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Where to eat what in Honolulu

KaimukiMan Nov 8, 2013 12:34 PM

What follows is a list that has developed over time to refer to when friends start the "I dunno, what do you want to eat?" game. I do not pretend that it is complete, I do not guarantee that it is up to date. It is intended to be a conversation starter. What should not be here, what have I left out that should be here?

AMERICAN/FUSION - Hawaii’s Best
Alan Wong’s, King Street
Chef Mavro, King Street
LaMer, Halekulani, Waikiki

AMERICAN/FUSION - Finer Dining
Azure, Waikiki
Duc’s Bistro, Chinatown*
Hau Tree Lanai, Waikiki*
Hiroshi, Restaurant Row
Hoku’s, Kahala
Hy’s Steakhouse, Waikiki*
Le Bistro, Niu Valley
Michele's, Waikiki
Orchid’s, Halekulani
Roy’s, Various Locations
Vino, Restaurant Row
3660 On The Rise, Kaimuki

AMERICAN/FUSION - Nice Dining
Buzz’s Steakhouse, Aiea, Kailua
Duke’s, Waikiki*
Jameson’s, Haleiwa
Mariposa, Ala Moana
Pineapple Room, Ala Moana
Plumeria Cafe, Kahala
Tiki’s, Marriot, Waikiki
Town, Kaimuki*
12th Avenue Grill, Kaimuki

AMERICAN/FUSION - Everyday
Aiea Bowl/The Alley Restaurant, Aiea
Big City Diner*, Various
Haleiwa Joe's, Haleiwa & Kaneohe
He’eia Pier, Kaneohe
Henry Loui’s, Mapunapuna
Kakaako Kitchen, Ward*
La Mariana Sailing Club, Sand Island
Murphy’s, Downtown
Side Street Inn, Kakaako* & Kapahulu

BREAKFAST KINE PLACES
Boots n Kimo’s
Eggs ‘n Things, Waikiki
Koa Pancake House, various locations
Liliha Bakery*, Liliha/Kalihi
Original Pancake House, Ala Moana* & Kalihi
Wailana Coffee Shop, Waikiki

BURGERS, SANDWICHES, & SUCH
BaLe Sandwiches, various locations
Burgers on The Edge, Kapahulu
Da Big Kahuna, Airport* (better before 2pm)
Hank’s Haute Dogs, Kakaako
Kua Aina*, Haleiwa and Ward
La Tour, Nimitz
Moose McGilycuddy’s, Waikiki
Puka Dog, Waikiki
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers*, various locations
The Counter, Kahala Mall
W&M Burgers (wed-sun, lunch only) Kaimuki

BUFFET
Oceanarium, Waikiki
Orchid’s (Sunday Only), Halekulani, Waikiki
Pagoda Restaurant, Keeamoku
Plumeria Beach House, The Kahala, Kahala
Prince Court, Waikiki

CHINESE
Dew Drop Inn, Lower Makiki
Duk Kee, Kaimuki*
Golden Duck, King Street
Happy Days, Kaimuki*
Little Village Noodle House, Chinatown*
Mini Garden, Chinatown & Beretania
Royal Garden, Ala Moana

DIM SUM
Happy Days, Kaimuki
Legends, Chinatown (& Vegetarian)
Mei Sum, Chinatown
Royal Garden, Ala Moana

FILIPINO
Jolibees (fast food) Waipahu & AlaMoana
Max’s of Manila, Iwilei & Waipahu
Thelmas Waipahu*

HAWAIIAN
Haili’s, Ward
Helena’s, Kapahulu
Ono’s, Kapahulu
The Willows, Moiliili

INDIAN
Cafe Maharani, King St.
Himalayan Kitchen, Kaimuki*

ITALIAN
Assagio, Various
Pizzarina, King St.*
Verbano Waialae.* (&maybe King St.)

JAPANESE
Gyotaku (various)
Ichi Riki, Keeamoku, Aiea, Kaneohe
Irifune, Kapahulu
Morimoto, Waikiki
Sekiyas, Kaimuki
Utage, Kapalama* (also Okinawan)
Yamagen, King St.*

KOREAN
Gina’s, Market City
Sorabol, Keeamoku/Lower Makiki
Choi’s Garden, Lower Makiki
Cafe Million, Lower Makiki

LATE NIGHT PLACES
Anna Millers, Pearlridge
LikeLike Drive-inn, Keeamoku
Liliha Bakery, Liliha (closed mon) lunch counter
Sanoya, noodle/ramen, King St.
Sorabol (24/7) Korean, Keeamoku
Zippy’s (24/7) Various Locations

LUNCH ONLY PLACES (or breakfast/lunch)
Cinnamon’s, Kailua (reviews have slipped)
Honey Glazed Hams (tue-sat), Moiliili
Monarch Seafood, Lunch Take Out, Kalihi
Yama’s, Moiliili (Lunch)
Waioli Tea Room, Manoa

MALASADAS
Agnes’ Portuguese Bake Shop, Kailua
Champion, Beretania St
Leonard’s Kapahulu*

