Friday, June 30, 2006

Review: Kafe Europa (Armenian)

Kafe Europa
801 Alakea St., No. 101, at Queen Street

I was really looking forward to trying this Greek (well, I thought it was Greek, but it's actually Armenian) takeout place for lunch downtown. I was thinking all morning about the hummus, Greek salad or grapeleaves that I'd order for lunch.

*photo courtesy of

I got there at 12:30 and there was no line (unlike other days when I'd walked past around noon and the line was out the door). Sandwiches are around $4.50 and plates are around $6.50 (if you order the special of the day, you also get a free drink).

I ordered the grapeleaves plate; the plate comes with salad, hummus, and half a pita. I was a little alarmed when they put my grapeleaves in the microwave to heat up before putting in my Styrofoam takeout box, but I still had high hopes. . .

In a nutshell, I don't think I'd go back, unless I hear raves about some of their other dishes. The salad was just plain lettuce with a heavy ranch dressing. The hummus was alright (heavily covered in paprika), but the pita bread was tough (I could barely rip a piece off). The grapeleaves were smothered in a 'yogurt' sauce, which tasted more like mayonnaise. I was expecting Greek grapeleaves, so perhaps I had unfair expectations of nice cool, vinegary rice-stuffed delicacies. These, being Armenian, were quite different: warm, filled with a rather bland ground meat and rice filling. The leafy wrapping was alright but fragile, it tore easily unlike other chewier grapeleaves I've had previously.
(That's KE on the left)

Advertiser review:

Kafe Europa website:


Milu said...

Good post.

Slava said...

I think that in the Honolulu Advertiser it clearly said that it is Armenian food. Why are you trying to judge this place when you only tried one thing there? I tried a few different dishes there were all of outstanding quality. I tried Beef Stroganoff, Lamb Shaurma Plate, Grape Leaves, and they have excellent deserts as well. I think that your post is absolutely inappropriate. You don't seem to acknowledge the Honolulu Advertiser experts who took the time to judge the cafe not by one dish, but by the full menu.

It’s the first time I’ve heard that they microwave anything. I visit them quite often, and at lunchtime everything is fresh and delicious. You should try ordering something that you actually like next time and then you won’t have to complain about how much you dislike what you ordered. I think the food is top quality there and I highly recommend it.