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Not really feeling it!!

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I recently moved to Honolulu from the Middle East and have had to dine out for nearly every meal since being here due to my household items still being in transit. I've been using urbanspoon, yelp and word of mouth to guide my food hunt. I'm not going to trash any restaurants by name but I'm honestly disappointed with dining scene here in general. I've tried the heavy hitters in the following categories: American, BBQ, Burgers, Chinese, Filipino, Greek, Hawaiian, Hot dogs(they're good), Indian, Korean, Latin, Seafood, thai and couple of sandwich shoppes. Don't know if it's just me (it must be) but yeah, just kinda let down by it. The food scene was one of the main reasons I moved here too. The loco-moco's and plate lunches I've heard all about for years are gross; and it seems that much of the food makes up with greasy pork products and a deep fryer for what it's lacking in quality ingredients and cooking skill. To give you an example I recently got a $13 Fish Taco from this supposed must eat and it was a dry flavorless pile of crap with pico and no sauce. I'm not trying piss anyone off here or get flamed by a bunch of people, I need some sound advice to some eye-opening places because this consistent losing streak is making me depressed.

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  1. you should mention which restaurants you've been to so we can suggest others you haven't tried.

    1 Reply
    1. re: indelibledotink

      Good suggestion, I'm sure you can get some alternate suggestions here. Otherwise hang in there, there are some good places to eat locally and once your household items arrive, you can start cooking for yourself again. Best of luck.

    2. You've tried a wide range of cuisines and are not happy; perhaps it's time for you to admit you've made a mistake and move some location more suitable to your tastes whatever they may be. I'm not saying this with any kind of animosity; rather it's based on my experience with two co-workers who left Hawaii after one year's residence. The first, from Kansas City, Kansas, insisted that Yong Sing then one of the longest running Chinese restaurants in Honolulu, didn't know how to prepare shrimp fried rice. The second, who moved from Denver, disliked the food served at Indigo which is basically Pacific fusion, because it wasn't "American." Hawaii is what Hawaii is, and it can be really difficult for a newcomer to be accepted socially. When one thinks about it, eating is a social experience.

      3 Replies
      1. re: honu2

        Honu2 makes some good points. If you aren't able to adapt your tastes to what Hawaii offers you might consider cutting your losses. Aside from a few of the top end restaurants Hawaii isn't necessarily a gourmet place. We don't specialize in locally grown foods, we tend to avoid fruits and vegetables for sugar and starch, and food isn't highly seasoned. But I'm not sure what you expected from a plate lunch or a loco moco. A bowl of plain white rice with a hamburger patty on it, smothered in brown gravy, and topped with a fried egg is pretty basic. I don't know what it is you thought it was going to be. I've had some really good fish taco's here, but this isn't Mexico or California.

        If it's not pushing too much, might I ask if you have been eating alone or with others? Its been my experience that when I eat alone the experience is often diminished from when I have someone that I am sharing the meal with. Just Sayin. I hope things turn around for you.

        1. re: KaimukiMan

          I think it's way too early to be planning to move somewhere else just because you've not found restaurants you like yet. let us know where you've tried, what you think is good from other places you've lived or dishes you like in general.

          I think Hawaii IS a great food destination, and I've lived in nyc which is a mecca for food. foodwise we are starting to evolve.

          growing up, I hated sushi. I had only futomaki, and that's what I thought sushi was. when I was in my early 20s, my friend took me to a real sushi joint, sushi masa (which has since closed and had it's own high and low points), and I experienced real sushi. I fell in love. my point is you should stick it out and you will find something that you like here, maybe even love.

          1. re: KaimukiMan

            I think the OP will be happy when their kitchen supplies arrive. With some great local ingredients and some from the big island meals can be spectacular

        2. What about Japanese restaurants?

          What poke joints have you tried?

          The Pig & The Lady? KCC Farmers Market?

          1. also, when you say you've tried "American, BBQ, Burgers, Chinese, Filipino, Greek, Hawaiian, Indian, Korean, Latin, Seafood, thai and couple of sandwich shoppes," do you mean you've had those in the middle east and liked them, or this is your first time trying those types of foods?

            where did you live before the mid east/what cuisine did you grow up with?

