By Lisa Scontras | Photos by Davin Iyamatsu
"I think the restaurant selection in Kunia is a reflection of the family-friendly community," says Michele Cadiente-Cargo, Realtor Associate at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. It seems developers took the community into consideration when deciding what tenants to put in the mall and what could best accommodate the people living in the surrounding area."
Feeding the kids on the fly? We marvel at how mom and dads juggle the carpools, the dance classes and soccer practice so eloquently, and still manage to know just how to keep everyone happy when it comes to finding a good meal. In Kunia, convenience doesn't mean giving up on variety. But it's difficult to pick a favorite when you have so many options all in one place. This neighborhood is all about casual food in a fun atmosphere.
Fast Food options
Between Wendy's, Jack in the Box, McDonalds, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, Denny's, Subway, Loco Moco and Taco Del Mar, there are plenty of kid-pleasing restaurants to provide a variety of inexpensive meals from pancakes and loco moco to burger, fries, enchiladas, smoothies, meatball subs, even ice-cream sundaes.
"I think it's convenient for families, especially if mom and dad work downtown," says Cadiente-Cargo. "After dealing with the traffic on the way home, I don't think many people feel like cooking dinner. It is nice to have these eateries as an option if time is of the essence and the keiki are hungry."
Denny's offers folks dining options 24 hours a day. Here you can get breakfast any time of the day, including the popular Grand Slam. Lunch and dinner options include burgers, salads and sandwiches, appetizers and desserts to satisfy any late-night craving.
On a tight budget? And who isn't? These restaurants are a no hassle dining experience that is easy on the pocketbook.
Ooooh, for the very best pastrami sandwich on a homemade ciabata roll on the island, or if you're craving real Italian meatballs, a hearty Eggplant Parmesan or decadent Fettuccine Alfredo, nothing comes close to the homemade taste of Auntie Pasto's in Kunia.
Cozy booths make the atmosphere fun for family gatherings, and the delectable variety of pastas and gooey comfort food will please the whole family. Auntie's spaghetti, pizza and mac-n-cheese are the epitome of fun keiki food, and the laid back welcoming vibe is so Italian.
"My favorite restaurant in Kunia has to be Auntie Pasto's partly because they actually have parking at this location," says Cadiente-Cargo. "I like to order the lasagna roll with Caesar salad lunch combo."
Hand-tossed pizza crusts fired in a brick oven make the Neapolitan style pizzas - especially the fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomato basil - a house specialty.
The service is friendly and the menu offers Italian favorites, including a chopped salad, an Italian meats and cheese plate appetizer, shrimp scampi with angel hair pasta, gnocchi (house made potato dumplings), a lasagna roll, a rib-eye steak, polenta and an endless supply of delicious garlic bread.
"I really like the crab cakes," says Mikiko Terahira, Realtor Associate at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties.
Menu items are healthy - made with only mono-unsaturated fats (canola and olive oil) and real butter. They don't use trans fats! Everything on the menu, including the dressings and sauces, are made in house and fresh produce is delivered daily. Whole wheat and gluten-free pasta is available on request.
Of course, you'll have to keep coming back to sample everything on the menu. And you can, because this family establishment feeds everyone reasonably.
For a taste of authentic Thai cuisine, Thai Village in Kunia can't be beat. Enjoy good food and good company in this conveniently located Kunia Shopping Center location.
"My favorites here are the spring rolls, the green curry and the pineapple fried rice," says Terahira.
Pineapple fried rice is a Jasmine rice stir-fried with onion, egg, chunk pineapple, tomato, green onion and Thai seasoning. Most of the vegetables are brought in fresh from local farms daily and are seasonal.
Menu favorites include papaya salad, made with shredded green papaya, tomatoes and Thai Village sauce; fresh homemade style udon Khao Plix soup with chicken or pork; Thai sweet & sour, sautéed with white onion, cucumber, pineapple, bell pepper, celery and tomatoes; a variety of fried noodles; and an assortment of curries - red, yellow, green, pineapple, Panang, Evil Jungle, garlic and lobster.
Kunia Chinese Restaurant
There is something about Chinese food that lends itself to family-shared dining and no one does family style better than Kunia Chinese Restaurant. And with the generously sized portions, there's plenty to go around no matter how big (and hungry) your family might be.
Chef specialties - on everyone's must try list - include crab puff, sizzling spicy chili shrimp, tenderloin steak and macadamia nuts with asparagus, shrimp rice noodle with roasted garlic, pork chop Hong Kong style, and fresh asparagus with beef, pork or chicken.
Garlic and butter shrimp, fried oysters, steam pork hash, char siu manapua and walnut shrimp are mouth watering as well.
And if you're having a party, their catering menu includes many of the favorite dishes and the restaurant will deliver free on purchases more than $200.
The comfortable and quiet setting and exquisite cuisine offers a nice alternative to fast food dining in the neighborhood. For a complete menu, visit their website at www.kuniachineserestaurant.com.