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Jan 10, 2014 10:08 AM

What's new on Oahu?

I have been lurking through this board, but if you all could be so kind, I would love some recommendations for my upcoming trip to Oahu in February.

I visited Oahu last in 2011 and thanks to Chowhound, my most memorable meals were Alan Wong's and Side Street Inn. I truly owe this board a debt about Side Street Inn because I think I would have found Alan Wong's through other sources but never a million years would have tried Side Street Inn without the comments here.

We are a couple in our 30s, love pretty much all food and are adventurous eaters, but particularly like to enjoy seafood while traveling as we can't get great seafood at home. On the flip side, zero interest in steakhouses as we have great beef locally. Staying in Waikiki at the Outrigger Reef, will have a rental car for part of the trip but not all, so looking for options both walking distance (can be pretty generous about what is walking distance) and anywhere on the island for the days that we're exploring with the car.

As far as price range, dining is a key part of travel to us, so we'd like to do a couple of dinners were price is no concern for a fantastic experience, tempered with some options for inexpensive breakfasts and lunches.

From my lurking, my list is
Alan Wong's (again)
Side Street Inn (again)
Lucky Belly
House without a Key

What else should I add? Especially on the breakfast/lunch side.

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  1. Can you post a list of where you've already eaten in 2011?

    The Pig & the Lady? They've been at farmers markets for a while and now have a new brick and mortar location.

    Have you already seen these threads?

    Looking for new off the beaten path recommendations for Oahu

    Best new restaurants in Oahu?

    new places opening up all over- reports?

    Where to eat what in Honolulu

    1. Thanks for the links! I had found some of those but not all.

      I don't think I ate at Pig and the Lady. I did go to Roy's, and it was enjoyable, but I don't think I need to go again if there are other places to try.

      I don't remember many other names of restaurants that I tried, I know I went to a shrimp truck on the North Shore. And a restaurant in a hotel that had a large aquarium, but I remember the acquarium and not the food. And we did the luau at the Polynesian Cultural Centre and certainly won't be doing that again.

      2 Replies
      1. re: KatBurglar

        1 more link, here's a trip report from me from 1 year ago:

        Chef Mavro, Nanzan GiroGiro, Sushi Izakaya Gaku, and The Pig & the Lady were probably our top meals.

        1. re: KatBurglar

          I would definitely try the Pig & the Lady if you haven't.

          I have a combo question/report from a little over a year ago. Whole Ox has since closed but I think everything else is still around

        2. For seafood, give either Nicos (my favorite) or nearby Uncle's a try. Fresh Catch is also a good option. Are you up for poke? Poke Stop, Alicia's, Young's, Yama's, Tamura's. None of these are particularly new, many of them have been around for a long time.

          If you want something new(er) and high end, then Azure is excellent, and they do an outstanding job on fish.

          In general for lunch give some thought to South Shore Grill, the cafe at the contemporary museum (or the museum of art - formerly the academy of art) but i prefer the contemporary for atmosphere. Maybe Kakaako Kitchen, maybe give a ramen place a try - Ichiriki comes to mind.

          3 Replies
          1. re: KaimukiMan

            What's your favorite poke at Tamura's?

            We went to the one on Maui a few weeks ago and loved the spicy ahi, sunrise, and ninja.

            1. re: kathryn

              it really depends on my mood, although i do like their spicy ahi.

            2. re: KaimukiMan

              saimin over ramen. i recommend palace saimin and jane's fountain. i like zippys saimin as a third option.

              have you tried malasadas at leonards and champion? if you really liike them, hit agnes bake shop in kailua. great for breakfast, brunch, afternoon snack, dinner dessert.

              liliha bakery has breakfast options at all hours. try a loco moco. they have saimin here too. you must get a butter roll grilled and with some of their neon pink jelly. they have the best waffles in town, crunchy, much better than spongy belgian style. closed mondays. be aware there may be a wait, it has become an international attraction for their coco puffs. i'd try to come late night but before the club crowd rolls in around 2a or brunch after the senior regulars finish breakfast.

              i'd recommend skipping eggs n things, the prices are high and they really sold out since they moved from the original location.

              try wailana coffee house in waikiki, it's close and they are 24 hrs but closed tuesday.

              mac 24/7 is also open all the time and you can attempt to do the 5 lbs of pancake challenge. i was going to until my brother in law showed me a pic of how many pancakes that really is.

              mitsu-ken in kalihi has an amazing breakfast special with a whole plateful of fried rice, bacon, and eggs. you can make that a combo with some of their sweet garlic chicken. i haven't been to their new location yet.

              i do want to try morning glass cafe in manoa.

              also in manoa is serg's mexican. although i complain that good mex is hard to find here, i really like serg's. i'm not sure if you have this type of food where yo'ure from.

              people's cafe is good for hawaiian food. helenas. hailies is in waikiki. stay away from ono hawaiian food (different than ono seafood, which i am dying to try for poke), their prices are very high for the portions, and the food is gross; they are very different than the hawaiian dishes i am used to and like from other places. that locals patronize this place is a mystery to me.

              3660 on the rise would be a nice dinner, not too expensive.

            3. Your list is pretty good, although MW is somewhat similar to Alan Wong's since the chefs broke off from there to open MW. Price of no concern? Try out Vintage Cave. As far as seafood goes, i'm guessing you should take advantage of the many good japanese restaurants we have here with Sushi Izakaya Gaku at the top of the list. Breakfast/lunch - Diamond Head Market & Grill, Liliha Bakery, Sweet E's, Morning Glass Coffee, Ono Seafood for poke bowls, Nico's, Your Kitchen, Helena's for Hawaiian food, Pig & the Lady, Tanioka's if you are out west.. Make sure to hit up the farmer's markets while you're at it. Lots more good restaurants out there, too many to list. It all depends on location and tastes. Maybe some okazuya/bentos/plate lunches to eat on the beach?

              1. Town for breakfast is very good and more reasonably priced than what you will find in Waikiki. For a splurge breakfast in Waikiki I would go to the House Without a Key breakfast buffet or Hau Tree Lanai. Just be aware you will be paying for the view.

                I second the recommendation for Liliha Bakery for breakfast. They are also good for lunch and dinner, just really good diner food. Ono Seafood is great for a poke bowl lunch, just be aware that there isn't much seating. Rainbow Drive-In is also good for plate lunch. If you are okay with takeout only for lunch, Fukuya Okazuya and Mana-bu for musubi are both good places and not too far from Waikiki. If you are headed to a beach for the day it can be a good plan to pick up a lunch to enjoy there.

                If you are at Ala Moana get a bento from Shirokiya. Helena's Hawaiian Food is good, but the laulau at other places is better. I haven't been to Ono Hawaiian Foods in years but they made one of the best laulaus from what I remember.

                You probably already know this, but there are tons of good, reasonably priced casual places if you do the research and aren't put off by gritty initial appearances. Oh, and the food at the newer Side Street Inn on Kapahulu is just as good, and you can make reservations on Open Table. It's a little quieter in there too.