MANAPUA
Char Hung Sut, Chinatown
Libby Manapua, Kalihi
Royal Kitchen, Chinatown*

MEDETERRANEAN
The Fat Greek, Kaimuki
The Greek Corner, Moiliili
Olive Tree, Kahala

MEXICAN
Azteca*, Kaimuki
Luibuenos, Haleiwa
Mexico, Liliha/Kalihi
Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Ward

PLATE LUNCH
AAA Local BBQ*, Kapiolani
Bob’s bbq, Kalihi
Da Kitchen, Moiliili
Da Spot (not quite vegetarian)
Grace’s Inn, Makiki/Beretania
Mitsu-ken, West Kalihi (closes 2pm)
Rainbow Drive-In*, Kapahulu
Sugoi’s* (closes 3pm or earlier), Kapalma
Tsukenjo’s, Kakaako
Zippy’s, Various

SAIMIN/RAMEN
Dilligham Saimin, Liliha
Ezogiku, Moiliili
Goma Ichi, Keeamoku
Goma Tei, Ward Centers
Old Saimin House, Kalihi (odd hours)
Palace Saimin, Kalihi (odd hours)
Sanoya, King St/Makiki
Shiro’s Saimin, Aiea
Sekiya’s Kaimuki*

SEAFOOD & POKE
Alicia’s Market, Kalihi Kai
Fresh Catch, Kaimuki&Kaneohe
Kincaids, Ward
Nico’s*, Kalihi./Nimitz
Poke Stop, Mililani Mauka
Tamashiro Market, Kalihi
Young’s Fish Market, Kapalama

SUSHI/SASHIMI
Genki Sushi (various)
Kats Sushi, King St/Makiki
Mitch’s, Airport
Nobu’s Waikiki
Zippy’s (Kahala & Aiea Only)

THAI
Chai’s (Thai inspired fusion), Kapiolani
Champa Thai, Various locations
Keo’s, Waikiki
Pae Thai, King St./Makiki*
Spices (Thai inspired), Moiliili
To Thai For, Kaimuki*

VIETNAMESE/PHO
Cuu Long, Pearl Kai Center
Hale Vietnam, Kaimuki
Pho Mai, King St./Makiki
Pho97, Chinatown
Saigon, Kaimuki
Super Pho, Kaimuki

VEGAN/VEGETARIAN
Govinda’s, UH & Downtown
Legend Vegetarian, Downtown
Loving Hut (King & Pensacola)
Peace Cafe, King St.

MAINLAND CHAINS
Cheesecake Factory
Chili’s, various locations
CPK* (not available in the east)
Hy’s Steakhouse, Waikiki*
Kincaid’s Seafood Restaurant
Outback Steakhouse
Roy’s (chain started here)
The Counter Burgers
The Old Spaghetti Factory

  1. c
    Clinton Dec 6, 2013 10:25 PM

    Just got back from HNL yesterday. Tried several places we've never to like Nico's on the pier and Hale Vietnam in Kaimuki. Was not too impressed with Nico's after all of the TV hype we've seen. Hale Vietnam was pretty good. We had the "Bun" and it was quite refreshing with all of the aromatic veggies. Stopped off at Shiro's in Waimalu for the "Big Bruddah" won ton mein. I'm still looking for "good" saimin and have not found it yet. Found limu kohu at Haile's in Kapahulu. I think they sprinkle gold on it and charge you for it too! $7 for a small tiny plastic cup! Attended a birthday party at Mandalay Restaurant in the business district. Excellent service but I've had better food elsewhere. Leonard's still has the best malasadas especially if you eat it sitting on the bench outside steaming hot! LikeLike Drive In specials are still filling but I had the oxtail soup which was just OK. Couldn't finish all of the Kim Chee II dinner special. Just too much to eat. I still enjoy Kua Aina's burger and fries despite what every says about the place. We definitely got soaked at the Aiea Swap Meet on Sunday with all of the thunder and lightning going on. But we had fun...

    5 Replies
    1. re: Clinton
      indelibledotink Dec 6, 2013 11:08 PM

      i'm down with kua aina. they'll do it rare, too.

      have you tried palace saimin, jane's fountain, liliha bakery, even zippys?

      i haven't had nico's, but i like uncle's to the right nearby.

      likelike's food has been poor on the few occasions i've been there.

      you're in nyc?

      1. re: Clinton
        q
        Quince Dec 7, 2013 09:03 PM

        I think Nico's is on a downhill slide. Too bad, it used to be a really great deal. Perhaps they overspent on their expansion and are cutting corners now.

        1. re: Quince
          r
          roro808 Dec 7, 2013 09:38 PM

          It always behooves me why a good running restaurant always want to expand..and expand..... Keep it small and maintain quality -- loyal clientele will always return.,,,,

          1. re: Quince
            KaimukiMan Dec 8, 2013 03:55 PM

            that hasn't been my experience, i think they have done a fantastic job of keeping the quality at a high level. I am sad the prices have gone up as much as they have, but they are hardly out of line, especially at lunch.

            1. re: KaimukiMan
              q
              Quince Dec 8, 2013 09:32 PM

              I suspect the food might be better at lunch. I have only been for dinner recently.

