Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Hawaii >
Oct 31, 2013 12:39 PM

Looking for new off the beaten path recommendations for Oahu

Chowhound has been a remarkable tool for us as we travel and I am again asking for help for our ten days in Honolulu. We will have a car so driving will not be a problem. We will do our continual favorites -- Duke's, SideStreet, Alan Wong's and Little Village. Looking for recommendations for other favorites. Thanking you in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. When will you be here? It's hard to know how to advise you when you don't specify what you are looking for. Specific areas, hole in the wall plate lunch joints, fine dining, cuisine type? You can do a search on the board for favorites as they have been covered many times before and on many other threads. Doing your due diligence and giving us more specifics will help us better help you.

    14 Replies
    1. re: killersmile

      We will be there for ten days in the middle of November. We are foodies and enjoy all types of food and usually balance our dining budget with both fine dining and moderately priced selections. Instead of off the beaten path, I should have asked for recommendations for new venues receiving rave reviews. Forgot to mention we have reservations both for Roy's and Salt also. We love ramen and want to try the best. Really appreciate all your recommendations. Thanks

      1. re: cjml

        i started a thread on new places
        not much response yet
        but some discussion of the new location for 12th avenue grill and the brand new MW restaurant

        1. re: cjml

          Macsak's thread on new places are about places that opened within the last month so you should check that out especially since the new openings include several ramen shops. Can't get any newer than that. How new are you talking about? When was your last visit?

          1. re: cjml

            ramen is subjective, but every japanese national i have taken to yotekko-ya said it was the best in hawaii
            you can get the noodles japan style (firm) or local style (soft)

            lots of people love the tantan ramen places
            i can't think of their names, but they are in the ward area

            santouka ramen is in the don quixote food court and i hear there is a line even at 9 pm

            1. re: macsak

              Ichiriki is also well regarded for nabe as well. One on Piikoi and one in Aiea

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                There is also the newest location of Ichiriki here in Kaneohe by Long's/Safeway. Opened maybe 2 months ago right near the new Brick Oven Pizza (of Kauai). I have not been to either. I finally made it to Teddy's last month, they've been open since May. Don't get out much! :-)

              2. re: macsak

                This statement I will agree with as I also think it is the best I have tried here in Hawaii of the places currently open. I will say that Kiwami Ramen's tsukemen was pretty darn good as well the few times I tried it when they were located in Waikiki. Still have to try the new places though.

                1. re: killersmile

                  i think the OP should do tsukemen if they don't have it where they are from

                2. re: macsak

                  My good friend went to the new AGU and really really liked it. His wife is from Japan and she really enjoyed their food. I have yet to go.

                    1. re: macsak

                      what are the site rules about posting links to website reviews?
                      i don't want to step on anyone's toes



                      1. re: macsak

                        Rules are here:

                        "As much as possible, please include information directly in your post on Chowhound so that it becomes part of the discussion. Where including a full review doesn't make sense, you can share your thoughts and link to your blog entry for the review. Please make sure your post would be useful even without the blog link and includes both what your suggestion or opinion is and some specifics on why you feel that way."

                        1. re: kathryn

                          mahalo kathryn

                          i guess i should have been more specific
                          i don't want to link to my own blog

                          there was an article on nonstop honolulu with a rundown of the 3 new ramen shops with pictures
                          and i was wondering what the site rules are about posting that



            2. how off the beaten path?

              also lots of new places opened up recently

              hmm, maybe i'll start a new thread

              6 Replies
              1. re: macsak

                As always, Chowhound comes to our rescue. We will not be going out for many breakfasts since we are in a condo, but will go to Eggs n Things, Big City Diner and Hula Grill a couple of days. After going through all your recommendations we have narrowed down our selections to the following for lunch: M and W, Little Village, Duke's and Nico's. Dinner will be Roy's, Alan Wong, Hau Tree, Side Street Gyu Kaku, Lucky Belly and Salt. Would appreciate comments and we are definitely willing to make changes based upon your recommendations. We will also go the House Without A Key for drinks. Appreciate all your comments.

