Last Sunday we were having a terrible time, both with the heat and with my own unfamiliarity with Kailua. We wanted to find a place to sit down and eat. We went around and around and finally stopped at Longs to get some cash. I was fortunate enough to find a couple at the ATM that recommended Formaggio Grill. Seeing my frustration and sweaty brow, the wife just laughed at me and suggested we just kind of move across the street and around the corner a little. So, we did!
We stepped in the door of this relatively new addition to the Windward side of the island and were met with the coolest air conditioning you can imagine and greeted by a very nice host and friendly atmosphere. Of course we were dying in the heat so anything cooler than outside would have been welcome! The nice young host was concerned about how crowded the restaurant was and that we might have to wait. As it worked out, we didn’t have to wait long at all and we were seated and given cold water, other beverages and menus.
While looking at the menu and trying to figure out just what we had walked into, I noticed that the decor was interesting. There were paintings or sketches hung on warm, mustard-colored walls. The art work was interesting to look at and to try to figure them out. The most interesting one, I found, was the picture all the way on the right in the picture above. You can’t really tell but it’s of the Mona Lisa but it looks like a paint-by-number that was never completed. Was the artist still looking for Ms. Right? Maybe. He was obviously still trying to figure out how to color his ideal woman.
It was pretty quiet as people started to leave after finishing their lunch. It was already close to 3:00 in the afternoon.
I’m pretty sure that what we see in the background of the picture above is the kitchen, or certainly a portion of it. Our waiter, Jason, was a great help to us as we asked about things on the menu. What a wonderful menu or yummy choices! Jason’s suggestions were good ones. The food actually worked out nicely — the available selections would make any palate happy.
Mom saw onion soup on the menu and decided that was for her! It smelled wonderful and looked even better! As she spooned through it like we all do with soup, the amount 0f cheese was amazing. That’s one soup that would give French onion soup a run for its money! You should have seen the amount of cheese. Woo hoo! I guess that was French onion soup with an Italian twist.
I was drooling over the steak choices on the menu but they were more for dinner and a little too pricey for lunch. The original location of Formaggio is actually on the other side of the hill from this one. It’s on the Honolulu side of the Koolaus, in the Market City shopping center on Kapiolani Blvd. That one is more focused on liquor. We were lucky enough to be in the location where the food was the focus.
Anyway, I opted for their signature burger, the Kobe Burger Panini, with a side of salad sprinkled with a to-die-for dressing. This burger actually made it on to the cover of Honolulu Magazine. I’m not much of a salad person, except for the occasional craving, but this one was one to talk about. I had to ask twice about the dressing because it sounded too simple to be so good. Thedressing was a combination of 18-year-old balsamic delizio, grey poupon, olive oil, salt and pepper — that’s it. So good!
Mom got a piece of chocolate bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and chocolate and vanilla drizzles.
I just thought the blueberry cheesecake sounded good. It was.
This is a great restaurant with great atmosphere, great service, and great food. The only drawback is that the prices can add up very quickly. So, I think this is a great place for special-occasion eating. If you’re after just a casual meal, this might not be the best expenditure of your money. If you want really good food and you have something to celebrate, I give this place very high marks!
305 Hahani Street
Kailua, Hawaii 96734