        2. Beach Chick Nov 19, 2013 06:35 AM

          Aloha..
          I was trying to think if there was a place for a slice of pizza in Waikiki...perfect for swimming all day.
          If not, someone should open a little take out window!

          Mahalo

          1 Reply
          1. re: Beach Chick
            KaimukiMan Nov 19, 2013 09:08 AM

            not sure how up-to-date this is
            http://www.waikikivisitor.com/2012/id...

          2. killersmile Nov 18, 2013 03:03 PM

            Just to help you adjust your list - Burgers on the Edge, Mini Garden (Chinatown), Legends Vegetarian, Verbano (King St.), Da Kitchen, Tsukenjo's, Spices are all long gone.

            3 Replies
            1. re: killersmile
              indelibledotink Nov 19, 2013 01:55 AM

              isn't spices still on king st near university?

              1. re: indelibledotink
                KaimukiMan Nov 19, 2013 09:04 AM

                No, spices closed, but I'm pretty sure DaKitchen is still up and running unless it closed within the last two weeks. I just have a mental block about Tsukenjo's I guess. I thought I had removed it, but nope..there it is in black and white. Thanks for the updates killersmile.

                P.S. ayup, DaKitchen closed. How sad, and it was always busy when I went. Now where am I going to find deep fried spam musubi?

                1. re: KaimukiMan
                  m
                  macaraca Dec 8, 2013 04:06 AM

                  Da Kitchen closed and has been replaced with Agu Ramen Bistro which we tried last night. Very good, although a little pricey. Attractive setting, good service, and very happy with the bowls which are not massive.
                  I had the Shio Jidori, which had a chicken broth base that was tasty and not too salty. Thin noodles just the right amount of chewy. The SO had the #3 (of 5) Spicy Tonkatsu with hakata ramen which he enjoyed, although most yelpers find #3 way too spicy for their taste. Both had a perfectly cooked hard-boiled egg floating in the broth, which clinched the deal for us.
                  Servings are just the right size...we didn't order sides from the rather short menu, but were not ravenous, so was fine. But for $11.75, many locals used to massive portions might find it overpriced. However, we thought the quality and attractiveness of the place justified it. Should definitely go on Kman's master list for Ramen.

                  aguramen.com

            2. indelibledotink Nov 18, 2013 03:22 AM

              you need a pizza category

              boston's north end pizza bakery
              boston style pizza
              bar 35/valentinis
              cpk
              papa johns
              dominos
              pizza hut
              i like sbarro
              lots of other places i have yet to try

              7 Replies
              1. re: indelibledotink
                KaimukiMan Nov 18, 2013 11:10 AM

                I think you are right it should be a separate category from Italian, even if they overlap. Be sure to try La Pizza Rina on South King just diamond head of Keeamoku.

                Personally I do not like Domino's Hawaii, although in parts of LA they do a good job. I've never been sure about the difference or relationship between the various "boston" pizza places.

                1. re: KaimukiMan
                  manomin Nov 18, 2013 12:24 PM

                  The difference is Tom Rossi owns the Boston's North End locations and always did. One of his employees split from the company and started Boston Style Pizza. Also forgotten from the lists are V Lounge and Prima for pizza. Both use the same dough recipe and a wood fire oven. I myself am going to Assaggio for another birthday lunch today in Kailua. I hope to have the usual civilized routine of at least a martini and the Caesar salad.

                  1. re: manomin
                    m
                    macsak Nov 18, 2013 01:37 PM

                    hauoli la hanau, mano'

                    1. re: macsak
                      manomin Nov 18, 2013 06:06 PM

                      Thanks macsak! And btw, it was a lovely lunch! Caesar salad, and the most divine sausage/peppers and roasted potatoes. Also they brought me a lovely strawberry sorbet with a candle! Check out the new tablecloths. Fabulous service as well! I like that they make your martini in an individual shaker and pour every last drop!

                       
                    2. re: manomin
                      indelibledotink Nov 19, 2013 01:55 AM

                      my dad mentioned the assagios owner was being investigated for money laundering?

                      1. re: indelibledotink
                        m
                        macsak Nov 19, 2013 09:47 AM

                        yup
                        online gambling to launder money is the accusation

                    3. re: KaimukiMan
                      indelibledotink Nov 19, 2013 01:54 AM

                      i used to LOVE dominos and would order from nuuanu location (we live up the ave) and the pizza would always be ready for carryout in ten minutes, even when they said it'd be 15-20. i would get sausage on top. i first had dominos at a friend's house when i was 10ish (i'm 33), my parents were more into pizza hut. the nuuanu location closed maybe five or six years ago, and i was psyched when the beretania location opened (by teddy's bb) but man, the pizza sucked. i have yet to try them again.

                      i am skeptical of la pizza rina (i haven't tried yet) because the sister store in chinatown, rosarina, had the worst pizza i have ever had. tomato paste on cardboard.

