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Oahu 2015: Day 4 Part 2: Arancino di Mare, MW Restaurant

After our morning hiking up Koko Head, we returned to the condo to clean and rest up before lunch. We had lunch near the condo at Arancino de Mare at the Marriott Waikiki for delicious seafood-driven Italian food. We ate here on a previous trip at the Beachwalk location and I still dream about the uni pasta so that is what I got. Spaghetti al Ricci di Mare: spaghetti with fresh uni in a sweet garlic wine cream sauce. It was really good but you have to really like sea urchin to appreciate this dish (I do).

Spaghetti with creamy uni, one of my favorite things to eat!

Steve went with a prix-fixe lunch menu which featured two appetizers, a pasta with calamari and tobiko, plus dessert.

First appetizer, a scallop carpaccio with sea asparagus

Second app was prosciutto with melon

Pasta with calamari and fish roe, it was very tasty and not too heavy.

Affogato for dessert!

We really enjoyed this location of Arancino and would one day like to try their fancier outpost at the Kahala Resort. After lunch we spent the afternoon walking around Waikiki beach. It was raining on and off and the sun would peep through every so often. It was definitely prime rainbow weather though!

Dinner was at a new hot spot downtown: MW Restaurant. The chefs are alums of Alan Wong’s which is our favorite fine dining restaurant in Honolulu. Inside there is an open kitchen and the space is bright and modern. There was valet parking but I can’t remember if it was free. We may have had to pay 5 bucks but it was a welcome relief to not have to look for parking in the area.

Interior of MW Restaurant

My cocktail…I think it was some sort of mojito made with shiso leaves.

Steve got the tasting menu which included about 5 courses but I wanted to try specific things so I got items a la carte. I must have felt a need for some greens considering the big bowl of creamy uni pasta I got for lunch, so I ordered a local Greek salad to start. The portion was actually very large and the greens were really fresh. The dressing was great and it got it’s local flavor by the addition of some shiso leaves which are a type of Japanese spice, similar to basil. Steve’s first course was a multitude of appetizers on a plate. I spied some spicy Korean fried chicken, mini kobe slider, and pork belly bao.

Fresh “local” Greek salad

Appetizer sampler, part of the tasting menu.

I also got ahi tuna tartare with uni and ikura – the presentation was beautiful and everything was really fresh and bright. I really do love uni and this was a wonderful dish that highlighted all my favorite ingredients!

The perfect trifecta: Ahi tuna, uni, and ikura!

Steve’s next course was a seared foie gras, which was delicious. His next three courses were fish, lobster, and short rib. He enjoyed everything he got.

Seared Hudson Valley foie gras

Butter poached lobster

Short rib with a quail’s egg on top

As my entree, I got the mochiko-crusted opakapaka, a pink snapper crusted with sweet rice flour and deep fried, served with 3 types of picked vegetables and a dipping sauce. It was very good. I love opakapaka and I order it whenever I see it on a menu and MW’s version didn’t disappoint. I still do have a soft spot for Alan Wong’s pork hash-crusted opakapaka though. Steve’s fish course (not pictured) was a smaller version of my dish but was made with a different fish…think it might have been ono. If the opakapaka had been on the tasting menu I’d totally have gotten it too!

MW’s mochiko-crusted opakapaka

Our dinner was really fantastic but dessert was what blew me away. I really wanted to try the Kula Strawberry Shave Ice and it was just as good as it sounded. Frozen kula strawberries were “shaved” onto a coconut tapioca base with fresh mochi. I loved this dessert and it had some of my favorite things…strawberry, mochi, coconut…mmmm

Delicious Kula strawberry “shave ice”

I don’t know which one I liked better – The Pig and The Lady’s Flava Fatality or this. I must admit I have lost some of my sweet tooth over the years but these desserts have really brought it out again. Steve got a passion fruit panna cotta, a chocolate bar, and mini malasadas as part of his meal. All were very good but the shave ice was the favorite of the night. They even wrote Happy Anniversary on the plate of panna cotta! Thanks MW Restaurant for an amazing meal!

We had a lovely time at MW restaurant!

I would highly recommend MW restaurant. The service was excellent. The prices are in line with Alan Wong’s but I thought the food was more modern and innovative whereas AW was more classic pacific rim. Alan Wong’s is also slightly more formal. I think MW could be our new favorite “fine dining” in Hawaii!

Coming up the next day, we head windward! Read more about our November 2015 Oahu Trip!



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