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Dining Recommendations in Kaimuki (Honolulu)

We just moved to Hawaii Kai and find the dining here to be dull; we've had some luck in Kaimuki, particularly at "Town" which we loved. Can anyone recommend other dining options between Hawaii Kai-Kaimuki that aren't chains? BTW - we'd love to see all kinds of suggestions, from diner to fine dining. THANKS!!

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  1. Lets see, between Kaimuki and Hawaii Kai:
    - Hale Vietnam
    - Hung Won
    - Kim Chee II (meat jun = yum)
    - Cafe Laufer
    - Maguro-ya
    - Cupcake Couture
    - Big City Diner

    1. 3660 on the Rise!!!
      12th Avenue Grill
      Tamura's for their poke bar & wine
      Cafe Laufer

      I know Roy's is a chain, but I think the original Hawaii Kai one is one of the best

      1. Kahala is surprisingly bereft of good restaurants, olive tree and green door being the notable exceptions. Of course Plumeria Cafe and Hoku's both at the Kahala Hotel are very good also.

        In Hawaii Kai, Blue Water Grill, Verbano Italian, The Shack Burgers (local chain) are all pretty good. I have not been as impressed by Kona Brewing Co., but some people swear by it.

        in addition to those listed by Kalihi Snob and torta basilica the following are good in Kaimuki:

        Duk Kee - Chinese, more casual, local atmosphere

        Happy Days - Chinese, more upscale - great dim sum from early morning till early afternoon

        Verbano - Italian. the generally do a really good job on fish there as well.

        Cafe Miro - Fusion/Continental... not as good a reputation as it used to have. Pricey

        Ninniku-ya (garlic house) steak and seafood with a slight japanese influence, pricey

        Green Papaya - Vietnamese with a selection of vegetarian dishes

        Cafe Saigon - pho, bun (noodle) bowls

        W&M Burgers (lunch only, closed monday) no place to sit and eat, very limited menu try the hank's special burger.

        I have to admit, I disagree with Kalihi on one place only... Kim Chee II. Used to be very good, but the last two times I was there I was seriously disappointed.

        Also Don't Rule out Kapahulu (Pyramids, Rainbow Drive In, Irifune, waiola store/shave ice) or Moiliili (Spices, Greek Corner, Maharani).

        Looking forward to hearing more from you folks.

        1. These pretty much cover it for the area, lots of local favorites listed. Just a couple of additions:

          BC Burrito in Kaimuki
          Lam's Garden in Kahala
          Jack's for breakfast in Aina Haina

          1 Reply
          1. re: curiousgeo

            Just want to put in another plug for BC Burrito in Kaimuki....
            If you want something fast, cheap, and really filling, the potato burrito is really delicious. They fry the potatoes (but it's not quite like french fries; more like homestyle potatoes) and aside from the usual burrito fillings of salsa (and optional guac/beans/rice), they squirt on a couple lines of RANCH DRESSING.
            As gross as this sounds.... it's a really tasty, guilty pleasure.

          2. I know that you asked for places to eat.... but here's a recommendation for an egg shop in Kaimuki. Check out Ka Lei on Waialae; the eggs are super fresh and it's way cheaper than buying eggs from the supermarket.
            Also, on certain days during the week, they sell a local favorite called 'KC Waffle Dogs.' (Basically a hot dog sandwiched between a waffle; hot dog or portuguese sausage option.)

            1. Closer to Hawaii Kai than Kaimuki is Le Bistro in Niu Valley...have not been regularly, but always had excellent food and good service.

              Second a lot of the other recommendations above, with special regard for Cafe Miro...one of the few places you can have excellent food, good service, and a quiet conversation.

              1. Mahalo to you all! Sounds like some great suggestions for all kinds of dining! Can't wait to try them ALL!

                1. Tons of great suggestions. I also agree with Le Bistro as a good place if you're celebrating something with a delicious meal. And I love Maguro-ya.


                  Azteca - (Kaimuki) I think this is the best Mexican food in the area.
                  Doe Fang - (Aina Hina) for icees.

                  I agree that there is not much in Kahala besides chains or high end restaurants in the hotel. However, I have heard that the Olive Tree Cafe (I think it still exists) is good, but I haven't tried it myself.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cowfish

                    Olive Tree - I used to go there almost weekly because Tuesday's was Saffron Chicken - a tomatoe white wine onion cinnamon & other spices served with long grain rice and mix greens feta dressing. I also like their Fish Souvlaki and their sauce that goes in the pita, just had that a couple of days ago.

                  2. How about some of the izakaya places, e.g., Momomo or Tokkuri-Tei on Kapahulu? Are they still good? (we only make it out to Oahu once a year from the mainland)

                    Another plug for Maguro-ya; if you like fish, the teishoku miso butterfish and deep-fried flounder w/ponzu dipping sauce are stand-outs, as is the chawan-mushi.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dfong

                      Never got to try Momomo - now they're gone

                    2. Besides town, which I enjoy too, you have

                      JJ French Pastry: If you are a sucker for puff pastry like I am, this is it. It's one of those places that you go to just because it's the only place to get that one dish you want. It became well-known because of its desserts (they supply high-end restaurants) but you can have a steady diet of pot pies, Napoleons, brioches, etc.

                      3660 On The Rise: I particularly like the tempura catfish.

                      Buon Amici: An adventurous Italian place.

                      Kaimuki has a surprisingly high concentration of good restaurants.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: residenthawaii

                        Have you been to "Town" recently? See my post Oct. 23, 2009 -

                        1. re: Cousin Anna

                          I was just there and had none of your issues, just a fabulous time and wonderful food,

                          1. re: Cousin Anna

                            Decided to follow up and call and spoke with the Gen. Mgr. who encouraged me to email my less than stellar dining experience details -
                            I am glad to say that there was a response inviting us back to dine again on the house.
                            This says a lot about the establishment.

                        2. Gyotaku in Niu Valley Shopping Center...Everyone else has got it covered..