725 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite C112, Honolulu
Phone number (808) 593-2626

There are three things I always can eat and not get tired of: sushi, yakiniku and pasta. So after hearing from at least half a dozen people that La Cucina Ristorante Italiano has some of the best pasta on this island, well, I think it’s rather obvious what I had to do next.

Last Tuesday, in the mood for a midweek date night, I finally stopped in — and it completely lived up to the hype.

I’d been warned against showing up without a reservation (and oddly, the restaurant doesn’t accept one for anything less than a group of four). Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait for a table (because that would have taken an hour and a half, we were told) and instead sat at the bar.

Here’s the thing about La Cucina, which the restaurant clearly declares on the front of its menu: You’re going to have to be patient. Everything is freshly handmade by one person — chef Don Truong. It’s one of those places that’s great to enjoy with a group of friends for plenty of conversation (while sipping on wine, of course).

Maybe it was because I was there on a Tuesday evening or I just happened to place my order at the right time, but I didn’t have to wait long for my food to arrive.

We started with the Insalata di Casa. (Another word to the wise: Take your time reading the menu, which felt like it assumes everyone knows Italian.) Based on its description, I was expecting a generic bowl of leafy greens tossed with a simple olive oil vinaigrette. It was all those things, but not boring at all. There was a hint of cracked black pepper for some heat, and a tomato blend with garlic and herbs (think the exact same flavor as biting into bruschetta).

The pastas, too, were — as touted — amazing. The Trenette Norcina was rich and flavorful, with generous portions of homemade Italian sausage and mushrooms, mixed with perfectly al dente trenette noodles (flat noodles similar to linguine).

Then there was the Fettucine Scampi Limone, recommended by my boyfriend’s grandma. It was rich and buttery, with large succulent shrimp and just a hint of lemon and capers that added the right amount of brightness (too many capers are a big no no for me).

It was a decadent dinner that moved at the right pace, but unfortunately left me too full for dessert. Yes, I know — I’ve been told that the Cr me Brulee Cheesecake is amazing. (Metro staff writer Paige Takeya has properly chastised me for not ordering it.)

But here’s how I look at it: All the more reason to return sometime very soon.


Metro-093015-Gastronome-Sidebar-NitrogenieAdd Nitrogenie to the growing list of places set to open Nov. 12 in the new Ewa Wing at Ala Moana Center that you should be getting excited about.

This Australian company uses liquid nitrogen to flash freeze its ice cream, which they describe as having a “super smooth consistency that holds the essence of the original ingredients.”

The process kind of sounds like a combination of Dippin Dots and Cold Stone Creamery, with items being made as customers watch.

Nitrogenie also will have a mobile truck that it plans to take to parties, fundraisers — you name it.

I can’t speak for the logistics of the ice cream — it’s all a little too scientific for me to wrap my head around — but it sounds pretty damn cool.