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace,
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu
Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.