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Dec 6, 2009 06:32 AM

Report - Maui and Oahu

Hello Chowhounds - this is my first post. This board was a huge help in helping me plan my recent trip to Oahu and Maui. I was there from 11/19 to 11/25.


The food on Oahu was amazing.

Day 1 - Lunch at Puka Dog/Fatty's Chinese Kitchen

I had heart lots about Puka and Fatty's. My husband and I stopped by Puka. Unfortunately, they had no veggie dogs, so the only option was a chicken/pork/beef sausage. I didn't mind, but my husband doesn't eat beef so he went to Fatty. Puka dog was great - though I wished that they had some more spicy, non-creamy toppings. The bread was amazing.

Fatty's was also a terrific find - my husband had the curry chicken, and we came back another night where he had the curry chicken again (it was that good) and I had the cake noodle with shrimp. I would definitely recommend Fatty's for a night where you want a chill meal, some people watching (very little seating inside the restaurant) and a break for your wallet.

Dinner - Appetizers at House Without a Key, dinner at Roy's.

House without a key was great. We shared an appetizer and a cocktail, and watched the live music performance and dancing. If you come just for cocktails (which many people do, apparently), you're seated outside, facing the performance stage and the ocean. Comfortable chairs are arranged around low tables - it felt very elegant and homey at the same time. The coconut crusted tiger shrimp was wonderful .

Dinner - We went to Roy's on the beachwalk. Incredible - one of the best meals I've had. Service was terrific, and the food was good. The waiters are very knowledgeable about the food. The food was interesting and well-seasoned. Next time I go to Hawaii, Roy's will be one of my first stops.

Day 2 -

Breakfast - Duke's (at Outrigger Waikiki). Nothing special, but views are incredible and staff was very friendly. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here, but if you want a quick breakfast and you're in the area, it's not a bad choice.

Breakfast 2 - Leonard's. As we were driving towards the freeway to head to the North Shore, we saw Leonard's Bakery. We picked up a box of Malasadas - they were incredible. They had just been made. They're cheap, too - about seventy cents each. I was expecting something the size of doughnut holes, but they are actually closer in size to a normal donut. We ended up ordering 10, thinking they would be tiny. We each had a couple over the course of the day and then gave some away. (Locals at the hotel and the local ABC store saw the Leonard's box and commented on it - I feel like we got some street cred for walking around Waikiki with a box from Leonard's!)

Lunch - Opal Thai truck near the North Shore. Some of the best Thai food I've ever had. The truck is in a dirt lot off Kamehamena Highway in Haleiwa. We shared the penang chicken, it was under $10. A great local, cheap eat.

Maui -

We ate at Sansei in Kihei twice in three days. Hands down the best sushi I have ever had. Again, very knowledgeable staff. We told them we weren't from the area and wanted something fresh and local - our hostess recommended Kampachi and Moi - both were excellent. The prices weren't unreasonable for sushi.

We also went to Plantation House in Kapalua for lunch one day. It's a high-end restaurant with amazing views, but is a reasonable lunch spot. No wait, and our entrees cost less than $20 each.

We stopped by Flatbread Company in Paia after we got back from Hana. The pizza was tasty, cheap and interesting.

Thanks to all the Chowhounds who wrote up restaurants in Hawaii - I spent lots of time scouring the message boards for opinions and information, and it really paid off.

Leonard's Bakery
933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Plantation House Restaurant
2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, HI 96761

Roy's Restaurants
226 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI

Fatty's Chinese Fast Food
2345 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

Flatbread Company
89 Hana Hwy, Paia, HI 96779

Plantation House Restaurant
2000 Plantation Club Dr., Kapalua, HI 96761

Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar
1881 S Kihei Rd Ste Kt116, Kihei, HI 96753

Puka Dog Hawaiian Style Hotdogs
, Honolulu, HI 96813

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  1. Thanks for the feedback and for spending some $ in Hawaii. WE NEED THEM!