                  2. KaimukiMan Nov 12, 2013 08:22 AM

                    A lot of good comments. As you can tell the roots of this list go back quite a few years. When I first compiled it I think there was a CPK someplace in Arizona that claimed to be the furthest east of the chain. And yes, those with asterisks are personal favorites. Restaurants have come and gone from the list, some gone even though they still exist. One or two even went back on the list after a few years of being off the list. And no doubt others that should be included aren't. If it is on this list I have eaten there at least once.

                    I don't pretend this list is comprehensive, and don't take it to mean there aren't LOTS and lots of other great places to eat here. After all despite disagreement from my scale, there really is only one of me. And if you are visiting, don't hesitate to ask people you meet where they like to eat. With our multi-cultural society and the richness it gives to local food culture, it is a rare resident who can't wax eloquent on food for quite some time.

                    Just don't ask the car rental person, or the checkout clerk at the supermarket if there is a line behind you. Those people probably won't be impressed by his phenomenal knowledge about poke or her ability to recite the name of every restaurant that serves fried rice as a side dish, or what places will deep fry your bacon or Portuguese Sausage.

                    1. r
                      ragged25 Nov 12, 2013 06:35 AM

                      Great list, this is exactly what I needed as I will be visiting Oahu this Friday for 8 days.

                      1. indelibledotink Nov 11, 2013 08:38 PM

                        jane's fountain for good saimin, low cost yet tasty drive in burgers, sandwiches.

                        ezogiku has many locations, offhand i can think of waikiki and kaheka. but everytime i go there i am disappointed.

                        uncles for seafood/poke.

                        1. Bill Hunt Nov 11, 2013 07:49 PM

                          Great list, and should be wonderful resource for anyone heading to O`ahu.

                          Mahalo for taking the time to post it. I feel that many will link to it, in many threads.

                          Aloha,

                          Hunt

                          1. Nevy Nov 11, 2013 05:20 PM

                            Thank you for this great list. I'm planning a trip soon so this post is very helpful!

                            I'm wondering if you have insights on shaved ice, bakeries, or other sweet treats. I've read several older posts that highlight mochi as a wonder in Hawaii.

                            30 Replies
                            1. re: Nevy
                              m
                              macsak Nov 11, 2013 07:11 PM

                              search "shave ice"

                              kamehameha bakery has poi doughnuts that are very good and unavailable anywhere else
                              go early, they run out fast

                              search "malassada"

                              bubbie's for mochi ice cream

                              made in hawaii shop in moiliili has lots of treats too

                              1. re: macsak
                                indelibledotink Nov 11, 2013 07:48 PM

                                "malasada"

                                actually, i prefer the mochi ice cream from the supermarket, lol, it's got less mochi, more icecream, and is cheaper. bubbies does have some quality icecream with great flavors, and they are open til the wee hours.

                                1. re: indelibledotink
                                  indelibledotink Nov 13, 2013 12:49 AM

                                  bubbies mochi ice cream is now sold at the grocery store! they have great flavors, but too much mochi wrapping. visit the bubbies shops for a staggering array of desserts. imo, though, they don't make a good brownie sundae. great ice cream.

                                  the mochi icecream brand i was referring to earlier is miyakawa.

                              2. re: Nevy
                                k
                                kathryn Nov 11, 2013 09:22 PM

                                Lilikoi malasadas from Chef Mavro
                                Lin Hing Mui malasadas from Leonard's
                                Strawberry/azuki mochi from Made in Hawaii Foods at the KCC Farmers Market
                                Lilikoi butter also from Made in Hawaii Foods
                                Dole Whip!

                                1. re: kathryn
                                  Beach Chick Nov 13, 2013 06:45 AM

                                  OMG..lilikoi malasadas from Chef Mavro. .

                                2. re: Nevy
                                  KaimukiMan Nov 12, 2013 09:09 AM

                                  Finding real mochi is a treat (even if auto-correct doesn't believe its a real word). Nothing wrong with Mochi ice cream (sort of a mochi ice cream sandwich.) But fresh soft mochi by itself . . . so smooth, soft and tender. Searching for it on Yelp won't help you much because the first 7 or 8 listings all have more than 4 stars. I've had it from Nisshodo and from Made in Hawaii foods, both were very good. MIH is only a mile from me, it's better if I forget it's there, kind of like I do with Leonards and Champion's for Malasadas. I'm told you can get good mochi at Don Quijote and at Shirokiya, but I haven't looked lately, but the smaller retailers are probably better. I haven't looked in a while, but I'm pretty sure someone sells it at the KCC farmer's market, but it sells out pretty early, or used to.

                                  My favorite for shave ice is still the Original Waiola Store, although the Kapahulu Location on Mokihana St. is good too. I like my ice "Hawaii Style", shaved very fine. Other people prefer the more traditional "Asian Style" which is a bit coarser. Waiola is in the fine grain camp.

                                  There are extensive threads on the Hawaii board about shave ice (and please, it is "shaveice" when pronouncing it, one word, no "d".) I know yelp types it "shaved ice", like many things they have it wrong, probably because it is more 'searchable' this way. Here are links to two of the most recent and opinion-rich links on chow.

