Plates Of ParadiseInside Feature
March 3, 2019
Story By: Caroline Wright | Photos by: Anthony Consillio
Palm trees sway as masts bob in the harbor silhouetted against a perfect apricot sky, soft white lights strung overhead cast dreamy shadows as a musician strumming softly on his ukulele begins to sing an old mele — and your cocktail is simply ono, and so are the pupus.
For all these reasons and more, a visit to Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai might just be all any of us need to remind ourselves of the magic of our island.
Ask owner Puna Nam, and he’ll present a long list of compelling reasons to dine at Cinnamon’s. He talks about beautiful sunsets, magnificent views of the Pacific and Ala Wai Harbor, live Hawaiian music performed by artists like Hoku Zuttermeister, Ben Vegas and Malia Gibson, and Kama Hopkins, the hula show presented by Kawika Trask, and the spectacular fireworks display that is cast over the lagoon on Friday nights.
“Now that’s living in Hawaii nei,” says Nam. “It doesn’t get any better.”
First opened in Kailua on March 1, 1985, Cinnamon’s became famous for its breakfast fare. With the opening of its Ilikai location some 30 years later, Cinnamon’s began offering delicious dinners and cocktails just steps away from Waikiki’s heavenly beaches.
“Our goal, then and now — serve fresh wholesome foods at reasonable prices,” says Nam.
With its 12-ounce USDA Choice Rib Eye, available only at the Ilikai location, Cinnamon’s exceeds that goal. Choose one of four different preparations — Pulehu (with Hawaiian salt, pepper and herbs), Teriyaki, Bloody Mary (pan-seared with spicy tomato sauce, celery, carrots, bell peppers and onions), or Wasabi (topped with wasabi-based glaze).
Also available only at Cinnamon’s at the Ilikai is an authentic Hawaiian Supper, which features the restaurant’s house-made kalua pig, laulau, and one’s choice of ahi poke or fried mahi mahi, accompanied by rice and potato salad.
“It tastes even better than it looks,” notes Nam.
Cinnamon’s hosts happy hour daily from 3 to 6 p.m., offering discounted drinks and pupus. Dinner is available from 4 to 9 p.m., and a buffet dinner is offered for just $19.95 between 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the dining room and on the back lanai. There’s also valet parking at the hotel’s main entry off Ala Wai Boulevard at only $1 per hour for the first three hours.
Breakfasts here are simply unbeatable. Try the award-winning Guava Chiffon Pancakes topped with a pair of guava sauces, one pink and slightly tart, the other creamy and flavorful.
“The taste and color contrast between the two sauces over buttermilk pancakes are amazing,” Nam says.
The restaurant’s signature Eggs Benedicts options are made unique by a tasty house-made hollandaise sauce. With a grilled English muffin and one’s choice of main, which can include items like crab cake, kalua pig, mahi mahi, or fresh spinach and tomatoes, Eggs Benedicts can satisfy anyone’s craving.
Romantic and gracious by night, relaxed and serene by day, Cinnamon’s is a wonderful example of why kamaaina are blessed to live in Hawaii.