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Jun 10, 2011 12:35 AM

Friends in Honolulu

Friends of mine were just here, thought I'd give a short rundown of their food adventures:

Saturday Evening: Dinner at Big City Diner. They were tired from the plane, wanted something simple, reasonable, casual, and a touch local. One got the Kim Chee Fried Rice, the other a Kim Chee Burger. Both were very happy. I don't remember what I ate.... hummmm... oh, i was bad... double down chili dogs with chili on the fries also.

Sunday Brunch: They picked me up after church and we went to Happy Days in Kaimuki for Dim Sum. Very good, and getting there before 11 was a good thing, although I didn't get really crowded till just before noon when we left. They had heard about "someplace for shaved ice" on the north shore, but i had to go back to work. So after explaining it was Shave Ice, I sent them on their way to Haleiwa and Matsumoto's. Told them that there was good shrimp to be had, but apparently they were too full from brunch and settled for shave ice and a walk around Haleiwa Town.

Sunday Dinner: They had seen Rainbow Drive In on Diners, Drive-in's and Dives. Between us we had roast pork (ummmm, special 3 days a week), a chili frank plate that they both really liked, and BBQ steak that they thought was OK. We ate up at Diamond Head overlook watching the surfers paddle in at the end of the day, and feeding bbq steak and roast pork to a greedy little mongoose.

Monday: They had a late breakfast in the Hilton Waikiki (on Kuhio, not in the village) at Mac24/7. They enjoyed it. Then they were off to the Polynesian Cultural Center, including the Luau and Show. Apparently the food is on the upswing there right now because they reported that they pretty much cleaned their plates, and said even the poke was good.

Tuesday: We had an early Lunch at Nico's, excellent as always. I had the ahi sandwich, one of them had the special which was swordfish, deemed excellent, and the other had the furikake crusted ahi plate. Not a morsel left on anyones plate. They had also seen Nico's on DD&D, so were glad when I suggested it. We went to see the Mighty Mo (USS Missouri - disorganized tour but worthwhile) at Pearl Harbor, got back to Waikiki at around 4:00. Walked a couple of blocks to a little (LITTLE) karaoke bar (wang chung's) and had Mohitos, fresh mint, very refreshing. No one was there singing yet. From there we went out to Kalihi/Palama and had Pho at HaLong. We all had different adds in the soup, and shared an appetizer of summer rolls. Great service, very good food. It has become my favorite Pho place, just wish they had Bahn-mi.

Wednesday: They spent the day at Hanauma Bay, have no idea what they did for food. That night we went to Hiroshi's at Restaurant Row, someplace I've been meaning to go for a long time. Another friend came along, two had steak - excellent, the other got the snapper in the sous vide preparation (and i learned how to pronounce it) and I had the Opah - moonfish. All of it was just fantastic, as were the portuguese sausage potsticker appetizer. All followed by some wonderful desserts. 3 of us had one cocktail each, and I was pleasantly surprised when our bill came at just a hair over $200, including a 20% tip. The service was very good, very professional, warm, and just friendly enough. We were celebrating a birthday, and they brought an extra dessert out, much appreciated by the birthday boy.

Then off to the airport this morning (thursday)

Big City Diner
3569 Waialae Ave Ste 3, Honolulu, HI 96816

Happy Day
3553 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Restaurant Row
, Honolulu, HI 96813

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  1. Thanks for the report KMan. I hope the beans in the chilli weren't overcooked :-) You do make me want to go to Hiroshi's, particularly after reading his ad in the Weekly saying that sitting at the bar gets you 50% off food. Sounds like a helluva deal!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joebob

      I think there might be a time of day on that deal, I know Manomin has mentioned it once or twice (ok, raved about it.) At $25 per person that would have been a fantastic deal. Let us know if you try it JB!

      1. re: KaimukiMan

        Hiroshi & Vino have happy hour from 5:30-6:30 if you sit at the bar all food is 50% off.
        Off to Kapalua Wine & Food Festival! Yahoo! Summer Camp for Adults! :-)

    2. Great report Kman. Sounds like your friends ate good and had a great time?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Clinton

        Yes, they did, thanks Clinton. Its great when people visit and you make a point of going places that you have been putting off, or avoiding.

      2. Glad to hear that the food at the PCC (Polynesian Cultural Center, as "PCC" is also Phoenix Country Club for me) is on the upswing.

        We have had many enjoyable days there, even though I am not a real "show person." The ability to spend some time with the younger folk in the "villages," is just priceless to me. The food, however, was always a big letdown and though we always did the VIP tickets, we'd sneak out from the "lu`au," and dine elsewhere. That is just great news, as a day there is a wonderful experience, marred by the food, at the end of the day.

        Mahalo for that report, as it means a lot to me. Now, I have to change my rec. and NOT tell people to duck out, and just pass on the "lu`au." Next trip over, we'll have to stick around, and see how things have changed.


        2 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          In self defense, these were tourists, i did not accompany them. but i would venture to say based on what they told me that none of it was truly horrible, and I have had some nasty food up there before. I'm guessing it is as good as either germaine's and/or paradise cove, and as long as you are at the PCC anyhow....

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            Maybe we can give it a go, on our next trip (September?), and see what might have changed.

            We love PCC, but have never really enjoyed the food there. That has always been a shame, as everything else is top-notch, and the food should NOT be an exception, at least in my book.



        2. Thanks for the report, KMan.Where is HaLong's exactly? I'll make the effort to check it out.

          Btw, regarding Hiroshi's most of the food is 50% off at the bar (between 5:30-6:30). Some of the specials are not. For example, they have this hamachi nigiri with hot peanut oil that the discount doesn't apply to. But try it anyway (if you like hamachi)!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jazzaloha

            Ha Long is in the shopping center that used to be the Kapalama Gem, just on the ewa side of the Palama stream at Dillingham. there are several restaurants (including Ha Long, Sugoi's, Young's Fish Market, Utage, and Pancake and Waffle on the 'tail end' of the shopping plaza, at the makai side of the main parking lot. (behind of da 7-11 at Dillingham & Kohou)

            1. re: KaimukiMan

              OK, thanks. I'll try to check this place out. (Any recommendations besides the pho?)

              1. re: Jazzaloha

                The summer rolls and spring rolls are really good, i'm especially fond of the summer, and a friend had the 'pork chop' once which he enjoyed very much. I just wish they had bahn-mi.

          2. More great ideas for our trip in November! Thank you.