HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >

Oahu with a vegetarian?

n
nsheth Aug 25, 2011 02:50 AM

Hey all -

Going to be in Oahu (staying in Waikiki) over Labor Day weekend. My wife is vegetarian, so some places I'd like to go may be a little difficult, but going to try! In any case, I've got a few meals planned out.

I currently have reservations one night for dinner at Roy's (meeting some local friends, their choice).

I've got reservations one night at Alan Wong's.

Now, I do have reservations for dinner one night at Chef Mavro's. However, I've come across some decidedly mixed (or negative) recent reviews on this board. Thoughts on me cancelling that and replacing with something else? I've seen a lot of love for 3660 here, for example.

This leaves one other dinner for me to fill, ideally something at a lower price point than some of the places I'm already going to. Open to any recommendations! Also, not sure what the range / variety in these scheduled meals will be (all "upscale Hawaiian?"), so perhaps something a bit different?

I'm still figuring out breakfast / lunch for the various days. Any recs would be appreciated, though I've found a ton of useful info in a couple other (older) threads. (Thanks especially to posts from KaimukiMan and Bill Hunt!)

-----
Alan Wong's Restaurant
1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

Chef Mavro restaurant
1969 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. h
    HungryHawaiian RE: nsheth Aug 25, 2011 05:41 PM

    Hello,

    You've mentioned a lot of great places for fine dining, from Roy's to Alan Wong's to Chef Mavro. And yes, they are all sort of "upscale" Hawaiian/Asian/Pacific Rim cuisine. Good choices.

    As far as vegetarian/vegan dishes, I'm pretty sure most restaurants offer such a selection. However, a great deli for more affordable and oranic/vegan choices are at DOWN TO EARTH. It's a deli/natural foods store with great tasting food choices. I haven't tried it yet, but there's also GOVINDA'S VEGETARIAN BUFFET in Honolulu.

    Good luck with your choices and ENJOY!!!

    Aloha,
    Chad

    -----
    Alan Wong's Restaurant
    1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

    Chef Mavro restaurant
    1969 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

    1. Bill Hunt RE: nsheth Aug 25, 2011 09:22 PM

      I would contact each, and express your needs. Most can accommodate your wife. My wife has a problem with bi-valves,and with a bit of warning, all have found a menu for her.

      Enjoy,

      Hunt

      7 Replies
      1. re: Bill Hunt
        n
        nsheth RE: Bill Hunt Aug 25, 2011 11:39 PM

        Yup, not worried about these "nicer" places - I've already called each and made sure that she can be accommodated!

        I've left one evening free to play by ear, perhaps Salt, which doesn't seem to take reservations anyway.

        Any thoughts on replacing the meal at Mavro with 3660?

        Also, surprised to see some of these restaurants' hours! For example, 3660 closes at 8:30? Perhaps folks eat a little earlier here than I'm used to!

        1. re: nsheth
          h
          HungryHawaiian RE: nsheth Aug 26, 2011 08:26 AM

          3660 on the Rise is also a great place for food and wine. They used to host annual winetasting fests to pair with their great food. As far as the hours, 3660 may only be the only exception to close that early--8:30PM. The restaurant is located in a suburb far from Waikiki or the shopping/dining districts, which may explain the early closure hours. If you're looking for great places to dine, your best bet is in the Waikiki area. If anything, Hawaiians usually eat late and drink until daylight. Because Waikiki is the center of tourism on O'ahu, the late nightlife is similar to NYC or Vegas. Enjoy!

          1. re: HungryHawaiian
            Bill Hunt RE: HungryHawaiian Aug 26, 2011 05:02 PM

            Hm-m, did not remember abbreviated hours at 3660, but then it has been awhile.

            We have had many good meals there, and have completely enjoyed each visit.

            I could have sworn that we dined from about 7:30PM until maybe 10:30PM, but that was several trips ago, so memory might be playing more tricks on me?

