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New-ish places in Honolulu?

pickledginger Mar 27, 2009 02:50 PM

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?

  1. h
    HIeats Apr 7, 2009 10:11 AM

    Izakaya Sushi Gaku




    12th Avenue Grill (Daniel Dae Kim ate there last week


    Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas


    1. h
      HIeats Apr 7, 2009 10:04 AM

      Azure in the newly refurbished Royal Hawaiian. It's where Jon Matsubara landed.
      Here's review of it on my new food blog: http://hieats.wordpress.com/

      10 Replies
      1. re: HIeats
        Bill Hunt Apr 7, 2009 09:43 PM

        Is there any tie to "Azure" at the Ko`olina? Just curious, as we hope to spend some time at that Marriott property in the Fall.



        1. re: Bill Hunt
          HIeats Apr 8, 2009 10:57 AM

          No, no connection. The restaurant at Ko Olina is called Azul.

          1. re: HIeats
            Bill Hunt Apr 8, 2009 08:47 PM

            Of course you are correct. That is the second time in a year, that I have tried to name it Azure. When will I ever learn?



            1. re: Bill Hunt
              HIeats Apr 8, 2009 11:12 PM

              That's cause Azure is intuitive. But what the hell is an Azul?

              1. re: HIeats
                KaimukiMan Apr 9, 2009 12:26 AM

                azul is "blue" in spanish (and portuguese)

                1. re: KaimukiMan
                  HIeats Apr 9, 2009 10:00 AM

                  gracias, obrigado

                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                    HIeats Apr 9, 2009 10:03 AM

                    But there is nothing Spanish or Portuguese about the menu, so the name still puzzles.

                    1. re: HIeats
                      manomin Apr 9, 2009 10:28 AM

                      Maybe it's because from some tables you can see the ocean? I thought it was
                      a lovely room and a has a nice outdoor eating area.

                      1. re: manomin
                        KaimukiMan Apr 9, 2009 10:43 AM

                        perhaps should have been named Polu or Uli (ways of saying blue in Hawaiian)

                        1. re: KaimukiMan
                          HIeats Apr 11, 2009 08:28 PM

                          Nice idea!

        2. l
          ladybugthepug Apr 1, 2009 08:48 PM

          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.

          1. m
            ML8000 Mar 31, 2009 07:51 PM

            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
              pickledginger Apr 2, 2009 04:10 PM

              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
                barbecue Apr 9, 2009 01:30 AM

                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
                  barbecue Apr 9, 2009 01:41 AM

                  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
                    pickledginger Apr 9, 2009 01:22 PM

                    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.

              2. KaimukiMan Mar 31, 2009 07:35 PM

                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 anymore...help

                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

                MIDDLE EASTERN/GREEK
                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
                  monku Mar 31, 2009 07:56 PM

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

                  1. re: monku
                    KaimukiMan Mar 31, 2009 08:08 PM

                    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
                      monku Mar 31, 2009 08:55 PM

                      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
                        KaimukiMan Apr 1, 2009 12:17 AM

                        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
                          monku Apr 1, 2009 05:03 AM

                          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
                        monku Mar 31, 2009 09:06 PM

                        Never mind......got it now.
                        Forgot they closed RIP.

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

                    2. re: KaimukiMan
                      pickledginger Apr 2, 2009 04:09 PM

                      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
                        KaimukiMan Apr 2, 2009 09:53 PM

                        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
                        Joebob Apr 4, 2009 01:49 PM

                        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
                          KaimukiMan Apr 4, 2009 05:32 PM

                          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
                          Steve R Apr 12, 2009 05:37 PM

                          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
                            KaimukiMan Apr 13, 2009 02:03 PM

                            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. b
                          barbecue Mar 30, 2009 08:21 PM

                          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
                            pickledginger Mar 31, 2009 04:34 PM

                            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).

                            1. re: pickledginger
                              barbecue Mar 31, 2009 10:37 PM

                              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. manomin Mar 29, 2009 10:49 PM

                            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
                              Bill Hunt Mar 30, 2009 08:02 PM

                              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
                                pickledginger Mar 30, 2009 08:12 PM

                                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
                                  Bill Hunt Mar 31, 2009 07:00 PM

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

                                  Most of all, ejoy!



                              2. KaimukiMan Mar 29, 2009 08:57 PM

                                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
                                  pickledginger Mar 29, 2009 09:42 PM

                                  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.

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