And then I graduated. And got older. And moved to Hawaii. At which point I realized, dammit those people were right. Making friends as an adult is a bit dicey sometimes. Luckily, as soon as we stepped foot in Hawaii, connections were being made. One such connection happens to be a neighbor of ours, Marco, who just so happens to manage the amazing restaurant, Azul, at the J.W. Mariott Ihilani Resort.
I was immediately drawn to Marco, because I was able to practice my Italian with him and he was always so friendly to Dane and I. It was win-win for all of us. He encouraged us to come to Azul one night to try their food. I was skeptical at first, because I’m picky about Italian food. Come on now, I know Italian food–I wasn’t interested in any resort-style Olive Garden.
Boy was I wrong. Dane and I were blown away by atmosphere, service and, of course, taste. It helped, too, that Marco came to our table periodically to check in on us. As I noticed, he does this with every table, so it makes all guests feel welcome.
The atmosphere is one that’s quiet, with an intimate setting–not the hustle and bustle of a standard resort restaurant and soft lighting from candles and outdoor tiki torches allow you to feel the island vibe without the overkill of kitschy leis or Hawaiian placements.
Dane ordered the Fettuccine all’Aragosta, I ordered gluten free pasta in a Bolognese sauce and we both enjoyed a glass of Pinot Grigio. There’s nothing exciting about a plate of pasta in meat sauce, but oh. my. word. Check out this Fettuccine.
There may not be anything exciting about looking at either of these dishes, but trust me when I say they both blew us away. The gluten free pasta texture was just right–a feat for any homemade pasta maker (and cooker!). Marco promised me the chef prepared my meal in a wheat free zone and I was ecstatic to be able to enjoy pasta in a restaurant. While I did not try Dane’s pasta, the lobster was tender and packed with flavor.
Azul now ranks among our favorite restaurants on all of Oahu. We frequent the bar for post dinner drinks where our favorite bartender, Chris, knows our names now and anytime we have guests, we’re sure to treat them to some of the best Italian we’ve ever had.
Yesterday I asked, but I guess I should ask again, who’s ready to come visit?
After all, when you’re here, you’re family!