Tasty fare for the whole ohana

A La Carte Columns

December 15, 2015

Story By: Caitlin Basilio | Photos by: BODIE COLLINS

With so many chain restaurants popping up around the island, it’s nice to know that feel-good, family-style eateries still exist. Take Zia’s Caffe, for example, an authentic Italian restaurant conveniently located off Kamehameha Highway in Kaneohe.

Since 2001, Zia’s Caffe has been serving up Italian goodies fit for everyone.

“I love the atmosphere here. We’re not fine dining; we’re more of a family-oriented restaurant,” says executive chef Jesse Kila.

He has been cooking at Zia’s Caffe for four years, and continues to find the excitement in creating new dishes for his diners. Last weekend, Kila introduced Carne Special ($24.95), which will most likely be on the dinner menu at the beginning of next year (feel free to ask your server about it on your next visit).

Carne Special consists of slow-roasted pulled lamb mixed with sun-dried tomatoes, onions, shimeji mushrooms and garlic. This blend is then sautéed together and deglazed with Chianti wine and homemade red sauce. It’s all tossed with pappardelle pasta and finished with ricotta cheese and fresh mint.

Customer favorites at Zia’s Caffe include Auction Fish (market price) and Skyscraper Pizza ($14.50), both of which are offered for lunch and dinner. When it comes to Auction Fish, the dish is made with ahi — or other fresh catches — crusted and grilled with macadamia nuts, panko and seasoned flour. The fish is served on top of mushroom risotto perfected with honey balsamic glaze, roasted red pepper aioli and basil oil.

The Skyscraper Pizza originally was a sandwich, until the team at Zia’s decided to throw all of its ingredients onto a pizza instead.

“We serve it as a 10-inch thin-crust pizza, loaded with black olives, pesto, salami, roast beef, bacon and mozzarella cheese. It’s topped with arugula and grape tomatoes that were tossed in a light red-wine vinaigrette,” explains Kila.

Just in time for the holidays, Zia’s Caffe is offering a special: Those who buy a $25 gift card will receive a $5 off coupon. Other ongoing specials at Zia’s Caffe include its monthly serving of Prime Rib, and breakfast, which only is offered on the weekends.

Zia’s Caffe

45-620 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Kaneohe, HI 96744

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