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Dec 9, 2007 08:35 PM

Best fish on the islands...

I'm looking for restaurants (or poke counters or fish markets or sushi bars) that serve the freshest, most fantastic fish in Hawaii. Specifically, on the islands I'll be visiting: Hawaii, Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. The places don't need to be "seafood" joints exclusively -- in fact, if they only serve one signature fish (or shrimp or squid, etc.) dish, and it's the best of its kind, I want to hear about it.

Places already on my list include:
- Nico's
- Mavro's
- Merriman's
- Nobu
- Tsukiji Fish Market
- Fook Yuen
- Quinn's AbtS
- The Seaside
- Mala Ocean Tavern
- Haliimaile General Store
- Paia Fish Market
- Oahu's North Shore shrimp trucks

If anyone strongly objects to the stellar recs I've received for the above, please let me know. Again, I'm really looking for "only in Hawaii," straight from the sea fish dishes -- any type of cuisine, any price range. Thanks!

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  1. While on Kauai, be sure to check out 2 local fish markets:

    Fish Express: Located on the Hwy in Lihue, various types of Poke and fresh fish. THey have a counter for takeout as well as a fine selection of local catch of the day items to bring back to your condo to grill. Immensely popular spot for take-out at lunchtime with the local hospital staff(Located directly across market)

    Koloa Fish Market: Right in Koloa town (towards the post office) Ideal spot to pick up freshly caught Hawaiian fish. This spot is convenient if your condo is south(Poipu)

    1. I'd drop the Nobu since it is not "only in Hawaii" and you can get equally good and comparable dishes elsewhere on Oahu and Tsukiji since reports on quality vary widely and substitute Mitch's, Yohei and Poke Stop.

      1. Also, does anyone have anything to say about Shrimp Station on Kauai?

        1 Reply
        1. re: erin k

          I think that giovanni's on the north shore of oahu might be better as far as shrimp in sauces is concerned, but shrimp station does really good coconut shrimp. personally, i don't really care for coconut shrimp in general, but everyone whom i have taken to shrimp station absolutely love it. coconut shrimp is their specialty, and they say it is the best on the planet. i usually get thai shrimp, and like the garlic shrimp as well. there is a large variety of items (shrimp burgers, fried shrimp, shrimp cocktail, etc) and i would recommend all of them. also, their tartar sauce is i think a ginger-papaya blend, which is especially tasty- and i dont usually like tartar sauce! finally, the people who own it are also really nice, which is always a plus for me. i would def stop there after you come down from waimea canyon. you can also stop by jo-jos shave ice which is just around the corner- walking distance- from shrimp station. go to the store inside, not the roadside stop. the store is much better and run by the original owner, a local school teacher.

        2. If you like spicy poke my absolute favorite poke is the spicy ahi poke at Yama's Fish Market. It's on Young St. at Isenberg in Moiliili on Oahu. They don't make it every day, but they will make it for you sometimes if you ask for it. They can make it mildly spicy to super spicy. A lot of places make their spicy poke mixed with a lot of mayo; Yama's spicy ahi poke has no mayo in it. I think they get the heat from chili pepper water. I know that the Onokinegrindz blog had a poor review of the place, and that really disappointed me because I think the spicy ahi poke is the best. They have a variety of poke and Hawaiian food, but a half pound of poke and two scoops of rice does it for me.

          1. IMO, Imanas Tei (located behind Puck's Alley, near the University) has the best sushi and authentic Japanese cuisine in Honolulu. There's a line pretty much every night, so go early. Their "Katsuo no Tataki" or seared local Skipjack (if it's available) is as good or better than you'd find in Japan. Of course, they have top-grade sushi, to go along with their extensive menu of small plates and various nabe. Their spicy clam appetizer is a close second to the tataki. The hordes of Japanese ex-pats and Japanese tourists there should tell you that it's the real-deal. For fresh Poke, my favorite place is Fort Ruger Market (located by Diamond Head Theater). They make their Poke to order, so the fish doesn't get soggy or too salty.