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Three New Buzz-Worthy Restaurants Just Opened in Honolulu: Ko, Rinka, Chef Chai’s

Here’s what’s on the menu.


Restaurant Ko
Restaurant Ko interior


Three just-opened restaurants generating some buzz:


Restaurant Ko took over garlic restaurant Ninnikuya’s homey space and updated it so that it now resembles the bright white lobby bar at The Modern. In the evening, only two prix-fixe menus are offered ($40 and $55), but after 10 p.m., items such as squid tempura, hamachi kama, and salmon and ikura kamameshi (warm, mixed rice bowls) are available a la carte.

3196 Waialae Ave., (808) 888-5975


Rinka, with its very subtle entrance on Makaloa St., quietly opened last Friday. There's an extensive menu including a savory lotus manju, Japanese croquette with abalone, served in the shell, hot pot and nabe. Daily specials might include abalone simmered with daikon, spinach soup topped with gold flakes, and straight-from-Tsukiji otoro.

1500 Kapiolani Blvd., (808) 799-8893


Chai Chaowasaree closed Chai’s Island Bistro at the end of last year and will officially open Chef Chai in the Pacifica Honolulu Tower this weekend. With his goal of serving healthier food, the menu is seafood heavy with options such as braised whole rainbow trout and grilled mahi with Thai red curry sauce. Vegetarian dishes include house made soft tofu with shiitake mushrooms in a coconut ginger broth and a number of stir fries. Everything can be prepared gluten-free. It seems that this block of Kapiolani, with Blue Tree Cafe and Greens and Vines, is becoming one of Honolulu’s most health-conscious.

1009 Kapiolani Blvd., Pacifica Honolulu Tower, (808) 585-0011, chefchai.com


Look for more in-depth reviews on these restaurants in upcoming months.


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