Indulge in the ‘here and now’Cover Story
February 28, 2021
Story By: Don Robbins | Photos by: LAWRENCE TABUDLO
Overlooking the vibrant streets of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean, Quiora showcases Italian cuisine in a relaxed, open-air dining environment.
The kitchen draws from seasonal ingredients to create meals that are inspired by the culinary traditions of Italy. In fact, its name Quiora is a play on the Italian phrase “qui e ora,” which means “here and now.” The management took the words from this saying and put them together to create Quiora.
“At Quiora, the core of our dinner menu revolves around the fresh artisan pastas made by hand every day, along with a beautiful selection of unique entrées, such as whole fish and house-cut steaks, and Italian classics all perfect for sharing.
“At Quiora, we’ve chosen to support our ohana by sourcing from local farmers, fisheries and ranchers. By doing so, there’s always a little bit of Hawaii in every bite,” explains general manager Dusty Grable.
Quiora also offers a breakfast menu that showcases local and international favorites. Top sellers are the Farmer’s Omelet, Avocado Toast and Lemon Buttermilk Pancakes.
The restaurant hosts tasting dinners on the third Wednesday of each month. These unique opportunities provide the culinary team a chance to experiment and showcase dishes that are not on the regular menu. Tasting dinners are five courses with available beverage pairings. The next pasta dinner is scheduled for March 17, so visit the website quiorawaikiki.com for more information.
Among the exquisite creations from Quiora are the Calabrian Garlic Shrimp ($21). This dish features local Kauai prawns sautéed in a house Calabrian chili oil with fresh garlic. It is served with grilled Breadshop sourdough from Kaimuki.
Calabrian chilis from Italy have a spicy, mildly fruity taste and aroma. When making the chili oil, the chef stems and de-seeds the imported chilis. They are then finely diced and simmered in oil for several hours.
Meanwhile, the restaurant’s Whole Fish (market price) revolves around a mouthwatering roasted fish. It is served deboned with its head and tail on. In addition, it’s accompanied with a mixed green salad from Hirabara Farms in Waimea on the Big Island.
The selection of fish depends on what the culinary team can find at the local fish market. It often includes snappers like onaga, opakapaka, lehi, kalekale, uku and gindai, along with uhi and uu.
Meat lovers will feel like they’re in heaven when they taste the Porchetta ($55). This magnificent house-tied meal revolves around a pork belly rolled around a lean pork loin. It is roasted until golden and crisp, and served with salt-roasted potatoes, house-pickled vegetables and salsa verde. Fun facts about Quiora’s Porchetta are that it is left to dry for three days before being roasted, and the pork itself comes from Pono Provisions in Waianae.
Another enticing porcine plate at the eatery is the Pork Pappardelle (single serving $24, family style $36). Pappardelle are large, very broad, flat pasta noodles, similar to wide fettuccine, originating from the Tuscany region. This dish consists of whey-braised pork, fresh ricotta, Ho Farms cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of Calabrian chili oil. Quiora’s pappardelle, ricotta and chili oil are all made in-house.
There are plenty of other delicious pasta options at the eatery. Among them is the Spaghetti Carbonara (single serving $24, family style $36). It features a creamy sauce of Parmesan and pecorino with pancetta, topped with a local poached egg and housemade focaccia breadcrumbs. Little details matter, where even the spaghetti is crafted in-house.
The egg in the center of the carbonara also has a soft yolk that enhances the dish when mixed in while warm. The restaurant team is more than happy to incorporate the egg tableside for guests.