            At AW's, 3660 and Chef Mavro's, we will usually dine a bit later, as there is no "sunset" to observe, and our normal schedule is a tad bit more European. Sort of like your mention, but we are too old to do "daybreak" anymore. Heck, in the last 10 years, I think that we have only seen the Times Square ball drop once... [Grin]

            Thanks for that update,

            Hunt

            -----
            Chef Mavro restaurant
            1969 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

          2. re: nsheth
            m
            macaraca RE: nsheth Aug 26, 2011 02:34 PM

            For something different from the other places on your list you might want to try one of the better Chinese restaurants, which always have some vegetarian choices. Little Village in Chinatown and Kirin on Beretania are always my first choices. Kind of depends on what your expectations of Chinese cuisine are...these two are probably much better than what is available in most of the US, except for those few areas on the left and right coasts with tremendous and authentic choices. Otherwise, K'Man's suggestions for good Thai might be similarly good options, and except for Keo's much less expensive than the other places you mentioned. Keo's is something of a destination restaurant, and convenient if you are in Waikiki. Not far away, Phuket Thai is very popular, and Chiang Mai is always reliable.

            -----
            Phuket Thai Restaurant
            401 Kamakee St Ste 102, Honolulu, HI 96814

            1. re: macaraca
              n
              nsheth RE: macaraca Aug 26, 2011 03:30 PM

              Cool, thanks for the suggestions. We're coming from the Bay Area, so unless particularly destination-worthy or something I can't get here, no necessity to really seek out Chinese food!

            2. re: nsheth
              Bill Hunt RE: nsheth Aug 26, 2011 05:06 PM

              Glad that you have much of it covered. We have never had any issues, when pointing out that wife cannot do bi-valves (not the same as vegetarian, but still a dietary concern). Not one chef has ever missed a beat, and all even go into broths and sauces, to make sure that she's bi-valve clean. I give them a few weeks notice, and not one has ever even paused.

              Enjoy, and the closing time for 3660 is a bit of news to me - but it has been a few years, so maybe a change in policy?

              As for 3660 vs Mavro, they are so different, that it would be hard to compare. We have had great meals at both. Now, we've done Mavro several recent trips in a row, but have not been back to 3660 in a few trips, so maybe that does tell a tale? Still have loved both.

              Aloha,

              Hunt

              1. re: Bill Hunt
                KaimukiMan RE: Bill Hunt Aug 26, 2011 10:11 PM

                3660:
                HOURS OF OPERATION

                Tuesday - Sunday
                5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
                closed Monday

          3. KaimukiMan RE: nsheth Aug 26, 2011 11:22 AM

            yes, people here tend to eat early, including the tourists. most places close by 10pm, almost nothing except 24 hour restaurants are open till midnight. It's an early to bed/early to rise culture, the average work day is either 7-4 or 8-5.

            there are a couple of new vegetarian restaurants here, Loving Hut and Peace Cafe. My 'nearly vegetarian' sister in law, a very picky eater liked both of them, but especially Loving Hut. I thought it was ok, but like most vegetarian restaurants the portions tended to be on the smaller size. Most of the Thai restaurants, including Keo's in Waikiki, do have vegetarian sections on their menu's.

            5 Replies
            1. re: KaimukiMan
              n
              nsheth RE: KaimukiMan Aug 26, 2011 03:34 PM

              We're coming from San Francisco, there's a few Loving Hut ouposts here in the city!

              Overall, I'm not necessarily looking for vegetarian restaurants, just places that a vegetarian won't be forced to go hungry! For example, I noticed most of the plate lunch type places may be tough going, but Kakaako Kitchen seems to both get some love on this board and have some veggie options.

              -----
              Kakaako Kitchen
              1200 Ala Moana Blvd # 135, Honolulu, HI

              1. re: nsheth
                KaimukiMan RE: nsheth Aug 26, 2011 04:01 PM

                Yeah, most plate lunch places are not gonna have much for a vegetarian unless they are pescetarian, then you have a chance. Kakaako Kitchen does have some vegetarian or near vegetarian fare, they can probably accommodate your lady. You might also check out Da Spot in Moiliili, not purely vegetarian, but they always have something that is. In addition to Keo's, which is a bit more expensive Macaraca was right on with the Phuket Thai and Chiang Mai suggestions. You could also look at Pae Thai.

