Wine And DineCover Story
March 17, 2019
Story By: Kyle Galdeira | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
Executive chef Marino Rosato has successfully imported his culinary expertise and signature flair developed in the “Big Apple” of New York to the heart of the house of the “Little Wolf” — Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar — in Waikiki.
Chef “Rosmarino,” as his friends and loyal customers have come to know him, serves classic Italian fare with “a modern twist” at Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar. The culinary wizard was born and raised in Rome before honing his skills in Los Angeles and New York City before making his way to Hawaii to head the Il Lupino team.
A truly authentic Italian culinary experience is brought to fruition via a host of delectable dishes and more than 850 varieties of wine that have diners crying wolf — a positive result after visiting Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar.
Appropriately, Il Lupino translates to “little wolf” in Italian, and bears the childhood nickname of restaurant owner Wolfgang Zwiener. Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar offers stellar customer service, authentic Italian cuisine and an astounding wine collection all within a sophisticated yet casual atmosphere at Royal Hawaiian Center.
The restaurant sits directly below Zwiener’s highly acclaimed Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and is nestled alongside a tranquil garden behind the historic Royal Hawaiian Hotel in the heart of Waikiki. Il Lupino serves breakfast, lunch, tapas and dinner in addition to happy hour specials, and represents an inviting oasis for kamaaina and visitors alike.
Happy hour is available daily from 2 to 6:30 p.m. and again as a late-night option from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. Gnocco Fritto ($15) is a popular lunch offering and happy hour choice, as a beautifully arranged array of fried dough puffs, Prosciutto di Parma and extra virgin olive oil is topped with cherry tomatoes.
Meatball ($12) is another beloved happy hour item. The massive meatball is composed of prime veal, pork and beef along with a zesty pomodoro and Parmesan Reggiano. Arancine Siciliani ($10 happy hour) features five fried risotto balls and a light, spicy pomodoro sauce.
Tagliatelle Polpettine Cavolfiore (market price) is a special pasta available on a rotating basis. It is composed of sausage meatballs, roasted cherry tomato, Gaeta olives from Italy, roasted cauliflower and a Parmigianino cream sauce to tie the flavors together.
Acqua Pazza (market price), translated to mean “Crazy Water” because of its collection of delicious seafood, features a light and delicious broth. It is not yet on the menu, but Dining Out readers are encouraged to order this superb combination of marlin fillet seared and poached with clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, roasted tomatoes in a light wine and tomato sauce.
Prime Veal Chop ($55) is a must-try dinner entree, as the 10-ounce bone-in veal chop is paired with fresh vegetables and a demi glaze.
“We want our guests to have a memorable experience and we accomplish this by providing great service and excellent cuisine,” says general manager Heela Mottus, who also oversees Il Lupino’s wine program.
Sip On The Best
Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar is known for its extensive wine collection, which features more than 850 bottles and vintages of vino. The restaurant is honored annually with Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” for offering one of the most outstanding and extensive restaurant wine lists in the world. “Our wine list is global, and because we have a lot of travelers and visitors, we have something for everyone and all tastes,” says general manager Heela Mottus. “We are conveniently located within walking distance from Waikiki Beach.”