                1. re: cjml

                  hard to argue with anything on that list. can't wait to hear your comments on your trip. Glad to see you are doing Duke's for lunch not dinner. I suggest asking for the fresh fish duke's style - if your server agrees.

                  1. re: cjml

                    i would skip eggs n things, they are overrated in my book, and expensive. the hamburger patty in my loco moco had way too much char flavor, like liquid smoke. bleh. their omlettes and other fare is good, but pricey. tourist trap since they moved from the original kalakaua location on the outskirts of waikiki to piikoi and added the express on kalakaua strip and a new saratoga location. there is always a long wait. i would rather have dennys, ihop, koa pancake house, original pancake house.

                    your other picks sound great!! i have yet to eat at most of them and am envious! i don't think any of them are really off the beaten path, though, they are all mainstream/hip!!!

                    1. re: indelibledotink

                      They have gone downhill from their original location on Ena Road opposite Hobron Lane - a little place with about 15 tables that was only open in the early morning hours (midnight to 8?)

                      1. re: indelibledotink

                        Thank you for your approval. Perhaps I should have stated in my original question that we were searching for some new, under the radar establishments. Again, so thankful for all the wonderful recommendations. Last fall Eggs N Things was being remodeled so we have not eaten there in the past few years. We will have to seek out another breakfast place. Any recommendations? Disappointed that it is not as good as the original. Looking forward to our trip!!!

                        1. re: cjml

                          Maybe try Sweet E's on Kapahulu? Small place, but the females in my family love to eat there. I would suggest Cafe Kaila as well, but the line to eat there is rediculous. You could also try Cream Pot in Waikiki, but it's a bit pricey.

                  2. How new, how off the beaten path? Does Salt qualify, or the reborn 12th Avenue Grill, or how about The Bistro in Niu Valley isn't new, but it is way off the beaten path, as are some of the new places Joebob recommends in Kapolei. And as macsac and manomin will be happy to explain, anything on the windward side is off the beaten path. Less off the beaten path are Kan Zaman in the old Indigo space, and not as new but not on the beaten path for most tourii are Lucky Belly and Duc's Bistro - long underappreciated.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: KaimukiMan

                      kan zaman in the indigo space?
                      interested in hearing about that

                      1. re: macsak

                        I haven't made it there yet, but everyone just raves about it. It's taken over from Lucky Belly as the hot new downtown spot from what I can tell.

                        1. re: macsak

                          Tried it after walking around First Night. Chicken Tagine was two chicken thighs braised in a delicious sauce flavored with lemon and green olives. Served covered with french fries...kind of an odd presentation. Fries were good, but the Vegetable Couscous topped with chunks of potato, squash, zucchini, garbanzos was a better accompaniment. Would have been better (for us) served family style to share both than as individual entrees as our appetites were not huge...side orders of couscous, rice, etc would have been extra.

                        2. re: KaimukiMan

                          It's not in the old Indigo space. It's on the ewa side of Nuuanu Ave. where Cafe Joy used to be near the tea place if I remember correctly.

                          1. re: killersmile

                            Thanks Killer, I was mis-informed (I thought that was quick.) My bad.

                            What is this town coming to? Respectable restaurants on the ewa side of Nuuanu. Next thing you know there will be decent places to go on River Street. Oh, wait . . . there already are. Hummm . . .

                        3. there is also a place called MW, don't know much about it, but I overheard a snipped to conversation about it standing in line at the supermarket. On Kapiolani mauka of Ala Moana Center. Anyone know anything? I see this is touched on in macsac's companion thread.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                            MW restaurant is in the bldg that replaced kgmb
                            husband was chef de cuisine at alan wongs
                            wife pastry chef at alan wongs
                            open 7 days lunch and dinner
                            parking is valet

                            website is under construction

                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                              You can check out the decor and dishes at the following links. I'll be heading there for lunch in a few days so will post my impressions after my visit.