                -----
                Kakaako Kitchen
                1200 Ala Moana Blvd # 135, Honolulu, HI

                Pae Thai Restaurant
                1246 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96814

                Phuket Thai Restaurant
                401 Kamakee St Ste 102, Honolulu, HI 96814

                1. re: KaimukiMan
                  n
                  nsheth RE: KaimukiMan Aug 27, 2011 07:45 PM

                  Looks like Da Spot has closed, looking online? Some mention of a re-opening, but wasn't clear to me.

                  1. re: nsheth
                    KaimukiMan RE: nsheth Aug 27, 2011 08:18 PM

                    it opened around the corner on S. King St., here is a link from yelp

                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/da-spot-honol...

                2. re: nsheth
                  Bill Hunt RE: nsheth Aug 26, 2011 05:14 PM

                  "For example, I noticed most of the plate lunch type places may be tough going... " Well, maybe until someone comes up with vegetarian Spam, those WILL be a bit tough.

                  It's is similar in New Orleans, where pure vegetarian fare is not that common, outside of some ethnic restaurants. Same for "Health Mark" dishes... [Grin]

                  Hope that you have been able to cover most bases, and that no one will go hungry. However, you are wise, in my book, to consider this potential issue, and address it early. Nice going! You are to be commended.

                  Aloha,

                  Hunt

              2. h
                hungryhungryme RE: nsheth Aug 26, 2011 11:02 PM

                Hoku's at the Kahala Hotel, which is also open late, will definitely prepare a delicious vegetarian dish for your wife. I've dined there many times and love the atmosphere, food, and service!

                On a lesser scale, Town in Kaimuki also has vegetarian selections. However, their menu does change daily so you won't know what is available until you arrive.

                I'd also recommend Cinnamon's in Kailua for breakfast! They have amazing pancakes!

                Or, Diamond Head Market and Grill for a great "to-go" meal! Both the made to order and prepared foods from inside are great! If you do make it to Diamond Head Market and Grill, try to go in the morning to pick up one of their famous scones!

                -----
                Cinnamon's Restaurant
                315 Uluniu St, Kailua, HI 96734

                Diamond Head Grill
                2885 Kalakaua Ave Fl 2, Honolulu, HI 96815

                Hoku's
                5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

                Town
                3435 Waialae Avenue #103, Honolulu, HI 96813

                2 Replies
                1. re: hungryhungryme
                  KaimukiMan RE: hungryhungryme Aug 27, 2011 01:13 AM

                  town does post their daily menu on their website

                  http://www.townkaimuki.com/menu/

                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                    h
                    hungryhungryme RE: KaimukiMan Aug 27, 2011 09:39 AM

                    Despite the disclaimer at the top, "Dinner menu changes daily based availability of local ingredients. Menu below is for example only," it is a very good sample of their daily menu. Thank you for heads up on the website!

                2. n
                  nsheth RE: nsheth Sep 11, 2011 12:40 AM

                  Thanks all for the suggestions! Just wanted to report back quickly on the places we hit on our trip. This list is in no particular order, and I may have missed a place or two. Warning, long review!

                  Kakaako Kitchen
                  Went here straight from the airport for lunch. I ordered a mixed plate with shoyu chicken and spareribs. It was filling, as I was hungry, but nothing I feel like I need to rush back to. Perhaps I mis-ordered? My wife ordered the tofu and vegetable burger. She thought it was ok, but I liked it, the patty had a subtle mushroomy / vegetal flavor that was pleasant.

                  Liliha Bakery
                  Our friends brought us some Coco Puffs. Tasty - very similar to Beard Papa for me, but better.

                  Shimazu Shave Ice
                  HUGE portions, great selection of toppings and flavors. I don't have a huge comparison point for Shave Ice, but I'd recommend a visit here.

