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Maui and Oahu Restaurants

by Patricia Glaser


Alan Wong's
McCully Court
1857 S. King St. (5th floor)
Dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and Diner's Club accepted.
Hawaii Regional and Pacific Rim Cuisine

Moderately expensive. Dramatic flavor contrasts with an Asian edge to characterize the creations of this native son. Try furikake salmon on linguine with ume shiso rice cream or "da bag," an incredible kalua pig and clams concoction smoked and served in a silver foil bag. Desserts, such as creme brulee, are exquisite but not overly rich.

A Pacific CafÈ
Ward Center
1200 Ala Moana Blvd.
Dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and Diner's Club accepted.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Moderately expensive. Chef Jean-Marie Josselin offers Pacific/French cuisine in an elegant room. Specialties of the house include: Wok Charred Mahi Mahi with a garlic sesame crust and lime ginger sauce as well as baby back ribs with Hoisin glaze, barbecue sauce and papaya relish. Vegetarians will enjoy Fresh Chinatown Vegetables on Cake noodles. Visually appealing, delicious desserts.

1121 Nuuanu Ave.
808-521-2900Lunch Mon-Sat. Dinner daily. Reservations. All major credit cards accepted.

Moderately expensive. Savoring Chef Glenn Chu's exotic wonders amid Asian antiques and contemporary art provides a feast for the senses. Among the offerings are spicy lamb siu mai dumplings with ginger mint sauce, pizzetas topped with Singapore eggplant, goat cheese and Chinese sausage or garlic crab soup. Platters of succulents, such as Norwegian salmon cakes or shredded chicken cakes, are accompanied by the vegetable, chutney and salsa of the day and a choice of rice or chive pillow noodle cake.

Kahala Moon CafÈ
4614 Kilauea Ave.
Lunch Mon-Fri. Dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and Diner's Club accepted.
Pacific Rim

Moderately expensive. Fresh, simple flavors with a hint of home are served in an elegant yet simple room. Try grilled portobello mushroom with roasted vegetables and balsamic roasted garlic jus or roasted chicken summer rolls with ginger cilantro pesto. Or, there's chilled Vietnamese vermicelli noodles with roasted lime chicken and fresh basil and mint. There's a fine selection of fresh fish and a papaya tart that will knock your socks off.

3660 On the Rise
3660 Waialae Ave.
Lunch Tues-Fri. Dinner Tues-Sat. Reservations. Visa, Master card, Diner's club and Discover accepted.
Pacific Rim

Moderately expensive. Chef Russell Siu takes his mainly local clientele on an ethnic adventure with creations such as timbale of smoked salmon and crab, seared scallops with pan-fried ahi cake served with papaya salsa and Chinese steamed fillet of opakapaka in black bean broth. His wife, Lisa, is a master baker. Try her warm chocolate souffle cake or lemon pie.

Roy's Restaurant
Kalanianaole Hwy.
Dinner daily. Reservations. All major credit cards accepted.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Moderately expensive. The best of the best. One of the originators of Pacific Rim cuisine can be seen here turning Oahu's freshest ingredients into heavenly creations that subtly combine the flavors of East and West. Intriguing appetizers, legendary fresh fish, homey pot roast and meat loaf based on Mom's recipe. Heavenly desserts, especially the fruit cobbler.

Sam Choy's Diamond Head Restaurant
449 Kapahulu Ave.
Dinner daily. Reservations. All major credit cards.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Moderately expensive. Chef Choy exudes the island-brand of goodwill called "aloha." Skip lunch if you're going here. Make a meal of salad or savor seafood laulau (ti leaf wrapped and steamed) or one of his wondrous steamed fish dishes. Desserts are rich, rich, rich.

Singha Thai Cuisine
1910 Ala Moana Blvd.
Lunch Mon-Fri. Dinner daily. Reservations. All major credit cards accepted.

Reasonable. Chef Chai Chaowasaree creates contemporary Thai cuisine with a Hawaii regional edge. Food is beautifully presented in an exotic room sprinkled with sprays of miniature orchids and graced by two Thai dancers in ornate native garb. Try Curry puffs, spicy fresh asparagus and fresh Shiitake mushroom stir fried with your choice of chicken, shrimp or tofu, assorted curries, Thai rice noodles.


