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Foodie's looking for Oahu help

Staying at the Kahala with a car in two weeks. Can hardly wait! Breakfast's and lunch's are covered, but dinner is where I am clueless. We love great food with no restrictions. Where should we go? Mahalo.

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  1. What are you looking for? What else is on the itinerary for breakfasts and lunches? For example, are you doing hotel breakfasts and poke bowl or plate lunches, and you're looking for fancy dinners?

    Here's some previous discussions that may help:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893956
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893445
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/885248
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/885453

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Our stay at the Kahala includes breakfast's and typically we don't eat lunch. So we are just looking for dinners. Again, no restrictions other than good food in a nice atmosphere.

        1. not far away is Kaimuki. I would consider a number of places in that area.

          Town: fusion on the low end of pricey
          3660: again fusion- it has not been getting as good reviews of late, but last time i was there it was good.
          Salt: among the newest. specialize in meats
          Hale Vietnam: very good if somewhat westernized vietnamese food
          Himalayan Kitchen: very good northern indian food. they are terminally disorganized but friendly. don't be in a hurry.
          To Thai For: good thai, in spite of a corny name. very friendly helpful staff
          Verbano: much under appreciated italian, especially since the moved location.
          fresh catch: great seafood and poke, very informal, close early, like 7pm.
          Happy Days: good 'nice' chinese.
          Duk kee: more local style chinese, low key. Salt and Pepper Pork chops...yum

          If you want to head down to Kapahulu try some ramen at
          Tokkuru Tei or Tenkaippen.

          Moiliili for japanese from Akasaka to Izakaya Nonbei, Imanas Tei

          and of course rainbow drive in for a heart stopping plate lunch. yeah, you can eat plate lunch for dinner too. they open till 9.

          11 Replies
            1. re: KaimukiMan

              also in kaimuki is saigon cafe, i like it. i never had hale vietnam.

              verbano is great.

              boston style pizza is down the road, good if you feel like, well, pizza.

              i've never met anyone (that i know of) who doesn't eat lunch.

              1. re: indelibledotink

                does saigon still make good bahn mi?

                hale vietnam is one of honolulu's oldest vietnamese restaurants, they have been around since the late 70's. They specialize in pho, bun, and vegetarian dishes - although they also have the usual pork, chicken, and beef dishes as well. A little pricier than some of the other places, but the food is top notch, the ambience very peasant, and the service good. As a matter of fact I was there with relatives for dinner tonight.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  Really appreciate all the input. We are probable looking for more upscale restaurants, with attention to native fish from the area. I like the Le Bistro suggestion from russkar too.

                  1. re: xoxohh

                    This thread on an anniversary dinner may hit better upon the kind of places you're looking for (La Mer, Chef Mavro, etc):
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/901877

                    1. re: xoxohh

                      roy's waikiki or hawaii kai
                      azure in the royal hawaiian hotel
                      nico's or uncle's near the fish auction

                      1. re: xoxohh

                        Kathryn has turned you to an excellent thread. Starting at Kahala is Hoku's. Although not mentioned often in Chow, its really very good.

                        The best restaurants would include La Mer, Alan Wong, Chef Mavro, and I gather Vintage Cave Honolulu - but that is still a little new. Next would be Roy's, Nobu, Azure.

                        That would be followed by Michel's, Le Bistro, Hoku's, Cafe Miro, Hau Tree Lanai. Then come places like Vino, Hiroshi, Chef Chai, 12th Avenue Grill, dk Steakhouse, Hy's, and Town.

                        Finally you get into 3660, Stage, Mariposa, Longhi's, Nico's, and a few others. All very good, but not quite as "upscale" (depending on who you ask.)

                        Any place on this list should fit your bill for upscale, although except for the first few, perhaps less formal than what you are used to. In almost any of them a man wearing a nice aloha shirt and slacks would be appropriately dressed. I'm sure I've left out some favorites, and my sub-categories might be off here and there. I've also left out specialty categories like the best chinese, or the best Sushi, etc. Enjoy.