                  Roy's Waikiki
                  Had a toddler with us for this meal - the restaurant was VERY kid-friendly. Food-wise, things were good. I've been to Roy's in a couple other places before - there are items on the menu here that I haven't seen at Roy's on the mainland, and the food seemed to be a notch better. Highlights included the whole fish preparation (whole fish wrapped in bacon, served with hummus and pickled meyer lemon) and the pineapple upside down cake. An appetizer of foie gras mousse was a miss. It was served too cold, and the flavors on the plate never really came together. A number of vegetarian options which they pulled together into a bit of a tasting menu for my wife.

                  Wailana Coffee House
                  Good deal, quick breakfast. Standard diner fare. Under $7 for a couple eggs, a couple pieces of bacon, and all you can eat pancakes. I do have a love for pancakes, and, while not nearly the best I've ever had, they did a serviceable job. I resisted a second order, knowing that the day ahead was full of eating.

                  Teddy's Bigger Burgers
                  Good fast-food burger. Bun was a little soft, didn't quite seem to hold up, but nothing really problematic. Fries were very good and addictive (got the "spicy" version)

                  Alan Wongs
                  Sat at the chef's counter. I got the 7 course tasting menu, my wife had a custom 5 course vegetarian tasting menu. First, it was fun sitting at the counter, seeing all the food coming out. In comparison to other counters of this nature I've sat at - I wish it was set a little lower, so you can see more of the hands at work! Food-wise, I thought things were very good and mostly very well executed, but not without flaws. I found there was a little too much repetition between courses. For example, I think I had bonito flakes garnishing 3 out of my 7 plates. The key component on both of my wife's first 2 courses was exactly the same, a medly of halved baby tomatoes. I also found that the presentations, while visually stunning, were at times a bit unfunctional, something I wouldn't expect at this price point. The silverware and plateware wasn't always ideal for the course. For example, I had soup-ish courses / courses with a large amount of sauce that weren't served with a spoon. I had one course where the dish was deep and narrow, and it was difficult to get to the bottom. Food-wise, again, things were good to very good, but rarely great. A course of "crab agedashi" really stood out, but past that, nothing too memorable from my meal. That said, I found my wife's meal was outstanding (despite the ingredient repetition). Her first course was served on some sort of tomato shave ice / granita bed - one of the best things I tasted all trip. Talking with the chefs, they said the kitchen enjoys doing special requests like this, as they can get more creative. There's obviously skill in the kitchen.

                  One point that started coming to mind while at this meal. I'm lucky to live in the Bay Area, where we are surrounding by amazing ingredients and world-class dining, with fantastic food options throughout the entire price range. Eating in Oahu, I got a little of "big fish in little pond" sentiment. That is, perhaps I'm a bit spoiled, but I kept thinking, especially at some of the more expensive places (perhaps I'm paying tourist prices), while this is good, I feel like I could do much better at this cost back home. I tried to mix up some high-end dining with cheaper options while here, and, thinking more about it, perhaps the right approach would be to cut out the higher-end places, as that may not be what shines here. I ultimately cancelled my reservation at Chef Mavro, as I didn't think I'd get much out of another meal of this nature here.

                  Cinnamon's
                  Great coffee. Had the famed guava chiffon pancakes as part of an eggs and meat combo. The pancake itself may have been a bit dry, but the topping covered up any of those flaws. Worth a visit.

                  3660 On The Rise
                  Enjoyed this one. For the price range, presentation was a bit sloppy, and the service, while well-intentioned, was at times a little confused. Still, the food was good and flavorful, and portions very generous. I got a poke appetizer and a garlic-heavy new york strip for the main course. My wife had a salad (a very addicitive dressing) and the vegetarian entree was a japanese curry with a sort of portabello katsu. The curry could have definitely used some heat, but it was tasty. I'd recommend this to anyone looking to get off the tourist path a bit.

