La Pizza Rina on King St.

La Pizza Rina on King St is the local version of Italian food. I don’t think its American Italian, though no one would ever call it authentic Italian food. The restaurant is run by a Vietnamese family, and my dad swore he could taste nuoc nam in the tomato sauce. Maybe he was joking. Maybe he was not. I do not know and never bothered to ask. But I like this place. Why? Because it’s comfortable, it’s cheap, it’s casual, it’s just so darn local. And it always seems to be busy, which we will take to be a positive sign.

I’ve been here a few times, on nights when no one was up for cooking dinner, no time for fine cooking, too tired to clean up takeout mess, and just wanted a place to relax with hearty food.

Hence this enormous mushroom cheese pizza. Granted, it’s the large size, but still, it was like size large, inflated! It’s got a thick, bread like crust, with an equally hefty layer of toppings, the requisite tomato sauce, and then a fair round of sliced mushrooms with a most excessive hand of cheese.

Too much cheese. And not so awesome quality, actually the cheese doesn’t even taste like anything and it becomes gummy a little too fast, but it will do for this evening.

All the pasta dishes come with a side of garlic bread. I believe the bread comes Daily Bread, a bakery further up King St. A few slices, a dabble of butter, garlic and some herbs, and you’ve got the perfect tool to soak up all that sauce that comes in the lasagna.

And that’s a lot of sauce that comes in the lasagna. It’s seriously swimming in sauce, which is good for me cause I like saucy things, but it might be downright blasphemy for others. You’ll need to get an extra order of garlic bread if you plan on using up all the sauce. The lasagna is nothing out of the ordinary, a warming dish with too much cheese like the pizza, more sweet than savory which sometimes bothers me. But I like the non-intrusive service that manages to keep your water glass constantly full.

Wait! You say, why are you showing me yet another shot of the lasagna? And I will say, hahaha, no, this is not lasagna, even though I asked the same question when this order of cheese ravioli was sent in front of my sister. I believe there are six or so good-sized raviolis hiding beneath the blanket of cheese and bucket of sauce. Again, don’t feel obligated to finish all that sauce, cause chee, it’s a lot.

Sometimes I get the 8-inch pizza, which comes with your choice of three toppings. On one occasion I had the mushrooms, spinach and anchovies. Anchovies are insanely good, and it took a great deal of strength to withhold from requesting an extra dish of anchovies on the side.

A different time I had it with sausages, garlic and mushrooms. I regret not ordering the anchovies. Next time I’m just going to get anchovies three times. You’d be silly not to love anchovies!

But on the next visit I thought I should try something different before placing a triple anchovy order, so I had the pepperoni, spinach and mushroom combo. I missed the anchovies. Lesson learned. Next time: ANCHOVIES X 3.

Sometimes I like to pretend that I’m healthy, hence this order of salad. I like salads, but it’s just that I never feel very ‘complete’ after ‘just’ a salad. I’m not a bunny. And I think I’m addicted to starch – no meal is complete without starch! Despite the many prosciutto and mozzarella rolls, salami and olives, I felt the need for a hunk of crusty bread to tie this all in. Which is why I ate the garlic bread from my sister’s ravioli.

My dad has extreme affection for meatball sandwiches, and I guess he must have been rather hungry that one night, cause he wolfed the entire sandwich in 2-minute silence. I think I’ll have to try that the next time I return :)

La Pizza Rina

1425 South King Street

Honolulu, Hawaii 96814

(808) 941-6634

  • anonymous
    July 17, 2007

    Pastrami Sandwich and side order of Jalapenos. Pour ALL of the italian dressing over the sandwich to soak’em. Cheap and better than what you Subway. Well, anywhere you go is better than Subway but not at that price.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    July 17, 2007

    Hey Anon!oooh, that sounds REALLY good! I’d rather come here than Subway anyday! :)

  • Chubbypanda
    July 18, 2007

    Classic Italian tomato sauces often call for the addition of anchovies, which melt away in the sauce but impart a meaty depth. Nuoc mam would probably work as well.

  • anonymous
    September 26, 2007

    Yay! Anchovies X 12 even! Hows about ordering a pizza with JUST anchovies as a topping? Can’t get enough of ’em myself!

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