Monday, May 20, 2024
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Piccola Onda brings real Italian fare to Waikiki

Many people already know Onda Pasta from the weekend Farm Lover’s markets, pop ups and events, a favorite for fresh pasta and sauces that you can cook at home, as well as items cooked to order. But now, you can enjoy his food every day at his new truck behind the Alohilani Resort in Waikiki.

Piccola Onda partners Andrea Onetti (left) and Will Chen.

Chef Andrea Onetti introduced his family’s Italian pasta recipes to Hawaii nearly 10 years ago, and after a brief return to his hometown in Rome a few years ago, he made his way back to Oahu to be with his daughter, Alba. He’s been working out of the Fresh Box meal kit service — owned by chef Will Chen — cranking out more fresh pasta to meet increasing demands from Hawaii consumers, and in the process, the idea for a new Italian food truck was born. Chen partnered with Onetti to bring Piccola Onda (“piccola” means small) to life, and they’re having their grand opening tomorrow.

Here’s how to find them: park at the Alohilani Resort (or, if you prefer, find street parking in Waikiki). Walk through the hotel to Kalakaua Avenue, then turn left on Kealohilani Street. Be sure to get your parking validated by Piccola Onda for two hours. Yes, FREE VALIDATED PARKING.

You should know that this is not Pacific Rim Italian cooking. Onetti uses local ingredients, but this is real Italian cooking, made by a real Italian with recipes passed down through his family. You can’t travel to Roma, so he brings Roma to you.

Here are some items I’ve tried, and for the purpose of my blog, they’re on my own plates. But you’ll get yours in a takeout container to enjoy there or in the surroundings of your choice.

Zozzone, $12. This ciabatta sandwich features Italian sausage mixed by Chuck Wakeman at Butcher & Bird, roasted peppers, mozzarella and fresh greens. This is definitely one of my favorites, and one of my friends went off her diet to inhale this. It’s worth it, trust me.
Spaghetti al pesto, $14. Very straightforward, lovely basil flavor. My one complaint is that it’s way too easy to eat, so this was gone in no time!
Gnocchi ragu bolognese, $16. I love that these fluffy potato dumplings are cut small, so you can look dainty while eating them. Onetti makes a 12-hour Hawaiian beef ragu that imparts a homey, comforting flavor balanced with tomatoes and herbs.
Pasta al forno, $14. Baked pasta with cheese, topped with fresh bread crumbs. It seems so simple, but this was my favorite of the pastas — maybe because of the simplicity? Not sure. It brings you the cheesy goodness you love, without being too rich.
You can also order salad, and they top theirs with the same bread crumbs, which I much prefer over croutons. This gives it the same crunchy and savory element, but without cracking your teeth or risking bread flying across the room.
Panna cotta, $6. This is made using Onetti’s grandmother’s recipe, and it’s set perfectly. It’s not too hard, not mushy at all, and magical with any fruit topping he uses. I shared it with someone who had never had panna cotta before, and he said it was one of the best things he’d ever had. I want to emphasize this because there’s a lot of bad panna cotta out there. This is the texture it’s supposed to be!

Piccola Onda is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Two hours of free validated parking is available from the truck. For the latest updates, follow them on their Instagram.

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