Dear " Guam Food Guy" Reader,
We had such overwhelmingly positive feedback from last year's special Hawaii edition of the "Guam Food Guy" weekly newsletter that we decided to do it again this year. Vacation time is coming and many Island residents will be visiting Hawaii either on holiday or to see family and friends. Many will be passing through on the way to somewhere else as well. We think every one who travels to Honolulu will find the information in this newsletter very helpful. Oahu alone has nearly 2,000 restaurants and it's a daunting task to figure out where to get the best food at the best price. But, never fear, your friendly HawaiiDiner.com staff is here to help you make the right dining out decisions so you won't "waste calories" on bad food!
The food scene changes just as fast in Hawaii as it does on Guam so some of the spots recommended last year including Donato's (fine Italian) and Jimmy's Lakeside Bakery & Cafe are no longer open. For an overview of restaurants that made the list of best meals in 2005, click here. There is much more below as the past six months have yielded another bumper crop of good places to eat!
Si Yu'us Ma'ase & Mahalo nui loa,
the staff of GuamDiner.com & HawaiiDiner.com
2ND ANNUAL 'WHERE TO EAT WELL IN HAWAII' SPECIAL EDITION
BUDGET MINDED BUT DELICIOUS
Nico's at Pier 38 - Helmed by a young Frenchman with a fine-dining background, Nico's is the only spot in Honolulu where you can sit outside and watch the harbor and fishing boats. Located next to the live fish auction, Nico's takes advantage of the fresh fish available just a few steps across the parking lot. His rendition of local favorites including Loco Moco fuels the hungry workers and has attracted customers from all walks of life. You can't go wrong with any of the daily specials, Fried Calamari or Double Cheeseburger. For breakfast have the Molokai Sweet Bread French Toast or that super-duper Fried Rice.
South Shore Grill - One of the first of the gourmet quality plate lunch spots that have opened in the past couple of years, there is no better place for Fish Tacos. SSG's feature lightly battered or grilled fresh mahi mahi atop coleslaw dressed with a chipolte aioli stuffed inside corn tortillas (they use two per taco to contain the yumminess.) Can you say "This is so ono!"? Don't miss the Kalbi Combo Plate and be sure to leave room for desserts like the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.
Teddy's Bigger Burgers - Handmade burgers from classic to teriyaki plus fresh, not frozen, french fries at a great price in three convenient locations - Waikiki, a stone's throw from the zoo; Koko Marina in Hawaii Kai and Kailua. What more could you want? These are made-to-order so it might take a bit longer than one of those big national chains but these burgers and fries are well worth the wait.
LET'S SPEND BUT NOT GO CRAZY
A Taste of New York is exactly what you get at this authentic NY-style deli. The cheesecake is made from the same recipe used at famed New York landmark, Carneige Deli. You might get sticker shock when you see the price tag for a sandwich but remember that sandwich will easily feed two people. The cheesecake is huge as well - you'll definitely need to share. This is New York all the way but they've substituted the attitude with a big helping of aloha.
Deb's Ribs and Old School Soul Food is the kind of food dreams are made of - succulent ribs falling off the bone, creamy potato salad, spicy peach cobbler, savory hot hush puppies and more. Food this good is hard to find no matter where you live and it is worth the jaunt from wherever you might be on Oahu to this tiny eatery in Kailua. They are only open for dinner. Go and eat. You'll be glad you did.
E&O Trading Co. takes you on a culinary tour of Asia all the way from India to Korea and points between. The mood-invoking decor is dark and lush, exuding a coolness factor that is irresistible. Even more irresistible are the Indonesian Corn Fritters and the Singaporean Seafood Curry. Perfect for a large group (literally something for every taste) or an intimate dinner for two, E&O Trading Co. will make everyone feel more beautiful and relaxed. It's also conveniently located at Ward Centre.
I like to describe Japanese Restaurant & Bar Shokudo as the place where Harrison Ford would have dined if Bladerunner had been a G-rated Disney flick. The ultra-modern interior with a retro-feel comes from famed Japanese design guru, Yasumichi Morita. It is the perfect setting for the oft unusual and sometimes bizarre dishes that come from this melding of Japanese and American comfort food. Where else will you see mayo and ketchup used as garnishing sauces, candy-colored cocktails and house-made tofu that is simply superb? Word of caution: portions are much larger than they appear on the menu and in the photos!
THROW CAUTION TO THE WIND!
Chef Mavro is the only repeat from last year's list and that is because no one else measures up to the standards of excellence set by chef/owner George Mavrothalassatis. It is with good reason that Gourmet Magazine said "Where we would eat if we had just one night in Honolulu." The menu changes seasonally so a beloved entree or dessert is gone before you can save enough money to get back there to enjoy it again. No matter, discerning gourmands will embrace the creative culinary genius that drives this exemplary chef and his dedicated staff.
Hiroshi Eurasion Tapas showcases the talents of one of Honolulu's best young chefs, Hiroshi Fukui. Our own Frances Wilson Magbual (born and raised on Guam and now living on Oahu) wrote a lengthy review of a very recent dining experience at Hiroshi. Highly recommended and do not, we repeat, do not forget to order dessert. Hiroshi has mad skills when it comes to dessert!