Hidden gem: Il Buco

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DSC03482I know locals very rarely want to venture into Waikiki — traffic can be bad, parking is expensive, and the crowds can be maddening. But you know, you’ll find that in Chinatown, too. It was so refreshing to find a hidden bar in Waikiki that’s reasonable, mellow, and has free parking.

Two months ago, Salvatore Agresti and Darko Vidak opened a little wine bar in the Waikiki Sand Villa Hotel. The two already have other business ventures together, including a yacht service and a spa in the hotel, so they figured they’d try this out when the opportunity became available.

The venue is tiny, as is the food menu. But the wine selection is pretty extensive, and the per-glass prices run from $8 to about $14, which is on par with any other typical wine bar in Honolulu. The food is about $14 to $29, “all Mediterranean-style dishes with Italian influence,” according to Vidak.

One thing I liked about the place was Vidak’s excellent memory, making it typical of a neighborhood bar. He remembered me immediately on my second visit, and remembered what I had ordered on my previous visit. He also recognized my eating companion Sean Morris, who had met him many years before. Other than that, the vibe is super mellow, which is a nice way to unwind at the end of a long day.

Il Buco

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The venue is tiny — maybe six seats at the bar and two dozen table seats. There's no air conditioning, though, so dress for the humidity.

 

By the way, the parking is valet-only, but free. You don’t even get a claim ticket; simply drive up and tell the valet you’re going to the bar. When you leave, just tip him.

Il Buco
Waikiki Sand Villa Hotel
2375 Ala Wai Blvd.

8 comments
Annoddah_Dave
Annoddah_Dave

Wine Gurl:  Yes, do have the valet park your car.  Went there when it was Zen and the parking is very tight.  Do not recommend bringing your Escalade or Dodge Ram.  I can't remember where we parked when Frank DeLima was packing them in at the Red Noodle???

russkar
russkar

We sure miss Gann (sushi) which used to be in the same location.  It was fabu. 


We were going to go to Il Buco recently but their "no outside wine allowed policy" killed that idea...not even with a corkage charge?



Melissa808
Melissa808 moderator

@russkar I remember how you used to rave about Gaan and I always meant to go....just ran out of time. I wonder what happened to them?

russkar
russkar

@Melissa808 @russkar : it was like Onodera but for $85- not $165- plus, plus.  Isn't it sad how some of the finest establishments don't get support and eventually disappear..I believe the Gaan Chef when back to Japan.

russkar
russkar

@Melissa808 Speaking of favorites. Going to Le Bistro tonight , one of our all time favorites overall...