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/919779
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/809338

                                  One other thing to try is generically referred to as "crack seed." Crack seed more properly refers to on particular item of this category, a type of plum that has been cured, with the seed in the center broken or cracked. It's been a long time since we had a decent discussion on crack seed (again no "d" and the two words are more or less run together.

                                  )

                                  A respectable crack seed store will sell various types of preserved fruit, dried seafood, rice crackers, and "jellies" like gummy bears and worms (not real worms.) There are a number of crack seed stores around, it all depends where you are.

                                  And of course no list would be truly complete without bakeries - which I left off my list because they are generally verboten - although I did list malasada places (excluding restaurants that only serve them as dessert.) Searching for malasadas and finding out that you can get them as a dessert at a 5 star restaurant as part of your $$$$$ dinner doesn't have a lot of value to me.

                                  Popular Bakeries in Honolulu include DeLite (guava chiffon cake) Liliha Bakery (coco puffs), Kamehameha Bakery (the afore mentioned poi donunt) Otto Cakes (a plethora of cheesecakes and other goodies) Ani's Bakery (butter cream rolls), Ted's Pies (i'd need a paragraph- long drive but sold in retail stores), and Napoleon's Bakery at Zippy's (napples - a turnover). Beard Papa, a type of cream puff, was insanely popular for a while, but I don't hear about it any more. Comments anyone?

                                  And finally the three classic Malasada places, where you can also get other baked goods. My favorite are the original plain malasadas with sugar. The filled ones are a nice novelty item, but lack the integrity of the original. Trust me, that's definitely a minority opinion. But then I like plain donuts better than filled as well.

                                  I can see that I need to add a bakery section. In general - except for Kamehameha - you won't find good donuts or great bread in bakeries in Hawaii, although I will no doubt be vilified for saying so. Keep in mind that I greatly dislike the wonder bread texture of "Japanese style bread." Horrible stuff to me, but many others really love it.

                                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                                    indelibledotink Nov 12, 2013 02:42 PM

                                    i'm fine with yeast/glazed doughnuts from napoleon's bakery, but i really love krispy kreme, which is on maui, and i think you can get them at costco on oahu. they remind me of when i lived in brooklyn and they were sold at gristedes next door.

                                    a caveat for crack seed - if you go to a specialty old style crack seed stores, a lot of selections are in big glass jars. make sure there are no bugs in the jars. usually they are fine, but i have seen bugs a few times. crack seed, dried/wet fruit peels, etc. are also sold in grocery stores in plastic pouches. i like dried li hing mango, li hing gummy bears, and gummi apple rings, both li hing and regular. a real treat is li hi mui seed in a honey flavored hard candy. there are two brands, one tastes like ass, the other is heavenly... and i can never remember which is which.

                                    1. re: indelibledotink
                                      m
                                      macsak Nov 12, 2013 07:01 PM

                                      the krispy kremes available at costco and sam's club are flown in from maui

                                    2. re: KaimukiMan
                                      m
                                      macsak Nov 12, 2013 02:42 PM

                                      most excellent post, k-man
                                      except you forgot to specify the malasada places

                                      nice use of plethora
                                      can't hear that word without thinking of "three amigos" :)

                                      1. re: KaimukiMan
                                        Nevy Nov 12, 2013 02:54 PM

                                        My sincere thanks for all the wonderful and thoughtful suggestions. I believe the correct term of thanks is maholo but I feel it would not do justice to kindness and wealth of knowledge here.

                                        If you see a mother and child in absolute joy enjoying the Hawaiian beach while savouring a new found favourite called malasadas, that would be me because of this post!

                                        1. re: Nevy
                                          h
                                          honu2 Nov 12, 2013 03:01 PM

                                          Malasadas are best enjoyed warm so bring plenty of napkins and eat the first ones in the parking lot.

                                          1. re: honu2
                                            k
                                            kathryn Nov 12, 2013 08:34 PM

                                            Napkins are good, wet naps, too. Leonard's has a different flavor each month.
                                            http://www.leonardshawaii.com/malasadas/

                                            1. re: honu2
                                              Beach Chick Nov 13, 2013 06:44 AM

                                              Parking lot..you wait that long?
                                              ; )

                                            2. re: Nevy
                                              m
                                              macsak Nov 12, 2013 07:01 PM

                                              "mahalo"

                                              1. re: Nevy
                                                m
                                                macsak Nov 12, 2013 07:02 PM

                                                diamond head grill and bakery
                                                on monsarrat at the base of diamond head on the waikiki side

                                                1. re: Nevy
                                                  m
                                                  macsak Nov 12, 2013 07:04 PM

                                                  oh, you have a child- definitely go to a crack seed store and a shave ice place
                                                  and made in hawaii store (google it- it's in moiliili)
                                                  and a malasada place
                                                  don't worry about calories, fats, sugar- just enjoy

                                                  1. re: Nevy
                                                    indelibledotink Nov 12, 2013 11:42 PM

                                                    my 2cents: skip the fancy malasadas that have pudding/filling. if you're at leonards, try the standard sugar, possibly venture into the cinnamon territory. if you have the time, try champion malasadas, they are on beretania ave, not too far away. champion hasn't made it on the international radar yet, so they didn't raise prices like leonards. they drop them in the fryer when you order (leonards doesn't, but since they are so busy they always come out fresh now), so call ahead. they have a lighter flavor, less eggy and yeasty, and are more firm. if you venture into kailua, definitely stop at agnes' portuguese bakery and try their version. they have a hole, like a doughnut, and are even less eggy and yeasty, but have a spectacular crunch on the outside. they even retain the crunch after two hours sitting in a car while you're at the beach. (if you hit agnes', make sure to visit lanikai, often rated one of the best beaches in the world.) they are all happy choices.

