Hawaii's Best 2013 Food & Dining Locations per Star Advertiser
K's Bento - cheap bento, decent but nothing special
Matsumoto Shave Ice - there's better around, search the board for alternatives
Restaurant Kunio - decent japanese food
basically, these are all neighborhood joints that serve decent food and offer reasonable value for your money. wouldn't go out of my way for any of them, but if I was in the neighborhood I might stop by.
I've been to all three. All of these places serve good food and I would recommend them. K's Bento-Ya only sells a large bento and a small bento, both filled with very tasty local style food. Restaurant Kunio is a good Japanese restaurant for those who live in Waipahu/Waipio/Pearl City/Aiea and don't want to drive all the way into town. Matsumoto might pack in the tourists these days but it does serve up quality shave ice if you are driving up to the North Shore.
If I lived in town I probably wouldn't plan a trip specifically to go to any of these places except maybe K's Bento-ya in combination with Tanioka's a block away for the most killer beach picnic ever. Tanioka's is local food heaven, takeout only. Just show up early for K's (well before lunchtime) as they have been known to run out of food.
most of that best of section was a travesty. it was interesting to see some new places that I didn't know about, tho.
I've never heard of bento-ya or restaurant kunio, and matsumoto's is overrated (but still good, and so is aoki's next door).
local people have their local favorites, and I 'get it' much more than when I was growing up, it's all about the balance btwn comfort food and new, evolving, freshness.