    1. Aloha pamelak52...excellent report!

      1. Nice work. For a non-local, you hit some very smart, and fun highlights. I've been traveling most of my adult life to the islands (about twice a week) and you ate/visited quite a few of my standby's. Just feasted at Sansei last night in Kihei. House Salad, sunomono, the chef from Aspen (paying homage to. .) roll, Hamachi Sashimi (wow! skipped dipping), proverbial Panko Crusted Ahi Roll in wasabi butter sauce, and wrapped the meal with the Chili-Porcini Filet (I know, steak in a sushi place. . . don't knock it till you try it. DK Kodama owns DK Steakhouse in Waikiki--he knows beef, too.) (shared all the above.) As you know, it was: "all that." BTW, I'm a Roy's fan, too. (Fatty's, House Without a Key, et. all.) Japanese/Korean Soup shops have been my focus lately. I'll report when something truly stands out. (Something as good as, say, Hamura's, in Lihue, Kauai.) In HNL, Gomaichi Ramen (Tan Tan Mein) across the street from the "newer" Walmart by Ala Moana Center, was pretty noteworthy. The best bowl in HNL, though, was Helen's Special Duck Noodle Soup with Wonton. She and Daniel, sadly (for us) retired a couple years ago, and along with them went all their recipes.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Brent Courier

          I agree Helen's was a great hole in the wall joint in Kapahulu. I went during their last week not knowing they were closing, so I was lucky enough to get one final meal there. I thanked Helen for all the great food through the years, including Liberty Chop Suey and their place in Kalihi whose name escapes me (New Liberty Chop Suey???). The only knock against Helen's was that it was on one man kitchen, so you had to be patient if the restaurant was full, all 8 tables. Thanks for reminding me of the place.

          1. re: curiousgeo

            one more who misses Helens. It could have used AC on some evenings, but what great food it was.

            back to the post, Pamela did a great job of finding a lot of good local food and great variety in a very short time. I'm impressed.

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              Thanks for the compliment - can't wait to go back. Did a lot of research on food before we went and it really paid off. So much good food, so little stomach! Would love to hit up some Korean places next time (which I hope will be soon.)

        2. Thanks for posting's quite helpful. I'm going to Honolulu this summer...I hadn't really thought about going to Roy's because i've been to a couple in Texas, so i thought i might try something else while i am in Hawaii. It seems quite a few people on here enjoyed their meal there a lot. I am wondering if i should reconsider. Is the original one supposed to be a lot better? (I've liked the ones in Texas, but really only want to go to the one in Hawaii if it is an exceptional experience) Any other restaurants similar in fare and price point to Roy's that i might consider instead.

          5 Replies
          1. re: iluvtennis

            I thought the same thing initially; there's a Roy's close to my place. Apparently, Roy's outside of Hawaii is a chain owned and operated by Outback that I think is "inspired by" the original Roy's restaurants. Roy's in Honolulu is NOT part of that chain - Roy's in Honolulu has its own executive chef and changing menu. (You'll notice if you go to the Roy's chain website that the Hawaii locations aren't listed.)

            The meal I had there had local ingredients that wouldn't be readily available on the mainland. I have eaten at lots of great restaurants all over the country and would definitely consider Roy's "exceptional." Happy eating!

            1. re: pamelak52

              "Roy's in Honolulu is NOT part of that chain - Roy's in Honolulu has its own executive chef and changing menu. (You'll notice if you go to the Roy's chain website that the Hawaii locations aren't listed.)"

              Uhhh, Hawaii Roy's are the same chain, same menu. And yes, they are on the website:

              1. re: Nootka

                Each is chef driven with their own inspirations but include the "classic" dishes that made the Roy's name famous and fulfill expectations. You will notice that when you see prix fix meal specials on the website unfortunately they don't include Hawaii.
                I encourage you to try a Hawaii location and taste not only the "classic" dishes
                but the exec chef and his/her team's inspiration/influence on their location

                1. re: Nootka

                  You'll notice that Hawaii restaurant hours and reservations aren't available on the main website, whereas the other restaurants have that information available on the chain website. I poked around on Chowhound - while people don't cite sources, the consensus seems to be that Roy himself still runs the Hawaii locations, and other locations are operated by the Outback chain. I could be wrong; I haven't been to any of the mainland locations, but I would be absolutely stunned if they served ingredients unique to Hawaii at the mainland locations.

              2. re: iluvtennis

                We have gone to the Roy's on Lewers several times. What we do is to sit at the outside bar and have a cocktail and order food as well...usually an appetizer or something light. It's a good place to watch the passing parade and it's more casual than sitting inside. Very enjoyable. There's a sampler plate with 3 different fish entrees that I particularly enjoy.

                Nobu is just a few steps away and is fun if you've never been there. Great small plates, not cheap. Also close by is BLT in the new Trump building...haven't been there yet but will try it on our next trip.