Honolulu Restaurant Recommendations?

Eve’s post on recommendations for NY City restaurants ( here )reminded me I’d better do the same thing myself.

I’ll be leaving for Honolulu in about 3 weeks to meet my wifey who is PCSing to join up with me here on Kwaj. Our daughter happened to find a ticket for around $450 (!! :eek: !!) and so will be joining us. We’ll be there about 5 days. It has been 20 years since we’ve been in Hono, and so I am sure our old haunts are not around or have really changed.

I’m looking for recommendations for:
(1) Reasonably-priced places with food you really like;
(2) A high-end restaurant for my birthday dinner. I am looking for either great seafood or great Japanese restaurants. I fully realize that many Japanese restaurants are the bee’s knees for seafood. And that’s just fine, I’m only saying that for seafood, it doesn’t have to be Japanese. Or, for that matter, if it is in some other category but you think it is wonderful, then don’t limit yourself, please recommend it.

Thanks in advance.

I don’t know any high-end or seafood restaurants any more, as I haven’t been there in nearly sixteen years, but a reasonably=priced restaurant with food I really like is Rainbow Drive-In. Their mahi-mahi/chicken katsu plate lunch combo wen’ broke da mouth.

Flamingo Resaturant is also pretty nice, if you want something that’s open after dark. Only place I’ve ever been able to find a two-crusted banana pie.

Mmmmm, banana pie sounds goooooood. Thanks.

Before going to Hawaii last February for my first time, I started a thread here and got lots and lots of great advice.

One great tip (from Large Marge) was to go to Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. It is one of the best fast-food restaurants I have ever been to, the food is fantastic, prices are great, decor is cool/surfer/50’s style, and it is close to the beach and across from the park where the zoo is.

Highly recommend for a lunch/early dinner quick stop. Stick with the “regular” size of everything as the portions are huge. Teddy should seriously consider opening a chain of his eateries on the mainland and I would find a way to scrape up the money and invest!

For relatively high-end restaurants, you may want to consider John Dominis or Willows.

The latter is less fancy-pants than the former, being a seafood/sushi buffet. It’s kinda like Todai, but the ambience is much better, much more laid back. (OTOH, I actually prefer Todai’s buffet. YMMV.)

John Dominis is also great WRT ambience. It’s been a long time since I’ve been there, so I can’t comment on the food, but it’s an oceanfront restaurant with a panoramic view, and is gorgeous.

For more moderately priced fare, Hungry Lion is a great coffee-house-style restaurant. Affordably priced, and pretty much everything there is great (and probably the best loco mocos on the island, IMHO).

Coco Ichibanya (located all over the place) has some of the best Japanese curry I’ve ever had, if you care for that kind of thing.

Another great place, IMHO, is Bubbies Ice Cream. The location I know of is on University Ave by Puck’s Alley and the theater.

While you’re there, Magoo’s Pizza, in Puck’s Alley is great pizza. Just “regular” pizza, not Chicago-style deep dish or thin crust or anything like that (though they might have it; it’s been a while since I’ve been there).

(I am so incredibly hungry for some of these things right now, and it’s still 18 days before I go back!)

For high-end, I recommend Alan Wong’s restaurant. It’s an upscale Asian place with luscious seafood and other dishes cooked by one of the best chefs on the island. I took Mr. brown there for his birthday and he still remembers it fondly.

There’s a reasonably-priced very authentic Japanese joint on Beach Walk Drive, but I’m damned if I remember its name. It catered to Japanese tourists and had lots of noodle dishes, cold soba and the like. Everything was top-notch and the prices were reasonable. It’s near the Outrigger Hotel in Waikiki, and Beach Walk Drive is a small street sort of out of the rush of the big tourist boulevards.

Try the Seafood Buffet at the Hawaii Prince Hotel. There’s a sample menu on the site, which is old, but does give a good idea of what they have on a regular basis: top-notch seafood, sushi bar, carving station, etc. That’ll be on the higher end of things.

The Willows is fantastic for trying all kinds of local food.

We (my family) also like I Love Country Cafe for plate lunch and other things; they have a number of locations around Honolulu and one at Ala Moana. For similar local style food, there’s also the L&L Drive-In.

