comscore 2019 ‘Ilima Awards Restaurants: D-H

2019 ‘Ilima Awards Restaurants: D-H

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d.k Steak House

Meat lovers will be in heaven sampling the 22-ounce, 30-day-dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye, as well as offerings of T-bone, porterhouse, New York and filet mignon. The restaurant keeps a strong local presence with locally raised grass-fed Kunoa Cattle beef and local pork, plus a wide array of produce that shows up in salads and sides of mushroom flambes, sweet Maui onion soup, and more. — Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, 2552 Kalakaua Ave.; 931-6280. Dinner. $$$-$$$$

Dagon burmese cuisine

Your taste buds will never be bored at this Burmese venue. Food is fresh, full-bodied in flavor and satisfying — and there’s something for everyone. Start off with pupu of Burmese samusas, fried dumplings filled with potatoes and other veggies, or deep-fried tofu stuffed with a mix of vegetables. Move on to Dagon’s famous green tea-leaf salad, bursting with bright flavors and textures from peanuts, toasted split peas, fresh greens, garlic and fermented tea leaves. If you like comforting, try a curry, mild or spicy, with any and all types of meats, or have a veggie version. There are noodle preparations and stir-fries galore, tossed with marinated meats or done up vegetarian. — 2671 S. King St., Moiliili; 947-0088. Dinner; closed Tuesdays. $$

Dana’s Restaurant and Catering

Dana’s offers three ways to dine on Filipino and all-American fare, serving people who want their food quickly (buffet), those with time for an a la carte meal, and those who want to party kamayan style, which means getting one’s hands dirty in a boodle fight over food spread out over the table. Everything from rice to pancit and your choice of grilled meats, pork adobo or seafood is meant to be grabbed by hand and devoured. It’s a playful way to dine with family and friends. — 94-235 Hanawai Circle; 677-2992. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. $

DB Grill

The bar is a dominant feature in this bright, contemporary space, but this is far more than a bar. You’ll see families with young children, parties of large groups, couples on dates. … Chef Ed Choi Morris’ menu of contemporary Korean fare covers a wide swath. Try the bulgogi bowl, a mound of the grilled beef over rice with sweet onions and a soft-cooked egg, or Morris’ kalbi, with its melt-in-the-mouth quality. Also popular: Duck Butt Chicken (that’s where the “DB” comes from), a fried Cornish hen with a sprightly dry rub; and the duck-fat fried rice. — Kapolei Commons, 4550 Kapolei Parkway; 376-0885. Lunch, dinner, late night. $$

Dean’s Drive Inn

This is truly a plate-lunch place, but Dean’s stands out for its quality, consistent throughout the years. Dean Mishima delivers a popular teri steak that’s truly steak, perfectly cooked and always tender, pulehu rack of lamb and renowned ahi cakes filled with chunks of fish and topped with aioli. A creamy mac salad or crisp tossed salad, complete with tendrils of carrots and beets, are perfect accompaniments on the plate. Find also healthful options that conform to Blue Zone standards, such as fresh fish, tofu steak with lomi ogo tomato, or a Maui taro burger, to name a few. — 45-270 William Henry Road, Kaneohe; 247-1300. Lunch, dinner (closed Fridays and Saturdays). $-$$

Diamond Head Market & Grill

This place has a triple personality — takeout window service outside, grab-and-go prepared foods inside and a bakery famous for its scones. To begin, the upscale plate lunches are a cut above — give a try to favorites such as the char siu pork or chicken, tender and lively in their Chinese-fusion redness; the grilled ahi steak or the grilled portobello; kalbi-kim chee fried rice or the Gorgonzola bacon burger. Inside the market you might find turkey potpie, beef stroganoff, a salad topped with thin slices of lamb, lasagna — all with an upscale culinary vibe. The bakery is known for its moist blueberry cream cheese scones, but beyond that there’s a scone schedule of daily specials that rotate through banana, apple, pineapple and cranberry-orange varieties. Also to-die-for: cakes, cookies, brownies, bread puddings and more. — 3158 Monsarrat Ave.; 732-0077. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. $-$$


