Romano’s Macaroni Grill | Waikoloa Village, Big Island, HI

I know.

Some people (#AHEM #clarice #claudine #angelica) were SUPER disappointed that we used up one meal to enjoy a special Hawaii-specific spot… on Romano’s Macaroni Grill. #noregrets

My wife and I dropped by Romano’s Macaroni Grill during our Honeymoon not only because it was the only restaurant after our nighttime snorkeling with the Manta Rays but also because we thought it would be nice to compare the quality of this Romano’s to our favorite Romano’s in New Jersey. :)

It held up to our standards, fortunately! Or maybe it was because we were just super hungry from the swim?

Here’s the food!

Rosemary Bread

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Rosemary Bread[/caption]

As you can imagine, we couldn’t even wait to dig in and the minute the rosemary bread hit the table, we quite literally dove for it. Of course, as we were about to take bites, we realized that… we needed a picture! So what’d we do? We pieced it back together, just for you!

For those of you who are true believers in Romano’s Rosemary Bread: This is just as good as it is back at home. You wont believe this, because we were amazed ourselves, but when we ripped it open, we were greeted with a plume of steam! That’s glorious!

It was super fluffy on the inside with a nice crust on the outside. It’s great for dipping into the olive oil that they give you. Take our advice: pour the olive oil onto your plate, ask for salt, fresh cracked pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Mix this all in the olive oil and dip the bread into this wonderfulness. You’ll find that the crust gives you the perfect way to hold the bread, the fluffiness of the inside is perfect for soaking up as much of the olive oil goodness as you can.

Also, can you see the rosemary baked into the bread? Trust us, it’s wonderful.

Spicy Ricotta Meatballs | beef, veal & ricotta meatball, caramelized onions, red chile

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Spicy Ricotta Meatballs | beef, veal & ricotta meatball, caramelized onions, red chile[/caption]

We ordered the meatballs to start our meal and sadly enough, these meatballs came out over seasoned. They were simply too salty to enjoy, so we waited until the lasagna came out and mixed it all together. That helped because there was ricotta in the lasagna to balance things out. You know its bad when someone who is a super salty eater thinks a dish is too salty.

The texture of the meatball was very nice. Tender, juicy and definitely not full of breading or filler. There was a nice hint of ricotta that followed with each bite. We ordered it because we were hoping for spicy but at the end of the day, the dish wasn’t spicy enough.

As a test, we scraped off the tomato sauce to see if the meatballs were equally salty as the sauce. To our surprise, they were nicely seasoned and were enjoyable! Romano’s get that tomato sauce recipe down pat please!

Now that I think about it, maybe a dollop of ricotta would have been nice to mellow out the sauce. Oh well… I’ll try that next time.

Mac & Cheese Bites, Truffle Dip | toasted four cheese pasta, truffle dip

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Mac & Cheese Bites, Truffle Dip | toasted four cheese pasta, truffle dip[/caption]

These were yummy! Watch out for the truffle dip. You can only have so much of it… because it’s so potent!

I love truffles and the flavor that they provide. I’ll be the first to say that having hints of truffle throughout a dish is wonderful and decadent but they went a little overboard with this one. Even a light dip brought much. Good thing they provided it on the side. We ended up salting and then enjoying the bites without the dip.

In terms of texture, they were real crispy and enjoyable. They almost seemed like they were freshly fried! Part of me wished that they were a little gooey-er (is that a word?). More moist than crispy. Cheesecake Factory does this the right way! But they’re two or three times larger than what you see here.

I’d order three orders of this

Lasagna Bolognese | bolognese sauce, italian sausage, ricotta, grana padano, pomodoro sauce

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Lasagna Bolognese | bolognese sauce, italian sausage, ricotta, grana padano, pomodoro sauce[/caption]

The lasagna was good. Just good. The tomato sauce was the same as what they used for the meatballs so they were salty. The dish, however, has significantly more cheese to balance things out.

Caprese | vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil

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Caprese | vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil[/caption]

I ended with the salad because this was the best dish we got. The balsamic reduction was perfect and every component here was fresh. The mozzarella was nice, fresh and thick. The tomatoes were refreshing, especially after being out in the heat.

You may have thought it was a bad idea… but we enjoyed our time. The service was just fine. The place wasn’t packed and the feel was nice.

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