Back in March, Mrs. Island Mileer insisted on taking me out for my birthday. We skipped the prior because of the pandemic. But, with things slowly reopening, we decided to give Quiora Waikiki dinner service a try.
Why Quiora Waikiki? We’ve actually been here before for breakfast. But, at night, Quiora Waikiki serves up a rustic Italian menu. Me being the noodle nut that I am, I have had this restaurant on my list of places to try for a while now. What’s more, having not been vaccinated yet at the time, I had a personal requirement that any restaurant we dine at has open-air seating. And much like its sister restaurant, Quiora is an entirely open-air restaurant.
As you’ll recall from our breakfast visit, Quiora Waikiki is located in the Ritz-Carlton Residence Waikiki. Specifically, it’s in the lobby level of Diamond Head Tower, overlooking the family pool. It’s a small but airy space somewhat bookended by the host stand and a bar.
Quiora Waikiki Dinner Service
Overall, the service at Quiorak Waikiki for dinner was just as good as breakfast. That is to say that the staff was friendly and hopeful. That’s a hallmark, really, of all of G. Lion Hawaii‘s restaurants.
Quiora Waikiki Dinner Drinks
Having had great drinks at La Vie Waikiki, I had to order a drink at Quiora Waikiki. Heck, the cocktail menu is identical. So, I got to try a drink I wanted to last time but didn’t get a chance to – I’m a lightweight, ok? As a result, this time around, I ordered the Calamansi Pisco, which was good. I wish the calamansi flavor came out just a tad more, but it was a nice, citrusy, refreshing drink that ended up being important to have during our meal.
Mrs. Island Miler zero-proof Lilikoi “Sangria,” incorporating strawberry, lilikoi, and honey.
Quiora Waikiki Dinner Foo
I’m going to level with you guys here – we had a tough time figuring out what to order. At the end of the day, we settled on one appetizer, two pastas, a large-format dish, french fries (why the hell not?), and a dessert sampler.
For our one appetizer, we settled on Quiora Waikiki’s signature Calabrian Garlic Shrimp. This striking starter combines whole, shelled sweet Kauai shrimp with a mildly spicy broth of Calabrian chili oil, tons of garlic, and some citrus. Smartly, they serve it with some grilled Breadshop sourdough – perfect for sopping up all that glorious sauce. The whole dish, really, was fantastically flavorful and left us wanting more. It’s too bad, though, that the shrimp were overcooked.
Most of the pasta on the menu is made fresh in-house. And since they all sound great, we decided to go all-in here and order two different pastas. We debated this for a while and eventually settled on the Fines Herbs Tagliatelle and the Porcini Pappardelle.
The Fines Herbs Tagliatelle is essentially a tagliatelle with fresh herbs laminated into the dough. It’s served with a beurre monte, a squeeze of lemon, some bottarga, crispy bread crumbs, and chunks of lobster. It’s a fine dish combining classic flavors of lobster and butter but in a more refined dish. And while tasty, I do wish they weren’t so chintzy with the lobster or the bottarga.
The Porcini Papparadelle is pappardelle made with porcini powder. It’s then tossed with Hamakua Ali’i Mushrooms sauteed with butter and topped with pea tendrils and crispy-fried kale. While good, I do wish the porcini flavor was a bit stronger. I also wish we knew that the sauce on this one is butter-based, as we would’ve ordered a different pasta to give ourselves a bit more variety.
I’m a big fan of Pono Pork products. So, when I found out that Quiora Waikiki’s porchetta comes from Pono Pork, I knew I had to try it – especially since it was stuffed with a mushroom mixture during our visit. It comes with a side of Hirabara Farms roasted vegetables and polenta. This dish was a glorious pile of crispy, fatty pork, buttery and cheese polenta, and wonderfully roasted veggies. I do wish the porchetta didn’t disintegrate when they carved it and that they didn’t cook it so well, but it was still delicious.
Our side of Truffle Fries was great and we only really ordered it since, well, we hadn’t had fries in a LONG time. Quarantine, man. But maybe this was too much of a crispy, crunchy, fatty combo. And I do wish they had a more pronounced truffle flavor since there was nearly none at all.
Our indecisiveness extended to dessert. What made matters worse is that we were already quite full by the time we hit dessert. So, we ended up splitting the Trio of Desserts. On that night, this included the Tiramisu, Italian Salted Caramel Custard, and gelato. Initially, I had wanted the tiramisu, but that ended up being the one item that night that I flat-out didn’t like. It was like an airy, lightly flavored cake. When I have tiramisu, I expect ladyfingers and mascarpone. Not here. I will say, though, that I loved the Italian Salted Caramel Custard. If ever I order a full-size dessert here, it’ll be that.
Quiora Waikiki Dinner, Final Thoughts
There was a lot to love at Quiora Waikiki, but there were many things here and there that fell short. I have to wonder, though, would things have been different if they (and everyone else) weren’t dealing with the impacts of the pandemic? I’m not sure. Suffice to say, of the two G. Lion restaurants at the Ritz-Carlton Residence Waikiki, La Vie Waikiki is the best of the bunch. Their cuisine is far more refined and interesting. That said, I would definitely return to Quiora Waikiki to give them another shot. I’d also love to check out one of their monthly pasta dinners one of these days.
By the way, that Calabrian Garlic Shrimp? I’m not kidding when I say we loved it. It would’ve been perfect if it wasn’t overcooked. That said, I loved it so much that I did eventually attempted to recreate it at home.