A Taste Of Tuscany At Sergio’s

Jo McGarry
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Friday - September 09, 2005
| Del.icio.us | podcast Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com

Executive chef Marc Anthony is
in his element at Sergio’s

If there’s one thing that Sergio’s Italian Restaurant wants to be able to do, it’s to convince local people that the drive to Waikiki - more accurately, to Hilton Hawaiian Village - is worth it. Mention an upscale dining environment in the same breath as Honolulu’s most famous tourist area and we all think immediately of problems with parking and high prices.

“We want local people to be able to enjoy the restaurant,” says general manager Kyle Matsumoto, “and to know that we are very affordable.”

The food is very good, I’ll tell you that right off the bat. Executive chef Marc Anthony was the chef over at Sarento’s for a good while, and he certainly knows his way around a Mediterranean kitchen. There’s a fixed-price menu for $39 that should appeal to anyone who wants to give Sergio’s a try, and there are lots of monthly specials - including 25-percent off appetizers from 5 to 7 each evening. The specials are a fine way to try out the menu without heading straight into the main items.

And the ambience is great. Sergio’s has managed to re-create the atmosphere of a Tuscan farmhouse quite convincingly. From the terracotta and faded blue and sunshine yellow-painted walls to the crisp, white linen tablecloths and sparkling glasses, this is a place that emulates the Mediterranean well.

The restaurant, a comfortable, beautifully designed room with a small bar at the entrance, has interesting nooks and crannies. There’s a raised level with tables that look down into the main dining room, and a room with wonderful views over the lagoon that is also available for private parties. Anthony says that he’s keeping the menu traditional while having some fun, and there’s no doubt that you’ll have a good time dining here. Whether you choose to go for the discounted appetizers, chef’s specials or the full menu, there are a surprisingly good number of choices.

Sergio’s had a problem in the beginning, I think, in that it had an inexperienced chef with seemingly no experience in Italian cooking. In Anthony they seem to have found a chef who is in his element.

You might want to try the wine dinner, being featured this month, where for $59 you can try four courses paired with Italian wines. Choose from house-made mozzarella, mussels with lemon, garlic and breadcrumbs, Italian bread salad, citrus gazpacho, pan-roasted chicken breast with Tuscan style wild rice and foie gras gravy, braised lamb shank, fish specials or giant prawns. Each course is paired with wine, and it’s an easy way to see what Anthony can do.

Parking is validated and uncomplicated, and it probably is one of the better deals in Waikiki - especially if you’re looking for somewhere that feels like a special-occasion restaurant.

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