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Mar 27, 2009 02:50 PM

New-ish places in Honolulu?

In a couple weeks I'll be visiting home in Honolulu. For years when I've visited I've gone to the same old favorite places, and while I love them I haven't been keeping up my cred as someone who knows her stuff. I need a new list--restaurants, take-out, everything. So: what's opened in the last few years that a local who loves food should know about?

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  1. as you can see from the lack of responses, there really aren't any places that have really grabbed anyone's attention of late. sad to say, news has been more about places that have closed.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KaimukiMan

      I was wondering! And now disappointed.... I'll be there for a couple weeks, so maybe I can do some searching myself. I've found a bunch of ideas on food blogs, but now I hope those places haven't closed. Thanks for the response, though.

    2. I'd like to know when the last time you were here and what sort of places you like. There are many "new" places as well as many closing. What do you like to eat? I think that sort of information would help us out and give you direction.

      3 Replies
      1. re: manomin

        And, does "new" mean new SINCE you were last in Honolulu, or new to you?

        While there have probably been dozens of new places that have opened in the last few years, but I'm not sure how many would be noteworthy.

        The last few openings seem to have been in the Beachwalk area of Waikiki, but then I've probably missed many. Manomin and KaimukiMan can probably fill you in on particulars as well as anybody in the Islands.

        I'll wait to hear what your definition, and timeframe are, regarding "new," before I attempt to add anything, if I can.


        1. re: manomin

          The last time I visited was last fall, but as I said I've tended to visit the same old places, so I don't think I've been to many places that opened less than, oh, five years ago? I like everything: plate lunch, anything Asian, bistro, poke, whatever's really worth eating. But since it's not hard to find great cheap food in Honolulu or upscale American where I live, I probably wouldn't bother spending over $20/entree unless it's world-class. Thanks for your help!

          1. re: pickledginger

            That is very helpful. Unfortunately Manomin, KaimukiMan and other locals can possibly help you more than I can.

            Most of all, ejoy!



        2. Boy, I'll be interested in hearing about responses, too. We'll be coming April 3-11. We love Side St, Kakaako Kitchen, Alan Wong--Pineapple, not the main restaurant, Little Village Noodle House, Kirin, Maple Garden...but looking for more places. Clue me in on what blogs you're checking.

          2 Replies
          1. re: barbecue

            Let's's what I've got. FYI, some of these don't update often, and who knows with restaurants opening and closing all the time, but I figure they're a place to start.

   (This one has a list of newish Hawaii food blogs, ones I haven't looked at yet, dated 3/30/09

            Thanks for sharing your favorite restaurants. I've been meaning to visit some of those and haven't yet. A few of our favorites are Legend and its spouse Legend Vegetarian, Gina's in Market City, and Mekong. I've been liking Blue Water Grill in the last couple years. And everyone has a shave ice preference; mine is Keneke's in Waimanalo (despite the fact that Fear God Weight Lifting isn't really my thing).

            1. re: pickledginger

              Wow, pickled ginger--you've done your research. Impressive! I'l look through some of them. If I think of more places we frequent, I'll let you know. Our absolute favorite shave ice place is Waiola. Two locations, one on Waiola and the other on Kapahulu.

          2. A couple of years ago I made a list of places to go with friends (otherwise we keep ending up at the same few time and time again). This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of places to eat on Oahu, and it is a mix of great to mediocre, including mainland chains, local chains, etc. Some places were deliberately omitted, others accidently. I am pretty sure everything listed here is still in operation, but no guarantees. They are definately not all "new", but they may or may not be new to you, or you may have forgotten a couple (like the shrimp trucks). There are definitely places worth going that I may not have listed for one reason or another. I always recommend googling someplace new before you go, see what others have said.

            Things are listed alphabetically, not by preference. Hope this is more helpful than confusing.

            AMERICAN/FUSION - Everyday
            Big City Diner*
            49er Fountain, Aiea
            Good to Grill, Kapahulu
            Kakkaako Kitchen, Ward*
            Kona Brewing Co., Hawaii Kai
            Murphy’s, Downtown
            Outback Steakhouse
            Ruby Tuesday
            Ryan’s Grill, Ward
            Side Street Inn

            AMERICAN/FUSION - Nicer
            Blue Water Cafe, Hawaii Kai
            Buzz’s Steakhouse, Aiea, Kailua
            Chart House, Waikiki (iffy these days)
            Chuck's Steakhouse, Waikiki
            Cheesecake Factory, Waikiki
            Duke’s, Waikiki*
            Henry Loui’s, Mapunapuna
            Jameson’s, Haleiwa
            La Mariana Sailing Club, Sand Island*
            Tiki’s, Marriot, Waikiki
            Town, Kaimuki*
            12th Avenue Grill, Kaimuki

