Saturday, February 23, 2008

Restaurants in Hawaii

October 2005

Oahu Dining

Tiki’s Bar

Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Second Level
2570 Kalakaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
Kalua Pig Quesadilla: Grilled taro tortilla filled with Kalua pig, Pepper Jack cheese and island corn relish served with guacamole, caramelized Maui onions and sour cream. This was an excellent appetizer that Tony and I shared with our friend Melissa. I wouldn’t wait to return to Tiki’s to have it again! This is a definitely “must order” dish. For my main entrée, I ordered the Ahi w/cajun seasoning and kalua mashed potatoes. Tony ordered the Opah. The bill was very inexpensive, as Melissa had a coupon for the quesadillas and the manager came by and took off $20. Total for the two of us came to about $40, which included a round of Mai Tai’s.

Big City Diner
108 Hekili St.
Kailua, HI 96734
Tony and I dined here with his sister Doris and her husband Bill. The place was packed with locals enjoying the variety of food that the diner serves. I enjoyed the pan-seared salmon with fresh sautéed spinach, along with fried rice and a salad. Tony ordered the meatloaf, which he liked. We all shared some appetizers, including the calamari and steak appetizer. My sister-in-law likes this location better than the one at Ward avenue (less crowded and friendlier service). Portions were large, with the exception of the appetizers – better for 2 people than 4.

Duke’s Canoe Club
At The Outrigger Waikiki Hotel
2335 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 116
Honolulu, Oahu, HI
tel. (808) 922-2268
This was our second visit to Duke's. We ordered the ahi poke (raw ahi with Maui onions and sautéed in rice paper), which was wonderful! Tony wanted to order the Ono, but they ran out, so he ordered the same dish as me: Opah, lightly covered with a parmesan cheese/macadamia nut/breadcrumb seasoning and pan seared. With the salad bar, which we enjoyed the Caesar salad, and fresh baked bread, I couldn't finish my dinner. The dish also included rice. We ended our meal with the Hula Pie. Yum! We had a nice table facing the beach and enjoyed the live entertainment that went from table to table. The next time we're in Hawaii, we'll head back to Dukes. Since this place is always packed, be sure to make dinner reservations. The bill with a few round of drinks (and included Doris’ dinner – Tony’s sister) came to $140.

Keo’s Thai Restaurant
2375 Kuhio Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii
This was our third visit to Keo’s and enjoyed our meal. We started with their famous spring rolls, which you wrap in lettuce and top with chopped peanuts. Our other appetizer was their shrimp, which was wrapped in a pastry with mushrooms, water chestnuts and chives and deep-fried. We shared the Pad Thai and Pork with Basil dish. Everything was very good and tasty. With wine and beer for our drinks, our meal totaled $66, which we felt was quite reasonable.

2146 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii
This is a ramen-type noodle shop filled with Japanese tourists. In addition to the many noodle soups to choose from, they have fried rice, gyoza, and fried noodle dishes. Tony had the lunch special: Charsui ramen, which came with fried rice and 4 gyoza for $9. I believe my soup was close to $8. The lunch special was a great deal but there was no way I could eat all that food for lunch. $22.

Plumeria Beach House,
at the Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel
5000 Kahala Avenue, Honolulu HI 96816
We dined here with Doris Ching, who treated us to a wonderful meal. This restaurant had an excellent buffet. We had sashimi, which included tuna, salmon, shrimp, etc; main entrees were baked salmon and prime rib. There was a nice selection of salads, fresh baked bread fresh fruits, and of course desserts Our table faced the ocean. Part of the restaurant is under roof, while the rest of the tables are under large umbrellas. Service was exceptional. I believe the buffet was about $35 per person.

Yummy Korean BBQ
Koko Marina
Hawaii Kai Shopping Center
Excellent plate lunches here. I ordered the Kalbi ribs and spicy chicken and Tony ordered the Kalbi ribs and an egg battered steak (thinly sliced). The place lunches include 2 scoops of rice and four choices of vegetables. There must have been 15 vegetable choices. We had the kim chee, pickled sprouts, tofu, pickled cabbage, pickled radish, etc. $19.

Big Island Dining

Lava Rock Café

Volcano, Hawaii
We both had the saimin soup for lunch. Just average. Certainly not as good as at Ezogiku. $20

Thai Thai
19-4084 Volcano Road
Volcano Village, HI 96785
(Volcano District)
Tel. (808) 967-7969
Tony only had their spring rolls, as he wasn’t very hungry. I had a curry dish with chicken (or pork – I didn’t write it down), which was very good. It wasn’t the typical panang curry that you can order in most Thai restaurants. This had a unique flavor. $32.00.

Keauhou Resort– Veranda Bar
We snacked on the kalua pig quesadillas. Not as good as Tiki’s in Waikiki, but still enjoyable. We had a bunch of drinks, so the bar bill was expensive: $48 A couple of days later we bought a large bottle of Mai Tai mix and dark room and were able to save on our bar bills.

