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Try This Mom-and-Pop Pizzeria Hidden Inside Aqua Bamboo Waikīkī Hotel

A couple fires pies out of a tiny kitchen in the backyard of this Waikīkī hotel.


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The Lovin’ Oven is exactly what we’d heard it was. A couple, firing pies out of a tiny kitchen in the backyard of the Aqua Bamboo Waikīkī Hotel.

Photo: Kawehi Haug

 

When word on the street about a mom and pop pizza place making artisan pizza at a poolside snack bar in a small Waikīkī hotel reached us where we live far, far from Waikīkī, we knew we’d make the trip to the visitor strip to check it out.

The Lovin’ Oven is exactly what we’d heard it was. A couple, firing pies out of a tiny kitchen in the backyard of the Aqua Bamboo Waikīkī Hotel. It’s like someone set up shop in the poolside party room of your condominium, except here, there’s table service. The place is tiny—four café tables—and so the owners really prefer that diners make reservations. It doesn’t take much to overwhelm a kitchen staff of one. In the evenings, they open the outdoor seating area to accommodate larger crowds.

The pizza menu is short, with the usual pepperoni and cheese varieties, as well as a few one-of-a-kind combos like the Mexican pizza (like nachos on pizza crust) and the “True,” a barbecue pizza with kalua pork, Portuguese sausage, pineapple and Maui onions.

All the pizzas come as 16-inch pies on cracker-style crust with toppings that sometimes overwhelm the thin crust, but with flavors that are bright and distinct, even on the busier pies.

We get the clear-cut impression that at The Lovin Oven, quietness is a virtue. The soft-spoken server, the classical piano music playing softly in the background, our own hushed conversation (we’re not going to be the ones to break the silence!)—it all makes for a very tranquil, if not sometimes awkward, experience. And when we’re told that the Oven is BYOB with no corkage fee, we know that means bring a bottle of wine, not a 12-pack of beer.

The Lovin’ Oven, Aqua Bamboo Waikīkī Hotel (find it by going through the lobby, out the back door and to the left of the pool), 2425 Kūhiō Ave., pizzas $25, 866-6489, parking is next door at the Pacific Monarch Hotel, cash only.

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