            AMERICAN/FUSION - Finer Dining
            Alan Wong’s
            DK Steak House, Waikiki
            Duc’s Bistro, Chinatown*
            Hau Tree Lanai, Waikiki*
            Hoku’s, Kahala
            Hy’s Steakhouse, Waikiki*
            Mariposa, Ala Moana
            Ninniku-Ya Garlic Restaurant, Kaimuki
            Orchid’s, Halekulani
            La Mer, Halekulani
            Longhi’s, Ala Moana
            Plumeria Cafe, Kahala
            3660 On The Rise

            Bob’s Big Boy, Mapunapuna
            Koa Pancake House
            Liliha Bakery*
            Original Pancake House, Ala Moana*
            Wailana Coffee Shop, Waikiki

            BURGERS & SUCH
            BaLe Sandwiches
            Burgers on The Edge, Kapahulu
            Da Big Kahuna, Airport*
            Hank’s Haute Dogs
            Islands, Ala Moana
            Kua Aina*, Ward & Haleiwa
            Moose McGilycuddy’s, Waikiki
            Puka Dog, Waikiki
            The Shack, Various, inc Waikiki
            Teddy’s Bigger Burgers*
            W&M Burgers (wed-sun, lunch only), Kaimuki

            Asia Manoa, Manoa
            Dew Drop Inn, Lower Makiki
            Duk Kee, Kaimuki*
            Eastern Paradise (Korean Style), King St.
            Happy Days, Kaimuki*
            Legend’s, Chinatown*
            Little Village Noodle House, Chinatown*
            On On, McCully
            Royal Garden, Ala Moana

            DIM SUM
            Happy Days, Kaimuki
            Legends, Chinatown
            Mei Sum, Chinatown
            Panda Restaurant, Keeamoku
            Royal Garden, Ala Moana

            FAST FOOD (chains)
            Burger King
            Carl’s Jr.
            Mc Donalds
            Pizza Hut
            Taco Bell

            don’t know any

            Ono’s, Kapahulu
            The Willows, Moiliili (not exactly Hawaiian)

            Cafe Maharani, King St.

            Assagio, Various
            Auntie Pasto’s, Lower Makiki
            Pizzarina, King St.*
            (Romano’s) Macaroni Grill
            Verbano Waialae.*
            Zia’s, Windward side

            Gyotaku (various)
            Ichi Riki, Keeamoku
            Irifune, Kapahulu
            Sekiyas, Kaimuki
            Yamagen, King St.*

            Gina’s, Market City
            Sorabol, Keeamoku/Lower Makiki
            Choi’s Garden, Lower Makiki
            Cafe Million, Lower Makiki

            LUNCH ONLY (or breakfast/lunch)
            Brent’s (Deli), Kailua*
            Honey Glazed Hams (tue-sat), Moiliili
            Waioli Tea Room, Manoa
            Monarch Seafood, Lunch Take Out, Kalihi
            Nico’s, Pier 38 (lunch), Nimitz*
            Yama’s, Moiliili (Lunch)
            W&M Burgers, Kaimuki

            Champion, Beretania/Makiki
            Leonards, Kapahulu

            Char Hung Sut, Chinatown
            Libby Manapua, Kalihi
            Royal Kitchen, Chinatown*

            Azteca*, Kaimuki
            Caliente Del Sol, Kapahulu
            Mexico, Liliha/Kalihi
            Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Ward
            El Charro, Sand Island Acess Road

            The Fat Greek, Kaimuki
            The Greek Corner, Moiliili
            Olive Tree, Kahala
            Pyramids, Kapahulu

            PLATE LUNCH
            Bob’s bbq, Kalihi
            Byron’s, Airport
            Grace’s Inn
            Likelike Drive-In
            Mitsu-ken, Liliha/Kalihi
            Rainbow Drive-In*, Kapahulu
            Tsukenjo’s, Kakaako
            Zippy’s, Various

            SAIMIN RAMEN
            Boulevard Saimin, Liliha
            Ezogiku, Moiliili
            Palace Saimin, Kalihi (odd hrs)
            Sanoya, King St.
            Shiro’s, Aiea

            Kincaids, Ward
            Monarch Seafood, Kalihi (take out only)
            Nicos, Nimitz/Kalihi Kai
            Sam Choy’s BL&C, Nimitz
            Nicos, Pier 39 (?)

            Genki Sushi (various)
            Kats Sushi, King St/Makiki
            Mitch’s, Airport
            Zippy’s (Kahala & Aiea Only)

            Chai’s (Thai inspired), Aloha Tower
            Keo’s, Waikiki
            Pae Thai, King St./Makiki*
            Spices (Thai inspired), Moiliili

            There is supposed to be a really good place across the street (ocean side) from Wall Mart, I haven't been, but a couple of people told me it's good).

            Green Papaya, Kaimuki
            Hale Vietnam, Kaimuki
            Pho Mai, King St./Makiki
            Pho South King, Moiliili
            Saigon, Kaimuki

            12 Replies
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              KM.........Ethel's Grill still around?
              My favorite place to go when I get off da plane.

