Like gastropubs, the food hall phenomenon has officially transcended trendiness. Unlike food courts that are generally made up of fast food chains, food halls typically mix local artisan restaurants, butcher shops and other food-oriented boutiques under one roof. Hawaii had only one food hall to speak of (Shirokiya Japan Village Walk in Ala Moana Center) until Yokocho opened in the basement of the Waikiki Shopping Plaza in December 2016. Then 2017 rolled around and now we have The Street by Michael Mina and Dukes Lane Market & Eatery.
Shirokiya Japan Village Walk
Shirokiya Japan Village Walk was developed as a “theme park village” in the image of Monzen-machi, a town that is built adjacent to shrines and temples with the Guardian Spirits Sanctuary at its core. The primary concept is known as omotenashi no kokoro (the Japanese philosophy of hospitality).
This maze of a village includes Yataimura, consisting of 32 food kiosks offering bentos, onigiri, sushi, ramen, soba, udon, yakitori, takoyaki, okonomiyaki, curry, tempura and sweets. The Gourmet Plaza features specialty bistros where you’ll find Wagyu steaks and stew, sukiyaki, shabu shabu, Milano pasta, Napoli pizza, paella, bouillabaisse, tempura, fried seafood, and seafood stew and curry.
Vintage Cave Bakery is an exclusive shop that uses the Shirakami-Kodama yeast, which has an aromatic fragrance and slight sweetness, producing a moist palate unlike other products using ordinary yeast. Ala Moana Center, shirokiya.com, 808.973.9111
Modeled after the concept of “yokocho” or alleyway dining in Japan, Waikiki Yokocho is home to 16 authentic Japanese eateries. Listed in the 2012 Michelin Guide Hokkaido as one of the city’s best ramen restaurants, Baikohken is known for its specialty soup, which originated in Asahikawa in Hokkaido. The hearty “W” soup teems with seafood and other meats, all steeped in a fish-based broth.
Kyoto-style Beniya brings traditional sushi to Waikiki with its authentic style nigiri, using fresh seafood from Tsukiji and all over the world. Enjoy authentic, modern kaiseki dishes prepared by one of Japan's top chef. Get a taste of Osaka soul food at Kushikatsu Tanaka where deep-fried cutlet skewers battered in a proprietary blend of flour and dressed with a specialty dipping sauce is a must-try.
Since it opened in 1976 in Harajuku, Tokyo, Marion Crepes has been at the forefront of Japanese-style crepes, combining such ingredients as chantilly cream with various fruits. Nin Nin Curry brings nostalgic Japanese flavors with a French sense of style to this contemporary curry shop. RAMEN Bario’s ramen is prepared with a creamy tonkatsu pork broth and garnished with chewy noodles and homemade char siu. Sizzle’s yakiniku-style barbecue and sake shabu shabu features the finest Japanese Wagyu and U.S. beef. For a modest stand, Shichi Musubi uses quality ingredients, including organic rice. In historic Nihonbashi in Tokyo, Kaneko Hannosuke has earned a reputation for its tempura dishes. Long lines form at Tsujita’s where the pork-and-seafood-based broth has won national accolades and the loyalty of diners. Finally, the food at Umami Teppan Kingyo resembles works work of art. Yokocho, Waikiki Shopping Plaza, 2250 Kalakaua Ave., waikiki-yokocho.com
The Street: A Michael Mina Social House
Located on the first level of the International Market Place, THE STREET is Michael Mina’s multi-concept gourmet food hall. The new concept showcases diverse food and beverage offerings, from Japanese ramen and classic American barbecue to specialty handcrafted cocktails and highly curated “omiyage” culinary souvenirs. “THE STREET is designed as a culinary journey for friends and families to gather for casual meals or festive celebrations,” said Michael Mina in a statement. “It’s the perfect setting for anything from a grab-and-go breakfast to a casual lunch to late night bites and drinks.” Inspired by a sense of community and the idea of bringing people together through the universal language of great food, THE STREET is lined with such eateries as Little Lafa, serving Mediterranean cuisine from Mina’s childhood; Adam’s Nana Lu, focusing on Adam Sobel’s soulful Italian food. Guests can also sample dishes from Ayesha Curry of International Smoke, slurp on soup at the Ramen Bar noodle stand and savor fresh ahi at Kai Poke. THE STREET, International Market Place, 2330 Kalakaua Ave., 808.377.4402, thestreetsocialhouse.com
Dukes Lane Market Eatery
From a full-service restaurant to grab-and-go rotisserie chicken plates and malasada donuts to artisanal breakfast sandwiches, it’s all here under a single roof. Basalt is Dukes Lane Market Eatery’s crowning jewel, a 150-seat, full-service contemporary restaurant that also offers al fresco dining. At Spitfire Rotisserie & Flatbread Pizzas, patrons can opt for a plate of Kona-Coffee-rubbed chicken or a Margherita pizza, topped with fresh mozzarella, local oregano and basil. Every food hall almost demands a burger joint. This one here is called “Ono,” which translates to delicious. A riff on the In-N-Out burger, the signature I.N.O. consists of a four-ounce patty topped with cheese, sweet onions, tomatoes and lettuce, all sandwiched between a sweet brioche bun.
Island Gourmet Coffee is the go-to place for a hot cup of Kona Coffee and a quick bacon sandwich, blueberry scone or breakfast bun before heading to the beach. You’ll also find the Filipino version of a Cubano, a fresh baguette layered with tocino and ham, then slathered with stone-ground mustard. Come here early—before noon for sure—if you want to try one of the donuts at the Bakery where executive pastry chef Mayumi Yamamoto and her team deep fry fresh batches of dough at 6, 7 and 8 am.
The Market is the part of the concept that is perhaps most familiar among residents and tourists alike. In addition to the traditional sundries, guests can choose from a variety of locally grown produce, on-premise baked goods and Made-in-Hawai‘i goods. If you’re hungry and in a hurry, check out Dash Fast & Fresh. A selection of gourmet sandwiches—made with the Bakery’s breads— and healthy salads will quiet those growling stomachs. Dukes Lane Market Eatery, 2255 Kuhio Ave., 808.923.5689, dukeslanehawaii.com