            6 Replies
            1. re: indelibledotink

              In Bahrain there is restaurants from every part of globe but the majority is Levantine Cuisine. Of that region Lebanese seems to be the most popular in the United States. You can't get a lot of those dishes here but I can cook all of them so not a major concern. I've been all over the world and eaten regional nearly everywhere and maybe I need to learn more about the local food here before coming to any conclusions. I did loads of research but maybe not in the right places.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levantin...

              1. re: ozuye

                Well, you can't get much different in spices/flavorings. Most local restaurants don't serve dishes flavored with zaatar, ground coriander, pomegranate molasses, sumac. (I have yet to find a local vendor of sumac.) Asian cuisine, as you probably have found out, depends a lot on soy sauce (we call it shoyu in Hawaii), fresh ginger, sugar.

                Have you discovered a food truck called ShogunaiTacos? Their menu can be found at shogunaitacos.com. Despite the name, it's run by an Israeli. My fave is the French fries with his version of zaatar.

                1. re: honu2

                  'da falafel king' is another food truck run by Israelis. i'm not sure where they are now. I have heard nothing but good reviews.

                  1. re: indelibledotink

                    They now have a brick and mortar location on king St next to Chiang Mai/Peace Cafe, in the old Diego's Taco spot. Not sure if the truck is still active. Good falafel sandwiches.

                  2. re: honu2

                    You can get sumac at India Market, 2357 S Beretania St. However, the zaatar I got from them was sort of old, so I'm not sure about the freshness overall.

                    1. re: Quince

                      Thanks for the info. I'm probably better off with Penzey's products or wait until I hit LA again.

              2. Military 30 years and lived everywhere. Been here 8 years and you are so right! Due to high taxes, almost monopoly Matson shipping et cetera restaurants can hardly make a dime so quality is poor. Inspections for cleanliness suspect as well. BUT try Olive Tree Cafe in Kahala and Le Bistro in Aina Haina and 3660 On the Rise. Take mainland vacations to eat well. Otherwise learn to cook.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cynthiahawaiikai

                  good call on 3660, but it's expensive. i'm surprised you don't like roy's in Hawaii kai. I've only been there once, but it's good pacific rim fusion.

                  i'm not wild about greek food, it's ok once in awhile. what there is here is the same as what I got in ny. (which is probably crap compared to the middle east/mediterrenean.)

                2. Indelible's reply to my and honu2's comments has reinforced my belief that Hawaii has some really good food. I'll go through your list and try to make some comments on each one, leaving out the top rated budget crushing places.

                  American: 'American' in Hawai'i tends to take on a bit of local flavor. I would include Tiki's in Waikiki, Mariposa at Ala Moana/NM, Pineapple Room AlaMoana/macys, Town Restaurant in Kaimuki, Downtown in the old Armed forces YMCA downtown, 12th Avenue Grill, Kaimuki, Salt in Kaimuki, Big City Diner various locations, Aiea Bowl in Aiea, He'eia Pier in Kaneohe, Kakaako Kitchen at Ward, Murphy's downtown, Side Street inn-both locations.

                  BBQ: Bob's BBQ in Kalihi - but its not going to be what you think of, certainly not texas BBQ. More teri/shoyu kine. The Smokehouse in Waikiki used to be decent, not great but decent. If you want some good ribs, get the ones at Big City Diner. They aren't going to taste like Texas ribs, but neither would those you get in St. Louis or South Carolina. But they are flavorful, the meat just about falls off the bone, and its a healthy portion.

                  Burgers: Well, there is the 'new american standard' The Counter in Kahala -same burgers you get all over southern california at least. I really like Honolulu Burger Company that grass fed big island beef is full of flavor, Teddy's is still good, but I don't think as good as it used to be, and along with many people i think Kua Aina in Haleiwa is better than ward, but ward isn't bad. Sadly the shack has gone downhill using preformed frozen hockey pucks instead of the burgers they used to use. Murphy's downtown is often rated one of the best burgers around as well. Big City burgers are good too.

