Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 |
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POIPU — Overlooking the ocean, settled in the midst of palm trees and tropical flowers is a quaint piece of Italy called Dondero’s.
The restaurant is tucked into the corner of Poipu’s Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa and boasts both indoor and outdoor seating. Inside, the spacious dining room can fit large parties and outside torches illuminate tables on various levels overlooking the garden.
If you get there early enough, you can unwind with a glass of wine or a craft cocktail and watch the sun set over the ocean while enjoying a basket of fresh bread or an appetizer of peppered beef carpaccio — garnished with a currant reduction, black olives, pickled shallot, greens and capers.
While the staples generally stay the same, Chef Cary Roy said he changes the menu daily in pursuit of the best tasting dishes.
“We strive for the freshest ingredients,” Roy said. “We grow our greens hydroponically here on the property — we converted a tennis court to do it. So our greens are grown here on the property and we bring in as many local ingredients as possible.”
True to its Italian heritage, the restaurant serves pastas like their pesto gnocchi, which features parmesan gnocchi with a fig reduction, basil pesto and oven dried heirloom tomatoes. It’s topped with a fried duck egg and buratta.
The menu branches out from pasta with veal osso buco and grilled cioppino, which is a combination of tristan lobster and caledonian shrimp, on a bed of pasta covered in a spicy saffron tomato broth.
Roy and his team make every one of their dishes sing with ingredients that stand out and tastes that are well balanced, but that’s just half of their job. Presentation is everything at Dondero’s.
“You eat with your eyes first,” said Roy, who initially went to school as a visual artist before diving into the culinary realm. “The food should look so good you don’t want to eat it.”
The masterpieces Roy and his team create satisfy all the senses — from the mouthwatering smell of the local fresh catch to the golden flakes that accent the chocolate ganache on the hazelnut candy bar.
The waiters at Dondero’s will help you with a wine selection to match your dinner order, and for those with special food requirements, Dondero’s has plenty of gluten-free and vegan options that are equally as exquisite.
The restaurant is open 6-10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and is closed on Sunday. Call (808) 240-6456 for more information, or to place a reservation.
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