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Oct 10, 2013 08:36 PM

Anniversary in Hawaii

Parents are marking 50 years of marriage in Hawaii and the family is assembling in December to celebrate. Dad was born in Kahuku but left many, many years ago.

So, I've done a bit of research on my own, but I am interested to know which restaurants are best able to handle largish parties. We are 11 adults and 2 children. We will eat anything not tied down and some things that are.

Most of us are some significant portion of Japanese, though Pops is the only one who is 100%. I say this because we are particularly fond of Asian food: Sushi, Izakaya style, Ramen, your various Chinese cuisines esp. Dim Sum, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, etc. And of course we are all looking for some outstanding plate lunch with Lau Lau and/or Poke…maybe a good breakfast diner with Spam and Eggs.

We’re on the eastside, so things near Kaneohe would be nice, but we’ll travel for food.

So, I need a little help. Where is the best place to order a big sushi/sashimi platter for a home dinner party? How about the best lau lau? Spam and eggs? Saimin? Also fond of Spanish style tapas, but not expecting that in Hawaii.

Thinking about visiting some of the below? How would they do with 11 adults and 2 kids? Which ones should I skip? What am I missing? Where would you take 10 of your best friends? Any help would be appreciated!

Dim Sum:
Mei Sum
Fook Lam
Char Hut Sung (for Takeout)

Pa Ke
<Any others in Honolulu?
Any of the above Dim Sum places do good dinner?>

Korean BBQ:
Ah Lang
Gina’ BBQ
<What else? Prefer AYCE buffet and/or place with large tables>

Shrimp Truck:
Mike’s Huli Huli
<Any new trucks?>

Pho Bistro 2 in Honolulu
<Got to be more…Anything on Kaneohe side?>

Sushi Izakaya Gaku
<Any decent sushi for large parties? Ramen?>

Markets/Poke/Plate lunch:
Tamura (Market)
Ono Hawaiian Food
Ruger Market
Dean’s Drive In
Leonard’s Bakery for malasadas
Highway Inn
Windward Mall Farmer’s Market
Hukilau Cafe

Shave Ice:
Shimazu Store

Nice Restaurant:
Haleiwa Joe’s (Kaneohe location)
<Where else for a nice sit down dinner, big party, 2 kids?>

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  1. instead of ramen, try hawaiian saimin, easily found at any zippys, but palace saimin in kalihi is the best imo. jane's fountain in liliha is also very good. both are hole in the wall places, but worth it. you can eat in shifts if other patrons are there.

    if you want ramen, i would skip ezogiku, i'm always disappointed when i eat there. tons of ramen places in waikiki but i haven't tried them. my BIL's aunt owns ramen-ya, they're pretty good, have a huge bowl for a reasonable price, but every time i eat ramen at a restaurant, i leave craving saimin.

    instead of ono's, try helena's, peoples cafe, haile's. i really dislike ono's. the food isn't authentic and tastes weird, not like the food i've eaten at luaus or other places (imo, at least. they do a ton of business), portions are miniscule and expensive.

    for dim sum, mei sum is great, so is legends. my family likes nice day in liliha near chinatown, but others disagree.

    if you go to pake's, you won't be disappointed. kin wah nearby used to be good years ago, i have not been recently. all the chinese places can accomodate your party easily.

    camelia has gotten a bad rap lately, i have not eaten there in a long time.

    there are a ton of korean restaurants. off the cuff i'd say million or sorabol for late night, cho dang if you can find parking; restaurant is small. han yang for yakiniku. they have kobe beef and are about $2 cheaper than most yakiniku places. they've just added soft flank steak. check these links someone posted for me: and i've been to only a few of these.

    there are three big contenders for best malasadas: leonard's, agnes, and champion. i love all three, and you have to try each of them. agnes is in kailua, champion is on beretania in town, and leonards is on kapahulu. call champion in advance. leonard's has become hugely popular, good luck with parking.

    i like gyotaku for japanese, but no one else here does. maybe you would want to try a cheap sushi place like genki or kuru kuru where the dishes circle the room on a belt and you grab what you like and pay per plate. fun experience and they make funky local style sushi. definitely not fine dining. kid friendly like hot dog sushi.

    local breakfast can be had anywhere, l&l, zippys, liliha bakery, even mcdonalds.

    you MUST try liliha bakery for the coco puffs, pastry filled with choc pudding and topped with sweet chantilly dollup. their other baked goods vary in quality from great (chantilly cake) to bleh (cheesecake squares, pig in blanket type pastry). the diner section has the best waffles in town and great local and regular diner food. their combo specials are almost all rice, but the normal menu is a good value. it's alway s crowded now, mostly due to yelp. i don't see how a party that large would get seating on the counter, so order takeout. tourists come by the busload.

    vietnamese restaurants with good pho are all over. there's one near el mariachi in kaneohe.

    if you want prime rib at haleiwa joes, come as opening time. they don't seat utnil your whole party is there. it's not fancy, but the food is great. you should call ahead and have them set up the tables.

    happy eating

    1. Happy Day or Mandalay for Chinese
      but start with Pahke's first

      Nice sit down dinner: 3660 on the Rise and 12th Ave. Grill.

      Dean's Drive In is really a tiny place; I don't think it could handle 11 adults and 2 kids.

      3 Replies
      1. re: honu2

        happy days has the same owners as nice day. i haven't been to happy days.

        big city diner does a lot of dishes well, it's a fun place with several locations.

        burgers try kua aina.

        1. re: indelibledotink

          You are correct that Happy Day and Nice Day have the same owners. However, the facilities are different and Happy Day is much more suitable for a large group, unless the table of 11 adults and 2 kids is ok with being squished by the bathroom.

          1. re: indelibledotink

            same owners, but different cooks. makes all the difference in the world.

        2. various food trucks :

          call camile's on wheels to cater a party, she makes ONO food, so much that she retired her truck and just does private events.

          1 Reply
          1. re: indelibledotink

            Yes, by all means call Camille! She does amazing food. She has been busy catering commercial shoots and spends much of her time as a chef at a club. Last Wednesday she was in Kailua by Hardware Hawaii her old haunt serving it up. She also was Heidi Klum's chef when she was here on vacation last spring. I have had her do a party for me and it was simply amazing! Rave reviews!

            1. Gaku is pretty small. I would confirm they can even take a party that large.