Actually, here’s a link to the Honolulu Advertiser’s list of Ilima Award-winning restaurants from 2004-2005. Browse away, and happy eating!

:frowning: is parking lot now.

DMark’s threads:

The high-end places I can think of-- Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s-- are good, but aren’t very special in that there’s nothing uniquely Hawaiian about them. I mean, you’re in Hawaii, you might as well eat somewhere you can’t find when you go back home. :slight_smile: So for that reason, I’d have to vote for Willow’s as well. Nice atmosphere without being stuffy (dressed-up for Hawaii, but you’d stand out in a suit), and good food, though IIRC, parking might be a bitch if you don’t use the valet service (which I’m not entirely sure they offer… it’s been a while, heh).

If you like Chinese, I’ll second Hee Hing (from the `Ilima list); I had some really good dim sum last time I went there. For Italian, you can’t beat Assagio’s, and for late night/early morning dining (or just good pies), there’s Anna Miller’s. Wailana Coffee House is also an old favorite, and is in Waikiki if you don’t want to go far from your hotel.

Hawaii’s culinary strength, IMO, is in its casual eats, stuff you can just throw on a T-shirt, shorts, and slippers for. I’d have to second Rainbow’s (caution: large Samoan man-sized portions) and Hungry Lion, and toss out Zippy’s and Yummy Korean BBQ. (L&L Drive-In gets praise, but I find them overhyped. The Hawaiian refugees in Los Angeles make better plate lunches, IMO.) And I’ll second Coco Ichibanya-- we always make it a point to eat there whenever we visit home.

I see I should have searched more carefully, but I thank all of you for the excellent advice!

Flamingo Restaurant may nto be there any more, but I did find some other places that have this type of pie. I’ll find one of them when we’re there.

Much apreciated.

I’ve always been impressed (although I’ve never actually ate there) of a seafood restaurant located at
in Google Earth. I forget the name but they have a sign out front that says “Today’s Special: Surprise Me!.” It just looks like a great place. Ah, here it is.

I’ll again suggest Top Of Waikiki. It’s the world’s first rotating restaurant and has a spectacular view of the ocean. Go before sunset.

Yummy, higher-end but affordable Thai. I’ve had a birthday dinner there and I thought it was terrific.

Keoni by Keo’s

2028 Kuhio Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 951-9355

I remember that when the restaurant first opened up, for the first few months you needed to make reservations at least a week or two in advance. I trust that this is no longer the case?

WRT the list posted, Big City Diner’s ribs and burgers are delicious.

And the location of BCD reminds me of another thing. Most, if not all, of the Kim Chee restaurants (Kim Chee I, Kim Chee II, and so on) have very good, very resonably priced Korean BBQ. (Disclaimer: I’m not really a fan of kalbi, so if their kalbi sucks, don’t blame me. :stuck_out_tongue: )

:eek: :eek: REALLY?

I guess the Yahoo! Yellow Pages can’t be trusted to stay current… :mad:

I’ve now heard from several people who say it’s good but very expensive and with small portions. I guess that fits the celebrity part.

DMark’s threads:


Thank you AudreyK for posting my threads - I was going to, but didn’t want to hijack/re-direct readers of this thread. However, as long as you posted, the second thread above was my first thread and has the most really good suggestions on what to do and where to go and tips for restaurants. Lots of really good tips, and I still think it was awesome how great those suggestions were in real life while I was over there!

No problem. It was a good thread and worth linking to, IMO. Besides, my roommate Gozu Tashoya and I will be home in about a month, and we figured no time’s too soon to give us cravings we can’t immediately take care of. :stuck_out_tongue: :slight_smile:

Try the Camilla Buffet. Great stuff, especially if you like Korean food.

Genki Sushi rocked, too, though it’s not in Honolulu. Just take the 52 or 62 bus or your rental car to Pearl City. It’s on the Kamehameha Highway, and it’s got a big sign, so it’s hard to miss.

Aren’t they all over though? I know there’s one in Ala Moana

Wow. Now that I think about it, it’s been almost ten years since I was in Hawaii, so my memory is a bit off. Good stuff.