                                                    back to baked goods with filling - try the coco puffs at liliha bakery, they are cream puff pasteries filled with chocolate pudding and topped with chantilly frosting. take a pass on the green tea flavor. if you dig the chantilly, have a piece of their chantilly cake - chocolate cake layered with creamy, mild custard(?) pudding and frosted with chantilly.

                                                    1. re: indelibledotink
                                                      k
                                                      kathryn Nov 13, 2013 06:12 AM

                                                      On our visit to Lanikai beach, we tried to go to Agnes' but they were closed as it was a Monday. Make a note so you don't make the same mistake.

                                                      1. re: kathryn
                                                        h
                                                        honu2 Nov 13, 2013 10:39 AM

                                                        Agnes also bakes an excellent Portuguese Sweet Bread that is more substantial in the mouth than the all fluff King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread, which I understand is no longer baked in Hawaii. It's very good toasted..

                                                      2. re: indelibledotink
                                                        m
                                                        macsak Nov 13, 2013 10:24 AM

                                                        i am starting to like zippy's malasadas now
                                                        more cakey/doughnuty than the others
                                                        but stays edible longer like agnes'

                                                    2. re: KaimukiMan
                                                      indelibledotink Nov 12, 2013 03:03 PM

                                                      you must try butter mochi.

                                                      1. re: indelibledotink
                                                        killersmile Nov 12, 2013 04:53 PM

                                                        So good, yet so bad.

                                                        1. re: killersmile
                                                          indelibledotink Nov 12, 2013 05:58 PM

                                                          don't think, just eat it and smile.

                                                          1. re: indelibledotink
                                                            k
                                                            kathryn Nov 13, 2013 06:17 AM

                                                            And then cry when you have to go back to the mainland!

                                                      2. re: KaimukiMan
                                                        k
                                                        kathryn Nov 13, 2013 06:16 AM

                                                        Made in Hawaii foods was at the KCC Farmers Market when we went.

                                                        1. re: kathryn
                                                          m
                                                          macsak Nov 13, 2013 10:25 AM

                                                          the store on beretania has more hours
                                                          but if they are already planning on going to kcc anyways...

                                                      3. re: Nevy
                                                        q
                                                        Quince Nov 13, 2013 12:40 AM

                                                        Shirokiya has a stand on the first floor that sells locally made mochi (Fujiya brand) that is good and fresh...I especially like the ones with fresh fruit inside. The fresh blueberry mochi was especially heavenly.

                                                        The mochi at Made in Hawaii store is really wonderful, with a lot of unusual fillings like lilikoi cheesecake and haupia. There's a vendor at the Pearlridge Farmer's Market (who is probably at other markets as well) who sells very tasty chocolate mochi. Butter mochi is indeed worth a try...you can get it at Foodland, I remember it being good there.

                                                        A shop with high end mochi from Japan opened up in Ala Moana recently, Minamoto Kitchoan. I thought it was pretty good, although pricey. Bubbies is my preferred mochi ice cream due to their broad choice of flavors and higher ice cream quality.

                                                        I like Shimazu store for shave ice. Beware, their smallest size is really quite large. They have good fine ice and a wide variety of syrups, plus azuki beans, haupia, and mochi available as add-ons. Ice Garden in Aiea is great too. Waiola was disappointing, not enough syrup.They probably do have the finest ice, but I don't like seeing a bunch of white ice at the bottom of the bowl.

                                                        Malasadas: Leonard's and Champion for sure, as others have said. Do eat them right away.

                                                        Okinawan sweet potato haupia pie and bars are delicious. I'm not sure where to get them in town though. Tanioka's in Waipahu has the bars, along with the best li hing mui pineapple I've ever had. A recent find for me has been halo halo at Dave's ice cream, with a scoop of ube ice cream on top. At some farmer's markets you can find kulolo, which is a taro and coconut milk dessert. It's homely looking, but I love it. One vendor has it with a layer of haupia on top, a very tasty combo.

                                                        Crack seed is a love it or hate it sort of thing. Li hing mui pineapple is a good gateway/starting point, along with sweet wet seed and li hing gummy candy. I don't recommend going straight for the lemon peel. My first taste of li hing mui was at the age of five and I vividly remember spitting it out, although it only took me a few short years to get sort of addicted to it. If you like things that are sweet, sour and salty all at once, definitely give it a go.

                                                        1. re: Quince
                                                          k
                                                          kathryn Nov 13, 2013 06:14 AM

                                                          Made in Hawaii Foods is also famous for their fresh strawberry & adzuki bean mochi. The mochi contains an entire fresh Kula strawberry from Maui.

