Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Restaurants


Ah, yes one of the most important items on the agenda: where to eat.  Below are a list of good eats while you stay on the island:

Chef Mavro One of the few 5 star restaurants on the island and Eu-jeania's favorite.  She loved the chef's tasting menu, but not for the light of wallet.
3660 On the Rise Tied for second place on good restaurants.  The calamari appetizers are excellent and so is the filet mignon wrapped in applewood smoked bacon.
Hiroshi Eurasian tapas.  Tied for second place, though I like the ambiance better. Located in Restaurant Row. 
Vino Italian wine and tapas bar.  Right next door to Hiroshi and shares the same owner.  
Roy's Hawaiian fusion restaurant.  Great food and drinks
Alan Wong Hawaiian fusion restaurant that only serves dinner, located on the 3rd floor of an office building.
The Pineapple Room by Alan Wong Located in Macy's.  It was the idea of Alan Wong's chefs and his desire to also serve breakfast and lunch.  Great place to eat.  
Sam Choy's Great breakfast place, haven't tried it for lunch or dinner.  Not as pricey as the above restaurants, but still delicious.
Morimoto Waikiki Restaurant of the famed Iron Chef himself, Masaharu Morimoto, located in Ilikai Hotel.  It has an open kitchen, so some days you can see the Iron Chef at work.  
La Mer Fine French dining in the Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki.  Open 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm, gentlemen are required to wear a long-sleeve collared shirt or jacket.
Nobu Waikiki Located in the Hilton Hawaiian Village, this is the Waikiki branch of the famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa.  Known for his Japanese fusion and black cod with miso.

For more fine dining, check out Restaurant Row.  Located near downtown Honolulu by the pier, there are several restaurants to choose from.  

Helena's Hawaiian Foods Winner of the James Beard Foundation Award (the Oscars of the food world), but is small, family owned restaurant that is borderline hole-in-the-wall restaurant.  Food here is tasty, warm, and wholesome.  For first timers, try Menu D, gives you a little bit of everything.  Must try the pipikalua ribs, this is their signature dish.  Other notable dishes are the fried butterfish (black cod) collars and laulau.    
Hank's Haute Dogs Gourmet haute (or hot) dogs as featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  Try the Lobster Dog or the Fat Boy.
Side Street Inn Literally a hole in the wall that got bigger, this is where the chefs from the top restaurants come to hang out and enjoy Hawaiian style food after work.  Open from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am, has a full bar, TVs....and karaoke.  Also, featured in Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" show on the Travel Channel.
Tokkuri Tei One of the first and most famous Izakaya (Japanese tappas) restaurants in Honolulu where celebrities and locals hung out in a small hole in the wall that served good food and drinks.  It moved and grew 3 times it's size, now located just outside of Waikiki by Rainbow Drive in at 449 Kapahulu Ave, Suite 201.  There are no signs downstairs, so you need to google map the location.   
Tango Located near Ward Center, this contemporary cafe is the creation of the Swedish chef Goran Streng.  Food and decor has a Nordic twist to island cuisine.  
Mitch's Fish Market and Sushi Bar Almost a hole in the wall, one of the best sushi restaurants with it's own fish market next door.  Located by the airport and please note: this place is not cheap.  
Nico's at Pier 38 Parking is hard to get to, but they get fresh fish.  Try the fish and chips or the grilled ahi sandwich.
Phuket Thai Good, upscale thai place located near Ward Center.
Chun Wah Kam This is the place for manapua (Hawaiian for char siu bao/sticky buns/pork buns).  Basically, the Hawaiian take on chinese dim sum pork buns.  Not only do they have pork buns, but SEVERAL different fillings and flavors.  Try the roast duck, azuki red bean, lup cheong (chinese pork sausage), thai curry chicken, sweet potatoe and more.  Go later in the afternoon, if you go early the different varieties won't be ready.
The Counter Located in Kahala Mall, this place lets you custom build your own burger like Fuddrucker's. 
Zippy's A local staple, a chain of diners that serves good plate lunches and chili.  Eu-jeania gave this place the thumbs-up!
Liliha Bakery Famous for their coco-puffs.  Creme puffs filled with chocolate and topped with chantilly cream, one of the best desserts!  Another Eu-jeania fave.
Rainbow Drive-In Great plate lunches here!  A local favorite for their loco-moco plate: scoop of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy.  Also try the mix plate: fried Mahi-Mahi, fried chicken, teriyaki beef, 2 scoops of rice, and a scoop of mac (macaroni) salad.
Yama's Fish Market More like a fish deli, they specialize in different poke (Hawaiian ceviche) and Hawaiian food (kalua pig, bentos, lomi lomi salmon).  The first thing my sister does when she flies to Hawaii is to stop here and get the poke.  It's that good.
Kaka'ako Kitchen From the same chefs that brought you 3660, they created a restaurant for casual dining.  Try the tempura ahi sandwich.  Located in Ward Center.
Royal Garden Restaurant Located in the Ala Moana Hotel on the 3rd floor, this is one of the better dim sum restaurants.  Great food and great (affordable) prices!!
Sorabol Authentic korean restaurant (meaning good kim chee and bad service) with good food and ambiance
Shillawon Authentic korean restaurant (good kim chee, bad service) with ok ambiance.
Hog Island BBQ Memphis style, slow cooked beef brisket and pork.
Smokin' Bob Barr-B-Q Haven't eaten here, reviews are mixed, but gives you another option for BBQ.
Cholos Mexican restaurant on the North Shore.  Ok mexican food. 
Hukilau Cafe Located on the North Shore of O'ahu, this place is famous for their Hukilau Burger (1/4 beef patty, 1/4 teriyaki beef, fried egg, topped with cheese, with lettuce and tomato), the affordable prices, generous servings, and friendly service. 
Grace's Inn Another drive-in chain, filling, but not as tasty as Zippy's or Rainbow.    
Leonard's Bakery Best known for their malasadas! Malasadas are a portuguese donut without the hole, deep fried, and dusted with sugar.  



Ah-Lang aka Angry Korean Lady I'm torn on this one.  This is a one-woman show, she is the only cook, waits her own tables, and serves.  Service is slooooowww, you need to pour your own drinks and write your own order, but the food is very good!  Obviously, this business model wouldn't survive in other towns but definitely try the korean chicken wings.  By the way, you'll see that sign on every table....and she is angry.

More to follow later.

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