Keauhou Resort – Main dining room
I Ordered Ono, which came with mashed potatoes and sautéed bok choy. Tony ordered the fish and chips.

Kimo’s at Uncle Billy’s Kona Bay Hotel
Breakfast buffet. Decent food for breakfast and cheap! $16

L&L Drive In
75-5595 Palani Rd., Unit A-6, Kailua-Kona
Good plate lunches, especially the chicken katsu served with 2 scoops of rice and macaroni salad. Tony had the pork cutlet, which had a gravy on top. Sodas. $13.

Drysdale’s Two
Keauhou Shopping Village
78-6831 Alii Dr., Keauhou, Hawaii
Late evening snack of chili nachos (average) and drinks. $27. This is a sportsbar, which wasn’t crowded the evening we were there. This place was recommended to us by a waitress at the Keauhou resort. The hotel’s dining rooms were closed for the evening.

75-5591 Palani Rd, Kailua Kona, HI
ood Filippino food but they didn’t have any lumpias! We were very disappointed with that. I ordered a combo of squid in a tomato sauce and chicken adobo. Tony had the pork adobo. Salad and rice were included. Lots of locals were dining here. This is located/attached to a bowling center. $17.50.

Waimea Ranch House
65-1144 Mamalahoa Highway Kamuela, HI
Very good dinner here. Expensive but worth every penny…with the exception of my $9 glass of wine that I had at the bar while waiting for our table – I switched to a house wine for dinner. We started with a baked mozzarella and fontina cheese with marinara sauce appetizer. With this dish, we knew the portions would be huge. I had their filet mignon, topped with gorgonzola and merlot sauce. It included mashed potatoes and zucchini. Tony had the NY strip. It wasn’t as thick as he likes them but he stated his steak was cooked perfectly. Salads were extra, but we certainly need need anything else. $90.43. I highly recommend this place.

Choice Mart
Captain Cook, Hawaii
This grocery store had a small selection of plate lunch options. We ordered one to share: kalbi ribs and shoyu chicken. As usual, it came with two scoops of rice and macaroni salad…all for $7.80! Grocery stores are a good option for inexpensive lunches. We had picked up some sushi another night for about $6 and there were 12-14 pieces. Very reasonable.

Rios Seafood Grill and Bar
Coconut Grove Marketplace
75-5805 Alii Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Tony was disappointed with the size of the fish (Wahu) he ordered (although he liked the flavor). The waiter stated he always checks to make sure everything is correct, but apparently didn’t see Tony’s dish. The waiter took of the price of my Mai Tai. I had the macademia pesto Opakapaka, which was excellent, and mashed potatoes. Dinner and drinks: $64.08.

75-5819 Alii Drive. Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
Average food and slow service (only 1 cook working). I had the spicy chicken quesadillas with a tomato tortilla and Tony ordered a burger topped with peanut butter. The burger came out over cooked and very dry. We were getting impatient, as we wanted lunch before our flight back to Honolulu, so we asked the waiter if they could make another burger in a timely manner. No problem with that and the burger came out properly cooked: however, the burger looked like it was one of those pre-made patties that they just heated up in a pan for a few mintues. $26.15.

October 2002

Oahu Restaurants

Keo's Thai
2028 Kuhio Avenue
Waikiki, Hawaii 96815
We had an excellent meal starting with their famous spring rolls (take a lettuce leaf, add a little of the sauce in the center, top with the spring roll, wrap and eat), evil jungle prince chicken; eggplant w/beef, and phad Thai. Mai Tai's white wine. $75.36. We dined here in 1988 while on our honeymoon. At that time, the restaurant was located in a different area of Waikiki.

Hale Koa Room
Hale Koa Hotel, Waikiki
Our waiter brought us a small container of liver pate with fresh baked bread to munch on while we reviewed their menu. I had their crab bisque soup, which was served in a large bowl for only $3.95!, while Tony had their California spring rolls. We both had their special of the evening: filet mignon and lobster tail. Though we didn't order dessert, they did bring a small one out, which resembled a smoking volcano. Drinks. The service was very good; nice, elegant atmosphere. $95.29

Gordon Biersch
@ the Aloha Tower
Good variety of food (I had the fettuccini pasta with grilled chicken); Tony had a burger with garlic fries. Mai Tai's. Lively restaurant. We dined outdoors. The lighting is pretty bad, as we had to use the candle on the table to read the menu! We went out with Tony's sister and her husband. $49

Todai Japanese Buffet
Near the Hale Koa
1910 Ala Moana Blvd.
This is an all-you-can-eat Japanese buffet restaurant. We enjoyed items such as sushi, sashimi, tempura, lobster tails, etc; there's also a noodle soup bar and a hugh dessert section. Go there hungey! $64

Hoku's at the Kahala Mandarin Hotel
5000 Kahala Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816-5498
Friends of mine took us out to dinner one evening. We had a wonderful time. We dined in an elegant, contemporary dining room. We sat next to a corner window area. Exceptional service. The staff knew my friends very well - they use this restaurant for family functions. This is an expensive restaurant but well worth it. Entrée's cost $28-$35; appetizers averaged $10. Our dinner started with fresh baked Italian bread served with an Ahi (raw tuna) mayonnaise dip. We all shared the Ahi Poke Musubi (see for recipe). It was fabulous! I had the osso bucco with risotto, which I couldn't finish while Tony had prawns, which were lightly coated with flour and sautéed with vegetables, which he said was divine. I should have ordered it too since I could get osso bucco anytime at home but it was fabulous! The Chings both had fresh baked fish, which looked very good. For dessert, Tony and I shared their Lemongrass crème brulee. This place is worth the splurge.

