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?
12th Avenue Grill (Daniel Dae Kim ate there last week
Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas
If you want the best soba noodles in the world I'd give Matsugen in Waikiki a try. We went for lunch and it was incredible. I will warn you though, the staff is Japanese and the service was not the best. The food far surpasses the services. If you're a service junkie I'd try somewhere else.
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!
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
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
Henry Loui’s, Mapunapuna
La Mariana Sailing Club, Sand Island*
Tiki’s, Marriot, Waikiki
12th Avenue Grill, Kaimuki
AMERICAN/FUSION - Finer Dining
DK Steak House, Waikiki
Duc’s Bistro, Chinatown*
Hau Tree Lanai, Waikiki*
Hy’s Steakhouse, Waikiki*
Mariposa, Ala Moana
Ninniku-Ya Garlic Restaurant, Kaimuki
La Mer, Halekulani
Longhi’s, Ala Moana
Plumeria Cafe, Kahala
3660 On The Rise
BREAKFAST KINE PLACES
Bob’s Big Boy, Mapunapuna
Koa Pancake House
Original Pancake House, Ala Moana*
Wailana Coffee Shop, Waikiki
BURGERS & SUCH
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*
Little Village Noodle House, Chinatown*
On On, McCully
Royal Garden, Ala Moana
Happy Days, Kaimuki
Mei Sum, Chinatown
Panda Restaurant, Keeamoku
Royal Garden, Ala Moana
FAST FOOD (chains)
don’t know any anymore...help
The Willows, Moiliili (not exactly Hawaiian)
Cafe Maharani, King St.
Auntie Pasto’s, Lower Makiki
Pizzarina, King St.*
(Romano’s) Macaroni Grill
Zia’s, Windward side
Ichi Riki, Keeamoku
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
Char Hung Sut, Chinatown
Libby Manapua, Kalihi
Royal Kitchen, Chinatown*
Caliente Del Sol, Kapahulu
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Ward
El Charro, Sand Island Acess Road
The Fat Greek, Kaimuki
The Greek Corner, Moiliili
Olive Tree, Kahala
Bob’s bbq, Kalihi
Rainbow Drive-In*, Kapahulu
Boulevard Saimin, Liliha
Palace Saimin, Kalihi (odd hrs)
Sanoya, King St.
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
Zippy’s (Kahala & Aiea Only)
Chai’s (Thai inspired), Aloha Tower
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
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.
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.
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.
Let's see...here'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.
http://maona.net/ (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).
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.
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!