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2019-2020 ‘Ilima Awards: A Guide to Oahu’s Top Restaurants

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Chilled Keahole lobster is served with summer truffle, corn pudding, pickled blueberry, Thai basil and matcha.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Chilled Keahole lobster is served with summer truffle, corn pudding, pickled blueberry, Thai basil and matcha.

Each year the Honolulu Star-Advertiser presents the ‘Ilima Awards to recognize the best of Oahu’s restaurants and to help you make choices as you decide where to spend your dining dollars.

Our selections cover the most elegant and exclusive destinations as well as the simple spots that have long carried on the tradition of “local food.”

This year we also have a special category for seafood restaurants to showcase a cuisine so important in the islands.

And we have selected an Unsung Hero, someone who has worked for years behind the scenes, away from the spotlight but with a longtime dedication to his craft.

>> Click here to see a digital replica of the 2019-20 ‘Ilima Awards guide

The restaurants recognized in this guide were selected by our staff of food writers and restaurant critics, as well as readers of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser who took part in People’s Choice voting in the spring.

Restaurants were chosen without regard to advertisements placed in this guide or the daily newspaper. Reviews were conducted anonymously and paid for by the Star-Adveritser.

Winners will be recognized at the annual ‘Ilima Awards dinner and show on Oct. 14, a benefit for Diamond Head Theatre, our partner in this guide.

>> Please note: The dining scene changes rapidly so check with the restaurants for the latest information before heading out in search of a meal.

2019-2010 ‘ILIMA AWARDS

Best Restaurant: Pai Honolulu

Critics’ Choice

>> Best new restaurant: TBD …

>> Best fine dining: Chef Mavro

>> Best breakfast: Waioli Kitchen & Bake Shop

>> Best casual: Rangoon Burmese Kitchen

>> Best lunch: Livestock Tavern

>> Best bakery: Epi-Ya Boulangerie & Patisserie

People’s Choice

>> Best restaurant: Senia

>> Best new restaurant: Shabuya

>> Best fine dining: La Mer

>> Best breakfast: Pancakes & Waffles

>> Best casual: Kono’s

>> Best lunch: Zippy’s

>> Best bakery: Liliha Bakery

Unsung Hero: Alan Nishimura, Rainbow Drive-In

Rave Reviews: Betty Shimabukuro: Basalt, Gochi Grill, Real Gastropub

Rave Reviews: Nadine Kam: Akira, Sunset Smokehouse, Yakitori Ando

Rave Reviews: Joleen Oshiro: Mud Hen Water, Hibachi Honolulu, Pu‘uwai Aloha Bakery

Rave Reviews: Lesa Griffith: Sushi Sho, Tane Vegan Izakaya, Restaurant Do-ne

Rave Reviews: E. Clarke Reilly: Fete, Vino Italian Tapas & Wine Bar, Ka ‘Ikena Laua‘e

Rave Reviews: Elizabeth Kieszkowski: Merriman’s Honolulu, Yamada Chikara, Rinka

Best of the ’Burbs

>> Critics’ Choice:Barrio Cafe (Central Oahu), Hoku’s (East Honolulu), Beet Box Cafe (North Shore), Coquito’s Latin Cuisine (West Oahu), Maui Brewing Co. (Windward Oahu)

>> People’s Choice:Taqueria El Ranchero (Central Oahu), The Surfing Pig (East Honolulu), Uncle Bo’s (North Shore), Tanioka’s Seafoods & Catering (West Oahu), Ono Steaks & Shrimp Shack (Windward Oahu)

Best of the Neighbor Islands

>> Critics’ Choice: Mark’s Place Kauai

>> People’s Choice: Da Kitchen, Maui

Best Seafood: Buffet at Hyatt Regency Waikiki

Best Seafood: Mina’s Fish House, Maguro Brothers, Off the Hook Poke Market

DHT Picks: Swell Bar, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

Publisher’s Choice: Morton’s the Steakhouse

Grab and Go

Pau Hana Patrol

New in Town

TOP RESTAURANTS

Alphabetical by name

>> A-C

>> D-H

>> I-M

>> N-S

>> T-Z

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