                  Chinese: Well we could start a feud in here discussing the various merits of different chinese restaurants. Dew Drop Inn Makiki, Duk Kee Kaimuki, Golden Duck on King St., Happy Days Kaimuki, Little Village downtown, Mini Garden on Beretania, and Royal Garden at the ala moana hotel would be on my list (in fact they are on my list). For Dim Sum Legends chinatown, Happy days Kaimuki, Mei Sum chinatown, Mandalay downtown, and royal garden are all good. Oh, and Fatty's in Waikiki.

                  Filipino: I refer you to the most recent thread on this http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/907405

                  Greek/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean: Agree with you, there is nothing outstanding. A few places aren't bad.

                  Hawaiian: This is an acquired taste. Nothing beats going to someone's home for the real thing but Ono's, Helena's, Haili's and People's cafe (downtown) are good.

                  Hot dogs(they're good): Ok so we've got that out of the way then.

                  Indian: A friend of mine who went to college in London said that Himalayan Kitchen in Kaimuki had the best Vindaloo he'd tasted since he left the UK. Works for me. Majarani on King is pretty good too.

                  Korean: We have some good Korean, but not as good as you find in LA. Not sure why, but Sorabol, Choi's Garden, and (fast food) Gina's in Market City are all good. There used to be a place just off kuhio near Hy's steak house that was really good, don't know if it's still there.

                  Latin: You had Latin food in Hawaii? Where?

                  Seafood: OMG we have some fantastic seafood here. Fresh Catch, Nico's, Uncles, Sam Choy-not as good as it once was, Monarch, Bali steak and seafood, Hoku's, Kinkaids, plus almost any restaurant in the state that serves a fish dish is likely to do a good job. Oh, and almost forgot Luibueno's in Haleiwa.

                  thai: Pae Thai on King, To Thai for Kaimuki, Spices in Moiliili, Keo's in Waikiki are all good. Singha in Waikiki is pretty good, gets more mixed reviews.

                  sandwich shoppes: agreed. we have few if any great sandwich shops. Hawaii people are not big on sandwiches, face it - if there's no rice, its not a meal. Having said that I like BaLe and their sister shop LaTour on Nimitz, Andy's in Manoa, Cafe Laufer Kaimuki, and Da Big Kahuna by the Airport. But if you are looking for a "new york" style deli you aren't going to find one.

                  Now if you tried most of those and you still aren't happy, i fear you might have some problems here.

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    murphys also has irish food, supposedly good pies, I have yet to try.

                    for pies I like anna miller's in pearlridge, pecan being my favorite. they also have good American diner food.

                    Korean food, try han yang in kalihi. some say grungy, I say character. have you had Korean yakiniku? they bring you a plate of veggies/meat and you briefly cook them on a hotplate. all you can eat, so great for gatherings of friends. there are a lot of good Korean places imo, yakiniku and otherwise. kman's suggestions are great.

                    I second big city diner for ribs. the price is low and the serving is HUGE. I am also partial to tony roma's, but it's a chain. perhaps you've had them on the mainland (not sure if you lived in the 48 continental states or Alaska before the mid east). in general big city diner has good food. I don't eat there much, but I really like them, except for the kim chi fried rice, it's overrated. good rare burgers if you ask.

                    bunch of threads on Mexican food, I like serg's a great deal. other latin food...maybe if you find some Puerto rican friends? there is a sizeable population here. Filipino foods are latin influenced.

                    Hawaiian, well, i'll spare you my rant on ono's Hawaiian food (ono's seafood is a non-related restaurant), needless to say I hate them. lots of other suggestions if you look for the threads. also, try a luau sometime. threads on that too.

                    for thai, I like bankok chef because it's heavily Americanized and fast. kman mentions some real thai restaurants.

                    for sandwiches, have you tried a bahn mi, a Vietnamese/French invention? I really really miss nyc deli sandwiches. another good sandwich I had recently was from honey glazed hams. have not tried the soup there yet.

                    seafood... this is a stronghold of seafood! some of the freshest fish you can get, we are in the middle of the pacific ocean. I have recently started to try a lot more fish, i want to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity here. we get other types of fish flown in fresh-frozen (ha) like salmon, lobster, etc.

                    we have a lot of ethnic markets (i don't really like the term) like palama, queens, Chinatown, etc. that you can explore.

                    read the dining out section in the paper (star advertiser) and other food reviews during the week. (skip the people's choice
                    awards that they just put out, see related thread.)

