Build Your Own Tacos and Burritos at Paniolo’s Hawai‘i

Who needs a Chipotle when we have our own local version?
Tacos at Paniolo's Hawai‘i
Left: Carne Asada tacos. Right: a trio of tacos.
Photos: Kawehi Haug


With their objective of building fast-casual eateries with a focus on fresh, healthy and local ingredients, the owners of Aloha Salads have branched out into serving tacos and burritos. Their new place, Paniolo’s Hawai‘i, opened late last year in Kailua, right next to the flagship Aloha Salads shop, and borrows its concept very conspicuously from Mainland fast-food taco franchise Chipotle. The idea: fresh, healthy, Mexican-inspired dishes.


Paniolo’s sources its ingredients locally, using Big Island grass-fed beef and Island-grown produce, and makes all of its beans (black and pinto), salsas and guacamole in house. Choose whether you want a burrito, tacos or a bowl, pick your filler (white rice, brown rice or field greens), your protein (organic chicken, grilled steak, adobo-marinated steak, kālua pork, grilled veggies or tofu), and your beans (pinto, black or refried), and then top everything off with any or all of the sauces and salsas.


A note of caution: Maybe it was just us, but there’s a serious tendency to get carried away with the toppings and fillings. The prices are not easily visible, so, before you know it, you’re paying $15 for a burrito. Next time, we’ll actually pay attention before asking for everything on everything. And, after trying it all, we settled on our favorite combination: the burrito with white rice, kālua pig, black beans, corn, avocado cream, tomato fresca salsa and guacamole.


Paniolo’s Hawai‘i, 600 Kailua Road, next to Aloha Salads, dishes from $7.95, 261-4291.