The idea of this izakaya cafe — founded by Kevin Aoki, son of Benihana founder Rocky Aoki — is to meet the expectations of modern diners in search of fresh flavors combined with artistry. The restaurants in Waikiki and Kaka­ako specialize in casual Japanese fare with a Latin twist, served in a lively, sophisticated environment. The mix of hot and cold specialties includes sushi, wafu garlic steak, mahimahi nanbanzuke, lobster tempura, firecracker shrimp tempura and more. No-rice rolls for the carb averse include the Emperor Roll with tuna, salmon, crab, shrimp and avocado, rolled in nori then panko-fried. — 1009 Kapiolani Blvd.; 591-0101. Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki; 922-3323. Lunch, dinner, late night. $$

Downbeat Diner & Lounge

This isn’t a fancy place, but it’s stimulating, with heavy rock, ska and reggae on the sound system, a tattooed clientele and seats covered with the images of counter- culture icons such as Jim Jarmusch, Bob Marley … and Iz. In a place where vegans and carnivores can exist side-by-side, try a vegan or grass-fed burger, vegan citrus “spareribs” or chili moco with vegan or beef patty options. Breakfast of French toast, pancakes or a pesto scramble is served all day and into the night. And there is a full bar. — 42 N. Hotel St., Chinatown; 533-2328. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night. $

EARL Sandwich

Forget about pedestrian ham and cheese. Cook/owner Justin Parvizimotlagh gives sandwiches the royal treatment — they are like gourmet plated dishes reassembled in a roll. Take the short rib torta. Break through the crunch of baguette to the long-braised, well-seasoned beef, layered with chorizo, Oaxaca cheese sauce, roasted poblanos, tomatillo salsa, pickled ribbons of carrot and refried beans. It is achingly delicious. Parvizimotlagh works wonders with accents like pesto and bacon jam — which he uses to transform the old Italian sub into something light, yet hearty. Veg selections like the Almond Joy are just as meaty with kale, avocado and almond “ricotta.” The original Kaimuki location is the definition of a dark hole in the wall, while the new Kakaako space is airy and light-filled. Menus differ, so try both. Besides being a wink to the British noble who gave the sandwich its name, and Hawaii’s old moniker, EARL is an acronym for Eat a Real Lunch. Which is definitely what you do here. — 400 Keawe St., Kakaako; 744-3370. 1137 11th Ave., Kaimuki; 200-4354. Lunch, dinner. $-$$

Eating House 1849

Memories of growing up on Maui, and the multicultural influences of its plantation cooking heritage, inspired Roy Yamaguchi to open this restaurant. It is a tribute to early restaurateurs like Peter Fernandez, who formalized this homey, roots-style cookery with influences from Hawaii to China to Portugal. Dishes include pipikaula, kiawe-smoked Sichuan ribs and 1849 spicy ramen with pork belly and shrimp dumplings in a sesame broth. — International Market Place, Waikiki; 924-1849. Lunch, dinner. $$-$$$

El Chamo

Husband-and-wife team Gabriel and Tormy Taveras started this permanently parked food truck so they could eat the Latin flavors they missed so much (she is Venezuelan, he is Puerto Rican, they met in Caracas) and as a business for Tormy’s mother, Mireya Alvarez. Mireya oversees the menu of mainly Venezuelan specialties, made largely from her recipes. Order street food like the patacon (a sandwich that includes flattened fried green plantains) and tequenos (cheesy bread fingers) or get hearty plates like the pabellon criollo — a flavorful combo of shredded beef (carne mechada), rice, black beans and sweet plantains. Don’t leave without an empanada — a thin, crisp pastry filled with shredded beef, beans, cheese or all of the above. Take your food to the deck and have fun with the slew of sauces such as garlic and guasacaca, a mix of avocado and cilantro. — 423 Kamakee St., Kakaako; 725-7803. Lunch, dinner. $

Elena’s Restaurant

The pork adobo fried rice omelet, invented by co-owner Elena Butuyan some 40 years ago for the Filipino restaurant, is still a huge seller. The Triple D, a combination of the lechon special and pork adobo fried rice, has become another signature dish since 2014, thanks to Guy Fieri of The Food Network series “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” Classics like pork guisantes and shrimp sarciado are well done. To taste all the authentic dishes, go for Elena’s extensive daily buffet. — 94-866 Moloalo St., Waipahu; 676-8005. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. $-$$

