Kalapawai Café Brings Gourmet Comfort Food To Kapolei

A Kailua institution expands to the West Side.


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The menu at Kalapawai Café in kapolei features many of the kailua favorites, including hearty pizzas.
Photos: Jennifer Fiedler

 

Kailua residents have a good thing going with Kalapawai Café, one of the island’s great neighborhood restaurants, which serves crowd-pleasing new American fare that’s always just a little better than it needs to be. Now, West Side denizens can get in on the action, too. A new outpost opened in Kapolei earlier this year.

 

Decked out in the same iconic green paint on the exterior with an open warehouse-inspired layout inside, the new space operates in much the same way: deli by day, sit-down restaurant by night.

 

Fans of the original Kailua location will find much to like on the dinner menu, including the popular shepherd’s pie and Jidori chicken breast with mushroom masala. Also here: The pastrami-topped burger called Da Geevum ($18) and a super-rich pappardelle and pork ragu ($24).

 

Da Geevum, a Wagyu beef burger topped with pastrami and Swiss cheese, popular in Kailua, is on the menu here, too.

 

Hearty pizzas, including one loaded with braised local pork, mushrooms and kale ($16), work as a stand-alone dinner, but we’d just as soon load up on the attractive appetizers, including a tomato and goat cheese bruschetta ($10) and Maui onion soup gratinée ($9). (The current menu features an eggplant confit bruschetta with sweet peppers and honey.)

 

One welcome difference between the two cafés: the Kapolei location has a cocktail menu. Like the dinner menu, the cocktail list is full of familiar favorites done up with Island-inspired twists. We liked the spicy kick of the ‘Āina Mule ($9.50), a spin on the Moscow mule made with local honey, ginger beer and Maui’s Ocean Vodka.

 

The Kapolei location serves cocktails including this Island-inspired take on a moscow mule—bonus!

 

There’s a solid list of beer and wine too, served at affordable prices, including Waikīkī Brewing Co.’s Hana Hou Hefe and Maui Brewing Co.’s Bikini Blonde on draft at $6.45 apiece. On the wine side, the Domaine Depeuble Beaujolais is a good value at $35 for a bottle.

 

Kalapawai Cafe & Deli Kapolei, 711 Kamokila Blvd., Kapolei, (808) 674-1700, kalapawaimarket.com

 

READ MORE STORIES BY JENNIFER FIEDLER

 

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