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Help with good eats in Oahu

ultimate4g63 Sep 13, 2011 10:28 AM


My fiancee and I will be in Oahu October 2-7. Our first time to Hawaii so we're really excited.

I need some suggestions for some great places to eat. More specifically, dinner places.

We'd like to take in as much traditional Hawaiian cuisine as we can during our short stay. Not so much interest in touristy stuff (we do have some, like Leonards, that we plan to visit).

We'll be staying in Waikiki, but will have a car rental so driving around the island is not a problem. Would prefer not to have to search high and low for parking though.

From other threads, we've decided to visit a few places already:

- Alan Wong's Restaurant for dinner (already have a reservation)
- Helena's Hawaiian for lunch
- Romy's Shrimp Truck for lunch (can anyone suggest something else to do up on the north shore?)
- Nobu for dinner (have a reservation, but not sure if we will be keeping it)

We typically eat dinner 6-8PM, and have noticed that many of the popular greasy spoon places are only open until around 5 or 7PM. We'll probably visit these places for lunch. What we're missing is more dinner options. We LOVE seafood, and are hoping that the seafood is fantastic in Hawaii. Can anyone suggest a good seafood restaurant? Even better if it's prepared in a traditional Hawaiian way. VERY good sushi would also be nice. We have Nobu listed, but I'm wondering if it's more of a fusion than true Sushi.

Any help would be appreciated!

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

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  1. a
    akq RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 13, 2011 01:40 PM

    For sushi, I LOVED Imanas Tei on my last trip. It was so good, we went back for a second dinner there and still talk about it. We had the best hamachi sashimi I've ever tasted there. YUM.

    Imanas Tei Restaurant
    2626 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96826

    1. russkar RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 13, 2011 06:25 PM

      Sasabune, Mitch's, Izakaya Gaku, Sushi ii would be good choices for Serious Sushi.

      As far as up-scale dining goes we really like Le Bistro (S), Azure (S), Michel's, A/W, Suntory and Yakiniku Hiroshi (waikiki). (S) denotes very fresh fish.

      Yakiniku Hiroshi
      339 Royal Hawaiian Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

      Suntory Restaurant
      2233 Kalakaua Ave Ste 307, Honolulu, HI 96815

      Le Bistro
      5730 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96821

      1. scottca075 RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 13, 2011 09:11 PM

        Head over to Kaimuki and look into Town, Salt Kitchen and Tasting Bar, 12 Ave Grill, 3660 on the Rise, and Ninniku-Ya Garlic Restaurant.

        There is also Orchids at the Halekulani, the Hau Tree Lanai, Apartment 3, Libby Manapua, Boulevard Saimin, Ramen Nakamura, Yotteko-ya,Pho 777 Vietnamese Restaurant, Green Papaya and Mitch's.

        For sushi I'd look at Sushi Izakaya Gaku, Yohei Sushi Restaurant or Imanas Tei Restaurant.

        Libby Manapua Shop
        410 Kalihi St, Honolulu, HI 96819

        Yohei Sushi Restaurant
        1111 Dillingham Blvd Ste E1A, Honolulu, HI 96817

        Imanas Tei Restaurant
        2626 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96826

        Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant
        2863 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

        Boulevard Saimin
        1425 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817

        Green Papaya
        1518 Makaloa St Ste A, Honolulu, HI 96814

        Ninniku-Ya Garlic Restaurant
        3196 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

        Ramen Nakamura
        2141 Kalakaua Ave # 1, Honolulu, HI 96815

        Sushi Izakaya Gaku
        1329 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96814

        2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

        6 Replies
        1. re: scottca075
          ultimate4g63 RE: scottca075 Sep 15, 2011 06:30 AM

          Thanks, guys.

          Decided to make reservations at Town and also Sasabune. Both sounded awesome, and offered reservations so those aided in my decision making.

          Think I've got most dinners figured out now. Can anyone offer up some great lunch options?

          Thanks again.

          1. re: ultimate4g63
            russkar RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 15, 2011 08:13 AM

            Town will not be in the same league with your other choices (we normally only go to Town for lunch which is ok). Azure , 3660, Plumeria or Michel's would be much better.
            Lunch @ Nico's is an experience. Go early or after lunch, it's very busy. Restaurant Epic is also good for lunch. If you just want a great Hamburger go to Wolfgang's for their special $10- it's a deal.

            Restaurant Epic
            , Honolulu, HI 96813

            1. re: ultimate4g63
              scottca075 RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 15, 2011 10:22 AM

              I think all of these places are also open at lunch, Orchids at the Halekulani, the Hau Tree Lanai, Libby Manapua, Boulevard Saimin, Ramen Nakamura, Yotteko-ya, Pho 777 Vietnamese Restaurant, Green Papaya, Mitch's and I would also throw in the House Without a Key, the food court at Shirokiya and the Royal Garden for dim sum.