                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      K-Man, Ed closed Downtown. I read that another restaurant is coming in there if not already. I forgot the name but it used to be in Chinatown and they are taking the spot over. Sam Choy's closed as well. I do agree with you about Nico's being good. I don't like Uncle's. Hoku's is good but they still insist on men wearing long pants and if you arrive in resort wear shorts they give you a pair of polyester pull on pants as a substitute. Let's not forget Hank's for great and unusual hot dogs as well as macaroni & cheese, deep dish Chicago pizza (once a month) as well as once a month Chicago Italian Beef. He does a great job with all of them. I have yet to try our Teddy's that just opened here across Windward Mall, haven't eaten at the Kailua location in ages. Not out of distaste it just never fits into my schedule. I really really like Prima in Kailua a lot. My favorite at home restaurant is Roy's Waikiki I've yet to have anything I didn't like and am always pleasantly sated. He does a great Vegan as well. Luibueno is also good, you are right on that. I like Siam Garden on Nimitz (I think that's the name....) in the same plaza as New Eagle which I also like! I have the smell of balsamic glazed ribs on low in the oven making me insane from the delicious aroma!

                      1. re: manomin

                        I've had the poke tower at uncles two times. really great stuff. their staff is quite friendly. i'd like to go back soon and try other dishes, as well as nico's, which I hear is less expensive.

                        had to use a tent-like, restaurant-owned aloha shirt at hy's (one of the best steakhouses on Oahu) before.

                        wanted to try hank's for at least three years, but have been dieting on and off for most of them.

                        one reason I don't like teddy's bigger burgers is even if they promise rare, it comes well done. a big no no. I find that making my own burgers is so much better because I can have a true rare, like *burp* tonight.

                        I like new eagle café as well, it's very homey with familiar dishes for everyone, visitors and local. prices are reasonable and the staff is friendly. the owner likes to whip up frsh buns to share.

                        there are a lot of Italian restaurants here, and some of them are quite good. I like verbano kaimuki, but the king st location is ok, the pearlridge one is a no go. stay away from buca di beppo. sure the portions are huge, but a huge serving of crap is still crap. how anyone would want to be a franchisee is beyond me.

                        1. re: indelibledotink

                          We pretty much agree on Italian. Assagio in Hawaii Kai is nice too, im not as fond of Ala Moana (is it still there?) If im in Pearlridge for Italian I'll go to Ricardos, keep me away from that horrible place under anna millers. but anna miller's strawberry pie...id eat till i died of a stroke. I don't like most of the rest of their food, it has that 'prefab' denny's like quality, you just know it slid out of a plastic bag that was sous-viding for a day or so.

                          1. re: indelibledotink

                            For me, Italian restaurants in Hawaii can be divided into different classes: first, the Honolulu offshoots of high end Japanese owned and run Italian restaurants in Tokyo. For example, Aracino, Bernini and Taormina. These are all very good, all expensive and mostly cater to the tourist trade. Second category are those Italian restaurants owned and run by Vietnamese: Verbano, Assagio and Il Lupino are in this category and these really depend on how and where the chefs at that particular restaurant were trained. (That's why the variation in the Verbano restaurants.) But the client base is generally local. Third category are those restaurants with Italian nationals running the show: These include Cafe Sistina, Mediterraneo and Sabrina's. Each of these have their own following of locals who like the way dishes are prepared by Sergio, Fabrizio or Sabrina's husband, plus a smattering of tourists using guidebook references. If you live in Honolulu and don't like the preparation, you'll probably won't go again. And then there is Buca di Beppo which is a nationwide chain and is therefore provides foods using the same recipes across the nation.

                            1. re: honu2

                              Il Lupino is owned by Wolfgang Zweiner of Wolfgang's Steakhouse.

