For more than half a century, Round Table Pizza's chefs have been rolling out fresh, made-from-scratch dough, sprinkling it with a signature three-cheese blend, and baking the delectable disks to a golden brown. The most popular pie is King Arthur's Supreme, a benevolent despot that rules over mouths with pepperoni, italian and portuguese sausages, dry salami, and various veggies. Round Table's chefs don't stop at these specialty pies, though—they also can customize build-your-own pizzas by slathering dough in one of five sauces such as zesty red or creamy garlic, and then layering on your choice of more than 30 toppings.
First-time guests to Baci Bistro might think that co-owner Bill Duval is psychic. On any given night, he greets visitors at the door, addressing most by name. His friendliness is hardly supernatural, though—it's a shared habit between himself and his wait staff: remembering the names of returning guests. Some of the servers have even been stocking their mental rolodexes since the bistro first opened in 1997, when designers first planted the red, puckering-lips logo around the foliage-flanked interior.
Along with the warmth of its employees, Baci Bistro's signature element is freshness. Executive chef and co-owner Reza Azeri stands by the appetizing simplicity of made-to-order meals, prepping sauces that harmonize with pastas instead of masking their flavor. Ravioli remains the house specialty, whether it's stuffed with lobster or the surprise ingredient of the day, and meat entrees decorate veal, pork, chicken, and fish with vegetables and wine sauces. The menu also allows children to mix and match their choices of sauces and noodles rather than forcing them to eat like adults, who enjoy wine sauces and wipe their mouths with business cards.
Sarento's Top of the Ilikai serves fine Italian food amid a breathtaking view of Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, and the Honolulu skyline. Winner of the Hawaii Hell's Kitchen challenge, chef Maka Kwon employs his top cooking chops to craft a menu that can begin with manila clams basking in white wine-parmigiano broth ($12) and tastefully transition into osso buco with saffron risotto and gremolata ($34). Upscale pastas include tagliatelle ai funghi, featuring mushrooms roving through thickets of hand-cut pasta ($24), and sweet tiger shrimp scampi ($29).
Sergio Mitrotti's various careers have led him to the bottom of the sea as a scuba diver and to the chicest lapels as a clothier, but the Turin, Italy, native has always been one thing above all else: an Italian gourmand. As head chef at Cafe Sistina, Mitrotti infuses his mother’s and grandmother’s traditional Italian recipes with Hawaiian produce and works on his own culinary legacy by putting innovative spins on the classics. His entrees range from traditional linguine puttanesca to shrimp scampi alla vodka with spinach linguini to the modern, spicy tutto mare—risotto topped with spicy opakapaka, calamari, and shellfish. Wines from Italy and the United States complement each dish in the colorful dining room, where every surface—from walls to ceiling—is painted with a colorful reproduction of a famous mural, including Michelangelo's The Fall and Expulsion from Garden of Eden and The Creation of man.
When Gilbert Sakaguchi opened the original Magoo's Pizza on the Waikiki strip back in 1970, he had high hopes. But in no way could he have predicted the kind of success the tiny pizzeria would have, eventually fielding more than 400 orders a day. Recently, Sakaguchi and his son Marshall have taken their much-loved pizza to the streets via the Magoo's food truck. Equipped with a giant oven, the vehicle roams the roads as chefs prepare fresh pies and sandwiches baked to a golden crisp.
The eight trademark pies at King’s Pizza achieve their cheesy, bubbly surfaces through brick-oven baking, gracing plates alongside salads, wings, and sandwiches crafted from Italian recipes. Dig into a slice ($5) or entire extra-large specialty pizza ($18) of specialties such as the Kingston, which arrives smothered with chicken, spinach, and capers, or the Pali, in which a garden of fresh organic spinach, olives, and gnome-sheltering jalapeños grows. Creative epicureans may craft their own pizza creation from 17 different toppings, sending beef, pesto, or sun-dried tomato to parachute down onto their pizza’s cheese-strewn plains. Forgo circular fare to nosh on sandwiches such as the Italian meatball ($7) or a fresh garden salad ($7). Like most carrier pigeons, King’s Pizza offers free delivery.