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Michael Mina opens third Hawaii restaurant

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    Mi Almita Cantina is now open at The Street in the International Market Place.


    The six types of tacos served at Mi Almita Cantina include line-caught kajiki “Al Pastor” tacos.

The International Market Place gained another restaurant Wednesday with the opening of Mi Almita Cantina, a partnership between celebrity chef Michael Mina and James Beard Foundation Award winner Hugo Ortega.

The cantina originated as a “hawker stand” in the marketplace’s Street food hall, but has been turned into a full-service restaurant with its own entrance off Kuhio Avenue. The takeout stand will remain open as Mi Almita Taqueria, a spokeswoman for Mina said.

The menu is described as Mexican coastal cuisine developed at the Mina Test Kitchen in San Francisco. Specialties include Kauai Shrimp Arroz a la Tumbada, a version of paella, and Monchong Encamisado, fish wrapped in banana leaf with mole and mushrooms.

Ortega is the chef and co-owner of four Houston restaurants — Backstreet Cafe, Hugo’s, Caracol and Xochi. In 2017, he won the James Beard Award for best chef in the Southwest.

Mi Almita Cantina — the name means “my little soul” in Spanish — is the Mina Group’s third full-service restaurant on Oahu, after StripSteak, also in the International Market Place, and Mina’s Fish House at the Four Seasons Resort at Ko Olina.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 377-6915.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the “hawker stand” would close. It will remain open.
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