              Some are actually better for lunch than dinner and what ever you decide I would not miss the House Without a Key for sunset cocktails or the Banyan Court (Moana Hotel) at sunset either.

              1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814

              1. re: ultimate4g63
                macaraca RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 16, 2011 10:47 PM

                For lunch I would recommend Jimbo's on S. King St. for the homemade soba noodles and lots of other really good noodle and soup dishes...far better than Boulevard Saimin with the day-glo tempura and tired broth. At one time they were very good, or maybe my tastes have changed....

                Nico's at Pier 38 for really fresh fish and healthy sides, served on styrofoam, but still delicious, and right on the fishing pier.

                Jimbo Restaurant
                1936 S King St Ste 103, Honolulu, HI 96826

                Boulevard Saimin
                1425 Dillingham Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817

                1. re: ultimate4g63
                  Bill Hunt RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 21, 2011 07:16 PM

                  Sorry that I did not read the full thread, prior to responding with my "fine-dining" list.

                  For lunch, I will second (or third?) Town.

                  We have also enjoyed lunch at the Kahala Resort, though the exact restaurant's name escapes me at this moment.



                2. re: scottca075
                  Bill Hunt RE: scottca075 Sep 21, 2011 07:14 PM

                  We have only done Orchids for the Sunday Brunch and for regular breakfasts. However, in our recent stay at the Halekulani, we were tempted by several trusted employees to do dinner at Orchids, and especially at "table number one." Next trip, we will definitely try them, maybe replacing Mariposa, which is very good, but not at that "ultimate level."

                  As for Hau Tree Lanai, we have had quite a few great meals there, and the sunsets are not to be missed. Some complain that it is a "tourist restaurant," but that has never been our impression, even when crowded. They have just always come through with very good food, and flawless service in an ideal setting.


                  1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2101, Honolulu, HI

                  Hau Tree Lanai Restaurant
                  2863 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815

                  2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

                3. z
                  zippyh RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 15, 2011 09:08 AM

                  Wifey and I ate at Nobu last week and enjoyed it quite a bit. We went more for the fusion dishes but they have plenty of traditional dishes if you prefer.

                  It's on the expensive side so beware, especially if you go wild with the sushi.
                  They validate parking at the Parc hotel too.

                  I've noticed that people in Hawaii tend to eat dinner earlier. Or at least the fellow tourists do. We were seated about 7:30 and the place was about 2/3 full on Friday night. However a lot of tables finished soon after we were seated.

                  1. singleguychef RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 16, 2011 03:16 PM

                    I think Morimoto would be better than Nobu. Both have the same approach but Morimoto has a few more creative dishes, I feel. You can go for lunch, more relaxing.

                    1. flylice2x RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 18, 2011 01:10 AM

                      Here are some of Kaimukiman's recs from previous posts...


                      Fresh Catch Seafood

                      Sugoi's Plate Lunch

                      Young's Fish Market

                      Ono's Hawaiian Foods

                      Kakaako Kitchen

                      Nico's Seafood

                      Jameson's by the Sea, Haleiwa

                      Liliha Bakery, can be a long wait sometimes

                      Bob's Giant BBQ - very local

                      For Diner

                      Hiroshi's (go early, sit at the bar, get the discount)

                      Alan Wong's (fine dining, but sit at the counter and talk...check Hunt's postings on this)

                      Murphy's Bar & Grill

                      Side Street Inn

                      Goma Ichi Ramen

                      Duc's Bistro Downtown

                      Duke's Waikiki

                      Longhi's, sit at the bar and talk - not my fave, but popular

                      Morton's 'power hour' was quite popular for a while, not sure now

                      Instead of Dinner

                      Sunset on the Terrace at the Halekulani w/ Drinks & Apps, Hula/Hawaiian Music

                      For Snacks

                      Royal Kitchen Manapua (Hawaii style dim sum)

                      Leonards Malasadas (Portuguese Donuts-no hole, i prefer the unfilled/original)

                      Waiola Store Shave Ice, either location, this is no sno-cone

                      Duc's Bistro
                      1188 Maunakea St, Honolulu, HI 96817

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

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

                      Side Street Inn
                      1225 Hopaka St, Honolulu, HI

                      Waiola Store
                      2135 Waiola St, Honolulu, HI 96826

                      Murphy's Bar & Grill
                      2 Merchant St, Honolulu, HI 96813

                      Jameson's by the Sea
                      77-6452 Alii Dr, Kailua Kona, HI 96740

                      888 Front St Ste H, Lahaina, HI 96761

                      Goma Ichi Ramen
                      631 Keeaumoku St, Honolulu, HI 96814

                      Royal Kitchen
                      Chinatown Cultural Plz, Honolulu, HI 96813

                      2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

                      Young's Fish Market
                      1286 Kalani St, Honolulu, HI 96817

                      1. Bill Hunt RE: ultimate4g63 Sep 21, 2011 07:09 PM

                        For memorable dinners, here is my personal list:

                        Alan Wong's - New Hawai`ian fare from one of the best ever, and possibly at its best
                        Chef Mavro's - along with AW and some others, a founder of New Hawai`ian cuisine, with a great track record. Not sure if the "Classics Menu" will still be running, but he is offering some of his ultimate dishes in a tasting menu - the Salt-crusted Onaga is NOT to be missed.
                        La Mer - the "big splurge." Classic French meets Hawai`ian, and in a wonderful way. Though there are ocean-view tables, I would opt for one overlooking House Without a Key, and the live performances in the pool/courtyard below. You might wish to dine a bit early, so check show times. Gentlemen should wear jackets, but that is no longer enforced, though nice attire is strongly recommended.

                        We also enjoy Mariposa, at the Neiman-Marcus in Ala Moana, and on Friday nights, it is ideal for watching the fireworks from the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Wine list has gotten better (like it once was), and the food, while not as innovative as the above, is very, very good, at a lower price-point. October, al fresco dining should be excellent.

                        We just did all of those last week, and though there was one dish here, or another there, all were great, and well worth the $. Note: these are some of the higher-end spots, so if you want a down-scale dinner, I would not look to any.



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

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

                        La Mer
                        2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815

                        1450 Ala Moana Blvd # 2101, Honolulu, HI

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                          crazyspice RE: Bill Hunt Nov 10, 2011 07:57 PM

                          We are looking forward to trying the many great recommendations from the posters. We have arrived and so has APEC. I wish that was on our radar before we booked this trip. So many road closures to navigate.

                          We originally had our Brunch reservation for 11:30 at Orchids. Since we will not be "allowed" to leave the resort before 10:30 at the earliest, we moved our reservation back to 1:30. Brunch ends at 2:30 so I hope we will not fall victim to the "end of Brunch" breakdown. I am not at all familiar with Orchids and I am not being critical. I have been looking forward to going since I booked this reservation back in June.

                          We did have lunch today at Duke's. It was a fun lunch spot. I had the grilled Mahi Mahi Tacos and my husband had the BBQ Kalua pork sandwich with the waffle fries. Both were very good! I had a Mai Tai (okay 2, but in my defense I have never had one before!)

                          We have 9 days to explore and enjoy our visit to paradise. It is great to be here.

                          1. re: crazyspice
                            Bill Hunt RE: crazyspice Nov 10, 2011 10:04 PM

                            We also encountered the APEC refurb. of most of Honolulu. Everything was "under construction," and we had to deal with it all. When we asked, everyone said, "oh, it's all about APEC."

                            Have not dined at Duke"s, but it gets some good reviews here. Gotta' give them a try, but will wait until AFTER APEC.


                            1. re: Bill Hunt
                              KaimukiMan RE: Bill Hunt Nov 11, 2011 01:11 PM

                              the construction was nothing compared to this week. sections of ala moana blvd and kapiolani are closed. the freeway was closed this morning, may be this afternoon, its it is absolutely insane. so glad i don't have to commute. people are getting to their offices by 6am to get to work on time. And the President doesn't arrive till sometime today. I can just see the Air Force One flight plan conflict with the blue angel's fly over at pearl harbor conflict with some motorcade.... makes planning thanksgiving dinner a cakewalk.

                              1. re: KaimukiMan
                                Bill Hunt RE: KaimukiMan Nov 11, 2011 04:46 PM

                                Wow, glad that we missed THAT! A few cones, and steel plates, are one thing, but this sounds like much, much worse.


                            2. re: crazyspice
                              scottca075 RE: crazyspice Nov 11, 2011 04:22 PM

                              Orchids will maintain their quality from the opening to well after closing.

                              We like Duke's Barfoot Bar for lunch and Happy Hour, ditto for any TS Restaurant, but we are underwhelmed at dinner. It isn't bad at dinner, I just feel at the same price point there are better choices.

                              Be sure you get to the House Without a Key at some point too.

                          2. Beach Chick RE: ultimate4g63 Nov 11, 2011 04:28 PM

                            Happy hours at Hula Grill, Duke's are excellent..some of the best calamari for $6 regular $12 with wonderful $4 mai tai's..
                            2 for 1 coupon for breakfast at Moose's on Lewer's..decent breakfast
                            Not much of a Roy's fan in the mainland but in O'ahu, its one of the best in Waikiki..love Diva the GM.
                            I agree that TS restaurants are great spots for lunch or happy hour..not so much for dinner.
                            Giovanni's Shrimp truck in North Shore is my fave for their sticky garlic shrimp that is so good over 2 scoops.

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