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star advertiser's hawaii's best people's choice awards

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in today's paper 6/23/13

pizza hut best pizza?! 2nd boston's, ok.

mai tai best bar?! 2nd side street inn (never been) 3rd never even heard of.

I guess we have to agree to disagree for a lot of these, but hopefully we'll find some gems.

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  1. That section is just rubbish obviously. I went through it today and was not surprised at what people voted for. Pizza Hut? Really?! Boston's should have been number 1 in my opinion. But then again, I didn't vote. Great advertising revenue opportunity for the paper that's for sure.

    20 Replies
    1. re: manomin

      Whether in Hawai`i, or Phoenix, or New Orleans, I find the various "readers' favorite" surveys to be suspect, at best.

      About four years ago, a local newspaper in Phoenix/Scottsdale published a similar survey. Interestingly, one pizza chain (local) won the Best Of:
      French restaurant
      Romantic restaurant
      Mexican restaurant
      Fine-dining restaurant
      Italian restaurant
      Romantic restaurant
      American restaurant
      Wine bar
      Live music restaurant
      Best burgers

      Now, they are mostly a take-out pizza restaurant, with a few quasi-Italian dishes being served. They have tiny dining rooms, and no music, no cuisine beyond their version of pizzas and maybe lasagna, and absolutely no Mexican dishes, or burgers! While good, at what they do, they swept almost all categories for restaurants. Odd, at the very best. Speculation was that they had "stuffed the ballot box," but that was never proved.

      Over the decades, what those surveys have shown me, is that my palate differs from the readers/responders.

      I seldom bother to even read such.

      Hunt

      1. re: Bill Hunt

        how do you all feel about yelp?

        1. re: indelibledotink

          HATE IT. Nothing but whiners. I find very few intelligent posts and never look anymore. Chowhound is much better and folks are generally knowledgeable, truthful and literate.

          1. re: indelibledotink

            I have used it a few times, but have found the reviews on CH to be much more reliable. Not sure why, but Yelp seems to be skewed, at least to me?

            Hunt

            1. re: indelibledotink

              Yelp seems to be skewed toward a younger demographic of responder, perhaps folks who haven't as wide a range of taste or experience as most CH regulars.

              It does give you a sense of what dishes people like, and what the dining experience may be like, although the caveat I usually assume is that if they are younger, they may not have the social skills to interact well with restaurant staff.

              For foreign travel, I rely more on Trip Advisor than Yelp, after Chowhound boards, of course. I usually scour CH for tips, then use TA to home in on places that sound promising, as they often have many more posts, and more recent feedback about specific restaurants.

              1. re: macaraca

                I was just going to say that, that yelpers seem to be younger.

                and the star advertiser seems to reflect an older, local crowd who stay with the familiar, although I haven't read the whole paper yet.

                1. re: indelibledotink

                  people's choice awards...what a travesty. there are a half a million readers (says so on the inside page), I wonder how many voted.

                  seriously, yummy's is 2nd best Korean? that's like mcdonalds winning for steakhouse. every page had me freaking out.

                  what really makes me mad is ono's Hawaiian food winning that category. maybe I just went on a day when they cut portions down to 1/4th the regular size, screwed up every dish, and inflated prices by 200%, but I will never go there again.

                  on the other hand, I do like yelp. sure, yelpers can be picky and definitely very trendy, but yelp is still useful. for example, I found out that the whole ox deli had changed owners much quicker than via CH. and I liked the righteous indignation that accompanied the revelation of the 30 burger per day limit.

                  but what I really like about yelp is the non-food reviews. I found a great auto mechanic via yelp, along with other services and businesses.

                  1. re: indelibledotink

                    I have only looked at restaurant reviews, so have missed much.

                    I found each review to be lacking, at least IMHO.

                    Hunt

                    1. re: indelibledotink

                      I find Yelp helpful in making restaurant choices myself, although I never bother reading the reviews there. What I find helpful is the photo section (which I've also contributed pictures to). I scan through the food photos of restaurants I'm considering while traveling. If the food looks well prepared and the restaurant has a good reputation, it helps me decide whether to give the place a try.