600 Kapiolani Blvd.
Lunch and dinner daily. Visa and Master card accepted.

Reasonable. A family restaurant that serves up excellent Japanese food. Personal favorites are the teishoku (combination plates) consisting of shrimp tempura and tender teriyaki beer or the ahi sashimi and tempura combo, depending upon my mood. It's served, of course, with the usual miso soup, assorted vegetables and hot, steaming rice. They have a fine selection of sushi and noodle soups.

Sunset Grill
500 Ala Moana Blvd.
Lunch and dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and Diner's Club accepted.
New American

Moderately expensive. A favorite downtown spot. Among the offerings are crab cakes with smoked papaya sauce and tamarind citrus vinaigrette, grilled chicken gorgonzola salad with walnuts, Granny Smith apples and fresh herb vinaigrette or penne with grilled duck sausage.


Olive Tree Restaurant
4614 Kilauea Ave.
Dinner Mon-Fri. Lunch and dinner Sat-Sun. No credit cards accepted.

Reasonable. Authentic Greek food, from the usual olive/feta cheese salads, moussaka and pita sandwiches to mussel ceviche, spiced up and served in a flavorful dressing.

Yen King
4211 Waialae Ave.
Lunch and dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and Diner's Club accepted.

Reasonable. In spite of a dining room nearly devoid of decor, this place is loaded with charm. The northern Chinese cuisine is tailored to the healthy tastes of this upscale area's occupants (no MSG); everything from braised Shanghai noodles with vegetables to lemon chicken with white or brown rice.


A Little Bit of Saigon
1160 Maunakea St.
Lunch and dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and Diner's Club accepted.

Reasonable. Fine Vietnamese cuisine served in a contemporary atmosphere. Try pho (noodles in meat soup with fresh vegetables and herbs), healthy spring rolls or rice noodles with citrus dressing and light fish sauce.

Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant
China town Cultural Plaza
100 N. Beretania St.
Lunch and dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and Diner's Club accepted.

Reasonable. Spotless jewel of a restaurant. Here the tasty butterfish and pork-filled bao are really tofu in disguise. Great stir fries. Even the deep-fried moss is tasty.


A colorful array of fresh produce stalls and an ethnic circus of food stalls. Especially notable is an Italian stall called CIAO MEIN. Chef Val features made-to-order pastas, polenta, lasagne and pizza. Maunakea St. between Hotel & King Sts.


An array of international food stalls, all pretty good, situated smack in the middle of the Ala Moana center. I favor "Yummy Korean," "Panda Chinese," "Paradise" (sandwiches, salads), "ThirstAid," and "Tsuruya"(Japanese fare).


Cafe Sistina
First Interstate Bank Building
1314 S. King St.
Lunch Mon-Fri. Dinner nightly. Reservations. Visa, Master card, Diner's Club.

Moderate. Authentic Northern Italian cuisine in a stylish setting. I often share a caesar salad, platter of linguine alla puttanesca and a tiramisu with a friend here. Great sorbets. Try the gnocchi.

I Love Country CafÈ
Next to Ala Moana Center.
Lunch and dinner daily.

Assorted healthy plate lunches, beef stew, Thai veggie curry, stir fries, great roast turkey.

Kakaako Kitchen
1216 Waimanu St.
Breakfast and Lunch Mon-Sat.

This is Chef Russell Siu's bargain eatery and it is great! Plate lunches of fresh fish, tender hamburger steak with fried onions, tasty stir fries. Try their fresh pastries, too.


Ciao Mein
Hyatt Regency Hotel
2424 Kalakaua Ave.
Dinner daily; Brunch Sunday. Reservations. All major credit cards accepted.

Moderately expensive. Some of Hawaii's tastiest Italian and Chinese cuisine served in an elegant room. Homemade bread sticks come with pesto dip. Share salmon served in parchment, sweet and sour fish, penne with homemade Italian sausage and garlic eggplant. The tiramisu will make you swoon.

Dynasty Restaurant
1778 Ala Moana Blvd.
Lunch and dinner daily. Reservations for four or more. All major credit cards accepted.

Moderate. A personal favorite. Wonderful thin noodled won ton min, peppery szechuan eggplant, fried noodles with shrimp and vegetables, boneless chicken with satay sauce and braised tofu with Chinese spinach.

Egg's 'N Things
1911B Kalakaua Blvd.
Open daily 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Cash only.

