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Oahu Restaurants--Anyone tried these?

ponocat Feb 23, 2008 02:01 PM

Am going to Oahu for 3 nights, as I do regularly, and want to eat at someplace other than my usual (Alan Wong's, La Mer, and Izakaya Nonbei). I have read a bit about the following places. Has anyone eaten there and, if so, what did you think?

Young's Fish Market
Cafe Sistina
Yakiniku Toraji
Tsukueneya Robata Grill

Thanks for any info you can offer.

  1. c
    curiousgeo Feb 23, 2008 02:43 PM

    Young's Fish Market is in a strip mall in Kapalama, very casual, open only for lunch I believe (I know they close around 4:00 pm on Saturday at least). Good hawaiian food, either eat in or take out, lau lau, real imu kalua pig, pipikaula, etc. I haven't been to Gyu-kaku in a while but recall it was not bad and that it can get pricey. Grilled meat and seafood over charcoal and it's warm in there because of the grills. I haven't tried the other places and would be interested to hear about the food at Cafe Sistina.

    1. KaimukiMan Feb 23, 2008 03:34 PM

      I've only been to Sistina on your list. It has been years, all my friends used to rave about it and we went once. I had to send my pasta back TWICE because it was overcooked - and I mean way past al-dente, way past tender, right on the edge of mush. Haven't been back since. Other people seem to think its great.

      1. a
        Aleka Feb 24, 2008 09:02 AM

        Looking at your list, it sounds like you're really interested in Japanese food.

        Something that I'd like to recommend is Imanas-Tei (between Puck's Alley and the gas station, below the H1 freeway). Excellent grilled items and if you get a chance to sit at the sushi bar, a great experience. It would be helpful if you knew a little bit of Japanese to order off of the menu.... but the people there are pretty helpful about what to order in general. I highly recommend the 'Dynamite' (a baked seafood dish).
        For dessert, you can walk over to Bubbies and enjoy some fresh mochi ice cream.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Aleka
          ponocat Feb 24, 2008 10:36 AM

          Thanks for the feedback. I should have noted that I live on Kaua'i. I get good Hawaiian food fairly regularly (and can make it myself too), so that is not really what I seek, although I am always game for someplace that excels at Hawaiian.

          Thanks for the tip on Gyukaku being warm, curiousgeo. That matters because we are on our way to NYC for an eating expedition and will have our NY clothes with us (trying to pack light).

          I listed Sistina only because I'd heard about it. Since my husband makes all our pasta from scratch (and his is superb), Kaimukiman's comment leaves me leery.

          Aleka, thanks for the tip on Imanas-Tei. I will look into that one. I don't prefer Japanese over other cuisines, it is just that the suggestions from others tended to have more Japanese ones than others. Since writing my inquiry above, I have researched more on Tsukueneya Robata Grill and am leaning toward it, but will look into Imanas-Tei first.

          1. re: ponocat
            UES Mayor Feb 26, 2008 05:14 AM

            the gyu kaku in nyc is so much bigger-also very fun

        2. KaimukiMan Feb 24, 2008 03:45 PM

          don't know if you saw imrit's posting on Oahu. his comments on Tokkuri-tei sounded good. Imana has been good the few times I hav been there. I wish I knew of a really great Italian restaurant in Honolulu. Assagio isn't bad, and I like the Verbano on Waialae (Kaimuki), but neither of those is truly great for Italian - save that for when you are in NY.

          1 Reply
          1. re: KaimukiMan
            elinw Feb 25, 2008 11:36 AM

            i'll second the suggestion for Tokkuri-Tei; an excellent izakaya where you can find many of the same things as imanas-tei in a bit more of a casual setting.

            Momomo is in this vein as well. Has an elegant feel inside. they have an excellent warm tofu dish that is prepared at your table.

          2. r
            runsyi Feb 25, 2008 01:25 PM

            I've been to Momomo, Young's Fish Market, and Gyu-kaku. Momomo was pretty forgettable in my opinion. I like Gazen on Kapiolani better. Gyu-kaku is fun. I especially like the dorayaki pancakes. Young's Fish Market has good laulau. My sensei tried Tsukuneya and said the tsukune wasn't that great.

            1. w
              wild onion Feb 28, 2008 11:58 PM

              I've only tried Momomo and Tsukuneya from your list, but I liked both. Even if you aren't into tsukune, a trip to Tsukuneya is worth it for their homemade "zaru" tofu (better than any other I've had in Hawaii). You could get the tofu there and head across University Ave. to Imanas-tei for the rest of your meal.

              3 Replies
              1. re: wild onion
                ponocat Mar 15, 2008 03:59 PM

                Everyone, thanks for all the help. I went to Imana's and wow am I glad I did. Sat at the bar and didn't get past the sushi/sashimi. (Maybe next time I will try other stuff on the menu.) Really had a great time and now it has replaced Izakaya Nonbei as my favorite. Also went to Alan Wong's for dinner again, as well as to the Pineapple Room for lunch, because I can't stay away. Decided to write it up on my website, but let me just say that he really keeps up the level of quality. I had an abalone, tako & ahi salad that was divine. It had "sea asparagus" seaweed on it. Anyone familiar with it to give me its real name? Has anyone seen it in stores?

                1. re: ponocat
                  manomin Mar 15, 2008 05:26 PM

                  Sea Asparagus is known in England as "Sunfire."

                  1. re: manomin
                    ponocat Mar 16, 2008 09:25 AM

                    Interesting. Have a look at this: http://starbulletin.com/2006/07/26/fe...

                    Shows pictures and recipes, as well as a bit about the plant.

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