The "Super Hawaii Jumbo Parfait" (otherwise known to us as "The End") is just the topping on this magnificent business known as "Cafe Lani". Located in Ala Moana Shopping Center on the mauka side (mountain side) of the mall, near Nitrogenie, this restaurant gives you meals that are well manicured to entice even those on a diet. Lemme show you what I mean... Let's start off with the ambiance!
Quite frankly, I'm a lover of the open kitchen. When we walked in, you are immediately able to see all the action that is taking place to prepare these fantastic dishes. If you look at the photo, on the right hand side is where the food comes up on the pass for pick-up and i noticed they don't sit long at all! (this is great so our food isn't cold).
We got to sit in the middle (which is where I wanted to go). The lighting was perfect as it made you feel like you were eating outside around noon BUT without the overwhelming heat factor. The A/C kept the environment cool but not cold! I noticed other tables surrounding the center offered dimmer lighting for those hoping for a more intimate setting. (And YES, that is a bar conveniently placed on the back wall in the middle of the dining room for those needing a mid-day pick me up).
I am a huge advocate of efficiency (to go along with my mild case of ADD and OCD)! Many times I look a menu and I'm already lost as I see words upon words. Hundreds ways to describe a grilled chicken rather than just saying..."Grilled Chicken". When I opened up the Cafe Lani menu, my eyes were immediately gratified to see the colorful photos with a brief description of what's on the plate!
The photo is what captures you, then it brings your attention to the description that precisely explains what you're getting.
When the dishes arrived we were quite pleased. They looked photo worthy and the lighting in the center dining room was so perfect to capture each snap shot. The Fedelini Bolognese (2nd photo from the bottom) didn't use a bolognese sauce as the patron is a vegetarian. We politely asked the server if a substitution could be made to accommodate by using just a tomato sauce and after consulting the kitchen we got a "not a problem". When you eat out and have diet restrictions or allergies, it's best to advise the server so they can assist with your menu selection. "Thank you Cafe Lani".
If you are like me, you have already read the menu via the photo above. You would have already taken a notice to the "ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT BREAD" notification near each meal. THIS IS NO JOKE! The kitchen prepares an exciting variety of small breads to be enjoyed throughout your meal...and when I say variety.. I mean there's 20 options to choose from. The servers will stop by your table with a tray of bread straight from the oven and keep coming back to you. We literally tried soooo many pieces and they kept coming!
Gosh, what a day! After the scrumptious meal, Onion Gratin soup and enough bread to feed the pigeons at Kapiolani Park for the next 30 years, we didn't have it in us to attack the dessert menu. But, I shall leave it right here for you to start previewing before you go. CAFE LANI DESSERTS.
We'd like to thank everyone at CAFE LANI for their smiles, quick service and customers service that gave us a delightful experience! There's normally a line out the door to get in at this place (if you haven't already noticed) but we dined around 3:00pm on a weekday and we didn't have to wait!
Bring your appetites and ready-that camera. I think the next time we go back, we'll start with the desserts and work our way backwards.
Thank you all for reading and please tell us what you think of this place when you go to visit!
Mahalo and Aloha!