By Lisa Scontras | Photos by Justin R. Dotson
In Manoa Marketplace is Milano Freezer, where you can get to-die-for Italian gelato in exotic flavors, including banana, coffee, sour cherry, vanilla bean, almond, mango, pistacio, watermelon, pineapple and orange cream.
"We make everything here daily, the gelato, the yogurt," says the cheerful server from behind the counter. "We have something like 70 gelato and 40 different yogurt flavors."
Milano Freezer specializes in making high quality gelato, yogurt and smoothies all with the freshest ingredients. And they're all made in the store daily. Light and fresh, the treats are a quick meal, a snack or after dinner sweet.
Wai'oli Tea Room & Bakery
One of Hawaii's hidden treasures, the off-the-beaten-path setting of the Wai'oli Tea Room's lanai and outdoor garden terrace is a lovely slice of paradise.
Breakfast is served Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon and includes favorites like scones, eggs, quiche, frittata, omelets, eggs benedict, breakfast burritos, cinnamon, apple, blueberry, fresh strawberry or caramelized banana waffles, guava and berry French toast and a variety of pastry.
Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (noon to 3:30 p.m. on weekends) featuring a variety of sandwiches, quesadillas, amazing salads, homemade soups and tempting desserts.
Wai'oli Tea Room & Bakery is perfect for catching up with a friend or for a coffee date and pampering breakfast or lunch experience. Plan to stay a while. Leave the hustle and bustle of town behind and let the tranquil ambiance and the food connect you.
Several rooms are available to accommodate business lunches, meetings or special events and weddings.
Paesano Ristorante Italiano
Mangia! A must try for anyone looking to satisfy their garlic fix or just craving some melted cheesy comfort food, is Paesanos, located in Manoa Marketplace.
All of the dishes are made to order, so customized dishes to satisfy diet or allergies are happily accommodated.
This is a favorite hangout of many Manoa residents for its great food and convenient location - perfect for lunch meetings, or a once-a-week extended family gathering. The interior décor is very Napa Valley, with crates of wine used as room dividers in a creative, welcoming, bistro kind of way.
Regulars say they love the artichoke pepperonata as a starter or the Paesano house salad with a light Italian dressing. Hamakua tomato bruschetta is light and delicious. The baked stuffed eggplant with mozzarella and ricotta cheese is a popular dish, as is the veal scallopine alla parmigiana. Order the large plate, if you want to take leftovers home for tomorrow.
Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for dinner daily from 5 to 9 p.m.
Nishi Moncho Ramen
With meals for under $10, Nishi Moncho Ramen appeals to the college crowd. Favorites like the Shoyu Ramen are hot and filling, giving students bang-for-the-buck hearty value. Nishi Moncho Ramen is an on-the-go inexpensive staple for those on a shoestring budget.
Located at Manoa Marketplace, favorites include fried rice, udon and gyoza.
Open 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
If you have a weakness for chocolate and pastry, two words: Fendu Boulangerie.
Their biggest seller: Chocolate croissants. They make hundreds of these habit-forming pastries every week to help get people's days off to a sweet start or deliver a pick-me-up any time of the day - even for night owls cramming for exams.
Cookie lovers go for the chocolate macadamia nut, but most find deciding what to order includes one of each. Popular eats include lychee streusel danish, the blueberry Danish, tiramisu, chicken curry sandwich and the rustic gourmet pizza. Forget the Diet Coke. This is hard-core decadence.
"Everything there is my favorite," says Diane Ito, Realtor® at Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. They make the best croissants on the island. The chocolate ones are made in heaven. They have different breads that come out of the oven every hour and smell scrumptious. I can't say enough about the place."