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The Dish on Neighbor Islands

For people who love dining out, juicy food gossip is almost as satisfying as the stuff you read in supermarket tabloids.


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photo courtesy of Merriman’s

Submarine Worker Takes Over Restaurant!

Peter Merriman, of Merriman’s, has found a new chef for his Waimea restaurant: Neil Murphy. Chef Murphy worked in New York for 20 years. Before that? He worked on a Navy submarine. Needless to say, the food from his Big Island kitchen is 20,000 leagues better than submarine grub. Opelo Plaza, 65-1227 Opelo Road, Waimea. (808) 885-6822.

European Expires in Paradise!

The edelweiss is the German name for a flower that grows at the top of mountains. In Hawaii, Edelweiss is one of the Big Island’s top restaurants. Unfortunately, it’s closing in November because its lease is not being renewed. Catch it while you can. Auf Wiedersehen, Edelweiss. 642-1299 Kawaihae Road, Kamuela. (808) 885-6800.

In other news, the Grill & Bar at Kanaloa has replaced Edward’s at The Kanaloa. 78-261 Manukai St., Kailua, (808) 322-1003.

photo by Macario

The Bionic Fish!

According to chef Colin Nakagawa, the family-run Seaside Restaurant & Aquafarm has a recently updated menu that includes farm-raised Kona Kampachi. The fish is a trademarked name by Kona Blue, the aquaculture company that raises them. The wild counterpart is the kahala, but the farm-raised version reduces the risk of getting ciguatera poisoning. Seaside Restaurant also offers a new wine selection. 1790 Kalanianaole Ave., Hilo. (808) 935-8825.

School Serves Students Alcohol!

Fujimamas Kona opened its first Saturday wine school in June. Eighteen students—grown-ups, of course—got to learn about wine, and taste some, too. The restaurant also does beer-tasting dinners, which pair menu items to intriguing brews from around the globe. Fujimamas, you may recall, won a HONOLULU Magazine Hale Aina Award, Best New Big Island Restaurant, Gold, earlier this year. 75-5719 Alii Drive, Kailua, (808) 327-2125.


Big Island Restaurants Overrun by Chickens!

Many chefs in Hawaii are trying to source produce from local Island farms. No veggies shipped in from the Mainland, please. Restaurants don’t usually grow everything themselves, but Kona restaurant Fujimamas and Huli Sue’s BBQ & Grill in Kamuela are both supported by three-year-old Fujifarms, a sustainable farm located in Waimea. The farm just received a batch of 50 chickens, which will supply the restaurants with fresh eggs. The farm also has ducks, sheep and goats.

Sizzling Romance!

At night, the Poipu Bay Grill & Bar becomes Yum Cha Asian Eatery. Chef Romel Begonia, who returned last year from culinary training in Bangkok and Beijing, has stirred up a new menu to keep things exciting. “We have a new sizzling platter,” Begonia says. “It’s thinly sliced, marinated pork cooked in a wok with sweet onions, kimchi and tofu. It’s then placed on a hot aluminum plate and starts smoking. When the servers reach the table, they pour my version of Korean sauce over the dish and it starts sizzling and smoking even more.” 1571 Poipu Road, Koloa, (808) 240-6456.

Former Carnivore Goes Vegan!

The Blossoming Lotus, a vegan restaurant in Kapaa, is beloved by organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Customers, meanwhile, love the food, the organic wines and the mellow vibe. The latest news from the restaurant is that it has a just-published cookbook, 7 Minute Chef, that’s “tree-free”—it’s digital. 1384 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, (808) 822-7678.

Italian Kitchen Stallion!

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa has two new chefs. Italian-born Valentino Luchin takes the helm at Dondero’s. He’s revamped the menu, with dishes such as hand-crafted Black Ink Lasagna with scallops, shrimp, crab and lobster in tomato and béchamel sauce. Kenneth Lum arrived as the new chef for Tidepools, specializing in contemporary Hawaiian cuisine. Lum worked for Chef Mavro at the Halek-ulani and at his namesake restaurant on King Street, as well as at Emeril’s in Las Vegas before coming to Kauai. 1571 Poipu Road, Koloa. (808) 240-6456.

Prodigal Chef Returns!

Kauai’s Mediterranean Gourmet, winner of a 2007 HONOLULU Magazine Hale Aina Award, Gold, for Best New Kauai Restaurant, has just welcomed back Shannon Jones. Jones was part of the restaurant’s opening team. “It’s good to have him back,” says co-owner Yarrow Beydoun. There are also new wine offerings, including samplings from Lebanon. 5-7132 Kuhio Highway, Haena. (808) 826-9875.

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Honolulu Magazine May 2019
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