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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, October 19, 2001

Dining Scene
Lunch Break: Cafe's fare matches its casual elegance

By Debra Yuen
TGIF Editor

The Honolulu Café's menu includes a wide variety of sandwiches and salads. The cafe, in the old Dillingham Transportation Building downtown, also features art exhibits.

Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

It's hard to imagine a more sophisticated spot in downtown Honolulu. With a lovely high ceiling of painted clouds, lots of wood and tile, pleasing lighting and even room for the arts, the Honolulu Café is a haven from the workaday world just outside its doors.

The restaurant sits in the historic Dillingham Transportation Building, although the block is now called the Pacific Guardian Center. It offers breakfast, lunch, coffee drinks such as espresso, and coffee beans by the half or whole pound. The current art exhibit, featuring works by Dorys Foltin, Korey Gulbrandson and Romy Scheroder, continues through Nov. 28.

With such an inviting setting, does the food matter? Of course! And the fare at Honolulu Café manages to match the casual elegance of its surroundings. The vegetarian sandwich ($7.95 whole, $5.75 half) is a very nice midday meal. Grilled eggplant, a generous chunk of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and spicy arugula on focaccia blend splendidly. The side salad of marinated white beans on greens adds depth.

Other sandwiches include reuben, smoked turkey breast, chicken havarti, tuna, taro burger and veggie wrap. Salads abound, from citrus chicken to caesar to caprese (vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella), beginning at $7.35 for full-sized portions and $4.50 for half portions.

Lest we forget the Hawai'i setting, local favorites such as mochiko chicken and beef stew were recent daily specials.

Honolulu Café, in the space that used to be Cafe Vienna, at 741 Bishop St., is open 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 6 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays. 533-1555, honolulu cafe.net