Oft spotted bearing a contagious grin, Ert staffs his restaurant with like-minded folks who prepare hearty, diner-style dishes “cooked and served with love.” Chefs build breakfast plates atop a sturdy foundation of rice and eggs, incorporating the customer's pick of savory, often unexpected meats, such as hotdogs or Spam. The house specialty, a house-made hamburger-steak plate, causes customers to line up at the window of Ert’s mobile food truck and mail lovelorn letters to the restaurant's unassuming storefront.
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.
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).
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.
Apartment 3 flaunts the chic side of belly-warming comfort cuisine with its menu of appetizers, sandwiches, entrees, and more constructed from as many locally and sustainably sourced ingredients as possible. Share fantasy bocce-ball-team picks while sharing The Yard Sale, a seasonally handpicked myriad of pickled veggies, on-location cured meats, and goat cheese lightly sprinkled with olive oil ($13), or dunk thirsty french fries in a tank of Sriracha ketchup ($7). Meat, vegetable, and white pizzas ($11–$12) sate circular cravings, and the Italian Dog, a mozzarella-dressed meat tube with tomatoes, basil, and balsamic, lubricates the stomach's elaborate system of levers and pulleys ($11).