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Downtown Honolulu Recommendations

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onogrindz Aug 3, 2007 01:57 PM

I just started working in downtown Honolulu and am looking for some good recommendations on lunch spots and happy hours in the area. I am pretty much open to all types of food and am looking for a range of restaurants from carry-out plate lunches to nice, sit-down places.

Thanks!

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    Aleka Aug 4, 2007 10:09 PM

    Onogrindz! So good to see that you haven't lost your appetite.... but I have to say, I was quite sad to read on your blog that you're going to take a little break. Hopefully something will inspire you to come back and share your delectable stories with us.

    Anyway, my recommendation for you for a lunchtime spot is Govinda's (1118 Fort Street Mall). I actually haven't had the chance to visit this particular spot, but I'm going to assume that it's going to be as consistent and delicious as the Govinda's lunch cart on UH campus. With the warm weather, I highly recommend the refreshing lemon-ginger drink and the plate lunches.
    Please don't get turned off by the all-vegetarian choices; the food is really well-prepared and everything is super fresh and tasty.

    1. Bill Hunt Aug 5, 2007 12:00 PM

      We've had many great lunches at Indigo's. They might be a bit more expensive, than some places that you would want to do daily, but worth the treat. We'll often use inter-Island to Mainland layovers to cab it over to Chinatown. Do not know if they have a "Happy Hour," though. Good, very approachable wine list, but have not seen, or experienced a HH there.

      Hunt

      1. KaimukiMan Aug 5, 2007 08:05 PM

        I don't know downtown that well any more, but a few thoughts (mostly upper end)

        Murphy's Tavern has had the best hamburger downtown for years.
        Duc's Bistro on Maunakea is really under appreciated for lunch
        Little Village Noodle house is really good Chinese
        So is Mini Garden
        Chai's at Aloha Tower is always good
        There are several places up in Chinatown that have gotten good reviews on other posts in the last couple of weeks

        Avoid that new place of Chef Mavro's at Harbor Court - heard yet another complaint about it this weekend. Terrible service, mediocre food, exhorbitant prices.

        3 Replies
        1. re: KaimukiMan
          Bill Hunt Aug 5, 2007 09:48 PM

          Re: Chef Mavro's "other place," I have seen these reviews and have to puzzle, as he runs such a nice "ship," on King St. I cannot imagine what is wrong here. I'll have to see, for myself, when we're on O`ahu in the Winter, or early Spring. Gotta' be growing pains and correctable. I just hope that he does, whatever is required.

          I felt a bit like that with the Pineapple Room, and I am a die-hard AW fan. Let's hope that things turn around.

          Thanks for the report,
          Hunt

          1. re: Bill Hunt
            y
            Yoshio Aug 6, 2007 06:33 PM

            If you go to Cassis, go at night. The room shows better then and the price point isn't so startling. We have been twice (once as guests of the restaurant so one can presume they were on their best behavior) and again with a small group. I enjoyed the ceviche in particular and the roast chicken on a bed of Kahuku creamed corn was excellent. Dessert is a must. The pastry chef is doing an outstanding job. Service problems have been pretty much ironed out as far as I'm hearing. As always, YMMV!

          2. re: KaimukiMan
            Bill Hunt Aug 5, 2007 09:49 PM

            A question: is Scott's at the Aloha Tower Mkt'place gone? We dined there some years back, and enjoyed a very nice lunch, but have not seen anything about it since, and have not been back to the Aloha Tower, on the last two trips.

            Hunt

          3. manomin Aug 6, 2007 01:57 PM

            Ed Kenney's Downtown would be perfect, you could eat in or take advantage of
            their carryout area called ASAP. It's in the Hawaii State Art Museum.

            I recently had lunch at Indigo and wished that it wasn't the buffett, everything was cold and then they serve it to you but don't even tell you what it is. I really enjoy their regular menu but I wasn't paying so I had no choice but to follow my host. Next time!

            2 Replies
            1. re: manomin
              Bill Hunt Aug 6, 2007 05:45 PM

              Interesting. It's been 18 mos., but when we last did lunch at Indigo, it was from the menu. The buffet must be new (to me) and it does not sound like a hit.

              Thanks for the update,
              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt
                manomin Aug 6, 2007 06:45 PM

                The buffet is not new, I think it's about 14 or 15 dollars. I really like their menu
                and am trying to think of a time I can go. Maybe dinner on Friday before the
                Stephen Stills concert which is across at the Hawaii Theater.

            2. o
              onogrindz Aug 6, 2007 04:09 PM

              Thanks for all the recommendations! I'll be sure to try them all over the next few weeks and report back!

              1 Reply
              1. re: onogrindz
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                macaraca Aug 17, 2007 01:52 AM

                I second "Downtown" at HISAM. Try Grand Cafe on Pauahi...American style (mostly) comfort food. Green Door also on Pauahi, close to Maunakea...only Malaysian/Singapore menu in town...tiny place but a big take-out business. Several newish places for happy hour on Hotel Street (not the old bars!) but 39 N King, for example. Also on Hotel is Maria Bonita's, the only decent Mexican downtown. Some of the better curries in Honolulu are takeout from Komala Curry House, two locations on Merchant St, one tucked back with a bunch of other small places just before Hotel. Their other location is in the former Amfac Building, now Topa Tower, lower Merchant St just before Nimitz.

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                UES Mayor Aug 17, 2007 04:30 AM

                are you the one who stopped with the blog? If so-we miss you-and i am way over here in nyc!

                1. k
                  kel Sep 2, 2007 11:19 AM

                  Any info on "famous" spam places downtown or elsewhere?

                  1. h
                    HIeats Sep 4, 2007 04:38 AM

                    Yah, #1 best restaurant in downtown area is downtown@hisam. duck confit sammich! and the best panini in town from the ASAP takeout counter.
                    I second Green Door too.
                    I also hear there's a new Indian takeout in Maunakea Marketplace I haven't yet tried.
                    Honolulu Cafe on Bishop St. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/art...
                    Dat One Persian Restaurant
                    Good & Healthy Cafe. 212 Merchant St. (566-6365), for Lebanese takeout
                    Cafe VIII 1/2, 524 4064, for Italian
                    plenny kine!

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                      elinw Sep 4, 2007 06:21 PM

                      I work downtown and try to eat everything.

                      In the very good gourmet category, I also think HiSAM's Downtown is the winner-- you can get an amazing takeout "salad" composed of the various antipasti they have for the day on top of some greens. Or combo this with a sandwich and/or soup.

                      Another excellent place is Kafe Europa (801 Alakea), an armenian lunch spot where everything is made with care. Excellent Lamb Kabob or chicken shwarma, and very good soups.

                      The best mexican food downtown, perhaps on island is "Just Tacos" on Bishop street (1111 Bishop St). Its basically tacos served in authentic style: meat on soft corn tortillas with onions and cilantro. Taqueria de Ramiro on Fort St has good burritos, but not earth-shattering.

                      I also enjoy a period sushi bowl. The best is "Ahi Vegetable" on Fort Street. Another good one is next to the Good & Healthy Cafe (which I also recommend) in the merchant street mall.

                      Restaurant Row also has some good choices. Yosh has very good plate lunch meals and Basta et Pasta has excellent and well-priced pasta.

                      Lastly, I've been waiting to try the new upscale hot dog joint, Hank's Haute Dogs, although its a far walk from most downtown places. Check out their website: http://hankshautedogs.com/menu.htm#

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