                              1. re: manomin

                                I think you mean Taorima, which I know to be under common ownership with Wolfgang's Steakhouse. It was my understanding that the two restaurants, both in Waikiki, are owned by a company headquartered on the mainland which has multiple restaurants in multiple states, but I was told by a seafood distributor that the holding company is owned by Japanese. He may be wrong of course.

                                1. re: honu2

                                  Manomin is right in that Il Lupino was opened by Wolfgang Zweiner. You are correct in that both Wolfgang's Steakhouse and Taormina restaurants are owned by the same company, WDI International. WDI International is the Japanese subsidiary of WDI Corp. which is based on the mainland.

                              2. re: honu2

                                I'm stunned that Sistina is run by Italian nationals. I've had to send pasta there back 3 times because it was so overcooked it turned to mush in my mouth.

                                1. re: honu2

                                  The wife loves Italian, me not so much. i actually had one of the worst meals of my life at Buca Di Beppo in Minnesota, definitely won't be going there. Mediterraneo looks pretty good; can you recommend any dishes there?

                                  1. re: ozuye

                                    buca di beppo is terrible, I dn't know how they stay in business, even their huge portions have been cut down to size.

                                    1. re: indelibledotink

                                      wondering how the op is getting along in the month since he posted.

                                      and yes, bdb is horrific

                                    2. re: ozuye

                                      Mediterraneo has its followers, my significant other being one of them. He says to order the strangulopretti and ask the chef/owner, whose name is Frabrizzio, for the back story. The seafood dishes are my favorites.

                                2. re: manomin

                                  Downtown closed and Grand Cafe & Bakery took its place.

                                  1. re: killersmile

                                    That's it! Thanks! I had it in my head but just couldn't remember - Grand Cafe!

                                    I have been to Keo's once and it was very good, however I went with people who ordered all things not on the menu.

                                    Of course, I had a stellar meal at Roy's Waikiki on Friday night. I always go early and by the time we left it was packed.

                                    1. re: manomin

                                      I was at Roy's Waikiki on Wednesday night and had a good meal as well. The place was pretty packed.

                                3. re: KaimukiMan

                                  Keo's for Thai? Really? C'mon KMan. That place is two big steps below Maile's or Thai Herb Kitchen or Thai Lao.

                                  1. re: Joebob

                                    never been to keo's, but always see it crowded.

                                    there's a new thai place on liliha st across the library. they are going crazy with advertising.

                                    kaew's thai villa, I think, or something like that.

                                    1. re: Joebob

                                      LOL, yes Joebob, Keo's. I am assuming he is in Waikiki. You can get some more than acceptable Thai food there. As for the other places you mentioned, I'm sure they are good, but I'm not so sure that Hawaii Kai or Kapolei restaurants are going to be helpful to him right now. As for Thai Herb Kitchen I've heard widely varying reports from friends. Some said it was great, others swore that a herd of mongooses couldn't chase them in the door again.

                                      1. re: Joebob

                                        JoeBob,

                                        Have not been in years, and years. At the Kapahulu restaurant (original?), we were impressed.

                                        When a new shop opened in Ala Moana... well, not so much.

                                        New place on (or just off of) Kalakaua, is still untouched by us. Maybe that ill-fated Ala Moana location just turned us off?

                                        Still, at one time, Keo's was quite good, but that was "long ago, and in a universe far away."

                                        Cannot comment on the here and now.

                                        Hunt

                                      2. re: KaimukiMan

                                        Great post. I'll be trying all of these places.

                                      3. hey indel,

                                        We don't agree on Big City's kim chee fried rice, i love it, but i do add shoyu and tabasco... LOL. I know other people think it's too 'wet'. One thing I like about it is that it isn't too oily like a lot of places. Reminds me very much of the chinese restaurant that was on the first floor of the apartment builidng I lived in when I was in Seoul. Do you know of good places for Bahn mi other than BaLe/LaTour? Would like to check some others out. And I agree with you about the flown in frozen seafood... but hey, some people will only eat salmon. Oh, and DO get the Portuguese Bean Soup from honey glazed hams. I think it's excellent. And yes, i like their sandwiches, just wish it wasn't 'store bought' bread.