                                                          It's recommended to call ahead for availability.
                                                          http://www.madeinhawaiifoods.com/info...

                                                          1. re: Quince
                                                            m
                                                            macsak Nov 13, 2013 10:23 AM

                                                            i've seen kulolo at young's fish market

                                                            1. re: Quince
                                                              KaimukiMan Nov 14, 2013 01:36 AM

                                                              my first taste of li ing mui was at age 19 and I still spit it out. LOL. Someone gave it to me for a sore throat. I was expecting something sweet. SURPRISE Thanks for bringing back the memory Q

                                                          2. c
                                                            Clinton Nov 11, 2013 04:02 PM

                                                            Aloha Kman, will be in HNL Thanksgiving and just noticed Haile's is now at Wards? Where at? I know they closed the one at the Ala Moana Farmer's Market several years ago and opened a new one on Kapahulu. We ate there and wasn't too impressed but it was when they first opened up. How is the one at Wards? Still haven't yet to try Helena's since the last time we got there it was closed. Ono's was OK though.

                                                            10 Replies
                                                            1. re: Clinton
                                                              m
                                                              macsak Nov 11, 2013 05:10 PM

                                                              watch for reports of the highway inn opening on ala moana blvd between downtown and ala moana center
                                                              nice new space
                                                              highway inn is an old time place in waipahu
                                                              new generation expanding to town

                                                              1. re: macsak
                                                                m
                                                                macsak Nov 12, 2013 08:48 AM

                                                                it's open for breakfast and lunch
                                                                dinner starts nov 13

                                                              2. re: Clinton
                                                                KaimukiMan Nov 12, 2013 08:27 AM

                                                                Clinton: I just saw the Highway Inn on AlaMoana that macsac reported on, it's just across the old Gold Bond building where Little George's used to be (between the former Whole-Ox-now-Cocina and Hank's Haute Dogs.) I haven't tried the Ward Haili's. Everyone tells me Ono's has gone downhill, but I haven't been in years. I do like Helena's. Has anyone been to People's recently? I heard they renovated - mind boggling in itself yeah?

                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                  m
                                                                  macsak Nov 12, 2013 08:50 AM

                                                                  people's got sold to the cook
                                                                  he renovated a bit and reopened
                                                                  supposed to be mostly the same menu, but more filipino specials
                                                                  there's a coupon in the sunday dining out every week

                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                    indelibledotink Nov 12, 2013 02:33 PM

                                                                    people's cafe switched owners and upgraded the place more than a year ago; very friendly people @ people's. head and tails better than ono's.

                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                      c
                                                                      Clinton Nov 12, 2013 06:03 PM

                                                                      Mahalo for the feedback Kman. Been a long time since we ate at Peoples probably back in the early 2000's late 90s? T'was OK. Been to Ono's about 10 years ago on one of our trips back. T'was OK too. Nothing to knock your shoes off. Went to Haile's in Kapahulu a few weeks after they opened and it was still unorganized. Was looking for limu kohu but they had hardly anything at that time. Also very little poke selections. Drove to Helena's on a weekday and it was closed. Bummer! Maybe this time we'll go when it's open and am anxious to try their fried pipikaula which I saw on Triple D. I probably can make my own but I really want to try what I saw on TV.

                                                                      1. re: Clinton
                                                                        indelibledotink Nov 12, 2013 07:00 PM

                                                                        for poke, people have been raving about ono's seafood, which i have yet to try. really really loving it on yelp.

                                                                        talking about pipikaula, the version at people's is just a small strip of fried steak. it's not bad for grocery store steak, but pipikaula is dried, right? http://archives.starbulletin.com/97/0...

                                                                        1. re: indelibledotink
                                                                          c
                                                                          Clinton Nov 14, 2013 02:30 PM

                                                                          Yes, pipikaula is typically dried which I remembered living in Kaimuki many years ago. We always had a "dried squid box" on top of the garage made out of a redwood frame with screen around it to keep flies out. "Dried" meant sun dried not oven dried especially for fish and meats. Best pipikaula I've had recently was from Costco which someone gave me not too long ago. It was moist and quite tasty and great for pulehu.

                                                                          1. re: Clinton
                                                                            m
                                                                            macsak Nov 14, 2013 04:48 PM

                                                                            costco?
                                                                            was it in a bag or in a meat tray?

                                                                            1. re: macsak
                                                                              c
                                                                              Clinton Nov 20, 2013 05:57 PM

                                                                              It was in the refrigerated section in a plastic wrap. Funny we can get it here in LA at the same price as in Hawaii. Same thing with the caramac chocolates we lugged back in our suitcases and found out we could get the same thing here for the same price.

                                                                  2. KaimukiMan Nov 10, 2013 07:24 PM

                                                                    appreciate all the input. I'll have to make some changes, and hopefully some of you will post your own lists. I'd love to see more about where people on the west side or central Oahu like (get busy roro-LOL)

                                                                    1. r
                                                                      roro808 Nov 10, 2013 10:47 AM

                                                                      A very good list.... but what about visitors who do not want to dine in town and stay at Ko Olina side? We do have good restaurants on the leeward side.... I felt left out.. LOL.