                  2. re: KaimukiMan

                    kman
                    not trying to be argumentative, but tokkuri tei is an izakaya and has a much wider selection than tenkaippin, which is a ramen place

                    i would strongly recommend tokkuri tei as an izakaya :)
                    i am not a fan of tenkaippin, but many are
                    i like yotekko-ya, in the mccully shopping center MUCH more

                    all your other recommendations are solid, as usual

                    1. re: macsak

                      I agree with yotteko-ya over tenkaippin, although if I was going to pick an izakaya I would go to Gaku or Nonbei or Imanas Tei over Tokkuri Tei since the last few times I went to Tokkuri Tei I wasn't impressed.

                      1. re: macsak

                        I really like yotekko-ya also macsak, but I've been too many times when they are closed because they ran out of food, or it is open, but they are out of some items. It's great for lunch, but I don't plan on it for dinner unless I get there fairly early. And your comments on Tokkuri tei and tankaippin are spot on.

                        And you should know by now i enjoy a healthy argument. I can't wait to see the comments on my latest post on this. Lots of discussion no doubt. LOL

                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                          yeah
                          yotekko-ya is certainly a challenge
                          and we haven't even discussed the parking situation!
                          mccully shopping center has SO many good places, but the parking SUCKS

                          i always go to yotekko-ya right when it opens at 5:30 to make sure i make the first seating

                    2. Also you might want to add Restaurant PARK at Lotus Hotel behind my Le Bistro suggestion food wise.
                      We went opening night and it was amazing.
                      We are regulars at Azure, Michel's , Mavro, A/W , La Mer , Morimoto's , Nobu and still find the food at Le Bistro preferable overall, even with no view.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: russkar

                        You are indeed a wealth of knowledge and I thank you for that.. I remember seeing your name on the L.A. board quite often. We are at the Kahala for a 5 night stay. These are the restaurants being considered to date, in no particular order, unless you want to arrange them for me......Le Bistro, Town, Park, Alan Wong, Chef Mavro and Vintage Cave and Michels. I realize there are more choices than nights, so I will drive myself crazy, for sure.

                        1. re: xoxohh

                          P.S. I believe we had a meal together at Opus here in L.A. a few years back.

                          1. re: xoxohh

                            Very likely. I loved that place..

                          2. re: xoxohh

                            Where to start?
                            If you've been to Bazaar in LA then I would probably skip Vintage Cave, unless your into fine Art.
                            I have a dislike for Town based on several experiences there even though I really like their Chef Ed Kenney who's brilliant at other venues.
                            Chef Mavro needs no introduction, he put La Mer on the Map back in 88' and does a nice job with his own restaurant Mavro.
                            We always order the Degustation Menu. Consider bringing your own wine and Champagne and just pay the corkage. I'm not a fan of their wine pairings. Your own Dom or Krug with a nice Red Burg or Cab will suffice for the night.

                            Park is really interesting and deserves your attention with a menu that has many twists and turns like pressed Watermelon with a touch of El Bulli.

                            Michel's is the epitome of ultimate Ambience (oceanfront) with people dressed in Suits and locals like me in Aloha Wear. The food is above average and high quality. Don't miss the chilled Seafood Platter and Steak Tartar table side along with ChateauBriand or Abalone Steak or Fresh Fish. Maybe Crepe Suzette for dessert table side.

                            Azure is very nice for the Chef's Tasting menu when seated on the Lanai. Tom or Scott would be my choice for Waiters.

                            A/W is one of our faves but not been that great lately (we were there 3 wks ago) and the food was rather boring. There's been a Chef De Cuisine change recently and I'm not sure what's happening but definitely not as consistent as before and we've been there lotsa times, one week 4x.

                            Le Bistro has no view and not the most updated ambience but Chef Alan can cook. No were else will you likely find Very large Colorado Rack of Lamb cooked to perfection. Stellar Bay Oysters, Pan Seared Mussels , Super Fresh Fish, Caledonian
                            Shrimp Prawns, my personal fave is the finest Veal Chop from Wisconsin. Reminds me of Il Mulino in NYC. Apple Galette for dessert.

                            BTW: Arancino at Kahala isn't bad if you don't want to go out but not in the same league.
                            If you like Indian Food definitely try Maharani but go at 5p or plan to wait a year (hour +) for a table.

                            If your near downtown don't miss HASR Bistro. aloha

                            1. re: xoxohh

                              *drool* i've never been to any of those places yet!