Our local dining scene has boomed in the past few months. A new gourmet alley, Yokocho, has opened in the Waikīkī Shopping Plaza. Meanwhile, Maui Brewing Co. now has a Waikīkī presence. And the Kūhiō Avenue corridor is starting to transform with new dining establishments, including TR Fire Grill. So whether you're in the mood for traditional Japanese or gastropub fare, you're sure to satisfy your appetite.
Brews: Maui Brewing Co. has finally reached the shores of O‘ahu. Sprawled across 18,000 square feet, the restaurant has the vibe of a casual craft brewery in the heart of Waikīkī.
“At Maui Brewing Co., we see ourselves as curators of the craft beer lifestyle and movement in Hawai‘i, as well as stewards of the community,” said Maui Brewing Co.’s CEO of restaurants, Chis Thibaut, in a prepared statement. “We have a great passion for local food and local beer, and are proud to open our first O‘ahu location in partnership with Outrigger, a locally based company whose values closely mirror our own.”
Enjoy a Bikini Blonde Lager or Big Swell IPA while noshing on traditional pub fare prepared by executive chef Terry Lynch and his culinary team. Finger foods, such as craft pizzas, MBC nachos, tater tots and chicken wings, are perfect for sharing. And so are the Pub Quick Pickles, house-cut fries, fried goat cheese and ahi poke tacos. Larger plates include loco moco, fish and chips, and grilled paniolo-style ribeye steak. Burgers, salads and bowls round off the menu. 2300 Kalākaua Ave., 808.843.BREW
Oishi: Ten-don represents happiness in a single bowl. At Kaneko Hannosuke, it’s all about the secret signature edomae sauce that complements the Japanese imported rice and crispy tempura. While the Tokyo original boasts some of the longest lines, the Waikīkī outpost is catching up. The tempura possesses the right amount of crunch leading to the perfectly cooked shrimp, squid, assorted vegetables and a soft-boiled egg. Yokocho, Waikīkī Shopping Plaza, 2250 Kalākaua Ave., 808.777.3551
Grill: Part waffle, part donut, the Wonut at TR Fire Grill is reason enough to visit this concept restaurant. Half dipped in chocolate, this dense circular pastry will satisfy any sweet cravings. A contemporary American bistro, TR Fire Grill offers bold flavors and large portions. The chicken-and-waffle entree, for example, comes stacked two-high and is held together by a long skewer. It’s certainly enough to share between two people, especially when adding a snack of spicy Zing Zing Shrimp, or prime rib egg rolls accompanied by a tangy aioli.
Also ample in size is the Harvest Salad—a healthy mix of romaine, asparagus, avocado, batter-dipped brussels sprouts, teardrop tomatoes, grilled pineapple bits, focaccia crouton and Manchego cheese, all dressed with a pineapple-and-mango vinaigrette. A best-seller, the Salmon and Zoodles (pictured) is complemented with a Romesco sauce. Hilton Garden Inn Waikīkī Beach, 2330 Kūhiō Ave., 808.921.2330
Gourmet Alley: Venture to Yokocho Waikīkī and you’ll come across Ramen Road, Noren Street and Engawa Terrace. This gourmet “alley” is lined with a selection of Japanese cuisine, from sushi and tempura to okonomiyaki and yakiniku to ramen and ten-don. The concept is to recreate the Japanese “Yokocho” experience, which allows visitors to “hashigo” (hop) from one restaurant to another.
Traditionally, Japan’s yokocho are side streets considered a popular place for those wishing to experience everything from bar hopping to grocery shopping. Restaurant options include Baikohken, Kyoto-style Beniya, Kushikatsu Tanaka, Marion Crepes, Nin Nin Curry, RAMEN Bario, Sizzle, Shichi Musubi, Tsujita’s and Umami Teppan Kingyo. Open daily from 11 am. 2250 Kalakaua Ave., Waikīkī Shopping Plaza, B1, 808. 926.8093