Moderate. Crepes and farm-style breakfasts, scrumptious pancakes, homemade waffles and yummy omelettes. Often a morning line. Worth the wait.

Hau Tree Lanai
New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
2863 Kalakana Ave.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Reservations for dinner.

Moderately expensive. Great ambience and ocean view. Relaxing. Personal favorites are the chicken curry, fresh fish, tabouli platter, eggs Benedict and banana muffins.

315 Lewers Ave.
Lunch and dinner daily.

Reasonable. Tasty Japanese food at bargain prices. I favor shrimp tempura or teriyaki chicken teishoku (complete meal), served with salad, pickled vegetables, steaming rice and miso soup.


Keo's Thai Cuisine
1200 Ala Moana Blvd.
Lunch and dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and Diner's Club accepted.

Moderate. Evil Jungle Prince dishes combine coconut milk, herbs and spices. Flavorful curries and cooling green papaya salad.

Mocha Java
1200 Ala Moana Blvd
Mon-Sat. 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Visa and Master card accepted.

Reasonable. Casual eatery featuring coffees, fresh juices, smoothies and wonderful shakes. Healthy pancakes, veggie burgers, soups, curries, burritos, stir fries with brown rice and salads. Dinner specials change daily.


Kincaid's Fish, Chop and Steak House
Ward Centre
1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
Lunch Mon-sat. Dinner daily. Reservations. Visa, Master card and American Express accepted.

Moderate. Great seafood with a view of the Kewalo Basin fishing fleet. Kiawe grilled fresh fish, oven roasted garlic prawns, Dungeoness crab or Caribbean rock lobster tail, rock salt roasted prime rib. Save room for the roasted pear bread pudding or burnt creme.

Korean Barbecue Express
1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
Lunch and dinner Mon-Sat. Lunch only on Sunday. Cash only.

Reasonable. Fresh, tasty Korean takeout. Grilled and marinated meats with rice and fresh vegetables tossed with herbs and sesame oil.


Ono Hawaiian Foods
726 Kapahuhu Ave.
Lunch and dinner Mon-Sat. Cash only.

Reasonable. BYOB. Best Hawaiian food in town. Combo plates include kahl™a pig or laulau (steamed pork with taro leaves), chick long rice, pipikalua (jerk beef), lomi lomi salmon (salt salmon, diced onion and tomato), poi or rice and haupia (coconut pudding).



Avalon Restaurant and Bar
844 Front St.
Lunch and dinner daily. All credit cards accepted.
Hawaii regional cuisine/Pacific Rim

Moderately Expensive. It's worth eating here just to watch Chef Mark Ellman cook. He's one of the originators of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. His lamb chops with ginger cream, wok-fried fish with spicy black bean sauce and ahi taro salad with caviar are legendary. Signature sundae: Caramel Miranda.

David Paul's Lahaina Grill
127 Lahainaluna Rd.
Dinner nightly. All credit cards accepted.
New American

Expensive. David Paul Johnson is one of Hawaii's stellar chefs. You'll agree after you try the likes of his Kona lobster cakes with two mustard sauce, crunchy potato wrapped shrimp or eggplant napoleon with homegrown tomatoes.


Casanova Italian Restaurant and Deli
1188 Makawao Ave.
Lunch Mon.-Sat. Visa, MC and Discover accepted.

Moderate. This popular Upcountry restaurant continues to produce sumptuous pizzas from its wood burning oven. The native Italian owners know their pasta, too. Their take-out deli is next door.

Feather CafÈ
Baldwin Ave. & Makawao Rd.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cash only.

Reasonable. A wide range of organic, vegetarian delights.

Polli's Cantina
1202 Makawao Ave.
Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sunday. Visa & MC accepted.

Reasonable. Another favorite Upcountry haunt favored by area cowboys. Fresh Mexican fare, barbecue ribs, even vegetarian entrees.


A Pacific Cafe Maui
Azeka Shopping Center 2
1279 S. Kihei Rd.
Suite B-201
Dinner nightly. Reservations. Visa, MC, Discover and Amex accepted.
Pacific Rim

Moderately expensive. Chef Jean Marie Josselin's first Hawaii restaurant. The decor is gorgeous, the food imaginative and excellent. For example, Chinese duck with pineapple ginger mint sauce, garlic sesame crusted mahi mahi with lime ginger sauce or warm potato salad with shrimp, mussels, clams and green olive relish.

