Nestled in the shadow of the Aloha Tower on Pier 11, is one of Honolulu’s best kept secrets: the Aloha Tortilla Factory & Cafe. To many tourists disembarking from one of the many luxury cruise liners, or those getting dropped off by bus from a shoreside excursion, this local delight may well go unnoticed. But to me, after walking the entire length of Waikiki Beach (following an already challenging hike to the top of Diamond Head Volcano), the Mexican slow food kiosk shimmered like an oasis in the desert.
Don’t get me wrong, the cruise ship offered a daily menu of exceptional dishes. Served up in a choice of six restaurants, all with superb service – and often with great company. But after seven or eight days of five-course dinners, what I really wanted was some good, honest grub. Unable to walk one more step, I sat down at one of the kiosk’s pavement tables and perused the menu.
It didn’t disappoint.
From tacos and tortas, to quesadillas and esquite, all sorts of mouthwatering Mexican dishes and snacks were on offer – including vegetarian and vegan options. Oh, and a great selection of hot and cold drinks with a Mexican twist too.
I opted for the burrito with mixed salad and guacamole; a steal at just under $15. It was hot, fresh, and came with a selection of dips and a slice of lemon. The filling was an incredible combination of carne asada with black beans, cheese, pico de gallo and potatoes. I can only describe it as like the best savoury pastie filling I have ever tasted – with an extra chilli kick. Wrapped in a soft flour tortilla burrito that was melt-in-your-mouth soft. And complemented perfectly with a creamy-smooth guacamole, and a crisp salad that included whole, crunchy baby carrots.
I can only describe it as like the best savoury pastie filling I have ever tasted – with an extra chilli kick.
The portion size was extremely generous, but despite my small stature, I devoured the lot. Every last morsel. Then washed it down with a Mexican-style hot coffee for some much-needed caffeine.
Was it the best burrito in Honolulu? Yes, it was. Did I need to make a dinner reservation when I got back on board the cruise liner? Absolutely not. And I didn’t make it for breakfast either!
>>Go-solo star rating
Aloha Tortilla Factory and Cafe
Aloha Tower Kiosk, 1 Aloha Tower Drive, Honolulu Hawaii, USA 96813.
Call +1-808-983-9983 or find them on http://facebook.com/alohatortilla/