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Five great places for pizza in Honolulu if you want a piece of the pie

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Think of pizza in Hawaii and maybe you are thinking of a creation of ham / cheese / pineapple that has not even been made in Hawaii.

But Hawaii 's contribution to the global scene of pizza goes far beyond pineapple topping. Within a few square blocks of downtown Honolulu, five eclectic, excellent pizza hotspots serve slices and pies for those moments when pizza fills the culinary and family bill. Here's a guide to some of the best pizzas where you'll literally find thousands of miles in every direction.

J. Dolan & # 39; s

J. Dolan & # 39; s pizza attracts several generations.

(Adam Jung)

In 2007, Jersey City, N.J., native John "J.J." worked Niebuhr as a bartender Murphy's Bar & Grill on Merchant Street in Honolulu. He was known for serving perfect Guinness pints and making pizza with his own recipes on Friday night for the regulars of the bar.

On the other side, Danny Dolan worked as general manager of The Irish pub of O & # 39; Toole and think about his next performance. The two friends met in December, drew up a business plan and opened J.J. Dolan is in January 2008. (After Niebuhr left the company, it became normal J. Dolan & # 39; s.)

"He knew how to make a pizza, I knew how to run a bar and people started coming in for a drink and a snack," Dolan said. "It was magic."

Bills himself as "an Irish pub with New York pizza from two boys in Chinatown," J.J. Dolan soon became an excellent place for the locals to catch the game on TV, enjoy a drink after work in the huge koahout bar (lovingly restored after being left by the previous owners) and get pizza by piece.

You can also order typical whole pizzas, such as Molto Formaggio, which comes with mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, fontina, Havarti, Brie and Gouda; the Scampi, with bay leaves, mushrooms and scampi sauce; and the Deli Meat, with Italian sausage, capicola, salami and ham. None of the 14-inch cakes cost more than $ 20 unless you want to build one yourself ($ 16.75 to start, plus $ 1.50 per topping).

"The great thing about J. Dolan is that it's for everyone," said Dolan. "A few years ago, four generations of one family were sitting at a table and I knew it meant we were doing something right."

What I ate: half the Giacomo with Italian sausage, pepperoni, salami and olives; and half a spinach and garlic cake with fresh spinach, chopped garlic and ricotta; $ 19.50 each.

info: J. Dolan & # 39; s, 1147 Bethel St., Honolulu; (808) 537-4992. The 16-inch pizzas start at $ 16.75.

Proof Public House

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The pies of the Public Public House differ from traditional pizzas.

(Adam Jung)

Just around the corner, on the ground floor of the historic center of Honolulu Blaisdell Hotel, built in 1912, Proof Public House serves "Truth, Strength, Change", according to owner Serena Hashimoto. For years Hashimoto, a local musician and professor in the neighborhood Hawaii Pacific University, was looking for a restaurant that offered vegetarian dishes and stayed open late enough to get a bite after playing shows.

Hashimoto could not find that place, so she opened the Downbeat Dinner & Lounge with business partner Joshua Hancock in 2011. In 2014, when the owner of the Mercury Bar wanted to sell his lounge on narrow Chaplain Lane, Hashimoto and Hancock took over and gave the same punk spirit to create Proof.

They tore the plaster on the floor, revealed the original tile of the building, added a pool table and installed a gigantic window for a feeling in the open air (and so they could project films onto an adjacent alley wall).

The owners of Mercury left a gigantic gas oven that occupied almost the entire (small) kitchen of Proof and helped dictate the menu: garlic bread, Cubano sandwiches, grilled cheese and more, all freshly baked.

Plus of course pizza. Other pizza parlors go traditional, but Proof becomes exotic. Toppings here are duck, papaya, Portuguese linguiça sausage and macadamia cream sauces. Proof also offers vegetarian options, including pizzas with pumpkin, fresh vegan pesto and various types of vegan meat such as sausage and bacon.

When other bars in the area begin to finish their food options around 10 p.m., Proof fills a glass display case with a variety of pies that can be ordered individually until they run out or the bar closes at 2 p.m. End of the night in Chinatown with a slice of white dessert pizza, complete with berries and chocolate sauce.

What I ate: the Kauai Chicken pizza, made with macadamia cream sauce, mozzarella, roasted chicken, pineapple, papaya, white onion, with balsamic drizzle; $ 16.

info: Proof Public House, 1154 Fort Street Mall, no. 10, Honolulu; (808) 537-3080. The 13-inch pizzas start at $ 13.

Brick Fire Tavern

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Brick Fire Tavern appears to be certified Neapolitan pies.

(Adam Jung)

Brick Fire Tavern, two blocks away in Hotel Street, is perhaps the most traditional pizzeria on this list. Co-owner Matthew Resich & # 39; s Neapolitan pies are certified by the international Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana; Brick Fire Tavern is the only pizzeria on Oahu with this distinction.