Radio Cairo
Rainbow Mall
2439 S. Kihei Rd.
Dinner daily. Reservations. All credit cards accepted.

Moderate. A delightful dining adventure. Try Marakesh tik (stewed, spiced legumes with flatbread) or sosalties (grilled apricot chicken).

Thai Chef
Rainbow Mall
2439 Kihei Rd.
Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly. Visa, MC, Discover and Diner's Club cards accepted.

Moderate. People flock to this simple place for tasty Thai food. They work wonders with tofu here. Also special are the Pad Thai noodles, elaborate curries and sauteed chili.

Ukelele Grill
Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Moderate. A work in progress worth a try. Chef Richard Matsumoto creates such tasty wonders as Kahlua Pig quesadilla, miso marinated tiger prawns and kahlua (smoked) rib of beef with garlic mashed potatoes. Live Hawaiian music during dinner.


Kula Sandalwoods Restaurant
Haleakala Hwy.
Breakfast and lunch daily. Visa, MC, Discover accepted.

Reasonable. Wonderful, hearty, country fare served in a country inn atmosphere. Smashing view. Breakfasts feature sumptuous omelettes and home fries, freshly baked breads and heavenly waffles and pancakes.


Hula Grill
Whaler's Village
Lunch and dinner daily. Visa, MC and AMEX accepted.

Moderately expensive. Lovely oceanside setting and simple, well-prepared fare with the emphasis on fresh fish. I'm especially fond of the baked opakapaka with coconut curry sauce.

Leilani's on the Beach
Whaler's Village
Lunch and dinner daily. Visa, MC accepted. Reservations needed.

Moderately expensive. Surfside setting. Kiawe smoked meats a specialty. Wide selection of fresh fish. Nice cajun fish. Great steaks.


Roy's Kahana Bar and Grill
4405 Honpoapilani Hwy.
Dinner nightly. All credit cards accepted. Reservations needed.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Moderately expensive. The freshness, the pure flavors are sheer -- Roy, truly is the master of this cuisine. Try lemon grass chicken with Thai sauce, Szechuan baby back ribs or hibachi salmon with ponzu sauce. The hungry crowd overflows into Roy's Nicolina next door -- equally good.


Dotty's Coffee Shop
2100 Kanoeluhua Ave.
Lunch and dinner daily.

Reasonable. A diner that serves up home cooking with an original twist at bargain prices. Locals love the roast, taro stuffed chicken or fresh ahi with banana hollandaise (taste it to believe it). Delicate assorted creme pies (banana, macadamia nut, etc.) are baked there daily.

The Seaside
1790 Kalanianaole Ave.
Dinner Tues.-Sun. Visa & Master card accepted. Reservations needed.

Reasonable. A little ways out of Hilo in Kaukaha, this local hangout raises its own fish. Mullet and rainbow trout are featured. (A local says to try the green and creme colored lunch wagon that parks at Bayfront beach. He favors the green salad with roasted garlic chicken. Take and chance for a treat.)


Ann Sutherland's Mean Cuisine
Opelo Plaza
Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Visa & Master card accepted.
New American

Reasonable. Comfort food with a 90's twist, from Hunan lamb and taro-goat cheese roulades to roast turkey or cilantro fish. Heavenly desserts include chocolate cake and lilikoi cream tarts.

Route 19
Lunch and Dinner Tues.-Sat. Visa & Master card accepted. Reservations recommended.

Moderate. This Swiss chalet in the Waimea mountains features German-Swiss dishes prepared by Chef Hans-Peter Hager. His bratwurst with sauerkraut or lamb basted with garlic mustard will warm you on those brisk Waimea evenings.

Opelo Plaza
Route 19
Lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner nightly. Visa, Master card and American Express accepted. Reservations recommended.
New American

Moderate. Peter Merriman was one of the originators of Hawaii regional cuisine. Fresh, home grown ingredients are emphasized here. Among the offerings are shrimp in tomato-papaya ginger vinaigrette and local scallops with goat cheese gratinee. Or try his Chinese pepper steak.


