Laying claim as the founders of the term “poke bowl” this mini chain out of Hawaii (3 locations on Oahu and one in Las Vegas) does the dish justice. They’re a clear cut above the increasingly popular fast-casual poke spots around town because they do it right. They have real poke — raw fish that has been marinating in sauces and seasonings, allowing the proteins to soak up all that flavor. Most new places just pour sauce over the fish as you order.
The poke crunch bowl with shoyu ahi poke is my go-to dish. Full of great flavors with a slight sweetness to the sauce, the quality of the tuna is quite good. The Hawaiian poke bowl is another great option, combining your choice of poke with kalua pork and Lomi salmon.
But, the main reason I love this Paina Cafe is the desserts and baked goods provided by Ono Sweetz. If you want to piss someone off, order all the ube rolls in the case then watch as the people behind you start fuming. People flock here here for the ube — rolls, tarts, the ube leche flan cake. And with good reason. They’re all delicious. If you’re not an ube fan, try the mango passion fruit cheesecake (my personal favorite dessert here), Kulolo Paina bar, chantilly cake or any number of other pastries that fill their case. The desserts here are so inexpensive that you’ll think they rang up the wrong prices. Some days they run out of most of them by the late afternoon. So, get here early if you want your pick of the litter.
Las Vegas is known as the Ninth Island, with its ever-growing Pacific islander population. Now, with Paina Cafe in town there’s one more reason for the city to keep that nickname — genuine poke and island sweets that’ll make you feel like you’re in paradise.
6870 Spring Mountain Rd
Las Vegas, NV 89146