                                        Manomin:

                                        Awww... sad to know that Downtown is closed. Will be axnious to see what goes in there. Made me also think about Julia Morgan's at the YWCA. Still there Still good? Not surprised but kinda sad about Sam Choy's, somehow I think I should have known that in the back of my mind somewhere. Uncles isn't a fav of mine either, but a lot of people i know do like it. some prefer it to Nicos, to each their own.

                                        I am celebrating independence day by slumming it this year and doing drive thru. Breakfast was one sausage biscuit and one sausage muffin from McD's, Lunch was a pair of Whopper Jr.s (no pickle) from Burger King, and dinner will be a Grilled Sourdough Burger, Onion Rings, and lemonade from Jack. I will refuse to have a cholesterol check for at least two weeks. I was invited to a picnic at AlaMoana to watch the fireworks, but they are expecting more people than were there for the lantern festival . . . not up to that level of traffic or crowds today. LOL

                                        Happy 4th of July everyone!

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                          my god, it sounds like you need a diet more than I do, lol.

                                          bahn mi is hard to mess up, I hear a lot of good things about the pig and the lady at kcc farmers market. for awhile I was eating the different sandwiches at mixed plate café on Dillingham by the river because my coworker always wanted the seafood plate with a combination of hot sauces until his face dripped with sweat and snot.

                                          one day I will travel to korea. one of my best friends traveled there and met his wife's relatives, and an old roommate taught English there for two years. the food sounds amazing.

                                          for honey glazed hams, the lady is so nice, i'm sure she wouldn't mind if you brought in your own bread (since you are so picky about it, lol. see his thread on burnt bread).

                                          1. re: indelibledotink

                                            The Pig & The Lady banh mi is excellent. We tried the one with an egg in it for breakfast.

                                            I do find it odd that the OP hasn't said anything about Japanese food. Isn't that one of Honolulu's biggest strengths?

                                            Also: shave ice?

                                             
                                            1. re: kathryn

                                              I hear great things about the Pig & The Lady's bahn mi, but somehow spending $9-$12 for a small sandwich offends me. It's bad enough spending $7 at BaLe, when on the mainland $4-$5 is closer to average. Not sure when you took your picture, but I was up there on July 6, and the cheapest sandwich was $9, most were more. Almost no local people in line, just Japanese Tourists. If they can get that much for the food, good on them.

                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                As far as the difference in cost for Pig & the Lady vs your standard banh mi, it all comes down to quality & quantity of ingredients. All of the food vendors at the Hawaii Farm Bureau sponsored markets must source the majority of the ingredients locally, which in the case of the Pig & the Lady means they get their bread from Bale/Christopher Sy, majority of their produce from farmer's market vendors, make their own noodles, and use local pork/chicken/beef. I agree cost is high, especially when you compare to the $3-4 a banh mi would cost you in LA/SF, but like you said it costs $6-7 at Bale so the $9-10 at Pig & the Lady is a justifiable increase in price. I also want to point out that the early crowd at KCC is pretty much all locals & same for the Wednesday Blaisdell & Thursday Kailua crowds at Pig & the Lady, so they aren't just jacking up the price to fleece the Japanese tourists because they can.

                                        2. I don't get people that don't like loco mocos.

                                          every diner has hamburger steak. it's just that with eggs on it and swap the mashed potatoes for rice as your starch and there you go. or even leave the mash, that sounds good too. everyone likes eggs, right? in a hamburger, over bibimbap, steak tartar, in an eggs benedict...

                                          anyway, I love locomocos. it's finding the place with the right brown gravy that's hard.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: indelibledotink

                                            I avoid eggs at all costs unless they are hard boiled, deviled or in egg salad. I won't yuck on your yum, but the idea of a sunny side up or over easy egg is anathema to me. So i get my LM's without egg. Same with bibimbap, although with that if the rice is hot enough it will cook the egg and i can manage to choke it down if i have to.

                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                              those are legitimate uses of eggs! do you use dill relish or sweet? when I use relish in deviled or egg salad, if at all, I prefer sweet.

                                              (also sweet in tartar sauce too, that's the only thing that would justify the mcd's filet o fish's expensive price.)