Kilauea Lodge and Restaurant
Volcano Village (Off Highway 11)
Dinner nightly. Reservations recommended.
Pacific Rim

Moderately expensive. A peaceful retreat nestled on the misty slopes of Volcano Village. Cozy up before the crackling fire and enjoy a glass of port after a meal of venison rolled peppercorns sauced with red wine and herbs, eggplant parmesan or fresh fish with mango relish. Try the deep dish pie or bread pudding.


Kona Theater CafÈ
Highway 11
Breakfast, lunch and dinner Tues.-Sun. Cash only.
American and Continental

Reasonable. A hippy holdover bursting with charm featuring comfort food with a healthy twist. Sumptuous breakfasts served all day. Lunch soups, fresh salads and sandwiches. Moussaka and pasta dishes for dinner.


Aloha CafÈ
Aloha Theater Building
Highway 11
Breakfast, lunch and dinner Mon.-Sat., brunch Sun. Visa & Master card accepted.
American, seafood

Moderate. Home cooking with a view of pasture land and Kealakekua Bay. Feast on omelettes filled with a variety of home-grown ingredients, fragrant coffee and whole grain bread and pastries baked in-house. Lunch and dinner feature fresh fish steeped in herbs. Down home desserts.


Canoe House
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel
1 Mauna Lani Dr.
Dinner Wed.-Mon. All cards accepted.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Moderately expensive. Chef Allan Wong's former domain. Chef Patrick Saito apprenticed under Wong and Roy Yamaguchi and his creations have that magical Eastern touch, dishes such as lobster tempura with two mustard sauce, scallops with Malaysian curry sauce or marinated fish on stir-fried noodles.


La Bourgogne
77-6400 Nalani St. 808-329-6711
Dinner Mon.-Sat. All credit cards accepted.

Moderate. An intimate French restaurant run almost single-handedly by Chef Ron Gallagher and his wife, Colleen Moore. Highly recommended are the goat cheese with sundried tomato salad and roasted red pepper soup.

Sam Choy's
73-5576 Kauhola St.
Breakfast and lunch served Mon.-Sat., dinner Wed. Cash only
Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Moderate. A down home eatery in a renovated warehouse. This is where Chef Sam Choy made his mark. Try Chinese honey duck with orange sauce or lamb chops with shiitake vegetable pasta. The fish is very fresh.


Camp House Grill
Kaumualii Hwy. 50
Open 6:30am-9pm daily. Visa & Master card accepted.

Out of the way but worth a try. Perfectly prepared ham and eggs, home fries and fresh juices. Barbecue chicken and grilled burgers. Excellent pies.


Tahiti Nui
Kuhio Hwy.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. American Express accepted. Reservations required.
Seafood, Polynesian

Talk about local color! This place has it all! Housed in a converted store, it oozes Polynesian ambience and serves up excellent fresh fish. The proprietress, who hails from Tahiti, is cook, waitress, bartender and entertainer.


A Pacific CafÈ
4-831 Kuhio Hwy.
Dinner nightly.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine, Pacific Rim

Moderately expensive. Proprietor/Chef Jean-Marie Josselin camps out on Oahu now, Chef John Salvador carries on with competence. Savor appetizers such as poached scallop ravioli or Kauai sweet corn chowder. Fish, rack of lamb and steaks are kiawe grilled.


King and I
Waipouli Plaza
4-901 Kuhio Hwy.
Dinner nightly. American Express accepted.

Reasonable. Truly fine Thai dining amid a sea of orchids. From the spring rolls to the black rice pudding, the food is expertly prepared. Home-grown produce.

Roy's Poipu Bar and Grill
Poipu Shopping Village
Dinner nightly. All credit cards accepted.
Hawaii Regional Cuisine/Pacific Rim

Moderately expensive. A vivacious, efficient staff serves food that has diners bordering upon the ecstatic. An intriguing array of appetizers, snappy salads, fresh fish, succulent meat dishes, ever personal pizzas. Spectacular chocolate souffle that must be ordered when you arrive.


Hanapepe Bookstore Cafe and Espresso Bar
3830 Hanapepe Road
Breakfast Tues.-Sat., Dinner Thurs.-Sat. Visa & Master card accepted.

Moderate. Intriguing entrees such as seared polenta with portobello mushrooms or potato salad baked in phyllo. Lunch soups, salads and sandwiches. Luscious desserts.

Patricia Glaser is a Hawaiin native and freelance writer.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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