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Roy's or other Hawaiian food in the L.A. area?

I'm trying to come up with a nice sit-down restaurant to introduce a friend to Hawaiian food. Is Roy's any good these days? Anywhere else you recommend?

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  1. There Bob's Hawaiian Style on Western Ave and Bruddah's on Gardena Blvd. Both in Gardena.
    Now when you say Hawaiian Food is it the Laulau, poi, lomi salmon, Kalua pork or the other asian food that people may deem Hawaiian?

    1 Reply
    1. re: flylice2x

      Lomi, kalua pork, laulau -- yep. I'm realizing now that that isn't going to happen in a fancy-pants setting, so I'll drop that requirement.

      Do you have a rec for Bob's over Bruddah's, or vice versa?

    2. Piggybacking on flylice2x, contemporary Hawaiian food is really fusiony. I guess one can argue that anything that is created on The Islands is Hawaiian food, but Roy's is not what most would consider to be a classic Hawaiian ono grindz experience.

      Roy's reminds me of either Trader Vic's but executed better with a broader range of ingredients in general, or a menu at a Hawaiian Hotel frequented by more monied tourists. A lot of Roy's dishes are his own creations and higher-end in concept, prep and presentation. The vast majority of Hawaiian cuisine is far more casual, plating is no formality and the food in general is very homey and far less complicated.

      Roy's relatively formal ambiance does not inspire one to pull up at the counter in tank top, shorts and zori. Places like Back Home in Lahaina, The Loft or King's have the feel of a decent to not as casual coffee shop, and I think most who are familiar with the typical classic Hawaiian grindz cafe would think these places are kind of fancy. Many are more familiar with cafes that have a very worn feel and patina of a place that has welcomed generations of eaters from multiple decades past.

      I agree with flylice2x on those two recs. Bruddah's comes pretty close to that feel and one can usually hear lots of Hawaiian local-types speaking pidgin, both eating and working there.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        Yeah, thinking this through, a better approach is probably to go with a more casual place. Roy's menu has never thrilled me -- it does feel a little touristy, and it really isn't what I think of when I think of local grindz. Bruddah's might be really fun.

        Any thoughts on Rutt's in Culver City?

        1. re: spoonlicker

          Rutt's is pretty good, especially for the Westside (Hawaiian options are almost nonexistent around the Westside unless L&L counts) but I really like lomi lomi salmon, poke and lau lau which I don't recall having there. The royales, loco moco and such are fine and the portions are large but I don't consider them to be exceptional in any way. The shave ice is also an issue - the texture was too icy. I think Brian's Shave Ice on Sawtelle and Olympic is the only game on the Westside.

          I think if you want to introduce someone to basic Hawaiian food, want a "decent" dining area, and good representations of the food, I'm thinking Back Home in Lahaina would work. I haven't been to the Manhattan Beach location. The Carson location's dining room is a little cutesy but open and pleasant. I think Bob's would be good too. Their dining area feels like a chain coffee shop but the food would probably be considered true to The Islands and more home spun.

      2. Though it's far from a dress-up place, Rutt's Cafe is charming and definitely deserves a nod. We go often for breakfast/brunch and we bring first-timers with us a lot; the food is consistently tasty, and people leave happy. The french toast is super soft -- made with hawaiian bread, can't go wrong with that. My husband always get spams masubi on the side of a filling royale. I also do the breakfast burrito sometimes. It's a pretty simple things with eggs, potatoes, bacon, then there's some medium spicy salsa and sour cream on the side if you like.

        Maybe after your more formal dinner you can squeeze in some early morning eats here. I recommend it.

        1. Though obviously not high end, the Hawaiian chicken stand at the Downtown Farmers Market (Friday at BoA Plaza Bunker Hill) is really good.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              While King's has some winners out of their bake section, I've personally been ho-hum to disappointed with their grindz. Haven't eaten there in a long time because of it. I hope more recent eaters can chime in.

            2. Bruddahs for the kalua pork. Last time I went it wasn't dry. Most places make it dry. It should be moist.
              Both Bruddahs and Bob's have laulau with the trimmings..lomi rice and poke.
              Bob's on sundays have hawaiian music for the lunch crowd and gets crowded.
              Kings, Loft and Back Home on Sepulveda serve about the same kalua pork and Laulau. Most serve with rice and lomi and with mac or cabbage salad. Choices for laulua are pork, chicken or beef and should have butter fish in it.
              I only like Kings for their bakery, but if desparate would go.