Encore Saloon

Encore fills a niche in Chinatown, with an affordable, hip menu of designer tacos, burritos and bowls complemented by a wide variety of mezcal and tequilas, along with a decent smattering of craft beers. Wedged into a long, narrow space on Hotel Street, the spot has a casual, social vibe, making it easy to drop in solo or with a pack of friends. The extravagant tortaguesa burger and Mexican street corn are standouts. Street-size tacos are sold individually, so diners can eat as much or little as they wish — it’s all good. (Try the veggie option if you’re eating healthy.) — 10 N. Hotel St.; 367-1656. Lunch, dinner, late night. $

Ethel’s Grill

This longtime family-run hole-in-the-wall has a sumo theme, with the offer to sumo size any plate for $8 more. Those plates are a mix of local, Japanese and Okinawan specialties, so you’ll find favorites of loco moco and mochiko chicken along with goya champuru (Okinawan pork and bitter melon) and taco rice. The mochiko chicken was immortalized as a Blue Plate Special in Saveur magazine in 2014. Other favorites include a tatami sashimi plate and a particular Hawaii specialty, deep-fried turkey tails. The small dining room seats about 25, but fills up quickly at lunchtime. Most customers know the drill, simply poking their heads in the door to be counted, and patiently waiting their turn. — 232 Kalihi St.; 847-6467. Breakfast, lunch. $

Ethiopian Love

Diners eat with their hands here, using injera, a spongy flatbread, as both plate and fork as they dig into traditional stews, or wat, flavored with barbere, a mixture of chili and other spices. Much Ethiopian cuisine is plant-based, so vegetarians and vegans will find plenty of options, such as lemlem — braised mushroom, tomato and kebe (spiced butter). But meat lovers have much to choose from, too. Consider lamb tibs, the meat seasoned with onions, garlic, ginger, rosemary and kebe. — 1112 Smith St.; 725-7197. Dinner. $$

Fendu Boulangerie

The key to the spirit of this bakery is in the name, “boulangerie,” which indicates a devotion to the art of bread. You will find some delightful sweets — the scones are especially pillowy and a gateau with mascarpone and coffee is a new point of pride — but Fendu seems most serious about European- style breads, from French sourdough to weekend specials such as bossola, an Italian sweet bread, and bostock, French brioche. Mini-meals come in the form of pizzas and sandwiches (basil pesto panini and curried chicken salad on onion bread are favorites). — Manoa Marketplace; 988-4310. Breakfast, lunch, early dinner (except Sundays). $

Flour & Barley

This bustling open-air eatery offers more than a dozen types of pies all fired in a brick oven. A decadent mushroom pizza eschews tomato sauce for a garlic-cream base and is topped with truffle cheese, roasted mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, truffle oil and arugula. Each pizza features an addictive, slightly chewy crust (gluten-free dough available). More serious entrees range from shrimp and penne alla vodka to braised short ribs osso bucco with crispy polenta, roasted wild mushrooms and Chianti demiglace. — International Market Place, Waikiki; 892-2993. Lunch and dinner. $$-$$$

Food Company Market & Cafe

Jason Kiyota started his career at the Food Company, but after culinary studies at Kapiolani Community College and food studies abroad, returned to offer upscale evening dining in this shared casual space. His menu merges classic French technique with global influences to create modern ethnic cuisine that avoids the fog of some fusion cuisine. You’ll have to return many times to try all the dishes that tempt, such as a langoustine and wild mushroom risotto and lavender-scented duck breast. Kiyota’s year in Thailand is reflected in dishes such as Thai chili-garlic clams. BYOB is encouraged. — Enchanted Lake Center, 1020 Keolu Drive, Kailua; 230-2333. Dinner. $$

Fook Yuen Seafood Restaurant

Maine lobster and Dungeness crab can be prepared six ways here, from steamed to stir-fried with choice of garlic and butter, ginger and green onion, pepper and salt, black bean or egg white sauce. Other favorites at this seafood-centric McCully fixture include prawn and shrimp plates. Those who don’t want seafood can opt for a full range beef, pork or vegetable dishes, plus noodle and rice dishes made to be shared family-style. Fook Yuen also has an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet and set dinner menus. Reservations are a must. — McCully Shopping Center, 1960 Kapiolani Blvd.; 973-0168. Lunch, dinner, late night (until 3 a.m.). $-$$

Forty Carrots

When you’re ready for a shopping break, Bloomingdale’s third-floor, in-house restaurant offers the perfect respite with upscale soup, salads and sandwiches such as a crab bouillabaisse with chili broth and kaffir lime; Ocean Salad with lobster, poke and shrimp; or burger of grass-fed wagyu with avocado, umami mayo and greens on brioche. Forty Carrots is also well known for its fresh-squeezed juices and frozen yogurt. — Bloomingdale’s, Ala Moana Shopping Center; 800-3638. Lunch, dinner. $$

