7 Favorite Places to Eat in Kaimukī
What’s new, what’s changed and what’s next?
My latest adventures in housesitting land me in Kaimukī. Lucky for me, I get to settle in for a few months, to explore all that has changed here in the last couple years. Even the older places, like Town and 12th Ave Grill, are different. 12th Ave Grill is in bigger digs, and Town has spawned a mini-empire across the way, with Kaimukī Superette and Mud Hen Water. Here are my favorite spots, but this is just a preliminary list as I reacquaint myself with old and new in the neighborhood.
Baja Bowl (Left) and Surfer Bowl
I love kale in my glass as much as I like it in my bowl. At Leahi Health, I can have it in both. My favorites: the King Green (kombucha, greens, pineapple and ginger) and Jack Johnson (almond milk, greens, banana) smoothies, and the Baja Bowl, a kale salad with avocado and coconut flakes in a cilantro-lime dressing, over brown rice.
3441 Waiʻalae Ave., 388-4181, leahihealth.com
Baked French Toast
Now that Mud Hen Water is open, it’s much easier to get a seat at Town. For dinner, I always gravitate toward the mussels steamed with fennel and Cinzano, with a side order of fries, the best version of moules-frites on the island. The daily pa‘i‘ai preparation and gnocchi are also an absolute must.
And I’ve only recently discovered breakfast at Town: simply perfect plates such as a baked French toast.
3435 Wai‘alae Ave., 735-5900, townKaimuki.com
Kaimukī is suddenly home to a slew of new sandwich shops—Sprout is my favorite of them all. I love a sandwich shop that takes care of its veggies; the dewy, fresh butter lettuce and pickled red onion in the sandwiches are as integral as the meat. I find it hard to deviate from the Fonz (prosciutto, pastrami and salami with tapenade), though sometimes I’ll order the Yogi (sun-dried tomato hummus with kale, carrot, cucumber and sprouts).
1154 Koko Head Ave., In a hurry? Order and pay online: squareup.com
12th Ave Grill
I head to 12th Ave Grill at very specific times: happy hour (Monday through Thursday from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.), when you can order the meatloaf melt or burger at the bar for under $10; and Sunday Supper, a family-style meal for two or more, complete with heaping sides and dessert. Go on the first Sunday of the month for fried buttermilk chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits, salad and dessert (watermelon and feta salad and brown-butter carrot cake last Sunday).
Check out upcoming Sunday Suppers at 12thavegrill.com
I don’t drink a lot of coffee, but when I do, I go to The Curb—the best coffee in Kaimukī. Come for the coffee, but not if you’re looking for café ambiance.
3538 Waiʻalae Ave., Suite 101, 315-1912, thecurbco.com
If you see me around Kaimukī, 99 percent of the time I’m probably walking to or from Via Gelato. Green tea Oreo! Salted caramel fudge swirl! Earl Grey! Frosted flakes! Strawberry ume! Decision agony always precedes delirious happiness at Via Gelato.
1142 12th Ave., 732-2800
No-frills Vietnamese for weekday nights when I don’t want to cook: If I’m getting takeout, I’ll order a banh mi with pate, steamed pork and char siu. I also like the drink/dessert options, such as the soursop milkshake or the “three-colored sweet beans” (and no, I have no idea what kind of beans they are).
This is also one of the few Vietnamese restaurants in town with seven courses of beef. Among the parade of seven: beef wrapped in betel leaf and grilled, beef fondue (think shabu and not cheese) and beef porridge.
3538 Waiʻalae Ave., 735-9989