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Aug 3, 2007 01:57 PM

Downtown Honolulu Recommendations

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.


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  1. 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. 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.


      1. 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

          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,

          1. re: Bill Hunt

            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

            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.


          3. 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

              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,

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                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. 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

                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.