Fresh Catch

Fresh Catch has some of the best seafood plate lunches on the island, so good that they nearly overshadow the large selection of quality-made poke. Chef, owner and St. Louis grad Reno Henriques has a daily menu with specials that offer something different throughout the week. Favorites include baked furikake salmon, ahi katsu and crab-stuffed ahi roll. Bring a big appetite because each plate is loaded. Don’t forget to add a side of poke. Partiers can take advantage of a catering menu that includes seafood platters. — 3109 Waialae Ave., Kaimuki; 735-7653. 45-1118 Kamehameha Highway, Kaneohe; 235-7653. Lunch, dinner. $-$$

Fujiyama Texas

Kushikatsu, a Japanese style of deep-fried skewered meats and vegetables, is the specialty here. An extensive menu runs from the traditional (chicken katsu) to the more creative (wiener katsu — come to think of it, this sounds similar to a deep-fried hot dog that you could get at a Texas state fair). If a stack of deep-fried foods sounds hazardous, try an option such as a smashed cucumber pupu or one of a variety of salads. Other izakaya-style dishes include beef tataki, mentai ahi poke, simmered pork belly, yakisoba and a rolled omelet. — 2065 S. King St.; 955-0738. Dinner, late night. $-$$

Gen Korean BBQ

The next generation in yakiniku is a buffet in the all-you-can-eat sense, but you don’t have to fetch — a server will take your order. To keep gluttony at bay, only a limited number of plates may be ordered at a time. About 27 meat-centric items are on the lunch menu, and 35 items at dinner, including plain or marinated beef, chicken, seafood and pork belly, with a handful of soups and sides. There’s no taking food home, and you have a two-hour window to finish eating. Macaron ice cream sandwiches can be purchased to-go only. — Ala Moana Center Hookipa Terrace; 944-5227, and Pearlridge Center; 487-9135. Lunch, dinner, late night. $$$

Goen Dining + Bar

Roy Yamaguchi reinvents himself once again with Goen, a casual, comfortable spot in the midst of a busy shopping area in Kailua. The dishes bear the Yamaguchi touch when it comes to fresh flavors and crisp, colorful presentation, but the open-air spirit of the restaurant gives it a more neighborhood feel than the fancier Roy’s restaurants. The menu is described as “Pan-Asian/American with a Hawaii twist,” covering such dishes as Point Break Poke, a Japanese chirashi- style bowl with a scoop of ahi poke; a lovely salmon fillet with kalbi glaze, served over hijiki rice; filet mignon, with a chimichurri sauce made with shishito peppers; and Goen House Noodles, a rice noodle soup with the unusual touch of opo squash. — Lau Hala Shops, 573 Kailua Road; 263-4636. Lunch, dinner, happy hour, weekend brunch. $$-$$$

Golden Duck

Golden Duck draws a crowd for its affordable, reliable, no-fuss Chinese fare: Cake noodles, egg rolls, sweet-and-sour pork, crispy gau gee are all there. True to its name, several duck options are offered: roast duck, stewed duck with bitter melon and Peking duck, among others. Seating is a combination of diner-style booths and tables for larger parties. — 1221 S. King St.; 597-8088. Lunch, dinner. $$

Golden Pork Tonkotsu Ramen Bar

Japanese restaurant operator Ikka Dining International brought a pop art-meets-Japan sensibility to this small space where tonkotsu broth is the star of the menu. Golden Pork’s ramen is addictive for those with a taste for rich pork broth. Made through a lengthy reduction process from pork and pork bones, it’s everything a tonkotsu lover could ask for — opaque, creamy and savory. Variations with black garlic oil and spicy red miso are also available in soup or dipping styles. Rice bowls topped with char siu, chicken teriyaki or sukiyaki are other options, as are side orders of gyoza, chicken karaage and pork buns. — 1279 S. King St.; 888-5358. Lunch, dinner. $

