Pioneering Italians were not only the first to put tomatoes in cuisine, they were also the first people to take photographs of themselves pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Delight in their inventiveness with today's Groupon: for $30, you get $60 worth of fine Italian fare at Sarento's Top of the Ilikai in the Ilikai Hotel.
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).
More than a dozen specialty cocktails and an expansive wine selection serve to further tickle diners’ palates. The restaurant validates parking and decisions to attend clown college.
Sarento's at the Top of the Ilikai
Sarento's is a bit of a paradox. In the dining room on the 30th floor of the Ilikai Tower, the views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows are quintessential Honolulu: Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, and the famous skyline that's graced more postcards than the words "I'll come home when I feel like it." But look down at the food on your table, and you'll be transported to the other side of the world. Recipients of multiple OpenTable diner awards and TripAdvisor's certificate of excellence 2014, the chefs here pay tribute to Italy and the greater Mediterranean region, crafting dishes such as escargot, grilled veggies, and homemade pastas with filet mignon meatballs.
Meals often wind down over live piano music, and pair nicely with a selection from the wine cellar, which holds around 3,000 Old World vintages. Visitors can also try a glass alongside more casual fare at the wine and tapas bar.