Pau Hana Patrol: Giovanni Pastrami
BY MICHELLE RAMOS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy hour at Giovanni Pastrami in Waikiki is still going strong, with multiple specials designed to draw in the Beachwalk-area crowd in the early afternoon.
I was reminded of the restaurant while walking around Lewers Street before dinner one night, when a worker handed me a flier promoting the specials.
It had been about five years since Pau Hana Patrol visited the eatery, so we figured it was time to check out this Waikiki option one more time.
Giovanni Pastrami is a pretty popular spot, with sports on TVs that cover every wall in the main part of the restaurant, located on the upper level.
227 Lewers St., Waikiki
On the Thursday we visited, seating around the bar was already filled, and a mix of tourists and locals also took up about half of the table and booth seating.
We were greeted quickly and guided through the quieter downstairs area of the restaurant, up a few stairs to a four-seat table near the bar.
Upstairs, the bar is the main focus of the room, aside from the TVs. Customers can sit in booths, which line the walls, or at wooden tables and chairs in the center.
People’s laughter and chatter mixed with the local contemporary music playing over the house speakers, made it hard for us to talk much. That was OK, though, because we had the TVs to watch — and the service was so fast that we ordered, ate and were out of there within an hour.
If we wanted to, we could have stayed or wandered the area for up to four hours with $6 validated parking at the Wyndham at Waikiki Beach Walk.
There have been some happy-hour changes since our last visit. Prices have increased for nachos ($9), chili-cheese fries ($8), onion rings ($6) and some other food and drink items. But the bottom line for chips and salsa fell, to $4 from $5, and now there are nine personal pizzas ($5 to $7) compared with seven before.
The eatery still offers a free slice of cheese pizza with any purchase from 3 to 5 p.m. weekdays.
New at happy hour: Giovanni’s Sliders, four to a plate with french fries, for just $9. Choices include Black Angus cheeseburgers (regularly $15), hot dog and barbecue kalua pig (regularly $14).
We got the cheeseburgers. They were simple — a small piece of cheese and the burger — but delicious. The patty was hearty and juicy, and it came with a choice of cheddar, jack, provolone or Swiss cheese.
We also ordered the King Arthur Supreme personal pizza ($7, $12 regular) because I used to love the Round Table Pizza in Enchanted Lake. This 7-inch pizza seemed different but was still decent, with lots of toppings and a crisp crust.
The next time we go, I want to try the barbecue kalua pig sliders, and I have to remember to be there before 5 p.m. for the free slice.
Note: For people who love breakfast, Giovanni serves the morning meal — from pancakes to Benedicts — all day.
Four-dollar well drinks are a great deal. I had a rum and cola, and that went well with the pizza and burgers. I sometimes drink Patron, but $8 for Patron Silver felt a little pricey.
I regret not trying the Fireball whiskey ($5). Next time.
It was genius to add Giovanni’s Sliders to the happy-hour menu. Now the restaurant has all the bar food categories covered: pizza, burgers, fries, nachos, chicken wings ($9) and, since this is Hawaii, calamari ($8).
If you’re looking for reasonable prices at happy hour in Waikiki in a cheery, sports-bar atmosphere, this place has you covered on that count, too.