Greek Marina

This longtime restaurant is a go-to for those hungry for souvlaki, moussaka, gyros and baklava — all those classic Greek favorites. Vegetarians can turn to the hearty “Vege” plate that features baba ganoush, hummus, pita bread, stuffed grape leaves, falafel and a salad. The gyro, meanwhile, offers a generous helping of lamb and beef strips, pita bread and a creamy tzatziki sauce. The added charm here is an outdoor seating area with a pretty marina view. — Koko Marina Center, 7192 Kalanianaole Highway, Hawaii Kai; 396-8441. Lunch, dinner. $$-$$$

Guava Smoked

Wood from the strawberry guava tree (an invasive species) is used to smoke everything from duck to butterfish, infusing them with a subtle, slightly sweet flavor. Scott Shibuya, owner of the Kalihi spot, plans to open a second location in Kapahulu by the end of the year, and he sets up at two weekly farmers markets in Kailua and Honolulu. His top seller is spicy pork, with kalbi a close second; there are also chicken, hamburger steak and salmon. Even the chili, omelets and loco moco have that smoked flavor. The simple pork burger, made from spicy or mild pork, is so juicy and savory, it doesn’t even need ketchup. Items are sold in plate lunches, bowls or catering platters. Certain items, like whole turkeys, are available in bulk from the freezer. — 1637 Republican St., 351-0003. Lunch. $

Gulick Delicatessen

This humble institution reflects the okazu-ya dining tradition unique to Hawaii, one that is slowly disappearing. It originated in the plantation era when Japanese housewives earned extra money selling small side dishes to field workers. Here, diners can choose from an extensive array of dishes sold in small quantities or by the piece. Selections on view for the picking include homey favorites such as nishime, garlic chicken, chow fun, tempura, pinakbet, lumpia, shoyu chicken, char siu fried rice, pork long rice, corned beef hash and shoyu hot dogs, to name a few. Bentos are also available. No matter which way you go, it’s all about a generous helping of local soul food at a bargain price. — 1512 Gulick Ave.; 847-1461. Breakfast, lunch. $

Gyu-kaku Japanese BBQ

Does this happen to you a lot? You’re in a group and no one can decide what to eat, except that they want a lot. Gyu-Kaku is a great option. The restaurant leans Japanese, but those who choose to cook their own on tabletop grills can order meats and veggies a la carte and flavor them as desired. Those on special diets can go low-carb without rice or noodles, or vegetarian, or high-protein. Depending on location, you might find set courses, an all-you-can-eat menu or bibimbap pots. Be prepared for a wait, though. Reservations are for large parties only, so there tends to be a line. — Multiple locations. Lunch, dinner. $$

Hale Vietnam

This neighborhood favorite never fails to deliver on quality and consistency. The pho is phenomenal, the hot, rich, filling broth the result of simmering marrow-filled bones, brisket, flank steak and fresh herbs overnight. It’s served with rice noodles, slices of rare or cooked beef, tendon and tripe, and comes with a side of bean sprouts, basil and chili pepper. Another customer favorite is the Imperial Rolls — imitation crab, ground pork, long rice, vegetables and spices wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried. A vegetarian version is available with with tofu, yams, mung beans and potatoes. Try the creme de menthe parfait to wrap up your meal on a sweet, minty note. — 1140 12th Ave., Kaimuki; 735-7581. Lunch, dinner. $$

Haleiwa Joe’s Seafood Grill

The two Joe’s locations offer different dining experiences — the North Shore landmark with its just-off-the-beach casual vibe; the Haiku Gardens location with a more formal special occasion feel given its beautiful, lush surroundings. At either spot, cover a huge appetite with a 24-ounce prime rib. Lighter seafood selections showcase fish caught right off Haleiwa. For dessert, the Paradise Pie scores high, a mound of Kona coffee ice cream on an Oreo cookie crust. — 66-011 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa; 637-8005. 46-336 Haiku Road, Kaneohe; 247-6671. Lunch, dinner. $$$

Hank’s Haute Dogs

The humble hot dog is presented with refreshing color and class at Henry Adaniya’s casual Kakaako eatery. The dogs here are, well, haute. The Chicago Dog is the basic, true to Adaniya’s roots in the Windy City, with its bright green dressing, pickles and snappy natural casing. Ramp up with the Hawaiian, Portuguese sausage with mango mustard and pineapple relish; or the bacon-wrapped, fried Fat Boy. Daily specials include rabbit, lobster, boar, buffalo and lamb sausages. You’ll also find french fries, onion rings, mac and cheese and tropical drinks. — Salt at Our Kakaako, 324 Coral St.; 532-4265. Lunch, happy hour. $