Nick's Fishmarket
2070 Kalakaua Avenue
We started with the fried calamari, which was very good. It was cooked perfectly with a light batter ($9). Then we had a very expensive but excellent mixed grilled seafood entrée: scallops, shrimp, Mahi Mahi, Salmon, ½ small lobster tail on top of tomato/garlic mashed potatoes ($37). We drank wine and beer and enjoyed a complimentary dessert for our 14th wedding anniversary. $123. Service was very good. All the waiters worked together.
Note: Check the tourist brochures/booklets for coupons at the back of the books. In one there was a "buy 1/get 1 dinner free" for Nick's, which I found the next day!

Duke's Canoe Club

At the Outrigger Waikiki next to the Royal Hawaiian
Neat place, busy, noisy, popular. We started with Ahi spring rolls wonderful! I had Opah, which is Moon fish (very light in taste with a medium texture) which was coated with a macadamia nut/parmesan cheese and pan-fried; rice and vegetables. Tony had their ribs. Everything was Very good. There was a trio of performers singing various Hawaiian songs. Drinks. $65.

In Kailua
Our family took us to dinner at Pinky's. Very colorful restaurant. Casual. We shared fried calamari and kalua pig quesadillas. I had their salmon stuffed with crabmeat with a light cream sauce; Tony had a burger with fries. Mai Tai's (not the best). $40.

L&L Drive Inn
Located throughout the island
Local plate lunch meals. Very inexpensive and filling. I ordered a regular size plate of curry chicken with white rice and macaroni salad. It was too much for me. Tony had the chicken Katsu (fried chicken). $14 for the 2 plates and sodas.

Vicky's Filipino Restaurant
Downtown Honolulu
Tony's sister Doris took us to this small hole in the wall restaurant for some delicious Filipino food. We had their pork with noodles along with lumpia, Filipino style egg rolls. Very good meal. $18 for the 3 of us including sodas.

Kauai Restaurants

Hanalei Mixed Plate

5-5190 Kuhio Highway
Ching Young Village
Hanalei, Hi. 96714
Similar local plate lunch menu as the L&L Drive Inn. We shared a large mixed plate of ginger chicken and kalua pig and rice. Sodas. $9.

Wrangler's Steakhouse
9852 Kaumualii Highway
Route 50 Waimea
I had their special "Kau kau tin lunch" which consisted of teri beef, tempura, rice; and soup/salad bar while Tony had his usual burger with their salad bar. $19.

Oki Diner
3125 Kuhio Hwy.
Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766
Large menu with lots to choose from and large portions. I had a triple plate (again too much for me) of Neal's chicken, fried noodles, rice, and macaroni salad. Tony had a large bowl of saimin soup. $17. Friendly service.

Pattaya Asian Café
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive
Poipu, HI 96756
This Thai restaurant is located in the Poipu shopping village across the street from our condo. Dining was outdoors, so we enjoyed the evening breeze. I was disappointed in that they had ran out of their Thai spring rolls. I had fried calamari, which was pretty good. Tony had their satay the chicken was on the dry side. For my entrée, I had the chicken with eggplant. $35

2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr
Koloa, Kauai,HI
tel. (808) 742-7534
We dined here two times we enjoyed it so much. This is another restaurant in the Poipu shopping village. Our first evening, I had shrimp in a garlic, pesto sauce with wild rice. Tony had the Moon fish (Opah), which was fabulous. Complimentary Hula pie for dessert! Drinks. $57.85 We had a round of drinks at the bar while waiting for our table. Very good meal!

On our second visit, we both had the Moon fish and Hula Pie again. We enjoyed their mai tai's. $82.

Hamura Saimin Stand
2956 Kress Street
Lihue Kauai Hawaii 96766
This is a small local restaurant serving bowls of saimin, a delicious noodle soup consisting of egg, vegetables, wontons and roast pork. We had their Saimin Special ($6.25 each) along with fried won ton. The soup was very filling. $17.50. Get good directions, as this tiny hole-in-the wall is located down a small side street in Lihue. We were the only non-locals that evening.

Beach House Restaurant
5022 Lawai Road
Koloa, Kauai 96756
This restaurant is located on the beach near Poipu. We had a fabulous meal. I tried to make reservations so we could dine and watch the sun set, but the place books quickly. I had seared scallops in a delicious sauce while Tony had their fire-roasted Ahi with furikake mashed potatoes. We also had dessert and a few Mai Tai's. $114. Excellent service.

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