              1. re: monku

                apparently it is. ive heard of it, but never been. in the same area there is a great but impossible to park at plate lunch place, really a market - but I can't remember the name of it...

                so much to eat, so little time

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  You'd better give me the name of that other place because it's killing me I can't remember the name of it and I've been there too.

                  1. re: monku

                    No, Masu's was good, but that was up at Liliha, and yes, it is gone now. This place is called Alicia's Market, between Democrat and Homerule on Mokauea St. Great roast pork (chinese kine), fresh poki, etc.

                    I'll have to remember to ask you the good places next time i'm in LA

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      Alicia's Market is on my go to list next trip.
                      Check out Ethels Grill it belongs on your list. It's an institution and Ethel's a gracious host and hoot.

                      I owe you one KM.

                  2. re: KaimukiMan

                    Never it now.
                    Forgot they closed RIP.

                    Masu's Massive Plate Lunch
                    1808 Liliha St, Honolulu, HI

                2. re: KaimukiMan

                  I'm sorry I haven't responded yet, KaimukiMan. I've been overwhelmed by your amazing, comprehensive list and have been putting off delving into it until I have a good amount of time to devote to it. I really appreciate it!

                  1. re: pickledginger

                    ha, no problem. if any of them you haven't heard of and are curious, just ask... either I or someone else in here is bound to answer.

                  2. re: KaimukiMan

                    Re Filipino: Elena's and Thelma's, both in Waipahu, and Marilou's in Wahiawa. A new Thai place that IMO is better than most on your list is Kookie's Thai Kitchen. Also, I would rate Bac Nam and Cuu Long as superior Vietnamese places.

                    1. re: Joebob

                      Thanks Joebob. My favorite on the list i have is Pae Thai, but I am always glad to get new suggestions. Wish I could find someplace in town for Filipino, but will keep those two in mind.

                    2. re: KaimukiMan

                      KaimukiMan -- We'll be on Oahu for 2 weeks beginning April 30th and will take your list with us. Although we've been quite a few times & have friends living in Waikiki, this list is invaluable. If you're ever in NYC, let me know & we'll return the favor.

                      Just a couple of questions about places not on your list -- first, what do you think of Chef Mavro? We've never been & I'm considering it this time around. Not worth it? And, secondly, how about Tai Pan (100 N.Beretania) for dim sum? It was highly recommended to me by someone who was a regular on this board but now lives in NYC. Thanks again... I owe you.

                      1. re: Steve R

                        Steve: I'll book my flight to NYC immediately. Seriously though, thanks for the offer, who knows... I have no doubt your friends in Waikiki will have comments on my list (I'd love to hear them).

                        I have only been to Chef Mavro twice. I can't say anything bad about the food, it was really excellent. I just found the service to be somewhat overbearing. I got tired of being told how wonderful my food was and how lucky I was to be able to eat there instead of being asked if I was enjoying my meal. Just a personal quirk of mine I guess, but for that kind of money I would personally choose one of Honolulu's top end restaurants.

                        I have heard good things about Tai Pan, but I haven't ever been there, so anything I could say would be second hand information. When do you get here? Maybe I need to go eat dim sum.... LOL.

                    3. Hank's Haute Dog

                      Hank's Haute Dogs
                      324 Coral St, Honolulu, HI

                      Hank's Haute Dogs
                      2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ML8000

                        Yup, I've got that one on my radar. It sounds like lots of fun and not the usual food I eat when I visit.

                        1. re: pickledginger

                          Ok...we've been here for five days and here's where we've eaten:
                          Kakaako Kitchen, breakfast: loco moco (no msg), fried rice, kakaako kitchen omelette.
                          Mariposa, Nieman Marcus: unbelievable popovers.
                          Ala Moana Mall food court: Yummys (bi bim bop), Chinese Express (tofu, cold ginger chicken)
                          Kirin Restaurant: ulua with peppery salt, sesame pockets with minced pork and mustard greens.
                          Sensei Seafood and Sushi House: 50% off Sun-Mon til 6pm; 25% off other days before 6pm.
                          Shokudo: Hamachi w/ yuzu and capers,
                          Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin: kurobuta (berkshire) pork, thick pieces, in very carefully fried panko. A double fry method. First fried at 180 degrees, and finished at 200 degrees.
                          Whole Foods Market: pretty good lunches, some local style.
                          Kapiolani Community College Farmer's Market on Saturdays, local produce and food products.

                          I'll be interested to hear where you go!

                          1. re: pickledginger

                            forgot to mention The Counter, the new restaurant opened by "jin" from Lost. Heard the sliders come with sweet tasting bread. Haven't had a chance to try it.

                            Maybe other chowhounds have.

                            1. re: barbecue

                              I intend to visit The Counter very soon, as it's not far from where I'm staying. Thought I might try a few other local burgers while I'm at it.