(tel. 808/942-4466): The
spicy tuna handroll, hamachi sushi,
clam miso soup, and sizzling tofu
and scallops here are among life's
greatest pleasures. This tiny sushi
bar with its petite tatami room is
hidden among the shadowy nightclubs
of Honolulu's Kona Street--off the
beaten track, yet always jumping
Alan Wong's Restaurant (tel.
808/949-2526): Master strokes
at this shrine of Hawaii Regional
Cuisine: warm California rolls made
with salmon roe, wasabi, and Kona
lobster instead of rice; luau lumpia
with butterfish and kalua pig; and
ginger-crusted fresh onaga. Opihi
shooters and day-boat scallops in
season are a must, while nori-wrapped
tempura ahi is a perennial favorite.
The menu changes daily, but the
flavors never lose their sizzle.
C&C Pasta (tel.
808/732-5999): This place jumps
with Italian food lovers who line up
for a chance at Carla Magziar's
mushroom risotto and excellent
house-made pasta, lasagne, and
gourmet salads and pizza. Bruschetta,
ravioli, and a spate of specials
(including a world-class bread
pudding and tiramisu) are perfectly
flavored, and the aromas of truffle
butter and garlic scent the room.
Chef Mavro Restaurant (tel.
808/944-4714): Honolulu is
abuzz over the wine pairings and
elegant cuisine of George
Mavrothalassitis, the culinary
wizard from Provence who turned La
Mer (at the Halekulani) and Seasons
(at the Four Seasons Resort Wailea)
into temples of fine dining. He
brought his award-winning signature
dishes with him, and continues to
prove his ingenuity with dazzling a
la carte and prix-fixe menus.
Jimbo's Restaurant (tel.
808/947-2211): From broth to
noodles to tempura and vegetable
toppings, only the finest
ingredients from Japan are used.
Noodle lovers delight in the
flawless broth with its smoky,
toasty undertones, and the homemade
udon noodles topped with shrimp
tempura and mirin-soaked shiitake
mushrooms. The Japanese-style
curries are also big sellers, but
noodles are king.
Olive Tree Cafe (tel.
808/737-0303): This temple of
Greek and Mediterranean delights is
the quintessential neighborhood
magnet--casual, bustling, and
consistently great. Owner Savas
Mojarrad has a following of foodies,
hipsters, artists, and all manner of
loyalists who appreciate his
integrity and generosity. Standards
are always high, the food
reasonable, the dishes fresh and
homemade. Order at the counter and
grab a table inside or out (the
place is small). Bring your own
wine, and sit down to fresh fish
souvlaki, excellent marinated
mussels, and spanakopita made with
special sheep's cheese. Mojarrad
even makes the yogurt for his famous
yogurt-mint-cucumber sauce, the
souvlaki's ticket to immortality.
And don't miss the chicken saffron,
a Tuesday special.
Padovani's Restaurant & Wine Bar
(tel. 808/946-3456): Chef
Philippe Padovani's elegant,
innovative style is highlighted in
everything from the endive salad to
pan-fried moi at his two-tiered
approach to fine dining. Downstairs
is the swank dining room with its
Bernaudaud china and Frette linens;
upstairs is the informal Wine Bar,
with excellent single-malt Scotches,
wines by the glass, and a much more
casual, but equally sublime, menu.
Roy's Restaurant (tel.
808/396-7697): Good food still
reigns at this busy, noisy flagship
Hawaii Kai dining room with the
trademark open kitchen. Roy
Yamaguchi's deft way with local
ingredients, nostalgic ethnic
preparations, and fresh fish makes
his menu, which changes daily, a
novel experience every time.
Yamaguchi's special dinners with
vintners are a Honolulu staple.
Sushi Sasabune (tel.
808/947-3800): Sushi chef Seiji
Kumagawa offers "trust me" sushi for
the purists who sit at the sushi
bar. The specials of the day are
fresh as can be, with no Western
mutations such as mayonnaise,
avocado, and the resultant
California roll. This is Japanese
all the way, with halibut, salmon,
scallops, oysters, and seafood from
around the world, flown in fresh
that day and served with warm rice.
Sit at a table if you want to order;
at this sushi bar, you must be
submissive and receive what the chef