I never knew how bad Asheville needed Hawaiian fare until RosaBees came to town. But, truthfully, not only is the food unique to the area, so is the decor. It fits in nicely with the bright and eclectic murals of the River Arts District but brings its own artistic Hawaiian flair to the area. 

RosaBees neighbors Sunnyside Trading Co. in an ant-sized space along Foundy Street and across from the French Broad River. In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting it to be so small. Its atomity doesn’t necessarily bother me any more than, say, watching a ladybug crawl across a windowsill on a hot summer day. It’s merely an observation worth noting. 

Fortunately, RosaBees makes up for their lack of size with bright accents, unique designs and a refined menu. I haven’t mentioned this yet, but their logo is a pink pineapple. (I’m a sucker for esoteric fruit.) Now that I think of it, the restaurant’s main colors are teal and bright pink – the exact same colors I painted my bedroom walls when I was a little girl. No wonder I have such an affinity for this place? 

Moving along to the good stuff: the food. As I mentioned above, the menu is refined; it’s small but well-crafted. It features classic Hawaiian cuisine that offers flavors not common in Western North Carolina. 

Instead of going through each menu item, I’ll tell you a few of my favorites. Their Lumpia appetizer, or “pu-pu” as they call it, is simply delicious. It’s their take on Filipino egg rolls. Also worth noshing on before ordering your entree is the papaya salad. It’s a nice change from the kale salad-saturated menus in town. 

Entree wise, go with the poke. It’s the perfect ratio of soy marinated ahi tuna (or tofu), coconut sticky rice and fresh veggies. With it, enjoy a taste of the tropics by slurping on the Ocean Pearl, a cocktail that combines coconut rum, simple syrup infused with pineapple and Prosecco. 

Their desserts are insanely one-of-a-kind, some even combining both sweet and savory elements. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to try any, but I will soon be returning to try their Synergetic S’mores and Bubble Waffle Grilled Cheese. If you get there before me, report back!