                                                                      1. indelibledotink Nov 9, 2013 02:38 PM

                                                                        mitsuken for breakfast

                                                                        hy's hawaii isn't part of the chain anymore, as far as i can tell.

                                                                        red lobster (i think they have great value!! so there)

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: indelibledotink
                                                                          m
                                                                          macsak Nov 9, 2013 07:31 PM

                                                                          what's good at mitsuken for breakfast?

                                                                          1. re: macsak
                                                                            indelibledotink Nov 9, 2013 07:35 PM

                                                                            breakfast special - paper plate with a mountain of fried rice, bacon, and fried eggs.

                                                                            breakfast combo - the special with garlic chicken.

                                                                            1. re: indelibledotink
                                                                              m
                                                                              macsak Nov 9, 2013 08:43 PM

                                                                              oh wow, that sounds AWESOME

                                                                              1. re: macsak
                                                                                indelibledotink Nov 9, 2013 11:42 PM

                                                                                it is awesome and a deal. you should try it when you're not pulling teef.

                                                                                1. re: indelibledotink
                                                                                  m
                                                                                  macsak Nov 10, 2013 04:01 PM

                                                                                  sounds like something you need to eat on your day off
                                                                                  i can see major kanak attack after that kind of breakfast

                                                                                  1. re: macsak
                                                                                    indelibledotink Nov 10, 2013 06:42 PM

                                                                                    don't forget to floss and brush.

                                                                                    1. re: indelibledotink
                                                                                      m
                                                                                      macsak Nov 10, 2013 09:28 PM

                                                                                      always
                                                                                      :)

                                                                                    2. re: macsak
                                                                                      flylice2x Dec 8, 2013 04:16 AM

                                                                                      My mother eats it in 2 sittings. One before she starts her Luk Tung Kuen exercises and for lunch after. She's 87 yrs old. But she only eats it on Saturdays.

                                                                          2. h
                                                                            honu2 Nov 9, 2013 11:44 AM

                                                                            Great comprehensive list. But Waioli Tea Room is currently not operation; Spices has closed as is the Legends Vegetarian restaurant. I also could not in good conscience recommend Loving Hut, which the last two times I tried was temporarily not serving anything. I would add Tamura's and Foodland for poke.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: honu2
                                                                              m
                                                                              macaraca Nov 9, 2013 01:45 PM

                                                                              Waioli Tea Room due to re-open Nov 18, but under new management, so will have to wait to see how the food is, but the wonderful old-time Hawaii ambiance shouldn't change.

                                                                              Jimbo's should be somewhere on the list, maybe in the Japanese category or expand Saimin/Ramen to include other noodles;they don't do ramen or saimin, just their own wonderful udon.

                                                                            2. k
                                                                              kathryn Nov 9, 2013 06:38 AM

                                                                              Nice list.

                                                                              What do the asterisks mean? Favorites within a category?

                                                                              > CPK* (not available in the east)

                                                                              You mean East Coast of the USA (where I think there are plenty near bigger cities)? Or East Oahu?

                                                                              1. indelibledotink Nov 8, 2013 10:14 PM

                                                                                charthouse, serg's, bobs bbq, han yang, kissaten

                                                                                burgers on the edge closed

                                                                                1. q
                                                                                  Quince Nov 8, 2013 06:53 PM

                                                                                  Young's Fish Market has good Hawaiian food.

                                                                                  1. manomin Nov 8, 2013 05:00 PM

                                                                                    Don't forget, Tsukenjo closed in May of this year. :-(

                                                                                    1. m
                                                                                      macsak Nov 8, 2013 02:38 PM

                                                                                      yotekko-ya- ramen

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: macsak
                                                                                        KaimukiMan Nov 11, 2013 10:15 AM

                                                                                        I really like Yotekko-ya (McCully) but I hesitate to recommend it because on 4 different occasions I went there only to find it closed because they ran out of noodles, and this wasn't late in the evening, more like mid dinner time.

                                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                                          m
                                                                                          macsak Nov 11, 2013 05:12 PM

                                                                                          i always go when they open for dinner 5:30 because parking in that shopping center SUCKS
                                                                                          and i hate to wait in line
                                                                                          if you get there after 5:45 or so, the restaurant is full and you have to wait for a table
                                                                                          plus the place is understaffed, so food take long and it takes a while for them to flip tables

                                                                                      2. KaimukiMan Nov 8, 2013 12:56 PM

                                                                                        I'm guessing I will need to figure out where to put a few new places. Lucky Belly, MW, Kan Zaman to name a few. I'm also weak on where to eat downtown, especially for lunch. That might become it's own section. I also haven't specifically covered Okazuya, a disappearing segment. There are also a few alleged "soul food" places, not something I've covered but should. Input on all this appreciated.

                                                                                        1. c
                                                                                          cjml Nov 8, 2013 12:44 PM

                                                                                          Wow, what a comprehensive list. Thank you for posting this. This is what every newcomer needs when visiting Oahu.

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