Mariposa: Laid-Back Lunch Time Luxe With Delectable Fare

Mariposa, Neiman Marcus’ signature restaurant, has been serving its chic food in Hawaii for some time now. And I have admit, it is one of my favorite places to have lunch when I’m looking to be spoiled just a tad bit. Golden popovers, chicken consommé, elegant decor, and friendly service is all part of the Mariposa experience. I can’t pinpoint it, but the restaurant has this old Hawaii vibe about it. Maybe it’s the open-air balcony seating that overlooks Ala Moana beach. Needless to say, ladies love to dine at Mariposa. It’s not uncommon to see older local ladies dressed in intricate muumuu’s, as well as the younger, business crowd with their hip Bottega Veneta bags. Laid back elegance and luxury, and sophisticated food, is what makes Mariposa a lunch time dining experience not to be missed. 

Mariposa menu.

Mariposa menu.

Bored of the standard iced tea? Upgrade to the Mariposa Punch. Think of it as a Hawaiian Sun drink on steroids. The guava, orange, and pineapple juices really do blend well together. The drink itself is sweet and refreshing.

Mariposa Punch, with guava, orange, and pineapple juices.

Mariposa Punch, with guava, orange, and pineapple juices.

Nice, tall glass.

Nice, tall glass.

Michelle decided to go with a Iced Tea Sorbet Float, which comes with two petite scoops of strawberry sorbet. She mentioned that it was a nice change from her regular plantation iced tea, and I’d have to agree with her.

Iced Tea Sorbet Float, with strawberry sorbet.

Iced Tea Sorbet Float, with strawberry sorbet.

Mariposa regulars rave about their signature golden popovers. I think it’s the strawberry butter that makes these popovers certifiably irresistible. The popovers are unlimited, so feel free to go popover crazy.

Ready, set, popover.

Ready, set, popover.

Mariposa's signature golden popovers with strawberry butter on the side.

Mariposa’s signature golden popovers with strawberry butter on the side.

Remember that whole elegance and luxury thing that I talked about earlier? All of that can be summed up in a demitasse cup of chicken consommé. This small cup of chicken bullion is the kind of amuse-bouche that you rarely see in Hawaii restaurants. It’ll certainly have you feeling as if you’re dining with the Queen Elizabeth II version of Helen Mirren. No need for the stiff upper lip, though. Relax and remind yourself that you’re in Hawaii. Gaze toward Ala Moana Beach if you must. Sip, enjoy, and be over with it. Fancy and indulgent? Yes. Tasty? Absolutely.

Demitasse cup of chicken consommé.

Demitasse cup of chicken consommé.

This was my first time experiencing the Mariposa Poke, and I’ll admit that visually, it’s perfect. This version of the local favorite features a mix of ahi, king salmon, and hamachi, with cucumber, maui onion, ogo, garlic-chili, on brown rice. It’s the garlic chili and ogo (seaweed), though, that really helps to make the flavors of each fish pop. Ditch the chopsticks, and use a spoon to scoop up all of the flavors.

Mariposa Poke, featuring hamachi, king salmon, ahi, cucumber, maui onion, ogo, garlic-chili, on brown rice.

Mariposa Poke, featuring hamachi, king salmon, ahi, cucumber, maui onion, ogo, garlic-chili, on brown rice.

How the heck do you pronounce orecchiette? Luckily, when I placed my order, I simply said, “I’ll have the pasta.” The waiter knew exactly what I wanted. I typically order either the Mariposa Burger, or the Lobster Club. I felt a little adventurous on this day. Housmade Italian sausage topped with a dollop of goat cheese? Yes, please. Pro tip, stir that goat cheese into the pasta. So decadent that it should be illegal.

That goat cheese, though.

That goat cheese, though.

Michelle decided on the Laksa Seafood Curry and appreciated that they allowed her to choose the level of spiciness for her order. She was actually surprised by the amount of seafood in the dish – 4 jumbo shrimp, a handful of clams, and lots of fish. It was very filling with the side of rice. She found it to be quite delicious and since she was just getting over a cold, she says that it really “hit the spot.”

Laksa Seafood Curry, featuring clams, black tiger shrimp, fresh fish, vegetable julienne, steamed rice.

Laksa Seafood Curry, featuring clams, black tiger shrimp, fresh fish, vegetable julienne, steamed rice.

To follow up the Laksa Seafood Curry, Michelle ordered the warm lilikoi pudding cake for dessert. Based on our observations and tastebuds, it looked to be some kind of Frankenstein-ian mashup of a soufflé and a custard. The bits of tropical fruit (mango, kiwi, and pineapple) added a nice refreshing touch to the dessert. It was also topped with a thin cookie in the shape of the Neiman Marcus butterfly. Very pretty dessert, indeed.

Warm Lilikoi Pudding Cake with tropical fruit and whipped cream.

Warm Lilikoi Pudding Cake with tropical fruit and whipped cream.

Lovely presentation.

Lovely presentation.

It'll fly off your plate, and go straight into your mouth. Taste buds, be ready!

It’ll fly off your plate, and go straight into your mouth. Taste buds, be ready!

Others look forward to the popovers, I, on the other hand, look forward to Mariposa’s Malted Milk Chocolate Bars with crème anglaise and dark chocolate ganache. This is my favorite dessert at Mariposa. If I’m having lunch here, then there is no doubt that it’ll end with this handsome chocolate dessert. The perfect way to end a perfect lunch time meal.

Choose wisely. Or, choose them all.

Choose wisely. Or, choose them all.

Up close and personal with this chocolate dessert.

Up close and personal with this chocolate dessert.

Malted Milk Chocolate Bars with crème anglaise, and dark chocolate ganache.

Malted Milk Chocolate Bars with crème anglaise, and dark chocolate ganache.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.