“Dad, my favorite tonight was the spaghetti…it was so delicious!,” exclaimed Ensen, my 5-year-old son, following our family dinner at PRIMA in Kailua this past Friday. This statement came after he devoured two slices of heavenly prosciutto rucola pizza which I thought for sure was going to be his choice of the night. But I should have anticipated this answer since he ate close to half the bowl himself. And after having this twice now at PRIMA, I don’t blame him. It’s one of my favorite dishes on the menu.
Why? For one, porky guanciale never hurts to be included in any dish as far as I’m concerned. But the perfectly cooked pasta tossed in a rich and flavorful tomato sauce with a little red onions and guanciale (did I already mention this?) is the kind of dish that wraps its arms…err…noodles around you and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s “broke da mout,” elevated Italian comfort food with a local twist that one can enjoy in a casual setting while wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and slippers. A great neighborhood spot for a quality meal where you can bring the kids (our 2-year-old Avery enjoyed as well) and have a great experience.
Built by chefs/owners Alejandro “Aker” Briceno and Lindsey Ozawa, PRIMA has been getting a lot of well deserved attention since it opened last September. Yes, they source most of their ingredients locally. Yes, they take pride in working with local farmers and ranchers. But the main priority of the team, including Chef de Cuisine Kevin Lee, is putting delicious, creative, and well-executed food on the table for customers to enjoy. And they do that exceptionally well with handmade pastas and ravioli, arguably the best kiawed fire pizzas on on the island, via their treatment of vegetables like Brussels spouts and broccoli, and what I consider “mad-scientist” approach to their flavors of sorbetto and gelato. Here’s a few other dishes from our meal that night.
Tandoori Pear – yogurt, grapefruit, cilantro, mint
Spicy Poke Bowl Soup – congee, spicy ahi and tako
Monchong - local vegetables
Roasted Brocolli - prosciutto, bordelaise
So, the next time you’re in Kailua town, consider stopping at PRIMA Kailua for dinner. They’re located in the strip mall off Hekili Street that’s also home to Big City Diner, Foodland, and Baskin-Robbins. As their website suggests, it is quite “A Dining Experience!”
108 Hekili Street, #108 (next to Baskin-Robbins)
Kailua, HI 96734
Hours: Monday – Sunday, 5-10 p.m.
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Make reservations on OpenTable