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by Angela Sorace, staff writer

Dreamers Homestyle Café is a dream come true for its clients and the family who runs the restaurant at 1138 Fort Street Mall.

Dreamers opened on May 2, with prices not exceeding $10. Edralyn Verona and Adela Visitauon, sisters and owners of the venue, ensure a variety of dishes inspired by Pacific, Filipino, and Italian flavors, all masterly cooked by couple Ryan and Belle Palacay, and Adela Visitauon.

“ We planned to open a restaurant for so many years when our dad was still alive,” said Belle Palacay, 36, a part-time nurse who now helps in the kitchen, and specializes in making desserts. “My sisters [Edralyn Verona and Adela Visitauon] were working with other restaurants and my father was a very good cook. May 2 was his birthday.”

Palacay said that the most popular dishes are fettuccine Alfredo, furikake mahi, and cordon bleu, which comes with the specials menu. Cordon bleu (only $6.99, full order) is two chicken breasts stuffed with ham, spinach, and cheese and a side of roasted potatoes and vegetables: a culinary miracle, served every Tuesday. My favorite is the furikake mahi ($7.29 half order, $8.49 full order), a dorado fish breaded with panko and nori, served with stir-fry vegetables and a choice between brown or white rice.

The most popular desserts are the Okinawan sweet potato haupia ($3.29), and the pumpkin roll with cream cheese ($1.99). The Okinawan sweet potato haupia is a layered cake with silky haupia at the top of mashed Okinawan sweet potato and thin shortbread crust.

The best part of the menu is that every item is homemade and fresh.

“ We do everything from scratch,” Palacay said. “For the haupia, we use coconut milk, sugar, coconut flakes, and corn starch,” said Belle. Don’t fail to try the rum cake ($1.99), a pleasant blend between salt and sweet with the crunchiness of peanuts at the top.

A must-try are the burgers, made of juicy ground beef and paired with delicious French fries. The best I’ve tried is the teriyaki burger ($5.99) with sautéed onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayonnaise, and mustard.

Dreamers also offers rich breakfast options from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., catering orders, and take-out. The restaurant is not the dark, smelly hole, typical of Fort Street’s eateries. It is warmly decorated with a simple, yet colorful, bouquet of flowers on each table with modern and minimalist furnishings. The restaurant is framed by large windows looking out towards the street.

Add to that, the value. The prices are reasonable and the portions are large.

Palacay said that full-size dishes are often split between two people and include two scoops of rice. If you are not a big eater, there is the half portion choice with one scoop of rice, still at a reasonable price and size.

The service is efficient and meals carefully prepared no matter how busy. “We keep all things already chopped and prepped, so it’s just the cooking,” explained Palacay.

HPU students get a 10 percent discount on all meals, and if you check out the the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, you get an additional 10 percent discount.

Dreamers is the best and healthiest reward for a hungry soul. Open Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact Dreamers at 545-7105.


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