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Sunday, June 7, 2015

BELLINI BISTRO

BELLINI BISTRO
1200 ALA MOANA BLVD (Actually on Auahi Street)
HONOLULU, HI
808-591-2488
HOURS:  Monday thru Friday 11:30 AM - 9:00 PM
                 Friday thru Sunday 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
www.bellinibistroandbar.com

Last year Maile from Maile's Thai Bistro in Hawaii Kai catered an event at our home serving delicious Thai food.  The food was great but it was Maile's spirit, attitude and love for life, food and drink that really got my party started.  When most of our guests had left there was a nice crowd gathered around Maile in the kitchen enjoying her stories and maybe some liquid that comes from a cactus in Mexico.  Maile told us about an upcoming venture that she was taking on in the Ward Village complex.  "Another Thai Restaurant" someone asked.  To my surprise she said she was opening an Italian Restaurant in the heart of Honolulu's new urban center which is Kakaako and  Ward Village.  Thousands of condo units are going up around the area and she obtained prime real estate in the heart of everything. The new restaurant is called Bellini and it is now open.  The address reads Ala Moana Blvd, but Maile's is actually fronting Auahi Street and is on the backside of Ward Village where Bed Bath and Beyond is located.  There is parking on the backside of Maile's in the Center or you can valet for $6 plus tip.  Other parking options are across the street where TJ Max, Nordstrom Rack and Pier 1 Imports are located or at the old Office Depot/Nordstrom Rack lot that is about one block away.  Once you do get to Maile's you will be greeted by a smiling hostess and offered seating indoors or outdoors on the patio fronting Auahi Street.  I love the outdoor patio at Maile's.  One of my complaints after traveling to cities around in the world and throughout America is "why doesn't Hawaii have more restaurants with outdoor patios".  I love to sit outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of a city.  Well on this day it was approaching 85 degrees and we hit Maile's at noon after being outside on a blistering hot football field all morning.  When offered outdoor seating my Daughter quickly told the hostess "indoors".  We entered Bellini and it was beautiful.  Shades of black, white and grey with a real touch of class.  My Daughter looked around and said it was "very nice".  She said Maile had good taste.  I agree.  The place is hip, stylish yet very simple.  We were seated at a small two top next to the window fronting the patio and the bar.  The bartender seemed to be a polished pro and he was making and explaining cocktails to the staff.  Every aspect was covered - the number of shakes to how to add a garnish to the drink.  The guy was good.  Our waiter asked if I would like to try an Italian beer on this hot day.  Oh yes I thought, but kept it to water only as I was driving with my daughter.  We were given a two page lunch menu and then the complete Bellini menu.  I was in the mood for a little salad and pasta. My Daughter who is a pasta eating machine and can eat the stuff 7 days a week took about 30 seconds to decide on her dish.  She saw the Pasta Carbornara and made her decision.  Our meal started with a warm loaf of fresh bread.  The waiter offered us Olive Oil or Butter to go with the bread.  My Daughter chose the butter.  The bread was delicious and you need to control yourself so you do not eat too much.  I ordered the Caesar Salad ($10) and asked that it be split.  For us the portion was big enough for two so this was perfect.  The Caesar was good and my Daughter finished off the last pieces on the plate before our entrees arrived. My Daughter enjoyed the Carbornara ($24).  This was a huge plate of pasta and she did not put a dent in it.  Ended up taking a large amount of this home.  The sauce was very creamy but my Daughter said it was "really, really good and better than what Mom makes".  She loved it.  I took a taste and thought it was good too.  I ordered the Fresh Vongole ($25).  Basically Linguine and Clams.  The Clams were large, plump and tasty.  The Pasta was cooked perfectly and the sauce was very light. I requested my dish be made "spicy" and wow did the cook really spiced it up.  Lots of crushed red pepper flakes were added to the sauce. This was a nice dish and I enjoyed it.  Would come back for this again I told my Daughter.  We were tight for time so we ordered a Pineapple Gelato ($6) to go.  The waiter said he did not have any plastic spoons and gave us a plastic fork to eat the Gelato.  After one bite of the Gelato, I would have eaten it with my hands.  The Gelato was icy, fresh and full of flavor.  Tasted like a piece of Pineapple.  I got one taste and my Daughter polished off the rest.  She loved it.  Our first visit to Bellini was excellent.  The service was good, employees smiled and the food hit high marks.  Only complaint would be the prices.  At $68 for lunch for two without tip I could not do too many lunches here.  The portions however were big and maybe next time we can just share.  Wishing Maile and her hard working Manager Janel much success here.  Cannot wait to return and look forward to having Bellini's cater a dinner at my home in September.  Nice side note to this post.  When I first met Maile over twenty years ago she was probably in her late teens or very early twenties.  She was working as a waitress at an Italian Restaurant in Manoa.  Now she owns two restaurants including an Italian one and employees dozens of people.  Only in America.  I love it!

BELLINI'S ADDRESS IS ALA MOANA BLVD BUT IT IS ON BACKSIDE OF WARD VILLAGE SHOPS ON AUAHI STREET.  ACROSS FROM TJ MAX, NORDSTROM RACK AND PIER ONE IMPORTS
SMALL INDOOR SEATING AREA AND SEATING OUTSIDE ON PATIO
BARTENDER WAS GIVING INSTRUCTION AND REALLY SEEMED TO KNOW HIS STUFF
BELLINI LUNCH MENU
LUNCH SANDWICHES AND ENTREES
BELLINI BISTRO AND BAR MENU
APPETIZERS AND SALADS
BELLINI ANTIPASTI
BELLINI PASTA SELECTIONS
CHICKEN ENTREES
BEEF AND HEALTHY CHOICES
BELLINI SEAFOOD ENTREES
FRESH BREAD SERVED WITH OLIVE OIL AND VINEGAR OR BUTTER
CAESAR SALAD WAS REALLY BIG ENOUGH FOR TWO
CARBORNARA
FRESH VONGOLE (LINGUINE WITH CLAMS)


MAILE

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