                                            2. re: indelibledotink

                                              Well, if I am going to eat a hamburger, I'm going to get the best burger I can get and I am not gonna cover it in gravy. :) Also I am not a huge fan of gravy. So that's another reason.

                                              1. re: kathryn

                                                But a LocoMoco isn't about just the burger. To me thats like saying If I'm going to have stew using the best beef I don't want to mess it up with onions and carrots and sauce. A LocoMoco is not a method of serving a burger, it is a composed dish that includes a burger as one of the elements.

                                            3. Sounds like you need better guidance than yelp and the word-of-mouth recs you've gotten so far, and hopefully the CH list will help.

                                              Have you been to Town in Kaimuki? Had a terrific meal there this week of mussels in broth, bitter greens, and kalo chunks either grilled or roasted...an appetizer and two sides made a fine meal. Get there before the crowds come...big photo spread in Bon Appetit mag this month on Ed Kenney cooking for a surfer BBQ with Jack Johnson, Kelly Slater, and friends...may be hard getting reservations after the plugs for Town get wide notice.

                                              Responding to some other comments, mainly K-man:
                                              Grand Cafe has taken over the space at HISAM previously occupied by Downtown. Good Sunday brunch, have not tried otherwise. Rumor has it Ed Kenney is still looking for another venue to reopen Downtown somewhere downtown.

                                              1. As a visitor, though a frequent visitor, without some guidance, I could not even begin to help.

                                                Now, and with that said, most of OUR dining is at a big handful of higher-end restaurants, as that is what we enjoy do very much.

                                                While we do spread things out for lunch, and breakfast, dinners are sort of "sacred," in that we do not wish to waste even one evening, so go for what we deem "the best."

                                                With a bit more info, maybe some of the regulars, and natives, can help you out.

                                                Knowing the food types, that you do enjoy, would be a great start.

                                                Good luck, and much aloha,

                                                Hunt

                                                1. Yours trully was born and raised in Honolulu-left in 1973. I currently reside in NYC where I dine out everyday and have great choices here. Why do I look forward to my annual visits every year at Christmas back to Hawaii?? DA FOOD!!!! It's da bomb! Perhaps your budget or lack of information on where to find great local food prevents you from enjoying what we grew up on. I even look soooooooo forward to Ala Moana's food court!!! Are you oringinally from the Middle East?

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. " The food scene was one of the main reasons I moved here..." Ha, ha, ha! Where did you get that idea? Hawaii is a small, rural, provincial American state, is it not? (This written after returning from SOCA where I was driven past Peruvian, Armenian, and REALLY GOOD Mexican restaurants, among many others, in the space of a mile of each other on a non-descript highway in Encinitas.) That said, if you don't like the seafood here (poke, fresh mercury-free tuna steaks, etc.) or the better Pacific rim/Asian fusion places, or the better Japanese places e, g, Sushi Izakaya Gaku, then it may be you after all.

                                                    1. as others have said, though, when your stuff gets here, and if you know how to cook, you'll be happy. we have some of the freshest ingredients around.

                                                      like I suggested before, what types of food do you like, and which places have you tried so far and not liked? we're not flaming, we're here to help.

                                                      1. Thank you all for your recommendations. I've made a list of places to try based on this thread.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: ozuye

                                                          Hope some of them work out for you, if not we will try to come up with some more. While there are many "food destinations" in the world, I don't know of anyplace that enjoys food more than Hawaii does. I think its largely because of our mix of cultures, one thing all of them have are great food, and we all enjoy sharing it with each other. There is nothing like going to a 'local' pot luck picnic where everyone brings something special that their family makes. Just amazing.

                                                          1. re: ozuye

                                                            *pokepoke*

                                                            find anything good to eat this past month?

                                                            I've been lucky and got to eat out quite a bit!

                                                            1. re: indelibledotink

                                                              Went to the farmers market two weeks ago. I believe it was Mao Farms that was selling pickled green beans. I bought the spicy. $12 for a jar. Excellent. I've eaten almost the entire jar, but that includes the ones i put on a relish tray for a party last weekend.

                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                We had some of those too, still do. We put some out when some folks were over and they were devoured. It was quite a large jar.

                                                                1. re: manomin

                                                                  did you get the spicy or 'regular'?