Finding a Puerto Rican restaurant here in Hawaii is quite difficult. When you do find one, you will discover that the food served at these restaurants has taken on a "local" flair. This is not to say that the food does not taste good, but I can tell you that it tastes a lot different than the Puerto Rican food that you can find in Puerto Rico or in places like New York or Florida.
Mario's Cocina has been open for about six months now. Located at the gateway to Pauoa, it is another hole-in-the-wall that you would probably miss while driving by. I actually happened to notice it while I was waiting for my chicken katsu plate from Jamie's Snack Shop. Over the last several months, I have tried a few of the dishes here and have found that the portions are generous while the food is flavorful.
left: chuletas de guisada (pork chops, gandule rice, salad; US$6.50
right: corn(ed) beef gesada (US$5.00)
I have since added Mario's to my long list of "stand-bys" when I am looking for something decent to eat while on the go. If you are interested in trying some local Puerto Rian cuisine, this is definitely one of the few places you would want to visit.
Pastele, gandule rice, salad (US$6.00)
1989 Pauoa Road