"I'm originally from Queens, so pizza and bagel culture was always my thing, the idea of ​​doing good bread," Resich said. “Neapolitan is sort of the purest form of pizza. The dough has only four components – flour, water, salt, yeast – and how you shape the dough is just as important as the ingredients. "

To learn secrets like these, Resich traveled to Naples in 2015 with his business partner, Inthira Marks, and studied the trade with famous master for six weeks pizzaiolo Enzo Coccia.

When they returned to the US, Resich and Marks spent a month at South Creek Pizza in Reno, where they learned how to draw their mozzarella before opening Brick Fire in 2016.

Like any respectable Neapolitan pizzeria, the restaurant uses a Stefano Ferrara brick oven (Marks chose the black bisazza glass that adorns the outside) that can cook 12-inch pizzas at 900 degrees in 90 seconds.

The wood is kiawe (mesquite), the sea salt is Mediterranean and the ingredients are generally local (greens from Maui, beets from Mililani on Oahu and organic sausage and meatballs from Waianae, also on Oahu, where the meat is specifically produced for Brick Fire by local supplier Robert McGee from Pono Pork). All oils, balsamic glazes and most meat products, such as prosciutto, are imported from Italy.

Although the Brick Fire pizza menu contains a robust list of ingredients – think of Mamma Mia, with soppressata, pancetta and Italian sausage over hot peppers and mozzarella – the flavors do not overwhelm you. Resich is proud of a light touch: "Our pizzas are minimally topped, but with quality ingredients and a thin center," he said. "The crust is soft and airy, has a subtle mouthfeel and our sauces are clear."

What I ate: the Carbonara, made with pecorino-Parmesan cheese Besciamella, homemade mozzarella, smoked pancetta, white onion and egg yolk; $ 19.

info: Brick Fire Tavern, 16 N. Hotel St., Honolulu; (808) 369-2444. The 12-inch Margherita pizza starts at $ 15.

Bar 35

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Bar 35 serves flatbread pizzas and almost 200 beers.

(Size 35)

In 2005, New Zealand restaurant Dave Stewart purchased Caspy & # 39; s Hawaiian Bar at 35 N. Hotel St. for a cash prize.

"The man was fed up," Stewart said in a 2012 Honolulu Magazine interview. “I gave him a dollar, because money had to change ownership and he handed me the keys. There was still a drink at the bar. I locked the door and called some friends. I could not drink it alone. "

Stewart removed Caspy's cheap decor and brought the space back to its bricks and concrete roots, starting with a new name: Bar 35. Stewart had 150 types of beer in stock and worked with chef Francesco Valentini, who did not shrink when Stewart asked for unconventional foods, including a Chinese pizza (because this is after all Chinatown).

Valentini created a menu around a fusion pizza that still exists almost 15 years later. Options include the French Kiss, made with brie, ham and pesto, garnished with fresh basil and mozzarella; Gyromatic, with roasted slices of lamb and beef, tzatziki sauce and romaine; and Smoky Heaven, with smoked salmon, onions, capers, Gorgonzola and cream cheese.

For Stewart, Valentini also created the Sweet Bangkok pizza with Chinese shot cheong sausage, coriander and a sweet chili sauce.

With its industrial-chic appearance and down-tempo atmosphere, Bar 35 has become something that resembles Chinatown's home bar. Nowadays, the number of available beers has risen closer to 200 and nightly drink specials keep the public in after work.

But it's the flatbread pizzas from Bar 35 that make it a destination.

What I ate: the Gyromatic, described above; $ 13.

info: Bar 35, 35 N Hotel St., Honolulu; (808) 537-3535, bar35hawaii.com. Normal pizza & # 39; s from $ 13.

Rosarina Pizza

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Rosarina Pizza is an old favorite in the city center.

(Adam Jung)

For all the slender new pizza spots taking over downtown Honolulu, there is something to be said about the long-standing standouts. This red sauce Italian joint on Maunakea Street is proud of New York deli-style pizzas, pasta, and hot and cold sandwiches.

Rosarina Pizza opened on Kalakaua Avenue just outside of Waikiki in 1986 and moved to the center in 1989, where owner Duke Vu continues to serve his 12- to 16-inch pies on your choice of thin crust, medium-like or half-inch thick hand-thrown dough .

The Rosarina toppings enter the territory that some of the other pizza spots in the area will not reach, and even offer anchovies as an option when building your own cake. Rosarina’s Combination, with pepperoni, Italian sausage, green pepper, onions and black olives, braised in mozzarella, covers all the bases if you are not sure what to choose.

If the small, mustache mascot on the front door – he wears a red bandana around the neck – doesn't persuade you to step inside, the prices and the quality can. In addition to the pizza, Rosarina & # 39; s lasagna, manicotti and ravioli hits.

What I ate: Rosarina & # 39; s combination, described above. $ 21.50 for an extra large.

info: Rosarina Pizza, 1111 Maunakea St., Honolulu; (808) 533-6634. A 12-inch cake starts at $ 9.75.

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