Hasr Bistro

HASR (Highly Allocated Spoiled Rotten) launched as a wine shop, then expanded into a bistro operation to give wine lovers a place to enjoy their bottles with a mix of classic and comfort cuisine such as charcuterie, escargot, osso bucco, pot roast and burgers. The menu offers a full range of appetizers, soups, salads and desserts as well. The adjacent HASR Wine Co. features about 900 labels and holds free wine tastings Tuesdays and Fridays. Bottles can be purchased and consumed at the bistro with no corkage fee. Live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays features top Hawaii performers such as Danny Couch, Herb Ohta Jr. and Jon Yamasato. Available for private lunches for 10 or more with 48-hour notice. — 31 N. Pauahi St.; 533-4277. Dinner. $$$

Hau Tree Lanai

The same hau trees that shaded author Robert Louis Stevenson 130 years ago provide a pleasant setting for diners today. Food, history and nature converge at this open-air, ocean-view restaurant. Wake up to a choice of such morning faves as corned beef hash and eggs or try one of six eggs Benedicts, including the Super Kaimana stacked with filet mignon, foie gras-infused mushroom spread and lobster. Evening draws range from lobster crabcakes with red curry sauce to an island beef sampler plate, including a petite filet with port wine glaze and bearnaise, strip loin with maitre’d butter, and bone-in rib steak or shank in vegetable au jus. — New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, 2863 Kalakaua Ave.; 921-7066. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. $$$$

Helena’s Hawaiian Food

Helena’s is a no-brainer when you want tried-and-true Hawaiian food — lomi salmon and poi, laulau, chicken long rice, kalua pork and fried butterfish collars. Other must-tries here are the tripe stew, short ribs pipikaula-style and luau squid. Helena’s has been open since 1946, a family-owned business built on the values of hard work, perseverance and passion. The mom-and-pop founded by Helen Chock won a James Beard Foundation Award as a Regional Classic in 2000, and is now run by her grandson Craig Katsuyoshi. — 1240 N. School St., Kalihi; 845-8044. Lunch, dinner (Tuesdays-Fridays). $-$$


Herringbone, part of a restaurant family with locations that include La Jolla, Calif., and Los Cabos, Mexico, offers a coastal “fish meets field” concept that focuses on the ocean’s bounty. The restaurant opened in the International Market Place in 2017, and has found its niche with Honolulu diners, turning out fresh, good-looking plates, with trendy, bar-friendly items such as spicy Brussels sprouts embellished with mac nuts and crispy Thai chilies, local-catch fish tacos, and showy dinner options including king salmon and a fresh-catch entree, along with steak, scallops or filet mignon. It’s bright and airy, with furniture in earthtones, hanging planters and a retractable ceiling over a portion of the dining room. — International Market Place, Waikiki; 797-2435. $$$-$$$$

HICraft Kitchen

Carlos Jorge would be the first to tell you his sandwiches aren’t bargains. You’ll pay $13 to $14, but that’s due to the quality of locally sourced ingredients and exacting — and often lengthy — cooking techniques. There’s a reason the word “craft” is part of the name. Favorites: Shorty’s Rib sandwich, short ribs from Kauai’s Makaweli Ranch slow-cooked for 12 hours and served with watercress and horseradish cream; the HI Ball, meatballs made of beef, veal and pork, in marinara sauce with provolone cheese; and the Enchanted Forest, open-faced flatbread with mushrooms, broccoli, blue cheese, arugula and pesto. The menu also includes soup, salads and pour-over coffee. — Keauhou Lane, 516 Keawe St., Kakaako; 379-1842. Lunch, dinner (Saturdays only). $


The Hideout, in the boutique Laylow Hotel, shares the hotel’s cool, retro Hawaii vibe. Open-air seating, fire pits for evening get-togethers and nightly music reinforce a social vibe. The menu features fresh fusion twists, such as tacos with BBQ chicken and kochujang aioli, or a Piggy Marley sandwich of pork belly and wagyu beef with a fried egg and ginger- soy sauce. Flatbreads and pupu of crispy pork belly and ahi tuna tataki are great to share with friends at pau hana time. Great breakfast omelets and Sunday brunch also await with such a la carte options as machego and truffle flatbread, smoked salmon toast and a cheese and charcuterie board. — Laylow Hotel, 2299 Kuhio Ave., Waikiki; 628-3060. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, Sunday brunch. $$-$$$

