Best sushi in Oahu?
- VAfoodie Jul 30, 2008 06:18 PM
Woohoo--10 days in HI; first trip. I'm reading over the boards here and oddly see many cheapeats, best fish, etc. threads but no best sushi. Bring on the recommendations. We are staying at the Waikiki Marriot but will go to the ends of the island for food.
I'll list the usual places. Higher end; Sushi Sasabune in town, Mitch's near the airport and Yohei Sushi in Kapalama. More moderate; Imana's Tei near the University and Maguro-ya in Kaimuki. These will get you started.
I love Kaiwa in Beachwalk. Kaiwa caters to the Japanese clientele in Hawaii, but there is no reason the rest of us can't benefit from their high sushi expectations; we are often the only non-Japanese diners. It is Nobu quality Sashimi and Nigiri (Nobu, BTW, is around the corner), but I love the intimacy of Kaiwa. There is a great sake selection (the Sake Martini is a treat too) if need to wait, sit at the bar for a few minutes with Josh, who has lived in Honolulu most of his life and knows his Sake to boot! The sushi is everything sushi should be - colorful, elegant, fresh and melt-in-your-mouth fabulous. Have at least one of the sushi specials while you are there - pricey, yes - worth it? ABSOLUTELY.
Make a reservation as it is a small restaurant and prime dinner hours fill up fast; and there is no appreciation of the "walk-in" on a busy night. I prefer to eat in the zashiki room; it feels lush and pampered and I love the experience of eating in lush surroundings with my shoes off, as they do in Tokyo. The room is sectioned off with fiber optic curtains which make it feel urban and hip.
Having said that, the sushi bar is great - the chefs are so talented, that the entertainment can't be beat. The service at the Sushi bar is very prompt; and given its location, off to the side of the main room, one would think it lacked the "hustle" of the traditional sushi bar - not so, in fact..maybe a little too much so. We haven't had Teppan there, but they have that as well.
The main room in the restaurant is "fine" there is nothing wrong nor particularly compelling to write about eating in that location. It offers good people watching.
If you can walk to BeachWalk (Marriott is within walking distance)- do - parking is a total hassle. If you are driving, park at Embassy Suites as Kaiwa validates there. OR - park at the Royal Hawaiian and grab a Baskin Robbins and have them validate.