A Home Away From Home

A La Carte Columns

March 1, 2016

Story By: Caitlin Basilio | Photos by: Lawrence Tabudlo

Lamb Ragu ($22)

Lamb Ragu ($22)

The word zia in Italian translates to “aunty,” which makes perfect sense for the name of Zia’s Caffe, because the eatery emits a feeling of camaraderie you can sense from the minute you walk through its door.

With many similarities between Italy and Hawaii’s cultures of food and family — for example, meals in both include lots of tasty food, people jovially speaking among themselves and get-togethers lasting all day or night — Zia’s Caffe offers the perfect mix of both traditions.

Located in Kaneohe alongside Oahu’s beautiful Koolau Range, the eatery features the cuisine of executive chef Jesse Kila, who takes pride in keeping it simple and delicious. Zia’s first opened in Kailua in 1998 before moving to Kaneohe in 2001. Family-owned and operated, the restaurant has built up quite a loyal fan base of Windward Oahu residents. Using many local ingredients, Kila keeps everything as fresh as possible by supporting local companies such as Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop, which provides all of the bread products at Zia’s Caffe.


Lamb Ragu first started out as a special, but now is permanently on the menu as the restaurant’s only lamb dish. Offered all day for $22, this pasta is made with slow-roasted lamb, sauteed with shimeji mushrooms and onions, deglazed with red wine and mixed with homemade red pasta sauce. Finally, everything gets tossed with pappardelle pasta and topped off with ricotta cheese and fresh mint.

Zia’s Caffe

45-620 Kamehameha Hwy., Kaneohe
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; kitchen closes at 9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
For catering information, email info@ziaskaneohe.com

Kaneohe, HI 96744

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best