Highway Inn

The Hawaiian standards are all part of the Highway Inn repertoire — laulau, kalua pork, squid luau, chicken long rice — but why stop there? Dig deeper into the luau legacy for creamy butterfish collars in gravy, earthy salt beef and watercress, smoky pipikaula and more. The original Waipahu location is more wedded to tradition, with the Kakaako location offering a larger menu with a more contemporary vibe. At breakfast here, try the kalua pork eggs Benedict with Red Dirt Gravy or poi pancakes and ube sauce. For lunch, perhaps the fish tacos with sweet potato and taro chips. At dinner, go audacious with a loco moco that has a laulau as its base and lomi salmon on top. Find craft cocktails, craft beer and wine at Kakaako as well. Highway Inn also manages the lunch concession at Bishop Museum. — 94-226 Leoku St., Waipahu; 677-4345. Salt at Our Kakaako, 680 Ala Moana Blvd.; 954-4955. Breakfast, lunch, dinner. $

Himalayan Kitchen

It would take regular visits all year long to get through this extensive menu of fresh, tasty Indian and Nepali cuisine. Starters of fried and steamed dumplings encase vegetarian and meaty fillings rich with flavor. A tandoor oven turns out all manner of marinated seafood, lamb, beef and chicken, while basmati rice is offered in numerous preparations. Meanwhile, curries are bountiful enough to make the head spin: Consider Himalayan, Madras, creamy Bhuna and Korma styles that deliver to any and all palates. Preferences run from mellow to spiced to spicy hot, prepared with seafood, lamb, chicken and vegetable options. Vegan eaters have countless choices as well, including such items as dal (lentil stew), tandoori eggplant and veggie fritters, plus much more. — 1137 11th Ave., Kaimuki; 735-1122. Lunch (Tuesdays-Fridays), dinner. $$

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

At this tonkotsu ramen specialist, bowls of the rich pork broth and thin Japanese noodles can be ordered in small, medium or large sizes, in shio (salt), shoyu, miso or spicy miso flavors. Dipping-style tsukemen is an option. The signature toroniku (pork cheek) here explodes with flavor, yet the texture is soft to the point of melting in your mouth. Requisite sides such as gyoza and marinated, soft-cooked eggs are offered, as are combinations with rice bowls, salad or loco moco. — 801 Kaheka St.; 941-1101. Mitsuwa Marketplace, International Market Place, 2330 Kalakaua Ave.; 664-0736. $-$$

Honolulu Museum of Art Cafe

A courtyard waterfall and lush greenery create a relaxed atmosphere at this open-air museum cafe. Take in artist Jun Kaneko’s stately sculptures while dining on a contemporary array of salads, sandwiches and entrees. Start with the refreshing ginger lemonade and an order of fresh burrata cheese, followed by elegant entree-style salads and sandwiches, such as curried turkey or pepper-crusted ahi salads and portobello or Italian flatbread sandwiches. For dessert, indulge in the rich chocolate pot de creme. Museum supporting and contributing members receive a 10 percent discount. — Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St.; 532-8734. Lunch, Sunday brunch (closed Mondays). $$

Hughley’s Southern Cuisine

This is a go-to for straightforward Southern food. From ribs to brisket to fried catfish, chicken and pork chops, food is cooked to satisfying perfection. Round out your plate with sides such as collard greens, hush puppies, red beans and rice, fried okra and mac n’ cheese. For dessert, try classics such as peach dumplings and sweet potato pie. — Aiea Town Square, 99-080 Kauhale St.; 380-4200. Lunch, dinner (closed Mondays). Also: Lunch served at Pioneer Plaza, 900 Fort Street Mall. Weekdays. $$

Hy’s Steak House

You can always count on Hy’s for consistency. For 40-plus years this local favorite has delivered high-end steak dinners in an elegant dining room with tuxedo-clad servers who really know their stuff. Start with classics like oysters Rockefeller, onion soup gratinee or king crabcakes with pistachios and basil. A full range of entrees runs from bouillabaisse to herb-roasted Jidori chicken. The point is the steaks, though, and you can have your choice of cut, size and sauce. The big daddy is the 34-ounce porterhouse at $125. Slow-roasted prime rib is another popular option. — 2440 Kuhio Ave., Waikiki; 922-5555. Dinner. $$$$

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