                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                Had dinner there on Saturday night on the recommendation of a friend. They are trying very hard. Definitely a Korean slant on the food items. Some we liked and some just missed. Best focaccia I have had in a restaurant. Veggie poke was good, just too much of it. Pickled beet salad was the best I have had in a long time. My husband loved his caesar, with an MW slant on it.

                                Short ribs were good but the sides a little too our there. Opa was good but could have done without the bitter melon.

                                Meyer lemon tart was amazing with all its parts. Lilikoi panna cotta want delightful and refreshing. Will go again after the dust settles and the art is on the walls.

                                1. re: carluccio

                                  i have reservations for lunch on veteran's day
                                  will post a review

                                  1. re: macsak

                                    Had a nice lunch at MW yesterday. The food is supposed to be an upscale take on local comfort foods. A lot of the menu seems to come from what Chef Wade tried out at the farmer's market and pop-ups at Taste, so if you tried his food then, you would have tried at least half of the menu already. I believe the lunch menu slightly differs from the dinner menu however. They seem to still be ironing out the details, seeking input on what we enjoyed and what needs to be improved on. Lunch was very leisurely, food took awhile to arrive. We were there for a little over an hour and a half.

                                    The cold veggie poke was nice and refreshing containing green & long beans, okra, baby tomatoes and squash in a kochujang marinade. Also had the "fried" chicken appetizer which was pressed jidori chicken w/ garlic soy marinade on little lettuce cups w/ wonbok & cucumber kimchee, heart of palms and pickled onion. This was nice, although an awkward size since it was more than a mouthful and difficult to pick up. Ended up using a fork and knife on it even though it seemed to be finger food. Tried the oxtail, corned beef & pork belly soup which was very good. I went with one of the day's special which was a kalbi ramen. Very good, nice flavor, but difficult to eat the kalbi since it was still on the bone and not fall off the bone tender, and hot from sitting in the steaming bowl of ramen. The hands down favorite was the "sukiyaki pork sandwich" however. This came as an egg-in-the-hole (or egg in the basket if you prefer) toast on top of sukiyaki pork with a truffle soy dashi. So flavorful and rich from the runny egg and truffle dashi. For dessert the lemon meringue brulee was a standout with tapioca pearls surrounding a lemon sorbet middle topped with lemon kanten and custard which was bruleed and a cute little lemon meringue tartlet placed on top.

                                    I enjoyed the lunch and will probably check them out for dinner later to try other dishes.

                              2. La Cocina has taken over the former Whole Ox location in Kakaako and is serving the best Mexican I've had in Honolulu. Tried 3 different tacos, chicken, beef, and shrimp, all delicious, fresh homemade chips with guacamole, and garlic potatoes...more like Spanish style patatas bravas, very good. Can't wait to get back to try more off their menu.

                                Don't get confused by the name being virtually identical to La Cucina nearby which is Italian, and which is also getting good reviews, but I haven't tried it. The one time we went we were offended by the attitude we got when we asked for a table without a reservation (the place was nearly empty). We walked out and likely won't go back. Others are raving about the food.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: macaraca

                                  i think its just "Cocina" without the "la". and i agree >> cocina is pretty damn good. I really like the "gringa" >> a pulled chicken quesadilla in an apple mole with apple pico. tasty. the veggie version is also delicious. headcheese tacos are lucious. i've had 'the perfect egg' when they were doing pop-ups at Taste and found it surprisingly bland, and have read a recent review of someone eating it the new spot with the same opinion. I've also had their elotes (grilled corn) and its super delicious, but offensively priced at 5 bucks for a small ear of corn. In fact, i'd consider that place very reasonable if they knocked 2 bucks off of everything...but its expensive, and, at least at lunch, you're dining with disposable forks and plates etc. A couple dishes came out on a metal tray covered with paper which was cool. But paying all that cash to dine on paper at a proper restaurant is mindboggling to me. whole ox was doing that too, RIP.

                                  1. re: fatstern

                                    oh, i also had their salad....which was delicous, but again, offensive at 9 bucks on a paper plate. should have been almost double the size for that money.