At The Kāhala’s Veranda, a New Lounge Menu With Hawai‘i Ingredients

Two dozen dishes, including braised tako ‘escargots’ with herb butter and limu.


It’s always nice to see classic spots like the Veranda at the Kāhala Hotel & Resort update their offerings in a way that appeals to longtime customers as well as new ones. Thursday through Saturday now, there’s live music and a lounge menu with shareable plates and heartier dinner entrees—new items by chef Jonathan Mizukami that reflect the sophistication of Europe while keeping a sense of place with local ingredients.


We tried a few of the dishes at the hotel’s invitation.


Kahala Veranda Panisse fries with dip

Photo: Melissa Chang


Start with the crispy panisse ($12), a play on the popular street food from the south of France. Usually, these chickpea fritters are served like croquettes, with a delicately crunchy outer layer and fluffy insides. Here, they have a more familiar French fry shape, served with harissa, a Moroccan spice mix that’s like a spicy ketchup.


jar of pale Rillette with bread and crackers

Photo: Melissa Chang


The smoked Kona kampachi rillette ($18) with rice crackers and crostini is another very French appetizer. Usually, it’s a spread of pork with butter and crème fraiche; here, Mizukami mixes fat-rich kampachi with mayonnaise, ginger, scallion, soy and tamari for an Asian twist. It’s very light and has a refreshing finish, so you keep diving in for more.


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Kahala Veranda octopus in escargot dish

Photo: Melissa Chang


Whether you are squeamish about traditional escargot or not, you’ll want to try the Tako-sargot ($16), made with braised octopus and spinach instead of snails. It’s still full of the famous escargot herb butter, then topped with limu for a slight burst of saltiness. Mop up the leftover butter with the baguette, then use the crostini from the rillette or leftover panisse to get the last buttery drops. (Yes, I’m speaking from experience.)


Kahala Veranda meaty Papardelle in a bowl

Photo: Melissa Chang


If you remember Mizukami’s pasta pop-ups several years ago, he made all kinds of noodles, all excellent. So of course he makes his own pasta at the Kāhala. The pappardelle ($30) tossed with stock-braised Maui Nui venison ragout and kale is a good and hearty choice—Mizukami uses winter wheat, which gives it a chewier texture and helps with digestion.


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Primavera pasta topped with cheese

Photo: Melissa Chang


A lighter choice is the farfalle primavera ($24), featuring local vegetables, including Small Kine Farms cremini mushrooms and Hawai‘i Island macadamia nut pesto topped with shaved Waialua tomme cheese. It’s a dish that’s popular with both vegetarians and omnivores, including Mizukami’s son.


vibrant vegetable Crudite in a glass dish

Photo: Melissa Chang


Finally, we try the Hawaiian vegetable crudites ($10), mainly for the vibrant colors—and are surprised to find they are amazing. The local veggies are accompanied by a vegan dip of soybeans, tamari, lemon juice, sesame seeds, red miso and a swoosh of olive oil. It’s rich and has a nice savory essence. I love that the vegetables are all local, including Ho Farms carrots and radishes, Mountain View Farms bok choy, Gava Grow lettuces and local cucumbers. When the veggies are gone, I use leftover rice crackers from the rillette to get every last bit of the dip. If I hadn’t already used the crostini to mop up the escargot butter, I would have used that too.


Note that there are about two dozen dishes on the menu items, including the Kāhala’s classic fried ‘ahi poke musubi, plus charcuterie, sushi and desserts. And four hours of validated parking is free with a minimum $50 purchase.


Lounge menu available Thursday to Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Kāhala Hotel & Resort, 5000 Kāhala Ave., (808) 739-8760,, @kahala_resort