              I would recommend ordering laulau and kalua pork dishes so they can taste both. As far as the rest of what people consider hawaiian food are Hawaiian fried (karaage) and teriyaki chicken, oxtail soup, kalbi, Hawaiian royal,. portuguese sausage.

              Loco moco, spam musubi and saimin were originally from hawaii.
              As for as Loco moco, I prefer mine with portuguese sausage patties instead of the hamburger, grilled onions on 2 scoops of rice covered with gravy and 2 fried eggs. I go to Gardena Bowl for their version.

              1. Bruddah's is my favorite, though on two visits the coffee has been mysteriously awful.

                1. is Bruddahs STILL legit? Last time I checked on this board there were slight downhill reports due to a change in ownership, or was I mistaken? Do they still have butterfish?

                  Also, re: lomi lomi salmon

                  Where can I get good lomi lomi, and where can I get salted salmon for the purposes of making lomi lomi at home?

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: ns1

                    I was one of those who reported a slight downhill. It's still pretty good but not as good as it used to be. The mac salad changed and the short rib isn't quite as succulent.

                    It used to be good enough we wouldn't think twice about driving down from Mar Vista if we felt the urges. Now, it's not enough to motivate us unless we're planning to do something else in the area.

                    The other minor quibble I had about this place was the lack of a public restroom even though it's a full sit down restaurant. We always have to remember to bring wipes to clean up afterwards.

                    1. re: ns1

                      I had a really disappointing lunch at Bruddahs today. For anyone interested they are going to be moving.

                      1. re: JAB

                        I heard there was an ownership change. Did you hear anything about that?

                        We had dinner at Bob's on Western a few weeks ago. It was pretty good.

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          so so sad :(


                          what did you have and why did it suck?

                          1. re: ns1

                            Firstly, it's overpriced for the venue. No A/C, warm soft drinks, etc... Secondly, the Mac salad was tasteless & mushy, the rice was overpowered by the taste of margarine, the teri sauce was gloppy and the beef tasted spoiled. The chicken and spam masubi were pretty good in all fairness.

                          1. re: ns1

                            They moved to Redondo and Normandie and the service is terrible. The food has gone downhill some. Went last Sunday. The place used to be Divia's bar. They did nothing to upgrade or refresh the place up like what Bob's Hawaiian Style did when they moved to Western Ave.
                            They seem more into the after hours of drinking and dancing since they have a full bar with 6 TVs showing sports and a band and pool table area.

                            1. re: flylice2x

                              What a sad conclusion to that story...

                        1. The HawaIiian BBQ at the Friday Farmers Market on Bunker Hill is really good.

                          1. When you say "Hawaiian", I'm guessing you're thinking on lines of higher-end places like Roy's, Sam Choy, or Alan Wong type restaurants? Places to entertain and spend the big bucks? But for people like us who were born in Hawaii, Hawaii-type foods are things we were raised on like the ever popular plate lunch truck, delicatessens, drive Ins, etc. Places in LA which serve these types are ie. Bruddahs, Back Home in Lahaina, Bob's, Gardena Bowl, Rutts, etc. Not much ambience, but provides much aloha. You can try King's Hawaiian in Torrance which probably will be closer to what you may be looking for?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Clinton

                              whats your favorite of those spots?

                            2. hit up the ALOHA FRIDAYS LA truck today by total chance.

                              They have all the usual suspects, PLUS poke and garlic shrimp.

                              Today I had the loco moco/spam musubi

                              - Greens - probably best side salad I've had on a plate lunch in SoCal. Higher quality greens than most and a delicious dressing.
                              - Mac Salad - best mac salad I've had in SoCal. They didn't kill it with mayo
                              - Loco Moco - 2 pretty thick hamburger patties, left slightly pink in the middle. Really unctuous gravy and eggs cooked perfectly.
                              - Spam musubi - they crisp up their edges more than most in town. A little overwhelming on the sauce for this guy.

                              Loco Moco was a definite winner though, I'll be back everytime they're nearby. $8 loco moco, $2 spam musubi.

                              6 Replies
                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  they have kalua pork, and kalua pork/cabbage

                                2. re: ns1

                                  yeah so that loco moco is completely legit.

                                  the chicken teri wasn't nearly as good though; needs more teri, but overall not special.

                                  mac salad is killer.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    Any mochiko chicken? cuz no other Hawaiian matters AFAIC.

                                    1. re: TonyC

                                      i posted menu in my pic

                                      hell I've never even heard of mochiko chicken.

                                  2. re: ns1

                                    Oh man, Yelp reports Aloha Fridays sold to new owners and now everything is parcooked and teribad.