                  Eggs 'N Things
                  Got a bit fooled by this wait. We were told 45 min when arriving, which was at my upper bound. Turned out to be perhaps an hour 15. Was tempted to leave, but kept getting sucked into a "well we waited this long . . ." mentality. This place must be in some Japanese tour book, ha, based on the crowd. Very busy. Food was good. Again, keeping with the pancake theme, I tried the pineapple w/ whip cream pancakes (as part of another egg / meat combo). Very good. I'd go to this place again if the wait was less than, say, 15-20 min, otherwise not worth it. Again, as I mentioned with Alan Wong's above, I feel like for the cost (in this case, more specifically, the time cost of waiting!), I could do much better at home for breakfast / brunch.

                  Agnes' Portuguese Bake Shop
                  Stopped here to get some malasadas. Delicious when hot. Had a few left over that we tried later in the day, not worth eating at that point.

                  Waiola Shave Ice
                  Our second shave ice of the trip. I liked the texture of this much better than Shimazu - very smooth. I'd say the toppings (and value) of Shimazu were a bit better, so I'd lean towards that, but this was very good also. (Later in the trip, we did go by Matsumoto, but the lines there and at Aoki deterred us.)

                  Rainbow Drive-In
                  Quick bite here, I had a loco moco bowl. Tasty and cheap. Given all the food plans, I didn't want to commit to the whole plate. so this was a good option. Not on the main menu, but listed somewhere on the side. You get one hamrburger patty, one egg, and one scoop of rice with gravy.

                  Salt Kitchen
                  This is what I replaced our meal at Chef Mavro with. We enjoyed this meal a good deal - it reminded me very much of a restaurant you'd easily find in SF. An emphasis on local ingredients, and a menu geared towards trying a bunch of different small tastes. Service was a bit poor. We sat for quite some time without menus - finally, when placing our drink orders, the waiter asked us if we want to order any food to go along with them, not realizing he never gave us menus. Also, when adding on some items later in the meal, a little guidance would have been nice, as we ordered a couple things that didn't seem appropriate for that point in the meal. Food-wise, a few things were underseasoned, and not all the things we tried were a hit (for example, the crab bruschetta), but overall food was very well done (enjoyed the fried egg, the pig trotters dish). I had been told to expect a wait here, but we managed to walk right in and get seated immediately.

                  Fumi Shrimp Truck
                  Based on reviews online, picked this one over Giovanni's or Romy's. I ordered the spicy garlic shrimp plate, my wife was content with a couple pieces of their corn. I found the shrimp pretty tasty, though perhaps a tad overcooked. Value-wise, $12 for 12 little shrimp didn't seem great, but overall, the experience was fun.

                  Ted's Bakery
                  Stopped off for a slice of their famous Chocolate Haupia Pie. Was good, if not a bit supermarket-y. Looking at the ingredient list, it was full of industrial goodness. I heard it used to be better? Perhaps now geared a little more for mass production?

                  Hiroshi Euarsian Tapas
                  Went here for their happy hour. Great deal, 50% off all food, so we feasted. The sushi-oriented dishes were generally good, but the ratio of rice to fish/topping was off, way too much rice. The butterfish was outstanding. They were very accomodating in terms of vegetarian options, coming up with a mushroom pasta that was pretty good, a couple other items. I'd come back here without reservation.

                  A few other places I wanted to get to included either Helena's or Ono, Poke Stop, Leonards to compare to Agnes, and a few more, but just ran out of time!

                  -----
                  Alan Wong's Restaurant
                  1857 S King St Fl 3, Honolulu, HI 96826

                  Chef Mavro restaurant
                  1969 South King Street, Honolulu, HI 96826

                  Rainbow Drive-In
                  3308 Kanaina Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

                  Kakaako Kitchen
                  1200 Ala Moana Blvd # 135, Honolulu, HI

                  Wailana Coffee House
                  1860 Ala Moana Blvd Ste Lbby, Honolulu, HI 96815

                  Beard Papa
                  7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96825

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nsheth
                    KaimukiMan RE: nsheth Sep 30, 2011 04:25 AM

                    wow, what a great summary. thanks for taking the time to do that.

                  Show Hidden Posts