            2. re: manomin

              Sorry Manomin, best pizza should go to La Pizza Rina on S. King or its sister restaurant downtown who's name I forgot. 2nd for me would be The Big Kahuna by the airport. At least Dominos wasn't listed as best.

              In general the list was even worse than usual this year, but I bet it matches up pretty well with yelp ratings. And that answers the question of my opinion of yelp. Lots of things you can't find on chowhound, but virtually any place you end up will be listed on yelp. While I have little faith in their 'gotta trys' they are a good warning system for the worst of the worst.

              (and just to drive everyone nuts, I don't dislike pizzahut pizza. not 'the best' but quite edible most of the time)

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Were it still in business Emilio's would be at the top for me. Since I don't live in town I doubt I would come over the hill just for La Pizza Rina but I have heard other people mention how good it is. I have never felt compelled to got to Big Kahuna but again, have heard good things about it. I'm just happy that if I actually don't make my own Boston's is right across the mall. I am happy too that we got a Teddy's recently.

                1. re: manomin

                  "back in the day" i lived two blocks from emilios. Great memories.

                2. re: KaimukiMan

                  you know, I used to love dominos, and was sad when the nuuanu location closed, but a few months ago I got a pizza from the one at beretania, and was pretty bad.

                  I love the stuffed crust from pizza hut, but otherwise don't like them.

                  I love boston's/boston style (owners split up and one renamed boston style) pizza.

                  have yet to try jj dolans and la pizza rina.

                  the Chicago style @ soho closed, I enjoyed their pizza, but it took so damn long to bake and set.

                  there's one place in Chinatown that is horrible, and I hope it's not the sister location of la pizza rina... it's rosarita. totally worst pizza I have had in Hawaii.

                  remember Antonio's in kahala? I got hyped when I saw their subway map of manhattan, they were ok, but I was so disappointed that it was not proper ny style.

                  1. re: indelibledotink

                    rosarita in chinatown is 'sister' to pizza rina. i haven't been there in quite a while, but it used to be quite good.

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      I had a slice a few years ago when someone brought a pizza into bar 35. I can still remember the cardboard crust, paste-like sauce, and cheese that tasted of putty. absolutely horrid.

                      now the pizza from valentini's inside bar 35... A+ for fusion pizza! I used to hang out there when he was opening and got to taste test the pizzas.

                      1. re: indelibledotink

                        Given such a suppler, I often feel that one should throw away the pie, and eat the box - more flavorful!

                        Hunt

                3. re: manomin

                  Have to report on an excellent pizza in Waikiki just this past weekend, at the original Arancino on Beachwalk. Ordered the simple Margherita and a pasta to share for two and it was just right. Thin crust, tasty sauce and cheese. Waikiki prices, of course, but the best I've had in a long time. Of course, their clientele is mostly tourists, and mostly Japanese, so they won't be voting in the S-A. Will try to post a 'local chowhounds do cheap Waikiki eats' as soon as I can get around to it.

                  1. re: macaraca

                    arancino is pretty good
                    they just opened a prix pixe menu place at the kahala hotel and resort
                    in the tokyo tokyo space
                    i like the original location better than the one in the marriott (?)
                    it's smaller and more personal

                    1. re: macaraca

                      Bernini, which is definitely not a pizza joint, also has an excellent Margherita which is ordered mostly as an appetizer.

                      1. re: honu2

                        I just enjoyed the pizza at Prima as well. Thin crust variety. Middle was wet, but it was still delicious.

                         
                  2. Agree with manomin that these "people's choice" awards are pathetic. Don't get your hopes up for any gems that haven't already be mentioned in previous CH posts.The categories themselves are suspect...best bottled water? Who cares? Your tap water in Honolulu is better than any of the bottled stuff.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: macaraca

                      You are right macaraca the water quality is excellent here and always tastes great!

                      1. re: manomin

                        +1

                        Hunt